A POUND of prevention...

From Greg Williams (921010)

Bill Powers (921009.0800)

To which I add: external variables capable of facilitating
successful control (allowing it where otherwise it would be
impossible) -- significant for a third quite different reason.

You can't facilitate a control system that doesn't exist. If the
control system does exist and isn't succeeding, the person is probably
reorganizing and will eventually succeed or change the goal. If the
control system is succeeding, then any direct help will be resisted.

I was thinking of the case where the person didn't even CONSIDER controlling
some percepts until AFTER the facilitation. Like taking the con artist to
court AFTER the policeman informs you that you've been conned (you didn't know
that before) and that the con artist is currently in jail on another charge;
if you hadn't been told that you were conned, you wouldn't want to control for
the perception of taking the con artist to court, and such control would be
impossible if the con artist hadn't been detained by the police. I don't see
reorganization going on here, just the same hierarchy operating successfully
with new information.

Are you saying that controlled variables do depend on the
environment in important ways? What ways, when control is
successful?

Historically. Environmental influences prior to time t1 can affect
the trajectory of controlled variables after time t1.

I disagree totally. The trajectories of controlled variables are the
trajectories of their reference signals, not of environmental
disturbances of those variables. The whole point of controlling a
variable is to render it independent of external influences and make
it depend only on the internal desire that it be in a particular
state. If you want to wash a cup, its previous history makes no
difference at all. It gets washed, even if it's clean, and whether you
pick it up or someone tosses it to you.

I'm not talking about any current environmental dependence of controlled
variables in the currently existing control structure. I'm saying that the
control structure itself at time t1 depends in part on the environment prior
to t1. (1) WHETHER learning/reorganization takes place depends in part on the
environment (I think we agree on this). (2) WHERE learning/reorganization
stops (the resulting new control structure) depends in part on the environment
(you don't agree with this). (3) Attempts to alter another's current reference
signals "directly" (not involving learning/reorganization) is likely to
produce conflict in the current control structure (I think we agree on this).

My whole point is that none of the changes in the organism would occur
if the organism itself didn't actively make those changes, for its own
purposes.

I accept your point. But it is only part of the story, since the changes would
be different if the environment were different. There is a joint contribution
to the trajectory of control from both organism and environment. That the
contribution from the organism is purposive and the contribution from the
environment is not purposive is true only when the environment does not
contain other controllers.

But an understanding of control theory leads to assigning causality
differently, and as a result will change the way people do things and
the reasons for which they do them.

I don't think a difference in assigned causality will change much.

A resort to arbitrary control of
others by means that rest ultimately on violence will be seen as a
defeat, not an accomplishment.

I do think that a PCT-understanding of the ways in which control of
perceptions depending on others' actions must NOT be arbitrary if conflict and
probable violence are to be avoided -- that is, an explanation of the
CONSTRAINTS on non-conflicting control of others' actions -- might result in
what my ideology would count as a better world. And that sort of
understanding/explanation is what I'm interested in coming up with. People
"the way they are" are controllers. This fact isn't going to go away. Control
of others' actions isn't going to go away. But SOME conflicting/violent
control might, given sufficient understanding that there ARE ways to see
others act the way you want them to act WITHOUT using force or the threat of
force. Understanding that it is ultimately problematic for YOU to try to alter
(in the short-term) another's wants is only the first step; the next step,
given that you MUST control some perceptions which depend on others' actions,
is understanding how non-conflicting control of others' actions is possible,
and understanding how it must be done. The only alternative is to try to
convince you to STOP trying to control ANY of your perceptions which depend on
others' actions. Do you think that alternative can work?

Best,

Greg