Belief Systems

from Ed Ford (921230:1320)

(from Bill Powers 921229.2100)

It seems to me that before we can have anything approaching sanity
on our planet, we must begin to understand how belief systems get
formed and how to keep them from overpowering to
leave a little freedom of belief, so that knowledge about the
WHOLE world of experience can play a part in forming belief


It seems to me that belief systems are formed by living control
systems as they try to establish harmony within themselves as a
result of their attempts to find satisfying experiences from the
environment in which they find themselves. The choices we make and
the standards we've set ultimately evolve into systems of ideas, or
the way we think things ought to be. I think this harmony, this
internal peace or internal integrity, is what the LCS is
continually striving toward. Obviously, our knowledge of what's
available is limited by our perception of the environment in which
we find ourselves plus what becomes available to us through
reorganization. What we create out of what we perceive is what
ultimately becomes what we are.

I think humans tend to accept the systems concepts of those who
they perceive love them and whom they love or admire (if that
happens to exist, and to the extent that it does). Obviously, if
there is internal peace and harmony where we live, then the
prevailing systems concepts of our parents/friends is most likely
to be perceived as acceptable. Those systems are ultimately tested
when children (and later adults) are faced with choices which are
in conflict with the prevailing or accepted systems concept. But,
to me, the ultimate test of a systems concept is that first it
brings internal harmony or peace to the person.

I don't believe a belief or value system (systems concept level)
overpowers a person. I believe many people choose systems and
elements of that system and create their own standards from how
they perceive those systems to justify the choices they're making
in their attempt to find that elusive peace and harmony that all
LCS's are trying to establish. I believe it was somewhere in
Shakespeare the famous line "even the devil can cite scripture to
his means".

It is when a person does harm to another LCS that brings the
systems concept into disrepute. And this shouldn't be.
G.K.Chesterton once said "it isn't that Christianity has been tried
and found wanting, it hasn't been tried". I don't think it's right
to blame Christianity for the acts of those who, claiming to be
Christians, do harm to others anymore than it's fair to blame any
system of ideas on those who claim to be adherents but who go about
harming others.

The second important test of any systems concept is the respect
shown to those "who don't belong, who don't believe". Therein lies
the critical test of any systems of beliefs, namely, that everyone
is shown respect, as having value as a person, and that to me is
the real test of a valid systems of beliefs. If from a systems
concept I am able to establish standards and make choices that
bring me the internal peace and harmony within my system AND at the
same time that systems concept leads me to see value in others and
respect their right to make choices, then the system has value. In
short, when we harm others, we harm ourselves, and in the process
the very harmony and peace we're seeking is lost.

When a person is in conflict and uses a systems concept to justify
actions which bring harm to others, I don't think the systems
concept is wrong, I think the person is wrong. And I don't think
the belief system overpowered them, they merely used the system "to
justify their own means". I think people tend to overpower
themselves by setting impossible standards or goals, by trying to
change things over which they have no control, or by making
ineffective choices in a desperate attempt to bring harmony or
peace to their system.

Because I'm an LCS by design, my systems concepts are very unique
to me. No one quite perceives things the way I do. As Bill
reminded me several months ago, I'm not a Republican, I'm a control
theorist. And I think the test for whether our systems of beliefs
are valid, is our own internal harmony and peace and the respect
and value we assign to others.

Finally, I think the very nature of the LCS demands it be open to
the experiences it continually encounters as a way of adjusting and
improving on the efficiency and effectiveness of the entire system,
especially at the systems concept level. PCT is a prime example of
this. I've been exposed to this stuff for over 10 years and I'm
still learning. The very nature of this concept demands a
willingness to be open and to adjust your ideas and change. And
letting in some fresh air never hurt anyone.

Happy New Year, Ed

10209 N. 56th St., Scottsdale, Arizona 85253 Ph.602 991-4860

[From Rick Marken (921230.1400)]

Ed Ford (921230:1320) --

I don't believe a belief or value system (systems concept level)
overpowers a person.

A belief and a system concept are not the same thing. A belief
in PCT(I think) is an imagined perception: this means that
beliefs can occur at any level of the hierarchy (except for the
lowest); we can believe that the sky is blue (sensation), that it
will rain (fluid transitions?), that we're loved (relationship),
etc. We can also have beliefs that are system concept level
perceptions -- I can believe that I am a control theorist.

Beliefs (by my definition) can also differ in terms of one's
ability to produce or experience them as perceptions (rather
than just as imaginations). I believe my car is in the lot and
I can produce that perception; I believe that Mozart was the
means by which god spoke to humanity -- but I can't produce
that perception (I can certainly produce the imagination).

Our ability to "believe" is, I think, one of the things that makes
life fun; it makes it possible to be entertained by stories, plays
and such. It think it also makes life a bit more tolerable (as Ed
said, it helps us "find that elusive peace and harmony that all
living control systems are trying to establish"). It does this by
"filling in" the unachieved aspects of the perceptions we are
controlling; we believe that we are "loved", for example -- and
we create a perception that is based mostly on Boss Reality but
that is "filled in" a bit by belief (imagination) so that our control
seems a bit better than it might actually be.

But you can see that what is good about belief is what could
also make it a problem; belief makes stories fun because we
treat the imaginations as though they were "real" perceptions;
but what happens when we forget that they ARE NOT AND
we see -- people willing to die or kill to control for imagined

I think it is interesting that when the "filling in" done by
belief gets to be a bigger part of perception than the part
constrained by Boss Reality, we call that "insanity". But when
the "filling in" is TOTAL -- so that there is no constaint of
Boss Reality -- just belief based on made up stories (the
Bible, the Koran, etc) we (some of us) call that "wisdom".
I suggest that we call it what it is -- "total insanity"

Happy New Year