From Jim Wuwert (2007.10.02.1210EST)
How could the referee get better at reducing conflict in a game? I am not referring to the conflict with the players, but the conflict that goes on inside his own head about blowing the whistle. How does he reduce conflict to become a good referee? Specifically, what strategies can he practice outside the game to help him perform better in the game?
Cook Elementary School
-----“Control Systems Group Network (CSGnet)” CSGNET@LISTSERV.UIUC.EDU wrote: -----
Along the same lines, I am a basketball referee. I choose to blow my whistle or not blow my whistle. Sometimes, that choice is made in milliseconds, much of what you are doing in a debate. You are still choosing, aren’t you? If not, then what is it?
From: Bill Powers powers_w@FRONTIER.NET
Sent by: “Control Systems Group Network (CSGnet)” CSGNET@LISTSERV.UIUC.EDU
Date: 10/02/2007 11:47AM
Subject: Re: Glasser’s Choice Theory
[From Bill Powers (2007.10.02.0922 MDT)]
Jim Wuwert (2007.10.02.1020EST) –
Interesting posts started by Boris Hartman. If you think about it, why should we be worried if Glasser is teaching some PCT principles? It’s good for more people to learn about PCT, and surely we don’t want to keep it for ourselves!
Glasser thinks that you have to simplify an idea to the kindergarten level before the average person can understand it. I completely disagree. The problem with simple examples is that they’re not simple: look at Glasser’s diagram of a car that is supposed to make PCT easier to understand. It’s so full of distracting images that it obscures more than it reveals. What’s so hard to understand about saying that we compare what we want with what we’re experiencing, and act to make the difference smaller? Glasser seems to think that everyone is dumb but himself.
As to choice theory, isn’t it really conflict that he’s talking about? You see that there are two things you can do; you can see good reasons for each of them, but you can’t do them both at once. So you have a dilemma and have to resolve the conflict.
The basketball referee, if he’s any good, does not have a conflict. If he sees someone traveling, he blows the whistle to stop play and assess the penalty. There is no “choice” to be made, unless he has some doubts about what he saw. Then the whistle is likely to be delayed while he makes up his mind. Conflict slows down and even stops control. But if there’s no conflict, there’s no choice to be made. You just do what works. The referee see the foul and stops play. Blowing the whistle is how you stop play. No conflict, no choice.
The idea that there is a choice any time more than one thing might happen is simply wrong. If you stop a moment and think of all the things you might be doing other than reading this, you will realize that you don’t have to make choices very often. You could be buying tickets to fly to China, couldn’t you? Of course you could, but you’re not “choosing to go on reading instead of buying plane tickets to China.” You’re not (or you weren’t) even thinking about buying plane tickets to China. You could fill a page with a list of other things you might be doing. And not one of them, like pouring coffee over your head, requires a choice to keep from doing it.
Glasser is using choice in the sense of voluntary, purposeful action as opposed to accidental side-effects of action. But changing the word isn’t all you have to do – you also have to understand how negative feedback control works, which most people can do if you credit them with two brain cells to rub together, and if you understand it yourself. Glasser doesn’t see the difference between purposive action and conflict. He thinks they go together. So the problem is his lack of understanding, not anyone else’s.
What I do object to is teaching people wrong things about how control systems work. If Glasser wants to teach PCT, let him, but I hope he learns to do it right.
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