My memorial to Mary will be my memories of her wonderfully unique and
generous self. How fortunate you are, Bill, to have had a mate who
understood and fully appreciated your contribution to the world.
Although not trained in mathematics or science, Mary understood
perceptual control theory perfectly and was the best of anyone at
seeing how the theory is revealed in everyday life and at communicating
the theory to people in everyday language.
Mary knew very well, I think, that she was married to one of the great
minds of all time, a man who had one of the great insights of all time.
And I know that she came to understand why this brilliant, shining
creation of yours was not likely to "prevail" in her lifetime. LIke
me, she was as pleased and impressed with you as one can possibly be,
simply because of what you did, not because of the judgments of others
about what you did. Like me, Mary didn't need to be told by others
that your work was brilliant. All she had to do was look at it, think
about it, turn it over on her fingertips and see the beauty and grace
If your ideas do prevail in the future, Mary will not have missed being
pleased and impressed with you. She will only have missed being pleased
and impressed by those who finally "got it".
Mary's grasp of the essentials of perceptual control theory was
thorough and deep. She knew what made the theory brilliant and
revolutionary but she also saw what it made it so sensible. She had a
particular ability to see how perceptual control theory applies to the
mundane realities of our everyday lives and problems. Not being
particularly competitive by nature, I think Mary was surprised by the
sometimes hostile resistance to and selfish politicization of
perceptual control theory that emerged after the publication of
_Behavior: The Control of Perception_. While she did not suffer fools
gladly, she was, indeed, (as Dick Robertson said so well) "brilliant
at helping to put confused discussions back on a sensible path".
My memorial to Mary will be having her always available in my memory --
my perceptual control theory pal, counselor, fellow fan, friend. The
one who always kept perceptual control theory human for me. The one
who appreciated perceptual control theory as I did -- as one of the
great achievements of the human mind and, thus, one of the great things
to be preoccupied with during one's time between eternities.
My heart is with you and with your children, Bill. I am with you in
spirit if not in person. You have given so much to me, Bill. I wish
there were now some way I could give you something in return to make up
in some tiny way for this terrible loss.
Richard S. Marken
Home 310 474-0313
Cell 310 729-1400