[From Rick Marken (991210.1500)]
Bruce Nevin (991210.1640 EST)--
What are we trying to model here?
That's a good question. If "getting a kid to make a commitment"
means anything other than "getting a kid to control of a
particular perception" then my spreadsheet demonstration is
irrelevant. For example, the spreadsheet demonstration is
irrelevant if "getting a kid to make a commitment" means
"getting a kid to learn to control the principle of quid
pro quo". This seems to be the point of your post. For
example, you say:
As means of controlling a self-concept, a principle of
keeping commitments or maintaining the reciprocity of reliable
social relationships is controlled by means of some particular
interaction with other people.
And I agree. Commitments are principle perceptions. And, as you
note, we control commitments _as the means_ of controlling
system (social) type perceptions, like "being an American".
But even in this case, the higher level systems that control
for social perceptions must be able to vary the reference for
the perception of a commitment in order to control for the
social perception. For example, you must be able to vary your
level of commitment to following some of the rules of your
country (such as the old Jim Crow rules in the South) if
maintaining a high level of commitment to those rules makes
you feel less American.
This, of course, is the wisdom of Bill's koan:
There are very good reasons for keeping a committment,
which makes them [the reasons] more important than
keeping a comittment.