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The Mental Relativity Tapes

Transcripts of the personal tapes recorded by Melanie Anne Phillips while continuing to develop the Mental Relativity theory of mind.


"Problem Solving Software and Doctors"

by Melanie Anne Phillips

Everyone is going to put into their own context, and describe the meaning for themselves of what they see based on their point of view. In fact, there can be two points of view that equally explain an entire series of events because the points of view are intrinsically different, and assign different meaning to what happens. And so, it's important to try and classify which point of view you have, and which point of view your opposing partner has, in order to determine how they are going to see it. This is something the Dramatica engine can potentially do. When you answer some questions about the Main character, and you answer some questions about the Obstacle character from your point of view, it can then turn around and creates the obstacle character from the Obstacle character's point of view.

Then it can run a comparison between the two and see subjectively how each one would see the situation as the main character of their own story. Then it can print out for you exactly how they are seeing it, exactly how you are seeing it, the differences that lie between the two of you, and what things need to be addressed in order to shift that difference. You can try things, you can try what if's. What if we do this, what if we do that? Does it have a detrimental or beneficial effect? And in fact, ultimately the engine will allow for a series of changes to be made, much as if one by one you were setting priorities on the story engine, and then unlocking other things. It will allow you to unravel the differences between you as opposed to going for the quick fix where everything is done holistically, which may not even be possible, and except in a very few cases, is probably not possible.

Anyway, this is the way Problem solving software can work on those differences. We want to also go on in terms of the Objective/Subjective view, talking about a second topic here for Problem solving software, which is something that happened with [my daugher] Mindi. When you go to the doctor and you are trying to get help from the doctor. All that we just said about character relationships is going to come into play and mean that some things that are very important to you as being negative symptoms that are bothering you, will hold no meaning or seem to be positive to the doctor to the doctor who you are explaining it to. This will be different depending upon whether you are male or female, and whether your doctor is male or female. It will set up different relationships. In fact, you could generate with Problem solving software, a chart to show that if your doctor is male or female the areas in which you could best communicate, because even if both you and your doctor are female, that means that you share the same blind spots, which can be just as dangerous as having yourself be female, and your doctor male, or vice-versa. Having different blind spots where communication is not really occurring. The communication that you are going to give your doctor is going to partly have subjective reporting and objective reporting.

You'll be reporting items that have actually occurred, events that have occurred that will be recorded the same way in terms of what had happened by anyone who saw it. But, the emphasis that you put on the event which is your symptom. The emphasis that you put on the event is going to differ completely depending upon which one of these pairing relationships you anticipate and also whether you are male or female. This specifically looking at the male female aspect. So, in communicating with the doctor, where that differential, when you are talking about very personal things is important; forget for a moment about the common thoughts that people have about being more or less comfortable with somebody of the same or different gender in describing your symptoms at a personal level -- which ones you'll talk about, which ones you won't because of the social pressures. Instead, start thinking about if you were completely open, and we got all that out of the way, what would still stand in the way of communication as a result of being male or female from the pairings that we just talked about.

Now take it a step farther from medical and look at the objective/subjective nature of what is going on. Mindi described to me for the last few weeks that occasionally she got this terrible pain in her stomach and she called me up at the office and tell me how much it hurt, and I say - well have some coke or some crackers, or just sit down and rest, or try not to be doubled over, etc. Call me if it gets really bad, are you going to throw up or something. It turns out that yesterday that she actually did throw up from this terrible pain in her stomach, and so today I was considering taking her to the doctor. Last night she came into the room and said she had this terrible pain, she was almost doubled over from it. I said, wait a minute, where exactly is this pain? And she put her hand way at the top, up at the abdomen, and I thought that's not the stomach.

Then I asked her about the pain itself. Is this pain a sharp pain, or more of a soreness? She said more of a soreness. I said, could it be kind of a burning sensation? She said yeah. I said O.K. It was heartburn, nothing more than heartburn. But, because of her subjective view of it, and her lack of experience with other heartburn cases, she described it as a pain (generic) in her stomach (generic). And as a result, we were all trying to deal with it as if it was something she had eaten, when in fact she had acid indigestion so bad that she had thrown up. So I gave her oneRrolaids. She chewed it up, swallowed it, and two minutes later she was fine and hasn't had the problem since. From now on, I will leave those around, and if she has that pain, she can eat one and she'll be fine.

So the point is if you go to your doctor, and you're trying to explain what your symptoms are, the doctor is schooled in the objective view, according to "objective western thought". Plus the doctor has the benefit of a wealth of experience of seeing many cases. But, that wealth of experience has lead them to come to certain conclusions based on their point of view as a male or female character about the meaning of what they see. And the moment that they move out of their culture by talking to someone who hasn't had the same upbringing or life experience, the moment they talk to someone who is of a different gender, the moment that they talk to someone who is of a different age, the moment that they talk to someone who is of a different temporal culture, meaning 60's, 70's,etc (which sets frameworks of your mind, and accepts different givens) -- the moment that happens, which is going to be true of almost every patient they see, unless they had an identical upbringing, and gender, and age as the doctor themselves, they are not going to be seeing things the same way that the patient is seeing them.

And so, doctors may wish to be training themselves using these Problem solving software techniques to prepare a questionnaire that allows them to question not what has happened, but what does the patient actually mean. To do it using the story engine. To ask questions that can be approached more dynamically, so that instead of trying to look at the "western" concept of what's the problem, hey try to look at the Mental Relativity concept of "how are thing's going?". When you start looking at how are thing's going, then that subjective view can be expressed and documented into the engine, and that can then lead to structural choices that will narrow down the options, and allow the doctor to zero right in on the nature of the real problem. So, as a medical analysis tool for doctors, Problem solving software is very valuable.

And for the initial users of our program, everyone who is going to be reading our book and using it, preparing a checklist of items for them that they may wish to take to a doctor when they want to describe their symptoms, creating an overlay guided tour of Dramatica that would be a medical template for use with the program, so that when they are having some problem, it won't tell them what their disease is, like some of the home expert systems in medicine do right now, but it will pin-point how to describe their symptoms, in the most objective way possible.

So that frees the storytelling from the storyform, and allows them to express the storyform in a more clear manner. Now, we have to caution that because doctors are used to patients talking in a subjective mode, they are going to size up every patient and say this person is Spanish, this person is Black, this person is Gay, etc. And they are going to say O.K. as a result of that -- quick, quick, quick -- however many of these apply, I overlay all these templates and therefore I'm going to filter what I hear through that .

If suddenly you start talking objectively to your doctor, based on real appraisal of the symptoms through using Problem solving software, the doctor is now going to get a warped view, because now they're going to still have that template in place, and they are going to be compensating for things that aren't there, and the better the doctor, the worse their diagnosis will be using Problem solving software, until they become aware that you are presenting an objective appraisal. Because as a good doctor, they will be able to compensate for all of these real differences and subjective opinions, and when they are given a subjective opinion, they will be able to get a pretty good idea of what is going on, because they have trained themselves to do that.

Unfortunately, most of the doctors that I have encountered have not spent a lot time trying to investigate the differences in perception of symptoms between themselves and their patients, and as a result, this last point may not be an issue that crops up often or to a great degree, but still it should be noted that if you just jump right in being truly objective, it's not going to necessarily be a good thing, it might actually obscure your diagnosis for your doctor.

And so if you have a doctor, where you suspect they might be well-versed in other opinions and you always feel like they kind of know you, you may not want to use this at all, because they are doing just fine. But, if you want to use it, be sure that you tell your doctor you are using it, because if you tell your doctor that you are using it, they can then see what you've got, and see how you've gone about it, and perhaps shed their pre-conceptions of how your going to be telling them about your symptoms whenever you are using this objective mode.

Keep in mind however, that if you show up after that at your doctor's, and you've come a couple times with this objective mode, and one time you have something that you just go in without running through Problem solving software, and you start telling them the symptoms, and they've gotten used to you being objective, then if you are now telling them subjectively, they are going to still think you are objective, and that's going to obscure your treatment because you stop using it. So, these are danger that can occur. It's always best to be able to tell your doctor if you are using a different way of describing your symptoms than you have used before, if they are used to you.

Copyright Melanie Anne Phillips

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