[From Rick Marken (960429.2010)]
Bill Powers (960426.1000 MST) --
Perhaps we are talking about a level of perception and control that is
_really_ at the highest level, meaning that there is no higher viewpoint
from which to see it. All we can do is be it.
Bruce Gregory (960428.1500 EDT) --
This statement seems to imply that the source of our highest goals
(necessarily?) must be invisible to us.
Yes, I agree! It also suggests a possible relationship between
consciousness and control that I had never thought of before. Bill's
comment suggests that consciousness is always pointed "downward"
in the control hierarchy and that it "looks" at control from just
above the level of the comparator in the control loop. From there,
consciouness can "look down" and become aware of the perception
under control by the control system and it can volitionally change
the reference for that perception. So I can become aware of the fact
that I am looking at the computer screen (rather than the lamp or
the modem) and I can will that a new value of that perception. What
I can't seem to do (while I am doing this) is turn my consciousness
"backwards" and look at _why_ I am looking at the computer screen
(rather than the lamp or the modem); I can't be aware of why I have
the "goal" of looking at the computer screen, at least not while I
am aware of the computer screen.
Implicit in the method of levels is the idea that the direction of the
arrow of consciousness is always "downwards" in the control hierarchy.
I don't know why this should be true, but it seems that it is true. One
evidence of this is how difficult it is to become aware of _why_ we are
keeping a perception at a particular state: why do I want to perceive
the computer screen rather than the TV; why do I want to hear Bach
rather than blather (sometimes I want the blather instead). If there
were not a "downward" bias in the direction of consciousness, I could
just direct my consciousness "upward" to see the perceptions in the
hierarchy that I am controlling by looking at the computer screen or
listening to Bach. But I can't seem to do it (though sometimes I think
that I can; what I am usually doing is inventing rationalizations; I'm
not really seeing _why_).
The method of levels helps us get to the _why_ of our controlling by
moving consciousness "up" above the level of the system of which we
are aware to the level of system that is setting the reference for
that system; we get at _why_ by "raising" consciousness (going up a
level) so that we can "look down" and see the higher order perception
we are controlling by wanting a particular lower order perception (TV
Avery Andrews (960430)--
awareness is what it feels like to be the technology that evolution
came up with to solve these hard problems fast enough
I like this! Very nice.