Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Parish, The Great Mental Models

Written by: on October 31, 2019

Proverbs 1:7 New Living Translation (NLT)

7 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge,

    but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

I have always been intrigued by the concept of wisdom. What is wisdom, and how is enquirer? Is there such a thing as evil and good wisdom? What are the differences between wisdom and intelligence?

 Intelligence is the ability to do things correctly. Wisdom is the ability to choose worthwhile goals; that is, to do the right things.

Intelligence is related to efficiency. Our culture seeks efficiency in all activities: more and better, get the most with the minimum cost and effort. If you are able to do things more and more efficiently – quickly and cheaply, making the most of your resources – you are intelligent, at least in that particular activity.

Wisdom has to do with the choice of goals. It is a more subtle, complete, and integrated ability: it implies introspective ability to know what is desired and reconcile it with the desirable. It also implies broad external knowledge, beyond the task and the particular activity, a systemic knowledge about the relationships between things and the place of things and people in the general scheme of the world. It needs an awareness of the functioning of the world directed by personal and collective values.

We need to promote wisdom. 

This book is about the pursuit of that wisdom, the pursuit of uncovering how things work, the pursuit of going to bed smarter than when we woke up. 

There is a Latin prover concerning intelligence and wisdom: it is better to be an imperfect and awkward wise man than to be merely intelligent and very efficient. I hope that makes sense in English, but you get the point. It is a book about getting out of our own way so we can understand how the world really is.

The reason is that if you succeed doing the wrong things because you are very efficient, and you are getting better at what you do and keep learning, over time, you will only make the situation worse: the smarter you are, the faster you will achieve the goals wrong. In the end, at the top, you will find only a better position from which to rush into the void.

On the contrary, if you fail or do not achieve the right things at first, your learning even if it is slow will put you in a better situation every time, and over time, you will get closer to the correct goals. You may never reach the top, but every step of the way will have been full of meaning. And that is already a peak.



The Map is not Territory

The world is not as we perceive it; the reality we live is what we have created due to our interpretation of it. Already in case among different living beings, we perceive the world; differently, the vision that a human being, a bat or a dog has, is not the same, even being in the same space of place and time. Therefore the Map is not the Territory. But they still live in the same place, right? And even their experiences are entirely different.

“The Map of reality is not reality. Even the best maps are imperfect. That’s because they are reductions in what they represent. If a map were to represent the Territory with perfect fidelity, it would no longer be a reduction and thus would no longer be useful to us. A map can also be a snapshot of a point in time, representing something that no longer exists. This is important to keep in mind as we think through problems and make better decisions”.

 If my wife sees a spider, hears or reads the word spider, it may not generate anything terrible, nor good. But for my daughter, she might panic, if she has spider phobia, or if she has had a bad experience with them. For my son, it will create a feeling that is rather pleasant or close to something positive, such as the spiderman, if, for example, when he was a child, he enjoyed taking them out of their web. That is why for different situations, words, noises, images, etc., each person will give them their own interpretation according to their own experiences, memories, experiences, and about the things they have had to live, as well as according to what they can imagine and that will condition how each person responds to those stimuli, leading them to a certain way of solving or doing things, or of reacting, thinking and feeling.

Parrish, Shane,Beaubien, Rhiannon (2106-02-06T22:28:15). The Great Mental Models: General Thinking Concepts (Kindle Locations 142-143). Latticework Publishing Inc.. Kindle Edition. 


Mental Models: Towards a Cognitive Science of Language, Inference, and Consciousness

About the Author

Joe Castillo

9 responses to “Parish, The Great Mental Models”

  1. Shawn Cramer says:

    In pursuit of wisdom apart from religion, I have see a large movement towards the Stoics for majority culture young adults. Where might you see some Latinx movements toward?

  2. Steve Wingate says:

    You wrote, “This book is about the pursuit of that wisdom.” From what source does the author draw wisdom?
    I found it interesting how the book spoke to me about how we learn. We, or shall I say, I learn by seeing as much as I do hearing or practicing with others what I learn.

  3. Jer Swigart says:

    Hey Joe.

    You write that this book is “about getting out of our own way so we can understand how the world really is.”

    It seems that the contribution that Critical Theory makes is that it seeks to expose the world as it really is.

    I really appreciate the idea of getting out of our own way, yet I wonder what you mean by that and how you would recommend we do so? Is there a correlation you would suggest between our inability to get out of our own way and intelligence/wisdom? Is our inability to get out of our own way a major contributor to the oppressive ideologies that Critical Theory reveals?

    • JOe says:

      Like Dennis Palumbo from Psychology Today wouls “As it’s generally understood, “getting out of your own way” implies somehow putting aside the anxieties and doubts, ego concerns and career pressures, “mental blocks” and “critical inner voices” pick your favorite pet term that stand between you and the effortless flow of work. As though, if you just did enough therapy, or meditated deeply enough, or visualized sincerely enough, or manifested enough positive energy, you could disavow all the “stuff” that gets in the way of your creativity.

      • Jer Swigart says:

        Hey Joe. Jumping back into the this conversation…

        I wonder how we “put aside” these things that interrupt our thinking/creativity. In your comment, after you offer Dennis Palumbo’s thoughts, it seems like you critique that approach and would recommend a better, more holistic way of breaking through the obstacles to our thinking, creativity, work. If so, what would you suggest?

  4. John McLarty says:

    It’s so easy to lock into our one way of seeing the world and processing information and close ourselves off to new perspectives. As our churches and larger society becomes more and more polarized, what have you found helpful to encourage your church to be open and receptive to new things and new learning styles?

  5. Greg Reich says:

    I am not so sure “The Great Mental Models” is about wisdom as much as it is about strategically looking at information and expanding our thought processes. I have no doubt that Parrish may hope that wisdom comes as the models are applied. Wisdom comes with experience and the ability to apply the knowledge gained. One person may utilize one of the mental model processes and fail to come up with a solid solution and another with experience can utilize the same process and succeed. The difference is often the wisdom and experience behind interpreting and applying the information the process provides. Sadly, I know a few brilliantly smart people that lack wisdom.

  6. Simon Bulimo says:

    This is the wisdom that will enable us to think and make decision. Putting it in to this context, we need to think. Thanks

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