sudden path / gradual path

[From: Bruce Nevin (Mon 930315 09:45:10)]

Rick Marken (930313.1000) ) --

I know that you (Bill P.) are looking for ways to take what people can
already accept and move them gradually and gently to the PCT perspective.
That's fine with me; but I don't think one can make a gradual shift into
PCT (any more than one can make a gradual shift from an earth to a sun
centered view of the solar system).

Sounds like you two have a good cop - bad cop routine going.

I think of the analogy to a gestalt shift. The two images,
damsel and crone, are discontinuous and the shift is abrupt and
radical. However, teaching someone who can only see one to
recognize the other in the same assemblage of visual shapes is a
gradual process. The jawline of the damsel's averted face
constitutes the nostril of the crone, her feathered hat the eye,
etc. Then the abrupt "aha!"

The teacher with the gradual approach identifies the perceptions
that the person distinguishes as constituting (higher-level
perceptions of) various features in the old construal, and then
shows what those same perceptions constitute in the new
construal, until the person recognizes (aha!) the coherence of
those reinterpretations in a new construal.

Coherence in a whole must be a controlled perception, right? All
these perceptions constitute (higher-level perceptions of)
features in a coherent whole, the befurred damsel with the
averted face. Reinterpretation of individual features is
resisted as a disturbance to the perception of a coherent whole.
That rounded curve of white can't be a nostril, there's no way a
nostril in that scale could appear there. You're nuts!

In the PCT/sensory-input-as-independent-variable confrontation,
we don't have two equally valid construals. One is wrong. The
way conventional psychology can get away with being wrong is
presumably by supplying imagined perceptions to satisfy the
higher-level perception of coherence in a whole. (Also by
satisfying one's perception of establishing and furthering one's
career, but that is a matter of each participating individual
buying into social norms, that is, instituting social conventions
in the values at which they set their own internal reference
perceptions.)

An example of an imagined perception is the notion that sensory
input is an independent variable. A perception that is imagined
for the sake of reducing error in a higher-level perception of
coherence (and error in the perception of establishing and
furthering one's career, a perception that is presumably
controlled with high gain) will be protected from
counterevidence. Stones fall from the sky? Impossible! These
reports of meteorites are popular delusions of simple country
folk being exploited by publicity seekers.

What are good strategies when a controlled perception is
mistaken, supported by misconstruals (mistaken categorizations?)
and imagined perceptions on lower levels, and when the perceiver
regards disturbance of the higher-level controlled perception as
life threatening or almost so? I think that we can't say that
imagined perceptions are controlled, so they can't be disturbed.
Getting the other person to attend to actual sensory input that
differs from the imagined perceptual signals supplied from on
high results in something different, seems to me, from either
disturbance or conflict. What is it, and what do we do about it?

        Bruce Nevin
        bn@bbn.com