Self Knowledge of CV's

[From Rick Marken (2000.02.01.1500)]

Bill Curry (2000.01.19.1615 EST)--

Oops--I should have remembered that _elicit_ was on the PCT
taxonomic blacklist!

Go and sin no more;-)

BTW, your original statement was tongue-in-cheek wasn't it? :wink:

I'm so cynical I don't even know when I'm kidding anymore.

But can we ever be aware of _all_ the CV's we are controlling
that can impinge directly or indirectly on any situation?

I doubt it. As Bill (and Mary) noted, awareness seems to move
from one part of the hierarchy to another over time, depending
on what's going on; we are probably aware of only a small number
of controlled variables (at best) at any one time.

I ask this in all seriousness because I would like to be able
to understand how an ostensibly technical discussion can
degenerate to the point that people have felt compelled to
leave CSGnet [as opposed to just ending up at a stalemate or
an amicable disagreement].

I don't think awareness of controlled variables does much to
decrease conflict. People probably leave CSGNet because they
don't like (or are unable to prevail in) the conflicts. The
Palestinians and Israelis know what variable they are both
trying to control: living on that nice piece of beach front
property in the Eastern Mediterranean. Knowing that hasn't kept
them from fighting to gain control over it.

My guess is that the actual breakdowns were more the product
of the interpersonal dynamics, than the technical content of
the discussion itself. Do you agree?

Not really. I think the breakdowns are just the visible actions
you see people taking when they deal with conflict; they are a
visible side effect of the different ways individuals deal with
conflict. One way to deal with conflict is to keep pushing as hard
as you can until either you or your opponent wins: this has been
my unfortunate approach.

Another way is to go up a level. One result of going up a level
may be to see that you don't have to participate in the argument:
leaving the net (or just ignoring the debate) is an example of this
approach. Or the result may be perceiving the debate in terms of
a higher level perception -- a system concept -- like "being a
fellow PCTer". So you realize "hey, we' re all fans of PCT here
so let's focus on what we have in common". This is Bill and Mary's
current approach. I'm going to have to give it a try.

If this is true, it would be interesting to expose the controlled
variables relating to the interpersonal communications.

I think these variables are fairly easy to see. Some of these
controlled perceptions are, of course, the substantive ideas
themselves that are a matter of contention. Then there are the
variables relating to the interpersonal communications; things like
perceptions of the level of interpersonal conflict, perceptions of
agreement from others, etc.

It seems to me that different people control for these variables
with different levels of gain; some people control for a low level of
interpersonal conflict with very high gain; these are the interpersonal
communication "peace at any price" group. Others control for a moderate
level of interpersonal conflict with moderate gain; these are the
nudnicks (like me). There are also people who apparently control for
high levels of interpersonal conflict with high gain; these are the
radio talk show hosts.

I'm going to _try_ to go with the "up a level to system concept",
approach; I just hope everyone makes this easier for me by saying
only things with which I agree;-)

Best

Rick

路路路

--
Richard S. Marken Phone or Fax: 310 474-0313
Life Learning Associates mailto: rmarken@earthlink.net
http://home.earthlink.net/~rmarken

COMMENT:QUERY: [From Bill Curry (2000.02.02.1540 EST)]

Rick Marken (2000.02.01.1500)]

Me:

> But can we ever be aware of _all_ the CV's we are controlling
> that can impinge directly or indirectly on any situation?

You:

I doubt it. As Bill (and Mary) noted, awareness seems to move
from one part of the hierarchy to another over time, depending
on what's going on; we are probably aware of only a small number
of controlled variables (at best) at any one time.

I agree also. This is why I suggested that it was impossible, from a
PCT POV, for you to enumerate the perceptual variables you were
controlling during the RTP discussion.

Me:

> I ask this in all seriousness because I would like to be able
> to understand how an ostensibly technical discussion can
> degenerate to the point that people have felt compelled to
> leave CSGnet [as opposed to just ending up at a stalemate or
> an amicable disagreement].

You:

I don't think awareness of controlled variables does much to
decrease conflict.

What! I thought that becoming aware of one's conflicting controlled
variables was one of the core processes of the MOL--that by taking
awareness up-a-level, one could _expose_ the hitherto undisclosed
conflicting perceptions, and then the conflict could be resolved either
through learned skills or reorganization. Bill has talked extensively
about a link between awareness and reorganization.

You:

People probably leave CSGNet because they
don't like (or are unable to prevail in) the conflicts. The
Palestinians and Israelis know what variable they are both
trying to control: living on that nice piece of beach front
property in the Eastern Mediterranean. Knowing that hasn't kept
them from fighting to gain control over it.

Again, I think this is a much too simplistic synopsis of the
multivariate universe of controlled perceptions that surrounds any human
discourse. Maybe the Israeli leader of the moment finds Arafat's
beard absolutely abhorrent and can't stand to be in his presence. There
are undoubtedly untold _millions_ of controlled perceptions ...memories
of killings, torture, discrimination, religious preferences, etc. that
have created the current climate in the Middle East. I think there is
no PCT basis for reducing complex situations to simple and untested assertions.

So, too, with the breakdown of the RTP discussion--without the Test,
there are absolutely no grounds, save your own limited perceptions, for
asserting why some chose to leave CSGnet.

You have taught, quite effectively I might add, that trying to divine
the controlled perceptions of another is both futile and unscientific.
The TEST must be performed! Indeed, this was your principal objection
to the "I see you have chosen" statement--that the teacher could be
imputing perceptions to the child which were untrue.

[As an aside, I also think we kid ourselves at times about the power of
the TEST to expose controlled perceptions. While it may be the best
tool available, it seems a feeble device for isolating an accurate
depiction of control given the ever-changing galaxies of interrelated
controlled perceptions that are streaming through the hierarchy.]

So Rick, I find it ironic that you vigorously condemn those who infer
the controlled perceptions of others in the RTP instance, while your
form of argument regularly relies on casually intuiting the perceptions
of others, e.g. political and religious figures and groups, other
scientists, fellow CSGers, etc.

Do you see this inconsistency in your form of communication, or do you
believe my characterization is in error?

Me:

> My guess is that the actual breakdowns were more the product
> of the interpersonal dynamics, than the technical content of
> the discussion itself. Do you agree?

You:

Not really. I think the breakdowns are just the visible actions
you see people taking when they deal with conflict; they are a
visible side effect of the different ways individuals deal with
conflict.

I agree with your statement but my question concerned the nature of the
conflicting perceptions under control, not the observed behaviors
generated. My speculation was that interpersonal and self perceptions
had the most gain and were responsible for the breakdown behaviors. A
disagreement on points of purely scientific content [i.e., information],
can only lead to a negotiated settlement of views or a
stalemate--certainly not a breakdown of civility, friendships, and group participation.

You:

One way to deal with conflict is to keep pushing as hard
as you can until either you or your opponent wins: this has been
my unfortunate approach.

Very forthright of you. I concur with your assessment. So what
controlled perceptions might be involved when you produce this "must
win" behavior? For example, do you think you are fulfilling a self
concept such as "I am the protector of PCT purity", or what? What are
some of the side effects of this control?

You:

Another way is to go up a level. One result of going up a level
may be to see that you don't have to participate in the argument:
leaving the net (or just ignoring the debate) is an example of this
approach. Or the result may be perceiving the debate in terms of
a higher level perception -- a system concept -- like "being a
fellow PCTer". So you realize "hey, we' re all fans of PCT here
so let's focus on what we have in common". This is Bill and Mary's
current approach. I'm going to have to give it a try.

Sounds like a good perception to advance the science of PCT as an
expanding group endeavor. A principal concept along the lines of
Richard Kennaway's input that I find helpful is "I can discuss points of
view dispassionately without alienating my colleague." In other words,
putting some sideboards on a discussion can prevent it from going over
the top. Framing it this way also broadens the context to consider the
scalar importance of what is really at stake. Indeed, what do I gain by
"winning" an arcane point [usually an ephemeral perception at best]
while losing an ally, friend and valued critic, and also sapping the
energy of others.

Me:

> If this is true, it would be interesting to expose the controlled
> variables relating to the interpersonal communications.

You:

I think these variables are fairly easy to see. . . .

More inferences without conducting the TEST.

It seems to me that different people control for these variables
with different levels of gain; some people control for a low level of
interpersonal conflict with very high gain; these are the interpersonal
communication "peace at any price" group. Others control for a moderate
level of interpersonal conflict with moderate gain; these are the
nudnicks (like me). There are also people who apparently control for
high levels of interpersonal conflict with high gain; these are the
radio talk show hosts.

There you go, Rick--being modest again. Other perceptions might put
"the old Rick" right up there with Imus or Howard Stern. :wink: I do agree
with your assessment that gain plays an important role. However,
setting it up as a warlike metaphor between appeasers and aggressors is
a limiting formulation. I think there are a host of good reasons to
control for low to zero levels of interpersonal conflict.

For instance, what could be perceived as a "peace at any price"
behavior, might instead be that of a person who values substantive
argument as a means for testing ideas but who eschews gratuitous
innuendo and groundless inferences. They might also be valuing the
opportunity cost of investing their scarce human energy in a debate
which has no real objective beyond being an exercise in one-upmanship.
Perhaps they see escalation of conflict beyond the realm of content to
be counterproductive to the advancement of PCT knowledge, and the
antithesis of a PCT-based approach to problem solving.

I believe this was the intent behind Hank Folson's suggestions for
developing a more principled structure for substantive CSGnet discourse.
Do you agree that a PCT paradigm for argument/discussion would be
content based and devoid of interpersonal conflict?

You:

I'm going to _try_ to go with the "up a level to system concept",
approach; I just hope everyone makes this easier for me by saying
only things with which I agree;-)

Great! I just hope this is not another case where you think "I'm so
cynical I don't even know when I'm kidding anymore ;-)" [;-)=mine]

Regards,

Bill

路路路

--
William J. Curry, III 941-395.0088
Capticom, Inc. capticom@olsusa.com

[From Rick Marken (2000.02.02.1820)]

Me:

I don't think awareness of controlled variables does
much to decrease conflict.

Bill Curry (2000.02.02.1540 EST)

What! I thought that becoming aware of one's conflicting
controlled variables was one of the core processes of the
MOL--

That's for _intra_ personal (within person) conflict. And
even then, it's not becoming aware of controlled variables
that (potentially) fixes the conflict; it's becoming aware
of the situation from a higher level (conscious) point of view.
For example, you might become aware of the fact that you are
controlling for going on a hot date and for staying home
and watching the superbowl with friends. However, just being
aware of the fact that you are controlling these perceptions
doesn't solve the conflict; you still can't control for both
at the same time.

The MOL is supposed to help you see a conflict like this from
a higher level (conscious) point of view, which can mean
seeing both perceptions as part of a controllable _sequence_
perception: watch the super bowl and _then_ go on the date.

The MOL can't really help you solve an _inter_ personal
(between person) conflict in this way. This is because the
two people involved in the conflict have two separate
consciousnesses; whether or not one person goes up a level
has nothing to do with whether or not the other person does. Each
party can only solve intra personal conflicts _for themsevles_,
in their own way. The solution may be satisfactory to one party
or the other but it is not _necessarily_ best for both. This is
quite different than the intra personal situation, where going
up a level can solve both sides of the conflict for the only
person who is experiencing it.

So Rick, I find it ironic that you vigorously condemn those
who infer the controlled perceptions of others in the RTP
instance, while your form of argument regularly relies on
casually intuiting the perceptions of others, e.g. political
and religious figures and groups, other scientists, fellow
CSGers, etc.

Do you see this inconsistency in your form of communication,
or do you believe my characterization is in error?

I don't condemn people for trying to infer the controlled
perceptions of others. My problem with the "I see you have
chosen..." phrase is not about improperly inferring controlled
perceptions; it's about deception and failure to take responsibility
for one's own controlling. Also, I don't intentionally base my
arguments on intuiting the perceptions controlled by others.
Actually, I don't think I know what you might be talking about
here. Could you give an example (off the top of your head;
you don't have to quote CSGNet scripture, though that would
help) of where I do this? If I did, I'm gonna have to give myself
a good talking to.

My speculation was that interpersonal and self perceptions
had the most gain and were responsible for the breakdown
behaviors.

I completely agree!

A disagreement on points of purely scientific content
[i.e., information], can only lead to a negotiated settlement
of views or a stalemate--certainly not a breakdown of civility,
friendships, and group participation.

I don't think this is true. Scientific ideas are like any
controlled perceptions; people who have irreconcilably
different references for what these perceptions (ideas) should be
will be in conflict -- and these conflicts can become _very_
testy (have you ever been to a scientific meeting or read reviews
of scientific papers)? Empirical observation should, but usually
doesn't, resolve the conflict. The difference between PCT and
conventional psychologies, for example, is truly irreconcilable.
I agree that at an interpersonal level there is no need for a
breakdown in civility, friendships and group participation over
this. But in science in particular there are no negotiated
settlements. There is no way to reconcile, for example,
reinforcement theory and PCT; they are two completely incompatible
models of how behavior works. That doesn't mean that reinforcement
and PCT theorists can't get along personally (some of my best
friends are, or were, reinforcement theorists); but they will
probably find it easier to get along at a superbowl party than in
a discussion on CSGNet of what behavior is and how it works.

So what controlled perceptions might be involved when you
produce this "must win" behavior? For example, do you think
you are fulfilling a self concept such as "I am the protector
of PCT purity", or what?

Yes. I do try to protect PCT "purity". I think CSGNet is the
appropriate place to do this. I wouldn't do it at a superbowl
party. But I admit that I should probably reduce the gain on
this considerably.

What are some of the side effects of this control?

I imagine it upsets a lot of people who like PCT but don't
like having any aspect of their understanding questioned.

Me:

Or the result may be perceiving the debate in terms of a higher
level perception -- a system concept -- like "being a fellow PCTer".
... This is Bill and Mary's current approach. I'm going to have to
give it a try.

Bill C.

Sounds like a good perception to advance the science of PCT as an
expanding group endeavor.

I think it will expand PCT as a group endeavor. But I don't think
it will advance the science of PCT much. Only research and
modeling can do that.

I think there are a host of good reasons to control for low to
zero levels of interpersonal conflict.

Me too.

what could be perceived as a "peace at any price" behavior,
might instead be that of a person who values substantive
argument as a means for testing ideas but who eschews
gratuitous innuendo and groundless inferences.

I don't think you can test ideas with argument. I think you
can only test ideas by implementing those ideas as working
models and then testing the behavior of those models against
observations of the real thing.

Do you agree that a PCT paradigm for argument/discussion would be
content based and devoid of interpersonal conflict?

Sure. But what constitutes non-conflict producing content and what
constitutes conflict producing innuendo? If I say (and try to show
via modeling and test) that reinforcement theory is wrong , am I
trying to make a substantive point about the nature of behavior or
an innuendo about the intellectual capabilities of people who believe
deeply in reinforcement theory? belive that it depends on whether or
not you are the one controlling for reinforcment theory. No one
likes to have some deeply held belief challenged; but as soon as
you start talking about (and modeling and testing) perceptual control
(PCT) you start challenging some deeply held belief of nearly
everyone -- and you will particularly infuriate people who came
to PCT thinking that it supported their own particular deeply held
belief.

I think the only way to avoid conflict on CSGNet is to ask people
to leave the top levels of their existing hierarchies of control
systems -- the ones that control for principles and systems
concepts -- at the door. This doesn't strike me as a realistic
possibility so I think we'll just have to learn to be tolerant
of opposing opinions and try to forgive each other our trespasses.

Best

Rick

路路路

--
Richard S. Marken Phone or Fax: 310 474-0313
Life Learning Associates e-mail: rmarken@earthlink.net
http://home.earthlink.net/~rmarken/

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