Side Orders on the Perceptual Menu of Life

[from Joel Judd 951018.0930 CST]

Rick and Bruce A. (951016 ff):

I'm surprised Rick let this one get by, unless I'm reading it differently:

Now that I know what the control system is structured to produce, the next

question to enter my mind is

"What specific perceptions are being controlled in order to execute this


One of the ways to read this is to think that if I can just delineate the
perceptions provided the organism, I'll control the behaviors produced
(Bruce said "sequence" but isn't that short for "sequence of behaviors").
This all sounds like a mental Skinner box to me. Instead of limiting the
behavioral avenues available to the organism, one limits the perceptual
ones. Am I way off base here? I still see a search for a cause-effect

Regarding the "irrelavance" of side-effects of control, one of my favorite
language-learning anecdotes returns to mind. I've mentioned this before but
it's been awhile.

While teaching English to employees of Samsung Co. in Korea, I began to
experience firsthand many of the different influences and disturbances to
learning a second language. [this is all pre-PCT, BTW] In this case,
employees were sequestered in a "learning institute" forty miles south of
Seoul for twelve weeks at a time to learn English. While we had a decent
amount of language resources (books, tapes, etc.), the context was still
very much corporate Korean (which is essentially borrowed corporate
Japanese). Bottom line: "be" Korean, "speak" English. This, however, is a
likely recipe for conflict (in PCT terms) in a learner. Language is so
intimately tied in with our socialization that to speak another language
well one really has to get some taste of some part of the cultural
perceptions of those who speak the language.

Any of you who have heard an "average" Korean speaker learning English later
in life understands the formidable changes that have to occur for the
learner to speak and use English well and comfortably (and vice-versa for
anyone acquainted with Korean). One day, I was getting somewhat frustrated
with the continued non-progress I preceived to be taking place in class. I
began to try and explain as best I could about some of the "mind-set"
involved in learning another language (what I would now explain as
higher-level perceptions). I tried to contrast and compare some of the ways
of being of Korean and English speakers, and how the linguistic behaviors
weaved in and out of those ways and how one might feel as a speaker of one
or the other.

At some point, one of the students, who was typical in his English abilities
and problems, sort of slouched down in his chair (as one might imagine a
high-school student doing) and said something like "You mean Americans talk
like this" in English that was so different from his usual accented variety
that he caught me off guard. Several others kind of laughed nervously, but
all I could say was "Yes! That's it!" He never did it again.

I can't remember now the words he said, but the WAY he said them has stuck
in my mind. I believe now that he, for a fleeting moment, caught a taste of
a high level controlled variable for "SPEAKING ENGLISH." There were
intrinsic and learned abilities he already had for language and English in
particular. But with that momentary switch from "Korean" to "English," all
of the other lower-level controlled variables suddenly served to control
for a completely different systems concept. The change was startling.


I'm getting interrupted too much--I'll here in case this post elicits, er,
provokes, uh, leads to a respo--reply.