Address; importance; Dag's diagram

[From Bill Powers (921019.0900)]

Chris Love (921019) --

My address:

73 Ridge Place, CR 510
Durango, CO 81301


Greg Williams (921019) --

What makes most sense to me now, in light of your critique, is to
hypothesize that the error criteria (to start reorganization) for
some or all innate critical reference signals can be altered by
learned systems. That would explain the patriot steadfastly
refusing to tell state secrets under torture, I think; the
patriot's learned "honor" (or whatever) system increases the error
criterion for pain sufficiently that reorganization is not
triggered up to the point of death.

If my model is correct, torture can cause reorganization, but can't
cause any PARTICULAR reorganization. Most people who are tortured
eventually do or say whatever will make the torture stop. Perhaps all
of them do -- how can we ever know? Perhaps the few who were steadfast
unto death simply didn't reorganize to produce the required change in
their control systems soon enough. They were, depending on how you
look at it, the unlucky ones, considering the actual value of most
secrets that prisoners of war know. Returned prisoners who have been
tortured and have spilled the secrets or confessed have said time and
time again that all people will crack under torture; stories to the
contrary are macho military myths which only add to the misery of
people who have undergone these experiences. You had better check your
genuine social data before believing such myths. The fact that an
apocryphal story supports your position is not enough reason to
believe it.

But maybe you think "not experiencing pain" is NOT an innate
critical reference signal?

It is not. It is a learned goal. The reorganizing system, as I
conceive it, would respond to damage, but not to sensory pain. This is
why people can learn to seek sensory pain. Autonomic sensing
complicates this a bit, but autonomic signals are not part of the
hierarchy as far as I can tell.

If, on the other hand, you think that all changes are internally
motivated and accomplished, you will see the very same actions in
the outside world as having a different meaning in relation to the
organism. You will see the "facilitator" as doing nothing more
than applying disturbances and rearranging the environment,
without any special effect on the organism.

I agree. The "If... [then]" is correct, I think. And I think it
accurately describes the postulates and implications of your
ideology. (It does NOT describe the postulates and implications of
PCT, in my view.)

I'm getting pretty tired of this "ideology" crap, buddy. Let's start
breaking down some meanings into PCT terms.

Let's do "importance." DEF: Something is important to a person if the
person perceives it and has a reference signal to compare it with. We
observe such things by finding controlled variables with reference
levels. We discover their importance by disturbing them and finding
that an action changes in such a way as to prevent the disturbance
from affecting the controlled variable (materially).

                             ref signal
                     perception | error
INFLUENCEE ---------- COMP ----------
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
            --> cont. var.<--env. link<----- action <---
           > > >
           > dist var. |
           > >
           > >
            <-- this is important to the person |
                  this is not important to the person -->-

The influencer acts either by altering the disturbing variable or the
environmental link. The result in either case is a change in the
action. No alteration in the organization of the control system is
required unless control is made impossible. The action simply changes
as required to maintain the perception near the reference signal. The
"action" label could include many lower-level control systems.

As a result of altering the disturbance or the link, the influencer
perceives a change in the action. The influencer can therefore learn
to control the action in the above diagram to match the influencer's
reference level for it (via perceiving, comparing, and acting as
usual). The influencee's action as perceived by the influencer is
therefore important to the influencer by the same definition.

The only way for the action to become important to the influencee
would be for it to be perceived and compared with a reference signal
of its own. But this would mean that both the action and its effect on
the controlled variable in the diagram would be independently
controlled. This would immediately produce conflict, because for the
controlled variable in the diagram to be controlled, the action must
be determined by the disturbing variable and the reference signal in
the diagram. Any other effect on the action would constitute a
disturbance, which the control system in the diagram would resist by
altering its output. So the influencee cannot have goals both for the
controlled variable and for the action that controls it, if conflict
is to be avoided.

So the influencing person can control the action of the influencee,
but the influencee cannot have any preference for one degree or sign
of action over another. Nor can the influencee control the
influencee's own action.

The controlled variable is important to the influencee and is
controlled by the influencee but not by the influencer. The
influencee's action is important to the influencer and is controlled
by the influencer but not by the influencee. This all presumes no
change of organization and no loss of control by the influencee.

So far this is straight PCT, is it not?
Dag Forssell (921019) --

That's pretty good work with ASCII diagrams! I have used your first
one, simplified, in the reply to Greg above.
Best to all,

Bill P.