Patterns, Language, and Knowledge

One Boydian theme that has driven my reading is the “observe” node of his OODA (observe, orient, decide, act). While “orientation” gets most of the attention in Boydian circles, I have come to consider ”observe” to be the foundation of knowledge, thus action.  ”What” we see, or as my friend Dr. Terry Barnhart points out, what we “sense” directs orientations, decisions, and actions.

Synthesis: I believe these ideas connect. For if Margolis is correct, then the “awareness” expressed by Polanyi would be apprehended using pattern recognition; recognition of patterns using Bickerton’s ideas with respect to language. Language is pattern-based, and we use language patterns in sense-making/creation of meaning.

via » Blog Archive » Patterns, Language, and Knowledge.

My comment about the article was:

The potential energy of the loop is built in observation and slowly (or not) released throughout the loop until it jumps the gap between decision and action. The kinetic energy is released as a spark in revolution, or a slow burn in evolution, depending on what fills the gap. The potential is totally released in Action as it penetrates, isolates, subverts, re-orients, and reharmonizes itself into another potential.

To really understand Boyd, you have to understand how energy distributes itself. Energy follows the power-law in the distribution of energy. It can be thought of as the number of events divided by the magnitude of those events.

In the example: “… the feeling in the palm of my hand which is merged into my focal awareness of my driving the nail.”” the number of events can be thought of as the number of strikes the hammer makes on the head of the nail. The magnitude of those events can be calculated as the amount of Potential Energy in the hammer at zero velocity, before the distribution of the energy in the hammer, from the location (position in the environment) of the hammer to the head of the nail.

As I said in my comment, the OODA loop can be thought of as a distribution of energy from its potential to its kinetic energy.

In the hammer and nail example, the loop distributes its energy from the potential in the hammer Observed to the nail that Acts or is Acted upon by the head of the hammer. As both the hammer and nail are inside the same loop, the mass inside a OODA loop can be factored out, because it is the same mass observed and acted (although because of the theory of relativity smaller).

So how does the human fit it?

The human is in the same environment observed. The hand of the human is positioned (Orientation) much like the hammer head but with distance added (energy is defined as energy at a distance, so the hammer, in relation to the human, can be defined as energy). The Decision that causes the hammer head to move is all up to the human, unless the potential energy in the hammer head (created by gravity) is too much and the head of the hammer Decides when to move.

So the distribution of energy in the OODA loop that includes the human, the hammer, and the nail comes down to two forces–the force of Command and the force of Control. The human has most of the command at the start–the hammer head has most of the command at the finish. Gravity has most of the control at the start–the human has most of the control at the end, until the nail moves, if it actually does move and doesn’t bend.  (Note: Of course if the nail does bend, then some of the fault can be given to the human who was unable to accurately control the hammer head, or perhaps the mass of the nail could not contain the perpendicular forces transferred, inside to the mass of the nail.)

In an OODA loop, the command and control forces reside in Orientation. They are random forces Observed that are set perpendicular to each other through logic. Logic is provided by the advantage that the the Oreientation brings to the environment.

Logic provides the way for the human and hammer to work perpendicular to each other to precisely and accurately target the head of the nail. Once the nail has been targeted, potentially the loop is all but over with except for the feed-back and feed-forward, which  can begin just before Act.

The feed-back and feed-forward will tell how precise and accurate the energy distributed itself in the loop (you bent the nail stupid when you hit it), and can decide if more events need to take place (straighten the nail and try again) at greater or less magnitude, or perhaps a different logic needs to take place (orient yourself towards useing a nail gun).

It then becomes a judgement call.

Perhaps pattern recognition is in that judgement.

2 thoughts on “Patterns, Language, and Knowledge

  1. Hi Larry, Good post. I’m still noodling this line of thought via “insight.” If you’ve not yet read it, check out the Margolis book and his ideas w/respect to judgement—a game-changer in my estimation.
    Thanks for sharing the post.

    • Hey Scott, thanks for posting.
      I thought about ordering the book, but it seems to me that judgement depends a lot on positioning. In other words, positioning comes out of the decisions your orientation make and judgement ultimately comes out of how firm the position is that you hold. I guess recognising the spiral is recognising that position.
      On that point, I would be interested in what the book says about precision and accuracy.

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