[eetu pikkarainen 2016-12-19]
Please, would you someone kindly give a short introduction to that term of ATENFEL?
At least from what word is an abbreviation?
I have tried to search if but did not manage to find.
Lï¿½hettï¿½jï¿½: Martin Taylor <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Lï¿½hetetty: 18. joulukuuta 2016 7:23
Aihe: Re: Stability and Control (was Re: TCV and Collective Control ...)
[Martin Taylor 2016.12.17.23.07]
[From Erling Jorgensen (2016.12.14 0945 EST)]
>[Martin Taylor 2016.12.13.14.32]
>>Erling Jorgensen (2016.12.13 1155 EST)]
>[MT] I don't like the term "Stability Factor" because a lot of
things are stable. Rick mentioned El Capitan. I might add a weight hung
by a spring or a ball in a bowl. The term I prefer is "Control Ratio"
for the ratio Rick describes. That's teh wording that used to be
standard on CSGnet.
[EJ] I don't recall the use of that term, "Control Ratio," but I like
it. Perhaps it was used in the earlier days of CSGnet, before I had
joined the listserv.
which was a 1998 posting to CSGnet, I used "Control Ratio" to refer to
an amplitude ratio rather than a variance ratio between controlled and
uncontrolled variation under the influence of a disturbance. I guess
that I must have done so because that was the conventional usage at the
I can also understand a judgment call about how "Stability Factor"
might be intriguing to a non-PCT readership, without eliciting [sorry
about the behavioral framing here] the knee-jerk reaction against the
notion of "control."
>> [EJ] In a tug-of-war with each team pulling as hard as they can,
>> team has yet "controlled" the flag by bringing it to their preferred
>> position, if the flag is still hovering ("stabilized") in the middle.
>> Bill Powers' himself said -- (I love Rupert's affectionate
>> designation, the Big Powowski!) -- that control systems in intractable
>> conflict have effectively _lost_ control.
>[MT] The individual controllers may have lost control, but that does
that the position of the "flag" must be uncontrolled. In a tug-of-war,
it actually is uncontrolled because both teams are pulling as hard as
they can, but in other analogous situation in which they aren't, the
"flag" appears to be controlled by a system with a gain that is the sum
of the two gains, and a reference value given by the ratio of the gains
between the two individual reference values. [...the quotation
continues further below...]
[EJ] I believe that is the issue being discussed here: I.e., whether
"control" is the best word for those interactive situations where
there is the appearance of control, but the relevant perception is not
sufficiently close to either party's actual reference. I'm arguing
that "stabilized" is better, to emphasize that the outcome may derive
from competing systems whose actual "control" is pretty poor, where
control refers to tracking their own respective reference level. This
doesn't mean that we can't still use the whole PCT armamentarium to
analyze the situation. (Notice, as well, that "stabilized" as an verb
acting in the situation seems better than "stability" as a property of
[EJ] Perhaps we need to resurrect the old language of "controlling
for" a given value of a perception.
I must be getting old. I have continued to use "controlling for" as a
short form of "Controlling a perception of with a reference value of".
For example. I "control for the room temperature to be 19C" is a short
form of "I control a perception of the room temperature, with a
reference value of 19C".
Maybe we should consider a term such as "agent based virtual
control," similar to the work with Agent-Based Computational Economics
that Charlotte Bruun has done.
[EJ] Returning to Martin's interrupted quotation above...
>[MT] Unless the tester can
actually see the actors, there's no way that the TCV could tell the
difference between what I call a "Giant Virtual Controller" and a real
[EJ] I wonder about this. I'm thinking spatially, & considering the
simplified case of just two competing control systems pulling in
opposite directions. And I guess it may be important that their
respective outputs have not yet maxed out. I'm picturing it as two
adjoining circles, representing the two control systems, where the
radius represents each one's output pulling on a common variable,
which is stabilized on a tangent point between the two circles.
[EJ] There are various directions an additional Disturbance could be
applied in the Test for the Controlled Variable. If the TCV
disturbance is strictly orthogonal to both systems (i.e., pulling
sideways out the joint tangent line), the output of both systems would
be predicted to increase, because the variable gets further away from
each of their preferred reference for it. But what if the TCV
disturbance is applied along the radius of one of the circles, or in
some other manner. Wouldn't there be a difference in their respective
outputs, & could that differential help to distinguish between a
single controller being involved versus a virtual controller with more
than one control system contributing to the outcome?
I'm not going to try to answer this, except to say that I agree with you
and am (and for some days have been) writing a message describing a
gedanken experiment that I hope will help people to think about most of
the issue you raise or continue in this message.
One concept I would like people to think about before I send that
message is "neural current". No neural current exists in the brain. It's
a virtual property of events happening in a whole chunk of the brain (a
neural fibre bundle according to WTP).
[EJ] For me, it's not just aesthetics, but rhetorically, too. While
I haven't read the LCS-IV draft contributions where I believe the full
argument is laid out, I've tried to notice my own reactions when you
or Kent have used that term "atenfel." I always notice myself slowing
down my absorption of the train of thought, while I tried to figure
out 'What were those words again that the letters represent?' In that
sense, "atenfel" gets in its own way. It doesn't easily build on an
evocative or associative context, to get me part of the way there, the
way the word "cybernetics" could possibly evoke "steersmanship." So,
for now, I notice myself inserting a term such as "feedback path" when
I run into the word "atenfel."
That's unfortunate, because it is likely to mislead you to do so. Think
more of "tool", which has connotations more similar to "atenfel". A
"tool" is used in the control of a perception, or at least some property
of the tool is so used. "Environmental Feedback Path Segment" is too
passive, as if it was just a piece of wire, when it might be the
workings of a complex system, say a bank that provides services that
help you to get food on the table. (Not that you couldn't do it another
way that doesn't involve a bank). Or it might be simple, such as the
sharpness of a pair of cutters that you have the skill to use in a
supporting perceptual control loop when you control for pruning a tree.
The entire control loop that involves the observable action of wielding
the cutters is an atenfel in your controlling for perceiving the
tree-branch to be severed.
>[MT] It may be the result of an environmental
stability or a stability created by individual or collective control,
but an atenfel is just a segment of the environmental feedback path
between the output of an ECU (Elementary Control Unit -- another term)
and the perceptual input of that same ECU.
[EJ] So, how about the term "EFF-segment"? Environmental Feedback
Function is already in the vernacular, even though it is not
emphasized as much as the other functions in the control loop. I
think 'segment' is the additional point you've now clarified for me,
in how you use the concept.
Segment, yes, but a segment of a particular kind, functional.
>[MT] It's in a conceptually
different domain, just as a wire is in a conceptually different domain
from a voltage.
[EJ] Yes, this is the distinction I was trying to make by
distinguishing the "properties" of the loop from the "values" that
travel along the wires.
>> [EJ] "CEV / Complex Environmental Variable" (perhaps subject to the
>> representational misunderstanding).
>[MT] A CEV is not a cultural stability. It's just a variable that is a
function of "simpler" variables. When a similar concept refers to a
cultural stability (i.e. a collectively controlled value of an
environmental function) I call it a CCEV (Collective Complex
Environmental Variable, to distinguish the two concepts.
[EJ] I appreciate hearing how you use & define these concepts. I
don't believe there is yet consensual agreement among the PCT/CSG
community on the use of these terms.
No,there isn't. Some even seem to be controlling for the very concepts
to be expunged from discussions of PCT. And CCEV is a concept that I
hope my in-progress message will elucidate. Since I invented both terms,
I think I may carry some weight in describing their intended usages.
>[MT] A CCEV corresponds to a virtual perception controlled by a
Controller to some reference value that may not be held by any of the
individual controllers whose controlling results in the observed
[EJ] ... Perhaps the key language we are seeking is in that word
"virtual." Speaking of a "virtual reference level" for a "virtual
perception" in a "Giant Virtual Controller" at least makes clear that
the resulting stability may or may not line up with any individual's
preferred reference level in what they are attempting to control.
My reference above to "neural current" is intended to suggest that this
may (perhaps must) also be true within an individual brain.
[EJ] I believe there is pretty good convergence between us on what we
are trying to talk about here. Just some disagreement still on the
best terms to use. ..
[EJ] I think that's what we're doing here -- trying to work out a
clear & useful "analytic vocabulary for talking about the collectively
controlled stabilities," to use Kent's phrase.
[EJ] To the above list of associated concepts, I think we've now
added the following, (admittedly, this is a clustering of ideas that
may not all have the same referent):
To my mind they don't.
A shorthand way of saying "controlling perception P with a reference
"Agent based virtual control"
No idea what that might mean
"Giant Virtual Controller"
The impression that something is controlling an observable environmental
property that occurs when a number of individual controllers control
related perceptions, whether their reference values are similar or
Everything that occurs between the output of an elementary control unit
(ECU -- another term in the dictionary) and its perceptual input function.
Any part of an environmental feedback path (which is another reason why
it does not correspond to "atenfel", since an atenfel is a functional
component of the environmental feedback path, not just any segment).
[EJ] I see this whole discussion as an _example_ of collectively
controlled convergence as to perceptions, (well, hopefully
convergence), in addition to an _analytically_ useful conversation.
That would be nice, indeed. I (and I think Kent) believe this is a way
that languages evolve. Another way is simply to use the words
consistently in contexts where their meanings are reasonably clear, so
that those meanings can be used in context from which the meanings
cannot be inferred so clearly. I remember in my early youth having used
"fatal" as an adjective to describe a minor accident to my mother, and
being informed that "fatal" couldn't be used in that context. I tried
something similar in respect of "atenfel" above. I hope we can converge
on an understanding of the concept, and perhaps on a more mellifluous
word for it. Remember that the word is just one of a related suite
"atenex", "molenfel", and "molenex". I hope that a better replacement
word for "atenfel" also carries along its relations.
All the best,