[From Bill Powers (2008.08.27.1723 MDT)]
Dick Robertson,2008.08.27.1605 CDT --
Agreed again. But that's going to take some doing, and for sure you are right to propose that PCT scientists should be working on it--as perhaps the only ones who have the tools for it. But in the mean time, congress is going to be passing a lot of laws, and we know from experience that a lot of them will be wastes of devotion, money and energy, and if not that there will be those that make things much worse, as implicit in your discussion about conflict. My intermediate-time proposal was to see how it would work if congressmen (among others) began at least to think in terms of controlling variables (instead of trying to control people).
Well said. I should interject that the present way we do things is not a total failure. If it had totally failed it wouldn't exist. For a long time we will have one foot in the old world and one in the new, with most of the weight on the old ground. So your idea of small steps is very realistic and that's obviously the way we have to do it. But we can start, however tentatively, introducing and teaching the new way.
Sure, you are right in the abstract, but let's take this to some concrete examples. Assuming it true that a majority of people in this country would like to see much less heroin bought and used, then, taking that as a desired condition how many different proposals might be put forward to see a significant decrease in the measured variable? Bomb the fields in South America? (Been tried); Restart the WPA to give meaningful work to people who are currently sitting around, feeling depressed and angry? (Some small local efforts have been tried I believe, with mixed results); Decriminalize use, but tell people that when they are starting to waste away, the rest of us won't pay to send them to the hospital (sounds cruel, doesn't it, but some Libertarians would be for it, if I understand them correctly.
There's another way. The fact is that people take heroin and other such substances to feel better, and it works. It does make them feel better. So the MOL interviewer would naturally ask what might not occur to others with a more conventional point of view to ask. Better than what? How were you feeling before you started with the junk? And why? What was your life like before, that simply feeling good for a while was such a thrill? What did you feel good about before? Did you ever feel really good? People don't just snap their fingers one day and say "Hey, I know, I'm going to be a junkie!" I think the term is "self-medication." Self-medication for what illness?
Once you get serious about that question you have to realize that the cause of addiction is in whatever was happening just before it started. I tried pot one weekend with a bunch of other people, and it was a terrific happy party. But afterward I knew that I never wanted to feel that way again: it was totally phoney, chemical-induced, and dangerous. But most of all, I was feeling perfectly happy about my life before that, so it didn't seem to cure anything that needed curing. It didn't suddenly make a lot of bad feelings go away. Not enough to make me think my god why didn't anyone tell me about this?
It took me another 20 years or so to quit drinking and smoking. I didn't know the right questions.
One the enquiry starts up this road, the other approaches look pretty pointless. The answer to drugs is in the causes, not the effects. I don't know where this route would lead, but I think we have to find out rather than just not trying it.
Any of these proposals do contain ambitions for other people's behavior, generically, but so far they don't necessarily call for anyone to try to force any particular action out of particular other.
Unless the particular other won't go along with the program. Then you do what is always done: you force them. Unless you'd rather give up the program.
In the end it would depend upon the beliefs about how behavior works on the part of the "front line" workers in the program, wouldn't it?. What if Ed Ford were training all the people employed by an "Administration for Reduction of Heroine Use in the USA? Or a project of ED Ford and Tim Carey?
I'd rather see them running an "Administration to find out why people feel so bad that they take drugs." That would probably have the effect of reducing heroin use, but not through persuading people to use less heroin. Fewer people would need it.
So a program designed by PCT experts to call out a law such as I proposed above-- might that not be a step on the way to everybody-wins anarchy? (Which BTW I don't think is _humanly_ possible, because those few finding themselves with the power to take what they want from their environment without caring what the others in that environment want will do it. Isn't that sufficiently proven?)
Sure. So explain why they do that. I don't mean to guess at why they do that, or make up plausible reasons, but find out why, actually why, they do that. They don't do it just to be doing it. It's a means to some other end. When you find out what that end is, you'll be up a level, and so will your informant. Then you can ask why they want that end. What is it a means to? Up another level. Now it's getting interesting. Now, if something reorganizes accidentally or on purpose, more important things will start to happen. You won't be just trying to oppose their selfishness or whatever you call what they're doing. They'll be finding out what they really want, and chances are excellent that they'll also be changing right before your eyes.
That's what I'm talking about. In the old world, we just try to oppose whatever is wrong. We think up strategies or advice or exercises or rewards or punishments or catchy phrases or parlor tricks like talking to chairs. We're like the beavers who use mud and sticks to plaster up loudspeakers playing the sound of running water. We just try to make whatever we want to happen happen. Simple and direct, and mostly ineffective.
The new way is to accept that nobody just does anything. It's always done for a purpose, and the purpose is at a higher level. So we forget about the behavior (if we can) and go after the purpose. And if we find a purpose, we don't stop there; we treat it as an intermediate means for achieving yet some other purpose, probably still higher in the hierarchy of control. You don't have to go more than one or two steps like this to see the entire character of the conversation changing.
That is interesting--and maybe doable, imperfectly and on a small scale, but it strikes me as a good enough start that I am going to try to remember to apply it in every situation where it comes to mind as a way to communicate. (I put it that way because I know it would require breaking a lot of habits--i.e. reorganizing) but a worthy goal.)
I know, I'm reminding myself of the same things these days. Wait until you see what Warren Mansell is up to over in England, and Tim Carey in Oz. We're all heading in similar directions. I think the train is leaving the station.