[From Kenny Kitzke (990504.0100 EDT)]
<Bill Powers (990503.1138 MDT)>
A. The coercer must be able and intend to intervene with overwhelming force
if the observable action(s) of the other person is/are not what the coercer
B. The coercee must be compelled by such threat of force (real or implied or
imagined) against their own will to act as the coercer desires.
<Ah. We agree. You put it so simply -- and I hope persuasively.>
I am sure it could be improved; but this concept works for me and I would be
thrilled to see the CSGNet agree on what coercion is so that we can recognize
it and move on to how to deter its frequency in relationships between people.
<I take it you refer to such things as acting out of guilt or shame. It
seems to me that in such cases there must be an inner conflict.>
Yes. Or, respect for others as more important than yourself. While it may
create inner conflict, it may avoid coercion by willingly doing without
malice what the coercer seems to want.
<For example, you might want to
take the last piece of chocolate cake, but you might also feel that someone
else (perhaps a child who is asking for it) deserves it more, and give it
away. You're not exactly acting against your will; you're simply choosing
one desire over another conflicting one.>
Another good example of free will choice. I would not feel I did it because
the child coerced me. Coercion is not what is taking place in this
situation. By giving the cake to the cute kid with freckles, he gets the
cake he wants and I get something at a higher reference level. We both can
<I think real coercion is easier to see than that. When you see a mother
dragging a screaming, struggling three-year-old out of the toy department,
I think you're pretty safe in guessing who is coercing whom. The
application of superior physical force is pretty hard to disguise. The
_threat_ of it, which includes a silent understand by the victim that it
will be used, can be harder to detect.>
It is the threat of force that is not always visible to a third party
observer. During church services, just the look of dad as he calls Josh's
name seems to change the way Josh is behaving (making noise) and disturbing
the services. Perhaps Josh does not want to disturb services and happily
changes his actions. But, just a likely, he knows he'll get punished unless
he stops. I still think the only way to know if Josh has been coerced by his
father's authoritative look is to ask him if he would rather keep playing
noisily and disturb his father and be punished, or rather please his father
and be a little less noisy in his dump truck game. This has the flavor of
the RTP choice that isn't a totally free choice but is better than no choice
I have also seen fathers simply get up and swipe their kid away in a rage.
You hear the whacks and crying out in the parking lot. And, those who
discipline with coercion, as you so well pointed out, can create just as
disruptive a kid as the parent who says, "Hey, put up with his noise, he is
just a kid."
<What we need is to subjugate our private and immediate benefits to a system
concept under which benefiting others becomes an eventual but much greater
benefit to ourselves and those we love. Christianity, at least in some
versions, is such a proposed system concept. There are others of equal
promise. I would be happy if more people subscribed seriously to _any_ of
Me too. I can only say that I finally found one that works for me. Its the
same one Bernhard Langer, Reggie White, Jeff Gordon and millions of others
seem to have found that was missing in their observably successful lives.
For someone else, they may find that golf, football, auto racing or being a
successful scientist is all they need to find peace. Let it be.
<The carnal nature of man is to try to satisfy reference conditions by
acting on the world (which, sometimes unfortunately, contains other
Tend to agree in concept.
<This can't be changed without eliminating living systems.>
No, it can be changed when living systems reject the carnality. You even
provided a nice Chocolate cake example.
<What people need to learn is that _all_ people are like this, and they need
learn what is really to their ultimate benefit, instead of seeing only the
short-term and local gain.>
PCT has taught me this. You have helped me see people in a different light.
And, we need to think of behavior not in terms of right or wrong but as the
control of perceptions which are often unknown and unknowable even by the
person (much less an observer). We do not need to change peoples behavior,
in fact, short of coercion you can't. We need to help them change their
reference perceptions. Cooperation is the way. Coercion and conflict are
<I think this is the main idea that the people in charge of education have to
make sure is taught. But how can you teach practical ethics, when parents are
interested only in having children taught _their_ values?>
This would be sound only if the parents values are not ethical or practical.
I don't know why that needs to be the case. On the RTP forum, an interchange
between Tim Carey and Tom Bourbon about what is fundamentally wrong in our
schools had me excited all week. But, without understanding PCT and
redefining the role of schools and teachers, the schools are doomed to less
learning and more violence as kids refuse to be coerced. What a pity.
I approached the head of the Pittsburgh schools Intermediate Unit who
admitted that violence and disrespect is growing even with these younger
students while learned is flat to declining.
I asked him if he wanted to do something about it? He said certainly. But,
when I mentioned that he would have to learn a new way of how behavior works
before discovering what to do differently, he referred me to his task force
team on discipline to try it out on them. They are experts on how to
maintain discipline. He is sick of new ideas and silver bullets.
I told him if it wasn't important enough to him to pursue it, it was not
important enough for me either. He may have perceived that I wasn't looking
for some consulting money from his team like most consultants. That was not
my interest. I said that he would just have to be satisfied watching things
get worse and worse if he won't change the policies of the school toward
teachers, students and learning. And, if he wanted to change what he did to
help achieve a safe and studious school, he should call me anytime. That was
two years ago. No ring a ling. Bet you are not surprised. A staff member
told me he is too busy installing metal detectors and hiring school guards
and psychologists to take the time to figure out why kids bring guns to
school and punch out teachers and vandalize everything in sight.
The last thing on this man's mind would be to teach 5th graders about how
behavior works in them and in all people. Yet that, perhaps with some morals
or ethics, may be the only rational and objective solution to the hell he
faces every week. For a lack of knowledge, people suffer and perish. Who is
wise enough to teach them?
Thanks for the sincere and useful dialogue,