[spam] Re: Good Corporate Citizen (was Interesting law)

From Marc Abrams (2005.10.27.1725)

In a message dated 10/27/2005 3:04:45 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, marken@MINDREADINGS.COM writes:

[From Rick Marken (2005.10.27.1200)]

From Marc Abrams

Rick Marken (2005.10.27.0900)]=

From Marc Abrams

Then why do you have such a difficult time with people who don’t share your
world view, or your view on how behavior works?

Why do you?

Good question, care to explore it?

It was a rhetorical question. I answered it myself in the post: you (like
everyone else, myself included, of course) have a difficult time with people
who don’t share your world view (or your view on how behavior works) to the
extent that you are controlling for having those people share your world
view (or your view of how behavior works).
As far as you believe you have a satisfactory answer, you will not feel the need to question or change your position, but your response here was a tautology, not a response to my question.

Why do you feel the need to have people think like you, and if they don’t that causes conflict, even when the goals you may each have, have nothing to do with each other?

‘Conflict’ in this sense I believe is a lack of ‘trust’. From a control standpoint, what does it mean to ‘trust’ someone else, and why does having a common set of beliefs seem to make it easier to ‘trust’ someone?

Obviously it’s because we want other people to agree with us. This is pretty
basic PCT – and common sense.

I think that may be one of the reasons but not the only one.

What do you believe are some of the other reasons?
There are a few others I could go into, but these thoughts are not generally welcome here because they do not conform to the current PCT model. But that is not the problem. I don’t believe you are influenceable. Why?

[From Rick Marken (2005.10.27.0900)]

… I obviously control for PCT with high gain; I am intolerant of what I perceive to be incorrect understandings of and false conclusions derived from PCT. I control for other things – like the political opinions of some of my friends (my racquetball partner is a neocon) – with far lower gain.

So if you are uninfluenceable, what is the point? What you are saying above is that you have a very big need to unilaterally control for what you perceive to be the understanding of the ‘PCT paradigm’. This particular characteristic of unilateral control of course is common to all control systems, not just you, but the ramifications for others I believe is huge.

One, is your need to be ‘right’, and second is your need to perceive a ‘win’

You are ‘asking’ me here for examples, so you can try and refute them and probably try and make me look foolish, to booster your own self-image as well, and I’m not interested in getting into any ‘pissing’ contests with you or anyone else.

I say this because every previous encounter with you has resulted in this and I have no reason to believe anything would be different this time.

And if so, why is it important for others to agree with us?

My guess is that it is important to the extent that higher level systems
increase the gain of the agreement control system in order to control their
own higher level perceptions, like the perception of politeness.
Why not just say you really don’t know but you think control plays a part?

The way to avoid this [back-stabbing and digging] is for one or
both parties to the conflict to either change their goal and start
agreeing with the other party or simply stop participating in
the conflict.

This is certainly one way it may happen. Is it the only the way to ‘avoid’
conflict? I don’t think so.

What do you believe are some of the other ways to avoid conflict?
See above

I think that’s pretty much it: change goals so that the goals are aligned or stop
participating. I suppose being more tolerant (lowering the gain of one or
both parties to the conflict)
You still haven’t told me how ‘tolerance’ and ‘conflict’ are related.

See what I mean here? You tell me you believe the meaning of tolerance is…

I reply, and question the validity of that definition, and ask you how tolerance ***necessarily *** leads to conflict, yet you continue to use your disputed definition as a truthful and valid premise for an argument that I don’t agree with. I don’t think tolerance has anything to do with ‘conflict’ as it is defined in PCT, but again, you are so inflexible with regards to PCT that it really doesn’t pay to talk about it with you.

could be considered another approach, but in
that case the intensity of the conflict (in terms of the “amplitude” of the
outputs) may decrease but the conflict still exists. Conflict-ending
tolerance means that the parties stop participating in the conflict, as, for
example, has happened with the different flavors of Christianity: there are
no more serious conflicts between Catholics and Protestants; they just put
up with each other, avoiding conflict as much as possible.
I think this is a great example of why PCT is just about meaningless right now to me when it comes to addressing serious cognitive issues. I guess “putting up” with each other is the PCT way to conflict resolution, huh?

Tolerance is the degree to which one accepts error in a control
system: the more error one accepts (without reorganizing) the
more tolerant one is.

An interesting claim. Do you have ant evidence for this?

No evidence except the definition of tolerance.
Who’s definition?

As you note, “tolerance”
means (among other things) “acceptance of different views”. This is
actually a somewhat poor definition
OK, maybe this one will be from a better source; Any higher authority you care to go to?

Entry printed from Oxford English Dictionary
O Oxford University Press 2002
tolerance, n.
The action or practice of tolerating; toleration; the disposition to be patient with or indulgent to the opinions or practices of others; freedom from bigotry or undue severity in judging the conduct of others; forbearance; catholicity of spirit.

because a tolerant person doesn’t
really “accept” different views – a tolerant Jew doesn’t accept the tenets
of Christianity, for example. I think what is meant by “acceptance” in this
definition is something like “puts up with”. A tolerant person puts up with
views that they don’t accept at all – indeed, that they consider to be
wrong in certain respects.
You and I seem to ‘perceive’ the meaning of this word tolerance differently.

How strange from a PCT view is this? We both see the same words in the definitions yet you and I walk away with totally different understandings of the word.

What does PCT have to say about that?

A view that is considered wrong is, from a PCT perspective, a perception
that doesn’t match a reference for what that perception should be.
There can be no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ perceptions. There are only desired ones, and currently perceived ones. Both of which have strong values and theories attached to them as you and I have just shown with the simple definition of tolerance, which, turns out, is not so simple after all, is it?

Christianity doesn’t match a Jew’s reference for what a religion should be.
There is a discrepancy between the Jew’s reference for religion and the
Jew’s perception of the Christian religion. It’s a relatively small
discrepancy – Christianity is basically a sect of Judaism, after all – but
there is a discrepancy. In PCT this discrepancy is called “error”. A
tolerant person puts up with such errors, even when they are fairly large;
the intolerant person works to reduce these errors to zero.
So then we all, in trying to reduce error, are ‘intolerant’ of ourselves? Speak for yourself here my friend.

Why would differing views necessarily cause error?

They only cause error to the extent that people are controlling for
different levels of those views.
But how can you control for my views? What I am trying to say here is, what difference does it make to you what my views are? Why should you or anyone care whether you or I are a Jew, Muslim, Gay, or anything else unless of course we feel threatened in some way. Control systems are very ‘protective’ in that they don’t like instability or change. So I think fear plays a big part in our controlling efforts, and fear comes largely from our memory and imagination.

But again, this is a non-traditional PCT view and I’m not interested in getting into any contests over it. Explore it, most definitely, but contests, no thank you.

That is, why would my views or goals necessarily conflict
with your goals?

They don’t necessarily. But in fact, many of our views are obviously in
Maybe, but it doesn’t answer the question.

A person can be tolerant with respect to some goals and intolerant
with respect to others.

Why, what is the differences that create this?

I’ll take this to be a question about why some systems are tolerant (low
gain) and others are not (high gain).
Presuming of course tolerance does in fact revolve around high and low gain,

This is an empirical question.
And how do you think we will ‘empirically’ be able to validate your claim?

My guess is that we will find that differences in system gain (tolerance) are
produced by higher level systems that are perceiving and controlling
perceptions that are a function of (among other things) error in these lower
level systems.
Very useful. I guess you really do have it all wrapped up. What other questions could there possibly be?

In PCT terms, this means that a person controls for some perceptions
with low gain and for others with high gain, respectively. I obviously
control for PCT with high gain; I am intolerant of what I perceive to be
incorrect understandings of and false conclusions derived from PCT. I
control for other things – like the political opinions of some of my
friends (my racquetball partner is a neocon) – with far lower gain.

Yes, but this does not address why you have a difficult time with others who
do not believe the same way.

I think it does. It says I have a difficult time with others who do not
believe the same way as I do when we are controlling with high gain for
different states of the same perception.
Like I said before Rick, as long as you believe you are walking around with the ‘right’ ideas you are closed to any others and that is ok. Your answers and data do not provide me with the same kind of confidence they do for you.

You may very well be right in everything you say, and then again you may be wrong. But in either case I don’t believe you have the inner courage to look at and question your own beliefs. It’s extremely easy to point at others and find flaws in their thinking, but it takes a good bit of courage to admit you may be wrong and expose your ideas for public critical review, and going into that review admitting you may be wrong.

You are no different than anyone else and as control systems we all face the same issue. It is not an easy thing to do.

Ken Kitzke’s response to Bryan is an example of the need we all have for ‘saving face’ and keeping things ‘private’, so we don’t ‘hurt’ anyone else’s feelings, but that ‘privacy’ comes at a cost to all of us in learning a bit more about what makes Kenny tick, and I believe the key factor involved here is trust.

We won’t ‘expose’ ourselves and leave ourselves open to folks we don’t trust.

I can now say, I have contributed a great deal to the perceptions you all have of me, but the perceptions you do have are untested publicly and most probably untrue, yet you all probably think they are true and obvious to boot.

PCT and control is extremely important but you folks haven’t even scratched the surface, and you won’t until you honestly begin to look at your ignorance (not stupidity as most will read into it) and try to eliminate it.

Are your beliefs about PCT any different in kind from any other fundamentalist
beliefs in say Judaism, Islam, or Christianity?

They are different only in the sense that my beliefs about PCT are always
contingent on empirical test of the model.
A model is not a living organism, and a model is not an empirical test. It is a test of logic, nothing else. The validity of any model is subject to empirical testing, which is direct observation or in some circumstances in physics, statistical inferences.

Rick, you may have a difficult time with this because in your world there seems to be ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ views, but I would like you to try and punch some holes in what you are about to read.

My claim #1; Control is responsible for all human behavior

Psychophysiology, Psychology, Social Psychology, Neurobiology are all interested in the study of human behavior from different vantage points.

I am interested in control from a different vantage point then the one provided by PCT and they are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

In fact, I don’t much care what the internal architecture ultimately turns out to be. I have no desire to ‘engineer’ a human control system.

If control is in fact responsible for all human behavior, than all theories purporting to talk about human behavior must be talking about various aspects of the control process as well, whether they realize it or not, and whether they acknowledge it or not.

Bill has always said that Behaviorists and Cog sci folks each got just about half the model right. Well its my contention that every theory developed in the social sciences that deal with human behavior deal with an aspect of the control process. It cannot be any other way if control is the foundation and I believe it is.

So, it would seem to me that it might be a good idea to find out what aspects of the control model these various theories and sub-theories are related to, and here comes the rub.

You can’t do that if you are not open to new ways of thinking about things and you can’t do that if you won’t listen to others.

So, I’m not in ‘competition’ with PCT. The control of an organism can be viewed from any number of perspectives and I happen to be taking a different approach then PCT. There is no such thing as ‘better’, or ‘worse’ in this case. It seems you and I have different questions we are interested in answering.



From [Marc Abrams (2005.10.31.1027)]

In a message dated 10/31/2005 10:21:06 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, mmt-csg@ROGERS.COM writes:

[Martin Taylor 2005.]

I think one might well look further at Rick’s approach to the word “tolerate”.
Martin, I was not suggesting Rick was ‘wrong’ in his interpretation of tolerance. I just don’t happen to agree with it. We are all entitled to our own value systems.

For me, tolerance involves respect. A quick peek into a thesaurus on tolerance;


broad-mindedness, open-mindedness, lenience, acceptance, forbearance, charity, patience

I wouldn’t think one would need ‘corrective’ action for any of the above, but each to his or her own.

In the PCT context, I may be controlling my perception of some
attribute of you. Maybe it’s your skin colour. If your skin colour is
close enough to my reference for it, I “tolerate” you.

If you ‘accept’ my skin color there can be no error.

Your colour is
within my (engineering usage) “tolerance” range. The effective
error in that control system is zero. But if your skin colour is
outside my tolerance range (maybe you painted your face purple, and I
don’t like that), I will act.

Yes, and then you would be intolerant.

Perhaps I will walk away and not talk
to you. Perhaps I will take you to the washbasin and wash the paint
off. If itwon’t come off, perhaps I will make YOU go away – in the
extreme case, kill you. Whatever it is, if I am controlling some
perception of an attribute of you, and that perception is close
enough to its reference value, I tolerate you in respect of that
particular perception. If it’s outside my tolerance range, I will act.

Yes, but you only ‘act’ when confronted by error. Tolerance in my book is not a cause for error, intolerance is.

Now consider “resepct”. My take on that is that again I am perceiving
some attribute of you, but I am NOT controlling for it. Whatever its
value as I perceive it, I will not act to alter it.

Why not? If I cause you error, regardless of how or why, you will act to reduce the error.

Martin, these words are ‘loaded’ and can mean many things to many people.

Those rough statements seem to me to carry the PCT essence of
“tolerance” and “respect”, as I cited them in everyday language
yesterday: “Tolerance” carries the connotation of “I’m right, but
I’ll allow you to go on pretending you are”, whereas “respect”
suggests “You have the same rights as I do; if we differ, either of
us may be right, or both, or neither.”

I disagree with this assessment. I have tolerance because of respect, and the inverse is true as well. I am intolerant when I have no respect.

Notice that in this PCT approach, no “imagination” is involved. One
perceives an attribute of the other person, using whatever data are

If imagination is not involved, where do you get the characteristics from? Such as a past history of lying, or better yet, rumors that he/she has lied in the past.

Of course, those data may themselves involve imagination,
but that’s a quite independent issue, which may resolve differently
in different cases.

I’m a bit confused here. You say above that no imagination need be involved, and here you say the data itself may be imagination.

What am I missing here?