From: Bruce Nevin [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, May 26, 2017 4:24 AM
Subject: Re: Collective control of the success of PCT [was: Publishing info]
[From Bruce Nevin (20170525.22:21 ET)]
Boris Hartman (Thu, May 25, 2017 at 6:42 PM) –
Warren wasn’t recommending that we read Freud and Skinner.
HB : Yes I see now. I did a sloopy reading. Please Warren accept my apology. And Thanks Bruce……
People in the ‘general public’ (non-psychologists) adopted and elaborated their ideas so that “their legacy has been stamped in the books, magazines, and film clips ever since.” They have become part of '‘the culture’, our common stock of principles and system concepts. This is why he said “one cannot underestimate the role of culture.”
But the influence of culture works the other way as well, such that some ideas are easier than others for the ‘general public’ to adopt, often subject to reinterpretation and reframing in the process. An example is the idea of feedback adopted from cybernetics by way of Abe Maslow, the human potential movement, encounter groups, and so on, with a pretty fundamental shift of meaning.
Freud’s ideas about the untamed savagery of darkest subconsciousness, already familiar through literary variations on the theme of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, resonated with darkest Africa, racism, unwashed masses of immigrants, the Yellow Peril, and so forth, and his ideas about mass psychology found application (by his nephew, Edward Bernays) in more and more sophisticated tools of propaganda, ‘public relations’, and advertising. Skinner’s ideas, and those of the behaviorists of all stripes, accord with the desire of managers, commanding officers, and rulers to manage, command, and rule others. Cybernetics (“even cybernetics”, as Warren said) had popular appeal, or some superficial notions of it, along with the metaphor of the brain as computer and of living things as a kind of biological robot governed (‘cyberned’) by a digital computer. Marx cogently pointed out that the ruling ideas in a culture are always the ideas by which the ruling class rules. It is these ruling ideas, assimilated and lived by the ruled as well as the rulers, that influence which ideas most readily are adopted by the public.
That’s what PCT is pushing against. A lot of people have to change some system concepts and principles in order for PCT to have an effect in the culture.
As to anthropologists, I’ve been reading a book on the origin of culture in the pleistocene-paleolithic ‘human revolution’: Blood Relations: Menstruation and the Origins of Culture, by Chris Knight. I recommend it. There’s a good overview of the field of anthropology at the beginning, and the reconstruction of how our remote ancestors became so very different from primates is illuminating.
On Thu, May 25, 2017 at 6:42 PM, Boris Hartman email@example.com wrote:
From: Warren Mansell [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, May 05, 2017 9:16 AM
Subject: Re: Collective control of the success of PCT [was: Publishing info]
Hi Rick, I think you are absolutely right but I also think that one cannot underestimate the role of culture. I think the work of people like Freud, Skinner, Rogers and even Cybernetics captured the public attention and then their legacy has been stamped in the books, magazines and film clips ever since. I do believe that Bill can make this impact too one day, posthumously…
HB : I thought you’ll promote good PCT writers like Henry Yin, Bruce A., Kent, Martin…¦ Rogers is a good choice.
Instead of Freud and Skinner I would suggest reading good Antropologist. There can be found many good life examples for PCT analyses.
On 5 May 2017, at 00:21, Richard Marken email@example.com wrote:
[From Rick Marken (2017.05.04.1625)
Bruce Nevin (20170502.21:24 ET)–
BN: Maybe this was overlooked by folks not directly interested in data about publishing. At the risk of being offensive, here again is my pitch for commitment:
BN: For the conference at Northwestern, how about a panel or session about effective promulgation of PCT?
RM: I’m not sure there will be a conference and if there is one I’m not sure I will be able to attend. So, for what it’s worth, here is my idea about how to promulgate PCT. It can be summarized in one sentence: Publish high quality PCT-based research in high impact, peer reviewed journals. I’m pretty sure this was Bill Powers’ idea of how PCT would be promulgated. The idea was that some significant subset of the population of scientific psychologists (the population targeted by Bill’s original publications on PCT) would become interested in the PCT model of behavior and start doing and publishing research aimed at testing the the model as it applies to their own specialty. This would put PCT on the scientific psychology map and allow other researchers to see the success of the model and start doing PCT research themselves; PCT would eventually become the dominant model of mind and behavior in scientific psychology. Promulgation accomplished!
RM: Clearly, things haven’t worked out that way. It became quickly apparent (after the publication of B:CP) that scientific psychologists were not particularly enchanted with PCT, indeed, many were actively hostile to it. And for good reason; PCT shows that the research done by these scientific psychologists has been based on an illusion --the illusion of causality, that results from ignoring or dismissing the purpose of behavior: controlled variables. The few psychologists who did embrace PCT turned out to be embracing something that was not actually PCT; it was PCT terminology applied to a causal view of behavior… The result is that the promulgation of PCT by more and more scientific psychologists publishing high quality PCT-based research in high impact, peer reviewed journals simply hasn’t happened. This is unfortunate because I believe this approach to promulgation – – what might be called the “peer-reviewed research publication” approach – is the only way to bring about the paradigm shift to scientific psychology and other related disciplines this is promised by PCT.
RM: The problem, for those who want to see PCT “triumphant” right away, is that the “peer-reviewed research publication” approach to promulgation is a slow and difficult process. Particularly slow when only one or two people are involved. But I believe it is the only approach that will provide a solid foundation for the eventual wide-spread acceptance of the PCT model of human nature. Other approaches to promulgation, which basically involve “selling” PCT, may have some success (in terms of attracting people to PCT) in the short run but I think that in the long run these approaches will result in PCT being treated like any other “fad” idea – exciting for a while and then discarded when the next fad comes along.
RM: So I plan to continue my efforts to promulgate PCT using the “peer-reviewed research publication” approach. I don’t expect to see the PCT revolution happen in my lifetime (despite my Herculean efforts;-) but I’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that I am doing the work that Bill Powers hoped would be done by what should have been a growing army of scientific psychologists – “some spadework at the foundations of scientific psychology”.
That topic could include Dag’s presentation on publishing, insofar as it may touch on what motivates people to buy and read a book about PCT.
It could include something about Warren’s application of MoL to ideophobia (the ‘PCT goes pop!’ thread).
It could include a PCT Futurist theme, borrowing the title “Social Implications of a PCT Conscious World” from Allie’s ‘quick list off the top of her head’.
We all say we control a perception of PCT being widely understood, accepted, and employed to practical effect in the world. Or I think we all say that. But what perceptions are we controlling in imagination when we say such words?
I propose that we get clear about what ends we have in mind, and what perceptions can be controlled as means of achieving those ends, and then deliberately cultivate skill in controlling those means-perceptions collectively so as to collectively control the desired ends-perceptions. If an understanding of PCT can be applied to practical effect, then this, surely, is a practical effect that is of paramount importance to us. Collective control of the success of PCT.
One way to tell how well we are controlling a perception that involves many variables over a long term, or with how high gain we are controlling it, is to examine our countrol of those interim variables–in terms of ends and means, they are the means that must be under control in order to control the main purpose, the end.
At the risk of being pushy and offensive, I ask you to reconsider your priorities and bend whatever needs to be bent so that you can be at Northwestern in August. Your real effort there is your personal, private index of how important PCT actually is to you, irrespective of what you say. Check it out. “The unexamined life”, and all that.
Kent, I know you will be there to talk about collective control, so we should add collective control to Allie’s ‘off the top of my head’ list.
Here’s the rest of Allie’s list, with a few tweaks:
- Education: Application of PCT in Elementary and High School Settings
- PCT for Beginners (obviously related to education)
- Modeling Demonstrations and Book and Article Exhibit
- Critique and Review of Current Publications on PCT (by authorâ€™s permission)
- Robotics (How PCT Will Revolutionize Robotics)
- MoL (Method of Levels Workshops)
- PCT and Power Law (oh no you didnâ€™t!)
- Minding your Pâ€™s and Qiâ€™s: A Live Continuation of the Discussion
- How to be Nice When you Really Donâ€™t Want To: Controlling for Furthering the Effort
Richard S. Marken
"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.â€?
–Antoine de Saint-Exupery