“Your Concept Map is not a Concept Map”

Posted on 11th September 2004 by Ryan Somma in Ionian Enchantment

Excellent Observation!

Visitors to this site will notice that while the “Concept Map” section of the site does provide a list of articles, or concepts, there is no “Map.” This is because I have absolutely no clue how to dynamically generate a true concept map.

A Concept Map is what it sounds like, a map of concepts. It is a visual representation of a web of interrelated ideas. Theoretically, our minds could be expressed in such a diagram, but it would be so vast and complex that constructing it would take an infinite amount of time, because the experience of constructing the map would change the organization of ideas in our own minds, creating an infinite loop. Analyzing your own mind, for the purpose of drawing a schema of it, is not such a good idea.

Detail of My Self-Schema

Detail of my Self-Schema,

a Sub-Domain of my Cognitive Schema

So a Concept Map is an attempt to represent the architecture of the Cognitive Schema. This is purely theoretical, but it does give us the means to illustrate certain aspects of how our minds work and adapt to a changing conceptualization of the world.

Let’s take the implications of a common childhood misconception:

Santa Claus is Real Misconception

“Santa Claus is Real” Misconception and

Other Associations

When the individual holding this misconception learns the truth, emotions and rationalizations create a shockwave of changing associations throughout the Cognitive Schema. In the example below, the individual experiencing the adjustment feels emotionally betrayed and their web of concepts surrounding Santa Claus are distorted through this emotion:

Santa Claus is Not Real

“Santa Claus is Not Real” Revelation and

Resulting Changes to the Concept Map

These shockwaves can extend beyond the initial subject into other sections of the Concept Map:

Don't Trust Parents

Question Authority

…and beyond, ultimately affecting the entire worldview:



The process of challenging our ideas strengthens them. This web site serves as a sort of Concept Map for my Cognitive Schema. Placed on the Web, it enters The Memepool, where it can be subjected to disputation and improvement.

A true Concept Map, dynamically generated, linking the various ideas on this site, would be a great, but also extremely difficult task to accomplish, requiring Flash or Java and a rather advanced Database Architecture.

It would be fun to navigate though, wouldn’t it?

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