Yes, I have seen that you are unable to perceive social phenomena in this way.
Kent gave an example of collective control resulting from conflict. From this, you have concluded “So, “collective control” is a result of CONFLICT”. You find it “frustratingly unclear” that Kent also gives examples of collective control that do not involve conflict.
Kent’s simplest examples which he first presented over 30 years ago show how ‘stabilization of an environmental variable’ can result from conflict. The problem, my friend, is in your demand that collective control can only take this form.
There is nothing unclear about it. Stabilization due to conflict is a limited corner case within the larger body of collective control phenomena.
Your suggestion that we use “social” instead of “collective” to name the phenomena is no more than a change of terminology with zero substance. I’m sorry, but you don’t get to change the terminology solo. Others already have some investment in this class of phenomena being identified as ‘collective control’. In other words, uncomfortable though saying it may be, the association of the name with the phenomena is a perceptual variable which is collectively controlled by participants in the field, of whom you are only one. You may push on that variable, but the collective effect of others resisting your push is very likely to be stronger.
You are experiencing effects of collective control when, having demanded that collective control must be understood as always and only resulting from conflict, you get replies from others who have investigated the subject telling you that your restricted definition of collective control is mistaken and affirming a broader definition on which they agree.
No one asserts that a “giant virtual controller” exists in the way that the individual people exist. It exists only as a theoretical entity in exactly the same way that ‘neural bundle’ and ‘neural current’ exist. In B:CP (p. 22) a ‘neural current’ is “the number of impulses passing through a cross section of all parallel redundant fibers in a given [neural] bundle per unit time”. These are theoretical entities abstracted from complex and messy facts of neuroanatomy and neural function.
We need these simplified theoretical entities to encapsulate complexity because otherwise the complexity of detail overwhelms the possibility of useful research and results.
A neuroscientist or neuroanatomist looking at our control loop diagrams is well justified in doubting their simplicity. We can admit yes it is all much more complicated, but we predict that in some way the complexity will amount to functions of these kinds connected in these ways, and we are confident of that because the observed result is Control, and there is no other known structure that results in control.
The neurological and collective simplifications are exactly parallel, because in the collective situation the observed result is Control, even though no one individual participant is doing all of that controlling.
A functional block diagram of the brain's organization, however, can remain valid even if it were later to be discovered that each function is a distributed property of the brain and each perception is a pattern of neural currents pervading the brain. (*B:CP* 38)
A functional block diagram of collective control can remain valid even when we know that each function of the posited Giant Virtual Controller is a distributed property of individual autonomous control systems in a population.
Not everyone has the interest or perhaps even the perceptual input functions to take an interest in the complexities of social phenomena. Those of us who do, need the theoretical and methodological tools to grapple with their complexity in an orderly way. Each theoretical entity must be reducible in principle to the simpler terms of the more basic aspects of our science, just as ‘neural bundle’ and ‘neural current’ must have a plausible relationship to the anatomical and neurodynamic data with which a neuroscientist must grapple. You have no more basis for dismissing collective control than a neuroanatomist has for dismissing PCT.