PCT and understanding

This is a resend of the post I sent to CSGnet as dated below. Today, I will
cancel my account at America On Line and stay with my address at mcimail
exclusively. I hope that future posts will get through faster.

[From Dag Forssell (940924 1700)] dforssell@mcimail.com

There have been several interesting posts on CSGnet lately. As I try to
make sense of the various arguments, explanations and points of view my
own systems concept of PCT matures (hopefully). I'd like to try to
contribute a perspective.

Bill P has pointed out that as people grow up, levels of control develop.

Each successive level is built on the next. (These phenomena are clearly
spelled out in the book _Oje, Ich Wachse_ (Wow, I Grow), by the Plooij's
which is now available in German).

We appear to be born with the second level (sensations) functioning, but
the remaining levels are developed by each individual in succession as
the individual reorganizes to make sense of the world which tickles
nerve-endings -- the only source of input to our individual brains.

As we discuss PCT and levels of perception on this net, it seems to me
that we underestimate the solid power of the levels of perception, and
the control that each level is capable of exercising.

If you stand at the blackboard and perform the rubber band experiment,
you control a visual relationship (sixth level). You don't give any
thought at all to the five levels below it, which keep you upright, move
your arm and hand, and whose smooth, rock solid control makes it appear
effortless to move your arm around. We also give no thought to the
months and years of struggling reorganization we went through to develop
these layers of control. They are just there, performing exquisitely.

As I sit at my desk I see many objects. I take them for granted without
giving any thought at all to months and years of reorganization of my
visual control systems, coordination with body movements which allow me
to touch any object at will, and all my other senses which allow me to
smell, hear etc. Obviously, I experience the world directly!!!! |:)
As I read words on a piece of paper, I take their meaning for granted.
I utterly fail to appreciate the arduous development of my levels of
perception which function so well and allow me to control so well that
I can take it all for granted.

I also fail utterly to appreciate how personal my struggle to develop
was. Thus I fail to appreciate that my personal perceptions might be
unique in many respects (where "reality" allows for uniqueness).

My musing today suggests that this same solid development of perceptual
levels continues and applies to higher levels.

The sequences and programs I learned, which helped me control my
perceptions of eating, sleeping etc, were and are in many ways personal.
There are many ways to hold a fork and knife. I developed one set of
memories by which I control my way of handling them. I know just how it
should feel when I hold those implements.

The principles I learned from my parents, teachers, and a multitude of
other people and personal experiences are a very personal collection of
principles. All make sense to me (well, not quite, but they are mine
anyway and as long as I don't look to closely, it will never bother me).
It matters not at all if these principles stand up to scrutiny of
whatever kind. What matters is that I decided to believe in them. I wove
them into systems concepts. They are all mine.

Recently, self-esteem has been mentioned on the net. Seems to me that
my Self is my own sense of understanding of the world - the sum total of
my systems concepts.

I hold my own understanding dear. It is me! As Mary said way back: I
am my reference signals. If someone questions (disturbs) my systems
concepts I automatically control to counter the disturbance. We see this
most clearly in regards to the sensitive subject of religion. If you
utter a disparaging remark about my religious leader or my God (or I can
take it that way), I will be happy to kill you to remove the disturbance.
Please, keep it off the net.

In a PCT discussion forum, it seems to me to be appropriate to more
clearly recognize the exquisite control that is going on. As barbs fly
between people who have been participating on the net for years, perhaps
it would be helpful to recognize the control processes at work. All of
us have come to PCT with a rich assortment of personal principles and
systems concepts that define us personally. We each control (resist
disturbances to) particular existing principles and systems concepts to
different degrees.

Some of us can fit PCT easily into our existing set of principles and
systems concepts without much fuss. Others find certain aspects of PCT
agreeable, but develop severe internal conflict about other aspects. The
sense of self will win; the question is only what is most important to
the self. Time of exposure is not the issue. If an existing principle
or systems concept is believed in (with or without any foundation at all)
and personally important, the PCT principle in conflict with it will
never be understood or accepted.

As I follow the net and become more observant in daily life, I am
continually impressed with how solid the layers of control are and how
strongly we each control our lives so we experience the perceptions we
want to experience -- right up to and including systems concept level.
The common denominator is control, not sense, scientific validity, logic,
or any of those niceties. Right now I work with a person who never fails
to work out in the gym, will not touch that vegetable shit, and has
definite opinions of what constitutes acceptable Swedish as outcome of
my translation efforts. I can see control at work at all levels, now
that I am aware and have internalized my own understanding of PCT. Since
I accept this person as an autonomous control system, just like myself,
I have no problem at all with personal idiosyncracies.

It seems to me that most of us fail utterly to appreciate how personal
our struggles to develop our programs, principles and systems concepts
have been. We take for granted that our own perceptions in all their
dimensions are direct (objective) experience and feel compelled to
conclude that the other fellow (who does not perceive the same way) has
a screw loose. By resisting any questioning and re-development of
principles and systems concepts we have long taken for granted as part
of our personal (lay and professional) self we doom much discussion on
the net to be endless repeats of our own forceful control and maintenance
of cherished principles and systems concepts.

The only way to resolve the conflicts that result from control of
incompatible principles and systems concepts held and cherished by
different debaters is to go up a level. The decision to go up a level is
a personal one. The cost of going up a level and really examine the
validity of personal principles may be great in terms of past convictions
that must be discarded. The payoff from going up a level may be even
greater in terms of what each of us can accomplish with the rest of our

Given that the principles of PCT are so clearly modeled, it is not hard
to re-examine those existing principles we learned and decided to believe
in long ago; principles which were based on little, faulty, or no
evidence. But any decision to re-examine those existing principles is
necessarily personal and may require a great deal of courage.

It is essential to study the PCT models -- how the models behave, not
just how they are described in words -- as part of any effort to
re-examine existing principles and systems concepts.

Debate on the net tends to set those who work with the models (behaving
by themselves in computer simulations and interacting with people)
against those who are content to try to understand PCT from descriptions,
in the process employing all manner of preexisting principle and systems
concepts understanding so as not to upset the personal applecart of
interwoven principles. These existing principle understandings need
never be re-examined as long as they are not confronted with the need to
actually behave in a model (as most of our fuzzy understandings are
not). If they are subjected to that requirement, they may be exposed as
groundless. Thus those netters who don't spend time with the models
don't learn PCT but continue to be offended (resist disturbances to their
sense of being right) when modelers question their unexamined but
cherished preexisting principles and systems concepts.

The models we work with are readily available. See the monthly
INTROCSG.NET for specifics on the BIOME server where all can be
downloaded. If you cannot download, write me and I will send a 3 1/2
1.44 MB DOS disk. If you are going to debate PCT on the net, there is
no excuse for failing to study the PCT tutorials and demonstrations
available. When you do study PCT this way, many of your existing
principle and systems concepts understandings will be challenged in
private and you won't have to be offended when PCT developers tell you
in public that you don't understand.

Anyone who read the words of PCT and control will employ preexisting
principle and systems concepts in an initial effort to interpret and
understand. Those who proceed to work with the models often find it
necessary to scrap some past understandings and develop new ones. Those
who do not bother to work with the models and also do not bother to model
their counter-arguments can easily control and maintain their perception
that their personal preexisting principle and systems concept
understandings are A-OK when modeling would reveal that they are not
compatible with PCT or work at all in any circumstance. The stage gets
set for endless, fruitless debate.

Best, Dag

Dag C. Forssell M.S.M.E., M.B.A. Purposeful Leadership(R)
23903 Via Flamenco Valencia, California 91355-2808 USA
Phone (805) 254-1195 Fax (805) 254-7956
Internet: dforssell@mcimail.com

[Martin Taylor 940929 10:30]

Dag Forssell (940924 1700)

A wise posting. One quibble

The models we work with are readily available. See the monthly
INTROCSG.NET for specifics on the BIOME server where all can be
downloaded. If you cannot download, write me and I will send a 3 1/2
1.44 MB DOS disk. If you are going to debate PCT on the net, there is
no excuse for failing to study the PCT tutorials and demonstrations

You assume that everyone has access to an IBM-compatible PCT (Personal
Computer Terminal). That is not always the case. For me, during the
run up to and in the course of the sleep deprivation study it was relatively
easy to get onto an IBM-style machine (though I never would do so by choice).
Now it is less easy, though possible with some negotiation. I'm sure there
are lots of people who read this stuff on computers that are not IBM
PC compatibles. I read on a Sun, and play games on a Mac, for example.

I hesitate to suggest it, since I have no intention of providing any effort
in this direction beyond what we are already doing with the "Control
Builder" and the "Syntax Recognizer" projects, but it might help if
some of these demos could be ported to Unix and/or Mac. The hardest
part, I suspect, would be the graphics.

Anyway, the quibble is about the words "no excuse."