the witness

[from Mary Powers 2000.12.29]

Stefan: "Ughh, I never heard about the "Witness".

If you really haven't heard about the "Witness", then it will take some

It starts with the concept of a hierarchy of levels. Without specifically
naming the levels, a process was developed years ago in which two people
interact in order for one of them to move up the levels. This is the MOL,
the method of levels. The two people converse, while one of them also
attends to any hint that the other makes a remark that is ABOUT the
conversation, a statement from a higher level. The first person then
encourages the other to continue to comment from that level, and begins
again to watch for a yet higher level comment, and to encourage that.

This process has some interesting consequences. In the case of people with
conflicts, attending to higher levels related to the conflict seems to have
a therapeutic effect -sometimes the conflict simply melts away, or becomes
trivial, or the solution seems obvious. Some people in PCT are exploring
this process. Helping people to resolve conflict in this way may be the
basis for success in many therapies whether or not the therapist or client
realize that this is what is happening.

In the case of people who are exploring the levels (and don't get stuck in
a conflict on the way) the idea is to see how many times the process can be
repeated. After a while, the second person may reach a point where he is
simply uninvolved, detatched. BG calls a person in this state a "Witness".
Bill P. calls it the "Observer". Both communicate the state of mind
reasonably well.

Since presumably this is the top level (to which consciousness can go), it
should be able to set reference signals for lower levels. But it doesn't
seem to want to do much of anything, except rather peacefully observe or

So I don't think that choosing goes on there.

To me, choosing is a perfectly straightforward, everyday, ordinary function
of the level where programs and logic reside. We choose this, and not that,
we order sequences: this first, then that. We look at alternatives and
maneuver among them, considering possible outcomes of this or that action,
and so on, thousands of times a day.

If the Observer is part of the hierarchy, then I think it might tweak a
principle level reference level (assuming that principles are the next
level down), to set in motion some cascade of events that leads to a more
satisfactory way of being for the whole person.

If, somehow, getting into the point of view of the Observer involves some
kind of sideways move, so that it is actually not part of the hierarchy,
then it might be considered the source of reorganization. But I have always
thought of reorganization as being very simple, very blind, very random -
not my idea of Observing at all.

So there you are, Stefan, a third view.

Mary P.

[From Rick Marken (2000.12.30.0940)]

Mary Powers (2000.12.29) --

To me, choosing is a perfectly straightforward, everyday,
ordinary function of the level where programs and logic reside.

I agree. I think this is what we mean when we talk about "choosing"
_from the chooser's perspective_. As choosers, we experience
ourselves selecting "this first, then that" (producing this
perception first, then that perception). We "look at alternatives...
considering possible outcomes of this or that action...". So
choosing, from the chooser's point of view, involves control of the
imagined as well as of the actual (perceptual) results of action.
from this subjective point of view, "choosing" is a _process_, a
very familiar process that we carry out every day. As you say, it
is probably the process of controlling sequence, program and logic

I was describing what I think people mean when they talk about
"choosing" _from an observer's perspective_. In this case, all we
usually see is that a person has selected one from what we know to
have been many possible results. So we say "I see that that person
has choosen to eat lobster; be a doctor; go to Chile; throw to first;
etc. because we know there were other results; other foods, careers,
countries, throws, etc that the person might have produced instead.

So, from an observer's point of view, all "choosing" means, from a
PCT perspective, is "set a reference for that particular percpetion".
The perception seen as having been "choosen" could be anything from
an intensity ("I see you have choosen to make the house as hot as
an over") to a principle ("I see you have choosen to be less than
candid with your interrogators") to a system concept ("I see you
have chosen to be a Dodger fan"). And the reference could have
been set to that value by a higher level system in the control
hierarchy or by the reorganization system. There is no way to
tell by just looking.




Richard S. Marken Phone or Fax: 310 474-0313
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