The madness of control

[From Rick Marken (960213.2100)]

Remi Cote (960213.1600 EST) --

I wanted to ask myself publicly, can we imagined an organism becoming
madder and madder because he has to much control? Of course I learned
that this list is not the right place for that kind of questionning.

I think Martin Taylor (960213 17:00) gave a pretty nice answer to this.

I'll try to answer this with another question; can you imagine an
organism getting mad at all if it were not a controller?

Madness and anger are feelings associated with failure to produce
an intended result; we get mad when we fail to convince someone of
our point, when our contribution is not noticed, when expected
rewards are not forthcoming. We get mad, that is, when what we
perceive (someone being unconvinced, nobody noticing our contribution,
not getting any reward) is not what we _intend_ to perceive (someone
being convinced, someone noticing our contribution, getting the reward).

Particles in a chemical gradient don't get mad when then don't move
up the gradient at a particular pace, pendula don't get mad when
the bob is pushed arbitrarily from one point to another; marbles don't
get mad when they are moved arbitrarily up and down the side of a bowl.

Cause-effect systems don't get made becuase they don't care about
the effects (results) that they are caused to produce. Only control
systems get mad and they get mad when the results they produce are
not the ones they _intend_ to produce. The fact that people get mad
is a good indication that they are control systems.

So, your question about madness and control is perfectly appropriate
for this list. In fact, all questions are perfectly appropriate for
this list; but don't be surprised if some people get _mad_ when you
ask certain questions (like "Are you going to devote a large portion
of the next edition of your Research Methods text to a description
of The Test for the Controlled Variable?); It seems that many of the
people who read and respond on this list are perceptual control
systems.

Have a nice day

Rick

[Chris Kitzke 960221.0800]

(Rick Marken 960213.2100)

<<The fact that people get mad is a good indication that they are control
systems.>>

Is there really a fact that people get mad? I would think that this is more
a perception. Maybe it is a fact between two people as long as they agree it
is a fact. Isn't everything a perception? Someone could say I was mad
because they perceived it, when I did not pereive myself to be mad. Am I
nitpicking here?

I liked your response to Remi, and think I understand the point I think you
are trying to make.

Is merely getting mad an indication of control? I thouhgt anger was just a
perception or a comparison between the reference signal and the error or
perceptual signal. At what point is there evidence of control? The moment
the signals don't match or the point at which behavior takes place with the
intention of removing the disturbance?

The reason I ask is because it could be argued that a mad person who doesn't
do anything about it is not really controlling. Sometime during the
conference, I got the idea that inactivity meant no control was taking place.

Chris

<[Bill Leach 960221.19:42 U.S. Eastern Time Zone]

[Chris Kitzke 960221.0800]

and

[Chris Kitzke 960221.0830]

Is there really a fact that people get mad? I would think that this is
more a perception.

I would have to ask, what is a "fact" (retorically). A "fact" is a
perception with an associated characteristic (also a perception of
course) meaning that the "fact" is "true" or "real" or something similar.

I would suggest that being able to "get mad" (as in angry) is a
indication of the presence of references and control systems (or loops)
but not necessarily and indication that "control exists". Indeed, anger
suggests (to me anyway) that control has failed -- specifically a rather
important perception no longer adequately matches its' reference.

What we call anger is usually the perception of an emotional state (our
own anger) or the perception of actions of another that we believe are
the actions of a person that is angry.

I have not thought a great deal about this but I think that anger usually
results from a (usually large) disturbance to a controlled perception
that is or becomes conscious but that also disturbs an "important"
controlled perception at the principle level (which probably is NOT
conscious). If the "principle level" perception is sufficiently
disturbed and important enough, considerable physical preparation is made
for action. It is this sudden and extreme "gearing up" of the physical
body for action that is (sometimes) perceived as anger by the "self".

I thouhgt anger was just a perception or a comparison between the
reference signal and the error or perceptual signal.

Again, "anger" is a perception but it is NOT a controlled perception.
In addition to the preception of a change in emotional state (metabolic
preparation) it is also likely that an error in a principle catagory of
controlled perceptions is necessary to "have the interpretation" that the
emotional state is one of anger (as opposed to excitement or some other
preparation for action).

The reason I ask is because it could be argued that a mad person who
doesn't do anything about it is not really controlling.

This one kind of gave me a chuckle. A person that does not "try" to
control perceptions that are their own controlled perceptions is probably
a pretty good candidate for the term "mad" but in the other sense of the
term (ie: insane).

Sometime during the conference, I got the idea that inactivity meant no
control was taking place.

If so then someone was misleading someone. If a controlled perception is
at its' reference value without any action being required then there will
be no action. The way that you would be able to determine that this is
still a "control situation" is through the usual method -- apply the TEST
(try to disturb the CEV).

Has a description been offered for how a collective perception compares
to an individual perception? What would be an example of a collective
perception?

This is just my opinion but I would say that Kent's "virtual reference"
description is absolutely the best description of and explaination for
what is so often called group control or group goals.

... can never be the same, I would argue that it is impossible to have
a collective perception that can be handled the same way as individual
perceptions in the PCT model.

Nice observation! It really isn't handled differently, it is handled as
multiple individual perceptual control systems interacting.

(It is hard enough dealing with one person's hierarchy, let alone the
dynamics between two or more people.)

Yes, I think that it is a rather tough matter to deal with but several
have done some work in this area (I think that Tom Bourbon was one of the
first to do some actual modeling in this area).

And I am sure that some of both your questions and comments are "music"
to more than just my "ears", such as:

I am not denying that there is a perceived "collective conscience.
Perhaps this phenomenon can be viewed in terms of a group of
individuals, rather than some new creation beyond our understanding
and apart from our own collection of perceptions and wants?

Your "perhaps" doubtless drew quite a few shouts of _YES!!_

-bill