Ounce of prevention (hidden bombs)

[Martin Taylor 921009 17:15]
(Bill Powers 921009 0800)

Yep, too bad. You can't control what you're not controlling for.
That's how it works. If you don't learn from experience you're going
to get conned over and over. If you had a bad education it's going to
stay bad until you decide to continue it. If your parents let you do
anything you wanted, you're going to want a lot a weird things unless
you learn from experience that this doesn't get you what you want.

More technically, but I think saying the same thing, you are talking about
the bomb in the hierarchy that I tried to introduce a few weeks ago. In
other words the "school of hard knocks" is not a bad school if you expect
to live in an environment of hard knocks. If you can guarantee living where
slaves wait on your every desire, you may be able to get the weird things
you want whenever you want them. But most of us can't do that. If we don't
learn what gets us what we want in a variable world, we won't get it when
we are out in that world, because we haven't reorganized in such a way
that our control loops have high negative gain through many parallel optional
feedback paths (micro-loops) through the world.

The feedback loop from the output of a high-level ECS back to its perceptual
signal goes through the real world (or through imagination) by way of many
parallel paths I call micro-loops. Even when the overall feedback gain is
nicely negative, it is by no means guaranteed that each of the micro-loops
also would provide negative feedback on its own. When the real world blocks
the error-correcting action of micro-loops that are normally useful or are
anticipated to be useful, then it can happen that the overall feedback gain
is reduced and can even go positive. The error "blows up" because the person
does something that not only doesn't get what he or she wants, but actually
gets something distinctly unwanted. Such bombs can lie hidden for a long
time in a seldom disturbed hierarchy. When I introduced the bomb concept, I
speculated that the ability of bombs to stay hidden in "coddled" nets might
account for why so many mass murderers are characterized as Quiet, Nice Kids
Who Never Were Any Trouble To Their Parents. Losing one's temper and doing
something maladaptive as a consequence of frustration reveals the bomb.
Wanting "a lot of weird things ... [that don't] ... get you what you want"
is the content of the bomb.