Best-Laid Plans

[From Rick Marken (2003.05.01.2230)]

Marc Abrams (2003.05.01.1828)–

Perhaps you really do

know, for example, that reaching goals and correcting error are simultaneous

components of the same process: control. But when you say something
like

"…I don’t believe we spend a great deal of time trying to “reach”
goals. I

think most of our time is spent correcting error and getting by…"

it sounds like you think they are two separate processes and that one
can occur

without the other, which, of course, is not correct. So forgive me
if I

misunderstood what you said. Maybe you could try to say whatever you
meant n

another way to see if I would be able to understand better.

I really appreciate the apology, but why must it come to this?, I could
absolutely “describe” it another way if I knew what it was that you didn’t
understand. It is unfathomable to me that you actually believe I think
the model is a “set” of discrete events?
I don’t think you believe the model is a set of discrete events. I don’t
really know what you believe.
What I don’t understand is this: You said:

"…I don’t believe we spend a great deal of time trying to “reach”
goals. I

think most of our time is spent correcting error and getting by…"

This makes no sense to me based on my understanding of PCT. So I wonder
what you meant by it. What do you mean when you say that you don’t believe
we spend much time trying to reach goals but instead spend most of our
time correcting errors? What, for example, do you imagine people are doing
when they are correcting errors? Do you think they are not trying to reach
goals when they do this?

I am less interested in acceptance
of PCT than in understanding of PCT.
The two go hand in hand.
Not necessarily. In PCT, for example, I have encountered many people who
have accepted PCT without understanding it – at least, without understanding
the theory as I understand it. Of course, that doesn’t mean they don’t
understand “PCT”. It’s just that they don’t understand the theory I call
“PCT”, and that’s really the only one I’m interested in.
First, how does one “accept” something with out “understanding”
it?
The case of Carver and Scheier is a good one. They enthusiastically accepted
PCT (in a book written back in the early 1980s) and then proceeded to report
the results of research program that evidenced no understanding of the
possible existence of or methods of testing for controlled variables. So
you have acceptance sans understanding. It happens all the time.
I am no longer angry.
Good. I think it’s good to get these things off your chest.
Best regards

Rick

···

Richard S. Marken

MindReadings.com

marken@mindreadings.com

310 474-0313

From [ Marc Abrams (2003.05.01.1828) ]

This post might seem inflammatory to some. I am ticked. Rick persists in
his attempt to “show” the world he is “right” and he
is the master. He “shows” not the least bit of concern for me
and “helping” me better understand HPCT and refuses to
acknowledge that I MIGHT have something useful to say and contribute.
Instead he is intent on me “getting it right”, that means, to
recite word for word HIS understanding of the model. I have no
use for this kind of Bull and in this post I will attempt in any number
of ways where he can stick it.

[From Rick Marken
(2003.05.01.1500)]

I think if you read what I said more carefully you’ll see that I don’t
think these

are nits at all. I said that they
might seem like nits, but, in fact, they are

fundamentally important to understanding PCT.

I see. It is I who needs to read more carefully. You have my
“meaning” nailed. Maybe I said something that does not
completely align with your perceptions, but is still valid none the less.
No, I guess we can only “understand” the model from ONE
perspective. Yours. LOL.

Feel free to clarify if you like.
The statement that I found most problematic was:

Feel free?, for what?, for whom? Who cares what you “found
problematic”. Ken Kitzke might admire you for being the CSGnet
police force but I don’t. Cops “enforce” laws. Since when are
we bound by any “laws of thought” on this net. Is that what
HPCT has become for you? Some collection of recited dogma. Sorry pal, I
thought this forum was for the open exchange of “IDEAS” about
PCT and HPCT. If I wanted to hear dogma I’d go to some house of worship,
thank you, and if I wanted to hear you expound upon the theory I’ll ask.
But you have been most unenlightening.

It sounds to me like you are saying that reaching goals and correcting
error are

two separate things;

Why don’t you ask? I said no such thing. The ENTIRE model is
continuous, nothing happens discreetly. Everything is
“happening” all the time. I was talking about HUMAN
behavior not model behavior. Again, let me say it so you will hear me
this time. YOUR MODEL DOES NOT CONTAIN MEMORY. Actual human
“behavior” relies a great deal on it. Your models of it do not.
I have not seen any models or research by anyone with memory as a
component of an HPCT model. I was suggesting that “goals” (
specifically, “long term” ones) tend to “fizzle” out
because we wind up “adjusting” for error and often lose sight
of our “original” goals in an “entanglement” or web
of near term disturbances.

Is what you said consistent with that understanding of how

control systems
work?

You ask after you lecture me? I’ll let you figure out whether I do or
don’t understand HPCT. I don’t much care if you do or don’t. You don’t
seem either willing to accept any other vantage point of the model and
you aren’t much concerned with what I know or don’t know. What you seem
overly concerned with is for me to say and repeat a 100 hail Mary’s and
repeat after you. Again, I am not interested in “acquiring”
your understanding of the HPCT model. I am interested in
“understanding” it through my own perceptions thank
you.

I think “force” is a
better way to talk about control because it gets across the

idea that the controlled variable is continuously being pushed (forced)
via

control system output to the reference state.

So why not say “pushed”?

This “forcing” is quite
palpable

when the controlled variable is also influenced by disturbances that
oppose system

output.

Really? “Forcing” is not obvious to me. This is not a contest
between “used” and “forced”, they are being used for
different “understandings”.

The word “used” is wrong
because it implies that the perceived state of

the controlled variable is used by the controller as the basis of
decisions

regarding actions to take to get the controlled variable to the goal
state.

Wrong, Wrong, Wrong. First, where does “decisions” come into
this. I was talking about the “construction” of a
perception. Are you going to tell me that perceptions are not
“constructed” with memory? If so, we definitely do not see the
same HPCT model and I like my perceived model much better then
yours.

This

is just a version of the stimulus-response or information processing view
of

control, which PCT has shown to be wrong (see Bill’s 1979 Psych Review
paper).

I don’t need to see Bill’s paper. But it sounds interesting so I will
read it. Thanks, but not for the reasons you think.

Then why would I take the time to
try to help people understand it correctly? I

care very much what others do and don’t know about PCT.

This is a myth. You are interested in indoctrinating By this I
mean, from the Merriam-Webster dictionary;
2 : to cause to be impressed and usually ultimately imbued
(as with a usually partisan or sectarian opinion, point of view, or
principle)

You are not interested in helping people “understand” the
model on THEIR terms, only yours. As long as they understand and
agree on the mathematics they “know” the model. When we begin
to use words to try and define the primitives, ANYTHING goes and you
have NO exclusive domain over the language that is being used. I can
rip Bill’s “Glossary” apart in 5 seconds. Would you like to
start with the definition of “perception”? Hundreds of
Philosophers ( maybe thousands ) have been struggling for thousands of
years to come to some kind of “understanding” of this
concept. I guess if Locke, Kant or Berekely, et al. knew that
perceptions came from an “input function” and were nothing but
signals, we would have no need for Philosophy.

Teaching is about providing reasons why students should be
interested in what you have to say, and then, being able to deliver it in
a way meaningful to the student. HPCT has much to say about this. You
are not concerned with what other people perceive ( at least for the 8
years I have been on this net ) and you are only concerned with how well
they can repeat your point of view. Again Rick, outside of the
mathematics, which is unambiguous, the words we use are open to many
interpretations and those definitions are open to others still. Even in
Bill’s Glossary. At some point you and everyone else will diverge from
everyone else. Even Mr. Powers.

What makes you think that I don’t
know that?

By the way you “treat” people on the net, and your responses to
me over the years. I always felt you were doing me a favor and really
couldn’t and didn’t want to be bothered. You always liked telling
everyone how much you know and that you had the same level of
understanding as Bill. Why this is important to you I have no idea, and
really don’t care. Earlier this year you “suggested” I buy your
book on Experimental Methods. I read the Preface and thought it quite
good. I called you on the phone to discuss a point or two and you told me
the book was “bullshit”. Why did you recommend it to me in the
first place? You knew I was interested in doing PCT research. I read a
bit more, found it interesting, but since you said it was BS I put it
away. I don’t have time for intellectual exercises. That does not show a
great deal of respect for me or my attempts at research. I know a lot
more about HPCT then you think I do, and I am a hellava lot smarter then
you think I am as well.

Knowing this, you must also realize that

your understanding of
anything is unique to you.

To some extent, yes. But I do believe that I share some understandings
with some

people. I am quite sure that my understanding of PCT, for example,
overlaps to a

large extent with Bill’s, and vice versa.

To some extent?, Excuse me. Exactly how do you “know”
that you “share” some “understandings” with some
people. How do you get into their minds? “Overlaps”, maybe, at
some level, with some things. So? Some of the ridges in my fingers are
the same as others but the WHOLE fingerprint is unique.

No one will ever
“understand” PCT the way you do.

I don’t think that’s true. I think Bill does.

No he doesn’t. At some level of defining your words you will diverge. Are
you a betting man? I’m not but I feel lucky.

I think there are some others
who

understand PCT as I do.

Everyone who understands the mathematics of the model
“understands” PCT like you and Bill. Where we all diverge is in
the meanings we give the words to describe and
“understand” certain aspects of the model, like the
primitives.

I agree that my understanding is
not one for one with that

of others. But I think the overlap in human understanding can be
substantial.

No, I don’t think the overlap is “substantial”. I believe it
really doesn’t matter to most people, most of the time, what, or how,
someone “interpreted” ( perceived ) something you did or said.
Most of the things you do simply don’t affect others directly and most
things you say are “heard” but not “listened”
to.

When you go to a restaurant and order a “medium burger”. The
cook has his own ideas about what “medium” means. The closer
the cook comes to interpreting “medium” the way you do the more
likely you are to consider this a “good” place to go for
burgers. You would eat the burger if it was within an acceptable range of
“mediumness” and return it if it was either raw or well-done (
maybe you wouldn’t ) But there is a range of “mediumness” that
would not cause considerable error. This is true for everything in life.
Otherwise we would not be able to live with one another. ( Something we
have a very difficult time doing )

It’s

really easy to tell the extent to which people understand something (like
PCT) in

the same way; just see how much of a disturbance is created for you by
what they

say.

Really? You have a way of identifying, understanding ( i.e. putting a
specific disturbance with a specific variable, in real time ), and
measuring disturbances in the real world? Where have you been? Don’t talk
tracking task. Why don’t you simply provide a log of a days worth of
activities and all the disturbances you dealt with , the magnitude of
each one and the resulting perception from that disturbance.

All I know about what you do or
don’t know is what you say.

No, Not what I “say”. What I write. There is a big difference.
But when I or anyone else “writes” something they do so with a
certain intent or goal in mind. I try to use words that represent the way
I am thinking and hope others “interpret” those words the way I
“intended”. I can find out if the words where interpreted
correctly by the responses I get. If I get a question I know someone is

  1. Interested enough to inquire and clarify 2) What others may have
    “problems” with. If I get back a typical Marken response, I
    usually ( not always ) get Your perceived notion of what it is I don’t
    understand. Just look at the word “used”, and the attributes
    you gave to my intent. Of course everything that followed that was a
    waste of both time and space.

Perhaps you really do

know, for example, that reaching goals and correcting error are
simultaneous

components of the same process: control. But when you say something
like

"…I don’t believe we spend a great deal of time trying to
“reach” goals. I

think most of our time is spent correcting error and getting
by…"

it sounds like you think they are two separate processes and that one can
occur

without the other, which, of course, is not correct. So forgive me if
I

misunderstood what you said. Maybe you could try to say whatever you
meant n

another way to see if I would be able to understand
better.

I really appreciate the apology, but why must it come to this?, I could
absolutely “describe” it another way if I knew what it was that
you didn’t understand. It is unfathomable to me that you actually believe
I think the model is a “set” of discrete events?

I am less interested in acceptance
of PCT than in understanding of PCT.

The two go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other. If you are
interested in one, you need to be interested in both, equally. The
inverse is also true. If someone does not “accept” PCT they
don’t understand it and if they “understand” it and don’t
“accept” it they don’t know what they are missing. LOL

People who

accept but don’t understand PCT are not really going to be very helpful
in terms

of making progress in the science (or application) of PCT.

I disagree completely. First, how does one “accept” something
with out “understanding” it? PCT is not a religion, we don’t
“accept” things on the basis of “belief” alone. ( at
least I hope not :-)) Second, you can’t “apply” HPCT
anymore then you can “apply” Physics. You can use it to get a
better understanding of how things work, Primarily, but not restricted to
Human behavior. ( Human Physiology being a close second ). ALL
“practical” applications “utilize” PCT. the same way
all matter and energy conform to the laws of Physics ( Thermodynamics,
etc. ) It’s unavoidable. The “problem” we have at this point is

  1. our science is not as developed as Physics. 2) Not enough people are
    currently “working” on “understanding” the HPCT
    model.

In the 8 years I have been on the net, I have never seen Chapter 15.
explored. It remains the great unknown ( as far as I am concerned ) No
progress at all has been made on gaining any additional insight into
memory and how it is utilized in the model, then what Bill published 30
years ago. I am attempting to do just that. I am seriously trying to look
at “cognition” from an HPCT perspective. I have some major
prelim work to do ( which I am currently working on ) but I fully intend
on contributing something to the cause of advancing the use of
HPCT.

There are quite a few

people out there who have accepted PCT – Carver/Scheier, etc – without
having

understood it. I think such people are more of an impediment to progress
in PCT

than are people who don’t accept PCT (whether the latter understand it or
not).

Exactly what do these people accept about PCT? I read one of
Carver/Scheir’s books and distinctly remember walking away knowing they
knew very little about the theory. That was before I knew very much
about the theory myself.

I am no longer angry. I feel like junking the entire post, but I won’t. I
hope I haven’t wasted my time.

Marc

···

At 03:03 PM 5/1/2003 -0400, you wrote:

[
From Bill Powers (2003.05.02.0946 MDT)]

Marc Abrams (2003.05.01.1828)--

This post might seem inflammatory to some. I am ticked.

Yes, it does. You should not post when you are ticked. It comes out
defensive and hostile, which greatly weakens whatever you have to say. It's
paradoxical, but the louder we yell and the madder we get, the less
influence we have on other people, and the less they care what we think.
Infuriating, but true.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Bruce Nevin (2003.05.02 14:46 EDT)]

Purpose: Propose some alternative understandings of "adjusting for error instead of reaching goals", since Rick's understanding seems not to be what Marc intended.

Marc Abrams (2003.05.01.1828) --

I was suggesting that "goals" ( specifically, "long term" ones) tend to "fizzle" out because we wind up "adjusting" for error and often lose sight of our "original" goals in an "entanglement" or web of near term disturbances.

When you talk of "adjusting" for error do you mean reorganizing when the existing control structures are unable to reduce error?

I think you were referring to your (2003.04.29.2316):

I don't believe we spend a great
deal of time trying to "reach" goals. I think most of our time is spent
correcting error and getting by. By this I mean, that very often whatever
it was that started us on a certain path, is often lost in the
entanglements of life. If you were to ask yourself. What is my goal in
life?, How many could give a reasonable answer? And if you could, how about
the follow up questions of , Exactly what do you do on a daily basis to
reach that goal? Very difficult questions.

Here, it seems that you are referring to long-term "life aim" goals. Are you saying that long-term goals might be changed or abandoned before we reach them? When you say "most of our time is spent correcting error and getting by" do you mean that we spend most of our time controlling short-term goals which don't seem to contribute to controlling those long-term "life aim" goals? That we control these short-term goals with higher gain than we control the long-term goals, so that they're always "on hold" as something to do later in a sequence after these more pressing matters get attended to?

Part of my uncertainty and confusion is that this was immediately preceded in the same paragraph, with no segu�, by this:

When one communicates with another (through _any_ medium, print or voice)
the person communicating has a some knowledge and some beliefs that he/she
would like the other person or persons to "_understand_" or perceive. But
in _all_ of the cases, _all_ of the time. The person doing the perceiving
does not interpret the communication in exactly the same way the
communicator intends it. Most of the time it just doesn't matter. We are
usually in the ballpark, and minor differences in interpretation does not
matter. Sometimes it matters a great deal.

This context suggests that in the passage that I quoted just above you were talking about failing to reach a goal of communicating (or perhaps a goal of understanding?) because we instead "correct error and get by". But this doesn't make any sense to me, since you said (above) that we in fact always make errors of interpretation and that most of the time this doesn't matter. So, unless you tell me otherwise, I'm going to assume that you just jumped from the one topic to the other without using a turn signal (so to speak).

OK then, I've come up with two possible understandings of the passages that I started out quoting, to add to Rick's, which apparently was wrong.

1. Rick's: You seem to be making a distinction between "controlling" and "correcting error" and that doesn't make sense, what do you mean?

2. We "adjust for error" by reorganizing when our existing control organization cannot reduce error. The process of reorganization somehow includes (or results in) changes in our long-term goals.

3. We control short-term goals ("correcting error") and therefore don't get around to controlling long-term "life aim" goals?

Was either of these what you meant?

If (3) then I would suggest that they are not really goals (intentions) but only statements of purpose (verbalizations of intent) which have not actually become controlled perceptions.

         /Bruce Nevin

···

At 02:21 AM 5/2/2003, Marc Abrams wrote:
At 02:41 AM 4/30/2003, Marc Abrams wrote:

From [ Marc Abrams (2003.05.02.0857) ]

Purpose: I will attempt to clarify my position vis a vie Rick with regard
to both my concept of “accepting” PCT and my view ( ideas ) on
“goals”, vis a vie PCT

I would also like to thank Rick up front for a great post. Great because
you tried to clarify your understanding of my position. It shows you
care and I really appreciate that. I also apologize for saying you did
not care in my last post. I was wrong.

I would also like to tack on to this post 5 points to my proposal for
posting to CSGnet.

This is really two posts in one so it might seem to be a bit lengthy Part
I deals with my conversation with Rick. The second part ( clearly
delineated :slight_smile: ) deals with my proposed posting
“etiquette”.

[From Rick Marken
(2003.05.01.2230)]

What I don’t understand is this: You said:

"…I don’t believe we
spend a great deal of time trying to “reach” goals. I

think most of our time is spent correcting error and getting
by…"

This makes no sense to me based on my understanding of PCT. So I wonder
what you meant by it. What do you mean when you say that you don’t
believe we spend much time trying to reach goals but instead spend most
of our time correcting errors? What, for example, do you imagine people
are doing when they are correcting errors? Do you think they are not
trying to reach goals when they do this?

First, “goal” is a loaded word ( i.e. it has many different
working definitions ) I believe the word “goal” should not be
used with regard to “reference signals/conditions”. The
“technical” ( i.e. the specific meaning for ) word for
“goal” in the model. A reference condition, in most,
but not all cases, is an error signal from a level above to a level
below. I interpret that to mean that most of our reference conditions are
mostly ( not all ), but mostly, made up of errors from higher levels. I
interpret this to mean that given enough time and complexity, most of our
“goals”, or at least the original meanings, are lost in an
entanglement of local and current actions and thoughts dealing with and
correcting for error coming from “environmental disturbances”.
I don’t believe “long range” “goals” are a
“useful” construct from a HPCT perspective. My “working
definition” of “goal” is some conscious ( not all
reference conditions are in fact conscious ) “plan” ( ie. a
series of ideas and actions that will “get me” something
“I want” ). This is different then the “technical”
use of the word in the model. In fact from now on I will never refer to
the reference condition in model as a “goal”. I no longer
“need” it for my “understanding” of the
model.

Let me try and give you an example of what I mean.

Effectiveness of “Long Range Plan” vs. “Short Range
Plan”, Subject; Losing weight

Long range “goal”; I would like to lose 50 pounds. To do this,
I need to change my eating habits and the foods I eat. Going on
Weight Watchers seems like a good idea. Ok, I’m set. I want to lose 50
pounds and I am going on Weight Watchers to do it. This should take 6-12
months.

This seems like a reasonable “goal” and an
“attainable” one. We know that we should always try to set
attainable “goals”

Now comes the hard part. :slight_smile: The day to day, hour to hour struggle with
both eating habits and food choices. As we try to “implement” (
i.e. carry out ) our “plan” and “reach” our goal we
run into innumerable obstacles ( disturbances ). Some examples, I go out
to eat and the group I am with decides on a restaurant that provides very
poor food choices. Do I not go and forego the social contact?, Bring a
tuna sandwich ;-),etc. This happens a lot. “Social” gatherings,
holidays, parties, religious observances ( Passover or Lent being an
example ),etc Provide numerous "disturbances that must be dealt with
at the moment. This of course leads to other “errors” and
“disturbances” that must be dealt with. It doesn’t take much to
“go off” the diet. The trick is to get back on as soon as
possible and not dwell in the past. Many people have a very difficult
time with this. They get “discouraged”, think of themselves as
having no “will power”, and forget about the diet. Or they
succeed, lose some weight and “forget” about how the change in
habit and choice got them there and regain the weight. When you throw in
the normal complexities of life, like, business travel and meetings,
unexpected events, health issues, etc. I could go on forever :slight_smile:

This is what I mean by “entanglements” and how
“error” very often prevents us from reaching “long term
goals”.

It seems that a better strategy from a HPCT perspective would be a
“short term” one. Maybe going day by day. and even reducing
that to an hour by hour “plan” for some. The “12 step
programs” ( Alcoholics Anonymous, etc. ) have some characteristics
of “short-term” planning.

Have I clarified my position with regard to my interpretation of the use
of the word “goal”? Do you agree or disagree with my
“interpretations” Please explain “why” if you
disagree.

Not necessarily. In PCT, for
example, I have encountered many people who have accepted PCT without
understanding it – at least, without understanding the theory as I
understand it. Of course, that doesn’t mean they don’t understand
“PCT”. It’s just that they don’t understand the theory I call
“PCT”, and that’s really the only one I’m interested in.

What do you mean by the word “accepting”? If one
“accepts” and “understands” the model and then goes
out and conducts “research” that “shows” no, or
little “understanding” of model what does it mean to
“accept” the model? “Acceptance” becomes a
meaningless idea. From our friends at Merriam- Webster, Accept;
d : to receive into the mind :
UNDERSTAND

<words mean … what we accept them as meaning – J.L.Lowes>

“accept” is a synonym for “understand”. When you say one you “imply” the other. You don’t. What is your take?

First, how does one “accept” something with out “understanding” it?
The case of Carver and Scheier is a good one. They enthusiastically accepted PCT (in a book written back in the early 1980s) and then proceeded to report the results of research program that evidenced no understanding of the possible existence of or methods of testing for controlled variables. So you have acceptance sans understanding. It happens all the time.

See response above.

Have I clarified my position with regard to the concept of “accept”? If not please explain what remains.

I am no longer angry.
Good. I think it’s good to get these things off your chest.

Yes, but I found receiving and responding to this post a lot more enjoyable. I hope this was not a flippant response. I don’t believe it is. Just a bit of doubt.

Part II Posting to CSGnet.

  1. These suggestions are meant to help ease and clarify communication on the CSG list. I am not proposing a mandatory method. It’s obvious that all posts would not benefit from a purpose statement. But I do believe “conversations” would become “clearer” and more “useful” if one is used. I personally have found it helpful. I am suggesting these things on an as needed/want to use basis. I am not advocating any net “laws”.

  2. I have this nasty habit of replying to a post as I read it. Bad move.I would suggest very strongly that one read the entire post first and then respond point by point if appropriate. I have found that when I did this, it helped formulate my “purpose” statement and as B. Nevin pointed out yesterday, helped me “tighten” up, and keep me focused. I also found myself changing the purpose statement as I went along. Very helpful.

  3. Use of Quotes; I would like to expand the use of quotes. Presently I use quotes when I feel a word or phrase might have different meanings for different people. That still holds. I would also like to include words that might have different “working definitions” for different people. By “working definition” I mean the word used in a specific context with a specific meaning derived from our perceptions of the world, not the dictionary. “learning”, “memory”, “perception”, “understanding” are such words. When using them in a “technical” ( having a specific meaning in the HPCT model ) I would not use quotes on the word. I would refer you to the glossary provided in B:CP for further “understanding” I think we need to do this with more words. This indicates to me the reader, that you understand that there may be multiple meanings involved and clarification may be necessary. On the other hand, if we use a word with “technical” meaning then we know we have some generalized meaning of the word, at least to some level. It might even be useful to know at what level we no longer have a common understanding.

  4. Etiquette Sheet; I think it might prove useful to have on the CSGnet web site a page devoted to this list with an intro and common practices we have on it.

I will provide an example of what I mean:

CSGnet Etiquette

The CSGnet is a list devoted to the study of Perceptual Control Theory (PCT/HPCT) as described by Bill Powers in his book Behavior: The Control of Perception ( B:CP) Bill began his formulation of the scientific theory over 50 years ago and it continues to this day. That is what this list is about. The exchange of ideas, opinions and research on the model Bill postulated in his seminal book. Blah, Blah, Blah …

On this list we like to keep it simple, free, interesting and open. To further those goals we suggest the following be adhered to. You are not required to do so, but adhering to some of these conventions make it more enjoyable for everyone.

  1. Each post should have a “personal header” on it that looks like this;

From [ Name (Year.Month.date.time) ex. (2003.05.02.1712), we use a 24 hr. clock.

ex. From [ Marc Abrams (2003.05.02.1713)]

This helps when we reply to posts, it helps us to know which post you are responding to. It also helps the list archivist in logging the threads.

  1. Purpose statement: This is a little abstract that is intended to inform the people on the list of the purpose of the post. It is like a preface to a book.

ex. Purpose: To respond to Bill’s statement that xyz is connected to ABC. I disagree and will attempt to show why I feel differently.

Every post certainly does not need a purpose statement. Use it when you feel it will give clarity and structure to your post.

  1. Ask lots of questions by paraphrasing, such as, “Did I understand you correctly?”, “Is this what you meant?”, “What I hear you saying…” Sometimes it might prove useful to go off-line with someone to help clarify a point and not waste a lot of bandwidth

These are inquiries that help clarify and provide further understanding for all parties in a thread.

  1. Be respectful. We all have are own ideas about things. No idea is dumb or outlandish. Just keep in mind the purpose of this list is to discuss HPCT/PCT as it relates to human behavior. If it isn’t about HPCT/PCT you need to think about a list that will accommodate you

  2. Blah, Blah, Blah

That is it. What does everyone think?

Marc

intro etiquette sheet. recommended lists as amazon, personal “glossaries”,

···

At 10:33 PM 5/1/2003 -0700, you wrote:

From [ Marc Abrams (2003.05.02.1807) ]

[
From Bill Powers (2003.05.02.0946 MDT)]

Yes, it does. You should not post when you are ticked.

I don't think my post was anything close to being hostile. I said what I
said because I sincerely believed what I said was true. Now you may
disagree with me about that and that is fine. But I find it interesting to
see what you focused on. From that whole post, that was your leading
comment. Says more about you then it does about me.

It comes out

defensive and hostile, which greatly weakens whatever you have to say. It's
paradoxical, but the louder we yell and the madder we get, the less
influence we have on other people, and the less they care what we think.
Infuriating, but true.

I'm sorry _you_ feel that way. Others may or may not fell similarly to you.
Since you were the only one so far to comment on it I will assume you were
either the only other person who read it, or, others did not perceive it
that way after reading the entire post, or they did and did not care to
comment.

Not everyone is going to like what you have say. So you might as well say
what you intend. I did no "hollering", "wringing of hands", or "stomping of
feet". I actually got a phone call specifically praising me for that post.
I didn't do it for either response. Rick will do whatever he will with what
I provided. I have no control over what he does with anything I provide. I
tried to be as clear and to the point as I could. I actually think I did a
helluva job. I'm sorry you could not see past the first sentence.

Marc

···

At 09:55 AM 5/2/2003 -0600, you wrote:

From [ Marc Abrams (2003.05.02.1909) ]

Purpose: To respond to B. Nevins' alternative "understandings" to the
"adjusting for error..." question and the concept of "long-term goals"

I would also like to add, that this discussion has nothing and everything
to do with HPCT. I am not talking about anything specific to the HPCT`model
as it currently exists. I am talking about a place I would like to go to.
Human Cognition. "Goals" are one aspect of "Cognition". We need to discuss
these things to see how we might be able to model some of these aspects and
what kinds of data do we need. This is pre-scientific, but necessary. I
thank Bruce N for his contribution to this end. I have really enjoyed this
exchange. I am learning. I will be posting soon on a number of "cognitive"
issues. I hope a few folks are interested in this stuff. It's always nice
to work with others.

[From Bruce Nevin (2003.05.02 14:46 EDT)]

When you talk of "adjusting" for error do you mean reorganizing when the
existing control structures are unable to reduce error?

I wasn't specifically talking about reorganizing. But that would certainly
put a dent in things. Good point.
Need a second job as a translator ? LOL I wasn't necessarily talking about
_one_ catastrophic event. That could surely happen, but I was talking about
"normal" kinds of things happening on a regular basis. We tend to "drift"
away from long term "goals" rather then make conscious concrete decisions
to stop or change.

Here, it seems that you are referring to long-term "life aim" goals.

If by "life aim" you mean "goals" that are in place to provide us with what
we want out of life, then my answer is yes. If not please define "life aim"

Are
you saying that long-term goals might be changed or abandoned before we
reach them?

_Usually_ are. Do you remember what you wanted to be when you were
a`kid?`If it was a linguist, you are one of a very few people who can say
you realized a childhood "goal". Not an impossibility, but extremely rare.
I can think about many things that I simply got "sidetracked" with and
never completed. A college degree being one of them.

When you say "most of our time is spent correcting error and
getting by" do you mean that we spend most of our time controlling
short-term goals which don't seem to contribute to controlling those
long-term "life aim" goals?

Right on. Exactly.

That we control these short-term goals with
higher gain than we control the long-term goals, so that they're always "on
hold" as something to do later in a sequence after these more pressing
matters get attended to?

Your reading my mind. Your getting scary LOL. You say things so well. I am
striving to be able to present my ideas as crisply as you can. I don't know
if I ever will but you are a master. I am fortunate. We have a number of
good writers on this list. Anyone of which I can and will learn from.

I'm going to assume that you just
jumped from the one topic to the other without using a turn signal (so to
speak).

Yes, and thank you for pointing that out to me.

OK then, I've come up with two possible understandings of the passages that
I started out quoting, to add to Rick's, which apparently was wrong.

1. Rick's: You seem to be making a distinction between "controlling" and
"correcting error" and that doesn't make sense, what do you mean?

2. We "adjust for error" by reorganizing when our existing control
organization cannot reduce error. The process of reorganization somehow
includes (or results in) changes in our long-term goals.

3. We control short-term goals ("correcting error") and therefore don't get
around to controlling long-term "life aim" goals?

Was either of these what you meant?

No. Your slipping. LOL. Let me hit each point.

1) I corrected this yesterday. "correcting error'" is not a discrete
function of the model. I never said it was and I never intended to imply it.

2) Every time we "adjust for error" we are changing an aspect of our
behavior. You can say we "reorganize" with every "cycle" of the model, but
that was not Bill's intent with reorganization ( at least I don't think so
:-)) Reorganization means attempting _many_ different kinds of actions,
until you get one that provides a reduction in error. Every time we change
our actions our perceptions change as well. Considering the number of
control processes that are going on at any one point in time, with the
large number of variables and many different levels, we are talking about
some very complex happenings :-), and many interesting questions

3) This comes the closest. I don't think "don't get around to it" is quite
the way I would state it, and is my main objection. We just don't consider
or "understand" well how our short-term "goals" will ultimately affect our
ability to reach our long-term goals. Sometimes we have no say in the
matter, however much we might try. Life is full of all kinds of twists and
turns, only some of which is under our direct control.

If (3) then I would suggest that they are not really goals (intentions) but
only statements of purpose (verbalizations of intent) which have not
actually become controlled perceptions.

When does a "life aim" "goal" become controlled? When we merely state it?,
think it?, some combination?

How do you differentiate between "statements of purpose", "intent", and
"goal". If I say or think, "I intend on becoming a doctor". I perceive that
as a "goal" ,"statement of purpose" or "intent". In my dictionary.
"intend", "intent", "goal", are all statements of purpose.

Are we capable of maintaining control over long periods of time with
multiple disturbances? Theoretically it might be possible, just like
standing a pencil on it's point or reconstructing an egg that has cracked
open.Some important questions. Do we know how long something can be or has
been _CONTINUOUSLY_ controlled? Are there practical limits? What does it
mean to control a "long-term goal"? How long is long?, How short is short?
Can we control a "life aim" goal by controlling many different kinds and
types of "sub-goals"? How do we define a "goal" in terms of specific
controlled perceptions? What does it mean to control a "life aim goal"?

These questions are not asked flippantly. I presently have no answers. I do
believe the answers lie in our ability to "understand" the HPCT model with
memory. As I said in the past, this is very simple, but not easy. It's
going to be fun trying to answer some of these questions.

Have I made myself any clearer? I'm not so clear myself with most of this
stuff. The more I learn, the more damn questions I seem to have,:slight_smile: not answers

Marc

···

At 02:47 PM 5/2/2003 -0400, you wrote:

[From Rick Marken (2003.05.02.2130)]
Marc Abrams (2003.05.02.0857)

Rick Marken (2003.05.01.2230)]
What I don’t understand is this: You said:

"…I don’t believe we spend a
great deal of time trying to “reach” goals. I

think most of our time is spent correcting error and getting by…"
This makes no sense to me based on my understanding of PCT…

A reference condition, in most, but not all cases, is an error
signal from a level above to a level below. I interpret that to mean that
most of our reference conditions are mostly ( not all ), but mostly,
made up of errors from higher levels.

I think I see you problem. It’s true that the reference inputs to lower
level systems are derived from the error signals coming from higher level
systems. But these reference inputs still function as reference inputs
(goal specifications for the state of the perceptual input to the system).
For example, suppose the error signals, e3.1 and e3.2, from two third
level systems combined to produce the reference input , r2.1, to a second
level system: r2.1 = k(e3.1+e3.2). In this case the reference signal
(r2.1) is made up of two error signals but it doesn’t function as an
error signal. It functions as a specification for the perceptual input
to system 2.1, p2.1. When p2.1<>r2.1 there is error (e.2.1 = r2.1-p2.1)
that may directly drive an output or contribute to a reference input to
a next lower level system. So when you say that we spend time correcting
error you are also saying that we spend time bringing perceptions to their
references (goal states). It’s the same thing, at all levels in the hierarchy.

Let me try and give you an example of what I mean…
Now comes the hard part. :slight_smile: The day to day, hour to hour struggle with
both eating habits and food choices…When you throw in the normal complexities
of life, like, business travel and meetings, unexpected events, health
issues, etc. I could go on forever :slight_smile:

This is what I mean by “entanglements” and how “error” very often prevents
us from reaching “long term goals”.

I think this is simply conflict. You have two incompatible goals: to eat
and not to eat. You can’t achieve both simultaneously. So both systems
are always experiencing some error. The error that prevents you from
reaching one goal is created by the error that prevents you from reaching
the other goal.

It seems that a better strategy from a HPCT perspective
would be a “short term” one.
PCT suggest several strategies for solving conflicts like this. One is
to avoid one of the goals (stay away from attractive eating situations,
say). This doesn’t really solve the conflict; it just avoids it. The only
way to really solve a conflict is to go up a level and change the higher
order goals that are setting the conflicting lower order goals.
Have I clarified my position with regard to my interpretation
of the use of the word “goal”?
To a large extent yes.
Do you agree or disagree with my “interpretations”
Please explain “why” if you disagree.
I disagree with your interpretations. I hope my explanations above help
you see why.

Not necessarily. In PCT, for example,
I have encountered many people who have accepted PCT without understanding
it …
What do you mean by the word “accepting”? If one “accepts” and “understands”
the model and then goes out and conducts “research” that “shows” no, or
little “understanding” of model what does it mean to “accept” the model?
“Acceptance” becomes a meaningless idea.
I don’t think it does. It just means that they have accepted a set
of principles and system concepts that they label “PCT” but are not the
same as the set of principles and system concepts that I label “PCT”.
Have I clarified my position with regard to the concept
of “accept”? If not please explain what remains.
I think so. Your position seems to be that accepting and understanding
an explanation are the same thing. I don’t think that’s true at all.
And the fact that it’s not true has caused enormous problems for PCT.
Best regards

Rick

···

Richard S. Marken

MindReadings.com

marken@mindreadings.com

310 474-0313

[From Rick Marken (2003.05.03.0910)]

Marc Abrams (2003.05.03.0913)

I interpret
conflict to mean different reference conditions for two or more control
systems. I interpret error to mean a difference between a perceived state
and a reference condition. Do you agree or disagree with my assessment so
far? If so please state why.

I completely agree with this. It looks like basic PCT to me.

Now to address your "strategies". Think about your words. I interpret ( I
sometimes use "interpret" and "perceive" as synonyms ) your statement to
mean that you can "control" error. I think you mean you can control
"conflict". Am I correct in this belief?

No, I don't mean that people can control conflict. People control perceptions,
which can sometimes result in conflict. Conflict involves two (or more) control
systems working against each other in an effort to get the same perception to two
different reference states. If the systems are equally strong, they will prevent
each other from getting the perception to the reference states. That is, neither
will control successfully; both will experience error.

If not, how do you "avoid" error.

By eliminating the conflict. Having the higher level control system set the goals
of the conflicted control systems so that these systems achieve their goals in
sequence is the typical solution. So the system that wants to eat will eat and
then the system that doesn't want to eat will not eat, in alternating sequence.
Each system gets the perception it wants and there is no error.

How do you know that when you "do" something that it will lead to a
reduction of error?

We don't necessarily know consciously what actions reduce error. People become
organized (in terms of how outputs are connected to error, for example) so that
error produces outputs that reduce error. That is, people have learned how to
control the perceptions they control.

You "do" something to change your perception, not your
error. You have no control over error, only your perception. Do you agree
or disagree with this interpretation? If not please say why.

Yes. We control perceptions (keep p = r) but, when we do this, we are keeping
error at zero (when p equals r, r-p (error) equals 0).

>I disagree with your interpretations. I hope my explanations above help
>you see why.

Your "explanations" are very helpful.,but I am
interested in exploring why _you_ think you disagree
with me. Could you please elaborate on this with specific examples.

It may be that we no longer disagree. This all started when you said:

"...I don't believe we spend a great deal of time trying to "reach" goals. I
think most of our time is spent correcting error and getting by..."

I disagreed with this because I think reaching goals and correcting error are the
same process. You seemed to be saying that they are different processes. In my
last post I explained this :

when you say that we spend time correcting error you are also saying
that we spend time bringing perceptions to their references (goal states).
It's the same thing, at all levels in the hierarchy.

And you agreed:

Yes. Exactly

So perhaps you now see that it makes no sense to say that people spend more time
correcting error than reaching goals. It makes no sense because they are
correcting error _while_ they are reaching goals, and vice versa. If you agree
that what you said above is not really correct then, indeed, we don't disagree.

>I don't think it does. It just means that they have accepted a set of
>principles and system concepts that they label "PCT" but are not the same
>as the set of principles and system concepts that I label "PCT".

What does it mean to "accept" a set of "principles" and "system" "concepts
that they "label"? Is it the "labeling" or the "understanding" of those
"labels"?.

PCT is a label for a _specific_ set of principles and system concepts. Some
people accept PCT under the assumption that PCT is made up of the set of
principles and system concepts a, b, c, and d while others accept PCT under the
assumption that PCT is made up of the set of principles and system concepts a, c,
g, x. It's easy to tell that there is this difference because when one person
says "PCT says g" the other will disagree and say "No it doesn't". This has
nothing to do with which set of principles and system concepts -- a,b,c,d or
a,c,g,x -- are _really_ PCT or, more interestingly, which are the best approach
to understanding behavior. I'm just trying to explain the difference between a
label, like PCT, and the perceptions it points to (a,b...etc).

How do you ascertain that your perceptions are "correct"

If you mean "correct" in the cosmic sense, I try to ascertain that using the
scientific method (modeling and testing). If you mean "correct" in the sense of
the whether my view of PCT is the same as Bill Powers' view (since he is the one
who invented PCT) then I ascertain that in terms of how often I have said "PCT
says a,b,c..." and Bill has said "No it doesn't". It happens, but it's rare.

>I think so. Your position seems to be that accepting and understanding an
>explanation are the same thing. I don't think that's true at all. And the
>fact that it's not true has caused enormous problems for PCT.

Yes. I go along with both the Oxford English dictionary and Merriam-Webster
definitions. Since both words do not currently have a technical meaning in
HPCT I will defer to those higher sources :-).

I also think that it has caused tremendous problems for _YOU_, not CSGnet.

I agree. It has caused some problems for me. I've been surprised to find how
prevalent is the notion that one should receive "full credit" for understanding a
scientific theory for simply testifying to belief in it. It's like expecting to
get an "A" in physics for simply testifying to belief in Newton.

Best regards

Rick

···

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

From [ Marc Abrams (2003.05.03.0913) ]

Purpose: To continue to dialogue with Rick. I am finding this extremely
helpful in "understanding" Rick's "perceived" concepts of the model. I hope
he feels the same. Although we have some disagreements I think i9t useful
to expose them and talk about them. I believe this will make communication
between Rick and myself "better" and more "helpful" to each So as long as
Rick is willing to share his thoughts on the matter, I will to, and I will
let it run it's course. In addition, I would hope that Rick "truly
understands" that different interpretations of this higher level concept
called " goals" is possible.

[From Rick Marken (2003.05.02.2130)]

I think I see you[ r ] problem.

Not mine. _OURS_ You correctly interpreted what I said below. So it was a
matter of us communicating our ideas so at some level we "understood" what
the other was saying. Another great example of what I have been talking
about over the last several days, and what Bruce N. and you are picking up on.

So when you say that we spend time correcting error you are also saying
that we spend time bringing perceptions to their references (goal states).
It's the same thing, at all levels in the hierarchy.

Yes. Exactly

The error that prevents you from reaching one goal is created by the error
that prevents you from reaching the other goal.

Yep. In a very general sense.

PCT suggest several strategies for solving conflicts like this. One is to
avoid one of the goals (stay away from attractive eating situations, say).
This doesn't really solve the conflict; it just avoids it. The only way to
really solve a conflict is to go up a level and change the higher order
goals that are setting the conflicting lower order goals.

I'm going to address two points, one having to do with something you
replied to later in the post.

First. "Conflict" has a "technical" meaning ( i.e. it means something very
specific to the model ) It address "INTRA" ( i.e. among several control
systems ) relationships between control systems. "Error", addresses "INTER"
(i.e. internal to each control system ) "Conflict" , like "goal", has
several interpretations outside of the technical one. Why not call error,
"conflict" in the model?. I don't think they are synonyms. I interpret
conflict to mean different reference conditions for two or more control
systems. I interpret error to mean a difference between a perceived state
and a reference condition. Do you agree or disagree with my assessment so
far? If so please state why.

Now to address your "strategies". Think about your words. I interpret ( I
sometimes use "interpret" and "perceive" as synonyms ) your statement to
mean that you can "control" error. I think you mean you can control
"conflict". Am I correct in this belief? If not, how do you "avoid" error.
How do you know that when you "do" something that it will lead to a
reduction of error? You "do" something to change your perception, not your
error. You have no control over error, only your perception. Do you agree
or disagree with this interpretation? If not please say why.

Have I clarified my position with regard to my interpretation of the use
of the word "goal"?

To a large extent yes.

Great. You have , as I said in my Purpose statement, clarified for me your
"understanding" of me. :slight_smile:

Do you agree or disagree with my "interpretations" Please explain "why"
if you disagree.

I disagree with your interpretations. I hope my explanations above help
you see why.

Sorry. You did not disagree with my interpretations. You did not
"understand" them. Your "explanations" are very helpful.,but I am
interested in exploring why _you_ think you disagree
with me. Could you please elaborate on this with specific examples.

Not necessarily. In PCT, for example, I have encountered many people who
have accepted PCT without understanding it ...

What do you mean by the word "accepting"? If one "accepts" and
"understands" the model and then goes out and conducts "research" that
"shows" no, or little "understanding" of model what does it mean to
"accept" the model? "Acceptance" becomes a meaningless idea.

I don't think it does. It just means that they have accepted a set of
principles and system concepts that they label "PCT" but are not the same
as the set of principles and system concepts that I label "PCT".

What does it mean to "accept" a set of "principles" and "system" "concepts
that they "label"? Is it the "labeling" or the "understanding" of those
"labels"?. How do you ascertain that your perceptions are "correct" ( i.e.
How do you "know" your interpretations are in line with the intent of the
sender ). If these short volley of exchanges between you and I are any
indication ( and I believe they are ) your "understanding" of their work
might need some revision if you had the ability to have the same kind of
dialogue you and I are having. I am not saying it _would_. I am suggesting
it _might_. It seems to me that you may not be able to dialogue the authors
in this manner, or even care to. But making statements about the intent of
anyone else without providing examples of exactly why you feel that way,
leaves you open for the second guess. Again, something you may not care (
control for ) about.

I think so. Your position seems to be that accepting and understanding an
explanation are the same thing. I don't think that's true at all. And the
fact that it's not true has caused enormous problems for PCT.

Yes. I go along with both the Oxford English dictionary and Merriam-Webster
definitions. Since both words do not currently have a technical meaning in
HPCT I will defer to those higher sources :-).

I also think that it has caused tremendous problems for _YOU_, not CSGnet.
Your "working definition" of one or both words go against everyday
conventions. maybe it's you who has to elaborate on _YOUR_ interpretations
of those words. Can you really blame others for not "understanding" you. I
don't think so. Think about it.

Marc

···

At 09:27 PM 5/2/2003 -0700, you wrote:

[From Dick Robertson,2003.05.031328CDT]

Bruce Nevin wrote:

[From Bruce Nevin (2003.05.02 14:46 EDT)]

Purpose: Propose some alternative understandings of "adjusting for error
instead of reaching goals", since Rick's understanding seems not to be what
Marc intended.

  Etc.

Bruce,

I admire greatly your patience and skill in accomodating some of the more
"difficult" members of CSGnet and the salutary effect I think it is having on all
of us.

Your ability to reflect and check out messages ("so what you are saying is.....")
would do the late Carl Rogers credit. I don't know whether you learned any of it
from him or developed it--whole cloth--from your mastery of PCT. Whichever, my
hat's off to you.

Best, Dick R

···

From [ Marc Abrams (2003.05.03.1217) ]

Purpose: Damn, this is fun, informative, and illuminating, but it's taking
so much time :slight_smile: I will continue to explore these issues with Rick as long
as he is willing and interested.

[From Rick Marken (2003.05.03.0910)]

> I interpret

> conflict to mean different reference conditions for two or more control
> systems. I interpret error to mean a difference between a perceived state
> and a reference condition. Do you agree or disagree with my assessment so
> far? If so please state why.

I completely agree with this. It looks like basic PCT to me.

If you agree with what I said then you agree with my notion of "inter" and
"intra" "conflict". You contradict yourself later in post making it look
like you _don't_ agree with my statement. I will point it out to you later.

> Now to address your "strategies". Think about your words. I interpret ( I
> sometimes use "interpret" and "perceive" as synonyms ) your statement to
> mean that you can "control" error. I think you mean you can control
> "conflict". Am I correct in this belief?

No, I don't mean that people can control conflict. People control perceptions,
which can sometimes result in conflict. Conflict involves two (or more)
control
systems working against each other in an effort to get the same perception
to two
different reference states. If the systems are equally strong, they will
prevent
each other from getting the perception to the reference states. That is,
neither
will control successfully; both will experience error.

I agree with your interpretation. You are talking about "inter" conflict
among control systems. You state the technical PCT definition for conflict.
I purposefully quoted my use of the word "conflict" as well as "control" in
the above statement to delineate my intent on defining those words
_NON-TECHNICALLY_. Meaning those words were not used to describe PCT model
behavior. They were intended to describe more normative uses of those
words. Ideas, such as "controlling" ones temper, Being in "control" of
things, etc. My use of the word "conflict" was similarly. i.e. the
"conflict" in the Middle East, I have a "conflict" of ideas, etc. These
ideas cannot be "transformed" to a one to one relationship and "morphed" in
PCT. You need HPCT and a memory component to do that ( Hopefully ) Let me
restate a "rule" I am using on CSGnet. I am using "quotes" on words that
have _non-technical_ PCT meanings and usually have different "working
definitions" for each of us. Ok? Please review my passage from a prior post;

  From [ Marc Abrams (2003.05.03.0913) ]

"...I'm going to address two points, one having to do with something you
replied to later in the post.

First. "Conflict" has a "technical" meaning ( i.e. it means something very
specific to the model ) It address "INTRA" ( i.e. among several control
systems ) relationships between control systems. "Error", addresses "INTER"
(i.e. internal to each control system ) "Conflict" , like "goal", has
several interpretations outside of the technical one. Why not call error,
"conflict" in the model?. I don't think they are synonyms. I interpret
conflict to mean different reference conditions for two or more control
systems. I interpret error to mean a difference between a perceived state
and a reference condition. Do you agree or disagree with my assessment so
far? If so please state why."

I will ask anew. Do you disagree with this passage, or any part of it? If
so please explain your reasoning.

> If not, how do you "avoid" error.

By eliminating the conflict. Having the higher level control system set
the goals
of the conflicted control systems so that these systems achieve their goals in
sequence is the typical solution.

How do you know _what_ a "higher" level "goal" will do to any lower level
control system. In the HPCT model. When a higher level "goal" is "set" (
whatever that currently means ) _all_ "sub-goals" ( lets use reference
conditions, please ) are errors from the levels above. They are _NOT_
"pieces" or "parts" of the original "goal". Any "piece" or "part" is itself
a "goal" at some higher level. Now "goals" and "sub- goals" do exist. But
only at a high, abstract level. I interpret your passage to mean, when you
talk about "eliminating conflict" in the above statement, you are in fact
talking about "setting" goals at various "levels" in the hierarchy. I
believe this to be an inaccurate depiction of how HPCT "works". Do you
disagree with my assessment? If so please explain.

So the system that wants to eat will eat and
then the system that doesn't want to eat will not eat, in alternating
sequence.
Each system gets the perception it wants and there is no error.

Huh? ( to borrow an expression from Dr. Nevin :slight_smile: ) The "system" that
"wants to eat", "alternating sequence", "no error" ? Are you using the word
error in the technical sense or "error" in the normative one?. How does one
"get" a perception? One _has_ them, you don't go out and get them. Please
help me out here. This passage makes no sense to me either from a model or
normative sense.

> How do you know that when you "do" something that it will lead to a
> reduction of error?

We don't necessarily know consciously what actions reduce error.

"necessarily"?, Can you please expand upon this? When _would_ we "know"?,
and how would we "know" it? Would we "know" in the normative sense or in
the technical sense? When you speak of "reducing error" are you describing
model error or normative "error". Please elaborate.

People become
organized (in terms of how outputs are connected to error, for example) so
that
error produces outputs that reduce error. That is, people have learned how to
control the perceptions they control.

"learned"? Maybe we are working toward an HPCT definition of the term. I
think it a bit premature. You present one possibility. How does one
"connect" Error and Output. Model wise the relationship is very clear.
Explaining the model primitive Output is another matter. We also need a
better normative definition of "perception" that can be transformed 1 to 1
to the HPCT model. It is not clear to me how to "set up" a "chain" of
"goals" that can "last" over "long" periods of time. can someone do the
tracking task for 100 hrs continuously? I don't think so. How long can
someone do it? How "much" control ( model type ) needs to be in place in
order to "control" ( normative sense) any one variable? To what degree does
the control or "control" of any one variable affect all others in the
"pursuit" of a "goal"? Interesting questions I believe we can try and answer.

It may be that we no longer disagree. This all started when you said:

> "...I don't believe we spend a great deal of time trying to "reach"
goals. I
> think most of our time is spent correcting error and getting by..."

No. It "started" when you took exception to what I said. :slight_smile: and tried to
"correct" me

So perhaps you now see that it makes no sense to say that people spend more
time

correcting error than reaching goals.

Wrong. :slight_smile: I _never_ said "spend more time" in the model sense. I said it
in the normative sense, and I will continue to say it in the normative
sense. In the model sense my statement is wrong and we agree on that. I
never intended nor implied that meaning. You did. What you seem to fail to
grasp is that there _is_ a perfectly reasonable use of the word in the
normative sense and "adjusting for error" is a valid normative view of the
process. You'll get over it. :slight_smile:

It makes no sense because they are
correcting error _while_ they are reaching goals, and vice versa. If you agree
that what you said above is not really correct then, indeed, we don't
disagree.

If you can talk about "reaching" "goals" and not talk about "adjusting for
error". I can talk about "adjusting for error" and not talk about "goals"
Where exactly are you having a problem with this. I will repeat what I just
said above. What I said was "not really" correct in the model sense, but is
"correct" in a normative use. So I am "correct". Please explain your
rational in disputing this assertion.

Rick, you seem to go into and out of technical and normative uses of words
very easily. You might think everyone "understands" you. I think you either
don't fully realize what you're doing or you're trying to come across as
"knowing" something you "know" and "understand" very little about. Just one
mans observation.

PCT is a label for a _specific_ set of principles and system concepts. Some
people accept PCT under the assumption that PCT is made up of the set of
principles and system concepts a, b, c, and d while others accept PCT
under the
assumption that PCT is made up of the set of principles and system
concepts a, c,
g, x. It's easy to tell that there is this difference because when one person
says "PCT says g" the other will disagree and say "No it doesn't". This has
nothing to do with which set of principles and system concepts -- a,b,c,d or
a,c,g,x -- are _really_ PCT or, more interestingly, which are the best
approach
to understanding behavior. I'm just trying to explain the difference
between a
label, like PCT, and the perceptions it points to (a,b...etc).

Round and round we go. :slight_smile: I'll stick to the normative dictionary usage and
say that "accept" and "understand" mean the same thing. Your "working
definition" of the two are different. You seem to believe that
"understanding" means having a set of perceptions that "match" whatever set
you seem to think is important to have . How you "know" if this is true
this is beyond me. I guess a good imagination helps. Yes, I can see where
you might believe that this might exist at a certain "level" of
"understanding". But to think that there is only _ONE_ path to that
"understanding" is I believe inaccurate. For example. I don't believe your
ability to "program" demos provide you with any "better" ( most assuredly
different, but not better ) "understanding" of HPCT. btw, who is the one
that sets the "correct" "principles" and "systems" concepts? and how do you
"know" what they are? Why do I think I know just who that person might be.
LOL.

> How do you ascertain that your perceptions are "correct"

If you mean "correct" in the cosmic sense, I try to ascertain that using the
scientific method (modeling and testing).

Reasonable and "Understandable". I would hope to do the same.

If you mean "correct" in the sense of
the whether my view of PCT is the same as Bill Powers' view (since he is
the one
who invented PCT)

Bill is _NOT_, contrary to popular belief by some, Moses, and PCT is not
the 10 commandments. He could be wrong. ( I don't presently think so ) How
do you "know" your "view" is the same as his? At some level of
"understanding" I can see why you feel that way. At another level I don't
see how you can have the hubris to think that you can speak of similar, if
not exact, "understandings" of ( memory, learning, cognitive processes in
general, etc. ) aspects of the HPCT model that have not even been developed
yet?

If you are saying that your technical understanding of the model is the
same as Bill's I could buy that. If you are saying that your "normative"
"explanations" of the model are the "same" I would strongly disagree.

then I ascertain that in terms of how often I have said "PCT
says a,b,c..." and Bill has said "No it doesn't". It happens, but it's rare.

The fact that it happens at all is proof enough. Your perceptions are not
Bill's. Don't worry, you'll get over it. :slight_smile:

I agree. It has caused some problems for me. I've been surprised to find how
prevalent is the notion that one should receive "full credit" for
understanding a
scientific theory for simply testifying to belief in it. It's like
expecting to
get an "A" in physics for simply testifying to belief in Newton.

Who "gives" the "credit"? When exactly does one "qualify" for being able to
"give" "full credit"? What are the "qualifications"? Is there an exam one
could take? Who makes the exam? and who grades it? What does it mean to
"understand" PCT? What does one need to know in order to "understand" HPCT?
These are not flippant questions. You don't need to answer each one, but I
would prefer it.

Marc

···

At 09:10 AM 5/3/2003 -0700, you wrote:

[From Rick Marken (2003.05.03.2230)]

Marc Abrams (2003.05.03.1217)--

My use of the word "conflict" was similarly. i.e. the
"conflict" in the Middle East, I have a "conflict" of ideas, etc. These
ideas cannot be "transformed" to a one to one relationship and "morphed" in
PCT.

I think these conflicts can be readily explained by PCT. No morphing necessary.

You need HPCT and a memory component to do that

We've got HPCT and a memory component (in B:CP). And the memory component isn't
really necessary to explain the most interesting aspects of conflict.

Please review my passage from a prior post;

  From [ Marc Abrams (2003.05.03.0913) ]

"Conflict" has a "technical" meaning ( i.e. it means something very
specific to the model ) It address "INTRA" ( i.e. among several control
systems ) relationships between control systems. "Error", addresses "INTER"
(i.e. internal to each control system ) "Conflict" , like "goal", has
several interpretations outside of the technical one.

Saying that error addresses conflict internal to the control system seems very
confusing, at best. Error doesn't really "address" anything, and certainly not
conflict. Error is part of a model of how control works.

I interpret your passage to mean, when you
talk about "eliminating conflict" in the above statement, you are in fact
talking about "setting" goals at various "levels" in the hierarchy. I
believe this to be an inaccurate depiction of how HPCT "works". Do you
disagree with my assessment? If so please explain.

As far as I can understand your assessment (which isn't that far) I guess I
disagree. The only way to eliminate conflict is to change the goals of the systems
that are in conflict. In PCT, what changes goals is other control systems --
either control systems operating at higher levels than the systems whose goals are
to be changed or the reorganizing control system.

>So the system that wants to eat will eat and
>then the system that doesn't want to eat will not eat, in alternating
>sequence.
>Each system gets the perception it wants and there is no error.

Huh? ( to borrow an expression from Dr. Nevin :slight_smile: ) The "system" that
"wants to eat", "alternating sequence", "no error" ? Are you using the word
error in the technical sense or "error" in the normative one?

I have no idea what the "normative" meaning of error is. I mean error in the PCT
sense: r-p

How does one "get" a perception?

I should have said "gets the value of the perceptual variable that it wants". You
"get a perception" in this sense by acting to move the perceptual variable to the
intended state, such as from the perception "no cake" to the perception "cake".
When you open the fridge to see the cake stored there you have gotten the
perception "cake".

>We don't necessarily know consciously what actions reduce error.

"necessarily"?, Can you please expand upon this?

I am not consciously aware of how to tense and relax all the muscles involved in
staying upright when I stand, yet I can control my upright posture (keeping the
error in my posture control system close to zero). I am consciously aware of how
to move the mouse in order to keep a cursor on target because I have designed the
control situation and it's pretty easy to understand how actions will reduce error
(keep the cursor in the goal position).

>People become organized (in terms of how outputs are connected to error, for
example) so
> that error produces outputs that reduce error. That is, people have learned
how to
> control the perceptions they control.

"learned"? Maybe we are working toward an HPCT definition of the term.

We already have a PCT definition and explanation of the kind of learning I'm
talking about. Learning is defined as reorganization of the control hierarchy and
the explanation is changes in the rate of change of parameters using the e. coli
approach.

>So perhaps you now see that it makes no sense to say that people spend more
>time correcting error than reaching goals.

>It makes no sense because they are
>correcting error _while_ they are reaching goals, and vice versa. If you agree
>that what you said above is not really correct then, indeed, we don't
>disagree.

If you can talk about "reaching" "goals" and not talk about "adjusting for
error". I can talk about "adjusting for error" and not talk about "goals"
Where exactly are you having a problem with this.

Right here: e = r-p. Error is the difference between the goal (r) and current (p)
state of a perception. Whether you want to talk about it or not, the fact is that
a person who is reaching a goal (getting p to approach r) is also correcting for
error (e is going to zero).

I will repeat what I just
said above. What I said was "not really" correct in the model sense, but is
"correct" in a normative use. So I am "correct". Please explain your
rational in disputing this assertion.

I can't dispute this. You have to be correct because, according to you, normative
use makes it correct. I haven't a clue what "normative use" means. But it sounds
like something terrific. If I say 2+ 2 is 5 and you dispute that, all I have to
say is "sure, 2+2=5 is wrong technically but it's correct in normative use". That
normative use thing sure would have come in handy in some of my math classes.

You seem to believe that
"understanding" means having a set of perceptions that "match" whatever set
you seem to think is important to have .

Not at all. The short answer is that I think understanding is the ability to build
and use models of phenomena.

I don't believe your
ability to "program" demos provide you with any "better" ( most assuredly
different, but not better ) "understanding" of HPCT.

I think you are sadly and self-defeatingly wrong. I wish I could convince you of
this, not because I want you to think my demos are great but because I think
building models is the only way to really understand PCT. If you're not great at
math (as I'm not) then use a computer (as I do). We live in an era when there are
tremendous learning tools available for those of modest capabilities (like me).

>I agree. It has caused some problems for me. I've been surprised to find how
>prevalent is the notion that one should receive "full credit" for
>understanding a scientific theory for simply testifying to belief in it. It's
like
>expecting to get an "A" in physics for simply testifying to belief in Newton.
>

Who "gives" the "credit"? When exactly does one "qualify" for being able to
"give" "full credit"? What are the "qualifications"? Is there an exam one
could take? Who makes the exam? and who grades it? What does it mean to
"understand" PCT? What does one need to know in order to "understand" HPCT?
These are not flippant questions.

I agree. These are very good questions. Currently, in the CSGNet classroom, those
qualified to teach or "give credit" are completely self-appointed. And grades are
not given; we grade ourselves. We decide for ourselves who are our teachers and
who are our students. Someday we might be able to set up an Institute for
Perceptual Control Studies and have qualifying exams and all that stuff. A long
time ago on CSGNet I think Bill Powers suggested a PCT qualifying exam. I think it
might not be a bad idea to revive it. But right now we all just have to judge for
ourselves who are the teachers and who are the students. I feel like I am both,
though my preferred role is student.

Best regards

Rick

···

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

From Bruce Gregory (20903.0505.10480]

Marc Abrams (2003.05.03.0940

Purpose: A key post and unfortunately the last one from me in this thread
with Rick. Rick did not "cause" this. _I_ decided to end it. Rick would
have continued this "dialogue" till the cows came home, after all, Ricks
intent is "indoctrination".

written has been clear, I thought, and consistent with my understanding
of PCT.

Rick refuses to acknowledge any other
interpretation of words or phrases other then the ones _he_ has.

The model is quite clear and Rick has always tied his interpretation of
words and phrases to the model. I don't know what else he could have done.

That in

and of itself ends all effective communication. He also believes that is
"view" of the model is the only legitimate "view". That to hinders and
stops all communication and lastly, with probably the most amount of
hubris, Rick proclaims in his post that HPCT is "fully developed". Such as
his statement;

"We've got HPCT and a memory component (in B:CP). And the memory component
isn't really necessary to explain the most interesting aspects of
conflict."

I believe that this statement is accurate. Is there some quantitative
data on conflict that you believe that the model does not predict? If
not, I think you are wise in ending your exchange with Rick.

···

From my perspective, Rick's intent is education. Everything he has

--
Bruce Gregory lives with the poet and painter Gray Jacobik in the future
Canadian Province of New England.

www.joincanadanow.org

[From Rick Marken (2003.05.04.1140)]

Marc Abrams (2003.05.03.0940)

Rick did not "cause" this. _I_ decided to end it. Rick would
have continued this "dialogue" till the cows came home,

I would indeed. I see learning as a continuous process.

after all, Ricks intent is "indoctrination".

Actually, my intent is to teach PCT. If you think you have nothing to learn about
PCT then I'd imagine that teaching can feel like indoctrination. I have no
interest in indoctrinating you or anyone. I assume people come to CSGNet because
they want to learn PCT. That's certainly why I'm here. But if you are sure you
already know all about PCT then I would imagine that it can be very annoying to
have that knowledge questioned.

But I know how you might feel. Heck, I don't like to have my knowledge of PCT
questioned either. And people have questioned my knowledge and corrected me many
times on CSGNet. But I've found that it is possible to overcome my initial
annoyance and even learn from the corrections (even when those corrections are not
correct) by adopting an attitude of inquisitiveness rather than competitiveness.
When I adopt this attitude I win by learning rather than by winning.

Rick refuses to acknowledge any other
interpretation of words or phrases other then the ones _he_ has.

I certainly acknowledge that people have different interpretations of the same
words and phrases. That's why I'm so into modeling. Once you have the model as a
basis for communication things become much easier. At least, that's the way it's
worked out for me. My conversations with Bill Powers, for example, became a _lot_
less frustrating (and they were somewhat frustrating when I first started learning
PCT, back in the late 70s) once I started doing the computer modeling.

He also believes that is "view" of the model is the only legitimate "view".

Yes, I think that's close to true. I think I have a fairly accurate view of PCT,
yes. But there is still much to learn. And the best way to learn, I think, is by
working with the model, either by doing research or by applying it.

That to [sic] hinders and stops all communication

That depends on the goal of your communication. If the goal is to have people
agree with one's statements regardless of their truth value then I would imagine
that I hinder conversation because I think some views of the PCT model are
demonstrably incorrect.

and lastly, with probably the most amount of
hubris, Rick proclaims in his post that HPCT is "fully developed". Such as
his statement;

"We've got HPCT and a memory component (in B:CP). And the memory component
isn't really necessary to explain the most interesting aspects of conflict."

That statement does not say that PCT is fully developed. It just says that there
already is a model of memory in PCT and that the PCt model, as it currently
exists, can explain the phenomenon of conflict (intra and inter personal; see my
"Cost of Conflict" demo at http://www.mindreadings.com/ControlDemo/Conflict.html
(it will work on any operating system;-).

The model is surely incomplete but I think Bill has gone out of his way to make
the model as complete as possible. Now is the time to start _testing_ and applying
the model. I think any limitations and shortcomings of the model can best be
revealed now by research and application rather than by argument.

If that be the case why bother with anything other then "indoctrination",
which is what Rick is very "bad" at. It was fun while it lasted.

I think it could continue to be fun if you would adopt an attitude of
inquisitiveness. It's always fun for me (except when people go ad hominum, but
that's easy to ignore).

Best regards

Rick

···

---
Richard S. Marken, Ph.D.
Senior Behavioral Scientist
The RAND Corporation
PO Box 2138
1700 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
Tel: 310-393-0411 x7971
Fax: 310-451-7018
E-mail: rmarken@rand.org

From [ Marc Abrams (2003.05.03.0940) ]

Purpose: A key post and unfortunately the last one from me in this thread
with Rick. Rick did not "cause" this. _I_ decided to end it. Rick would
have continued this "dialogue" till the cows came home, after all, Ricks
intent is "indoctrination". Rick refuses to acknowledge any other
interpretation of words or phrases other then the ones _he_ has. That in
and of itself ends all effective communication. He also believes that is
"view" of the model is the only legitimate "view". That to hinders and
stops all communication and lastly, with probably the most amount of
hubris, Rick proclaims in his post that HPCT is "fully developed". Such as
his statement;

"We've got HPCT and a memory component (in B:CP). And the memory component
isn't really necessary to explain the most interesting aspects of conflict."

If that be the case why bother with anything other then "indoctrination",
which is what Rick is very "bad" at. It was fun while it lasted.

Marc

···

At 10:27 PM 5/3/2003 -0700, you wrote:

[From Rick Marken (2003.05.03.2230)]

Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah....

From [ Marc Abrams (2003.05.03.1453) ]

[From Rick Marken
(2003.05.04.1140)]

I think it could continue to be fun
if [ you ] would adopt an attitude of

inquisitiveness. It’s always fun for me (except when people go ad
hominum, but

that’s easy to ignore).

Apparently my “message” did not get through. I will try again
for a final time. I bracketed the problem you and I are having Rick, in
your statement. That is what it comes down to.
If you said [ we ] I might be interested. But you didn’t, nor would you.
So I’m not, And that is unfortunate. I know where you “stand”
and I “know” how you “view” the world. It’s not a
“bad” way. Just a whole lot different then me. We would have a
very difficult time “talking” with one another. I’m just not
part of your world. You are an exceptional scientist and have much to
offer. It’s a shame you don’t have the necessary skills to
“teach” rather then “indoctrinate”. I have found an
effective way for me to talk with you about the HPCT model. I have not
found a way to talk to you about “undefined” terms or Technical
terms used in a “non-technical” definition. Maybe some day
:slight_smile:
Teach:
b
: to cause to know how to do something : show how
<my father is teaching me to drive>
Indoctrinate:
2 : to cause to be impressed and usually ultimately imbued
(as with a usually partisan or sectarian opinion, point of view, or
principle)

Do you see the subtle difference in one vs. the other? I don’t
think you will. This is not a quiz so let me fill you in,
Indoctrination is “usually” very coercive and offensive.
teaching should not be.

Marc

···

At 11:43 AM 5/4/2003 -0400, you wrote:

[From Bruce Nevin (2003.05.21 16:27 EDT)]

From Bill Powers (2003.05.02.0946 MDT)--

It's paradoxical, but the louder we yell and the madder we get, the less
influence we have on other people

This very interesting observation is true a lot of the time. Excluding coercion and threat of coercion, e.g. a drill sergeant, why do you suppose that's so? And is it so for everybody, all the time, or is it a variable that is controlled (or not) variably?

Suppose we reply "Well, obviously nobody likes being yelled at". This just shifts to another question: if their yelling is ineffective because they're not able to back it up with coercion, why should you care? Why not just let it blow by? Manifestly it disturbs control of something. What?

, and the less they care what we think.

I don't think this is universal. Some people control to distance themselves from conflict, it is true, but by no means all. Some get mad back, which certainly does not avoid conflict. Some control strongly for correcting things the angry person says. Some appeal to allies to defend them, or to friends of the angry person to constrain them. And so on.

In each case they're controlling something in addition to or instead of controlling their understanding of the person who is yelling at them. That could be one reason that getting mad reduces the influence of the angry person.

There are also factors within the angry person that interfere with effective communication.

Getting angry often seems to interfere with control of language. The angry person may be less able to indicate the concepts that they are trying to communicate. Anger may interfere with control of those concepts themselves, or of systems that control those concepts.

A person's language often becomes opinionated when they are angry. Opinionated language characterizes the other person in negative terms for failing to understand, for disagreeing, etc. Obvious examples: "Any fool knows ___!" "Only an idiot would think that ___." Not always that obvious. "Obviously" can be part of an opinionated expression. Even if it doesn't show up in words, the angry person is very likely to be thinking of the other person in derogatory terms.

Why does that matter? To communicate effectively you have to control "the other person is understanding", and that requires perceiving the actual state of the other person's understanding. But if imagined perceptions substitute for perceptions of their actual state. you can't do that.

         /Bruce Nevin

···

At 11:55 AM 5/2/2003, Bill Powers wrote:

[From Bruce Gregory (2003.0521.1638)]

Bruce Nevin (2003.05.21 16:27 EDT)

Suppose we reply "Well, obviously nobody likes being yelled at". This just
shifts to another question: if their yelling is ineffective because they're
not able to back it up with coercion, why should you care? Why not just let
it blow by? Manifestly it disturbs control of something. What?

The perception that one's status is being threatened when one is 'dissed'. How
might we test this conjecture?

[From Dick Robertson,2003.05.22.1853CDT]

Bruce Gregory wrote:

[From Bruce Gregory (2003.0521.1638)]

Bruce Nevin (2003.05.21 16:27 EDT)

> Suppose we reply "Well, obviously nobody likes being yelled at". This just
> shifts to another question: if their yelling is ineffective because they're
> not able to back it up with coercion, why should you care? Why not just let
> it blow by? Manifestly it disturbs control of something. What?

The perception that one's status is being threatened when one is 'dissed'. How
might we test this conjecture?

Seems like a good conjecture. Maybe one could start with a "phenomenological"
investigation--asking a lot of people what they felt after such an event,
especially if you could catch it happening naturally. From that one might get
some ideas of how to compose a test. The way David Goldstein and I constructed
the test in our study of control of the Self-image came from the traditional
psych. literature about the self, and self image. It seemed logical to contradict
a person's declaration about him/her self if the self image was a controlled
variable, as it turned out to be.

So, wouldn't you first have to narrow down the field to be reasonably sure that
the person was focused on status, and then apply the test and see what correction
he/she performed?

Best, Dick R