A follow up on the frame discussion prompted by reading Jamshed Bharucha’s Education as Stretching the Mind. Jamshed places the idea of re-framing as a central goal of education, which he states like this:
Learn new frameworks, and be guided by them. But never get so comfortable as to believe that your frameworks are the final word, . . .
He defines frameworks broadly:
a range of conceptual or belief systems — either explicitly articulated or implicitly followed. These include narratives, paradigms, theories, models, schemas, frames, scripts, stereotypes, and categories; they include philosophies of life, ideologies, moral systems, ethical codes, worldviews, and political, religious or cultural affiliations. These are all systems that organize human cognition and behavior by parsing, integrating, simplifying or packaging knowledge or belief. . . .
But there is a problem. Frames are necessary to reduce cognitive chaos and complexity to a manageable level, but the mind also has an overwhelming bias to maintain these frames, even in the face of disconfirming evidence and sometimes they even create perceptions that are just plain wrong.
The brain maps information onto a small set of organizing structures, which serve as cognitive lenses, skewing how we process or seek new information. These structures drive a range of phenomena, including the perception of coherent patterns (sometimes where none exists), the perception of causality (sometimes where none exists), and the perception of people in stereotyped ways.
But the plasticity of the brain can allow us to change our mind, abet within limits and with much effort, critical tools, reasoning, and the support of ethical and committed people called educators. Neuro-linguistic Programming: I’ve always thought that therapy should be grounded in education, but maybe education should be grounded in therapy. I believe strongly in positive psychology, but maybe we can also benefit from curing some of our diseased conceptions.