storymind.jpg (11001 bytes)
Hidden in the dramatic structure of stories is a model of the mind...



Story Mind Basics

The Minds of Men & Women

How to Solve Problems

A Model
of the Mind

The Math Behind the Model

of Mental Relativity

The Mental Relativity Tapes

Press Coverage of the Story Mind

Letters & Replies



Female Perspectives
in Problem Solving

by Melanie Anne Phillips

In our external environment women recognize the four structural measurements of Time, Space, Mass and Energy. However, these are only useful to women as a snap photo of the state of things. These measurements neither describe inequities nor help resolve them. In order to seek happiness a woman needs different means of relating to her environment.

Women, by nature operate in a dynamic relationship within their surroundings. This relationship extends to both the physical and social environments. As a result, structural measurements cannot sustain an understanding of ongoing flux. More appropriate are dynamic measurements.

Structural measurements are made by committing an item to memory, then observing the same item again. The two views are compared to sense if the item has changed, the context has changed, both or neither. When examining the context, one is really looking at the ruler used to measure the item. For example, how does the performance of a mechanism change when it operates in air as compared to water? In this case, the scale of measurement (context) becomes air ---> water. The mechanism is examined in air, then committed to memory and examined in water. The two views are compared and something is learned about the mechanism. Air and water serve as the reference or ruler.

Conversely, the nature of an item itself might be examined for change. In this case, its initial state is committed to memory, then compared to a later state. The differential suggests either a process of growth or decay (depending upon how you look at it). This view is often mistaken to be the dynamic measurement. In fact, it is a structural measurement of dynamics. This difference is essential in understanding the importance and meaning of female inequity resolving techniques.

A structural measurement of dynamics only synthesizes an awareness of flow, as it is constructed of points along a line and the in-betweens are assumed to follow the same path. In contrast, a dynamic measurement of dynamics has a fluid ruler that flexes in response to the flux of the dynamics. The degree of flex (which is infinitely variable between two limit lines) determines the intensity of the dynamics.

Just as structural measurements can describe the nature of an item as well its context, dynamic measurements describe two aspects of dynamic intensity: Influence and Presence. Influence is well understood in terms of magnetism, tidal pull, physical attraction, emotional compatibility. Presence, however, has been largely unexplored, becoming prominent only in such obscure areas as sub-nuclear physics and quantum theory. Still, Presence is an essential component of a non-justifying woman's measurement of inequity, explaining the difficulty many women have in making decisions they are comfortable with.

By definition, Presence determines the degree to which something is actually there. By structural analogy, one can see that a marshmallow and an equally sized piece of lead will have substantially different inertia due to the density in which they are packed. But this is a structural analogy only. Dynamic Presence describes the degree to which something exists. The concept that something might exist more strongly than something else is foreign to many aspects of science and almost wholly missing from everyday relationships.

One might think, "Do I love him or not?" Then, we might temper that with, "How MUCH do I love him?" The binary state of loving or not loving is structural presence, not dynamic presence. It separates love from hate, dislike, fear, and any number other emotions that might enter into that love. The concept that love is either present or it is not has no place in a woman's thought. The alternative concept that love has a density (expressed in "How MUCH do I love him?") is not any better at describing the essential measurement. The real concept here is how strongly love exists and then how wide ranging it is.

If love stands alone from like, care for, empathize with, respect, and many other related emotions than one could use a structural measurement and determine if it were there or not. If love is made up of many different things, it is still a structural view, as it sees the whole as the sum of its components. But if love is a whole brain phenomenon that indicates a direction rather than a state - if love is a vector pointing to the direction of flow, then anything pointing in that hemisphere is love. The more directly north it points the more Presence it has. The longer the vector the more Influence it has.

So the relationship between Presence and Influence are something of a cross between being complimentary and inverse. If there is no Presence, there can be no Influence. But if there is not Influence, there can be no Presence. However, if either Presence or Influence exists than the other can operate anywhere in its full range. The overall Intensity is determine by the complimentary relationship of Presence and Influence working together. Both need exist to some degree in order to have any Intensity at all, which effectively creates limit lines at either end of the scale. This is as close as a woman should get to binary states: there is something to measure (both Presence and Influence exist) or there is not (one or both are absent).

The trouble women get into is when they measure one when the other is not there. This lies outside a dynamic appreciation and is the realm of female justification. This kind of justification results in thinking "I love him, so why do I want to stay home and watch TV with my cat?" Love is present, but the influence is zilch.

For women, a way to evaluate Love or any other internal or external dynamic is to move one step up from the essential measurements such as Presence and Influence and concentrate on measurements at the same level as Intensity. From this point of view, it does not matter what combination of Presence or Influence exists, one only need experience the Intensity directly and act upon that in the direction and degree appropriate. How much is the love worth to you? How much will you do for it? How much negative baggage will you entertain and still find the Intensity is positive?

"How much" is the external equivalent of internal Intensity. When we feel any emotion to any Intensity, it will determine "how much" of this or that in the external environment, whether that be people or things. This means we do NOT have to give our unconditional love. We do NOT have to commit our undying loyalty. The Intensity of our emotions is the only valid yardstick for meting out love, loyalty, commitment, or obligation.

As beings of a dynamic mentality, the intensity of our emotions continually flexes in response to flux in the world around us. Therefore, what may be a valid commitment on one day is no longer valid the next. Fickle? Adaptable!

Looking internally to measure the degree of Intensity of our feelings is an activity that can tie us in knots. In this doomed endeavor we are seeking to take a snap photo of our inner state. We are justifying ourselves into a structural view by hoping to stop our dynamic emotions and "get a fix" on them. Certainly we need something to anchor on, and therefore the desire to map out our feelings is understandable. However, due to our dynamic minds, we are looking in the wrong place for our anchor. In fact, our ruler is flexible and will give different readings each time it is employed. The ruler is our emotional dynamic itself.

We have been taught that consistency is good. We have been educated to look for an objective reality that does not vary. This is not our way. Not by nature, only by suppression.

When we let our emotions free, the world seems to reel around us. Sometimes things are good, sometimes bad, sometimes both at the same time. Sometimes we have no feelings at all. Sometimes our feelings are strong in one area and non-existent in another. But all of this is true to our essential operating system.

Still, an anchor is necessary - a place to stand. As one might imagine, our anchor is also a dynamic one. In fact, the techniques we can use to evaluate our environment remain the same ones no matter where or when we want to use them.

These external evaluations reflect the Mass, Energy, Space and Time of the environment, but in a dynamic sense. They are (in the same order) "How Much", "What Direction", "Beginning When", "For How Long".

Dynamically, "How Much" describes the amount of force brought to bear. This is the equivalent of Mass. "What Direction" is the female measurement closest to the concept of a "goal". It is the equivalent of Energy, so we can see that a woman's "goal" is not an object but a direction. "Beginning When" establishes a starting point. This can be in the past, present, or future. Time exists not as a progression but as a palette of choices, downgrading it to a more spatial view. Women see linear time as external, making it the equivalent of space. "For How Long" measures duration. It is the female equivalent of time, measure not in sequence but in lingering.

The unjustified structural view sees Mass, Energy, Space and Time as external. Measurements of the internal universe are seen as the "process equivalents" of Knowledge = Mass, Thought = Energy, Ability = Space, Desire = Time. Structuralists have the greatest difficulty in equating Desire with Time. Ability as Space is difficult for them, but can be worked around. Knowledge as Mass and Thought as Energy provide them no difficulty.

Still, when they carry their logic through to the end, Ability and Desire are the rational choices to describe those internal processes of Space and Time (although the concepts will not "feel" very correct). Structuralists see one system operating externally and an equivalent process working internally. However, when it comes to USING the system, rather than just describing it, they focus externally, tending to ignore the internal and measuring the external in terms of Space and Time.

In contrast, women have only one set of measurements that they use to measure both changes in Space and changes in Time. But women only employ it externally. So they do not measure their inner state at all, letting it run wild. However, when women use the systems rather than just examine the system, they tend to focus on Space, both externally and internally, ignoring Time.

The above descriptions are for the operating systems only, at the biologic level, below the ability of Consciousness to bend them. At the conscious level, either Structuralists or Dynamicists may learn to justify, which effectively means unconsciously adopting the method of the other. This technique effectively masks unresolvable inequities or redistributes unsolvable problems so that they become invisible and cease to bother the conscious, allowing for more attention to be paid to inequities and problems that can be dealt with by effort alone.

There is quite a difference between recognizing a problem or inequity and making plans to deal with it. Unjustifying women will use the standard four evaluations in recognizing the difficulty but only three in planning a response. Using all four to recognize the difficulty is the only way to cover all the bases and make sure nothing sneaks in where we aren't looking. However, when we make a commitment or an obligation, we intentionally choose one of the four measurement as an area we will no longer look. In this manner we can suffer all kinds of adversity without losing our sanity in order to accomplish our purpose. Still, it should be noted that this is a justification that does not respond to the actual overall readings of the moment but to an expected more favorable state later. As a result it depends on a particular future which may or may not occur, and thereby requires pinning ones hopes on a toss of the dice. We choose not to make the best choice for now, hoping that will lead to a better choice later. This is essentially a goal-oriented view and is not within the domain of unjustified female thinking.

In using only three of the four evaluations in planning a response to difficulties, we allow ourselves an "escape clause" should the situation change (or should our own flexible emotions change). If we lock in all four, we are deciding How Much, What Direction, Beginning When, and For How Long. There is nothing else we can shift should things evolve. As a result, if we are off course or the earth changes under our feet, we can do nothing but absorb the tension. The tension builds until we are forced to stop evaluating the external situation by one or more of the four evaluations. If we drop one, it is first level justification. If we end up dropping all four, it is fourth level justification. At this point we are wound up tighter than a clock spring. If any additional trouble befalls us, we have no further recourse but to snap, which leads directly to snipers with AK47s.

Much better, it seems, to simply make our plans for response using only three of the four evaluations and venting tension slowly as we re-evaluate from time to time.

Finally, which three we choose is completely arbitrary. Sometimes it is better to look at it in reverse and exclude the measurement that we least care about. For example, we might desire to improve a room. How Much? The whole room. What Direction? To make it cleaner. Beginning When? Now. We drop "For How Long." That way we can just continue as long as we feel like it and stop when the motivation erodes.

But what if we know we only have 10 minutes? Then For How Long is 10 minutes. Beginning When is still now. What Direction? Still to make it cleaner. How Much? We leave that open. Can't you almost feel those butterflies if you are trying to get a certain amount done in certain time? Can't you almost feel the relief of not worrying about How Much, but just working for the 10 minutes you have?

Easy unless you are under pressure. But say guests are arriving in 10 minutes. Then you race around like crazy trying to make the room perfect before they get there. This probably cannot be achieved so you are bound to be disappointed. You have locked in all four evaluations and there is no way out. But let any one of the four loose and the tension will vanish. What Direction could be lost. Then we don't have anything like a goal, so we simply work in the room for 10 minutes starting now, with no expectation or purpose. Or we could drop the How Much and just work on whatever we see in that room that bothers us without feeling we must get the whole thing clean. Dropping Direction is as difficult a thing for women as equating Desire with Time is for Structuralists. But it can be done with training.

The important point is that we have left a safety valve so there is no disappointment with whatever level we actually achieve and therefore no anxiety. However, if we are forced by the demands of our job or other outside influence to lock into all four, we can at least hope to set limits in one or more of the four evaluations so that we limit our anxiety. The way to do this is to look at each of the four areas and see how much you are "expected" to get done. Then, one by one, you try lowering your performance against the expected performance and "feel" the degree of anxiety that you relieve. After checking all four evaluations, one will prove to cause the least anxiety if you fail to meet expectations. This is where you choose to "fail". You intentionally perform less fully than you are capable of in order to allow some fluff in the rigid four so that anxiety has somewhere to fill up other than in yourself. Unlike keeping one open, Anxiety cannot be immediately vented, but at least it can be stored until you can vent it later at home. Just remember to vent it or it will hang around like fat on your thighs and just build up over time as more "four point" demands are made on you until it clogs the mental arteries, forcing you into fourth level justification and complete breakdown.

Governments, Religions, Clubs, and Businesses often seek to impose four point demands on their members. At first, the organization gets everything it wants from its members. But when the capacity to store is exceeded, the members snap, leading to revolution, factions, splinter groups and disloyalty. This is essentially what occurred in America in the 1960s when the four points were all fixed and the pressure forced society as a whole to erupt.

A structuralist approach to venting the anxiety of one's members is to define areas of "zero point" demands within the framework of society so that anarchy has its reign, but in a manner that does not threaten the structure as a whole. This was instituted in the Roman Games, Public Executions and Violence in motion pictures in America. The blind spot is the collective effect on the collective unconscious of the society as a whole, where in violence begets violence forcing the four point screws to be even more tightly tightened, ultimately leading to a strain beyond tolerance in which the screws are snapped like so much kindling. Zero point arenas only delay the energy, allowing it to build, but they do not truly vent it.

A woman's approach would be to accept less that complete conformity to begin with, allow for one point to float freely thereby venting the anxiety in ordered chaos, rather than the structuralist's organized anarchy.

In the end, it is up to us as individuals to exercise unjustified problem solving, and by so doing, we influence the establishment much as the butterfly that flaps its wings and brings a hurricane.

Copyright Melanie Anne Phillips

Brought to you by

Owned and Operated by the Creator of StoryWeaver & Co-Creator of Dramatica
Serving more than 12,000 writers since 1997

Get the Writer's Survival Kit Bonus Package
FREE with ANY Purchase!

Writing Software Buyer's Guide
About Our Store

 We'll Beat ANY Price!
     90 DAY Return Policy

Movie Magic Screenwriter 2000 Movie Magic Screenwriter
List price: $269.95
Your price: $179.23
Academic: $99.95)
Storyweaver Software-<br>Your Step-by-Step<br>Guide to a Complete Story!
Step by Step Story Development Software

Just $29.95
Dramatica Pro 4.0<br>Story Development<br>Software Dramatica Pro 4
Story Development

List price: $269.95
Your price: $179.23
Academic: $99.95)
20 hour Writing<br>Course on CD ROM<br>featuring Dramatica 20 hour Writing
Course on CD ROM
featuring Dramatica

Dramatica Tips & Tricks Book Dramatica Tips & Tricks Book
Dramatica Software<br>Companion CD ROM Dramatica Software
Companion CD ROM

Dramatica Writers DreamKit 4.0 Dramatica Writers DreamKit 4
Hollywood Screenwriter Hollywood Screenwriter
Final Draft 7 Screenwriting Software
List price: $249.00
Your price: $199.47
Academic: $129.42)
Power Structure
Story Development

List price: $269.00
Your price: $159.95
Power Writer
List price: $159.95
Your price: $99.95
How to Create
Great Characters
Online Workshop

How to Create
Great Characters
DVD Video
How to Make Your Movie
An Interactive Film School

List price: $89.95
Your price: $49.95
The Dramatica Theory<br>2 hour audio program The Dramatica Theory
2 hour audio program

$59.95 & Up
Master Storyteller:<br>Improve your<br>Writing Skills! Master Storyteller:
Improve your
Writing Skills!

The Story Mind:<br>Structure Vs. Passion The Story Mind:
Structure Vs. Passion

20 hour Writing<br>Course on CD ROM<br>featuring Dramatica StoryWeaving Seminar
In Person - $199.95
Online Video - $99.95
Dramatica Theory Book Writing with
the Story Mind
1 hour audio program

Writing Characters<br>of the Opposite Sex Writing Characters
of the
Opposite Sex
2 Hour Plot Class<p>Learn how to<br>plot your story! 2 Hour Plot Class
Learn how to
plot your story!

Mental Relativity Book: The Psychology Behind Dramatica Mental Relativity Book: The Psychology Behind Dramatica
Dramatica Pro 4.0<br>Story Development<br>Software Mastering
Dramatica Pro
Online Workshop


Prefer to order by Mail or Fax?
Click here for information.

Questions? Email

We'll beat ANY Advertised Price! REALLY! 
AND, if you see a lower price within 30 days of purchase
we'll refund the difference!

90 Day Full Money-Back Guarantee!
Return item within 90 days for a complete refund
of your original purchase price!

Get the Writer's Survival Kit & Sampler FREE
with ANY Purchase!

StoryWeaving Seminar
Join the creator of StoryWeaver & co-creator of Dramatica
for a two-day writing & story development seminar
Click here for details!

Visit the best writers' site on the web:

storymindad.gif (9491 bytes)

Subscribe to the
Writing Tip Newsletter!

Available at the Storymind Store:

Software for Mind Analysis & Problem Solving

Dramatica Pro

Dramatica DreamKit


Mental Relativity: The Story Mind


Mental Sex

Products for writers based on the Story Mind Theory


Dramatica Software Companion CD ROM

20 Hour Dramatica Course on One CD ROM!

Dramatica Theory Basics 2-hour CD Set

Writing with the Story Mind CD


Dramatica Tips & Tricks Book

Dramatica Theory Book