Hello, Warren and everyone --
Having made that decision to cancel CSG2012, and having received very supportive and understanding comments from a good many of you, I feel quite bouyed up. In fact, the decision seems to have required a bit of reorganization on my part, because the immediate aftermath was a realization that I had NOT been looking forward to yet another meeting in which all of us who communicate regularly get together to say things with which we all agree anyway. When that inward-looking prospect was finally discarded, I found that I was immediately thinking of outward-looking ideas, to bring new people in and expand the activities of the CSG. In fact, what came first to mind is called the CSLCS -- the Center for the Study of Living Control Systems, my long-time dream. That's still somewhat farther into the future, but I think we can take some reasonable steps in that direction.
Here's one idea. Suppose we develop a curriculum for a one-week intensive workshop in which we bring people up from scratch to both an understanding of PCT and some informed intuitions about how control systems work. And after that, a separate week-long workshop on MOL can be given, which ends with a certificate of some sort saying that the participant has had instruction and practice in the use of this method. The latter would, of course, be more impressive if this could be done in connection with clinical psychologists in a university setting, and might even be feasible as a way of conferring continuing-education credits that mean something. For tweaking the curriculum in the beginning we could invite clinical psychologists to serve as guinea pigs by completing the PCT workshop or both workshops. We might then be able to establish a more formal relationship with accredited departments of psychology.
Once we have a workable, teachable curriculum we can then offer professional-advancement workshops to the general academic community, for a substantial fee. And having given such workshops for long enough to debug them and acquire some operating funds, we can start franchising them for a percentage of the income they generate for other parties. In this way we can make our efforts to improve and teach PCT and MOL into a way of raising funds toward the establishment of the first office and other facilities for the CSLCS, and to support further fundraising among such potentially interested parties as Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet, to mention a few intimate friends, don't I wish. We can also think about a membership drive for the CSG with some increase in the dues, to help provide working capital. At some point, of course, we will need professional help with organizing the CSLCS.
I think that the "Distinctive" book just written by Mansell, Tai, and Carey would be an ideal text for the workshop, to be distributed a month in advance to give participants a running start, and to provide the framework for the daily presentations and participations. I don't know what the publication schedule is, but perhaps we could get permission to use preprints just to get going. Warren? Sara? Tim?
I'll leave it there to simmer in your minds. Miniconferences have been suggested as a substitute for CSG2012, to be scheduled, I presume, as convenient any time during the rest of this year or into 2013. Shall we try to set up a committee meeting drawn from the current CC list above? I will get that portable concentrator that allows me to travel more easily, so North America becomes the region from which a location can be chosen. We can also do telepresence meetings -- Skype has upgraded their video conferencing facilities, and GoToMeeting is also an affordable alternative.
Just to make this perfectly clear, I expect the committee to make the decisions and for my role to be merely as a resource. This is also a first step, one called "passing the torch" which may as well start now as at any time. We've talked about these general ideas before, but this time around they seem more within reach, and signify a distinct change in direction for our organization. For the first time, such plans seem realistic.
Anyone wishing to be excluded from further conversations on this subject or otherwise revise the CC list, please let me know. I will keep a current CC list as a text file and distribute it after any changes. Be sure to Reply To All each time you reply to anyone on the list, unless it is just to change the list.
Also, please suggest any additions to the CC list that you think would be appropriate.