Attractors, Conflict, Etc.

[Avery Andrews 961018]
  (various postings my Rick Martin, Martin Taylor, Bill Powers)

Something that puzzles me is why my musings on `conflictive control'
have given rise to what to me seems to be a rather pointless argument
about attractors, rather than about whether `conflictive control' is
really as prevalent as I understood Kent's paper to be saying it was
I could well have totally misread the paper, or understood it but be
totally wrong about reality, of course, but this strikes me as being
a substantive issue. On the other hand, attractors are a mathematical
concept; they will be useful in real life when the relevant math is
applicable to some actual system for some reason, whether that system
is made out of water molecules obeying some equations of hydrodynamics,
interacting control systems, or whatever.

So my belief is that `conflictive control' is what you have with the
position of a knot in a tug-of-war, and it's not really control at all,
since it's not stable. Persistent conflicts, such as between police and
drug-runners, must, I believe, involve relatively small amounts of
actual conflict (small relative to the total resources/rewards
available); how their apparent stability manages to exist is then an
interesting question.