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If there can be no single definitive description of reality, nor of beauty, nor of virtue ...

Paul Grobstein's picture
What then is the business of inquiry? of education? Notes for a talk along these lines ("Empirical Inquiry: Limitations and Possibilities")  is available is available here. Thoughts triggered by the talk/notes are, of course, more than welcome. Same for a second version of this talk ("Inquiry as Emergence: Product and Contributor") aimed at a more "empirical" audience (the first was aimed at a more general audience, including those already predisposed to recognizing the value of stories).


Rob Lockett's picture


Anne, thanks for linking to this part of the conversation. I think Paul nailed the dilemma with the title of this page and his first question in response to the idea in question...

The fact is, that 'the post modern assertion' (that we cannot know anything with certainty) refutes it's own assertion.

This contradiction is a very difficult thing to wade through, but it is vitally important for us to pin it down. I think Dr. Zacharius helps us understand this issue in his address to the United Nations given in 2002. I invite all of you to read what he had to say.

His may only be one window through which to examine the dilemma, but I personally believe that it is the 'one window' through which all windows must cohere. We must assume that our thinking is valid (at least fundamentally) otherwise, as Paul so aptly pointed out, 'what then is the business of inquiry'?

I am impressed with the depth and honesty to which all of you have committed yourselves with regard to thought. Unlike some, you do not seem to be afraid of a challenge. I am sorry for engaging in such a confrontational manner previously, though it was necessary for reasons I think we all perceive.

The fact is, Dr. Zacharius is speaking to thoughtful people such as yourselves, and he affirms the usefulness of the endeavor.

Please check out what he had to say...

Anne Dalke's picture

On expecting to be scared

I've heard quite a few versions of this talk over the past five years or so, and always enjoy seeing what new angles of vision (inevitably) arise in the ever-more nuanced re-tellings. What I noticed yesterday morning was two new (to me) things:

First: I heard a clear answer to Mark's question about the relationship between the concepts of "getting it less wrong" and being generative." Seems to me now that the relationship is a causal one. If you start (as Paul does) with the presumption that generativity is the aim, then getting it less wrong gets you there "better" than Getting It Right, Which Stops The Process.

Second: I saw more clearly than I ever had before how strongly resistance operates throughout the process, a resistance Paul hasn't (heretofore) given enough credence to (and which he now traces, above to a particular historical reaction). I think it's way bigger/deeper/wider than that, and has more generally to do with the deep-seated need, of humans in an uncertain world, for security. There was a review in y'day's NYTimes of a new play about "science, faith and publication," called "Trumpery." At the end of the play, Darwin tells his dying daughter Annie that "if you question everything, you have to expect to be scared.” This is far away from Paul's exhortation to us all to "enjoy the certainty of the unknown." How to get from fear to joy...well, that's a long trip.

It is a trip, though, to try and share this enjoyment with students. In the College Seminar on Storytelling as Inquiry, which Paul and I co-teach @ Bryn Mawr most fall semesters, we read (among other things) a couple of chapters of Daniel Dennett's book on Darwin's Dangerous Idea. During the class finale last weekend, three of my students did a wonderful spoof on Dennett: both his "falling in love" with Charlie Darwin, and his own presumption of a role as "prophet of Truth." They were saying, in other words, that Dennett's dogmatic embrace of Darwinism had "stopped the looping," and they were calling him on it.


Dennett begging Darwin for an autograph....

Rob Lockett's picture


Seems once again the 'conversations' have stopped.

I now offer no apologies, other than in the sense of 'apologetics' for my particular persuasion- which is really another matter.

I am left with no choice... I must conclude (as I have before) that it isn't really 'conversation' (continuing or otherwise that is being advocated here. Rather, it is a 'certain perspective' under the banner of getting 'it' (reality or our speculations of reality's nature) less wrong.

Since I am not advancing that perpective, but challenging it (and rather overtly and forcefully I might add), it appears that I am being ignored... It is your school not mine, so it is not as though you must encourage (any more than you have already have) the kind of participation and analysis I have hitherto been so persistent in giving rather generously.

Nonetheless, I have another observation for you Anne...

You said, "If you start (as Paul does) with the presumption that generativity is the aim, then getting it less wrong gets you there "better" than Getting It Right, Which Stops The Process."

Though I agree that 'getting it less wrong' is the short term goal, we must assume (as you admitted) that 'that' is the right thing to do.

It's not the statement as a whole that is wrong in my mind, but the way it is stated. It is a contradiction as quoted, and I assume we can all agree that contradictions are nonsense.

If we start with the 'presumption' that 'generativity' (a rather peculiar term I might add) is the aim then let us all confess that, in that sense, 'generativity' has already been abandoned by the presumption of it's 'superior and right role' as the lead process.

After-all, a presumption is just another name for an 'absolute', what is 'right' or the 'truth'. Without it, the spoken word is vacuous...

Paul Grobstein's picture

Beyond truth and reality: loops, their pathologies and potential

Very rich conversation this morning, the second on Inquiry as Emergence: Product and Contributor. Thanks to all. Some notes about interesting issues that arose in the first conversation are included in the linked material. Here some additional notes, for myself and anyone else interested.

Its genuinely hard for people to let go of "Truth" and "Reality" as touchstones, even when acknowledging they can't be known and hence can't in fact be used to evaluate "stories". The upshot is that the cracks, and the associated inevitable "subjectivity" is difficult to see as features rather than bugs. People want badly to hold onto "objectivity", even while acknowledging its impossibility, and onto "Truth" and "Reality" despite agreeing they aren't things against which one can effectively measure.

My guess is that there is actually a good reason for that, an historical one. One might see the rise of science/empiricism as a reaction against periods of western thought that were dominated by the unconscious/story telling ("intuition") and intersubjectivity (cultural stories, dogma) loops, without effective encouragement for contributions from the inside/outside loop ("empiricism"). And one might argue that the inside/outside loop still needs special support. But that can't be done effectively without acknowledging the existence and significance of the other two loops as well. The empirical loop is valuble but overemphasizing it, by asserting it (and it alone) is capable of characterizing a "Reality" independent of the observer, is a mistake, conceptually and pragmatically.

I was intrigued by the interest in "pathologies" of the triple loop organization, and by the idea that there are important and characteristic ones associated with different loop interruptions. The basic problem with "Truth" or "Reality" is that it discourages continuing looping, by suggesting that some things are no longer challengeable. This is the "empirical" interruption of both the unconscious/story teller and intersubjective loops. The "faith" interruption is, of course, of the inside/outside or empirical loop and, perhaps of the unconscious/story teller loop as well. Its worth thinking more about various different kinds of interruption and associated different pathologies, but also worth noting the generalization: things that discourage any of the three loops create problems. Another way of saying this is that the system is designed (evolutionarily) to sustain ongoing inquiry (ie it depends on profound skepticism).

And that in turn suggest that one of the major benefits of having three loops is that each of them is likely, at any given time, to have a different story to tell, and so their disagreements are an incentive to continuing inquiry/skepticism. My guess is that it was in fact that tension, rather than any test against "Truth" or "Reality" that led to the increasing consensus that the earth is round rather than flat. And it is confidence in the continuing function of the three loops that is the most reliable assurance of continual reduction of fundamentalism of all kinds in human societies generally.

Along these lines, a major practical message is that we shouldn't be trying to create standards to adjudicate between existing non-falsified stories. What we should be doing instead is to work on finding new stories that don't have the problems of any of the existing ones. And this, I would argue, is what education should really be about. Existing stories are the grist for new ones, if one encourages onself (and students) to not simply learn them, but rather to examine them in terms of the observations they summarize and the inevitable context dependence they reflect. The point of taking them apart is not to show they aren't "True"; that's a given. The point of taking them apart is to build from the pieces "less wrong" stories.



Rob Lockett's picture

Triple loops...

Paul, at this point you know very well where I am coming from. Bearing that in mind, I want to congratulate you on what I think is correct and 'truthful' observation that you've called the 'triple loop'. Indeed I think that you have touched on a 'reality' that is more telling than you may realize.

Although you still try to qualify your absolutes so as to leave open a way of potential escape, your intellectual prowess serves you well. Keep in mind that it is not as though I am in a position to affirm your ideas as truth. I am not the teacher here, and I like the fact that you (as well as Anne) do not speak as though you are above anyone else. We are certainly all travelers in a realm such as this though we are all at different points in the journey. I just cannot help but confirm where our positions are the same, and I want to show where that takes me. We are by no means at complete odds here and I have tried as best I can to make respectful, yet clear distinctions of our differences.

You said: "I was intrigued by the interest in "pathologies" of the triple loop organization, and by the idea that there are important and characteristic ones associated with different loop interruptions. The basic problem with "Truth" or "Reality" is that it discourages continuing looping, by suggesting that some things are no longer challengeable. This is the "empirical" interruption of both the unconscious/story teller and intersubjective loops. The "faith" interruption is, of course, of the inside/outside or empirical loop and, perhaps of the unconscious/story teller loop as well. Its worth thinking more about various different kinds of interruption and associated different pathologies, but also worth noting the generalization: things that discourage any of the three loops create problems. Another way of saying this is that the system is designed (evolutionarily) to sustain ongoing inquiry (ie it depends on profound skepticism)."

I understand what you mean by faith... 'some blind leap at one level or another without due reason or observation to support it.

For the record, that is not what the Biblical term 'faith' means at all. That is a gross misunderstanding underwhich I labored as well. It is better defined as 'trust' when you look at the context in the original Biblical languages. For more on that point you can go here:

That being said, I also agree that a 'profound skepticism' is justified when seeking something so lofty as God (ie. reality). And I assume we would all agree that that is not the same thing as cynicism. We simply cannot trust ourselves blindly anymore than we can trust our neighbor blindly. But if they and/or ourselves prove to be growing and thoughtful (in the wholistic sense) then 'trusting' is certainly justified.

Even Ronald Reagan knew that when he said, 'Trust... but verify'.

What is it that is so powerful about three dimensions (or confirmations) agreeing and harmonizing?

What is it in a trinitarian formula that is so profound?

You are no fool Paul... you see the connection I am making.

But I think you are mistaken that such a view puts a stop to further inquiry. As you said, there are problems associated with taking one loop in spite of the other two. But if we try to say that the triple loop stops inquiry, then we must be prepaired to examine the potential of accepting testimony based on pure subjection and that is absurd. We will always have subjection, and we will always find it lacking when juxtaposed with the triple loop.

I just wanted to point it out. And I wanted to say in a different way that this trinitarian solution is the absolute you seek. 'The triple loop' is not just a generative concept. It is either a reliable basis on which to make profound judgements or not. And it is...

As we have both agreed before, it is -not the compromise- between empiricism, rationality, and existential angst. Rather, it is the harmonizing absolute inwhich all three can be made to cohere (at least in theory). There is simply no other theory that is 'whole' so to speak.

You said it yourself... Empiricism is not enough. And as an extreme, neither are the others. The only 'valid extreme' (which does not permit 'unbridled extremism') would incorporate 'the triune whole'. That is the essence of Holiness, and where we get our modern word 'whole'. It is balance, and to reiterate... balance is the absolute. And that is the 'true message' of the Bible and of Christ. We must be born of that Spririt in order to navigate 'the whole show'. it's not claiming omnipotence, but rather 'trusting the nature of omnipotence' to show us, 'the way'.

If you haven't already, and/or your're interested (if only for 'skeptical reflection') read C.S. Lewis' 'Mere Christianity' and the chapters entitled 'Time and Beyond Time', as well as 'The Three Personal God'. You can find it for free online if you search a little...

I am tempted to say that your 'triple loop' is the essence of the Holy Spirit, though it raises some improper images would not in and of themsleves maintain theological prescision. God's wisdom (or His Holy Spirit) is not merely 'mind'. He (the Holy Spirit) is indivisibly part of the Godhead just as any one second dimension sqaure is one part of a cube. But I am overstating my case...

Beyond all of that I have one thng to add:

If the universe has a creator, and He did not show Himself -or to put it another way; manifest Himself... in the flesh as it were, could we really 'trust' (have faith) in His deity? It should not be suprising then, that the New testament apostles such as John and Paul, warned that anyone who denied the physical incarnation of God in Christ Jesus disavowed true faith and reason. And though you may not agree with the Biblical revelation of God, you at least should be aware of that they were expressing the same concept as you, only in a different way.

I don't intend to prove anything with that question or all of this, I only intend to show that not 'all faiths' fit the profile with which you seem to be easily prepaired to lump into the 'one loop' stereotype. The heavens gate cult yes, the materialists yes, the existentialists yes; the slowly but painfully maturing 'Christlike' and thoughtful Christian no (not that we are all maturing, thoughtful, or Christlike).

Perhaps you may want to take some time to turn your 'valid skepticism' on many of the 'loops' you've been taught by men, who appear to me, to be unworthy of 'trust' when carefully examined by all three dimensions of inquiry.

I'd say you have a dilemma Paul... and I can only tell you that I understand full well, the frustrating exhileration one experiences when he finds himself playing chess with God.

When I really think about it (from one point of view anyway) God the Holy Spirit is the 'sound mind within us' trying to kindle a fire that we both want, and don't want. What is a man to do?

When facing that question, I always reccommend the Gospel of John. It is profound.

btw, Happy new Year...

Paul Grobstein's picture

A poststructural social theorist on "adequation" and "loops"

From Sandy Schram, reacting to an email of the above, with his permission ...

This continues to be an interesting conversation. I have been away on sabbatical at the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and could not participate. I did however want to write to say that while I agree, I think, with almost all the interesting lines of argument you are pursuing for the most part, I do not want to emphasize the "less wrong" idea. That seems to imply some objective baseline for evaluating the stories we tell. Poststructural social theorists, like myself, prefer to use terms like adequation to show how science is more about use than truth. Adequation evaluates stories about the world in terms of how well they help us live. They are more or less true in the sense that they prove themselves to be more or less adequate or appropriate to how we are trying to live in the world. Their adequation is contingent upon how well they enable us to do things we are trying to do. If they enable us to test for how long a fossil was in the ground, or how an atom is put together, or even to have clean water, or to screen for diseases then they are better stories than if they do not. This does not mean they are in perfect correspondence with the objective facts of the world but it does mean that their version of those facts better fit not necessarily those facts but the facts of that theory and their relationship to us and our experiencing and living in the world. Science as use is often confused with science as truth. Science as use is not less wrong that science that has no instrumental value, it just is preferred because of its power associated with it enabling us to do things with the natural world. That is impressive itself but it is not the objective truth of things. Adequation would be my way of characterizing how we decide which scientific stories are to be preferred.

The social sciences find the issue of adequation to be more layered since the social world is experienced variously by different people at the same time, ensuring that there will always be multiple stories that can be shown to have merit in understanding how things are happening or have happened. Plus, humans can internalize the stories they are told about themselves making the subject matter even less stable. This is where looping comes in in the social sciences, as when clients let the therapy do the talking for them as if they really experience the world the way the theory says when in fact they have been experiencing it in entirely different idiom up til then. Much of the social world operates this way as a self-fulfilling prophecy. I have written about this in my last book Welfare Discipline.

Paul Grobstein's picture

trees versus leeches/frogs versus story tellers

Hoping to hear more from Astra/Peter, who raised the issue, but a place holder, just in case:

Loop one is indeed characteristic of all living organisms, trees and bacteria included. It is one gives "model building" capability. And loop two is probably restricted to more complex organisms (humans, mammals, birds?, octopus?). But there is some important difference between trees/bacteria on the one hand and leeches/frogs on the other. Possibly (A/P's suggestion) the ability to associate? to use temporal coincidence as a model building ingredient?

Paul Grobstein's picture

"getting it less wrong" versus? "generativity"?

In an email from Mark Kuperberg re ongoing discussion of Inquiry as Emergence: Product and Contributor, posted with Mark's permission ....

Under the assumption that we can all use a little guidance, I would like to suggest a homework assignment for Paul for next week:

Paul, there seems to be no relationship between your two concepts of what makes a theory (or a story, which for me is the exact same thing) good:

a) "It is less wrong"
b) "It is generative"

I am totally behind the "less wrong" concept, but it seems to bear no relationship to generativity. We can all think of stories (like the Bible) that have been very generative but are also very wrong. With a little work, I am sure that we can think of theories that in their sphere of relevance have not changed much since their creation (so they are the least wrong story in their field), but have not generated improvements or new theories.

So, please explain.

Wil Franklin's picture

John Stuart Mill on "stories"?

Ran across this web site that cleverly chops up John Stuart Mill's "On Liberty" into an interview.

Thought it was interesting the overlap (from a hundred years ago) that it has with our current political and intellectual/academic conversations.

JSM: "... There is the greatest difference between presuming an opinion to be true, because, with every opportunity for contesting it, it has not been refuted, and assuming its truth for the purpose of not permitting its refutation. Complete liberty of contradicting and disproving our opinion, is the very condition which justifies us in assuming its truth for purposes of action."


JSM: "However unwillingly a person who has a strong opinion may admit the possibility that his opinion may be false, he ought to be moved by the consideration that however true it may be, if it is not fully, frequently, and fearlessly discussed, it will be held as a dead dogma, not a living truth."


Wil Franklin's picture

Inside/out and Theory of Mind

I'd rather not think about Paul's crack, but I find the quote that Anne shared from Mary Midgley making me think of origin, function and structure of Theory of Mind (ToM). As a parent of a two year old, I am interested in when my daughter will have the ability to or capacity of predicting my actions based on her understanding that I have motives that may be different than hers. ToM roughly outlined is

... the ability to attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.—to oneself and others. As originally defined, it enables one to understand that mental states can be the cause of—and thus be used to explain and predict—others’ behavior. (Premack, D. G. & Woodruff, G., 1978).

I've always assumed that ToM came from the inside when a young mind was developmentally ready. But, Mary Midgley's assertion that it comes from the outside makes infinitely more sense now that I think about it. Imagine the horrific senario of an infant raised in solitary confinement. The implications for ToM seem obvious to me now, but for some reason I originally assumed that ToM came from within.

Back to ToM and Paul's crack...well at least the implications for truth and reality. When ToM is developed it allows one mind to consider that another mind may holds a different reality and that this different reality can be the motivations behind behavior. One test of ToM is the when an experimenter shows a young child a box of candy "Smarties" and asks her what she thinks is inside. Candy of course, but the box is opened to reveal that it is full of pencils. Then the child is asked what she thinks another child (not witness to the revelation) will say if asked the same question. If she says pencils, then she assumes that everyone shares her personal reality. If she says "candy" she understands that others have in their mind alternate realities and act accordingly.

Well now....alternate realities....what does that say about the human capacity to live without truth. Why as adults do we forget that it's all just a Theory of "the" Mind? Can Paul be onto something with his crack...don't imagine anything other than a reference to his talk, the alternate reality is disturbing.



Paul Grobstein's picture

Yep, minds different, maybe more than we think? and how?

Glad to skip over personal cracks; the innuendo was in the receivers' minds, not my own. So far as I know ... which is to say it surprised me (see The Unconscious: A Neurobiologist's Vew).

Do think the broader (pun noticed, but only after the fact) issues are important. A speculation that has arisen now in several successive years of Story Telling as Inquiry is that we are actually more different in our unconsciousnesses than we are in our consciousesnesses, that part of the function of the latter is to find and express commonality with other people. I've never seen any explicit studies of this, but think it could in fact be usefully explored (see The female to male axis: do we have the same unconscious? and links there).

As for the issue (pun?) of whether theory of mind originates from within or from the outside, by noticing in oneself things one sees in others ... that too seems to me worth more explicit study. Midgeley's is a particularly good story if one has always thought of it the other way, but here too I don't think we have the kinds of studies that would make a strong case one way or the other (or, more likely of course, for a mix of the two). This issue too came up in Story Telling as Inquiry in an interesting way: Frankenstein's monster was horrified when he saw himself in the mirror. Would have have been if he hadn't previously had experiences with other humans evaluating each other's appearances? I'm not sure.

Anne Dalke's picture

"I like your crack, Paul"

(feeling a strong need to archive the funniest line of the morning...)

Actually? I like the crack, too. I like it very much. What I like most about it is that it identifies the individual subjectivities of each of us as positive contributions to the work of science (of inquiry, more generally). What this means is that each of us--the peculiar way that each of us sees the world--is not something to be gotten rid of, but rather something to be valued and thought through: the lenses that each of us uses to see, the variety of ways we have of looking, all contribute to the larger project of understanding that engages us all.

But what was by the far the most intriguing/generative piece of this morning's discussion for me was the obverse of all this: Mark's "crack" that each of us probably knows ourself less well than we know the world. The image of Paul's rectangular body-and-brain surrounded by question marks

thus becomes a woeful mis-representation (wish fulfillment?) of the current state of knowledge (within Paul, within all of us).

I'm deep now into another "two cultures" book, Mary Midgley's 2001 Science and Poetry, which suggests that human babies are equipped from birth with both capacities for expressive behavior and the power to interpret that behavior in others:

"human infants manage to take in...the mass of facts about other people's attitudes which will be the foundation of all their social our species, any social primarily directed inwards, from our knowledge of others to ourselves, rather than outwards by analogy from ourselves to them. We gradually learn to apply to ourselves the words which we already use to describe other people's moods and characters."

This account accords with my own experience: a sense that I understand others' behavior far more easily than I can figure out why I behave as I do. So I propose a re-figuring of Paul's body/brain/thinking--

--an image that is far less clearly bounded (inside/out), and less clearly articulated (inside) regarding just what is known/seen/understood in the world beyond....

Paul Grobstein's picture

more thoughts on empirical non-foundationalism

Following the first week discussion of Inquiry as Emergence: Product and Contributor ...

Yes, is important to distinguish several different loops. And to recognize that the first "purely empirical" loop is employed by all living organisms ("model builders") and not dependent on the brain (though in organisms with a brain, the brain is involved in it.

Issues of "the place of theory" and of social/cultural influences/significances have to do with the second and third loops respectively, and (I would argue) are most productively approached not as distinct, parallel phenomena but as loops which are added to and interact with the first loop.

Yes, the notion of embodied understanding and implications of that can and have been reached along other paths, including feminist theory. That this is so enhances the sense that there is a there there ("intersubjective agreement"). It would be interesting to see whether the different paths to a similar place have different implications for further inquiry (cf Fellow Traveling).

No, we haven't yet gotten to the "goal" that might usefully replace the goal (useful even if not achievable) of finding a definitive set of "properties and rules" underlying observations, ie why the "crack" is a feature rather than a bug. That will become clearer, I hope, when we get to the second and third loops (but will turn out to apply to the first loop as well).

Anne Dalke's picture

comparisons: odious or useful?

There's also the question of whether the testing/comparing is happening *only* with other stories, or with observations that are thought (somehow?) to exist "beyond stories": either prior to them, or following from and being produced by them (as in the more "dry, more objective" stories you & Rorty represent as being the space where you get as much intersubjective agreement as you can manage).

So--if I have a story that (say) there are two genders, and then hear the story of someone who is intersex or transgender, I might note the inconsistency, and might find it useful to revise my larger story to incorporate those individual differences (Joan Roughgarden did this in a big way with Evolution's Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People). In doing so, I'd have both tested my story against known observations, and compared it to another account that mine didn't encompass. I'd say that my story is better, because it's a fuller one, accounting for more data. But how to know (ahead of time?) if it'll be more generative in the future...? Is multiplicity (say) always more generative than duality?

Paul Grobstein's picture

testing or comparing?

Following presentation/discussion of "Empirical Inquiry: Limitations and Possibilities" ...

Interesting issue came up during talk today. Does one "test" a story by interaction with other stories, or does one only "compare" one story with another? Worth more thought, a beginning of which here ...

From the general perspective I was offering, I think there isn't much difference between "test" and "compare" and I was, I think, using them interchangeably without thinking about it. That general perspective says whether one tests/compares stories with observations (the norm for "empirical" science) or with other stories the objective is new stories, and for this purpose it doesn't seem to me to matter whether one calls the process "testing" or "comparing".

In more traditional terms there is, though, a clear and important difference between "testing" and "comparing." A "test" is something which can validate, at least for the moment, and, probably more important, potentially falsify. And this is an important feature for traditional empiricists, one that is lacking in the more neutral "compare', a term seems to carry no imperative for resulting modification.

I'm not at all inclined to deny the significance of "testing", in the falsification sense. The elimination of the falsifiable is an important part of my understanding of "empirical non-foundationalism." BUT ... equally important is that following all genuine falsification there will inevitably persist an infinite number of non-falsified stories, and the "comparing" issue relates to those. It is here, I'm suggesting, that what one does with conflicting, non-falsified stories is to use them to create new stories that derive from the existing ones and open new possibilities for developent lacking in the existing ones. One does not seek to show particular stories to be "wrong" (ie to "test" or "falsify" them) but rather one tries to understand the different origins of the stories and use this to create a new story that opens new directions for further exploration.

In these terms, the "motivation for modification" derives not from correcting failure but rather from the desire to achieve new stories, to be generative. The motivation is not fear of "the uncertainty of the unknown" but rather enjoyment of "the certainty of the unknown" ... and the space it offers for new creations.