931203 Hal P. to 931202 Bill P.

931203 Hal P. to 931202 Bill P.

Thanks Bill. I don't have any long and snappy comeback. Of course
I'll read on and see what I can learn from PCT.

I am a pragmatic theorist. Does a theory work? Well, then, it works
in practice, and if we're talking about people, it works in
circumstances other than where the experimenter has total control over
the definition of the social situation.

In a Poincare map, the location of each dot in relation to the last is
unpredictable. The dots are "strangely attracted" into imminent
patterns. But in another dimension, the attraction is not strange at
all. If we are mapping for instance the swing of a pendulum with a
periodic disturbance introduced, the cycles in the swing of the
pendulum recur. So it is for me in charting the course of response to
conflict. If I choose as my comparators signposts along the cycles, I
can keep track of my progress. Disturbance remains, as you suggest,
the gap between my comparator and my perception in this case of what
would signify that the cycle of conflict and reconciliation was
proceeding on course. For instance, if I approach someone with a
complaint who tries to avoid or put me off, I may persist until I draw
an angry response, recognizing that the longer I push before the anger
erupts, the louder the eruption will be. The eruption signifies to me
a gaining of control, although in control seen this way, control is
never achieved, but only extended. So I look for signs of willingness
to hear out my response following the eruption, seeking whatever kind
of privacy or set-up I can to make it possible for the other party to

I know in criminology at least a burst of temper or defiance is
defined as a threat to the control of many of us. As I understand
you, PCT leads you to believe you ought to give it up. I agree in the
sense that we ought to stop trying to control which position the
person will be in at the next stage of response to conflict, as we
might try to predict the position of the next dot that emerges on the
Poincare map. But I do think that all of us at a level some of us
have more experience talking about than others also gauge our
disturbances by the alternate set of comparators I am proposing we
have in our cognitive repertoire, inborn at that, not only in humans,
but in the workings of all manner of natural phenomena (which again to
me are not metaphors; what works for trees and birds to me works for
people, axiomatically).

Thanks again for the compliments. I do count on swings like this to
reassure myself that I am maintaining some level of control over the
situation :slight_smile: l&p hal