Different Worlds

[From Bruce Gregory (980421.1155 EDT)]

Rick Marken (980421.0740)]

I have noticed that people often talk as though human problems --
conflicts -- result from the fact that we all live in different
perceptual worlds; we "see things differently". For example, in
the movie "Annie Hall" there is a great scene where Woody Allen
and Diane Keaton are asked by their respective psychiatrists
about their sex life. Allen says "It's not very good; we hardly
ever have sex; maybe two or three times a week"; Keaton says "It's
not very good; we have sex almost all the time; maybe two or
three times a week".

I fear I will regret this post, but what the hell, we live in different
perceptual world after all :wink:

I understand and appreciate the point you make. I want only to point out the
utility of the different worlds metaphor. It avoids fruitless arguments over
who is right, Diane of Woody. In Diane's world three times a week is too
much. In Woody's world it is too little. This is functionally equivalent to
saying that each of them has a different reference value for the perception
"the right amount of sex", but it _may_ avoid arguments about who has the
"correct" reference value.

Best Offer

[From Bruce Nevin (980421.1301 EDT)]

Bruce Gregory (980421.1155 EDT)--

I understand and appreciate the point you make. I want only to point out the
utility of the different worlds metaphor. It avoids fruitless arguments over
who is right, Diane of Woody. In Diane's world three times a week is too
much. In Woody's world it is too little. This is functionally equivalent to
saying that each of them has a different reference value for the perception
"the right amount of sex", but it _may_ avoid arguments about who has the
"correct" reference value.

It takes preferences as well as perceptual inputs to constitute a
perceptual universe--or at least one in which conflict can occur. Reference
perceptions are very much involved in those aspects of the world that
matter to us.

Bill, you suggest that conflict occurs over matters that we have in common.
But can we not conflict around something in our shared environment even
while the perceptions that we are controlling (resulting in conflict) are
vastly different? Side effects of my control interfere with your control,
and vice versa.

A value of convention: that we agree about what's going on. Try reading
magazines without moving forward in the check-out line. Then it turns out
you're not in the line at all, you're just in the way. Why are you bumping
me with your grocery cart, lady?

  Bruce Nevin

[From Bill Powers (980421.1220 MDT)]

Bruce Nevin (980421.1301 EDT) --

Bill, you suggest that conflict occurs over matters that we have in common.

If you're referring to the author of the original subject post, that was Rick.

But can we not conflict around something in our shared environment even
while the perceptions that we are controlling (resulting in conflict) are
vastly different? Side effects of my control interfere with your control,
and vice versa.

For conflict to occur, something I am controlling must make it impossible
for you to control something. If you want to make a taxonomy of conflicts,
you can probably devise a pretty extensive one. For me, the principle is
easier to remember than a list of the different kinds of possibilities.

Just as an example, suppose our conflict is that I want to go to the store
and you have taken our only car for the rest of the day. Your outputs are
not pushing directly against my outputs; you've just done something to my
environmental feedback function that makes it useless to me. I'm sure there
are lots of other examples that don't involve direct opposition of output
forces. They all have the same thing in common: it's impossible for both of
us to get what we want at the same time (or even different times --
consider a joint bank account).

And in any case, the conflict can exist only to the extent, as Rick so
cleverly realised, that we _do_ live in the same (physical) world.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Bruce Gregory (980421.1510 EDT)]

Bill Powers (980421.1220 MDT)]

Just as an example, suppose our conflict is that I want to go to the store
and you have taken our only car for the rest of the day. Your outputs are
not pushing directly against my outputs; you've just done something to my
environmental feedback function that makes it useless to me. I'm
sure there
are lots of other examples that don't involve direct opposition of output
forces. They all have the same thing in common: it's impossible
for both of
us to get what we want at the same time (or even different times --
consider a joint bank account).

Thus "living in different worlds" might translate into "controlling in a way
that interferes with my efforts to control." The important point, from my
perspective, may be that you are not _trying_ to interfere--you are not
controlling for interfering with my efforts to control.

Twisting Your Knickers,

Best Offer

[From Bruce Gregory (980421.1550 EDT)]

Rick Marken (900421.1220)

I _knew_ I'd regret that post.

I think the "same world" model is much better than the "different
worlds" metaphor because 1) it is consistent with the PCT model of
conflict and 2) it is supported by far more data.

How about being open the possibility, however remote, that what I am saying
is consistent with the PCT model and _exactly_ the same data. No chance,
huh? I didn't think so.

But that's just the way I see things;-)

If you really _got_ this, you might be a lot easier to live with.
(Fortunately, that is not my worry.) It amuses me that it has so far proved
impossible to convince either you or Bill that it is possible to use
different language to talk about the same model. I'm familiar with this
blindness from discussions about the _true_ meaning of the quantum
formalism. They are equally unproductive, by the way. Everyone is certain
that his way of talking about the equations is the _only true way_. In fact,
as the old expression goes, academic fights are so viscous precisely because
so little is at stake.

I am also reminded of the Frenchman who had nothing but contempt for German
because it is so convoluted, whereas French exactly reflects the way you
think.

As long as you don't care about communicating, any technical language will
do, I suppose.

Best Offer

[From Rick Marken (900421.1220)]

Bruce Gregory (980421.1155 EDT)--

I understand and appreciate the point you make. I want only to
point out the utility of the different worlds metaphor. It avoids
fruitless arguments over who is right, Diane of Woody. In Diane's
world three times a week is too much. In Woody's world it is too
little. This is functionally equivalent to saying that each of
them has a different reference value for the perception "the right
amount of sex", but it _may_ avoid arguments about who has the
"correct" reference value.

How have we eliminated the argument over who is right? It seems
to me the "different worlds" metaphor only shifts the argument,
from "who has the correct want" to "who has the correct perception".

I think the "different worlds" metaphor is an attempt to make believe
that conflicts will go away ("avoid fruitless arguments") if we
can respect the fact that other people see things differently. But
conflicts would also go away, given my "same world" _model_, if
people could all just respect the fact that other people _want_
things differently.

I think the "same world" model is much better than the "different
worlds" metaphor because 1) it is consistent with the PCT model of
conflict and 2) it is supported by far more data.

But that's just the way I see things;-)

Best

Rick

···

--
Richard S. Marken Phone or Fax: 310 474-0313
Life Learning Associates e-mail: rmarken@earthlink.net
http://home.earthlink.net/~rmarken

[From Bruce Gregory (980421.1732 EDT)]

Bruce Nevin (980421.1301 EDT)

It takes preferences as well as perceptual inputs to constitute a
perceptual universe--or at least one in which conflict can occur.

Even one in which conflict cannot occur.

Reference
perceptions are very much involved in those aspects of the world that
matter to us.

Indeed.

Best Offer

[From Bruce Nevin (980421.2024 EDT)]

Bill Powers (980421.1220 MDT)--

Sorry about the mistaken identity.

I'm not interested in a taxonomy of types of conflict either.

the conflict can exist only to the extent, as Rick so
cleverly realised, that we _do_ live in the same (physical) world.

By conflict and its resolution we identify relevant aspects of that shared
world more clearly. And we may develop new capacities for control. True of
internal conflict too. Conflict is not a bug, it's a feature.

  Bruce Nevin

[From Bruce Nevin (980421.2242 EDT)]

Bruce Gregory (980421.1732 EDT)--

It takes preferences as well as perceptual inputs to constitute a
perceptual universe--or at least one in which conflict can occur.

Even one in which conflict cannot occur.

I had in mind just sitting and attending to perceptions that are present.
It is not clear that I am controlling those perceptions; and as I just
attend to them, whatever they may be, there can be no conflict respecting
them. There are no preferences as to how these perceptions should be, there
are no reference levels for them.

Ah. When they are something never encountered before, there is no
reference; when I recognize them, "there is that again", there is. Perhaps
so.

So I think I don't understand your point. It seems to me when you have no
preference there can be no conflict, and conversely when conflict can
happen there must be preferences.

  BN

[From Bruce Gregory (980422.0522 EDT)]

Bruce Nevin (980421.2242 EDT)]

Ah. When they are something never encountered before, there is no
reference; when I recognize them, "there is that again", there is. Perhaps
so.

So I think I don't understand your point. It seems to me when you have no
preference there can be no conflict, and conversely when conflict can
happen there must be preferences.

Yes, I agree with that. My reservation is about the extent to which we are
neutral about perceptions. Or to be more accurate, I wonder at the extent to
which perceptions for which we have no preferences can be meaningfully said
to be part of our world.

Best Offer

[From Bruce Nevin (980422.1935 EDT)]

Bruce Gregory (980422.0522 EDT)]

My reservation is about the extent to which we are
neutral about perceptions. Or to be more accurate, I wonder at the extent to
which perceptions for which we have no preferences can be meaningfully said
to be part of our world.

If you mean wonder about, check it out. "Meaningful" is the loaded word.
Omens and portents are to be wondered at. Sometimes a cigar is just Sigmund.

  Bruce Nevin

[From Bruce Gregory(980422.0942 EDT)]

Bruce Nevin (980422.1935 EDT)]

Bruce Gregory (980422.0522 EDT)]

> My reservation is about the extent to which we are
>neutral about perceptions. Or to be more accurate, I wonder at
the extent to
>which perceptions for which we have no preferences can be
meaningfully said
>to be part of our world.

If you mean wonder about, check it out. "Meaningful" is the loaded word.
Omens and portents are to be wondered at. Sometimes a cigar is
just Sigmund.

Any suggestions as to how?

BO

···

[From Bruce Gregory (980422.1040 EDT)]

Rick Marken (980422.0715)]

Bruce Gregory (980421.1550 EDT)--

> It amuses me that it has so far proved impossible to convince
> either you or Bill that it is possible to use different language
> to talk about the same model.

OK. Let me see if I understand your point. Are you saying that
"seeing things differently" and "having different references
for the same perceptual variable" are equivalent ways of describing
the PCT model of the conflict between Woody and Diane?

Yes.

Best Offer

[From Rick Marken (980422.0715)]

Bruce Gregory (980421.1550 EDT)--

It amuses me that it has so far proved impossible to convince
either you or Bill that it is possible to use different language
to talk about the same model.

OK. Let me see if I understand your point. Are you saying that
"seeing things differently" and "having different references
for the same perceptual variable" are equivalent ways of describing
the PCT model of the conflict between Woody and Diane?

Best

Rick

···

--
Richard S. Marken Phone or Fax: 310 474-0313
Life Learning Associates e-mail: rmarken@earthlink.net
http://home.earthlink.net/~rmarken

[From Bruce Nevin (980422.1149 EDT)]

Bruce Gregory(980422.0942 EDT)--

Bruce Gregory (980422.0522 EDT)]

> My reservation is about the extent to which we are
>neutral about perceptions. Or to be more accurate, I wonder at
the extent to
>which perceptions for which we have no preferences can be
meaningfully said
>to be part of our world.

If you mean wonder about, check it out. "Meaningful" is the loaded word.
Omens and portents are to be wondered at. Sometimes a cigar is
just Sigmund.

Any suggestions as to how?

I don't mean to be obtuse. Observing sensations in meditation was what I
had in mind. All sorts of "meaningful" stuff comes up, and you return to
just observing sensations in the predetermined part of the body. The
sensations themselves are not meaningful, but they are clearly in one's
perceptual universe. In the context of this practice of observing
sensations, the whole wondrous realm of meanings and values is set off in
sharp relief. Omens and portents cavort. All that distracting, insightful,
enlivening, burdensome, attractive, repulsive, painful, delightful,
threatening, innocuous other stuff flows evidently from preferences. The
observed sensations just are. Discrimination can be learned, but as in
learning science only with practice.

  Bruce Nevin

[From Bruce Gregory (980422.1217 EDT)]

Bruce Nevin (980422.1149 EDT)

I don't mean to be obtuse.

Well, I hope not! You know perfectly well that I am trying to corner the
market on obtuseness on CSGnet.

Observing sensations in meditation was what I
had in mind. All sorts of "meaningful" stuff comes up, and you return to
just observing sensations in the predetermined part of the body.

Yes. Good point. I hadn't thought of this. Interestingly, all this
meaningful "stuff" constitutes disturbances to our ability to control the
perception we are trying to control--the perception that we are focussing
our awareness on the predetermined part of the body.

The
sensations themselves are not meaningful, but they are clearly in one's
perceptual universe. In the context of this practice of observing
sensations, the whole wondrous realm of meanings and values is set off in
sharp relief. Omens and portents cavort. All that distracting, insightful,
enlivening, burdensome, attractive, repulsive, painful, delightful,
threatening, innocuous other stuff flows evidently from preferences. The
observed sensations just are. Discrimination can be learned, but as in
learning science only with practice.

Yes indeed. Practice, practice.....

Best Offer

[From Bruce Gregory 9980422.1503 EDT)]

Rick Marken (980422.1200)

Ok. Now, when I hear that two people "see things differently" I get
an image in my mind of two people who perceive the same objective
situation differently. In terms of the PCT model I imagine you are
saying that the perceptual function that produces the representation
of this objective situation is different for each person involved in
the conflict. Is this what you mean by "see things differently"?

Yes.

Best Offer

[From Bill Powers (980422.1304 MDT)]

Bruce Gregory (980421.1510 EDT)--

Thus "living in different worlds" might translate into "controlling in a way
that interferes with my efforts to control." The important point, from my
perspective, may be that you are not _trying_ to interfere--you are not
controlling for interfering with my efforts to control.

Right; I don't think that conflict is necessarily deliberate. When I
approach one side of a swinging door at the same moment you arrive at the
other side, a conflict develops even though neither of us was initially
aware of the presence of the other. And interference per se is not the
issue; the critical aspect of conflict, as I think of it, is that the
interference is _mutual_. If you succeed in controlling your variable, I
can't succeed in controlling mine, AND VICE VERSA. It's this mutual
interference, plus the fact that the mutually interfering systems are
control systems instead of passive equilbrium systems, that makes conflict
a phenomenon that needs special investigation.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Bruce Gregory (980422.1543 EDT)]

Rick Marken (980422.1230)]

Ok. So does the PCT model say that there would be no conflict
between two people if they could perceive things in the same way?
For example, would there be no conflict between Diane and Woody if
they could perceive frequency of sex in the same way?

Not necessarily. They might perceive that sex three times a week is
reasonable, but they may prefer different times. (They might have different
reference values for perceiving sex in the morning and sex at night, for
example.) As Bill recently noted, all that is necessary for conflict to
exist is for Diane's controlling for sex in the morning to interfere with
Woody's controlling for sex at night. Presumably this problem could be
resolved with less difficulty than if Woody's reference level for frequency
of sex was once a day and Diane's reference level was once a month.

Best Offer

[From Bill Powers (980422.1329 MDT)]

Bruce Nevin (980421.2024 EDT)--

By conflict and its resolution we identify relevant aspects of that shared
world more clearly. And we may develop new capacities for control. True of
internal conflict too. Conflict is not a bug, it's a feature.

I wouldn't call that the best way to identify relevant aspects of the
shared world. While you're in conflict, you've lost the use of the system
in you that is conflicting with the corresponding system in the other
person -- both persons have lost control of the variable that is at the
focus of the conflict, or some variable closely related to it. If the
conflict is internal, you're lost two control systems. If conflicts were
good for us, why would we try to resolve them?

Of course during the resolution of conflicts we do expand specific control
abilities and learn how to handle the problems without conflict. Our
capacity to reorganize is, I would agree, a good thing. But to conclude
from that that conflict itself is a positive contribution to our existence
is a non sequitur. It does not follow that because our bodies can mend a
broken leg, deliberately breaking our legs would be good for us. The state
of conflict is unequivocally bad for us because it destroys control, and
there is no net gain in deliberately inducing conflict just because we can
most likely learn to resolve it. The time and effort required to recover
from the conflict would most likely be available for more productive use if
the conflict had never existed. The reasoning in favor of conflict is like
that of the person who kept hitting himself in the head with a hammer
because it felt so good when he stopped.

Best,

Bill P.