Decision making landscape – towards a better map



In a recent post about what BE is missing, I referred to this Crawford chart that I feel captures the individualist model clearly: it places individuals – like a Ptolemaic Earth – at the heart of things.

The alternative is not a Copernican one – shifting the focus from one planet/individual to another while retaining the structure of concentric circles around the focal point.


No, a better conceptual map would be more like this: a repeated pattern of Crawford's individual circles or a series of interacting individual balls:


And most importantly of all, a dynamic pattern – one that is changing all the time (which leads to this kind of thing – a dynamic fitness landscape).

So two really big lessons here: 1. most humans live most of their life responding to the ideas, feelings and behaviour of those around them 2. those others are not fixed but in flux because they (too) are responding to those around them.

That's what leads to this kind of real or robot flocking and shoaling behaviour. The smooth running interspersed with sudden and rapid changes in direction are the result of this dynamic interaction.

BE can't begin to describe this level of complexity – which lies at the heart of social worlds -  because of the central failure to get beyond the individualist perspective.

Admittedly, it's hard to conceptualise this dynamic supra-individual alternative – our cognitive gifts seem much better suited to the individualist models – but that doesn't make it wrong to try. And we could do with a bit more trying here, I reckon.


1 Comment

  1. Becca
    May 8, 2012

    First time to hear this term “herd”. I think people copy it form nerd because of too much intelligent and out of what’s in or trendy.