Some Musings

from [ Marc Abrams (990428.1233) ]

Ah, Back to PCT, :slight_smile:

[From Bruce Abbott (990428.0800 EST)]

>Bill Powers (990427.1644 MDT) --
Like the ant, you are veering off course, Bill. I don't care what Simon


have thought the mechanism was. I've only been defending Simon's insight
that complex actions may reflect complexity in the environment rather than


complex internal organization. You haven't convinced me that this insight
is wrong.

Bruce, you just _don't_ get it. You probably know each _aspect_ of the PCT
model as well or better then anyone, Yet you just don't _see_ the difference
between actions as a result of goals and _not_ disturbances. _That_ is the
difference between PCT and S->R. It is also the reason why most people have
a difficult time with PCT and why all the attempts you make to explain PCT
in S->R defined terms and concepts will fail.

Think about it for a moment. I made a mis-statement in my post to Ken about
this yesterday. When your actions "respond" to disturbances. the environment
is "causing" your actions, That is simply _NOT_ true. It _looks_ that way,
It _smells_ that way, It even "feels" that way. But it _AIN"T_ :slight_smile: that way.
( sorry folks, Every once in a while Brooklyn seems to pop up in my
lexicon ). Our goals drive our actions, and the hierarchy and reorganization
are a proposed way for the generation of those goals. It _seems_ so basic
and simple and you will rant and rave and agree with me and tell me it does
not make a difference. That I am nit picking. Your wrong ( as far as PCT
goes ), and you will continue to be wrong as long as you feel there is no
difference between whether actions are generated by goals or disturbances or
even possibly both. The first is PCT, the second is S-R/Cog with different
internal mechanisms "generating" the actions. The third would be some hybrid
of the two.

To Mark Lazare ( No heading, Sometime on 4/23)

thanks for sharing. Great post.

I am very amused by the notion that academics and others have for "selling".
When you are trying to get someone to _accept_ _your_ reference level or
perception. What are you doing? When you "want" your kids to "learn"
something, are you not asking them ( or telling them in most cases ) _what_
to believe and "how" they should believe it. Do we really want to raise a
bunch of free thinkers. I don't think so. We want our public schools to
"teach" kids what to do. I have been holed up for a week and have been
bombarded every day by TV news shows trying to find out "why" Littleton
happened. All these _experts_ ( ha, ha, ha ) get on and talk about parents,
friends, teachers, etc as being the "primary" motivating or "environmental"
factors. When they talk about the kids they talk about what has "influenced"
them. Their music, computers, friends, etc. _No one_ talks about _what_ the
hell the kids might have been trying to accomplish. Why were they trying to
accomplish it _this_ way. Littleton Co, is _WHY_ PCT is important. Does
anybody really think this will be the last time this type of thing happens.
Does anybody really believe we need _more_ laws and tighter control of
others to "prevent" these kinds of things from happening.


[From Rick Marken (990428.1310)]

Marc Abrams (990428.1233) --

Does anybody really believe we need _more_ laws and tighter
control of others to "prevent" these kinds of things [like
the Littleton shootings] from happening.

No. More laws certainly won't help. Certainly not laws that
limit gun purchases to no more than 1 per month per family

What we need is to have people agree to voluntarily disarm
themselves completely; turn in _all_ their guns to be melted
down into plowshares or PCs or TVs -- so they can see more
violent videos, which are tasteless but harmless. We should
also agree to strictly regulate our access to firearms for
hunting and collecting.

Guns are devices that increase the gain of a control loop way
beyond safe limits. People will always get into conflicts with
each other, even when they all understand and accept PCT. These
conflicts are far more likely to become fatal if firearms are
part of one or both conflicted loops. That's why the homicide
rate in the US is 10 times what it is in countries that are
"disarmed". Even without guns there will be fatal conflicts,
of course; but guns are far more fatal than knives, say. And,
unlike knives, they are really not useful for anything other
than killing.

But since ideology (and/or the uniquely American way of reasoning
about guns) will prevent voluntary disarmament in the US, I
suggest that the best way for people to deal with horrible events
like Littleton is to get used to it. Littleton massacres, like
tornados, are just going to happen every so often. Fatal conflicts
are what you get when you put a bunch of fatally high gain control
loops together in one place.




Richard S. Marken Phone or Fax: 310 474-0313
Life Learning Associates e-mail: