Multiple Representations

Day 19 Week 3 Q1  Thursday, January 19, 2023

Now that we all live in a digital world, everyone knows there is more than one way to view information. We can change color, size, sharpness and a plethora of other variables. This begs the issue of what is real and what is not.  Viewing information depends a great deal upon perspective or vantage point. Some characteristics are obvious from one angle and invisible from others. The reference frame often changes the meaning. This makes context incredibly important, for 0 degrees Fahrenheit is a lot colder than 0 degrees Centigrade.  

Listening to a piece of music that you know was written when the composer’s wife died sounds different than if you did not know. There used to be disk jockeys, people who played records over the radio and who provided background information that helped elucidate the experience. We have contextual menus where clicking on something produces different effects depending upon which mode the software is in.  

Context is not always obvious or even declared, never mind explained. Context costs time and money to save, deliver and process, so it is frequently eliminated. Unfortunately, not knowing the background frequently changes the meaning.

Creative outliers are a curious lot, and we tend to want to know more, and much of that more is context, for it informs the meaning of everything it surrounds. Context can qualify or disqualify conclusions. Is there an alibi? Oh, you are not guilty.

The truth is there is always more than one perspective, and some of them are far more revealing than others. Basically, there is a lot of ambiguity in life, for there is rarely a single perspective. This calls for us who are curious and aware of multiple perspectives to be tolerant of ambiguity,  And not only tolerant of, but seeking ambiguity for it tells us much more about what is going on. 

Does music have a theme and variations, or are the variations alternative themes? It depends upon if you are a top-down or a bottom-up thinker. Top-down thinkers have a great tendency to know there is more than one interpretation and that reality can be slippery. Bottom-up thinkers sometimes are sure they know what reality is. 

There are always multiple ways to represent everything.  Some of these are far more revealing than others. Making a model of something is creating another perspective. And by the way, you can always make a model of a model as well.

Try to be a master of context management, for this is the only way to simultaneously manage multiple perspectives. And tolerate ambiguity, for reality is surely not one single thing. Many problems are solved simply by changing perceptive to where the solution is obvious. Be flexible. After all, if you are a creative outlier which comes along with attempting to be an agent of change, then you need to be flexible or be a hypocrite. 

You can not expect others to change their point of view if you never change yours.

What’s that some of you are saying? You are right, and everyone else is wrong, and there is no competition, and it is not your fault.

Well, good luck with that. Do you want to work with others who are fixed in their ways? When everyone around you seems wrong and failing and not comprehending, ask yourself, what is the common denominator?  If it is you, then you know who to blame.

Be flexible not only with your ideas but with the ideas of others. Remember, there are always multiple representations, and there is always some ambiguity. And try not to confuse the map for the territory or the model for reality. 

My two cents.