But you control at all levels
all of the time, don’t you?
Yes, but I am not aware of the controls above. In my consciousness
exist just in my words.
[From Bill Powers (2007.12.18.0800 MST)]
Bjorn Simonsen (2007.12.16,13:20 EUST) –
I think it would be a good idea to get some practice with observing
logic, principles, and system concepts without the words. At a lower
level, consider the word “red.” Better yet, consider the
Norwegian word for the same experience. When you experience something
with a red color, you don’t have to say or think the word “red”
to yourself before you can perceive the color (do you?). You can let all
the words go silent and simply attend to the color sensation. That
sensation, directly experienced, is the meaning of the word.
To understand what I mean by my definitions of levels, you should try to
do this with specific examples at all levels. Start with the word, and
then stop thinking the word while you continue to observe the perception
it means. For me, the principle “look before you leap” goes
with a feeling of cautiousness, looking left and right while I’m just
ready to start moving. I can give an explanation of the phrase by using a
lot more words, but when I turn the words off, that’s the real meaning of
the phrase for me. There’s probably more to it than that, but whatever
remains is far outside the realm of words.
And how does
the reference signal, traveling in a neural
pathway toward lower systems, “observe” anything?
It doesn’t observe anything. It thrusts in the human system, the
feedback will contribute to that.
How does the negative feedback contribute to “thrusting” in the
human system? I don’t understand that sentence at all. For me,
“thrust” is a sudden forceful push into something. I see
reference signals more like examples held up for comparison with
something else. Negative feedback doesn’t contribute anything to what
reference signals do. I think the picture you have in your head must be
very different from mine, or your words are not conveying to me the same
meanings they have for you. Considering that there is a change of
language involved, that’s not very surprising.
Observing is a
process of taking information inward,
not sending something outward. Observing is the sort
of thing an input function does.
Yes, but that is not the point.
Well, thanks, but I think it IS the point.
reference I would not been able to experience the Observers
What makes you think you can experience the observer’s idea, if you’re
not doing the observing yourself? Anyway, it’s the perceptual input
function that generates a perceptual signal and gives you something to
experience, not the reference signal. As far as I can tell, we never
directly experience a reference signal. The closest we come to that is
when the imagination connection is operating, so the downgoing signals
that would ordinarily become reference signals for a lower level system
are turned back upward into the higher system’s perceptual inputs, where
they appear as perceptual signals in the same place all perceptual
signals appear. My basic assumption here is that everything we
experience is a perceptual signal.
I am not
saying the Observer is responsible for my references. It is responsible
for the System.
Have you experienced the state of Observer awareness by itself? This is
best done by talking with with someone else to help you remember what
you’re trying to do. The object is simply to see how many times you can
focus on a foreground thought, discover a background thought that comes
into awareness about the foreground thought, and shift attention to the
background thought so it becomes the new foreground thought. This cycle
is repeated until you can’t carry it any farther. If you get to the state
where you are simply Observing, with no background thought at all, you
will then know what the relationship of the Observer is to the System
Concept level, or any other level. It is the same no matter what levels
you are Observing. And the conscious brain activity can gradually die
away until you are simply Observing with nothing to observe. That is also
It’s important to speak from experience when discussing these things and
not just to manipulate words and thoughts. Then you have something to
help you put the words together for communication and make sure they
describe something you have experienced. If the other person experiences
the same things, your words will then have the right meanings for the
And in my
thoughts/words/hypothesis the System is my only way to the
That is an example of the kinds of problems that can arise when you try
to reason out what you should be able to experience. In fact, you are
always in the position of the Observer, but most of the time the Observer
is focusing on the perceptions from some level in the hierarchy and is
identifying with that level, as if the Observer is that level.
When you notice that you are having a certain type of experience, such as
problem-solving, you can back off and observe that you are
problem-solving – but when you do that, you have moved to some higher
level and are looking at its perceptions and evaluations of the
problem-solving. The Observer is still identifying with a level of the
hierarchy, a different level now. If you deliberately go through the
exercise I described, you will find yourself, as the Observer, occupying
higher and higher levels in the hierarchy, each time eventually realizing
that you are still identifying with a hierarchical point of view, until
there are no more to be found when you try to back up another level. Then
you detach from the hierarchy for a moment, which is a valuable
experience because now you have the pure sense of being an Observer. With
time, this sense remains with you when you return to participation in the
hierarchy, and this makes it easier to move the focus of awareness
around. One thing that makes it easier is that while you’re trying to
continue the mental exercise, you will often encounter conflicts and you
won’t be able to continue until you’re resolved them.
The great Why is
always a level up. When I pray, I “move” my awareness (I
know what that the awareness is) to control (most often) elements of
praiseworthy perceptions. Easy now. I know I both perceive and action in
praiseworthy and spankworthy ways, but that is another
Yes, that other thing is still another level above what you call praying.
When you notice that you are praying, background thoughts about praying
come into view, and you can switch your attention to them. You focus on
those new thoughts about the praying for a while, and (assuming no
conflicts come to attention) still another set of background thoughts
will appear. Keep doing this as long as you can, and you will see where
Let me exemplify.
If you are the Observer and you make a Price Theory
simulator, then your idea is found as a reference for the highest level.
think the real Observer thinks the same way. PS. My Price Theory
simulator is running, but not well enough.
Do Observers make theories? Not in my experience. Maybe Observers guide
the systems in the hierarchy while they are reorganizing to make
theories, pointing attention toward one aspect of the problems and then
another, but the Observers don’t work out the logic or the principles or
the system concepts, or know them in advance. You just keep returning to
the simulator knowing that something still isn’t working right, but not
knowing what. That’s my current picture of how it works, anyway. If I
were completely satisfied with it I suppose I’d get bored with it and
turn to something else, so if I keep returning to the subject there must
be something that still doesn’t fit correctly. I expect that to go on for