Taking references for granted phenomenon

[From Rick Marken (930903.1100)]

Avery Andrews (930903.1635) --

I couldn't think of any other way that the right kinds of action
might be initiated.

Bill Powers (930903.0900 MDT) --

We need a name for this phenomenon: the "taking the reference-
level for granted" phenomenon.

Unless you specify the reference condition for the above
perception [`Andrews in the linguistics department has
skipped three classes for no known valid reason'] or any
perception that seems to lead to action, there's no way
that "the right kinds of action might be initiated.
" By "right kind" you mean "right for a achieving a
purpose relating to the perceived condition."

This "taking the reference-level for granted" phenomenon is also
very common from the perspective of the behaving system. It is
very hard for people (myself included) to understand that whatever
seems "right" to them (the right way to sit, the right foods to
eat, the right way to write, the right kind of music) is "right"
because it matches their own reference levels for those
perceptions. We ourselves (via our references) determine what
perceptions are right and what are wrong. There is a very
strong tendency, when experiencing a perception as "right"
or "wrong" to experience this "rightness" or "wrongness" as a
property of the perception itself, rather than as a property
of our own references for that perceeption. An example of the
"taking the reference- level for granted" phenomenon from the
behaving system's perspective is Gibson's concept of "affordances".
A chair "affords" whatever reference levels can be achieved with
it; sitting, doing a handstand, making firewood. The "affordances"
of a chair are just reference levels for perceptions involving the
chair perception. Gibson thought of these "affordances" as being
properties of the chair itself -- a mistake very much like the
one I make when I think of music as having something in it called
"goodness" or "badness" (music "affords" quality). The music that
my kids listen to seems to afford "badness" -- in fact, it just
doesn't match some of my reference levels (it sure seems to
match some of theirs).

The fact that so many of our perceptions at so many levels seem
either right or wrong is a testament to the ubiquity of PCT;
all of our perception is always being evaluated against
unperceived references -- and we are always acting to keep
our perception "right". All perception is evaluated; the basis
for evaluation, like the perceptions themselves, must be in our
brain. So we (our brains) determine the preferred state of our
perception -- this includes perceptions as simple as the amount
of light in the room to perceptions as complex as the type of
sports, politics and religions we like to play.

PCT is about the nature of systems that have preferred states
for all of their perceptions; if you have preferences, then you
are a control system and PCT is about you. PCT is even about why
people do or don't prefer to perceive PCT. It's all
reference signals.