The Knowledge Management Research Group

The First Prototype - the Garden of Pythagoras



In the upper left corner, we had a yellow and and a red apple, that corresponded to the exoteric (= material) respectively the esoteric (= spiritual) state of the program. There was no time to implement the random mode. There were also a whole range of questions, comments and links concerning subjects such as music, patterns, geometry, physics, astronomy, and philosophy. The questions were 'hardwired' to certain elements and phenomena and could not be asked freely and in relation to any selected combination of elements and phenomena. The 'answers', i.e. the thoughts from the root, as well as the links (= citations from other gardeners) were mainly text-based with a few scanned images scattered here and there.

Image archive of the first prototype

GoP- What is its mental nature?

The Garden of Pythagoras is a computer program for keeping track of the interrelated structure of ideas, designed to support the expression of their relations to other ideas as well as their evolution over time and culture. Its aim is to help its users to "Ask every question and question every answer" within the chosen field of his or her own interest.

GoP- What does it consist of?

The Garden of Pythagoras consists of entries concerning phenomena, concepts and people. To work the garden is to record the response to four types of questions that relate to a potentially unlimited number of phenomena and concepts. The overview question is phrased as: "What is its nature?" which is magnified by a What--How--Why aspect-coordinate-system with the axes: "What does it consist of?", "How does it behave?", and "Why does it behave this way?" respectively.

The Garden of Pythagoras has three different modes of operation - corresponding to three different kinds of trees (apples) - namely the exoteric mode (corresponding to the material tree), the esoteric mode (corresponding to the spiritual tree) and the random mode (corresponding to the tree of ignorance). Only two of these modes - the exoteric and the esoteric were implemented in the first prototype.

GoP - How does it behave?

The teacher-gardener maintains her own knowledge patch, where she alone has root privileges. Her thoughts on various questions are always available to the guests of her patch in the form of "thoughts from the root".

The visitors are invited into the gardeners's patch and are given the opportunity to respond to these four types of questions (= deliver an explanation), and comment on the gardener's root-responses to them. When the visitors are engaged in this activity, any pre-recorded root-responses of the gardener is always available, making it possible to follow these explanatory links further into the literature.

Each visitor must take a bite from one of the apples before any questions can be asked. This act transforms the garden into the corresponding mode of operation, which has an influence on the formulation of the question itself. Thus when the overall question is asked in the exoteric mode, it is formulated as: "What is its material nature?" whereas when the same question is asked in the esoteric mode, it is formulated as: "What is its spiritual nature?". In the random mode, both the questions and the responses are created as syntactically correct verbal sentences (well formed formulas) with their individual members drawn at random ("one-armed verbal bandits") from a database of candidates from different word classes.

GoP - Why does it behave this way?

The purpose of the garden of Pythagoras is to cultivate knowledge and make it transmute into understanding. This means supporting the transformation of the traditional teacher-preacher into a new type of teacher-gardener (teacher-guardian) of knowledge. Just as the catepillar has to retire into a cocoon in order to transmute into a butterfly, so must the learner engage in spinning her mental cocoons inside the (world wide) web of knowledge, retire inside it, reflect upon her thoughts and internalize them - in order to make them acquire the wings of understanding! Within her garden, the teacher-guardian is devoted to guarding these cocoons, and nourish them well in order to support their delicate inner development process!

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