A Puzzling Tale

[From Bruce Gregory (980423.0650 EDT)]

Yesterday, while Bruce was driving to work, he found himself behind another
driver who apparently believed that 25 mph is an upper limit for driving
through Cambridge. Bruce favors a somewhat higher speed. Bruce called upon
his connections at a Prestigious Eastern University (PEU). Using his car
phone, he asked his associates at the PEU Medical School to turn an
experimental remote sensing MRI system on the brain of the driver he was
following to see what could be learned about why he was impeding Bruce's
efforts to get to his office. The response shocked and puzzled him. The
Medical School Researchers said that they had succeeded in tuning in on the
other driver, but they could find _no_ perceptual function or reference
level that they could reasonably associate with "Bruce's commuting speed".
In fact, as near as they could tell, the researchers reported, the other
driver was completely oblivious to Bruce's existence! "It's like you don't
even exist in his perceptual world!" one of the technicians reported.
Needless to say, Bruce was most upset. He vowed to ask his friend Rick how
this could be. He knew Rick would have an explanation. Perhaps Rick could
even explain to the other driver that the driver and Bruce shared the same
world. But then Bruce thought, "What if Rick is not a part of the other
driver's perceptual world..."

Best Offer

[From Bill Powers (980423.0742 MDT)]

Bruce Gregory (980423.0650 EDT) --

Yesterday, while Bruce was driving to work, he found himself behind another
driver who apparently believed that 25 mph is an upper limit for driving
through Cambridge.

.. But then Bruce thought, "What if Rick is not a part of the other
driver's perceptual world..."

This is a prolix way of saying "the other driver doesn't perceive Bruce."
But so what? If the other driver suddenly experienced a drastic increase in
speed, accompanied by a loud sheet-metal-crinkling noise from the rear, the
other driver would cease to press on the accelerator pedal and would start
pressing on the brake pedal, meanwhile trying to steer the car to avoid
collisions. A conflict would then exist regardless of the slow driver's
awareness or perceptions of Bruce. The conflict is not about Bruce, it's
about speed. It's caused by the fact that both drivers have reference
levels for speed (same variable), but different amounts of speed (different
reference levels). The geometry of the street prevents the driver with the
higher reference level, if behind the other driver, from going any faster
without a collision. If an internal conflict in Bruce keeps him from
standing on the accelerator pedal and pushing the leading driver up to the
desired speed, the leading driver need never experience the conflict; in
fact there is no conflict between Bruce and the other driver, because
Bruce's internal conflict about wanting to go faster but not wanting to
dent his car is preventing Bruce from ramming the slower driver. There is
no actual physical interaction between the drivers; thus, no conflict
between them. All the conflict is internal to Bruce, which is why he is
fussing and fuming but not solving his problem.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Bruce Gregory (980423.1308 EDT)]

Bill Powers (980423.0742 MDT)

Bruce Gregory (980423.0650 EDT) --

>Yesterday, while Bruce was driving to work, he found himself
behind another
>driver who apparently believed that 25 mph is an upper limit for driving
>through Cambridge.

>.. But then Bruce thought, "What if Rick is not a part of the other
>driver's perceptual world..."

This is a prolix way of saying "the other driver doesn't perceive Bruce."

Prolixity is in the eye of the beholder. I don't think I mentioned conflict
in the initial posting to this new thread. You and Rick introduced it with
much self satisfaction. This happens quite a bit on CSGnet. It doesn't help
communication. Or haven't you noticed? Why don't you try breaking out of the
rut and make the game a little more challenging?

Best Offer