Print this page

Spiritual concepts

Memory - the types of model in memory

Memory holds a model of the external Systems of the universe.  What sorts of Systems do we hold in our Memory?  We can classify them very broadly into first of all the ‘Natural’ systems – the systems of nature and then the ‘man made systems’.

Natural systems are the Systems of the created universe. So, for example, I may have some model in my Memory about how the weather works or plants grow or water works - flows or turns into rain or turns into snow.  These Systems cover the planetary system, galaxial systems, plant systems, animal systems, organic and inorganic systems, atomic systems, chemical systems, biological systems, geological systems.  The way the world works.

Man made systems can also be classified into a few very broad groupings:

  • Moral’ systems – the systems and laws that religions devise whose original intention was to provide happiness, joy and peace for the maximum number in any one group whilst avoiding sadness and pain.  This may require that a minority suffer pain or unhappiness at the expense of the majority.  For example the murderer or thief  is imprisoned in order that the non murderers and thieves are free from any worry of being killed or  having their hard earned possessions stolen and he is not free to murder or steal again.
  • Civil laws – the systems and laws that governments devise in order to run a country and help it prosper, these generally have their foundation in moral laws, but encompass far more because they must take into account the economy of the country and its objectives.  Thus English law enshrines the Christian and Old Testament moral law that specifies that ‘thou shalt not kill’ and ‘thou shalt not steal’.  In democracies, civil laws generally  replace and subsume religion based moral laws as by definition a democracy ensures that the laws passed are devised for the maximum benefit of the majority.
  • Behavioural laws – the laws or systems that govern our behaviour in reaction to specific emotional stimuli or various situations.  So for example, we may be taught that we must be polite and courteous to people, or to respect the aged, or to suppress anger.  These are not moral laws, these are strictly behavioural.  They often simply make life more pleasant, again ‘to provide happiness, joy and peace for the maximum number in any one group whilst avoiding sadness and pain’.
  • Business and product systems – the systems that relate to the truly vast numbers of businesses and products that have been produced – the railway systems, the systems of all the airlines, the systems of banking and finance, the systems of the use of the roads [enshrined in the Highway code], the systems of cars, bicycles, computers, lawn mowers, cameras, videos, music machines – how they work, what they do.
  • ‘Family’ systems – the specific norms and customs unique to each family which a child learns on growing up.  The means by which families live in harmony and peace with each other [or not as the case may be].  For example, don’t wake father up whilst he’s sleeping, Aunty Margaret gets first choice of biscuit [because Aunty Margaret has mentioned you in her will], Mummy is allowed to shout when she’s angry, don’t kick the door open use the door handle.
Ogden Nash – The Parent

 
Children are not happy with nothing to ignore
And that is what parents were created for

There are the systems of communication – speech and writing – which are of course hugely important.  We also have political systems – communism, fascism, liberalism, socialism, conservatism, as well as ‘economic’ systems.  Plus others, I won’t list any more.

We learn all this lot from our parents, schools, religious institutions, friends, family, books, experience, pamphlets, papers and newspapers, TV and radio and so on.

So do you really think you ‘know’ all this?

As can be imagined, each of us knows only a fraction of all there is to know – truly a tiny fraction – enough to be able to function.  We would never be able to hold in our memories the details of every system of every thing – there are potentially millions or trillions of things, so as a subset of reality our knowledge base is tiny.

Furthermore, of the systems we do know about, our knowledge can only be a partial view, what we have been told or learnt by observation.  Under normal circumstances we never experience what it is to ‘be’ another thing.  In addition, our view of other systems is limited by what the sensory ‘software’ does with the inputs.  It may even be an ‘incorrect’ view because the observations we have made are too few to draw the right conclusions.

What systems we get to know about – what we learn about is dependent on:

  • Our personality -  Each personality learns different things
  • Our objectives in life– what do we want to do in life – our objectives
  • Our environment and how much of it we experience – in effect what we experience
  • The emotions that accompanied those experiences – we tend to build memories of things far more if they are accompanied by stronger emotions.

If we are taught from an early age, our overall model may contain some subset of a moral system; a reasonable grasp of a family system; a grasp of the communication systems of speech and writing; a fraction of the overall man made systems – those we need to know; enough behavioural laws to make sure we are not totally friendless and are invited to parties, football matches and funerals; and some semblance of knowledge about political systems.  Economic systems are usually only understood by economists until the impact of poor economic policy, inflation, a country’s national debt etc hits the individual.

I suspect that few of us apart from lawyers and politicians are that familiar with the civil laws of our country.  The UK Statute Law Database is the official web accessible database of the statute law of the United Kingdom, hosted by the The National Archives.   Just a quick look should confirm the fact that we are unlikely to have any idea of the law of our land.  Did you, for example, know that the UK has such gripping laws as the following?

 

A Charter of 1337

1337 c. 0

Act (Old English Parliament)

A Statute Concerning Tallage (1297)

1297 c. 1

Act (Old English Parliament)

A Statute for those who are born in Parts beyond Sea(1350)

1350 c. 0

Act (Old English Parliament)

A Statute forbidding Bearing of Armour (1313)

1313 c.0

Act (Old English Parliament)

Abandonment of Animals Act 1960

1960 c.43

Act (UK Public General)

Aberdeen Harbour Order Confirmation Act 1992

1992 c. ii

Act (Local UK) (Unrevised)

Abolition of Bridge Tolls (Scotland) Act 2008

2008 asp 1

Act (Scottish Parliament)

Abolition of Feudal Tenure etc. (Scotland) Act

2000 asp 5

Act (Scottish Parliament)

Abolition of Poindings and Warrant Sales Act 2001(repealed)

2001 asp 1

Act (Scottish Parliament)

Abortion Act 1967

1967 c. 87

Act (UK Public General)

Academies Act 2010

2010 c. 32

Act (UK Public General)

The Access to Health Records (Northern Ireland) Order 1993

1993 No. 1250 (N.I. 4)

Order in Council (N.I.) (Unrevised)

No, neither did I.

Surprising how well we all seem to function on this tiny tiny model.

Observations

For iPad/iPhone users: tap letter twice to get list of items.