Senility

[From Bill Powers (2001.04.16.0904 MDT)]

As I predicted some time ago, it has proven very hard for control systems
to cooperate, especially very good control systems. The more important the
"shared" goal, the smaller are the differences in goals and perceptions
that can create destructive conflict. So now, with Dag's diatribe and
Marken's departure, we witness yet another example of the fragmentation
that fanaticism generates.

Is this bad? I don't know. Over the past 11 years of CSGnet, I've been
encouraged to write a lot of things that would never have been written
otherwise. It's hard to imagine writing such things without some kind of
friendly audience. On the other hand, I've indulged in a lot of useless
speculation and pointless chit-chat just because there was always someone
to listen and bat the bird back, and have wasted a lot of time that could
have been used better -- for example, by writing more advanced demos, or
taking naps. Too much of the CSGnet bandwidth has been used in debating how
to start preparing to get ready to plan the general outlines of possible
strategic research policies (forgive artistic exaggeration), with the
research itself (at least as reported) remaining almost exclusively a tiny
imaginary carrot at the end of a long imaginary stick. We have descended
into Scholastic debate, and the group, as a social entity, has become senile.

I'm close enough to the age of senility to want to avoid any premature
symptoms. So I think I'll follow Rick Marken's example before I, too,
become a target for those who need somebody to hate, or start needing the
same thing myself. Perhaps the European CSG organized by Marcos Rodrigues
and Wolfgang Zocher has a decade or so of development to enjoy, since it is
young. The center may shift to the East for a while. Perhaps we have set an
example of how not to use intellectual resources, and the ECSG can learn
from it.

There is actually a lot of PCT activity going on in various places,
offstage. People are using it in work of several kinds, although there is
still only a tiny handful studying it for its own sweet sake instead of as
a way to enhance something else they consider equally or more important. I
can hardly complain about that, as I have always believed that the CSG
should have a limited lifetime, and that control theory should eventually
become just another tool for studying human nature rather than becoming a
discipline (or a cult) unto itself. I can hardly complain that people are
putting PCT to what they believe is good use.

I don't plan any sudden departures, but I'm going to raise the bar another
notch or two when it comes to participating in discussions. And in July, in
St. Louis, I'm going to propose dissolving the CSG. Those who care might
start thinking about that.

Finally, what about the people who consider PCT to be a major subject in
itself, without being used as a means for doing something else, and who
want to develop it in that direction? Those who want to discard past
theories entirely and starting the study of human nature from scratch might
start thinking about that, too. The internet will still be there long after
CSGnet. Those who are fearful about discarding the baby with the bathwater
are free to follow the bathwater.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Shannon Williams (2001.04.17.0045 CST)]

[From Bill Powers (2001.04.16.0904 MDT)]

I don't plan any sudden departures, but I'm going to raise the bar another
notch or two when it comes to participating in discussions. And in July, in
St. Louis, I'm going to propose dissolving the CSG. Those who care might
start thinking about that.

I would hate to see CSG go. I enjoy watching you guys talk and
philosophize. But I do understand that the list may no longer serve as a
means to control your perceptions.

Take Care,
Shannon

[From Hank Folson (2001.04.17.0900)]

Bill Powers (2001.04.16.0904 MDT)

And in July, in
St. Louis, I'm going to propose dissolving the CSG. Those who care might
start thinking about that.

The problem with CSGnet is the daily back-and-forth posting. Some people
post to CSGnet to extol another theory they believe; some want to use PCT
as a tool to advance what they already believe; some want to prove that PCT
is a subset of what they already believe; some have a glimmer of the
possibilities of PCT, but for whatever reason, don't let go of some old
ideas; some want to pick out useful little goodies from PCT to use along
with their other tools; some don't really care much about PCT, they mainly
want to be a part of CSGnet for some other personal reasons; some post
because they want all the answers given to them.

PCT is immiscible with all other theories of psychology. To understand it,
and explore it fully, and even to prove it is wrong, you have to study it
without mixing in what you believe/know to be true from any other
psychology.

Posting to CSGnet is just a 'behavior'. Under PCT, the post in itself tells
us nothing about what the writer believes, or is trying to accomplish.
Posts are simply the outputs of living control systems, if PCT is right.
What we really need to know to evaluate any post is what goal(s) is/are
hidden inside the writer's head. It requires a lot of posting (Tests for
the Controlled Variable) back and forth to figure it all out. My
observation is that very little of this is ever done on CSGnet.

I think that newcomers should simply be directed to the PCT literature.
There is a surprising amount building up, on the Internet and in print. One
nice addition to the literature would be a list of FAQ's (Frequently Asked
Questions), so time is not wasted restating the same information over and
over.

If correspondence is to occur, there is an essential ground rule: PCT will
only be discussed on its own merits, and not by comparison to any other
theory. Take it or leave it. Sounds harsh, but it is a pragmatic rule.
Otherwise endless conversation ensues, and that is not what we are
controlling for.

Most of the interesting and exciting PCT work is being done in the
background by those who really understand the potential of PCT. These
people are too busy doing it to want to waste time talking about it. CSGnet
should be a very quiet list, with just useful information appearing
whenever.

Sincerely, Hank Folson
www.henryjames.com

[From Kenny Kitzke (2001.04.17.1700 EDT)]

<Bill Powers (2001.04.16.0904 MDT)>

<And in July, in
St. Louis, I'm going to propose dissolving the CSG. Those who care might
start thinking about that.>

I would hope there is some process where this could be decided _before_ the
conference. I doubt if I will come to St. Louis for the CSG funeral. I hate
funerals.
:sunglasses:

I see value in continuing it and hope cooler heads will prevail to keep the
group going. Perhaps some who have left will miss it and return? Does the
group know how to cooperate?

[From Bruce Gregory (2001.0417.1728)]

Hank Folson (2001.04.17.0900)

This post demonstrates, albeit unintentionally, a core problem with CSGnet.
It consists of little more than personal prejudices masquerading as
objective statements. Why did you bother to post it if you believe that
"CSGnet
should be a very quiet list, with just useful information appearing whenever."?

BG

from Phil Runkel on 17 April 2001

replying to Hank Folson's of 2001.04.17.0900:

Thanks, Hank Folson. --Phil R.

[From Hank Folson (2001.04.17.2000)]

from Phil Runkel on 17 April 2001

replying to Hank Folson's of 2001.04.17.0900:

Thanks, Hank Folson. --Phil R.

You're Welcome, Phil R.

This post demonstrates, albeit unintentionally, _another_ core problem with
CSGnet. The 2001.04.17.0900 post was a big disturbance for Bruce:

From Bruce Gregory (2001.0417.1728)

Hank Folson (2001.04.17.0900)

This post demonstrates, albeit unintentionally, a core problem with

CSGnet.

It consists of little more than personal prejudices masquerading as
objective statements. Why did you bother to post it if you believe that
"CSGnet should be a very quiet list, with just useful information

appearing >whenever."?

I could go on about PCT and how I think you understood my points, Phil, but
it would be a waste of everyone's time as I am known for my personal
prejudices masquerading as objective statements.

Sincerely,
Hank Folson

[Bruce Gregory (2001.0418.0928)]

Hank Folson (2001.04.17.2000)

I could go on about PCT and how I think you understood my points, Phil, but
it would be a waste of everyone's time as I am known for my personal
prejudices masquerading as objective statements.

I stand corrected. Your prejudices are not completely personal.

BG

[From Bruce Gregory (2001.0418.0944)]

Hank Folson (2001.04.17.0900)

I think I owe you more than I have provided. Here is a detailed critique.

The problem with CSGnet is the daily back-and-forth posting. Some people
post to CSGnet to extol another theory they believe;

Examples?

some want to use PCT
as a tool to advance what they already believe;

Examples?

some want to prove that PCT
is a subset of what they already believe;

Examples?

some have a glimmer of the
possibilities of PCT, but for whatever reason, don't let go of some old
ideas;

Examples?

some want to pick out useful little goodies from PCT to use along
with their other tools;

Examples?

some don't really care much about PCT, they mainly
want to be a part of CSGnet for some other personal reasons;

Examples?

some post
because they want all the answers given to them.

Examples?

PCT is immiscible with all other theories of psychology.

Evidence?

To understand it,
and explore it fully, and even to prove it is wrong, you have to study it
without mixing in what you believe/know to be true from any other
psychology.

Sort of like religion, no? I have never seen this point made about any
scientific model. Are you claiming that PCT is unique? Do you have any
evidence to support this claim?

Posting to CSGnet is just a 'behavior'.

Behavior is not well defined in PCT, I assume you mean the result of some
action.

Under PCT, the post in itself tells
us nothing about what the writer believes, or is trying to accomplish.

Really? How extraordinary. But that does explain a lot. Clearly
communication is impossible in the PCT world.

Posts are simply the outputs of living control systems, if PCT is right.

As are any other actions.

What we really need to know to evaluate any post is what goal(s) is/are
hidden inside the writer's head.

Since this is impossible at the present time, we are bound to be
frustrated. Communication is truly impossible.

It requires a lot of posting (Tests for
the Controlled Variable) back and forth to figure it all out.

Ah, I see. All posts are Tests of the Controlled Variable. They are not
genuine attempts to communicate, but merely probes to test one's theories.

My
observation is that very little of this is ever done on CSGnet.

Tests for the controlled variable. So this is what you are advocating
rather than what you observe.

I think that newcomers should simply be directed to the PCT literature.
There is a surprising amount building up, on the Internet and in print.

Really? How about a bibliography for the past five years. That would be
really helpful.

One
nice addition to the literature would be a list of FAQ's (Frequently Asked
Questions), so time is not wasted restating the same information over and
over.

If you will write one, I'm sure it can be posted to the CSG site (assuming
that survives the summer.)

If correspondence is to occur, there is an essential ground rule: PCT will
only be discussed on its own merits, and not by comparison to any other
theory. Take it or leave it. Sounds harsh, but it is a pragmatic rule.
Otherwise endless conversation ensues, and that is not what we are
controlling for.

Most of the interesting and exciting PCT work is being done in the
background by those who really understand the potential of PCT.

Tell us more.

These
people are too busy doing it to want to waste time talking about it. CSGnet
should be a very quiet list, with just useful information appearing
whenever.

This makes sense since communication is impossible.

BG

[From Hank Folson (2110.04.18.0730)]

I proposed in the past, as have others, that the concepts of PCT be
intentionally applied to the communications on CSGnet. There was little
support. At the time, I couldn't understand why those who really understood
PCT didn't get excited about the idea. Now I think they understood much
better than I did, that the idea is impractical in an open forum. To put it
simply, yet true to PCT: "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make
it drink."

You'd think that after Bill's post [Bill Powers (2001.04.16.0904 MDT)] we
would avoid, at least temporarily, indulging in "... a lot of useless
speculation and pointless chit-chat just because there was always someone
to listen and, and have wasted a lot of time that could
have been used better.."

I am not going to continue "bat the bird back" in regards to my first post
in this thread, other than to ask CSGnetters to consider for their own
benefit whether both protaganists were attempting, however successfully or
unsuccessfully, to discuss, communicate, and apply PCT. It should be easy
to see why Bill is seriously considering shutting down CSG, and I think
that CSGnet should be much quieter.

Sincerely,
Hank Folson

[From Bruce Gregory (2001.0418.1110)]

Hank Folson (2110.04.18.0730)

I am not going to continue "bat the bird back" in regards to my first post
in this thread,

Very prudent.

BG

[form Mary Powers 010420]

[From Shannon Williams (2001.04.17.0045 CST)]

[From Bill Powers (2001.04.16.0904 MDT)]

I don't plan any sudden departures, but I'm going to raise the bar another
notch or two when it comes to participating in discussions. And in July, in
St. Louis, I'm going to propose dissolving the CSG. Those who care might
start thinking about that.

I would hate to see CSG go. I enjoy watching you guys talk and
philosophize. But I do understand that the list may no longer serve as a
means to control your perceptions.

Take Care,
Shannon

What Bill means by raising the bar is that as far as _CSCnet_ goes, he will
answer, comment, etc. from time to time but less often. Meaning that once
more he is resolving to try not to get sucked into the contentious
conversations that keep cropping up, but will be happy to reply to anything
interesting (to him).

Dissolving the _CSG_ means 1) no more meetings and 2) ending the existence
of the CSG as a 501-c-3 non-profit organization. The meetings are a huge
hassle for someone to set up, publicize, deal with money, etc., as well as
being expensive to go to. The 501-c-3 status seemed like a good idea a
number of years ago when it looked like the group was growing, that we
might want to be applying for grants to do research (hah) and various other
things, and to make clear that the money coming in for meetings and as
membership fees was not somebody's personal income. But its only advantage
has been to make it possible to have meetings in fairly cheap places like
colleges. There can still be a CSGnet and a CSG website without an actual,
legally constituted, registered in Colorado, IRS-approved CSG. A virtual
CSG, basically. And if anyone wants to get together with two or three other
CSG people, or 12, or 40, there is nothing to prevent it. But there will be
no organization or officers to do the work.

Cheers,

Mary P.

[From Bruce Nevin (2001.04.20 18:03 EDT)]

Mary Powers 010420--

···

At 14:22 04/20/2001 -0600, Mary Powers wrote:

there will be
no organization or officers to do the work.

Would be, not will be. This is a proposal that Bill has said that he will make this summer. What happens depends upon who's there and what they do. And of course between now and then too.

         Bruce Nevin

Ok. Thanks for the clarification. I feel better now.

···

-----Original Message-----
From: Mary Powers <powers_w@FRONTIER.NET>
To: CSGNET@listserv.uiuc.edu <CSGNET@listserv.uiuc.edu>
Date: Friday, April 20, 2001 3:25 PM
Subject: Re: Senility

[form Mary Powers 010420]

[From Shannon Williams (2001.04.17.0045 CST)]

[From Bill Powers (2001.04.16.0904 MDT)]

I don't plan any sudden departures, but I'm going to raise the bar

another

notch or two when it comes to participating in discussions. And in July,

in

St. Louis, I'm going to propose dissolving the CSG. Those who care might
start thinking about that.

I would hate to see CSG go. I enjoy watching you guys talk and
philosophize. But I do understand that the list may no longer serve as a
means to control your perceptions.

Take Care,
Shannon

What Bill means by raising the bar is that as far as _CSCnet_ goes, he will
answer, comment, etc. from time to time but less often. Meaning that once
more he is resolving to try not to get sucked into the contentious
conversations that keep cropping up, but will be happy to reply to anything
interesting (to him).

Dissolving the _CSG_ means 1) no more meetings and 2) ending the existence
of the CSG as a 501-c-3 non-profit organization. The meetings are a huge
hassle for someone to set up, publicize, deal with money, etc., as well as
being expensive to go to. The 501-c-3 status seemed like a good idea a
number of years ago when it looked like the group was growing, that we
might want to be applying for grants to do research (hah) and various other
things, and to make clear that the money coming in for meetings and as
membership fees was not somebody's personal income. But its only advantage
has been to make it possible to have meetings in fairly cheap places like
colleges. There can still be a CSGnet and a CSG website without an actual,
legally constituted, registered in Colorado, IRS-approved CSG. A virtual
CSG, basically. And if anyone wants to get together with two or three other
CSG people, or 12, or 40, there is nothing to prevent it. But there will be
no organization or officers to do the work.

Cheers,

Mary P.