the cloud of unknowing

Bruce Nevin (950814 10:15 EDT)

[Rick Marken (950811.1330)] --

My choice of the term "supernatural" was probably unfortunate. I don't think
of nature as a border with a supernatural world. Instead of "supernatural" I
probably should have said "unknowable".

Thank you, Rick! I was just jerking your chain a bit. I am beginning to be
quite impressed that you are putting your rejection of hate talk into
practice! :slight_smile:

but in this case, the existance of such control systems is
unknowable since we can't know that anything is being controlled

But there is another avenue of investigation for the cell, namely, evidence
of reorganization. Taking a relatively simple case for starters, how does a
cell within a perceptual input functionn (PIF) of an elementary control
system (ECS) perceive what is going on during reorganization of that PIF?
Consider a cell that drops a connection, or makes a new one, or undergoes
some other change that (from a point of view looking at the ECS from the
outside) amounts to a step in reorganization of the PIF. I think we must
assume that the cell's action is means for reducing error in its control of
some cellular input. An uncontrolled byproduct of the cell's action might
affect the perceptual signal P that is output by the PIF to the comparator
of the ECS, and that effect might be to worsen the error in the ECS or to
reduce it.

The cell cannot perceive the error signal that is output by the comparator,
but that error signal must have some effect in the cell's environment that
disturbs some input that the cell is controlling.

It appears that error in the higher-order system (the ECS) must result in
some kind of disturbance in the perceived environment of the cell which the
cell can reduce by doing something that amounts to reorganization in the
ECS, which reduces error in the ECS, so that the disturbance in the cell's
environment goes away. Chemicals in the fluid environment of cells would, I
assume, take a bit of time to be flushed away. I suppose this would be OK
if the time between one given (cellular action amounting to a) step of
reorganization and the next were similarly delayed. Perhaps some kind of
electrochemical polarization that could be turned off, as it were, more
quickly? Just speculating about the kinds of things that folks looking at
the cellular level might look for.

On the human scale, I think evidence of reorganization abounds. To
appreciate this, I think you have to get some idea of what a stable human
social system is like. Here in America now we ain't got none. I think
Margaret Meade's _Male and Female_ has a chapter contrasting US culture (of
the 1930s and 1940s) with the score or so of cultures that she had studied
deeply as of ca. 1948. Would you be willing to look at this chapter and
tell me what you think? She's a good writer, it's an enjoyable read. Of
course, she knows nothing of PCT, but what she has to say about reliability
of expectations doesn't break any of the rules. ;->
(Ignore the implication that you impose rules or standards on others, just
jerking your chain again.)

Thanks again, Rick. (I'll be in meetings the rest of the day.)