----- Original Message ----- From: "B. Thalhammer" <bryanth@SOLTEC.NET>
Sent: Saturday, April 08, 2006 7:37 PM
Subject: Re: doubt anti matter and memory [DAMM]
[From Bryan Thalhammer (2006.04.08.1837 CDT)]
Your message is interesting. But while I do not generally object to different ways of describing the variables involved in perceptual control, I have some questions at least about your understanding of the theory. Just so you know, I have done research in human behavior using the theory, based on a replication of Dick Robertson's work on the Self as a Control System.
1. "Convinced": Could you tell me what you mean by that term and what is the basis for your belief that everyone here is "convinced" that experience is sense-based. That kinda forces an information processing input-output shape to PCT, whereas *control of perception* is what most characterizes the writings. I think that is important, and now that I have prompted what I think is important, could you comment on both how a reader is convinced and how sense-based inputs equal experience?
Do you mean how a reader is convinced, or how I know a reader is convinced or why I believe a reader is convinced? What I said was that I believe a reader is convinced not I know. However, to take it a little further and perhaps a little deeper and maybe a little more scientifically, you are correct the only thing I could be relatively sure of when I picked up the book and read it is that my visual sensory inputs confirmed my tactile sensory inputs that while I was doing was the thing I have always referred to as reading a book. I assumed the book actually was written by Bill Powers, I had no way of knowing for sure of course. I assumed he meant what he said when he wrote it. I had no proof of that, of course and if he did meet when he wrote it, maybe he doesn't mean it today. Maybe it was a practical joke. Maybe it was testing the world for a control variable. Maybe nobody on CSGnet is convinced of it. In reality I convinced myself that PCTers were in accord on that and I probably did it to fulfill some reference signal from some higher level in the hierarchy that said something like let's be efficient in this e-mail and perhaps even higher levels that said seek out some intelligent relationships to make your life more meaningful. Nevertheless when I picked up the book[as evidenced by my tactile and visual sensory inputs] and read it, I assumed, incorporated, believed, that the following "experiencing naming assemblings" [ENA's] were indicative of the notion that experience is sensory based; that current experience is a combination and recombination of remembered and current sensory inputs. I don't see how that necessarily forces an input output shape, Since all of this, the experiencing, sensing, naming is, at some scale, simultaneous Maybe I'm wrong. Let's take a look. I will quote extensively from Bill Powers' "Making Sense Of Behavior".
Page 6: but what is perception. It's only what our senses tell us about the world.
Page 20: [a criticism of any other explanation] if you will attend once again to that hand you may notice that we have been ignoring a problem if you can't see your perceptions but you can see your hand, how do you know there is a hand in there? I mean literally how?..... you must have some way of knowing about the hand directly, that doesn't depend on neural signals! If you agree that this is true, you will be in good company; even some scientists believe that we can have knowledge of things outside us without having to rely on neural signals. This of course is a great mystery because when we study other people, THEY SEEM TO DEPEND ENTIRELY ON THE PREENCE OF NEURAL SIGNALS TO PERCEIVE THINGS OUTSIDE THEM. If a person's optic nerve ceases to function for any reason that person becomes blind. That person can hold up the hand and see it's skin fingernails, and wrinkles without using neural signals. But apparently, we can. That is extremely odd. It is so odd, in fact, THAT WE HAVE TO CONCLUDE THAT IT IS WRONG.. What's wrong? The idea that we can know about anything outside us without the aid of neural signals. Therefore let's just except that even our own perception works the way it seems to work when urologist poke around inside people's brains: no neural signals no perceptions
page 21: when you look at your hand, you're already looking at them. You're directly experiencing the signals in your brain that represent the world outside you. There is no second way to know about the skin, the wrinkles, the fingernails, the Palm, and so on. There is only one way, through neural signals, AND YOUR LOOKING AT THEM.
Page 23: Perception, is simply the world of experience. [This can also be said in reverse order]
Page 24: since the world we experience IS the world of perception.........
Page 25: since the world we experience is the world of perception..........
Page 25: at the same time, knowing that all experience is experience of neural signals, we are explaining how we control things, and why controlling seems to us the way it seems, and how we can be making up models and theories about controlling.
A friend of mine developed a blood clot in his brain stem which left him paralyzed in every muscle with the exception of a few chest and facial muscles. In a few months he went crazy and died. His lack of sensory input disconnected him from the world. And caused him to cease to exist. His loss of opportunity to control deprived him of the opportunity to be alive, to be, to be experiencing, to be an experiencing naming entity and he, himself, disappeared from my visual and tactile world.
2. Percept: I agree that Bill has articulated a gem, that being B:CP. I would have to return to it to see his definition of percept.
At this time I cannot find the page but you can be relatively sure that my memory is good here that somewhere he says "a percept is a unit of experience" when I find the page I will note it. There has been a lot of discussion about the definition of behavior. It has been given a very narrow application in PCT. As I read I can see that the word "action" has also been given a more narrow meaning in PCT than it has elsewhere. As has been evident in some of the posts this has created some problems. At some point Hank Folson called behavior the Phlogiston of PCT. PCT addresses these problems by limiting the degrees of freedom in terming. This is of course the scientific method. It is essential that any theory discount much of what we find in order to maintain its integrity. These are the limitations of words B:CP is the main thrust of PCT. And I don't to that fact one iota. The statement that a percept is a unit of experience is more meaningful to me than to others at this time is because my web site is about experiencing naming acts ENA's. It is also, because of its lack of vagueness and disputability, and because it doesn't require a reduction in degrees of freedom it is a more perfect statement. Bill has given me something wonderful to work with, and I'm grateful Thank you Bill!
But as I wrote above,
experience is not just the inputs, it is the cycle of
control that seems to be more apt a description of experience than just the sensory inputs.
I never said that. But somehow you heard it.
You are saying it now, I don't see where you said it above; nor did I mean to omit, or discount, that fact.
True, if the sensory input were turned off, control
would come to a halt. But that is not because sensory inputs are driving the cycle, but that the combination of input, reference and error signal are together what could be stopped cold if sensory input were blocked.
3. Reinforcement: This term carries with it a lot of baggage that can get twirled round about in the terminology Bill, Rick, Dick, Tim and many others have worked out to explain how control of perception occurs. I think you might want to look into using reference signal.
The word reinforcement is a perception. I do not find it incumbent upon me to crusade for its abolition. I feel confident in my ability to use the word within the context of PCT other than a target for attack. That is why I chose the example that I did in describing myself laying motionless on the bed, closing my eyes, and attempting to prove to myself that I have toes, hands, etc.. There comes a point in time, quickly if you face it, that you realize that the only evidence of the existence of any of these things is faith and memory. Unless there is tactile or visual confirmation, the belief is just that a belief, a memory, unsupported by tactile or visual confirmation. I do not have a political or emotional sense of error in using the word reinforcement when I talk about what I do by wiggling my toes. If at some point in time I doubt that I have surface contours to my body I can reinforce the belief by twitching my finger or opening my mouth or some other form of movement. I am not committed to completely eliminating the word reinforcement. I can of course in time acquire the skills of working without it if this is required for participation in PCT discussions. But the manner in which I used it looks to me like I was in an isolated closed loop situation and that is why I chose it. I don't know why anyone would feel threatened by its use in this manner, unless of course some higher-level system set a reference level of "don't use". There are times when I doubt things and in a very autonomous manner, a very closed loop the matter, all by myself, reinforce the belief. It looks to me like all of the rubber band experiments and computer programs could very well be considered, when repeated, as a reinforcement by the scientist that his assumption of yesterday is true today everywhere at all times. Unless of course it is against some higher-level system to doubt.
4. Environment and stimulation: Here you are way off, where you say that the environment stimulates action or behavior or whatever
That is what you heard, that is not what I said. What I said was "it is something [reinforce a memory] I did because I wanted to, not because the environment stimulated me. This is almost the opposite of what you "heard" me say, what reference signals prompted that hearing? In addition, if I want to increase my degrees of freedom and not be restricted by a higher level system I might inform the higher level system that I would like to call that condition, of the being in doubt and wanting reinforcement, an environment, an environment in which I would like to stimulate a response in order to see if my memory was correct. Of course if the higher-level system says no I will just have to go with the flow. To me words are labels, experiencing naming tags. A reinforcement by any other name is still a reinforcement unless of course there is a sacred system which denies that. I do not sacredize terming unless it is necessary to do so to save my neck. Sacredized terming is part of the process of turf building as pointed out by Brenda Dervin and Jerome Bruner and Hilgartner and others. PCT calls attention to a serious omission by behavioral theorists. It is never going to go away as long as people want the complete picture. And since it is a fact it could always be rediscovered.
That is a
behaviorist or info processing view that an input of sensation, data or program can cause behavior.
I was not saying that. I was saying that my behavior was a choice to reinforce a memory. I did it alone I was not stimulated by a thing in the environment. Unless of course as I said we wish to consider a condition of doubts the environment. This is a scientific statement unless of course a higher system says "no-no"
Here you want to think about using
perceptual signal which is a combination of environmental energies, control output energies, and random energies. And what happens is that as the perceptual signal is compared with the reference signal, it is not the same (what is wanted), and the error (difference between the two) becomes an output signal that goes into the environment of that comparison cycle (control system), making changes that come back in part as a perceptual input and round we go again.
As in the use or non-use of the word reinforcement! Shall we dance?
5. Wants, desires: I think that this is a metaphor that Bill was using,
I don't think they want or a desire is a metaphor unless we want or desire a metaphor.
and that metaphor is for reference signals set by other/upper control systems' output signals. Basically, when a perceptual signal does not match the reference signal for that perception, we give forth effort to make it so.
Like in reinforcement?
6. Doubt: You have to define doubt a bit better than that. And the issue
Let's see what other experiencing namings [percepts] I might associate with doubt: Anxiety, fear, suspicion, not sure, uncertain, kind of wonder, guilt, lack of sensory input.
about antimatter and matter I think goes beyond currently accepted physics, that is, I think there is no evidence for a 50/50 spread of matter and antimatter, at least sitting there on the fence post across the street. Then with certainty and doubt you lose me philosophically in your riffs, but I am sure you can take another swat at this and address it scientifically?
Thanks for the encouragement.
Forget the riffs, I do a little weirdy wording sometimes, probably a reference signal from some too high a system, gotta send up some data, or reorganize or somethin.
How'm I. doin?
Thank you for your precious time.
[Jim Dundon 2003.04.08.11.43 EDST]
I believe everyone on CSGnet is pretty much convinced that everything we experience, all percepts, enter through our senses. It is themed over and over throughout the writings.
In rereading some of Bill Powers' writings I came across a real gem, "a percept is a unit of experience" I love it! On many occasions Bill points out the fact that were there no sensory inputs we would cease to exist.
On several occasions I have attempted to remain perfectly still as I lay in bed and in doing so, if I do it long enough, I begin to realize that the contours of my body, the shape of my legs and toes and arms exists only as memories. I have no continuing evidence that my memories are true. If I lay there long enough the memories begin to dim and I have to work at maintaining a concept, percept of them. I realize when this happens that in order for me to keep out doubt about the shape of things I must move. After a period of time I begin to look for a reinforcement of my memory, and if I move, my doubts are removed and my memories are reinforced. And I have satisfied a desire.
The notion of reinforcement in this case is my naming of that unit of experience. In this case is reinforcement a percept? Is it okay in PCT circles to refer to this percept as reinforcement. Or is that a no-no. It is something I did because I wanted to, not because the environment stimulated me. It is more like seeking perception than controlling perception. Bill has said in his writings that it is wants and desires, intent and purpose which motivate action. In this case I sought reinforcement.
So the question is; what does PCT consider a doubt to be?.
Is a doubt a percept or an anti-percept?
When something matters to us is doubt antimatter?
When physicists ran out of things to do and they began to doubt whether there was a future for them [no new sensory input to be discovered which would ensure their existence as physicists] they discovered antimatter. In fact there is exactly just as much antimatter as matter in the universe. Seem to be just as much doubt as certainty. How convenient. Or is it something that is always true?
Is there as much anti-percept as percept in the universe?
Could we have certainty without doubt? Which comes first? Or do they coexist? Do they exist simultaneously, sequentially or alternately?
Can I be an autonomous doubter? Certainly? I'm not sure.
I know I matter but do I antimatter?
If I test for a controlled variable am I considered by the other controller as an antimatterer; the devil, or his advocate? "A PERCEPT IS A UNIT OF EXPERIENCE", WHAT A GEM, I LOVE IT!!