Disclaimer: This may not be a very new concept, but it provides a revisions or a slightly different perspective on the matter.
I realized that I started to talk less with my dad. It's because his hearing is poor (due to some ear infection he had in his childhood). It would be awkward whenever I would say something to him, and he didn't know that I was trying to say something, let alone hearing a blur of a sound from me so that he can ask me to reiterate what I said. It would be doubly awkward because he sits more often around family members, so everyone else would be there to witness it. It would take effort to repeat words to him, and then the awkwardness would increase and feed into a positive feedback loop the more I tried. Soon, due to talking less with my father, I lost the urge to share that 'cool fact I saw online' and 'Dad I saw something really cool'. This was another piece of good justification for not talking as much, realizing that the urges were there as a habit (which it essentially is). My mother later pointed out that I started to talk less to my father. I started making justifications in my head, such as the awkwardness, the effort, etc. I do love my father, but I rightly believed that all my reasons were justified for talking to him less. I was still open to other thoughts so I let the different what ifs trickle in. All of a sudden, I had this realization. It was cliché, but this time, I knew it was different. The shift I felt was of pure understanding, and it also felt like a shift in emotional understanding.
My fathers view/model of the world/reality simply held the fact that I talked to him a lot less. He couldn't see the internal struggle I experienced each time I had to talk to him. This is what my model of 'reality' looked like:
On the other hand, this was his model, which is drastically different:
This whole difference in models reminds me of Aumann's Agreement Theorem where if we have the same priors, we should have the same posteriors (Ignoring the concept of agreeing to disagree). Our models of the world are so different: If we have very different perceptions, and more or less different perceptions, how can we find the correct answers to many problems we face? How can we hope to ever achieve the model of a pure, naked, real reality (which only contains the truth, and has no absence of true information)? This small difference in models shown in the diagrams above caused us to think drastically different things (I mentioned mine already, but my father could be thinking: "Does he dislike me now?"). All humans have innumerable amounts of differences, big or small, and so we all have very drastically different views of reality. It's a humbling realization (both philosophically and in terms of rationality) that we could probably never achieve real reality. Even if we can't ever see real reality, we can always get closer to it.
There can be many new courses of action or new insights you can take with this realization. Here are some that first came to mind:
- We should be rigorous in trying to explain our view of reality to everyone. It is essential to understand the idea which Ben Pace discussed (great article!!) to understand these concepts. Everyone will use your information to adjust their models/priors to change their beliefs to produce more accurate ideas/beliefs/posteriors. You can help bring everyone closer to real reality.
- The reverse of this is to be greedy and look at as many different realities/models as you can to adjust yours to be more accurate and real. In the spirit of genuine curiosity, constantly look at other models, be it from books to conversations, to see the differences in your realities and make the right changes to your reality.
- Realize that mentally mapping in terms of models (of reality) in this way can help us realize its shortcomings. For example, knowing that light is a wave allows us to draw light -> wave. Doesn't this look a bit like figure B, where our model contains a fact without anything feeding into it, which tells us how we even arrived at the conclusion that light is a wave? This mapping helps us realize a gap in our model. There are several other ways you can find issues with your model through mapping it out.
- The paradigm shift brought from this idea helps us better empathize with others, which is something I was able to take immediate advantage of. First we have to see that it helps us realize a painfully obvious truth which we forget often - to change a person's mind you must change their model. A change in model comes from not only stating they should do X, but explaining why they should believe/do X, so that they can get a figure A type diagram rather than a figure B type diagram. In terms of empathy, I realized that no matter how much I justified not repeating words again to my father, he will feel the negative effects of the situation because his model will not change. I can revise my model as much as I want, justify my actions, think about how person Y did X, or why they're wrong, but if I don't explain my model to that person, or if I don't make a change in my model, my father or person Y will always do X and always think Z (if we assume person Y will not change their model and their thought Z relates to you or your action). I should have realized earlier how my father's reality simply looked like figure B. Swallow your pride, and show your model or change it by factoring in the uncertainty/confusion of person Y in their model.
I talk properly with my father now, reiterating what I say no matter how many times is needed.