No objective importance

[From Bill Powers (940526.1230 MDT)]

Oded Maler (940526 II)

Important to whom? What objective judgement can you assign to
someone else's reference signals? It is important for the
pathological to perceive the suffers of others.

I am defining "importance" strictly relative to the control system
in question. If the loop gain is high, small errors will result in
large actions, or to state that the other way around, a disturbance
will generate an equal and opposite action while the error is still
very small. That is our indication of the degree of importance
assigned to a controlled variable by the controlling system.

It's impossible to say objectively what is important. The nearest we
can come is to make a conditional cause-effect statement. It is
important not to drive your car into oncoming traffic IF your goal
is to stay alive.

The pathological person DOES perceive the suffering of others. The
reference level for this perception is set to a high level. I call
this pathological because few people behave this way, and the
consequences would seem to be against such a person's own interests.

Importance is always judged by someone relative to some criterion
that the person accepts. To a victim of a pathologically violent
person, it is important that the violent person change the goal of
causing suffering. But if that is not important to the violent
person, no such change will occur (voluntarily).



Bill P.