I walk out of my kitchen onto my deck, which is made of treated wood. I see a nail head protruding from a board about a quarter of an inch. The image is of course a composite information vector that retrieves the appropriate concept: a nail head protruding from the board. Then my mind retrieves related concepts such as: small children with bare feed, tetanus, hospitals, and an angry wife. Then it finds its way to another concept: swinging a hammer drives a nail into wood. The vision of that concept combined with the concept of the current situation yields the concepts: driven nail, problem resolution, everything fine, hero’s welcome, and probably expecting too much as far as a hero’s welcome.
The previous section stated that “relevance” was an aspect of concept retrieval. In other words, once I saw the nail, I thought about hammers, not hamburgers, because the concept link between hammers and nails is stronger than the link between hamburgers and nails. And of course the concept of using a hammer to drive a nail into place is strongly correlated to a nail.
Putting it all Together
The father tries to start his car but nothing happens. “That’s just great”, he cries. “Just great…the battery must be dead.”
His four year old son observes in a confused manner: Dad is saying things are great. I know what “great” means. But I remember him looking and acting like this before and it doesn’t match his happy times. He asks, “Daddy, why is it great that the car battery is dead?”
“It isn’t great, son, I was being sarcastic.”
Sarcastic. There’s a word the boy doesn’t know. It’s a new information vector, one he wants to give meaning to. He wants to associate the sound of that word to a concept. He coordinates his ability to retrieve, apply and create concepts based on new input.
“Daddy, I’m glad the car isn’t working.”
“Son, if the car isn’t working, we can’t go to the store and we won’t have the food we need for dinner tonight. It’s not something to be glad about.”
“I know, Daddy, I was being sarcastic.”