Symbolic Modelling

I have my first encounter with symbolic modelling lately, and read every article that I can find. Perhaps reading is not the best way to learn it, that’s why I have the following questions:

To me, the basic idea behind symbolic modelling is this: all representational systems can operate on 2 distinct levels, sensory and symbolically. Take language as an example of representational system, the word "pyramid" can represent the certain building in Egypt that have a particular shape, literally; or it can represent the ideas of solidness, stability, or even immortality, symbolically. On the other hand, the "certain building in Egypt that have a particular shape" can be represented by the word"pyramid"; or the phrase "the scared place where the pharaoh’s body rests until his reborn" if you are an ancient egyptian. (This might correspond to the distinction between extentional meaning and intentional meaning loosely). Naturally, talking things metaphorically "sounds" more meaningful because, by definition, metaphor is "talking something in term of another thing", and hopefully, "the other thing" is something more meaningful to us or else it defeat the purpose of using a metaphor.

The clean language is design to explore the structure of the symbolic representation without presupposing anything(so that maybe we can get a genuine representation?). Perhaps, by solving a problem or doing a change work in the symbolic level, the result is more profound for the symbols might associate to many things in many different aspects of our life, especially if it is a symbol that occurs numerously. Thus by manipulating the symbols inside the symbolic representation, or "symbolic landscape", it automatically affects every aspect of life which the symbol might symbolize.

The meta-model and symbolic modelling are clearly different in the above view, for meta-model deal with sensory data; symbolic modelling, symbols. But I have some doubt about this distinction. Take the word "chair" for example, a child might understand it by associate the sound with the visual image in his head, that is the literal
meaning; but as he grows up, the image might get complicated, with someone on the chair, the idea of "supporting" might come into the picture. My point is that the distinction between literal/sensory and metaphorically/symbolically is not a clear cut. Can word be a symbol? For example, when the client says "I have an anxiety." , using meta-model, we might ask " where is your anxiety and what is its colour because I like to collect anxiety."; or using clean language, we might want to ask for a symbolic representation, " what is your anxiety like?"; or can we treat the nominalization as a symbol and ask "what kind of anxiety that you have?"; or can we use meta-model question to get a more precise symbolic landscape, "how do you know your anxiety is like [whatever the client says]?" By playing the game of treating concrete things metaphorically and metaphor literally, I am confused about their distinction, or is there any. By having a clear intention(says to confuse the client), I think that meta-model and symbolic modelling are complement to each other.

What do you guys think? Am I confused about the 2 or am I on the right track?

Symbolic Modelling

Speak Your Mind