A look at how we understand things.
How we understand things depends in large part on how we see them. That to a good degree depends on how we frame them, and that relies to a great extent on how they are explained to us but those who first introduced us to the subject.
The creationist rejects evolution because the very idea of evolution contradicts what he was told early in life of how it all began. The skeptic rejects the existence of the sasquatch because he was told earlier that such an animal could not exist in North America because their ancestors had no was to get here from Asia. In both cases, creationist and skeptic, their rejection of the respective ideas comes from what they had earlier learned, and education they have accepted on the authority of those who taught it.
In the field of role playing guides—RPGs—our first exposure to how our characters are described in numerical terms came in the RPG Dungeons & Dragons—D&D. The a character is described in terms of 6 characteristics ranging in value from 3 to 18—which suffices in an RPG that was limited to figures presented on the human scale, but which sort of breaks down when an individual appears in a much larger size.
The characteristics also selected to represent a character present a further problem, for not everybody has the same understanding of what they mean. A term such as “Strength” or “Intelligence” do have a certain meaning, but not everybody understands them exactly the same way. In addition, our characteristics are also held to represent different aspects of us. Strength represents the physical, Intelligence the mental, but when you get right down to it both can be said to be representations of the physical, with Intelligence representing how capable a person is in what he has in the way of brain capacity and his ability to use it.
How characteristics are determined also frames how we see them. When a player rolls 3d6 for each in a particular order he may sometimes end up with such as Strength and Dexerity having values of 18 and 3 respectively; which is possible in reality, but often indicates a serious problem in the individual.
By and large our statistics tend to be interconnected. The genius is very often strong as well as smart. In his case the Physical is related to the Mental. There are exceptions, but most are rare.
In the end we are all integrated as individuals. Good health most often means good coordination, good strength, good intelligence, good wisdom, and good social skills. With but a few exceptions being smart also means being wise—except among the young, and being wise often means being skilled in social situations.
But our tendency is to segregate the characteristics because that is how we were taught to deal with them. In addition in some RPGs the designer takes the practice to an extreme, with FATAL for example presenting a total of 20 characteristics in five groups, which don’t always have a role to play in all but a few occasions.
Then you have one such as Mythus, where the Attribues—as they are called—represent interconnected aspects of a figure; such as how capable he could be, how powerful he is, and how swiftly he can bring an aspect or Category into play. But because of how we were taught to see characteristics in an RPG we tend to ignore that in favor of how we were told to handle such matters.
The fact that RPGs began originally as wargames also affects how we view them, for in a wargame the goal is to engage in combat. Even when the attempt is made to make social aspects a part of play we tend to present such as a part of conflict, a part of combat, the mechanics we use shaped to resemble how combat is handled. We either won’t see that there are other ways of handling it, or we can’t see.
You get right down to it, it is our stubbornness that limits how we can handle matters, for we much prefer to handles things in certain ways having learned earlier in life that that is how you do it.
And in case you’re wondering, this does need to be rewritten because I kind of wobbled about with it. I let the stream of consciousness stuff carry me away. But you can look at this as an example of my thinking on the subject and do some thinking of your own. Call this a rough draft and let your mind wander afield.