Beyond the Information Age discusses a new way of thinking about computers, knowledge and understanding. See the editorial for more information....

The Prime Affector

Now that you have been introduced to the concept of an affector we can talk about the prime affector. In living systems the prime affector is the 'Doing Affector', what you are doing is what you are doing. A friend may call you on the phone and ask: What are you doing? Your answer is the name of the current affector that is running, like reading. Doing is at the top of a hierarchy of knowledge based affectors in your brain's memory. As long as you are alive you will always be doing something. You may be eating, sleeping, breathing, and they are all affectors. Doing is a better word than running when it comes to describing which affector you are doing.

Another name for understanding is a behavior but that word is limited by implying physical movement where understanding is usually seen as a mental process. Use of the term affector makes it possible to cover both physical and mental procedures as if they are one in the same. Both physical and mental processes have the same result of creating new knowledge. If you pick up a chair with your moving affector and move it to the other side of a room, then you affect the knowledge of where the chair is located.

Our understanding affectors are programmable by changing the procedural knowledge that directs them. We can change our eating affector by learning a new diet. We may be forced to change the procedural knowledge in our tooth brushing affector when we run out of toothpaste, or if we get a new electric toothbrush.

To really appreciate the affects of knowledge and understanding and how they work together in our day to day lives you need to witness them for yourself. If you get knowledge that a tornado is headed your way, that knowledge will direct your actions. Unfortunately false knowledge directs people's action just the same as true knowledge. Keep your eyes and ears open so that you can notice when knowledge is directing people's new behavior. Then look for whether you think that knowledge is true or false.

Last Update: 2006-Dec-23