NEW WORLD ORDER DIARY
                              Hal Pepinsky
                             August 18, 1993


Bill, I'm glad I got to know you. I have with me your first book, I
believe, BEHAVIOR: THE CONTROL OF PERCEPTION (Chicago: Aldine, 1973).
Forgive me for so long not knowing that you are among the earlier post-War
U.S. penal abolitionists. Dig this, all you criminologists, from p. 270,
near the end of the book, where Bill plays out implications of his theory:

      In our American society there is a widespread belief in the rule of
      law (enforced by physical punishment) and in the use of incentives
      tied directly to our ability to stay warm, well fed, and otherwise
      happy. There is a stubborn insistence that our worsening social
      problems can ONLY be solved by strengthening the punishing force
      behind the law and by sternly withholding necessities from those who
      will not behave properly. Even further, there is a strong belief
      that these methods are all that are preventing total collapse of our
      system, and that increasing social tension is traceable to
      insufficiently vigorous and consistent use of reward and punishment.
      If we are to trust the theory in this book, however, we must
      conclude the exact opposite. The more faithfully we adhere to the
      system of incentives and the rule of law, the closer must the
      country approach a state of open revolt. What our leaders (and we
      ourselves) are doing in an effort to save the country from
      dissenters, revolutionaries, and malcontents is the direct cause of
      the increase in numbers of such persons.

      We simply have to take an honest look at the realities of our
      society, the way things really work, not the way we are trying to
      get them to work...

The book tells me Bill had an undergraduate major in physics, then went on
in psychology, and in the interim among other things served as Chief
Systems Engineer of the Department of Astronomy at Northwestern
University. As I see it his work nicely illustrates my proposition that
the way punishment and social security work come out the same across
disciplines, and lead us to common conclusions and questions. A challenge
is to translate what on its face is a self-contained research specialty
into terms others use.

At about the same time Bill's book came out, Les Wilkins had us discussing
B.F. Skinner's new book, BEYOND FREEDOM AND DIGNITY, in the seminar on
philosophical issues of law and social control we team-taught. I wish I'd
known of Bill's book to back me up: I found myself asking who was to
decide what was rewarded and how watching others get rewards I didn't get
could help but come across to me as punishment. Bill particularly
highlights the first of these two problems. At the time his was, I
gather, a voice in the social psychological wilderness. I find it
worthwhile to recognize and respond to this for me new group of kindred
social investigators.

Bill or anyone in the PCT group, tell me if I've got this summary of
Bill's theory wrong: We do what we do because of what we see. (I use
"see" here the way the Swahili use "ona"--for seeing with the eyes, for
sensing with the ears, nose, tongue, fingers or from the heart, for
perceiving.) We see what we want to see. When it becomes impossible to
see two or more things the way we want to see them at the same time, as
when someone punishes us for the way we gain personal fulfillment, we
oscillate into indecision, into states of "conflict" which underlie all
our psycho- and socio-pathology. When you speak to me of "human nature,"
you are telling me that our persistence in seeing what we want is what
confounds social control efforts, presumably mine included.

I think I together with some of the researchers in your group are
grappling with an issue one step deeper: what kind of social security, or
in your terms freedom from conflict, can we see, and what fears of seeing
and hence acting that way keep us from wanting to see peace. Yesterday,
I sent Rick's law'n'order stance on where your theory leads him. Then
Gary Cziko sent me another PCT researcher's view:

Subj: Nevin on Golden Rule

[From: Bruce Nevin (Tue 930817 10:08:20 EDT) ]

It is easy to reduce the golden rule to an absurdity by following out the
ramifications of the obvious, namely, that "them" toward whom you would
do things are very different persons from "you" who would prefer some
things and not others to be done to you. This has been recognized for a
very long time in the rabbinical discussions of Hillel's version and in
Christian discussions. What it comes down to is do unto them as you
would have them do unto you if you were they. The golden rule is
obviously intended as a call to empathy, not a call to egocentric
presumption. It thrusts upon you the responsibility of figuring out
"their" motivations. And that is of course at the heart of PCT

                           * *

My own (scarcely unique) premise about human nature is that all of us are
born with the universe of human experience of violence and love, wants and
needs, embedded in our heart, mind, or the energy field in which we
exist--call it what you will. What Bruce calls "empathy" is to me an
awakening of a language and a situation in which someone else's expression
of what is already inside oneself, and offers a language to use to express
something of oneself. Empathy or compassion means bringing the conflict
into oneself, so that punishment of the other becomes, in one's conscious
awareness, punishment of an aspect of oneself. Rick in yesterday's NWOD
entry by contrast presumes he knows that what some people want to see is
inherently incompatible with what he sees, and needs quite simply to be
subdued. Bill, as one who has explicitly rejected punishment at the
outset, you must be surprised to see Rick draw this implication from your
own theory. I infer that your theory doesn't address how to cope with
perceptions we don't like. Or perhaps you have addressed that in
subsequent writing.

I'm reminded that in Monteverde Gary Cziko described to me a program for
treating delinquents that had been inspired by PCT, in Florida as I
recall, which sounds a lot like the "Adlerian" behavior modification
programs in vogue in juvenile institutions in Minnesota twenty-odd years
ago when I was there. By extension, Gary argued to me at length that
social control as he, a PCT researcher, would have it required that some
of us who know about the world (e.g., because we know what we know as true
scientists) need to instruct and lead others who are ignorant of what we
know. Like criminologists Bob Regoli, John Hewitt and Ann Goetting, I
find nothing more revealing of our perceptions as to whether we want
punishment than one's position on whether adults know more or know better
than children. My theory projects that if humanity survives long enough
to make global peace with itself and mother earth, ageism--particularly of
adults against children--will be a more fundamental and persistent class
distinction for us to wrestle with than race, class or gender.
Appreciating the intelligence of the child is the last human referent for
reverence for the intelligence of all things around us.

Maybe I should get on the Control Study Group listserver to appreciate
that y'all wrestle with the issue of how to respond to conflicting
perceptions and deal with this stuff. Or Bill, and Gary and Rick, are you
confronting what strikes me as a fundamental conflict between PCT as Bill
describes it and PCT as Gary and Rick would apply it?

Perhaps you can see in light of this problem why I use an expression like
the Golden Rule to generate discussion of the compatibility of what kind
of security we seek with one another. As I see it, people in some nations
are better versed in Golden Rule discourse, to defining it as real and
making it real in its consequences (W.I. Thomas, thanks), people of native
American nations, particularly of settled rather than nomadic nations.
Among nomadic nations I find the discourse particularly well developed for
instance in the North American Mennonite nation, as in establishing,
describing and evaluating victim offender reconciliation programs. By
contrast the European nation in North America traces its cultural roots to
the original warrior/merchant nomads who invaded Europe and the Middle
East (see Riane Eisler's THE CHALICE AND THE BLADE), where the only way to
have a home is to enforce a right to own it over any intruder's claim (and
as Gov. John Winthrop of the Massachusetts colony put it, to establish
that right by "subduing" the land, clearing it as one cleared the devil
out of one's children's souls). In this nation our root social insecurity
is that we are not guaranteed a home we can enjoy for life. Indeed Bill,
with a nod to Abraham Maslow, you pinpoint this root source of insecurity
yourself. You might say our choice of whether we want to see the world as
loving and beloved rests on our capacity to find safe homes to enjoy.
That sense of belonging to a safe, sustaining home appears to me to drive
one's very cosmology. Eisler traces misogynist replacement of Biblical
and Greek texts to takeover by what originally were nomadic sheepherders.
I was struck recently to read that the Navajo regard death as a black
hole, a nothingness. As they drove their sheep into Hopi country,
engaging in banditry as they arrived, they scarcely had time to make peace
with the original inhabitants before warriors and priests of the Spanish
nation invaded. Interesting, too, that the Navajo agreed to play a vital
role in U.S. military forces during World War II. In good fractal
fashion, it appears that while the retributiveness and hierarchy of the
Navajo nation pales beside that of the European nation, it indicates
native national differences parallel to Anglo/native differences on a
different scale.

Today global nomadry has so far developed that virtually no child grows up
knowing that home is safe here where one was born. Or that home is here
at all. (I sometimes think how little we know the birds and the trees at
home because we are traveling through books, on television, in news
reports or on winged or wheeled creatures to look for homes far away.
Local writer and English prof. Scott Sanders was just featured in the city
paper talking about how much he in times and colleagues perpetually spend
looking for home somewhere else than in Bloomington. I myself confront a
strong possibility of leaving in two or three years, to secure home with
my wife. All humanity is caught up in the quest to find homes and make
them safe from "foreign" invasion--whether by immigrants or by the drugs
we say they bring with them, or as refugees from foreign invasion for
instance. One does not try to destroy parts of a safe home, but to
understand how to co-exist with the parts that happen to be there. When
something you do offends me in a home I perceive to be mine now and for a
lifetime, it cannot be you who offends me, any more than I essentially am
offended by myself for being offended. Where we find safety, we have
acted as though offending behavior is a sign that we need to show more
appreciation of the offender's good qualities, as in the perception that
a child who is disturbing us needs our attention to an activity we enjoy
together. Our parents and grandparents tell us of times when home was
safe where you were. And in many ways, in varying degrees, many of us do
find or create safe homes for ourselves and for our neighbors. It seems
to me that PCT folks have done a fine job of pinpointing the problem we
all seek to control. Beyond that, I look to discourse among those who are
describing the safe homes they are constructing with one another. Then we
perceive options to taking out the real bastards we find among us.

What say?


From: PO1::"" "CZIKO Gary" 17-AUG-1993 16:25:38.05