03 Mar The True Nature of Reality: Attribution – Part 25

Conceptualization is defined as the construction an idea by mentally combining all of its characteristics. Concepts are the constructs we create through the process of learning. If learning is a method by which we can enhance our ability to do or know something, concepts are the tools we custom build in order to address the problems we are trying to overcome. They are how we define and make sense of our world.

In a past journal entry, we discussed Labeling, the first component of conceptualization, which is defined as the act of assigning a single Identifier to represent an object that makes up a part of our reality. An identifier can be a sound such as a spoken word, a visual symbol such as written language, or even a hand gesture used in sign language.

In a previous example, we mentioned the act of assigning the label “dog” or “puppy” to the animal known as a dog. But, while a dog is a thing, it is really compromised of many things, many different parts that we call attributes. A dog is furry, perhaps has a particular odor. It is a living entity that barks, runs around the yard, follows us, licks our face with its wet tongue, and maybe even falls asleep with us. All these things are characteristics or attributes we associate with a dog. It is this conglomeration of attributes that we link together with the Label that starts to form the concept of a dog inside our brain.

So, Attribution is the act of observing characteristics, listing them, grouping them together, and forming a recognizable pattern that we equate or associate with the Label. This is the way the older parts of our brain are hardwired to learn. We find a pattern of attributes and label them as a single entity. This helps our brain identify and manage large quantities of information. If you work with a computer, think about how you can group several types of files by placing them in a single folder with its own name or label. This allows the user to move, delete, rename, cut, and copy several files by manipulating only one folder. Our brain uses a similar method to move large quantities of information around by moving Labels without having to move each independent Attribute associated with every single object we are thinking about.

Labeling and Attribution, the marriage of an identifier and its attributes, are objective in nature, or pretty much “what you see is what you get”. But there are other components of conceptualization that start to change how we ultimately view specific objects in our world.

Exercises:

Write about the following three concepts:

What is a dog?
What is love?
What is good verses evil?

Let’s revisit the four identifiers we worked with before while journaling about Labeling. List the attributes you associate with the following words (how would you describe them to someone who had never encountered these things): dog, milk, father, blue

Write down the following sentence on a blank page and make a list of all the attributes for each word in the sentence (you can exclude particles and prepositions such as “the” and “of”).

My father’s face turned blue when the dog spilled his glass of milk.

The partnership between Labeling and Attribution creates a mostly objective view of reality. There is, of course, sensory information being filtered and manufactured in the brain, but these two components of conceptualization consist of a name of an object and the descriptors we perceive are associated with that object. Write about what you think the other two components of conceptualization might be or how they may affect our thinking.

Michael Ken
writingblade@yahoo.com