[From Bill Powers (990105.1423 MST)]
Fred Nickols (981230.1932 EST)--
LEADING QUESTIONS - CHAPTER 4
1. Without looking at it, clench your right hand into
a fist. How do you tell that it is clenched? How do
you detect the fact that your own muscles are acting?
Would you class these impressions as perceptions?
I can tell that it is clenched by the feel of my fingers,
thumb and palm in relation to one another, and by the
pressure my finger tips exerted on my palm. I could
"detect" the fact that my muscles are acting by virtue of
the feeling and pressure mentioned above as well as by
the tension felt in my biceps and forearm. Yes, I would
classify these sensations as perceptions.
All just what I hoped for as answers.
2. Is there anything other than a perception that enables
you to know that you are clenching your fist? that you
are making a muscular effort?
My answer to both questions is "Not that I can think of."
Nor can I.
3. Now use that hand to pick up something--this book, for
example. Can you still perceive the efforts and impressions
that signify efforts? Does it now seem that they are outputs,
the actions that bring about "picking up"? Are you still not
aware of them as perceptions?
Actually, I picked up a very large old-fashioned glass full
of Absolut vodka instead of the book. (Sorry, Bill.) Yes,
I can still perceive the efforts and the impressions that
signify efforts. No, it does not now seem that they are
outputs. (I don't think that last question applies to me.)
Don't they _seem_ like outputs? When you exert a lifting force on the
glass, doesn't it seem like something coming out of you and being applied
to the glass? Maybe that's what you meant by saying it doesn't NOW (after
knowing PCT) seem that way. I was after the common-sense experience, not
the theoretical explanation.
4. Is there any act you can execute that is not known to
you in the form of a perception? Do you know of any act
of yours in any other way?
Yes to both questions. They imply a conscious awareness
and there have been a few times in my life when I've been
unaware of my own behavior.
Ah. I phrased the question poorly. It should have been
"Is there any act you can execute that is known to you by some means other
5. Can you think of anything you do that you experience as
something other than sensory feedback effects of your outputs?
Hmm. I sometimes write things that, upon reading after I
have written them, make me laugh. I don't think I'm trying
to make myself laugh but I do. I do think that I sometimes
control for a perception of crafting humorous remarks and
perhaps my own laughter is a test of those. Who knows? In
any case, all this reduces to sensory inputs. Whether or
not it's feedback, I can't say.
I wouldn't say that laughter is "something other than sensory feedback
effects of your outputs" (the output being from muscles involved in laughing).
6. Using the smallest effort that you can fine, can you
make the visual image of these words disappear entirely?
Sure; all I had to do was close my eyes.
7. Can you shift the visual image of this page so that it
occupies the left side of your field of vision?
I think so but I'm not sure what you mean by "field of vision."
The angular extent of the visual image at a given instant.
What I did was pick up the book and move it out to my left
while looking straight ahead until all I could perceive was
the page in question. (I sure as heck couldn't read it
without turning my eyes in that direction.)
That's a good answer. So is "looking to one side."
8. Can you replace the visual image of this page with a visual
image of the ceiling?
Sure; just look at the ceiling.
You're hot today (these weren't supposed to be hard questions).
9. Hold one hand out, palm up and elbow bent, at waist level
as if ready to receive something. With the other hand place
this book on that palm. How does the arm respond to the
disturbance due to the book's weight? Hint: Watch the tendon
in the crook of the elbow.
My arm responded by stiffening, as I would term it. It also
stiffened before the book touched my palm which, in hindsight,
surprised me because--again in hindsight--I would have thought
my forearm would have dropped a little and then come back to
the horizontal. Instead, my arm stiffened so as to prevent a
dropping of the forearm from its horizontal position. Hmm.
I wonder if that ties to the comment about anticipated
You will also notice that as the weight is received by the hand, the tendon
that crosses the inside of the elbow joint tightens and rises higher. The
stiffening comes from increasing muscle tone (tension in opposing muscles
that causes no net force). But the response that causes the tendon to stand
out _does_ produce a net force; at the hand, it is equal to the weight of
I hope others are benefiting from your careful progress through the book.