How organisms function from view of Ashby, Maturana, Powers, physiology and neurophysiology

It seems that Bruce Nevin was triggered by my presentation about how organisms function on Cybernetics Society and it seems that he started to study authors which I presented. We have also talked about the fundamentals of PCT as theory of organisms functioning related to my presentation on Cybernetics society.

But it seems that Bruce didn’t act democratically in our discussion as he filtered or even didn’t expose our discussion as he should finding all kinds of reasons. He didn’t act democratically as he should but autocratic. He seems to control very tightly every perception of statements that are deviating form his references. So every statement that I produced by his oppinion deviates from his references and he is presenting that as abusement and so on, avoiding his duty to “control” democratic discussions.

As Bruce Nevin just left our discussion and opened his own discussion about how Maturana (Varella) presented their view of organisms functioning without pointng out where he got an idea for such a discsussion, I’m forced to show another view of the same problem which I already presented on Cybernetics Society. I also think that Bruce Nevin violated some other rules of democratic and civilized discussion.

In respons to his discussion about “Autopoieses and Control” in which he didn’t highlighted the main advantage of Maturana’s work I’m presenting link to my presentation of organisms functioning. And as Bruce Nevin didn’t communicate with Maturana as I did, he doesn’t understand the word “autopoiesis”. He offered his “etymological” meaning which is not exact translation of meaning of the word “autopoiesis” Maturana offered to me. But I think it’s right that meaning is used in original sense as author meant it not some subjective interpretation of phylosophers who probably “copy-pasted” most of his oppinion somewhere.

By Maturana’s words “autopoiesis” means self-production. If Bruce Nevin would ask a little around or read Rcihard Pfau’s book he would know that. There are also some other problems with Bruce Nevins’ presentation of “autopiesis and control”. All in all Bruce Nevin’s presentation of “autopoiesis and control” is misleading because I think that only goal that Bruce Nevin is pursiing is presenting Maturana’s concept as confussion and PCT as right way of presenting organisms function. Both concepts are insufficient to understand organism functioning because both were not exposed to general physilogical fidnings as Wiiener proposed in his central book. It seems that I was first to do that in Cybernetics.

So I think that my DBCS theory in this moment still represents the most “objective” picture how organisms function.

I’m forced to do so because knowing autocratic tendencies of Bruce Nevin I don’t know whether he will publish my answers or not. So it’s better to open my own discussion. I gave some time to Bruce to “repair” his attitude to democratic discussion before I start talking to others about his undemocratic actions.

Your last post in the topic “You say you want a revolution” under Learning PCT > Interdisciplinary Opportunities really belongs here. I’m including it by reference (using that link), but it really should be moved here.

You start with Ashby’s feedback loop:

The little ‘dial’ figure seems to correspond to the comparator that is posited for the reorganizing system. This describes a loop that is closed through the environment. The “reacting part” R represents the entire control hierarchy of PCT (exclusive of the reorganizing system) which also constructs negative feedback loops which are closed through the environment. Those PCT feedback loops are represented by the two arrows between the gray blob labeled R and the other gray blob with Envt. written above it. So diagrammatically, it puts the entire PCT control hierarchy in a single black box in the environmental feedback path for the loop that Ashby is talking about.

Your next diagram from Ashby is more complete. It shows a learning process within the organism, where one path from the dial-comparator through a ‘nerve-net’ is determined to be most ‘effective’ in reducing intrinsic error. The diagram suggests that the output of this path through the ‘nerve-net’ specifies what the control hierarchy R is to control. In PCT terms, a reference value of a certain strength is sent to the reference input function of a comparator in the hierarchy, and hierarchical control specifies further references signals cascading down to effectors influencing sensed environmental conditions. Ashby’s labels P and 1, 2, 3 are unexplained in this slide. Presumably they are environmental conditions which, being sensed, result in input of a perception of P1 to the dial-comparator, closing the loop that Ashby is concerned with.

There are now three boxes labeled S instead of one S. Do they represent different essential variables? Oxygen, potassium, and core body temperature, say? Seems more likely they would be variables like hormones and neurochemicals which can affect the essential variables, often rather indirectly.

Now comes your “DBCS basic diagram”. There are many arrows, none of them labeled. Please help us to understand it. I find it quite confusing, and what I can make out in your talk has not cleared it up.

There’s a box with “Motor output” on the left and “sensory input” on the right. An arrow outside the box from Motor output to Sensory input closes the loop through the environment. There is one arrow out to Motor output, but there are two arrows in from Sensory input.

Beginning at the level of Motor output, you show five ascending levels of “control subsystems”. I assume these correspond to the first five levels of the proposed PCT hierarchy. Between each pair of levels are two arrows; the ascending arrow is presumably perceptual input to the one above, and the descending arrow is reference input to the one below.

Level 1 at the bottom sends output to “Motor output” on the left, so it seems to correspond to control of intensity signals from effectors. However, there is a descending line on the left, within the box, that seems to provide input to that arrow going to Motor output, and each of the other levels seems to provide output to that line and thence directly to motor output. This seems to say that each of these five levels provides input directly to “Motor output”. That is quite different from hierarchical control.

On the right, there appears to be sensory input to each of the first two levels. Which sensors directly produce sensations which are not constructed from intensities?

Level 5 has an additional output arrow on the left which provides input on the left to each of the levels below, except for Level 1; and Level 2 (I mistakenly wrote Level 1 at first) has an output on the right which provides input to each of the levels above, on an ascending line to which Level 3 and Level 4 also provide inputs.

Please label and explain each of these arrows.

So far this all appears to be a block diagram of R in Ashby’s diagrams above, what he called the ‘Reacting part’ of the organism.

Below level 1, a box labeled Essential variables and a box labeled Genetic control system has central input and output arrows going up and down connecting them to each other and to Level 1. In addition, Levels 2 and 3 have direct inputs to ‘Essential variables’, and ‘Essential variables’ has an output arrow up to Level 2.

Since this is the “basic diagram” I think we need to understand it before going on to your more elaborate diagram. Help us out.

How did you manage to prevent my new topic? I was sure that it was presented in the Fundamentals. It’s time to talk to founders of Discourse.

If you mean the post with which you started this topic, it is right here. Scroll up.

This link goes to the first post in this topic (yours):

This link goes to the second post in this topic (mine):

This link goes to the third post in this topic, yours, the one to which I am now replying:

Nothing is being ‘prevented’.

Answer the questions, please.


I’m totaly confused so you can’t expect from me any “normal” answers in this moment until confussion pass away. You shouldn’t have threatened me in the beggining of our conversation. Show me one abusment. If you want detailed explanation of what I presented I have to feel secure and trust. If we’ll reestablish trust then you’ll have a lot of informations you want. I see that you are very good thinker and deep analyzer. I need some confirmations of others what they see and when I’ll feel better we’ll continue our conversation.

It sounds like you are saying that when you do not trust and do not feel secure you experience confusion and are unable control the perceptions involved in communication.

I like to try to apply PCT to my own experience. I hope you do too.

This confusion might be an example, in your present experience, of what my diagrams propose. Those diagrams would predict that your limbic system is constructing hasty, emotion-laden perceptions based on memory, and these limbic ‘judgements’ are combined with environmental input so that it is difficult to perceive the environmental input accurately.

The confusion may be in part because you have two kinds of perceptions of who I am. In one kind of perception, I steal your ideas, lie about it, and threaten you. In the other kind of perception I’m a reasonable person, a good thinker, a deep analyzer, maybe even a nice guy who means you no harm. Going back and forth between those perceptions would be very confusing!

Well you are right that I control two kind of perception of who you are because you acted so really differently that you absolutely confused me. So which perception do I control depends really how you control perception in different situations and show that.

First it looked like you knew for my presentation and you took idea from it. You persuaded me in really nice way (I was surprised, because to that moment you showed only hostile etitude to me) that you didn’t “copy idea” from me but you came to that idea intiutivelly. If this is really so I still need an answer to a question :

How did you know that my presentation would be useful for next generations of PCT members if I post it on Discourse, if you didn’t see it???

You always thought that my knowledge was “worthless” (although you didn’t know anything about me) and that I don’t understand language and… . You can see some of your insults on CSGnet archives and in your “secret” sessions when you tried to “dump” me from Discourse (Request to remove member…). Only negative about me. And suddenly appeared sweet Bruce who invited me to give my presentation on Discourse for the next generation, even without seeing my presentation. Well I was confused. Who wouldn’t be? So I maccused you first that you “steal” from me and later when you persuaded me with sweet language that you came to the same conclussion 3 weeks after my presentation “intuitivelly” to the same idea I thought that you must be really inteligent man. Nobody in history of cybernetics came to that idea intuitivelly but you did. So my control of perception changed depending how good you were at persuading me. If you’ll answer question above you’'ll persuade me even more that you are genius or we’ll see that you are a “thief”, becasue you didn’t mention that you find it in my presentation.

Your understanding of PCT and organisms functioning vary quite in range from phylosophyical to sicentific. Usually probably depending from what you are stuyding. And that’s what my comments depend on. It seems that now you are studying my presentation and everything what is arround it. So you posted “Autopoiesis and control”. It’s with no doubt result of my presentation and our conversation, but you didn’t mention that.

        By the way did you find any literature or any source that connects "autopoiesis and control" except my presentation?

When you analyzed part of my presentation here in this topic “How organisms function…” I was surprised again how deeply you analyzed that part of presentation. I’ve sent my presentation to many scientist and cyberneticians etc. but they didn’t come even close to your understanding of the problem. Amazing. If I’ll explain everything what you asked I’m sure that with your inteligence you’ll quite exactly understand what I wanted to do or what I wanted to announce with it and in which direction my intentions are.

In one sense I’m glad that you made such a deep insight into my presentation, but on the other hand I’m afraid how will use that knowledge. Probably against me as you did use knowledge about autopoiesis against Maturana talking about confussion.

Afterall I’ll have second presentation on Cybernetics Society which will reveal more about organisms functioning. So I can’t reveal to much information if I want my second presentation to be original.

So maybe now you understand why I don’t trust you and why I don’t feel secure with exposing my knowledge which obviously now presents some value to you in contrast to our previous relation where my knowledge was worthless for you.

So my attitude to you vary from controlling perception of your actions (writings) which are by my oppinion once :

  1. steal your ideas, lie about it, and threaten you

  2. reasonable person, a good thinker, a deep analyzer, maybe even a nice guy who means you no harm

It depends how perception of your actions are controlled in me. I can’t control my emotional respons to your actions. But obviously is different in different situations and I answer in that manner. You are quite unpredictable. Sometimes amazingly kind and sometimes amazingly rough. Probably depending on how you control your perception. If it is going away from your references then you are probably rough and vica verse. When your perception approach to your references you are kind and sweet.

I had no ideas about your presentation at all, because I had not seen it at that time.

I had no idea whether it would be useful to students of PCT or not–in fact I still don’t, because I don’t understand it–but I do believe that it’s important that you present your proposals to all of us.

There is no guarantee that we will all agree with you or that anyone will find them useful. You have to take your chances just like the rest of us.

This is a forum for discussing and developing PCT. For us to understand your ideas as proposals for PCT, we have to see how your ideas relate to PCT as we understand it. What is the same, what are the differences? It is up to you communicate those relationships.

You have quite a few assumptions about my motivations.

The above responds to that. In fact I still do not understand what you are proposing.

I was familiar with the “frog’s eye” paper (1959). It is telling that this was published in a computer science journal. McCulloch, Lettvin, and Pitts at least were trying to understand the brain as a kind of computer architecture, to instantiate the computer metaphor that is still today the leading idea of cognitive psychology. The constructivist realization was useful, the realization that one’s reality is the perceptions that one’s brain constructs, but that of course is familiar and essential in PCT.

But that’s not autopoiesis. I developed a perception of the relationship of autopoiesis to control in email discussions of Maturana and Varela on CSGnet beginning in 1990, primarily posts by Bill, and reading some other writings, notably Powers (1987) “Control theory, constructivism, and autopoiesis.” On that basis, I did not look farther into it.

That is why I said I needed to re-familiarize myself with Maturana and Varela. That reading (among other things) delayed my response.

That explanation will be useful. I really don’t understand it at all. Arrows without labels and explanations not helpful at all.

All I did was describe the diagram. I described the part that looks like it might correspond to the HPCT hierarchy (with the central I/O arrows going up and down and a loop through the environment). The implicit question is, “Is that right? Is this supposed to represent the first five levels of the HPCT hierarchy?”

Then I described all these other arrows that make no sense to me at all unless you label them and explain what they represent. For each arrow or group of arrows my implicit question is, "What is this? What do you call it? What does it represent? What does it do in the model? It starts at A and goes to B (where A and B look to be pretty large and complicated functions). What is its input from what aspect of A, and what aspect of B gets that input from it?

I guess I should have asked those questions explicitly. When I pointed to an arrow and said “I see that arrow, I see that it starts here and goes there”, did you think that was a statement of understanding the significance and function of that arrow?

You’re safe. I am incapable of stealing what I do not perceive.

Let me tell you what some of my controlled variables are here, so you don’t have to guess any more. I’ve already told you that I don’t care at all about precedence. If you were to ‘steal’ some idea from me and make good use of it, that would be great. (Just don’t say its mine if you change it.)

Here are four linked CVs that are important to me in this context:

  1. The success of PCT.
  2. Supporting (1), the success and growth of IAPCT as a professional organization. This is something that Bill asked me to do in the 1990s and I was unable to even consider it, given the circumstances of my life at that time. I hold to advice attributed to Lao Tzu: “The best leadership is when the people have done it themselves.” Expect me to step back from prominence, because I will when I can.
  3. Supporting (2) and (1), all kinds of people being actively engaged in reading, study, discussion, and learning about PCT.
  4. Supporting all of the above, Discourse as a platform for finding agreements and working through disagreements in a civil way.

I’m sorry Bruce that my answer is so late.

I’ll still need an answer to a question :

HB earlier : How did you know that my presentation would be useful for next generations of PCT members if I post it on Discourse, if you didn’t see my presentation ???

BN : I had no ideas about your presentation at all, because I had not seen it at that time.

HB : If you had no ideas about my presentation why did you changed your mind from criticizing me that my knowledge is worthless to high valued knowledge which should be explained here on Discourse and even saved for next gnerations? What was the reason for your decision to change your mind about me?

In topic “Request to remove member….” (probably opened for me) you and some members talked about how to remove me from CSGnet and Discourse etc. Well you can read it in the topic so that I’ll not copy-paste yours and others accusations from there.

Obviously I was extrem “disturbance” to your and some others way of thinking like of course Rick and Warren and Rupert, Lynndall, Malou, Specially Richard Kennaway was inovative in insulting me. The dawn of civilization. So my knowledge was worthless, my “bear” thinking unacceptable and now I’m wellcome on the Discourse org. Why?

Really what was the cause of such a change??? I’d like to hear all those members that wanted to dump me, if they accept my “comeback”???

But I must emphasize that I was surprised as you (specially Rick) that there were no more members who hated me. Obvioulsy most of members approved my scientific view on PCT.

So in that time I deserved to vanish. But now suddenly you changed your mind and I’m wellcome. You even wanted me to explain my presentation here and you even want that my presentation is available to next generations. Why that changed? What caused that change from not welcome to being welcome?

I would really like that answer if we want to go forward with trust and mutual understanding.

BN : This is a forum for discussing and developing PCT. For us to understand your ideas as proposals for PCT, we have to see how your ideas relate to PCT as we understand it. What is the same, what are the differences? It is up to you communicate those relationships.

HB : Well many things about differences and similarities between PCT and “autopoiesis” (Maturana) and “Dynamic systems” (Ashby) are quite clearly explaind in my presentation.

Detailes about nervous system are quite complex. All is about how organisms function. And that is relation also between PCT and organisms functioning, We know from Bill that PCT is general theory about organisms functioning.

I know apoximatelly how you understand PCT, although it’s just prediction because we had many discussions and mainly I could see that most of you understood PCT as RCT (Ricks Control Theory). Is that still so? That was the biggest problem on CSGnet.

If that is so then you probably want me to start explaining differences between PCT, RCT and DBCS (Dynamic Biological Control Sysems). Is that what you would like?

BN : That explanation will be useful. I really don’t understand it at all. Arrows without labels and explanations not helpful at all.

BN : All I did was describe the diagram. I described the part that looks like it might correspond to the HPCT hierarchy (with the central I/O arrows going up and down and a loop through the environment). The implicit question is, “Is that right?

HB : Diagram with arrows is not only harmonized witth Wiener, Ashby, Powers and Maturana but also with contemporary findings in physiology and neurophysiology. So as far as actual scientific knowledge is concerned diagram should be right. I can’t uncover too much informations if I want my second presentation on Cybernetics Society to be original.

BN : You’re safe. I am incapable of stealing what I do not perceive.

HB : We both know that my knowledge is not safe on Discourse org. Mostly because of Rick who already has stolen my knowledge from CSGnet forum and presented it as his own. And I’m still waiting for your information what made you change your mind from thinking that I’m a “criminal” to thinking that I’m man with worth knowledge?
This is funadamental to evaluate how safe I’m on discourse. If I’m honest I don’t know yet if I can trust anybody except Martin, who already told me that I can’t trust him. But I think I can trust to Richard Pfau, Bruce A., Kent, Fred, Frank… maybe Eva…

I really don’t know what will happen if you’ll perceive what you want. I didn’t have time on FIRST presentation to explain in detail last diagram so it will be explained in detail on next presentation with other missing parts about organims functioning. As I wrote before I want to keep my originality.

You pointed out problem of understanding arrows between “control areas”. These are just main connections. Bilions of connections are not shown. And it can’t be because of complexity of connections in nervous system. One neuron can be connected to 10.000 of other neurons. So the only way if you don’t want to fall into same trap as Neuroscience and Cognitive science did, you’ll have to understand heuristicaly how control works in organism. And DBCS is basis for that.

This is why method of reasearching connections and functoions of control regions, areas, which is used by Neuroscience or Cognitive science or etc. science will result in nothing as Bill also predicted and Henry Yin presented in totaly lost book “Interdisciplinary Handbook”. Henry Yin’s article and some of them doesn’t belong there because they are from other dimensions than most of other articles are. My critics of the book is in Fundamentals.

In my presentation the method for researching nervous system is quite different and less complex as actual knowledge of mentioned two sciences is (Neuroscience and Cognitive Science).

CUA (Control Unit Analyses) view which was started by Bill Powers and then strongly upgraded by me is much simpler and easy to understand when you once get right grasp. But you didn’t want to listen to me, when I was repeating basis of PCT and organisms functioning almost 10 years. You rather dumped me.

I’ll never understand Bill why he didn’t want cooperation with me as we already created in our discoussions common view of “Control Unit Analyses” (CUA) of nervous system. After I proposed arrow from genetic surce to “intrinsic variables” and proposed cooperation, he never answered to me.

I hope that you understand anyway why I’d like to promote history role of Bill Powers in Cybernetics as much as in Psychology. THE METHOD OF CUA and “Control of perception” is by my oppinion the only possible way to understand brain functioning and consequently organisms functioning.

O.K. let us say that me and you started with connections of “inputs and outputs” in brain, but that is only the beggining. Analyzing connections between 100 bilions of neurons is too complex task. You need some integrating knowledge what you’ll see in my next presentation,

BN : Let me tell you what some of my controlled variables are here, so you don’t have to guess any more. I’ve already told you that I don’t care at all about precedence.

HB : From my next presentation you’ll also see why thinking in terms of control variables (CV) in external environment is not appropriate method for analysing organisms control. That’s why Bill Powers didn’t put CV into his diagram LCS III (2008). Because it has no sense to isolate CV in such complexitiy of CV’s in organism which are in control process in the same time. It’s simply too complex.
It can be maybe succesfully used in such a simple task as “tracking experiment” is, because sensory-motor connection’s are so short that can produce necesary speed for illusion of control.

But most of connections in nervous system are not in direct “sensory motor” connections, so complex analyses shoud be used like CUA.

BN : Here are four linked CVs that are important to me in this context:

  1. The success of PCT.

  2. (Priniple level) Supporting (1), the success and growth of IAPCT as a professional organization. This is something that Bill asked me to do in the 1990s and I was unable to even consider it, given the circumstances of my life at that time. I hold to advice attributed to Lao Tzu: “The best leadership is when the people have done it themselves.” Expect me to step back from prominence, because I will when I can.

  3. Supporting (2) and (1), all kinds of people being actively engaged in reading, study, discussion, and learning about PCT.

  4. Supporting all of the above, Discourse as a platform for finding agreements and working through disagreements in a civil way.

HB : I can’t see one option. Can we agree that also PCT and Powers name should be deeply burried into history of Cybernetics and Psychology. That was primary reason why I came back to Discourse. If you agree that IAPCT should do also about that then we just have to make plan of activity for promoting PCT and Bill Powers. I have a plan.

BN : If you were to ‘steal’ some idea from me and make good use of it, that would be great. (Just don’t say its mine if you change it.)

HB : Your proposal is not in accordance to Law of authors rights. I think that president of IAPCT should respect all Laws.

So I have better proposal which is not in conflict with Law of authors rights. Let us say that we become “friends” because it seems that we are quite similary interested in finding the truth about how organims function and of course nervous system. Usually learning process goes in both way. So we could do something like these :

  • If I’ll write to any public something that contain your ideas I could say that Bruce Nevin make some deep insights and he came to some interesting conclussions…etc
  • If you’ll write to any public you could maybe write something like : Boris Hartman presented interesting ideas supported by Wiener, Powers etc, and physiological findings etc.

What do you say about my proposal?

You believe that I thought that your ideas and knowledge were worthless, and that my present desire that you should explain your ideas more clearly is due to changing my mind.

Your perception of what I intended to communicate is not at all what I intended to communicate. In easier, lay terms, it is a false assumption. I have wanted to learn more what your ideas are and what basis you have for them. Your way of presenting them has made it difficult for me to find out. I’ll explain that.

The disturbance was not to anyone’s understanding of PCT. The disturbance was to collective control of perceptual variables that are controlled as aspects of communication and as aspects of human relationships more generally. In easier lay terms, you repeatedly insulted us. Perhaps you have been unaware of doing so.

One way you insulted us was by repeatedly posting the same extended quotations from Bill’s writings, as though we had not read and understood them. In fact, saying that we had not properly understood them.

(We can talk in another place, or farther on in this topic, about what we were in fact doing, how that relates to what Bill had written in years past, and how it relates to ongoing discussions with Bill in more recent years and with one another after his death. In this post I don’t want to distract from explaining why my wanting you to communicate your ideas more effectively is not a result of ‘changing my mind’.)

You also insulted us individually and collectively in very explicitly insulting terms.

I think that you have been very quick to perceive insult to yourself in what others say. I have seen that when you feel insulted you retaliate with aggressive insults that quickly escalate to actual threats. I am guessing that when you do this, your attention is on perceptions of defending yourself, and you lose awareness of the significance or consequences of insulting others.

I have found in human affairs that very often an effect of acting on such assumptions is to create the situations that one fears or dislikes. Maybe I’ll get around to sketching how one might model that pathological kind of collective control, or maybe someone else will take it up. There’s lots of documentation in the non-PCT literature.

Well, let’s be clear. You are conditionally welcome. If you become abusive again, you will be blocked. So if you want to participate in our discussions, and explain your ideas, you will have to put some serious attention into recognizing variables that are collectively controlled in communication, and the reference ranges for them that sustain a perception of civil discourse.

For example, cease using this ad hominem, insulting epithet. That’s what we call a pissing contest. It appears that you are upset at our discussions of the relationship of perceptions to whatever is going on in the environment. Fine. Join in those discussions and explain how it is that perceptual control loops are closed through the environment, in which a disturbance is a perception controlled by the experimenter but not even perceived by the subject. Talk about the specifics. This kind of blanket pejorative category is destructive of any conversation.

Please label the arrows in the diagrams and provide a written explanation of them.

Nobody wants to steal your ideas. If you don’t trust us, then it is that mistrust that prevents you from participating in discussions with us. You decide. Do you want to tell us what you’ve been working on, and maybe we’ll learn something, and maybe in the conversation you’ll learn something too? Or do you want to keep it to yourself until after you talk to the cyberneticists? If the latter, then come back when you’re ready to talk.

But stop trying to bully us. And if you’re not aware of doing that, do some serious thinking about why that is how we perceive you.

I listed 4 perceptual variables that I control: 1. Success of PCT. 2. success & growth of IAPCT. 3. A growing number of people learning PCT and using IAPCT as an environmental feedback path. 4. Civil conversations on Discourse in support of the above.

You ask me to add
5. “PCT and Powers name should be deeply buried into history of Cybernetics and Psychology.”

The history of cybernetics is written by cyberneticians and the history of psychology is written by psychologists. The way to do this is to control a perception of cyberneticians and psychologists being included in (3) and (4).

You say you have a plan. What is that plan? Is it something you are going to do? Is it something you want others to help you to do? Is it something you want IAPCT to do? Be specific. What are the sequences of controlled perceptions and reference values that constitute this plan?

Of course I would credit you for any idea that I got from you, and cite the source, and I would expect you to do the same. For me, that’s an obvious and necessary part of doing science, and it’s an obvious and necessary part of civil discourse in general.

I do not know that. I have told you that I do not agree that it is true, so you are attributing something to me that I have told you is not true. Are you saying that I am wrong because you believe other people will steal your ideas, or are you saying that I lied to you, because you believe that I will steal your ideas?

You are still holding this assumption that I changed my mind. Did you not read the post where I said that this is a false assumption, or are you saying that I was lying when I said that?

From what you’ve said, it sounds like you’re afraid that the untrustworthy people on Discourse will steal your ideas and present them as their own before you have a chance to get them on record in your presentation to the Cybernetic Society. As I said before, there’s an easy solution to that. Just don’t post anything on Discourse until after you give that presentation.

That is a serious accusation. Specifically what did Rick steal from you and where did he publish it without credit to you? Produce the evidence, or you are guilty of slander.


it’s obvious that we’ll come nowhere, because you started with your phylosophy again. But now I know quite exactly what you want from me. And that will not be possible until you’ll be talking in the form of fairy tails.

I have learned a lesson from CSGnet forum. When you don’t know concrete answers you start “flying” in your fantasy (imagination). And that leads nowhere.

PCT is scientific theory about how organisms function. And you never used any scientific evidences for your statements. We need to be explicit in scientific explanations.

So it seems that we are on the beggining of our “story” from CSGnet. Explain to me what you think about PCT control loop composed of Bill’s definitions in his central work (BC:P, 2005 and LCS III, 2008) :

PCT Definitions of control loop as the core part of PCT:

Bill P (B:CP):

  1. CONTROL : Achievement and maintenance of a preselected state in the controlling system, through actions on the environment that also cancel the effects of disturbances.

Bill P (B:CP):

  1. OUTPUT FUNCTION : The portion of a system that converts the magnitude or state of a signal inside the system into a corresponding set of effects on the immediate environment of the system

Bill P (LCS III):…the output function shown in it’s own box represents the means this system has for causing changes in it’s environment.

  1. FEED-BACK FUNCTION : The box represents the set of physical laws, properties, arrangements, linkages, by which the action of this system feeds-back to affect its own input, the controlled variable. That’s what feed-back means : it’s an effect of a system’s output on it’s own input.

Bill P (B:CP) :

  1. INPUT FUNCTION : The portion of a system that receives signals or stimuli from outside the system, and generates a perceptual signal that is some function of the received signals or stimuli.

Bill P (B:CP) :

  1. COMPARATOR : The portion of control system that computes the magnitude and direction of mismatch between perceptual and reference signal.

Bill P (B:CP) :

  1. ERROR : The discrepancy between a perceptual signal and a reference signal, which drives a control system’s output function. The discrepancy between a controlled quantity and it’s present reference level, which causes observable behavior.

Bill P (B:CP) :

  1. ERROR SIGNAL : A signal indicating the magnitude and direction of error.

All these definitions are quite supported by scientific evidences. Do you understand what we are talking about?

There is no word “control” in these definitions as in your phylosophical essey with no scientific evidences for descriptions of control loop. At least you could use Powers descriptions.

I want scientific evidences for what you are talking about specially for nonsense statements like :

BN : The control output (do not misread that as “controlled output”) has perceived environmental effects which oppose the effects of disturbances on the controlled perceptual input.

HB : What a construct. Could you match what you wrote to Powers definitions of control loop and use some physiological evidences that I’ll understand what you wanted to say.

The point is that Martin could use PCT explanations for control loop if he was writing about PCT.

BN : .The history of cybernetics is written by cyberneticians and the history of psychology is written by psychologists. The way to do this is to control a perception of cyberneticians and psychologists being included in (3) and (4).

HB : It seems that you don’t understand what Cybernetics and psychology and PCT is about. IT’S ABOUT HOW ORGANISMS FUNCTION. Do you understand what does that mean? Every of them has different explanation for organisms functioning, How can we understand who is right? There is only one truth in RR (Real reality) . It’s always forcing you in specific way if you want to survive. And science is trying to discover that ways. Obviously phylosophy came nowhere in concrete “modifying” of environment. which suits people needs.

Ashby found by my opinion the right way to explain how organisms can survive in RR. He came to the truth by comparing and integrating knowledge specially physiological and neurophysiological. The more perceptions you control in scientific way tha more possibility is that you’ll live more comfortly. That’s why we use technology, And technology advanced with science not with religion or phylosophy. You’ll hardly survive just with talkings and turning words around. Unless you’ll exploitate other people arround who will work for you

PCT has many advantages in explaining organisms functioning but it’s not enough for precise understanding. So further integration of knowledge is needed. Speccially PCT knowledge with other sciences. But first I think that PCT knowledge should be integrated into Cybernetics and Psychology.

So I’d like to find as much as possible integration of knowledge for advancing understanding of organisms functioning. We are still far away from
real understanding.

About stealing ideas and so on I made my point. Just keep to Laws and everything will be O.K. so that I don’t need to prove where and why you wanted or want to borrow from me The same goes for Rick. Don’t say I didn’t warn you two. It’s clear that you saw my presentation before you made your presentation on IAPCT meeting. My presentation was the reason why you changed your mind from not wanting my knowledge to want my knowledge. That was the only change happened in our relationship. You first wanted to dump me in “Request to remove member…” (just read it) and then you invited me to participate here in IAPCT discussions. because you saw my presentation. i don’t see any other reason for your change in attitude to me.

But I’m glad that you support my further presentations of my knowledge on Cybernetics Society. You stopped pushing me for explanations of my actual presentations. Really why we need to hurry?

V V ned., 12. dec. 2021 ob 02:06 je oseba Bruce E. Nevin via IAPCT <> napisala:

I hesitantly post here my complete agreement with Bruce, and my wonderment about how the quotes from Powers might be construed as indicating anything different from what he has said. But since you mention my name,

I write about the implications of PCT, not about PCT as such (though the book does have a tutorial on my understanding of PCT in Chapters 4-6). In doing so, I use Bill Powers as a possibly fallible guide, not an omniscient God. I found during his lifetime that when we disagreed, he was often but not always more correct than I. If I now seem to disagree with him in what I write, I try to imagine possible reasons he might object, and see whether I can in my mind sustain his likely counter-argument. I know that in this competition I am biased, but there’s nothing I can do about that.

I might mention that “PCT” is more than an acronym. It means “Perceptual Control Theory”, a theory about the control of perceptions, not a theory about control by perceptions. Actually it’s not just one theory, but a class of theories with many different possible forms, of which the Powers Hierarchical Perceptual Control Theory is just one of several plausible possibilities. In fact there are several plausible and testable varieties of hierarchical perceptual control theories.

Then one comes to the relation between any one plausible theory and physiological science, physics, and the whole body of current scientific understanding (which since my long-ago youth I have assumed will be all revised in the future). When two theories conflict, there’s the question of which requires modification — usually both do. And so on and so forth.

When ANYBODY declares that they know the scientific truth, beyond question, my “knee-jerk” perception is that this person is not worth my attention.

I asked you several very specific questions, with not a bit of philosophical speculation. As usual, you have not even pretended to reply seriously. Just your customary regurgitation of quotations from Bill Powers, with which we are quite familiar.

My request for you to explain the categories, lines, and arrows in your diagrams still stands. I have not abandoned it. All I said was that if you are afraid someone here will steal your ideas just don’t post anything here until after your next presentation to the cyberneticists.

During the month-long delay of your recent posts, you contacted the Secretary of IAPCT threatening legal action. Of course, there is no way that you could do any such thing. No one takes such posturing seriously.

I will ignore anything further that you post that is not a substantive reply to the questions that I asked you–the questions about your diagrams, the questions about your plan for ensuring the place of Bill Powers in the history of cybernetics and in the history of psychology, and the other specific questions that I asked you recently.

Comity and productive discussions of PCT here in Discourse are collectively controlled perceptions that we will all defend from undue disturbances. If you are abusive, you will be blocked. That is because your abusive behavior is destructive to comity and productive discussions here in this Discourse forum. Some of us already avoid your disturbances by individually blocking anything that you post.

I am acting as a spokesperson for what I perceive to be collective control in which I participate. Any participant in this Discourse forum can correct my perception if I am wrong. Their silence I take to be confirmation that I am more or less correct, and that they would rather not be burdened with what I am doing. Explicit confirmation of that would be nice, but what I am doing does not appear to be a disturbance to anyone but you.

You would be well advised to keep silence here until you have made your Cybernetics presentation and have established precedence for your ‘ownership’ of your ideas, and then come back and explain those diagrams.

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we were talking about your Preface quite some time. I hoped that you will accept my adivce to use more PCT and scientific evidences for your book. Whether you wrote aplication of PCT or about PCT it’s the same. The only reference to write anything about PCT is Power’s work.Other are you philosophycal thoughts what should be clear from your writings, but by my oippinion it isn’t…

Our problem about uncovering my knowledge for how organisms function to you which includes also PCT is quite old. All the time you tried hard and put too much preasure on me. I understand that maybe time for discovering how really organisms function is quite limited specially for old ones. But I still think that there is enough time that I’ll uncover my knowledge on Cyberbetics society and you will still benefit. I promise it will be worth of waiting for my new presentations, speccially because I hope that you still have my PCT writings about school system.

When I wrote to Kent I wrote that there is still a long way to find the whole truth (if it possible) about organisms functiong. Ask him. So accusation that I know scientific truth “beyond questions” is a little bit primitive for your intelectual potential. I doubt that you’ll ever found that I claimed that I know everything beyond question. I’m repeating what I’ve wrote to Kent : there is a long way to uncover the truth about organisms functioning (if we’ll stay alive that long) but we have to try. Bill really started something very great. And we should upgrade that not defend existant achievement of understanding level about organisms functioning.

So why we don’t rather talk about how we’ll upgrade PCT and Powers work and present that to public (that’s the main reason why I came back), instead of defending what you know about PCT or organisms functioning or about evolution and so on…

Putting Powers on the level of phylosophers and psychologist understanding of organisms functioning as you did is by my oppinion insult for his work. He simply didn’t deserve to be equated with knowledge of phylosophers and psychologist as it seems that you wanted to say that he was just a simple “plagiator” of what practically everybody knew about goals, intention, wants and needs etc. These are with no doubt observable phenomena but who’s theory really “correspond” to CEV is a big queation which I try to find out with scientific evidences. I don’t say that PCT is “omniniscent God”, but if you’ll look into CSGnet archives you’ll find that I always claimed that Powers theory is better supported with scientific evidences than any phylosophical or psychological theory and that’s why I decided to upgrade it and by your and others “reactions” it seems that I succed for actual moment.

I might mention that “PCT” is more than an acronym. It means “Perceptual Control Theory”, a theory about the control of perceptions, not a theory about control by perceptions. Actually it’s not just one theory, but a class of theories with many different possible forms, of which the Powers Hierarchical Perceptual Control Theory is just one of several plausible possibilities. In fact there are several plausible and testable varieties of hierarchical perceptual control theories

Regarding your understanding of many theories about the same subject my answer is the same. PCT is still the winner about using much more scoientific evidences than any other theory does thus integrating much more knowledge than any theory did. The biggest problem of other theories seems to be shortsightedness as they “see” only in the range of their one dimensional knowledge. I think that Powers got his multidimensioonal vision of organisms functiong from Ashby. And Ashby by some evidences was the foirst who in 1940 put some concepts of Cybernetics together on the bases of Cannon’s homeostasis. We must not forget the roots of PCT are mostly in ultrsatability, because Ashby was sure not “shortsighted” scientist. He was psychiatrist with incredible multiscientific knowledge. And if I’m right Powers stronlgy upgraded Ashby. That’s why I think that our vision has to directed in upgrading Powers.

You are right that Powers theory is just one of “plausible” theories of organisms functioning, but as I wrote before it’s more powerfull than any other theory because of multiscientific knowledge it’s using. That’s at least how I understand PCT and organisms functioning in the light of multidimenstional knowledge grown on human experiences which can be presented in pure imaginational form or have some real CEV substance when repetition of perceptions occurs and it turns out to cause perceptions which really disturb survival. And we know how most of living beings if they function normally will “respond” to such a disturbing perceptions.

I also think that you are right about that knowledge of sciences will be rewised in the future but not just like that. Knowledge will be revised because experiences with CEV and focused scientific evidences about CEV will show in that direction of advancement of knowledge for the benefit of survival.

The whole history shows that knowledge grow on the bases of experiences and researhes (focused experiences). And all these knowledge is slowly integrating into the “Big picture” of Universe, and Solar system and Earth and human and human society. It’s changing all the time specialy if we understand that many hundred thousand new pieces of knowledge are produced in certain more and more shorter period of time.

I didn’t declaire scientific truth, beyond question, but I give huge advantage to scientific evidences which proved that human with technology can easier survive. If you can prove me opposite I’ll be very glad that somebody is swimming in other direction and can with his personal philosophycal knowledge understand and change the World in some other directions than these which follow natural Laws how organisms function.

“Too much pressure” obviously means being asked a simple question. Since so far as I can remember, you have never answered a direct question about your work, I have given up trying to understand it.

Nor, so far as I can remember, have you ever given any scientific counter-evidence or counter-argument that might suggest my own understandings are unscientific. All I have got are assertions that I don’t understand science, which might be helpful if you were to tell me in what respect my understanding of science is defective, but is unhelpful as a blanket assertion. So I have also given up trying to get help from you.

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I’m sorry Bruce that you didn’t get answers which you wanted and you “reacted” in predictable way if we understand what PCT suggests. Your actual perceptions are still wandering arround your references and I’m sorry if you’ll have to wait for some time to get your pleasure.

The main problem that I don’t uncover my whole ideas and possibilites about organisms fuctniong which I know is not just your ignorant and disrespectful attitude to me, but also understanding how PCT really operate. And that’s why I’ll continue with customary regrutation of quotations from Bill Powers. I understand that this regruatated quatations are familiar to you, but problem is that you don’t understand them yet. And understanding Bill Powers quotations is necesary step to understanding my DBCS theory.

Good Bruce. I’m glad that is so, because I felt that we are quite similar researchers for the truth. Beleive me I’ll not dissapoint you in my next presentations on Cybernetics Society. You’ll get more than just explanation for lines and arrows and so on. You’ll get also explanation where those lines and arrows originate.

Well you don’t need to take seriously my intents if you and Rick will “brake” the Law. It’s not so much about legal actions but more informing president and secretay of Cybernetics Society of stilling my intellectual property. I found out also that I have strong support in WOSC. And we can’t forget on owners of this forum. There are many possibilites to talk about you “illegal” actions. If nothing else World will be informed of what is happening on IAPCT. But I first used option with Richard Pfau, because I think he is an honest man whom I can trust. So you don’t need to worry if your intentions with me are honest.

This is I think a very big problem. Productive discussion? Do yu really think that your imaginary discussion while defending your friend Martin was productive? In whch sense? In keeping your image of PCT away from any disturbances or in misleading IAPCT about real nature of PCT which I presented in the form of customary regurgitation of quotations from Bill Powers.

I’m correcting your perceptions if you are wrong. Your imagined interpretation of PCT through manipulation with diagram was one of my corrections. I learned that you have many ways for achieving your goals. One of them is also manipulations and presentations of your imagined constructs which have nothing to do with PCT or with science. The other “realistic” part of your personality is much more interesting. We can talk normally.

I was invited by you to present my knowledge here after a long time of silence. You have my presentation. And if I understand right you are inviting me again to explain my presentation. I promise you Bruce that you’ll not be disappointed. There will be many surprises. When I was a little boy in the school I was dreaming how I understand myself. Of course my dreams and imaginational concepts were primitive. But now I’m on the “doorstep” to fulfilling my life dreams. Beleive me. My next presentation will be a real “scientific bomb”.

Aa far as I remember, you got quite exclusive help form me. Remember our ECACS conversations. Ask Kent if you don’t remember. Our discussions were extremly productive as in that time you produced such a top PCT statements that I couldn’t beleive how great are you intellectual potentials. It was breath taking. Take a short walk through CSGnet archives and match the time of our ECACS conversations and your incredible posts on CSGnet. You’ll find estonishing resemblance of your understanding of PCT. And remember. You were very selective about ECACS members. So I was somehow special to you.

We can talk again about my PCT explanation of school system if you want. Through my PCT explanation of school system you’l get most of the answers about PCT and scientific use of PCT and so on. I asked you couple times about my PCT explanation of school system and you stil didn’t answer. You made by all means gentleman’s gesture by requesting me if you can keep that explanation. Again why?

What hurts is that you didn’t even mention me in your books. After all those conversations. You showed that I’m non existant as a human who is worth of remembering. And now you expect what? That I’ll kindly explain you anything that you want.