Mind Generalizations are the Mechanisms that Generate “Beliefs.”
Korzybski’s Law of Individuality states that, “No two persons or situations or stages of process are the same in detail”. Korzybski noted that we have far fewer words and concepts than unique experiences. This can lead to problems when it comes to the identification and confusion of two or more experiences which are known as Mind Generalization.
Mind Generalization provides a way of predicting the world based on the evidence we have experienced before. When riding a bike there are certain skills that have to be learnt. Balancing, spacial awareness, stopping distances, and sound awareness, etc. The list is endless. Once many micro-adjustments to the learning process are made, all of a sudden the process come together and the moment a person manages to keep their balance and rides unaided is one that will never be forgotten.
Unfortunately the brain doesn’t care what it learns.
Once upon a time there lived a little girl called Alice who happened to be very curious. She was always asking question because she knew asking questions meant she would learn. One day Alice was watching her mum preparing the Sunday lunch and, as usual, she was asking lots of questions. “Why do you have to keep asking me so many questions all the time?”, said Alice’s mum in a sharp tone which made Alice feel really bad inside her tummy. With, that she ran up the stairs to her bedroom.
The next day at school the teacher noticed that Alice was not asking any questions so she asked her if everything was all right. Alice explained to her teacher what had happened the day before. “It sounds like your mum was having a bad day.” The teacher went on to explain to Alice that the questions she asks meant that she was curious and curiosity is an incredible gift to have. “It was curiosity that helped me become a teacher, it was curiosity that helped you ride a bike. Sometimes Alice you have to know when it’s the right time to ask a questions, it’s a bit like putting your brakes on: if you put them on too quickly you will fall off. If you squeeze them slowly you will have time to change direction, if you wish. It all depends on what is happening at that moment. So hold on to that feeling of curiosity and it will help you to learn a lot more. Take that bad feeling you have in your tummy and swap it for that feeling you get when you want to ask a question.” Alice did that straight away and then asked “but didn’t curiosity kill the cat?”
“That’s absolute nonsense,” said the teacher, “but it’s good that you asked the question.”
The following Sunday Alice was watching her mum preparing the Sunday roast. Her mum placed 2 baking trays on the kitchen table and then cut the beef in half. Alice was just going to ask a question, but remembered what the teacher had said about riding a bike. When all the cooking was done and Alice’s mum was sitting down having a cup of tea, Alice asked why she cut the piece of beef in half and placed each half in separate trays. “Because that is what I have always done,” replied her mum.
“Who showed you how to do that?” asked Alice.
“My mum, because the beef always cooks better.”
“Can you ask your mum why she cuts the beef in half when she come round later?”
“Of course I will.” replied Alice’s mum.
After dinner Alice asked her mum to ask Nan why she cuts the beef in half. Nan heard half of the question and asked her daughter what it was Alice said? “Alice asked why you cut the beef in half and put place it into two trays. I explained to Alice that the beef always cooks better.” said Alice’s mum. Nan burst out laughing.
“What’s so funny?” asked Alice.
“The reason I cut the beef into half,” said Nan, “was that it was always too big to fit into one tray.”