Tell me more

[from Mary Powers 9304.11]

Ken Hacker:

I didn't imply that you invented "messaging". I just said "yuk".
To me it's a word like "birthing" or "proactive" that replace
perfectly good other words for the same thing. Personal

Social interaction has been described in many journals...I am

not personally going to attempt to sum up an entire science.

Fair enough...although your questions on the net were requests
for someone to sum up PCT. How about summing up your personal
definition of social interaction - what is it BEYOND a couple (or
more) control systems inputting and outputting and feedbacking
(yuk, yuk, and yuk) with each other?

social interaction is qualitatively different than just one

person doing things, just as a chemical reaction is more than
just two chemicals combining different elements.

JUST as? People interacting have chemistry? You know this is
simply a metaphor. You might as well be saying they are
exchanging ethereal fluids (definition of influence). You can do
me the courtesy of a serious answer.

the essential process of communication is how we coordinate our

perceptions and reactions to them so that we reach meaningful
conclusions which are productive at both ends and for what we
seek together.

How do we do that? I think that a fruitful approach may be to
posit that the individuals involved are control systems. What are
your objections to that approach? What do you feel is being left

Mary Powers says that I am dealing with production of behavior

instead of control of perception. I believe it is fallacious to
separate them. If I control my perception, I am affecting,
changing, altering, producing my behaviors.

It's not a question of separating them, it's a question of which
is in aid of what. Do we perceive in order to act, or act in
order to perceive? You are (presumably) studying communication
behavior. I am suggesting that this behavior is the highly
variable means by which control systems satisfy their goals, and
that the way to understand communication is by understanding the
organization of the people who produce it. PCT suggests how
communication (or any act) is done, and why. Again, what do you
feel is being left out?

What we are doing, in the Control Systems Group and on the net,
is to try to bring together people in all the social, behavioral,
and life sciences, plus AI and robotics, who are interested in,
(and willing to try) appplying PCT to their particular fields of
expertise. There is a feeling, stronger among some than others,
that PCT has the promise of being a unifying theory that will
join all these scattered fields under one set of fundamental
principles. No one person knows all there is to know about every
field - it requires each specialist to learn PCT well enough to
examine his/her own field in this novel way. We would very much
like to have someone in the field of communication doing this,
just as people are doing it in experimental psychology,
sociology, education, management, psychotherapy, linquistics,
child development, etc., etc. Nothing is accomplished by a person
who simply asserts that his/her own field is too special in some
unspecified way to be explained in PCT terms. So far, you have
distanced yourself from getting involved, despite protestations
that PCT is simply wonderful. I suggest that PCT's limitations
may be mainly in your mind, for whatever reason. I can't make you
seriously and sincerely apply it to your field, but I can ask you
to at least clarify your objections and what you consider PCT's

                              Mary P.