[From Rick Marken (950901.0930)]
Some time ago, Chris Kitzke (950829.2000) asked:
Does anyone think one can use PCT to help people change for the better (to
get what they want)?
I think it is certainly possible that PCT can help people change for the
better (and get what they want). I think people who learn PCT can change for
the better on the basis of that learning; but I think they can change for the
better by learning other things besides PCT, too.
I used to think that people who learned PCT _necessarily_ change for the
better; that an understanding of people as perceptual control systems
necessarily led one to a more human, caring and loving relationship with
other people. I am living proof that that is not true.
I think I understand PCT as well as anyone. I have done many studies testing
PCT, I have published papers on PCT and I continue to participate in
discussions about PCT. Yet anyone who has been watching this list for the
last two or three weeks has seen fighting and contentiousness that is intense
even by Usenet standards and I have been one of the major participants in the
hostilities. People (including me) have had their feelings hurt. I don't want
to hurt people's feelings (believe it or not) and I don't want to have my
feelings hurt. So despite my understanding of PCT, I have not been able to
change for the better; I have not been able to get what I want (consciously
want, anyway), which is a rigorous dialog about purposive behavior that is
fun for everyone.
This raises, for me, the question of the relationship between the PCT
model and PCT applications (which, curiously enough, was the question
before the list before all hell seemed to break loose). I had assumed that
it was important to understand the PCT model (at some reasonable level)
before it could be applied effectively. This may be true and my own failure
to apply PCT effectively may result from the fact that I don't understand the
model all that well or, because, even though I do understand the model, I am
just not able to make use of this understanding to get what I want.
My experience on the net (and in real life) has convinced me that it is very
possible that what I perceive as an understanding of PCT is NOT very
important for successful applcations. Indeed, I think it is quite possible
to do successful application that are not based on PCT at all or that are,
at least ostensibly, based on another model of people.
It seems to me that there are at least two possible ways for the PCT
model to be related to applications:
1. The PCT model is irrelevant to applications. The success of an
application is independent of the scientific success of a model.
2. The PCT model is relevant to applications. The success of the application
depends, to some extent, on understanding the PCT model. Even if this is
true, it is not nececessarily true that understanding the model leads to
an effective application; the model may be relevant -- but one has to learn
HOW to apply it.
Marc S. Abrams (083195.2000) is arguing for point (2) when he says:
I think we need to think about how to utilize what we ALREADY know.
I think I agree with Marc here. I think we have to learn how to utilize what
we know (the PCT model).
I thought I knew how to utilize the PCT model simply because I understood the
PCT model. The conflagration on the net over the last week or so shows that,
even if I do understand the model, I certainly don't know how to apply it.
Now that I think of it, that is precisely what Ed Ford was telling me all
along. It sure looks like he was right!