The Case of Jim

[From Kenny Kitzke (2000.08.13.1200 EDT)]

The following is an account of the behavior of a fictitious person named Jim.
It is meant to be an example of actual behavior. Behavior that is credible
based upon real life experiences and the thoughts of real people.

Bill Powers has agreed to explain such credible behavior from his HPCT models
of how human behavior works. Anyone else on CSGNet who wishes to comment on
and analyze this account is certainly welcome.

*******The Case of Jim

Jim run's a successful sporting goods retail outlet business. He started his
first small shop some 20 years ago, the same year that his wife Jill gave
birth to their only child, Jimmy (James, Jr.).

The business has steadily grown into a chain of large stores while Jimmy has
grown up to be a young man and the apple of Jim's eye. Jimmy is about to
receive his MBA from Harvard. He is also a sports nut. An outstanding
athlete, Jimmy was the quarterback of the most successful Harvard football
team in decades.

Jimmy has worked at his dad's stores every summer since high school. He
contributed many good ideas that helped Jim grow the business and modernize
it by adding computer technology to improve its operations. With the
business getting larger and more complex each year, Jim longs for Jimmy to
join him in running the business. Jim even dreams about the day when he will
retire and Jimmy will take over the business following in his dad's footsteps.

But, Jim's life took a sudden turn for the worse at 4:00 AM, March 12, 2000.
The phone rang. Jill took the call but immediately woke up Jim saying, "Its
the Boston Police Department." The news was shocking. Jimmy's roommate
found Jimmy dead in his off-campus condo at 2:00 AM and called 911. The
cause of his death was unknown. The middle-of-the-night news devastated his
parents with sorrow. Jim and Jill cried uncontrollably in each others arms
until dawn. Red-eyed, and downhearted, they boarded the first available
plane to Boston that Sunday to identify the body of their lifeless son.

The grief Jim felt was especially intense and lingered on. Jill seemed to
find solace in her Christian religion and the comforting words of her pastor.
Jim had no use for any of that religious stuff. He could not comprehend
Jill's increasingly peaceful acceptance of Jimmy's death given that the god
she believed in had allowed such a tragedy to impact their lives.

At Jimmy's funeral, as the casket was being lowered into his grave, Jim
passed out. Jill feared it was a heart attack. But, by the time the medics
arrived, Jim was already coming back to consciousness.

Jim remained a basket case and could not keep his mind on the business at
hand. He turned over the operational responsibilities for the chain to his
most senior and trusted store manager. Jim felt he needed to get away, by
himself, and come to grips with this unexpected turn of events. He sought
solace at his lake cottage where he hoped to clear his mind in the cool,
crisp, spring mountain air.

Little that Jim could do seemed to lift his spirit. His countenance remained
low. When Jill called to explain what the autopsy had revealed, Jim sunk
even lower. Jimmy had died from a drug overdose. It appeared that it was
intentional, but no suicide note or other evidence had been found to confirm
that cause.

Jimmy had not said or did anything to indicate to anyone that he was in any
such distress. His assigned professor confirmed that he had rejected Jimmy's
master's thesis which would prevent him from graduating in the spring with
his friends. But, he told him that with a little extra work over the summer
term, Jimmy should be able to upgrade his thesis and graduate by the fall.

Taking this all in, Jim began to look at his own life. Had his hopes for
Jimmy's graduation, the party he had already scheduled at the country club
and the plans for Jimmy's new president's office at his business headquarters
possibly contributed to a depressed state of mind in his own son? Had his
failure to keep close to his son while dealing with all the pressures from
the business kept Jimmy from calling and talking his situation through with
his dad? Surely, a delayed graduation could have been resolved without a
problem.

As Jim pondered these questions about his own life, he also began to consider
his own mortality. What if his fainting at Jimmy's funeral had been a fatal
heart attack? What would happen to all his business and retirement plans?
What would happen to Jill if he died suddenly? What was the purpose of his
life after all?

Jim yearned to find a meaning for his life. One that could return his mind
and heart to a stable and content state so he could return to his wife and
run his business and live in peace. After much reflection, he made a list of
his main goals in life. Goals he believed would make his son Jimmy proud of
his dad. He set his mind to how he could become a different person.

He returned home to Jill with his new beliefs and goals. He was eager to
explain them to her. When he did, Jill smiled and said, "I love you Jim."
"I think Jimmy would be happy if he could see his new dad." Jim breathed a
sigh and was finally able to deal with Jimmy's death. Jim felt a sense of
control had returned to life.

Jim sold the sports retail business and the house. He and Jill retired at
their cottage where they both voluntarily help out two days a week at a
nearby orphanage operated by Jill's church. Both feel at peace and are
content with what they do in these new lives.

I would be most interested in a possible/plausible HPCT explanation of the
following behaviors of the people in this account:

1) Jim and Jill's uncontrollable crying after the call

2) Jill is soon consoled whereas Jim remains grieved

3) Jim faints at Jimmy's funeral

4) Jimmy takes an overdose of drugs to end his life

5) Jim sinks lower in his countenance after learning of Jimmy's apparent
suicide

6) Jim's inability to return and run the business

7) Jim decides to seek some quiet solace to clear his mind

8) Jim begins to focus on his own life and mortality

9) Jim sets some different goals for his life

10) Jim feels back in control of his life after Jill's affirmation of him

11) Jim and Jill retire and both are content with what they do

Please feel free to comment on these observable and experienced behaviors one
at a time. I realize that more information might have to be included, or
speculated upon, to give an answer. Do that as necessary to provide a HPCT
explanation.

Kenny

[From Bruce Gregory (2000.0814.0954)]

Kenny Kitzke (2000.08.13.1200 EDT)

I would be most interested in a possible/plausible HPCT explanation of the
following behaviors of the people in this account:

1) Jim and Jill's uncontrollable crying after the call

An emotional response to loss of control. Other responses to failure to control
include frustration and anger.

2) Jill is soon consoled whereas Jim remains grieved

Jill has solved the problem by denying the loss. No need to grieve, the loss in
temporary. She imagines that she will be reunited with her son after death.

3) Jim faints at Jimmy's funeral

Another emotional response to loss of control.

4) Jimmy takes an overdose of drugs to end his life.

Confronted with a persisting failure to exercize control, Jimmy's reorganization
system apparently hit on a way to restore control. The "solution" will not work,
but subseqwuent reorganization will not be possible.

5) Jim sinks lower in his countenance after learning of Jimmy's apparent
suicide.

Further evidence of a general failure to control. Even when Jim thought he was
controlling successfully (Jimmy's past) he was wrong.

6) Jim's inability to return and run the business

Continuing breakdown of control. Reorganization not yet succeeding.

7) Jim decides to seek some quiet solace to clear his mind

Ditto.

8) Jim begins to focus on his own life and mortality

Planning is part of reorganization.

9) Jim sets some different goals for his life

Reorganization establishes new goals. Jim imagines that he will be successful in
controlling for these goals.

10) Jim feels back in control of his life after Jill's affirmation of him

Jill's affirmation shows that she agrees that Jim will be able to control new
goals.

11) Jim and Jill retire and both are content with what they do

Reorganization has succeeded.

BG

[From Kenny Kitzke (2000.0814.2000)]

<Bruce Gregory (2000.0814.0954)>

1) Jim and Jill's uncontrollable crying after the call

<An emotional response to loss of control. Other responses to failure to
control
include frustration and anger.>

Thanks for your input. I'm filing it for further comment after more input is
received.

I am impressed by how easily you explain this uncontrollable crying. We
behave to keep control. When our behavior can't keep control, and we lose
control, we get emotional and we cry or swear. I don't know how I couldn't
see it clearly.

Do you have a comprehensive list of what emotional responses go with which
perceptual variables at which perceptual levels and what degree of lost
control despite our best behavioral actions?

Kenny

[From Bruce Abbott (2000.08.14.2050 EST)]

Bruce Gregory (2000.0814.0954) --

Kenny Kitzke (2000.08.13.1200 EDT)

I would be most interested in a possible/plausible HPCT explanation of the
following behaviors of the people in this account:

1) Jim and Jill's uncontrollable crying after the call

An emotional response to loss of control. Other responses to failure to control
include frustration and anger.

I'll ignore the S-R connotation and simply ask: Why should there be
"emotional responses" at all? All that is required under HPCT is faster
reorganization . . .

Bruce A.

[From Kenny Kitzke (2000.0814.2000)]

First, I would like to express how little research has been done about this
and that should be restricted to an "in principle" argument" rather than
anything empirical. There is one paper I know of by Pavlovski on degraded
control and emotional responses. Its either in the Conation and Control
book or ABS Special Issue.

<Bruce Gregory (2000.0814.0954)>

>1) Jim and Jill's uncontrollable crying after the call

<An emotional response to loss of control. Other responses to failure to
control
include frustration and anger.>

Bruce this is just supposition. I could say in turn that crying is part of
a social feedback function that involved the parent. Once all options are
exhausted then one falls back to this primitive behavior. But now mom can't
help. Bill P. has suggested this before and I like it. But guess what..its
UNSUPPORTED SUPPOSITION.

Do you have a comprehensive list of what emotional responses go with which
perceptual variables at which perceptual levels and what degree of lost
control despite our best behavioral actions?

I doubt he has it Kenny. So instead of wondering and "just asking" and
offering 11th levels why doubt you do some research.

i.

[From Bill Powers (2000.08.14,1918 MDT)]

Kenny Kitzke (2000.08.13.1200 EDT)--

The following is an account of the behavior of a fictitious person named Jim.
It is meant to be an example of actual behavior. Behavior that is credible
based upon real life experiences and the thoughts of real people.

Bill Powers has agreed to explain such credible behavior from his HPCT models
of how human behavior works.

Well. I've agreed to give it a shot. You realize, of course, that my answer
can be only an illustration of the kind of approach I'd take to
understanding what's happening, and that in any real attempt to offer help,
I'd use the MOL instead of trying to analyze Jim or Jill. the following is
only my attempt to construct a plausible story consistent with HPCT.

Jimmy has worked at his dad's stores every summer since high school. He
contributed many good ideas that helped Jim grow the business and modernize
it by adding computer technology to improve its operations. With the
business getting larger and more complex each year, Jim longs for Jimmy to
join him in running the business. Jim even dreams about the day when he will
retire and Jimmy will take over the business following in his dad's

footsteps.

So, Jim has put himself in the position of needing Jimmy to behave in a
certain way in order for Jim to be happy. In HPCT terms, a higher-level
goal of Jim's requires setting a reference condition for Jimmy to "follow
in his dad's footsteps." Jim has made his own goals dependent on
lower-level perceptions he can't control, because they require Jimmy to
behave in a certain way regardless of what Jimmy wants. This always puts a
person in a vulnerable position.

But, Jim's life took a sudden turn for the worse at 4:00 AM, March 12, 2000.
The phone rang. Jill took the call but immediately woke up Jim saying, "Its
the Boston Police Department." The news was shocking. Jimmy's roommate
found Jimmy dead in his off-campus condo at 2:00 AM and called 911.

This way of putting it shows how self-centered Jim's life has become: Jimmy
is only a means toward an end that Jim wants, so Jimmy's death is seen as a
turn for the worse not so much for Jimmy's life as for Jim's.

The
cause of his death was unknown. The middle-of-the-night news devastated his
parents with sorrow. Jim and Jill cried uncontrollably in each others arms
until dawn. Red-eyed, and downhearted, they boarded the first available
plane to Boston that Sunday to identify the body of their lifeless son.

The grief Jim felt was especially intense and lingered on.

When emotions linger on, according to HPCT it's because the error that
caused them is still present and the organism is attempting to correct
them. In this case, Jimmy will not return to life: that's one uncorrectable
error. The crying is a futile cry for help, the kind of thing an infant
does when nothing else works. But in addition to that error (which Jill
also experiences), Jim's hopes for a son to take part in his business,
carry part of the load, and become, in effect, a second Jim are also
dashed. Jim must have been depending heavily on Jimmy's acting as he wanted
him to act, because now that this has become impossible, Jim can't think of
a different way to run his life and he's stuck with continuing to wish
Jimmy to play the role Jim wanted him to play. This is a classical conflict
situation -- Jim no doubt doesn't want to ask the impossible, yet he can't
stop wanting Jimmy to become part of the business.

Jill seemed to
find solace in her Christian religion and the comforting words of her pastor.

Bruce Gregory said this one for me. The "comforting words" of the pastor
would probably amount to saying that Jimmy is, or would eventually be, in
Heaven, and that Jill will see him again when she gets there, too. If this
were true, there would be considerable solace in that idea. I can think of
many people who are dead, and whom I would love to see even just one more
time.

So the question in HPCT terms is, does Jill want to be comforted more than
she wants to know the truth? If she wants mainly to get over the feelings
of grief and loss and feel good again, then she will behave in whatever way
will lead to that goal. According to the story, that is what she did: she
went to the pastor, probably knowing well what he or she would say, and
heard the words she wanted to hear and believe. By believing them, she
could perceive that her son was not permanently lost, but would eventually
be received by God into Heaven where she could be reasonably confident of
seeing him again. This would considerably reduce her error, in comparison
with the feelings that would result from perceiving that her son was
permanently lost to her, while desperately wanting that not to be true.

Of course Jill also had no goal for Jimmy to follow in _her_ footsteps, or
help her with _her_ labors and adopt _her_ goals as his own. She was less
involved with needing Jimmy to help her achieve personal goals, so she did
not have those other errors that Jim had.

Jim had no use for any of that religious stuff. He could not comprehend
Jill's increasingly peaceful acceptance of Jimmy's death given that the god
she believed in had allowed such a tragedy to impact their lives.

If Jim had understood HPCT he would not have found Jill's behavior so
incomprehensible. Jill's acceptance of "that religious stuff" was done for
a purpose, the purpose of making her feel better not only about Jimmy's
death, but about many other things about life that are alarming and
depressing. Why do the undeserving and guilty so often prevail, while the
deserving and innocent are maimed, tortured, and killed in so many
atrocious ways? Above all, she wanted to feel better about such things. If
one believes that God has a mysterious plan and that every death serves
some glorious purpose no matter how it looks to us, there is much less to
feel bad about -- in fact, strictly speaking, nothing at all. One can say,
as certain relatives of mine used to say even when they lost close friends
or relatives, "It's all for the best, that's what I try to believe." And by
_succeeding_ in believing, one greatly reduces or even eliminates the
reasons for grief and sadness.

As Jim pondered these questions about his own life, he also began to consider
his own mortality. What if his fainting at Jimmy's funeral had been a fatal
heart attack? What would happen to all his business and retirement plans?
What would happen to Jill if he died suddenly? What was the purpose of his
life after all?

This shows the beginning of higher-level reorganization in Jim, although he
is still a bit self-centered. He is starting to realize that perhaps the
things he wanted Jimmy to do were more for Jim's sake than Jimmy's. He
begins to see, perhaps, how self-defeating it is to try to control another
person, even for what seem the best of purposes. And he begins to wonder
what it is he really wants, and perhaps would have wanted even if Jimmy had
remained alive but refused to follow in Jim's footsteps. This is exactly
the sort of self-exploration that the method of levels brings out, and the
result is, I think, very likely to be an improvement in one's state of being.

Notice that it was Jim, much more than Jill, who reorganized his
self-concepts. That is because Jim went on feeling consequences of the
errors, rather than seeking solace so he wouldn't have to feel them any
more. If Jill had reorganized rather than trying to reduce her reasons for
reorganizing, she might have realized that seeking solace is much like not
wanting to feel bad about the death of her son.

Jim yearned to find a meaning for his life. One that could return his mind
and heart to a stable and content state so he could return to his wife and
run his business and live in peace. After much reflection, he made a list of
his main goals in life. Goals he believed would make his son Jimmy proud of
his dad. He set his mind to how he could become a different person.

The goal of feeling better is, of course, understandable, but it's not the
highest goal one can have. Many people have placed such goals as honesty,
fairness, clarity of understanding, and the welfare of others above such
personal goals as wanting to feel better about some disaster. If there has
been a terrible loss, or some other very bad experience, the appropriate
result is to feel the consequences of having a large error: this is what
motivates us to try to make things better and to avoid repeating the same
mistakes as much as possible. It is feeling bad, really bad, that starts us
reorganizing. If we manage to avoid all bad feelings, we do not reorganize.

Once we begin to experience the real conflicts in ourselves, and once
reorganization begins, what we "set our minds to" probably has little
influence over the way we will change. The "kind of person" one is is a
system concept that we refer to, vaguely, by the term "self." Simply saying
or thinking words about that system concept is not very effective in
changing it -- particularly since the verbal systems exist several levels
below system concepts, according to one wild-eyed prophet. Yet when the
self-system does begin to reorganize, the kind of person we are does begin
to change, and after enough changes the conflicts at the system concept
level will most likely diminish, or even vanish. But the changes that
actually happen are seldom the ones we expected to happen.

He returned home to Jill with his new beliefs and goals. He was eager to
explain them to her. When he did, Jill smiled and said, "I love you Jim."
"I think Jimmy would be happy if he could see his new dad." Jim breathed a
sigh and was finally able to deal with Jimmy's death. Jim felt a sense of
control had returned to life.

Jim sold the sports retail business and the house. He and Jill retired at
their cottage where they both voluntarily help out two days a week at a
nearby orphanage operated by Jill's church. Both feel at peace and are
content with what they do in these new lives.

Instead of continuing to wish that Jimmy were present to join in the
business, Jim suddenly finds that he no longer identifies himself with the
business, or even with Jimmy. He can now abandon those goals that caused
him so much extra grief, and truly start a new life as a changed person. He
can have a life of his own without needing Jimmy to validate it. Whether
this new life involves Good Works or simply some other and more peaceful
way of life is not the point; the point is that the old goals have been
reorganized away, and at the end of the struggle the errors at all levels
have become much smaller.

I think I have addressed at least some of the topics raised at the end of
your post, though I haven't tried to deal specifically with any of them
(some of them, like the concept of "uncontrollable crying," I would
probably take issue with -- crying is a mode of communciation, and is far
from uncontrollable). For many of them, there are too many possible
answers, none of them being particularly convincing. I hope that what I did
say will qualify as at least a partial response to your request.

Best,

Bill P.

Kenneth Kitzke : I would be most interested in a possible/plausible HPCT
explanation of the following behaviors of the people in this account:

Mark: 1) Jim and Jill's uncontrollable crying after the call
(perception) "news of his death" - (Reference of) son being alive;
Comparator creates ERROR --- error signal creates a behavior to compensate
for perception.
But, both Jim and Jill "Know" there is nothing they can "do" to bring back
their son back to life. Unresolvable ERROR created the emotional state of
"uncontrollable crying" which is bad phrasing, but I know what you meant.
[Outside the population of actors, and antisocial personalities (Bill
Clinton, at Ron Brown's funeral), people don't control crying or emotions, as
much as they experience them.] The crying is due to the realization that all
their hopes and whishes (references) for their will never come to be, and
there is nothing they can do (output), they are helpless (Unresolvable
ERROR), no matter how strongly they desire their son to be alive(reference).

2) Jill is soon consoled whereas Jim remains grieved.
"Consoled," By What or Whom? More like she does not consider her son
completely gone. Her Belief system included life after death, which is a
temporary loss. Maybe, she has reframed her perceptions, about grief
integrated with the idea of life after death.

Grief is selfish.
JILL: "I know he is in a better place, what I have lost is the feedback of a
hug from him, hearing his voice, seeing his face, getting to tell him, how
much I love him, and seeing his reaction." "I know in my heart, he hears me,
and he knows when I am thinking about him." "I feel like he is watching over
me." "I can pray to him and he hears me." Praying is like talking into the
phone to him, when he is in another state, only my phone's ear piece just
doesn't produce any sounds. He can hear me, I just can't hear him. Grieving
is selfish because it is all about me. I want to hear his voice. I want to
see him. I want to touch him. I should not want to pull him out of heaven,
just to be here with me.

Jim's belief system is that there is no life after death, just fade to black.
To Jack, death is a total loss, for now and always.

JILL: "God took him from us for a reason"
                    vs.
JIM: "If God is all good and all powerful, how could He let that happen?
Answer: he could not have, therefore, there is no God."

    A third view, using PCT's premise of volition. Choice in perceptions we
control, Goals we adopt, behaviors we choose.
        If one chooses to believe in God, and that God gave man "Free Will."
Then, if God were to cause something good or bad to happen, He would be
evoking His will over our will and that would negate our free will.
Therefore, as we live here on Earth God does not give us rewards, take away
adversities or invoke punishments (that would make Him a Behaviorist). There
is good, evil, apathy and all the shades of gray in between, in the world
because of our choices, not because of God's will.
The world is neither a good place NOR a bad place; it is only a place. The
good and bad in the world is caused by what we do or fail to do, about the
events, and outcomes that we can control. Life is neither fair nor unfair;
only people can be either.

To some, this brings up an old argument about God, Free will and Determinism.
In my mind, I resolved the argument while in Las Vegas, playing blackjack.
God is the Dealer, in God's mind there is a finite number of combinations of
the 52 cards, the deck is shuffled and the cards are dealt (determinism).
However, We can Choose to sit at the table or not. If we choose to sit and
play, we choose how much we bet, and we choose to hit, stay, split, or double
down. Sometimes we make our choice alone sometimes it depends on the people
we are with, and sometimes it depends on what God is showing us, then we make
our choice (free will). Therefore, Free will or Determinism is a matter of
to who's perceptions you are referring.

3) Jim faints at Jimmy's funeral
    To the father, Jimmy's death is a total loss, for now and always.

4) Jimmy takes an overdose of drugs to end his life
Not enough info. here to give you an indication of why, or really even to be
sure it was a suicide by intent. But, by accident or by intent, he did make
choices that led to his own death. His narrow tolerance for error, or
unwillingness to accept error. The choice in coping. Unwillingness to
choose or to look for alternatives.

5) Jim sinks lower in his countenance (Depression?) after learning of
Jimmy's apparent suicide
I don't think you need HPCT to explain the difference between the perception
of dying by accident VS the perception of dying on purpose.

6) Jim's inability to return and run the business:
To what purpose, he appeared to have worked to make the business his son's
business, now he has no son, therefore he has no reason to maintain the
business.

7) Jim decides to seek some quiet solace to clear his mind: Translation-

The Crisis State of reorganization filled with choices, some beneficial and
some self destructive.

8) Jim begins to focus on his own life and mortality
The Crisis State of reorganization filled with choices, some beneficial and
some self destructive.

9) Jim sets some different goals for his life: The Beneficial side of
reorganization

10) Jim feels back in control of his life after Jill's affirmation of him -
Jill has had nothing to do with Jim "feeling back in control" that was Jim's
choice not Jill's affirmation of Jim, as a causal factor. He may adopt her
references for his own, but it is his choice

11) Jim and Jill retire and both are content with what they do:
     Reorganization complete

···

************************************

Some of my beliefs:
1) Fanaticism in any direction is unhealthy. Fundamentalist, Agnostic or
Atheist.
2) I do believe there is a God.
3) I don't believe I am rectifying PCT to my Religion, more to the contrary,
for the understanding of purpose and free will.
4) I don't believe God forces His will on us, I don't think He gives us
rewards, takes away adversities or invokes punishments (those are the
coercive precepts of Behaviorism and are deterministic in nature).
5) I do believe He gave us free will and a great ability to reason, for the
pursuit of purpose.
6) In regards to the logic square trap of God/no God, live like there is a
God/live like there is no God, possibility outcomes of yes/yes; no/no;
yes/no and no/yes. Implied in this are consequences of burning in hell and
being tortured for all eternity for not believing. This serves no
comprehendible purpose, and in my mind, makes God out to be vengeful and
sadistic.

My theological theorizing would be along the lines of purpose for eternity,
and that it is on earth as in heaven we create our reality and control our
perceptions.
The yes/yes; is you believe there is a God and heaven, you get it.
The no/no; you believe there is no God, you get no God - just nothingness.
The yes/no; you believe there is a God, you get no God - just nothingness.
The no/yes; you have some explaining to do, but I have no idea what would
happen, purgatory, just nothingness or some third option.

Cheers,

Mark

I don't believe this made it out. In case anyone might be interested, I'm
trying
again.

[From Bruce Gregory (2000.0815.0515)]

[From Bruce Abbott (2000.08.14.2050 EST)]

I'll ignore the S-R connotation

Thanks.

and simply ask: Why should there be

"emotional responses" at all? All that is required under HPCT is faster
reorganization . . .

Why should I be aware of anything? All that is required under HPCT is faster
reorganization. If you are old enough to wear reading glasses, try threading
a needle without them. Notice what emotions, if any, you experience. If you
are anything like me, you experience frustration. Possibly mounting
frustration.
This emotional "message" seems to be associated with failure to exercise
control.
Some people do not experience as much frustration. We say they are
"patient". In
an absence of emotional "coloring" we apparently simply imagine
alternatives,
but never act. At least that is what limited neurological studies of
individuals
in which the connection between the prefrontal lobes and the hippocampus is
severed suggest.

BG

[From Bill Powers (2000.08.17.0517 MDT)]

Bruce Gregory (2000.0815.0515)--

This emotional "message" seems to be associated with failure to exercise
control.
Some people do not experience as much frustration. We say they are
"patient". In
an absence of emotional "coloring" we apparently simply imagine
alternatives,
but never act. At least that is what limited neurological studies of
individuals
in which the connection between the prefrontal lobes and the hippocampus is
severed suggest.

In my attemnpt to explain the experiences we call emotions, I was trying to
get away from the automatic assumption that they were something different
from the normal operation of the hierarchy. As far as I can tell from
introspection, they consist of a somatic component (feelings in the body)
and a cognitive component (perceptions of actions and external situations
which relate to goals, wishes, desires, intentions, etc. -- reference
signals). There's some suggestion that a strongish rate effect is involved,
so that sensations that go with increasing error feel disproportionately
bad, and sensations associated with error going away feel much less bad or
even positively good. I know there are some sensations that seem inherently
good, but that value may be set by the cognitive component more than the
somatic component. If the very same "pleasant" sensations occurred under
circumstances where the cognitive component was strongly rejecting the
experience, they might be experienced as highly unpleasant (example:
sensations in the victim accompanying rape, the same sensations which under
other circumstances are experienced as highly pleasant).

If brain connections are severed that prevent error signals from altering
the state of the body in preparation for action (or inaction), all that
would be left is the cognitive component, which goes with attempts to
correct error by motor behavior. If the actions called for involve any sort
of energetic behavior, I would think they would run out of steam pretty
quickly, because the body would not be cranked up to support energetic
action. Are there any data about that in what you have read? I know that in
sports psychology, there is considerable emphasis on "psyching up" prior to
any serious attempt to achieve high performance: not just visualizing the
actions, but bringing bodily sensations to the appropriate levels. This
suggeest an ability of higher systems to alter reference signals for the
somatic systems as well as for the motor systems.

Emotions have always been treated as something mysterious and apart from
other experiences. I think that an HPCT explanation demythologizes them.

One difference this makes for me is that when I start to feel angry with
someone, I can't help realizing that I want to do something violent to that
person and am getting my body ready to do it. This is clearly not
consistent with the kind of person I prefer to be, so I stop wanting to
bloody this person's nose, and I cease to feel angry. There's usually a bit
of conflict-resolution involved, of course.

Best,

Bill P.

I would not mind some feedback — after all I was just writing about my
belief system – which appears completely arbitrary but self determining,
such as,

In a message dated 8/15/2000 12:41:04 PM US Mountain Standard Time, DTSDTO
writes:

<< God does not give us rewards, take away adversities or invoke punishments
(that would make Him a Behaviorist). >>

Did no one get my post or does everyone agree with me :slight_smile:

Mark

[From Bruce Gregory (2000.0819.0523)]

Did no one get my post or does everyone agree with me :slight_smile:

No doubt I would agree with you, but I never got your post. I suspect that I
might not be the only one.

BG

[From Bill Powers (2000.08.18.0640 MDT)]

Mark Lazare (2000.08.18)

I would not mind some feedback --- after all I was just writing about my
belief system -- which appears completely arbitrary but self determining,
such as,

I trust you're not asking for my views, since I've made it plain (I think)
that my belief system doesn't have any "God" in it. I saw your post and
realized that any reply would consist of my reasons for not sharing your
beliefs, which doesn't seem very friendly, so I decided just to keep quiet.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Bruce Gregory (2000.0818.1030)]

Bill Powers (2000.08.18.0640 MDT)

Mark Lazare (2000.08.18)

I would not mind some feedback --- after all I was just writing about my
belief system -- which appears completely arbitrary but self determining,
such as,

I trust you're not asking for my views, since I've made it plain (I think)
that my belief system doesn't have any "God" in it. I saw your post and
realized that any reply would consist of my reasons for not sharing your
beliefs, which doesn't seem very friendly, so I decided just to keep quiet.

As human knowledge has increased, God has had increasingly less to do. (Casting
out evil spirits is no longer a full-time job.) As far as I can tell, the only
problems He now solves are psychological. Even his acts of vengeance are confined
to the afterlife. I confess that I kind of miss the days when He lived in a tent
that the Israelites carried around with them and constantly kvetched about how
little respect He got.

BG

[From Bruce Gregory (2000.0818.1147)]

Found it!

Some of my beliefs:

1) Fanaticism in any direction is unhealthy. Fundamentalist, Agnostic or
Atheist.

2) I do believe there is a God.

I believe the Red Sox will one day win the World Series.

3) I don't believe I am rectifying PCT to my Religion, more to the contrary,
for the understanding of purpose and free will.

Free will plays no role in HPCT that I am aware of.

4) I don't believe God forces His will on us, I don't think He gives us
rewards, takes away adversities or invokes punishments (those are the
coercive precepts of Behaviorism and are deterministic in nature).

I somethimes think that the Red Sox punish me for my lack of faith. This only
serves to make me rededicate my conviction.

5) I do believe He gave us free will and a great ability to reason, for the
pursuit of purpose.

If I had free will, I doubt I would be a Sox fan.

6) In regards to the logic square trap of God/no God, live like there is a
God/live like there is no God, possibility outcomes of yes/yes; no/no;
yes/no and no/yes. Implied in this are consequences of burning in hell and
being tortured for all eternity for not believing.

A fte all too familiar to Sox fans.

This serves no
comprehendible purpose, and in my mind, makes God out to be vengeful and
sadistic.

My thoughts exactly!

My theological theorizing would be along the lines of purpose for eternity,
and that it is on earth as in heaven we create our reality and control our
perceptions.

Why do I do so badly when it come to controlling my perception of the fortunes of
the Red Sox?

The yes/yes; is you believe there is a God and heaven, you get it.
The no/no; you believe there is no God, you get no God - just nothingness.
The yes/no; you believe there is a God, you get no God - just nothingness.
The no/yes; you have some explaining to do, but I have no idea what would
happen, purgatory, just nothingness or some third option.

Are you a Sox fan too? If not you're missing out on a direct experience of
purgatory.

BG

[From Dick Robertson (2000.08.18.1145CDT)

Bill Powers wrote:

[From Bill Powers (2000.08.17.0517 MDT)]

Re: Bruce Gregory (2000.0815.0515)--

In my attemnpt to explain the experiences we call emotions, I was trying to
get away from the automatic assumption that they were something different
from the normal operation of the hierarchy. As far as I can tell from
introspection, they consist of a somatic component (feelings in the body)
and a cognitive component (perceptions of actions [etc.] )

There's some suggestion that a strongish rate effect is involved,
so that _sensations_ [my emphasis, RJR] that go with increasing error
feel disproportionately bad, and sensations associated with error going away
feel much less bad or even positively good.

Bill,
Note that you imply that the somatic component (feelings) consists of
_sensations_. This seems intuitively right to me too, but it led to the further
thought: "Sensation" is a technical term in HPCT, meaning a combination of
Intensities. I wondered if you were using it in that technical sense. If so,
it raises an interesting question about how we might begin to look for the
particular Intensity perceptions that might be involved in any particular
emotional-somatic-component. That led further to thinking about your classic
example of perceiving a second-order vector: The taste of lemonade. I tried to
think of some other examples, and the "sensation of motion" when the train next
to mine begins pulling out of the station, came to mind. Maybe I could identify
some of the Intensity signals there, like shadow, light color off the windows,
etc. But, then it struck me that perception of Transition seems most involved
in the "sensation of motion" in that exmple and I relaized that those two uses
of the word, "sensation" involved quite different perceptions within an HPCT
analysis.

With that reflection I returned to note that in saying, "sensations associated
with error...feel much less bad," you seemed to me to be using "sense" and
"feel" more or less interchangeably. (I do too.) But that led to a puzzling
question for me. We surely have second order signals that don't come into
consciousness, but aren't all emotional feelings conscious by definition? We
acknowledge being emotional because of being aware of some feeling. (Leaving
aside for the moment psychoanalytic talk about "unconscious feelings.") But
then, does that make feelings into a peculiar class of sensations, in some way
analagous to the taste of lemonade, or is "feeling" a wastebasket term for a
collection of various, and possibly unrelated, perceptions that we simply
haven't yet sorted out?
It leaves me with a feeling (sic) that I still don't know what I'm talking about
in PCT terms when I talk about emotions.

I know there are some sensations that seem inherentlygood, but that value may
be set by the cognitive component more than thesomatic component. If the very
same "pleasant" sensations occurred under circumstances where the cognitive
component was strongly rejecting the experience, they might be experienced as
highly unpleasant (example: sensations in the victim accompanying rape, the
same sensations which under other circumstances are experienced as highly
pleasant).

Sure, the same might be true for the taste of lemonade, if someone had (say) a
religious proscription against it. The instinctual-intrinsic system "raw"
perception in both cases might be positive, until overruled by the cognitive
component. But, isn't this still begging the issue of WHAT we are perceiving
(on the somatic side at least) that we call emotion?

Emotions have always been treated as something mysterious and apart from
other experiences. I think that an HPCT explanation demythologizes them.

One difference this makes for me is that when I start to feel angry with
someone, I can't help realizing that I want to do something violent to that
person and am getting my body ready to do it.

As you see it, does the feeling angry _lead to_ the "realizing that I want....")
or are the two expressions synonymous?

Best, Dick R.

[From Rick Marken (2000.08.18.0950)]

Mark Lazare (2000.08.17) --

God does not give us rewards, take away adversities or invoke
punishments (that would make Him a Behaviorist).

Did no one get my post or does everyone agree with me :slight_smile:

I agree that that's what you believe. But what you believe is
quite an advance over the characterization of God that is
found in the Bible. In fact, the God described by the Deuteronomic
voice of the Old Testament is a major Behaviorist who used rewards
and punishments to keep the Jews following the Deuteronomic laws.
This God cares only about the behavior of one group of people (the
Jews) and the only behavior he cares about is whether the Jews
follow all the Deuteronomic laws correctly. When the Jews don't
follow the laws correctly they were punished big time; they are
dispersed (as were the lost tribes of Israel) or, more often than
not, taken into captivity by other people who God uses as the
instrument for punishing Jews. When they followed the laws they
were reinforced by being allowed to survive.

Indeed, I would argue that the major religious innovation of
Judaism was the development of the notion of a Behavioristic
god. When non-Jewish ethnic groups were punished (captured
or conquered) they attributed this to the fact that their
god was weak. So they would join the conquering group and
start worshiping that group's stronger god. That's why there
aren't any Baal worshippers around anymore. They were absorbed
into the culture that had the stronger god. But the Jews never
concluded that their god was weak when they were punished
(captured or conquered). Instead, they interpreted their
punishment as evidence of god's displeasure with their behavior.

At the end of Kings II, I believe, the Jews finally discover why
they are getting punished all the time; they find the scroll
(presumably Deuteronomy itself; kind of a nifty literary device)
that describes the kind of behavior god wants. I think it's one
of the last kings of Judah who makes this discovery. It's as
though a rat in the Skinner box had discovered a note that says
"press the bar if you don't want to get shocked". The last king
of Judah found a scroll that said "follow Deuteronomic law to the
letter if you don't want to get enslaved all the time".

Subsequent religious developments in the west (Christianity, the
Renaissance, the Enlightenment, etc) have produced a much
improved (in my opinion) vision of god (one more like your non-
Behaviorist image). But the Deuteronomic view still lives. I
just recently read a news story about a rabbi in Israel who said
something like "the victims of the holocaust got what they
deserved". The fact that this was said, and by a rabbi yet,
understandably astounded and appalled most everyone. But when
I read it, I realized that this rabbi was just carrying on
the Deuteronomic tradition of the Old Testament; he was like
an Old Testament prophet telling he victims of the Babylonean
exiles "you're getting what you deserve; I told you not to shave".

Best

Rick

···

--
Richard S. Marken Phone or Fax: 310 474-0313
MindReadings.com mailto: marken@mindreadings.com
www.mindreadings.com

In a message dated 8/18/2000 9:51:06 AM US Mountain Standard Time,
bgregory@CFA.HARVARD.EDU writes:

<< [From Bruce Gregory (2000.0818.1147)]

Found it!

BG: Free will plays no role in HPCT that I am aware of.

Mark: Well I choose my references regarding goals wants standards principles
and desire. I choose my behaviors, and what perceptions to focus on. That
to me is FREE WILL

Thanks for your feedback BG

Mark Lazare

In a message dated 8/18/2000 10:13:56 AM US Mountain Standard Time,
marken@MINDREADINGS.COM writes:

<< [From Rick Marken (2000.08.18.0950)]

Mark Lazare (2000.08.17) --

>> God does not give us rewards, take away adversities or invoke
>> punishments (that would make Him a Behaviorist).
>
> Did no one get my post or does everyone agree with me :slight_smile:

I agree that that's what you believe. But what you believe is
quite an advance over the characterization of God that is
found in the Bible >>

Thank you for your feedback, Rick I liked your commentary.

Mark Lazare

[From Bruce Gregory (2000.0818.16530]

8/18/00 5:36:43 PM, "Lazare, Mark Crisis counselor, Phoenix AZ" <DTSDTO@aol.com>
wrote:

Well I choose my references regarding goals wants standards principles
and desire. I choose my behaviors, and what perceptions to focus on. That
to me is FREE WILL.

"Choose" is not something that happens in PCT. (Unless you would say that the
thermostat in your living room "chooses" to maintain the temperature at 72
degrees. In other words, if the thermostat has free will, so do you!)

Mazeltov,

BG

[From Bill Powers (2000.08.18.1729 MDT)]

Dick Robertson (2000.08.18.1145CDT)--

With that reflection I returned to note that in saying, "sensations

associated

with error...feel much less bad," you seemed to me to be using "sense" and
"feel" more or less interchangeably. (I do too.) But that led to a puzzling
question for me. We surely have second order signals that don't come into
consciousness, but aren't all emotional feelings conscious by definition?

Two things. First, it's not "sensations" (whether used loosely as I was
doing or technically) that "feel bad". Sensations just feel like
sensations. The goodness or badness is an evaluation OF them: a higher
order perception being compared with a reference level. If the reference
level is high, we seek the sensation and would thus classify it as "good";
if the reference level is zero, any amount of the sensation is bad. The
value can change according to circumstances, so the same signal can be
experienced as either good or bad.

Second: if emotions are by definition conscious, then second order signals
that are not in consciousness can't be part of an emotion. No problem. But
if we excuse the term "emotion" from having any particular technical
meaning, then it makes little difference whether the feelings, and the
hierarchical goals that gave rise to them, are in or out of consciousness.
I don't mean it makes NO difference, only that the same control systems and
bodily states are involved whether or one one is conscious of them. Think
of the person whose face is turning purple and who is snarling through
gritted teeth,"I'm _not_ ANGRY!!!"

But
then, does that make feelings into a peculiar class of sensations, in some

way

analagous to the taste of lemonade, or is "feeling" a wastebasket term for a
collection of various, and possibly unrelated, perceptions that we simply
haven't yet sorted out?

The latter, I think. "Emotion" is another such term. Do you think people
who say "You're indulging in emotional thinking" have the least idea what
they're talking about?

It leaves me with a feeling (sic) that I still don't know what I'm talking

about

in PCT terms when I talk about emotions.

I could be way wrong, but my feeling (sic also) is that emotions are a lot
simpler than people make them out to be.

Sure, the same might be true for the taste of lemonade, if someone had

(say) a

religious proscription against it. The instinctual-intrinsic system "raw"
perception in both cases might be positive, until overruled by the cognitive
component. But, isn't this still begging the issue of WHAT we are perceiving
(on the somatic side at least) that we call emotion?

We can get into that if you want to. But my experience has been that when I
actually feel an emotion worthy of the name, it's pretty easy to pick out
the bodily sensations involved. And having done that, it's also pretty easy
to notice what it is that I want to do. It's also been my experience that
taking an emotion apart is hard to do if you're only imagining having it.
So what do you make of that, stupid?

As you see it, does the feeling angry _lead to_ the "realizing that I

?want....") or are the two expressions synonymous?

I wouldn't be feeling ready to act if I hadn't first set up the goal of
strangling that stupid git. But that's not nice, so I probably wouldn't
want to acknowledge such a goal, even to myself. The emotion-sensations are
just what follow from getting ready to carry out an -- any -- energetic
control action.

Best,

Bill P.