An inquiry

[From Bruce Gregory (2001.0929.0738)]

[From Marc Abrams (2001.0928.2314)]

> {From Bruce Gregory (2001.0928.2226)]

> You noted that Sadham Hussein bears some responsibility for the plight of
> the Iraqi people. I agree.

Not some. Most.

When we had the chance to remove him, we passed. You seem anxious to defend
policies that have had minimal impact on Sadham and maximum impact on the
Iraqis. I guess the principle involved is, if what you doing is not
working, do more of it. Clearly the present administration agrees with you.

>How many people in the Middle East do you think
> share this view? One of the people who do not share this view is Osama Bin
> Laden. Or so he tells us. Apparently this argument has not persuaded him.
I
> don't think he is alone. How do we convert some of these people to our
> point of view? Or this that unimportant?

I think it would be very important, I just don't think we can convert the
extremists in the crowd, no matter what we do.

Does that mean we should create more extremists? My guess is that that will
be the outcome of our approach to the Middle East.

They don't want us meddling in their affairs, period. Well, I wouldn't mind
that. But the governments in that area get a great deal of aid from us. Our
interests ( mainly oil ) ride in the balance.

The only governments in that area that get any aid, to my knowledge, are
Egypt and Israel. Neither country is particularly noted for its oil production.

Without that I'm afraid people like yourself who enjoy a nice commute to
work would be in trouble. Can we live without middle-east oil? Probably, but
it wouldn't be pretty.

I'm afraid I can't see how waging a holy war against terrorists will ensure
a smooth flow of oil to the world.

Bruce Gregory
is an American ex-patriot.
He lives with the poet And painter
Gray Jacobik
and their canine and feline familiars in
Pomfret, Connecticut

[ From Bill Williams UMKC 29 September 2001 6:45 CST ]

[From Bill Powers (2001.09.28.2033 MDT)]

Marc Abrams (2001.0928.1600)

Hi, Marc. I'm very glad to see you back in contact, and hope this means
you're in better health. Even if you give me a hard time.

I think one festering injustice that all Arabs cry out against was
perpetrated when the Palestinians were booted out of their own land, with
ownership transferred to the Israelis. I can imagine a little of how that
would feel. Also, our support of the Shah of Iran helped to perpetuate a
very oppressive regime. Of course all parties to these conflicts have their
own stories and interpretations of events, and they all call their own acts
of violence and aggression "retaliation" for the other side's just-previous
acts. A lot of the resentment, I am sure, goes all the way back to the
British Empire days, when the Brits seemed to assume that nobody actually
owned any of the Arab lands they tramped around on and used more or less as
they saw fit.

Bill Powers says ".. all the way back to the British Empire days..." well it
goes even further than that. I've been reading Karen Armstrong's 1991 _Holy
War: the Crusades and their Impact on Today's World_. Armstrong was a nun for
a number of years who's field of study was literture and theology. Eventually
she decided that she lacked a religious vocation in the sense of a "true
believer." Now she teaches theology and religious history at a Islamic academy.
Starting a book of 600 plus pages I wonder if perhaps she is going to tell me
more than I really need to know. But, my experience has been, with other books
she's written, _Battle for God_, and _A History of God_ that once begun I don't
find myself regretting the time spent. Reading them is like having a wise
companion for a time. And, Armstrong is obviously not "out to get anybody."
Her work I think provides a model of what an "inquiry" ought to be. Not a model
in the sense of computer code, but an example of how it can and ought to be
done.

When I made the suggestion that we ought to conduct "an inquiry" into why we
experience so much trouble on the net what I had in mind was an approach
similar in spirit to the one in which Armstrong has approached the history of
the "Holy Wars" which have taken place between Christians, Jews and Muslems.
Which reminds me of reasoning of one bishop who taking note of the prohibition
in scripture against shedding blood decided that when he rode into battle it
was forbidden for him to carry a sword, but permitted that he employ a mace.
AFter all, there was nothing said that forbid his bashing someone's brains out.

Given the character of the exchange between Rick and myself in the recent
"Blaming the Victim" thread, Bill Powers had ample justification for assuming
that when I proposed "an Inquiry" what I had in mind was an extension of the
mutual "bashing" which had been taking place. On giving the question a little
bit more thought it occurred to me that as a first step in conducting "an
inquiry" I could prepare a statement of my view of our own little "holy wars"
including in it the "blaming the Victim" battle. If I can prepare a statement,
constructed on the model provided by Armstrong's analysis of far larger "holy
wars" that would be a start toward the sort of inquiry I had it mind. I'm not
all that confident about my succeeding in doing this, but stating my intension
of doing so publicly is a way of challenging myself to make the attempt.

Despite the impression which exchange in the "blaming the victim" thread may
create, I don't hate Rick. Hate, I am convinced is a costly, ineffectual
emotion that is bound up with strategies which lead to defeat.

Bill Williams

···

______________________________________________________________________
Do you want a free e-mail for life ? Get it at http://www.email.ro/

[From Bruce Gregory (2001.0629.1834)]

Marc Abrams (2001.0929.1704)

I am not sure what you are expecting to gain from this exchange. As an
acquaintance used to say, "Do you want to know the truth, or do you just
want to argue with me?" I'm not in the mood to argue.

Bruce Gregory is an ex-patriot.
He lives with the poet And painter
Gray Jacobik
and their canine and feline familiars in
Pomfret, Connecticut

[From Rick Marken (2001.09.30.1720)]

Bryan Thalhammer (2001.09.30.1830)

Excuse me, where does Rick state this? Could you cite? I looked in my
archive, and couldn't find it.

In a private post to Bill Williams I said (with my tongue only loosely
implanted in my cheek):

I think we should publicly rebuke Israel immediately for the settlements.
Indeed, I think we should threaten Israel with military action if they
don't get those settlers out of the west bank.

I said this, not because I'm anti-Israel or anti-Semitic (being a semite
myself) but because I think the settlements are the main obstacle to an
agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. I was actually
envisioning battle ships off the coast (not ground troops) doing the
threatening. I don't really approve of military approaches to dealing
with this (or most other) problems (especially not the current terrorist
problem). I just thought that making such a gesture -- just making the
threat -- would be a real jaw dropper and it would instantly take all
the wind out of the sails of the terrorists and everyone else in the
Muslim world who views Israel as a US client state. We would become more
attractive in the Arab world and we wouldn't have to cut any of our aid
to Israel at all. Of course, it's not going to happen but I thought it
was an interesting fantasy.

Best regards

Rick

···

--
Richard S. Marken
MindReadings.com
marken@mindreadings.com
310 474-0313

[From Bill Powers (2001.09.30.0643 MDT)]

Marc Abrams (2001.0929.1525)]

.. we should also support the Palestinians, in my opinion.

How? The mere existence of Israel is something the extremists will not
allow.

How about stopping the in-your-face expansion of settlements in disputed
territory? How about returning Palestinian houses and land which were
simply taken over by Israelis by force? How about simply treating
Palestinians like human beings instead of servants who commute every day
across the border from their concentration camp (when the border is open)
to provide cheap labor? Israel seems to do nothing that would help moderate
Palestinians assuage the anger of extremists. I saw a television interview
with a man in a settlement who was watching bulldozers level a shanty town
in which very poor Arabs lived, to make room for an expansion of the
settlement. The interviewer asked what the man thought about seeing the
weeping men and women whose miserable homes were being destroyed. "I don't
care," he said. Not at all? he was asked. "No," he said, and repeated: "I
don't care." And he turned and went back into his nice apartment building,
with his gun.

I strongly disagree with these statements. Cold and selfish? Please explain.

One example above. Any number of examples available from reading and
watching news and documentaries, or talking with people who have lived in
or visited Israel. Just listen to the Israelis who protest their own
government's policies or the total selfishness and self-righteousness of
the hard-line settlers, and who try to maintain ties with civilized
Palestinians.

If you support any of the governments in the middle east besides Israel you
are supporting oppressive regimes. The peoples of these regimes often suffer
great hardships. It seems to me the American people not just american jews
enjoy the life style afforded us in part by the oil we recieve from those
oppressive governments

So what's the answer, Marc? Bomb them back to the stone age? Do you have a
vision of Amwerican GIs rolling in their tanks through Arab cities while
the grateful populace lines the streets and weeps for joy? Is that how you
see the situation? Poor Israel, innocent and pure, surrounded by oppressive
governments who prevent their constituents from being just as innocent and
pure?

>> As to my system concept, I greatly prefer it ...

>It makes plenty of sense to _me_. I just don't think many people operate

on

>that level

Well, then, shouldn't we be trying to persuade others to accept it?

I don't think persuasion will do any good.

Let's start with you. Is there any way I could persuade you to look at the
Arab-Israeli conflict from the standpoint of higher concepts? I claim that
_all_ sides have committed transgressions against humanity and need to
revise their policies. Is this approach not more likely to succeed than one
that favors one side of the conflict exclusively and refuses to consider
people on the other side even as human beings?

Best,

Bill P.

[ From Bill Williams ]

Rick decided to take me up on the proposal for setting down perceptions
concerning the history of "troubles." I've read his account, and find it
gives me a great deal to think about. Rick and I may still have our
differences. Rick is proposing putting US troops in the field to root
out the Jewish settlements on the west bank. I am most adamantly not
in favor of such a course of action. I'm not enthusiastic about any
religion myself, but Rick far outstrips me in his opposition to _all_
religions.

Perhaps needless to say I am pleased that Rick didn't percieve my proposal
as being aimed at "getting Rick." Now I have to get busy with my own
account.

I've forgotten the caption which you gave it, but I remember
after the recent CSG meeting your account of the history with Glasser--
I found it to be an interesting and informative document. Glasser's in
print in various places with fragmentary justifications for his shift
away from Bill Powers and his version of control theory, but I wonder
how he would describe his intellectual career in a more extensive statement.?
Unlikely that we will ever know.

I have more confidence in methods of inquiry other than model building
you do. It's been my experience that it is very difficult to tell an
extended lie. At least when I was working in hospital planning I watched
enough testimony in hearings to form the opinion that if you were going
to lie while under oath you had best be extremely careful how you did so.
I think the short account Rick turned out is candid, and an accurate
account from his perspective. I think it is useful in forming an opinion
about how the "troubles" originated.

···

[From Bill Powers (2001.09.27.1614 MDT)]

Bill Williams UMKC 27 September 2001 3:45 CST

>What I have in mind might take the shape of a history of the "troubles." Or
>there could be more than one history-- I'd be genuinely interested in
learning
>in detail how you percieve the "troubles" and your relation to them.

>So, what do you think would be required to determine who's to blame for the
>wretched behavior that has too often been a part of CSG's history?

Since none of us can actually set reference levels in another person, or
perceive the world as another perceives it, I think that any such inquiry
should proceed in the privacy of our own habitations. If anybody wants to
play "Get Bill" it makes no difference to me. I know more about my own
faults than anyone else ever will. I am even less interested in "Get Rick."
Rick has his problems, but who in this discussion group doesn't have
comparable ones? Rather than rising to the bait, I should think that most
of us would be cautious about revealing as much about ourselves as an
attack on someone else reveals. Glass houses and all that.

If this is going to be the tone of the discussion from now on, what's in it
for me? A question I ask more and more.

Best,

Bill P.

______________________________________________________________________
Do you want a free e-mail for life ? Get it at http://www.email.ro/

[From Bryan Thalhammer (2001.09.30.1830)]

Bill,

Excuse me, where does Rick state this? Could you cite? I looked in my
archive, and couldn't find it.

Thanks,

Bryan

···

[ From Bill Williams ]

Rick and I may still have our
differences. **Rick is proposing putting US troops in the field to root
out the Jewish settlements on the west bank.** I am most adamantly not
in favor of such a course of action. I'm not enthusiastic about any
religion myself, but Rick far outstrips me in his opposition to _all_
religions. [my emphasis]

[From Bryan Thalhammer (2001.09.30.2035 CDT)]

Hi Rick,

Of course. I knew you could not have said it in any other context. Not in
any anti-people statement, but coming out against the behavior itself. As
a former Catholic, we were always taught don't hate the person, oppose
[hate] the behavior. Yes, that is where I would agree with you. This
evening there was a "Talking Point" show on our PBS affiliate, where the
moderator addresses various perspectives. A panelist described what
reprehensible things the Israelis had done. He said that it was natural
for the Palestinians to recoil against the shooting of the little boy with
his father. I can imagine such a person reacting by saying that he or she
actually was that little boy cut down with his father by Israeli bullets.
I understand that, but not the revenge that person would take. Revenge is
the old way, not the best way any longer.

As far as your image below, yes, that makes sense in a limited context.
Taking that image and running with the implications is what a lot of people
do in their out-of-the box thinking, even though you know it won't really
happen. Here's another one: It is wondrous to think how if the women would
on the whole pull a "Lysistrata".... the Israelis and the Palestinians
would back off instantly! Hmmm, that would be interesting. But really the
stubborn fools will not desist because of their religious views. A
military approach is not the way, yet to mull over how it would look after
the US does an about-face on their Israeli allies is worth it. Such a
fantasy is no sin. Sheesh.

But further, to quote such a statement out of context without certifying
its source is probably not the best way to interact, Bill Williams, eh?

Cheers,

Bryan

···

[From Rick Marken (2001.09.30.1720)]

Bryan Thalhammer (2001.09.30.1830)

Excuse me, where does Rick state this? Could you cite? I looked in my
archive, and couldn't find it.

In a private post to Bill Williams I said (with my tongue only loosely
implanted in my cheek):

I think we should publicly rebuke Israel immediately for the settlements.
Indeed, I think we should threaten Israel with military action if they
don't get those settlers out of the west bank.

I said this, not because I'm anti-Israel or anti-Semitic (being a semite
myself) but because I think the settlements are the main obstacle to an
agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. I was actually
envisioning battle ships off the coast (not ground troops) doing the
threatening. I don't really approve of military approaches to dealing
with this (or most other) problems (especially not the current terrorist
problem). I just thought that making such a gesture -- just making the
threat -- would be a real jaw dropper and it would instantly take all
the wind out of the sails of the terrorists and everyone else in the
Muslim world who views Israel as a US client state. We would become more
attractive in the Arab world and we wouldn't have to cut any of our aid
to Israel at all. Of course, it's not going to happen but I thought it
was an interesting fantasy.

Best regards

Rick
--
Richard S. Marken
MindReadings.com
marken@mindreadings.com
310 474-0313

[ From Bill Williams UMKC 30 September 2001 9:40 CST ]

From: Bryan Thalhammer <bryanth@SOLTEC.NET>
Date: Mon Oct 1 04:36:27 2001

[From Bryan Thalhammer (2001.09.30.2035 CD

to quote such a statement out of context without certifying
its source is probably not the best way to interact, Bill Williams, eh?

My mistake. What I said was what I thought Rick actually meant.
As we've both observed Rick and I are on somewhat different wavelengths.

Best
  Bill Williams

______________________________________________________________________
Do you want a free e-mail for life ? Get it at http://www.email.ro/

···

---- Forwarded message ----

______________________________________________________________________
Do you want a free e-mail for life ? Get it at http://www.email.ro/

That is wonderful news!

···

[From Bill Powers (2001.09.29.0425 MDT)]

Yes, very well. Mary is free of symptoms, and her hair is growing back.
It's about terrier length now -- I keep patting her on the head.

Ray Bennett (2001.10.01.2225. CST Aust.)

Bill Powers (2001.09.28.0638 MDT)

> The trick in getting along with people is to have a short memory
> for wretchedness, and a long one for moments of high virtue and
> achievement, which in most people I know seem to occur even more
> frequently than the other kinds of events.

This sounds like being forgiving, tolerant person. It seems to me that if
a person isn't controlling to be this kind of person, then they won't act
this way. If however they are wanting to be forgiving and tolerant but
their actions don't bring this about, then the error that they find should
give them a clue as to how not to act. If no feedback is given or the
feedback doesn't suggest error then there is no reason to alter their
actions.

I addressed this in one of my earlier posts. I am certainly willing to
adjust my actions in order to take into account the well being of
others, if only out of self interest. I have also been a persistent
critic of what I think have been bad US policies, the ones that might
have infuriated others. And I have argued, in the current debate, for
adjusting national policy to take into account the goals of nations in
the middle east and elsewhere.

But my principles also limit how far I am willing to go in trying to
take responsibility for the well being of others. If what I have to do
to get along with others will be more unpleasant than what others will
do to me if I don't do it, then I won't do it. I suspect that the US, as
a collective entity, feels the same way. I think there is quite a way
for the US could go, policy-wise, to get along with other peoples. But
there are limits. I addressed this point in one of my earlier posts. The
US is not going to keep women out of education in order to make bin
Laden happy anymore than I am going to say that telling kids that they
have chosen something that has been chosen for them provides a good
model for responsible behavior.

So, on a personal level, I'm certainly willing to take some
responsibility for the well-being of others in order to get along with
them. I do that all the time, very successfully in my everyday
relationships. I have tried to do it on CSGNet as well but it has not
worked out. I think this is because what I would apparently have to do
to satisfy the goals of those who complain most about my behavior on
CSGNet is just not worth it to me. What I can do that's worth it to me
is just not participate on CSGNet.

It seems to me that Rick is experiencing conflict. He is controlling for
getting along with others and for applying PCT principles. However it seems
that the way he applies the PCT principles for a number of those he wants to
get along with actually stops the "getting along". His intentions are to get
along and to apply PCT principles correctly and scientifically. When he does
the second the people with whom he wants to get along think that his
intention is to upset and not get along with them. I read his writings (and
hopefully this is not too late for him to reply) and find them attempts to
clearly and correctly apply PCT principles.In fact at times I am amazed at
his ability to be clear and true to his understanding of PCT. His writings
have helped my understanding of PCT. In fact most of the writing on the
CSGnet that I read has helped my understanding.
Getting back to the conflict. It seems to me that Rick needs to do one of
the following: 1. change his way of applying PCT principles. 2. change his
reference for getting along with others. 3. change with whom he wants to get
along. 4. leave the CGSnet 5. apologise for upsetting people when he does
and keep on applying PCT.( the upsetness is is the minds of those readers
who get upset unless Rick intends to upset and then it would be helpful for
those people if Rick makes clear that this is one of his intentions) 6. do
some other possible things that he or others can come up with. In other
words reorganise, make clear his intentions or leave. The choice is his. I
missed his contributions when he left last time, but I assume that I am not
one of those with whom he wishes to get along.

PCT for me does not help me to be honourable, moral, forgiving or tolerant
(just to name a few qualities for which I control) It does however help me
to understand disturbances and feedback. It also helps me to understand
others. I can now look for and test for what another may be controlling. It
has freed me from trying to cause others to change. It has freed me from
being perplexed when outcomes are not what I expected and given me a process
on which to find out why. Instead of asking what caused this or suggesting a
cause, I now ask what is it that they are controlling for? And I ask what is
it that they want and what is it that they are doing? PCT hasn't helped me
change my morality (as an example of one of the qualities) but it has helped
me with a process that enables me to understand myself and others and to
check out if I am acting in a moral way.

I hope this makes some sense to others. By the way I lurk by being a
subscriber to CGSNET. I have also read some of the archival emails.

I also want to say that I am often puzzled as to what others controlling
for. I have tried to work out what the terrorists may be controlling for and
whether they forgot about the unintended consequences. Unintended
consequences of behaviour are a nuisance and often make the intended
consequences hard to realise. This is something that needs to be considered
both by the person undertaking the actions and the people seeing or
experiencing the outcomes of the actions.

What do others think about unintended outcomes/consequences?

Regards,
Ray

[ From Bill Williams UMKC 1 October 2001 1O:30 CST ]

I want to thank Ray Bennett for his posting:

Ray Bennett (2001.10.01.2225. CST Aust.)

I think it provides an excellent analysis from a control theory perspective.
Before I comment on one point which I think I disagree, I want to make it clear
that while, very obviously Rick and I are "on different wavelengths" I don't
now regard Rick as the primary source of "troubles" on the net. And, after
some discussion, off the net, with Rick my conception of "the troubles" has
changed. In any case, regardless of what might be mistakenly inferred from the
recent "blaming the victim" thread I don't hate Rick's guts. Maybe there are
those who do, but I'm not among them.

What I'd like to point out in Ray's post, which for most part I am in
agreement, is the implicit premise contained in the statement number five.
When Ray considers the possiblity that Rick could

5. apologise for upsetting people

nothing for Rick to apologise for-- not if the "upset" is generated in the
heads of those who are experiencing the "upset." Odd as this may appear from
our "commonsense" understanding of our emotional experience, it appears to me
to be a fundamental implication of control theory. Ray goes on to state that
the "upsetness " is in the minds of the those who are upset. But, he also makes
a distinction, or perhaps exception for the case in which the upset was
"intensionally generated."

( the upsetness is is the minds of those readers
who get upset unless Rick intends to upset and then it would be helpful for
those people if Rick makes clear that this is one of his intentions)

The argument I wish to make is that whatever Rick intended, the "ultimate"
source of the "upset" is in the mind of the person experiencing the "upset."
The "upset" has its source in a difference between what is being percieved and
the reference values for that perception. The words themselves don't hurt, it
is the difference between the meanings which the perceiver generates from the
words as physical signals and the reference levels which the perceiver holds
that generate pain. ( Bruce Gregory argued, and I aggree, that not all errors
are experienced as pain so I'm leaving out some stuff here. I don't think, or
at least I hope that it doesn't affect the validity of the argument. ) The
implication which I draw from the argument about how the pain or upset is
generated is that our usual notions about causation and responsiblity have to
shift if we adopt a control theory perspective. Even if it is the intension of
the communicator to upset a listener, ultimately it is the listener who
generates the pain which the listener experiences. Upon experiencing pain the
listener has choices concerning what to do. One choice is to blame the speaker
for the pain. This it seems to me amounts to adopting a S-R assumptions about
the causal situation. What a control theorist ought to say in this situation
is "If you keep saying that, I'm going to change my reference levels." Or, one
could say, "If you really mean that, .... "

I may be misreading what Ray said, or intended to say. But, the question of
where the "upset" or pain is located seems to me to be of fundamental
importance. It is also of considerable practical significance, in identifying
what has to change if we to reduce our perception of being "upset." I've
thought for some time that the people who left the net and stopped attending
CSG meetings made a mistake. But, its only been recently that I've connected
that opinion to a control theory argument. There's obviously more to the
question than can be considered here, but until I'm persuaded that I'm mistaken
I'm of the opinion that words ultimately can't hurt, even if they are inteneded
to hurt. The hurt is generated by the the person perceiving the words.

  Bill Williams

···

from my point of view, which may be a control theory perspective, there's

______________________________________________________________________
Do you want a free e-mail for life ? Get it at http://www.email.ro/

[From Bryan Thalhammer (2001.10.01.1434)]

[ From Bill Williams UMKC 1 October 2001 1O:30 CST ]

"Even if it is the intension of the communicator to upset a listener,
ultimately it is the listener who generates the pain which the listener
experiences."
(Greater context listed below)

Bill,

This does not wash. This is blaming the victim. That's like:

    The woman raped had it coming to her.
    The person disrespected had it coming to him.
    The person of colour should not have dressed that way.
    The people in the WTC... (With respect to the persons who died
         and who suffer their loss, I shall not explicitly continue,
         but you might have read that people are moving out of Sears Tower!)

No, the messenger, attacker, racist, and terrorist all bear responsibility
for creating the hurt they cause, because they didn't have to do it.

Now, to make my point, we are talking about a shared controlled
environment, this list, or some kind of word-space being mutally controlled
by two or more people. This is the CV of each person, as it seems. You
suggest that each person is unilaterally controlling and perceiving the
aspects of that social environment by varying their actions, one of which
is to push back against disturbances such as the one you created above
("the hurt..."). No, each person is mutually (that is in the same control
loop through the social environment) controlling the same CVs. And, since
we are describing a situation of conflict, actions can include both acting
and choosing not to act. Each person generates disturbances in the social
environment, and each person can choose not act so as not to further
disturb the environment. It would be like having two thermostats attached
to a furnace, each set at different reference levels. What happens? Each
box cannot choose differently than what it is set. But our program levels
(words, language) can have their reference levels to act or not to act so
as to maintain the principles or system images we ordinarily say we prefer
to maintain.

If you guess that someone maintains certain CVs, and you disturb those CVs
with the intent to cause that control system error, then even though the
perceiving control system actually has the error (you may not), there is an
attribution of who caused the needless disturbances to the social
environment (mutual CVs). I probably haven't got it perfectly, but....

Now I see it that several people seem to be disturbing the list, "com'on,
com'on, crybaby, whacha gonna do about it now!?" Then as the person who
perceives that this has gone beyond the pale strikes out in defense, the
bully declares: "See, that person is unstable and ought to be removed!"
The messenger also bears responsibility ethically, unless he chooses not to
perceive the ethics of the situation. I see bullying here.

Disturbingly,

BT

···

The argument I wish to make is that whatever Rick intended, the "ultimate"
source of the "upset" is in the mind of the person experiencing the "upset."
The "upset" has its source in a difference between what is being percieved and
the reference values for that perception. The words themselves don't hurt, it
is the difference between the meanings which the perceiver generates from the
words as physical signals and the reference levels which the perceiver holds
that generate pain. ( Bruce Gregory argued, and I aggree, that not all errors
are experienced as pain so I'm leaving out some stuff here. I don't think, or
at least I hope that it doesn't affect the validity of the argument. ) The
implication which I draw from the argument about how the pain or upset is
generated is that our usual notions about causation and responsiblity have to
shift if we adopt a control theory perspective.

Even if it is the intension of the communicator to upset a listener,
ultimately it is the listener who generates the pain which the listener
experiences.

Upon experiencing pain the
listener has choices concerning what to do. One choice is to blame the speaker
for the pain. This it seems to me amounts to adopting a S-R assumptions about
the causal situation. What a control theorist ought to say in this situation
is "If you keep saying that, I'm going to change my reference levels." Or, one
could say, "If you really mean that, .... "

[From Bill Powers (2001.10.01.1614 MDT)]

Bryan Thalhammer (2001.10.01.1434)]

[ From Bill Williams UMKC 1 October 2001 1O:30 CST ]

"Even if it is the intension of the communicator to upset a listener,
ultimately it is the listener who generates the pain which the listener
experiences."
(Greater context listed below)

Bill,

This does not wash. This is blaming the victim.

Let's not approach this in the wrong context. The question is, when someone
feel emotional pain, what is causing the pain? Bill W.'s answer is, as I
see it, correct. The pain that is felt is a direct result of efforts to
correct errors, and those efforts are being made by the person who feels
the pain. If the person did not feel any errors, there would be no
emotional pain.

This is completely aside from the question of who or what caused the error
signals to appear. If we agree that bad emotions feel as they do because of
the brain's preparing the somatic systems to correct error, we can locate
the _immediate_ cause of the emotional pain: the person's attempt to
correct an error.

Now the presence of the error must be explained. In PCT, an error signal is
a measure of a difference between a reference signal and a perceptual
signal. The perceptual signal indicates what our perceptual systems tell us
is actually happening. The reference signal represents our intention,
desire, wish, or preference for what _should_ be happening in terms of that
same perception. If the actual perception does not match what we intend or
desire to perceive, then (according to the theory of emotion I have
proposed), there is error, and if we try to correct the error _but find
that impossible to do_, we feel a bad emotion. The feeling is identically a
sense of how we are preparing ourselves, physically, to act. If we _can_
correct the error, the feeling lasts only for a brief time, and I don't
think we identify such fleeting feelings as "emotions." That's just how it
feels to act. When we can't act or when we prevent ourselves from acting,
the error persists, and we then continue to experience the state of
preparedness. In the context of the goal, to be prepared to act but not act
feels bad.

We contain the immediate causes of reference signals: setting and varying
them is the way in which our own higher systems achieve their goals. The
reference signals, therefore, are our own immediate responsibility.

Perceptual signals represent the way in which we represent the world to
ourselves, after a lifelong period of interacting with the external world.
They represent what the world is doing, in the terms in which we perceive
it. Since we do not change our perceptual functions quickly or easily, we
have little immediate influence over how the world looks to us. If we have
learned to perceive a certain hand gesture as indicating contempt, we will
perceive that a person who uses such a gesture toward us is indicating
contempt of us. This is independent of the other person's intent in making
the gesture. We will experience contempt from the other person even if the
other person doesn't know about that use of the gesture.

We may have have adopted, at higher levels, positive reference signals for
approval from other people, or at least certain other people, perhaps
because our own sense of worth is a function of approval by others. If we
experience a communication that indicates contempt from another person,
this might be seen as a lack of approval and thus a reflection on our sense
of worth. Assuming we desire approval, the conditions for a nonzero error
signal are met, and we begin to take action. The first step in taking
action is to prepare the body to back up the behavioral systems: if we wish
to attack the person who is showing contempt, we will raise the heart rate,
increase the breathing rate, generate a spurt of adrenaline to constrict
the peripheral blood vessels, and release more glycogen into the
bloodstream. We recognize the pattern of bodily sensations that these
changes generate, and in the context of the desire to attack we call them
"anger."

But we would give them that label, I believe, only if the action did not
immediately take place and use up the extra adrenaline, oxygen, blood
nutrients, and so on. Getting angry on the internet, for example, does not
allow for much action to take place, except perhaps banging on the keys
harder and longer, which doesn't use much of the liberated resources. The
feelings will go away faster if we get up and walk around the room, or in
the case of larger errors, run around the block. Then, when we come back to
the keyboard, at least the physical sensations of anger will have abated.

An even more effective way to deal with the symptoms is to change the goal
so that when someone indicates contempt, we no longer have to take action
against the person. This kind of change does not occur easily or rapidly,
but over a period of time one can redefine one's sense of worth so it
doesn't depend so critically on others' always indicating approval of us.
We can listen to insults and criticisms from Jack (nobody here named Jack,
I hope) and perceive only that Jack is in a bad mood. When we see it that
way, our emotions are not aroused because none of our higher perceptions
are disturbed by Jack's behavior, so we experience no errors, and hence do
not try to correct any errors, and hence do not adjust our body chemistry
toward a more aroused state. Jack's insults and criticisms simply don't
result in any feelings one way or the other. We might even view Jack's
outburst with fondness,if he's a friend who has temporarily run out of more
grown-up options.

I'm sorry for the very long comment, Bryan, but as you can see causation is
not a simple matter in human interactions that take place at many levels at
the same time. There's no question of blame here; only understanding.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Bryan Thalhammer (2001.10.01.1910)]

Bill (Powers),

[Bill Powers (2001.10.01.1614 MDT)]

I'm sorry for the very long comment, Bryan, but as you can see causation is
not a simple matter in human interactions that take place at many levels at
the same time. There's no question of blame here; only understanding.

Hi. As I have understood, pain is felt as the error inside a living
control system trying to control in the face of severe disturbances. I
agree completely that the "immediate cause of the emotional pain is the
person's attempt to correct an error." In fact, yes, no one can feel
another's pain. No one can know the intent of another's action. We
describe as anger all the physiological perceptions higher level control
systems set for these lower level control systems. I agree. Stuff
happens. We control our CVs in spite of environmental disturbances. Your
suggestion of a kind of "Zen" response to an attack is one of a number of
possible ways to possibly control my social environment, I guess, by
letting the other person do what they want and not show my "buttons." Yup.
I agree, that is probably what Rick might do, too. However, depending on
the situation, one just wants to scream.

But while I agree then that bully does not "cause" the pain we feel, the
bully creates a disturbance that "requires" pain in someone who is
attempting to control for that CV in spite of that severe disruption to the
social environment. If that bully (cynic, terrorist, take your pick)
disturbs the social environment in the attempt to control his/her own
agenda (control perceptions), then probably he/she does not have aligned
perceptions (a term that I think Clark McPhail used in his book) with the
person apparently harmed. Therefore a rapist will attempt control of a
victim apparently not experiencing perceptual error because of that
injustice. In other words, I would like to present enough disturbances to
the bully that he/she will experience error as he/she continues to bully in
the social environment. Maybe I use a program (argument) that has led to
reorganization on my part when I bullied in the past. But, you're right, I
cannot control that person's perceptions, actions, or reorganization (no
causal linkages). I can only push back (or not), with the vain hope that
my pushing back (or not) might result in a change in the social environment
with less error on my part. And even the use of the word "hope" may not be
properly rigorous in this context. In the end, your discriptions in the
note are more workable than mine.

[ From Bill Williams UMKC 30 September 2001 9:40 CST ]

My mistake. What I said was what I thought Rick actually meant.
As we've both observed Rick and I are on somewhat different wavelengths.

Best
  Bill Williams

I agree with you that when examined, causation in human interactions is a
real bummer to figure out. I would go on to say that there can be no
causation until someone actually takes physical control, making the victim
an object (McPhail says it better than I do). But blame was not what I was
looking for, tho, rather I would like people to align their perceptions to
mine: that one can choose not to beat up on discussants, that is, choose to
withold action to preserve the peace, if one values the peace, in order to
advance the knowledge. Also, as someone stated just a bit ago, there is
this conceptual tension between the way we attempt to represent PCT and the
way English has been bent or shaped by the mechanistic western culture that
led so easily to S/R as a statement of fact. Always hard to step out of
that.

But I am complimented that you would take so many words to go through this
with me on the net. I try to understand that it is hard for two people of
different views to maintain a dialogue.

Thanks!

Bryan

[ From Bill Williams 2 September 2001 7:30 CST ]

[From Bill Powers (2001.10.01.1614 MDT)]

We recognize the pattern of bodily sensations that these
changes generate, and in the context of the desire to attack we call them
"anger."

But we would give them that label, I believe, only if the action did not
immediately take place and use up the extra adrenaline, oxygen, blood
nutrients, and so on. Getting angry on the internet, for example, does not
allow for much action to take place, except perhaps banging on the keys
harder and longer, which doesn't use much of the liberated resources. The
feelings will go away faster if we get up and walk around the room, or in
the case of larger errors, run around the block. Then, when we come back to
the keyboard, at least the physical sensations of anger will have abated.

I think Bill Powers' suggestion here is useful. But those of us who know Bill
recognize that it has been many years since he has run anywhere. The result is
that he thinks that "run[ning] around the block" will be sufficient to deal
with "larger errors" I've found that running for an hour is more suitable. If
you find that in say the last five minutes you are still feeling hostile this
may be an indication that you are experiencing a problem. If this is the case
professional assistance may be advisable.

Best
  Bill Williams

···

______________________________________________________________________
Do you want a free e-mail for life ? Get it at http://www.email.ro/

[From Bill Powers (2001.10.02.0620 MDT)]

Bryan Thalhammer (2001.10.01.1910)--

Hi. As I have understood, pain is felt as the error inside a living
control system trying to control in the face of severe disturbances. I
agree completely that the "immediate cause of the emotional pain is the
person's attempt to correct an error." In fact, yes, no one can feel
another's pain. No one can know the intent of another's action. We
describe as anger all the physiological perceptions higher level control
systems set for these lower level control systems. ... by
letting the other person do what they want and not show my "buttons."

The particular kind of pain I thought we were discussing was emotional pain
that is apparently caused by words, not physical contact -- for example,
hurting someone with cutting remarks sent over the internet. Bullying,
rape, terrorism, and so forth entail the use or the credible threat of
force -- physically overpowering, actually doing something to damage the
body, threatening to use a weapon, and so forth. Where actual force or
damage is involved, or a believable threat of them, I most definitely do
not recommend "a kind of 'Zen' response to an attack." Sticks and stones
can, indeed, break my bones, and I have no intention of letting my bones be
broken. If there is a physical disturbance I can act against it.

What I was talking about was, for example, the anger one feels when a
belief is mocked or held up to ridicule or perhaps even just disproven --
the threat carried by words is not one of physical damage, but more like a
loss of self-esteem or confidence. The emotional reaction to such symbolic
attacks, we can learn to our profit, is an expression of what we would like
to do to the perpetrator, and is not automatic like feeling pain when a
knife cuts us or a fist bashes us. Cuts and bashes are inflicted on us by
the outside world, but emotional pain we inflict on ourselves. When we
realize that the emotion is our own creation, we can take responsibility
for it and eventually learn how not to desire to do things we know we are
not actually going to do, like bashing in the face of a mocker.

Not that I would recommend doing away with emotional pain. I would not take
a tranquilizer to avoid feeling pain if someone I loved died. Such pain is
the price of giving up what is most valuable to us; grief is what allows us
to let go, to reorganize our lives to go on without someone who was an
intimate part of ourselves. To avoid the sense of grief and loss is to
invite delusion. The little old sick brown dog, whose body I comforted and
wept over while the vet gave the lethal injection, is not waiting for me in
Heaven, frisking among the flowers. If I thought she was, I would never be
able to trust my own thinking again, or at least shouldn't trust it. So I
suffered the grief and let her go,
but I didn't think she caused the grief.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Bill Powers (2001.10.02.0704 MDT)]

Bill Williams 2 September 2001 7:30 CST

I think Bill Powers' suggestion here is useful. But those of us who know Bill
recognize that it has been many years since he has run anywhere.

You wound me to the heart, sir. Fortunately, I have overcome the running
madness by sheer force of will, and can now achieve the same end by purely
mental means. So while I do not exactly float like a butterfly, I can still
sting like bee.

Beware,

Bill P.

P.S. Try "October." It's all that running that does it.

[ From Bill Williams 2 September 2001 8:00 CST]

[From Bryan Thalhammer (2001.10.01.1434)]

[ From Bill Williams UMKC 1 October 2001 1O:30 CST ]

"Even if it is the intension of the communicator to upset a listener,
ultimately it is the listener who generates the pain which the listener
experiences."
(Greater context listed below)

Bill,

This does not wash. This is blaming the victim. That's like:

    The woman raped had it coming to her.

A woman who has been raped has been physically assulted. This is not symbolic
communication which is what I was talking about. No alternative persepective is
going to change the physical fact of the rape. In symbolic communication,
however, interpretation plays a fundamental role. If my self concept is not
dependent upon external sources, verbal abuse is not going to have much effect.
( Verbal abuse, however, may suggest that physical abuse will follow-- but only
physical abuse, in my conception, will generate a physical injury. It seems to
me that you are conflating two quite different problems.

Now, to make my point, we are talking about a shared controlled
environment,

This is where "we" differ. I'm not talking about a "shared controlled
environment." I'm aware that social behavior is often discussed in the context
of a "social environment." Such discussions may seem to make sense and hang
together, but I think when these discussions are examined closely they will be
seen to be inchoherrent. Where, for example, is this "shared controlled [social]
environment" ??? The context which I'm working with has human animals and a
physical environment. The human animals have expectations, habits and so forth
but these constructs have their existence in the brains of these animals--
there is no "shared controlled [social] environment in my context.

Now I see it that several people seem to be disturbing the list, "com'on,
com'on, crybaby, whacha gonna do about it now!?" Then as the person who
perceives that this has gone beyond the pale strikes out in defense, the
bully declares: "See, that person is unstable and ought to be removed!"
The messenger also bears responsibility ethically, unless he chooses not to
perceive the ethics of the situation. I see bullying here.

As I pointed out above, I think it is important to distinguish between physical
abuse and verbal abuse. Your use of "strikes out" employs a physical metaphor.
In a literal sense I am arguing that speech never literally or physically
strikes. Most of us would agree that disputes in CSG ought to follow a rule of
"No hitting." However, when it comes to speech ( some rules about talking
about bombs at the checkin counter, and yelling "fire" aside ) it is not so
easy to establish rules. It may be to some extent be possible. I don't think,
however, there has been enough experience with the "Political Correctness"
codes to say conclusively one way or the other. But, I would think it would be
more trouble than it is worth to attempt to construct such a code for the
CSGnet.
   When you say, "I see bullying here." I assume you are referring to me. In my
conception bullying involves a situation in which a person with somesort of
advantage uses that advantage to make life miserable for someone at a
compartive dis-advantage. Its difficult to make such assessments but it is my
opinion that neither Rick nor I have any significant advantage over the other.
What I think happened in the "Blaming the Victim" thread was that Rick picked
an excellent idea-- don't blame the victim, and extended the argument to areas
to which it does not apply-- such as we shouldn't re-examine US foreign policy
in the aftermath of the attack. ( Rick may argue that this is not what he said,
but a number of people developed the impression that this was what he meant.)
In anycase, I surely don't believe that I have such superior abilites compared
to Rick, that for me to dispute his emphatically expressed ideas concerning the
ideas he expressed in the "blaming the victim" thread is unfair to him. And, I
can't imagine anyone thinking this. Neither for that matter can I imagine
anyone, perhaps his mother aside, who would perceive Rick as an innocent
victim. And, I don't think Rick perceives himself to be an innocent victim.

And, who said that Rick is "unstable" and ought to be "removed?" I don't
recall doing so. My suggestion would be to let things cool a bit, and think
about the "troubles" some more. I've read Rick's account of the "troubles" and
found it most interesting. Whether reading it has been responsible for a
change in the way I percieve the "troubles" or I was already undergoing a
change in my perception of the CSG history I'm not sure. But, my perception
has changed.

I hope nothing in the above departs from what you consider to be civil
constructive interaction. If you find something objectionable, you can tell me.

Best
  Bill Williams

···

______________________________________________________________________
Do you want a free e-mail for life ? Get it at http://www.email.ro/

[From Bill Powers (2001.10.02.0704 MDT)]

Bill Williams 2 September 2001 7:30 CST

>I think Bill Powers' suggestion here is useful. But those of us who know Bill
>recognize that it has been many years since he has run anywhere.

You wound me to the heart, sir. Fortunately, I have overcome the running
madness by sheer force of will, and can now achieve the same end by purely
mental means. So while I do not exactly float like a butterfly, I can still
sting like bee.

Beware,

Bill P.

P.S. Try "October." It's all that running that does it.

If you knew anything about bees you'd know that they can only sting once and
its fatal to the bee.

So Beware yourself,

  Bill Williams

···

______________________________________________________________________
Do you want a free e-mail for life ? Get it at http://www.email.ro/