Accepting vs Learning PCT

[From Rick Marken (940819.0800)]

Paul George (940818 15:25) --

For those who are interested in testing whether PCT would be accepted by the
followers of Objectivisim there is a newsgroup alt.objectivism where current
advocates hang out.

I am no longer interested in whether or not anyone in particular would accept
PCT; clearly they would. What I am interested in is whether or not anyone
would _learn_ PCT, by which I mean learning how to identify controlled
variables (The Test) and how to produce models that control these variables
in the same way that the organism controls them.

In order to learn PCT one must have at least a basic grounding in
mathematics, programming, physical science, neurology, physiology, and
control engineering. I think it also helps to be somewhat familiar with
conventional psychological science, if only to be able to explain what PCT is
_not_.

Right now I estimate that there is probably a 4 order of magnitude difference
between the number of people who have accepted PCT (something on the order of
10,000; I include in this group Reality Therapists as well as research
psychologists like Carver, Scheier and Lord) and those who have learned it in
the sense I describe above - - that is, done the research and modelling
(something on the order of 7). Because a large proportion of those who have
accepted PCT have not learned much about what they have accepted, there is a
good chance that the PCT they accept is not the PCT reflected in the control
phenomena and models studied by those who are doing the PCT research and
modelling.

All this will change when the Center for the Study of Living Control Systems
becomes a reality. One of the main goals of the Center will be to teach
willing members of the approximately 9,993 who already accept PCT how to
study and model what PCT is actually about -- the purposeful behavior of
living control systems.

Best

Rick

Tom Bourbon [940819.1741]

[From Rick Marken (940819.0800)]

Paul George (940818 15:25) --

For those who are interested in testing whether PCT would be accepted by the
followers of Objectivisim there is a newsgroup alt.objectivism where current
advocates hang out.

I am no longer interested in whether or not anyone in particular would accept
PCT; clearly they would. What I am interested in is whether or not anyone
would _learn_ PCT, by which I mean learning how to identify controlled
variables (The Test) and how to produce models that control these variables
in the same way that the organism controls them.

Yes. The problem is not merely one of finding people who accept PCT. As
Rick said later in his post, if we count people who have accepted one or
another version of control theory as a way of thinking about and talking
about behavior, they probably number in the low tens of thousands, at least.
The problem is finding people who accept control theory who are also willing
to go the next part of the journey and learn how to do PCT science -- testing
to identify variables that people control, modeling control in living
systems, and applying the theory _rigorously_, wherever they can. I can
probably count the number who have gone that far on my personal (limited)
assortment of fingers and toes.
. . .

All this will change when the Center for the Study of Living Control Systems
becomes a reality. One of the main goals of the Center will be to teach
willing members of the approximately 9,993 who already accept PCT how to
study and model what PCT is actually about -- the purposeful behavior of
living control systems.

Surely among that many people are a few who will drop everything else and
do the necessary work. Nothing less will do, not because PCT is a religion
that requires all neophytes pass through a monastic experience at The
Center prior to full initiation, but because PCT is a demanding science that
cannot be mastered by taking short cuts. It is _not_ about slogans, catchy
one-line phrases, and clever ways to manipulate other people. It is _not_
about how to gain a new "perspective" or "framework" from which to
reinterpret (and thereby cling to) every old idea you already had about
behavior. It _is_ about frequently staring your own ignorance, prior
conceptions, and lack of skills squarely in the face, taking a deep breath,
then getting to work, doing whatever _is_ necessary and throwing away
whatever is _not_ necessary.

I have joined Rick in giving up on the idea that we should spend any more
of our time trying to get more people "interested" in PCT. Another radical
is born.

Later,

Tom