Concept Mapping for Smarter SOIs

(Much of this came out of a workshop, “Social Desire: Designing Delightful Decisions in a Social System,” led by Elizabeth Simpson of the School for Designing a Society, and was re/combined with ideas I’d had earlier. My thanks to her.)

We can use concept mapping to get a better look at the consequences of what we want, in order to more carefully state our intentions and re/compose our methods for realizing them. Here is a simple example (actually a mind map), created using FreeMind, that shows consequences of wanting/getting money.


The green check-marks indicate desirable consequences; the red crosses indicate undesirable ones. Apropos of magic, I have suggested elsewhere that instead of enchanting for something such as money, we might instead enchant for the things we would do with money. This should establish a less trivial link between us and the ritual object(ive), and also allow for a greater variety of media to realize our intent.

Using concept maps to consciously project some consequences of our desires, we may find new things to enchant for or protect against, as well as some avenues for divination. In the above example, I might discover that I do not actually want a new job, but that I do value an increase in work satisfaction, so I can ritually work toward that.

Shared Intent

This exercise may be especially well-suited to group work. If each participant in the work maps out what they expect from it, and then everyone compares maps, they may discover sympathies or antipathies between their desires, that again can be re/considered for the work, through changes to the statement of intent or ritual composition, precautionary divination, etc.

  • I want X, and you want X.
  • I want X, but you do not want X.
  • I do not want X, but you do want X.
  • I do not want X, and you do not want X.

Leave a Reply