AWOLS, PCT Popularity

[From Rick Marken (921021.1000)]

Dennis Delprato (921020) --

Despite my distinct lack of enthusiasm for the postulates of
behavioral therapy, I do not find superior technologies at

The "superior technologies" of behavior control already exist (as
Bill and I noted); they involve the use of overwhelming force;
lock-ups with armed guards, complete restriction of access to
substances required for life (food, water) and, failing that,
a shot through the temple.

You can try all you want to control a control system but, as
Powers points out eloquently and clearly in the Powers/Williams
debate, your "control" is at best ephemeral (at least, when you
are dealing with a control system that is organized the same as the
control system that is trying to do the "behavior control"-- ie.
a control system that controls the same perceptual world). When
a control system tries to control other control systems the typical
result is conflict -- unless you just want to see the control system
produce an action that is irrelevant to the control system itself
(the dog happily puts it's paw in the air to get all that dumb love
that it really cares about).

I do find that knowledge of contemporary behavior
therapy is not widespread.

Not nearly as un-widespread as it should be.

The solutions implied by (a) and
(b) above hark back to the 1960s. I suppose this might show,
in part, that behavior therapists do not do a very good job
of communicating new developments in their field

Dennis, you seem to believe that there is a good approach to
behavior therapy. How could this be? PCT shows that behavior
therapy could only make sense if it were an effort to help
a person control their own perceptions relative to their own
goals. "Behavior" as something seen by the therapist is irrelavant
to the therapee -- but, like going AWOL, it may be quite important
to the therapist. So maybe the term "behavior therapy" is just
misleading. Perhaps it should be called "personal control" therpy --
unless, of course, the goal of the therapy is really to make the
therapist feel better.

Greg Williams says:

Bill, who am I to tell you that you should perceive a problem with PCT being a
tough sell? That I believe there IS a problem with it is MY ideology. There is
no perceived problem for you if you believe that you are right about what
everyone SHOULD believe to be important, and that virtually everyone else is
wrong, even if you believe PCT ideas deserve wider attention... until you
begin to perceive people shrugging and walking away when you tell them what
they should and shouldn't believe to be important. And then I won't have to
tell you that you should perceive a problem; you'll be perceiving it.

I think this gets at the heart of Greg's complaint; he would really like
to see PCT ideas get wider attention. I think he sees a lack of interest
on the part of some PCTers (like myself) in finding common ground with
psychologists, roboticists, biologists, AIers, ALifers, etc etc -- ie.
with others in the community of life scientists who might profit from
an examination of PCT ideas.

Those of us who do not seem to "compromise", "see commonalities", etc
believe that we are just presenting the PCT model -- we don't feel that
there is an agenda to alienate potential friends; but apparently it seems
like this is true to some people (like Greg, I think).

I think this is worth a discussion. I take the view that the way to
promulgate PCT is to present the model and the research honestly,
doing what we can to relate this to existing relevant concerns, but
not shying away from explaining the true implications of the model.
I believe that attempts to "find common ground" produce the Carver/Scheier
approach to PCT -- which ends up using the terminology of PCT but
misses the basic point (and succumbs to the causal view of behavior in
the end). I realize that the approach I advocate is not a good way to
drum up a PCT following -- most people do shrug and walk away simply
because they don't see the problem that PCT solves -- or don't get PCT
even if they do see the problem. But I don't think it is worth it to
compromise the model to try to get recruits -- PCT is neither a religion
nor a political party. And every so often someone DOES get stoked on
it (like I did). I think we are gaining PCTers who really get it (ie. model-
ers) at the rate of about 1 a year now. That's plenty for me. I just don't
think you can MAKE people be interested in PCT. When the light does
go on in a person, PCT sells itself. It's not worth distorting the model
to try to get people interested -- you just end up with people who
are really interested in the version of PCT that you made up for their
sake. But, I'd like to hear your point of view Greg.

Best regards




Richard S. Marken USMail: 10459 Holman Ave
The Aerospace Corporation Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 336-6214 (day)
(310) 474-0313 (evening)

[From Dick Robertson 921022]
Rick Marken advocates doing our thing and not wasting anymore time trying to
"tell me what to do , don't waste my time telling me abstract stuff about how
usefull for eventually helping neurosurgeons figuring out where to cut and so
or" in the 1960 paper and Rick you have built nicely on that in your more recen
So I vote for more experimentation and modeling instead of trying to convert the
Best, Dick