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Mik Seljamaa 🇪🇪
Mik Seljamaa 🇪🇪

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What is Packing?

Well, you just stop yourself asking 'Why?'. You never really clean up your map of the world, so you don't find many of the underlying patterns that mappers use to `cheat'. You learn slower because you learn little pockets of knowledge that you can't check all the way through, so lots of little problems crop up. You rarely get to the point where you've got so much of the map sorted out you can just see how the rest of it develops. In thinking-intensive areas like maths and physics, mappers can understand enough to get good GCSE grades in two weeks, while most schools have to spend three years or more bashing the knowledge packets into rote-learned memory, where they sit unexamined because the kids are good and do not daydream. It really isn't a very efficient way to go about things in the Information Age.

With no map of the world that checks out against itself and explains just about everything you can see, it is very hard to be confident about what to do. The approach you have to take in any situation is to cast about frantically until you find a little packet of knowledge that kind of fits (everything has a little bit of daydreaming at its core, but the confused objective is to stop it as soon as humanly possible). Then you list the bits that kind of fit, and you assert that the situation is one of those, so the response is specified by your `knowledge'.

Your friend has happened to grab another packet of knowledge' and so you begin anargument' where your friend lists bits of your knowledge that don't fit and says that you are wrong and he is right, and you do the same thing. You don't attempt to build a map that includes both your bits of knowledge and so illuminates the true answer because you don't have access to the necessary faculty of mapping, and anyway, without the experience, it is hard to believe that it is possible in the time allowed. Being devoid of the clarity that comes from a half-way decent map, you would rather do something ineffective by the deadline than something that might even work. Then when things go pear-shaped you say it is bad luck.

The consequences go further. Not having a big map means that you often don't understand what is happening, even in familiar settings like your home or workplace. You assume that this means that you do not possess the appropriate knowledge packet, and this may be seen as a moral failure on your part. After all, you have been told since childhood that the good citizens acquire knowledge packets and stack them up in their heads like dinner plates, the lazy do not.

You are also overly concerned about certainty. Mappers have a rich, strong, self-connected structure they can explore in detail and check the situation and their actions against. Logic, for them, enables being true to the map and being honest when it stops working. It's not a problem, they just change it until it's logical' again. Without mapping, you have to use rickety chains of reasoning that are really only supported at one end. Because they are rickety you get very worried that each link is absolute, certain, totally correct (which you can never actually achieve). You have to discount evidence that is notcertain' (although tragically it might be if your map was bigger), and often constrain your actions to those that you can convince yourself are totally certain in an inherently uncertain world.

The issue of certainty then becomes dominant. People are unwilling to think about something (erect a rickety chain) unless they are certain' that theprocedure' will have a guaranteed payoff, because that, they believe, is how the wise proceed.

You become absorbed by the fear of being found to be in the wrong', because of the idea that thegood' will have acquired the correct knowledge packet for dealing with any situation. The notion that the world is a closed, fully understood (but not by you) thing kind of creeps in by implication there. The idea of a new situation becomes so unlikely that you rarely spot one when it happens, although mappers notice new situations all the time. Your approach becomes focussed on actions that you cannot be `blamed' for, even though their futility or even counter-productivity is obvious. You insist on your specific actions being specified in your job, even when your map is already easily good enough for you to accept personal responsibility for the objectives that need to be achieved, which would be more in keeping with your true dignity.

Some people have so little experience of direct understanding, produced by mapping over time, that they cannot believe that anything can be achieved unless someone else spells out in exact detail how to do absolutely everything. They believe that the only alternative to total regimentation is total anarchy, not a bunch of people getting things done.

Copyright (c) Alan G Carter and Colston Sanger 1997

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