[From Rick Marken (940516.1100)]
Bill Powers (940514.2025 MDT) --
So, Rick, I think it's about time to come back. We have experiments
to design and carry out, programming to do, and progress to make.
As you wish.
Since I promised I would not comment about anything said during my absence
I'll just start a new thread (I will try to keep my rate of posting down;
but I do want to get something off my chest ).
I want to argue that the phenomenon of control - - human control in general,
and our OWN controlling in particular -- is an EXTREMELY important
phenomenon to understand. If it were understood, the world really would be a
better place for ourselves, our children and their children. Controlling is
ubiquitous and fundamental to our daily, real life existence -- yet it is
almost completely invisible so it has been almost completely ignored. PCT
exposes the ubiquity of control and explains how it works.
It is extremely important to try to get this understanding of control out to
others besides the few who currently have it. It seems like PCT theorists
talk about nothing but control, control control. But I realized that that is
the who point; controlling is what people do; it is living; it is why we have
ANYTHING we care about (like the Bach 2 and 3 part inventions) and why we
have human problems too (like war and murder). We have to keep harping on
that one point: people -- you, me, everyone -- control. There is no hope for
making things better until people know what control is and how it works.
These thoughts were motivated by a horrible experience I had this weekend --
the experience of seeing "Shindler's List". The horror I experienced was not
just from the scenes in the movie itself but from the public reaction to the
movie, which has been one of overwhelming praise. The movie has been touted
as a "great" exploration of human nature. It was given the "best picture"
award and was called a "new" view of the holcaust by many reviewers. I
didn't want to see it because I didn't want to see another "holcaust" movie;
I don't particularly like to watch violence, unless it is clearly make-
believe (I liked both Terminator movies alot). I was told by many people that
this was not just another holcaust movie; that it was a great and uplifting
I finally caved in and saw it. And, sure enough, it's another holocaust movie
-- only WORSE! Three hours of horror -- well executed horror. There was no
uplift at the end for me. I was sickened, appalled and, well, pissed for
having been lied to. I would have learned more about human nature if I had
spent the entire three hours banging my head against a wall.
What appalled my about this movie (and the generally adulatory response to
it) was that it was completely superficial. This was a movie based on the
idea that a faithful description of BEHAVIOR gives insight into human nature.
The atrocities were supposed to speak for themselves: see the horrible things
people do, said the movie. Look at those horrible behaviors and see what you
shouldn't do -- that is, see what behaviors you shouldn't emit. And look at
how this one person, originally one of the "bad behavior emitters" -- ie. a
Nazi -- manages to emit some good behavior.
Movies like this not only get us NOWHERE in terms of understanding why things
like the holocaust happen -- they (and the response to them) keep us from
getting anywhere in our understanding of human nature becuase they seem to
give people the impression that, by watching this crap, they ARE getting
such understanding. This movie is a horrible waste of money, talent (like
Spielberg's -- he's a great horror film maker) and time: and it contains a
large dose of the worst drug on the market -- understandingness -- a drug
that gives you the FEELING that you understand something when you don't.
The movie gives the impression that there are evil people out there who emit
evil behaviors -- hateful, mean people. The movie shows with grisly precision
the kinds of evil behaviors people do. I presume the goal of showing this
horror is to convince you that people are capable of such behaviors and to
make sure you either stay away from evil people like this or convince
them that they should not emit such behaviors in the future.
The real cause of the holocaust, of course, is not evil people. The cause is
the fact that we are ALL controlling people; it is our nature to make things
the way we want them to be. If we want "a europe without jews", we will do
whatever our other goals will permit us to do in order to achieve that goal--
which means ANYTHING. Many people managed to convince themselves that jews
were not people so suddenly a possible solution to the "jewish problem"
presented itself to people who did not necessarily have a goal of of killing
people. The killing, masacre, and ugliness and all the other disgusting
things shown in the picture are not "emitted behaviors" -- they are side
effects of controlling. We have to understand that the Nazi's are no
different than any of their victims or from any of the rest of us; they are
people who want the world to be a certain way; they are (like Bach, Beethoven
and the kid who kills to steal a car) controllers.
People who don't understand that "evil" is a perceived side effect of
controlling feel free (when the situation arises) to do exactly what was
done to them as victims - - as long as it doesn't LOOK like what was done to
them. So many of the people who were delt with as an obstruction to be
eliminated during the holocaust felt fine about treating other people as an
obstruction to be eliminated during the time after the holocaust; these were
people who felt that they had LEARNED something from the holocuast; this is
the problem with "learning" from looking at the superficial aspects of
We learn no more by focusing on the ugly horrors which are the side effects
of controlling for a "europe without jews" than we would by focusing on the
ugly scrapings and drippings that fell on the floor while Michaelangelo and
his students were controlling for the frescos on the ceiling of the Sistine
People control and sometimes people become the objects of this control; this
results in conflict, which can result in some VERY ugly efforts being
mustered by either side in an effort to produce the desired results. The
only solution to this problem -- an unavoidable problem for interacting
controllers -- is to understand that all people are controllers -- including
YOU and ME.
We must keep teaching about control; we have the power to stop the horrors of
conflict. But the solution is not in figuring out how to get other to behave
right; the solution is understanding one's own nature as a controller.
Know thy controlling self.