Demos as disturbance

[From Rick Marken (951116.1030)]

Gary Cziko (951115) --

What we really need is to convert these demos to Java so that they can be
run off the World Wide Web on any machine anyone might have.

This is a great idea. But I have been hearing a lot of concern expressed
about security issues regarding Java; it's very risky to download a program
that will automatically run on your machine and, quite possibly, do something
naughty. Of course, everyone knows that PCT people wouldn't put Trojan Horse
progams on the net -- but I think it will be some time before there is
confidence that everyone using Java can be trusted.

So for the next few months, anyway, I think people who want the demos will
just have to get them the old fashioned way -- by gopher, www or ftp. I think
this is just as well; making the demos more accessible will not necessarily
change things much - - in terms of getting people to learn PCT, that is. The
demos are a wonderful learning tool but, as Bill Powers (951116.0600 MST)

If there's no error to be corrected, why should there be any learning? If a
person isn't bothered by not understanding algebra, why should that lead to
understanding alogebra?

Similarly, if a person isn't bothered by not understanding purposeful
behavior why should that lead to understanding PCT? If there's no error
created by one's current understanding of behavior, then the demos are
just a disturbance to that understanding, one that can apparently be handled
with considerable aplomb.

We learn in order to control better (to reduce the ambient error existing
in control systems that are not controlling very well). If we are already
controlling well then there is nothing to learn; no reason to go through the
uncomfortable process of trying to discover as yet unknown approaches to

i. kurtzer (951115.1700) described the situation very nicely. Isaac learned
PCT because Issac was uncomfortable with what he was being taught and he
_wanted_ something better (though he didn't know what, of course). Issac
learned PCT because Isaac wanted to learn, not because Tom wanted to teach.
Tom's a great teacher because he didn't _make_ Issac learn; he _let_ Issac
learn. Lucky for Isaac; lucky for Tom.