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Topic: Definition of pattern
Posted by: Loren Larsen
Date/Time: 05/01/2003 09:42:08

Hello Carmen and John,

I've been pondering for some time the definition of pattern you offer on P. 52. 

It seems that this definition allows for a pattern to exist if there is knowledge of the pattern and the set of events prior to the slash mark allows one to predict with better than random success the events that follow the slash mark.

This seems at considerable variance with the usual use of the word pattern in NLP, and I honestly have some difficulty reconciling this definition with your own use of the word throughout the book.  I would greatly appreciate some clarification.

In informal terms if I believe that I understand a particular "pattern" I expect that if I do steps A,B,C then D will occur.  If D is not observed following A,B,C I do not attempt 9 more "trials" of A,B, C to determine if if D will occur in at least 6 out of the ten trials to see if the pattern still holds.  Instead I think it is generally of greater utility to conclude that my statement of the pattern is lacking and I must be not be observing some cue that would allow me to predict the occurrence or non-occurrence of D following the steps A,B,C.  The example of running trials to compare our predictions against random guessing seems fairly absurd to me and contrary to many other things I heard you say.  I can only conclude I'm missing some obvious distinction here. 

In the example you offer in the book also on p. 52.  If the bird in question pushes down on its perch and only takes flight 60% of the time and the other 40% of the time the pushing down on the perch does not result in flight, but instead is perhaps the first move in a complex mating ritual, do I still have a useful pattern?  I realize that it all begs the question of our specific goals in this endeavor, but assuming that producing some accurate description of this behavior was of interest to us, it seems reasonable that when we see the bird push down and not take flight we would consider our first "pattern" to be insufficient (and not a pattern at all) and we would go about identifying additional contextual markers prior to the bird pushing down that would allow us to accurately predict whether the bird will take flight or begin the mating ritual.

On re-reading "Style, Grace, and Information in Primitive Art" and thinking about Bateson's definition of "pattern" I'm unclear about how it is directly applicable to the discussion of "Presentation of Patterning" on p. 53. 

Bateson appears to me to be discussing pattern in the context of redundancy.  Step 1 of your presentation of patterning is called "Description of pattern".  Step 2 is "Consequences of using the pattern".  Step 3 is "Selection criteria".

Bateson offers examples such as 'A tree visible above ground allows us to guess at the existence of roots beneath the ground.'  I personally know of no counter-examples to this.  He also offers an example along the lines of 'how the boss acted yesterday may allow us to guess at how he will act today'.  This one is a little shakier, but the implication seems to be that as long as we can guess with better than random probability we still have a pattern.

In my reading of WITW it's not always exactly clear how you are using the presentation pattern on p. 53 with the various formats and patterns.  There were times I wished that each step had been explicitly marked out with 1., 2., 3.  This may have led to some confusion on my part.

As for the "better than random issue"...In your description of the "Breakthrough Pattern" I did not detect that you were ever implying that following the 6 steps would most of the time result in the proposed consequences, but rather it's an interesting pattern precisely because it always (or close to it) results in the expected results.

As for the presentation aspects.  Do the steps 1-6 on p. 216 map to Step 1 of the patterning format on p. 53?  If so is it accurate to say that Steps 1-6 are the "description of the pattern"?

If there is any redundancy being described (as I understand Bateson to be describing it), then it is to be observed not between the sequence of steps enumerated as 1-6 in the Six Step Reframe format, but between the sequence of steps (Step 1 in the presentation format) and the consequences of the use of the pattern (Step 2 in the presentation format).

To summarize my questions:
1) To what extent do you see Bateson's definition of pattern as merely "better than random chance" of utility in the endeavor of modelling and coding patterns of excellence?  It seems a bit weak to me.
2) Where specifically does one find the "redundancy" aspect of the patterns presented in the way of what is shown on page 53?  It seems to me that the pattern being "described" in Step 1 is not a pattern by Bateson's definition.  It would be if the pattern contained only the aggregate of events before the slash mark, but it does not.  The pattern is the entire sequence, before and after.



Entire Thread

TopicDate PostedPosted By
Definition of pattern05/01/2003 09:42:08Loren Larsen
     Re:Definition of pattern05/01/2003 17:16:12John Grinder
          Re:Re:Definition of pattern05/01/2003 21:43:37Loren Larsen
               Re:Re:Re:Definition of pattern06/01/2003 09:49:35nj
                    Re:Re:Re:Re:Definition of pattern06/01/2003 16:31:44Loren Larsen
               Re:Re:Re:Definition of pattern12/01/2003 18:31:13John Grinder
                    Behavior Discussion presentation format. To: Dr. Grinder & Ms. Bostic St. Clair, Topic: Modeling13/01/2003 01:24:50nj
          Re:Re:Definition of pattern07/01/2003 15:58:29Zhi Zhi Chien
               Re:Re:Re:Definition of pattern07/01/2003 16:07:49Zhi Zhi Chien
               Re:Re:Re:Definition of pattern12/01/2003 19:18:01John Grinder
                    Re:Re:Re:Re:Definition of pattern13/01/2003 22:22:38Lewis Walker
                         Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Definition of pattern15/01/2003 18:58:42John Grinder

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