Theology and PCT

[From Rick Marken (990814.1820)]

I found this nice little quote while looking through "Best of
the CSGNet" for discussions of "self-regulation" theories. It
makes me realize why PCT is so important to me.

Bill Powers (930430.0600 MST)--

Behind all the accumulated gimcrackery of the centuries, religion
is simply a human enquiry into the basic problems of existence,
particularly problems that science has chosen to ignore until quite
recently. What is consciousness? Who is this Observer inside me,
that I am? What is it to have purpose? How can we live together
without pain? How can I make sense of this limited existence of
mine and the world in which I have it? What are these longings
inside me that draw me onward? Why is there beauty? Why is there
sadness? Why is there goodness, why is there evil?

Scientific theoreticians turned their backs on these questions, so
to find answers people turned to theological theoreticians. Who can
blame them? I hope that PCT will not also turn its back on these
questions.

Best

Rick

···

--
Richard S. Marken Phone or Fax: 310 474-0313
Life Learning Associates e-mail: rmarken@earthlink.net
http://home.earthlink.net/~rmarken/

[From Kenny Kitzke (990815.2230EDT)]

Rick Marken (990814.1820)

<It makes me realize why PCT is so important to me.>

Are you saying that believing in PCT releases you from any need to confront:
� the basic problems of existence
� What is it to have purpose?
� How can I make sense of this limited existence of mine and the world in
which I have it?
� What are these longings inside me that draw me onward? Why is there beauty?
Why is there sadness? Why is there goodness, why is there evil?

Or are you saying that PCT has provided satisfactory answers to you to these
issues which still confront and conflict most human beings?

It seems to me that PCT, like all science, sticks it head in the sand on the
more difficult questions of knowledge and wisdom confronting intelligent
humans and says, I give up, its all beyond me and my laboratory, don't worry
be happy in what we can know and replicate.

[From Rick Marken (990816.0830)]

Kenny Kitzke (990815.2230EDT)--

Are you saying that believing in PCT releases you from any need to
confront:
� the basic problems of existence...
Or are you saying that PCT has provided satisfactory answers to
you to these issues which still confront and conflict most human
beings?

Actually, I was saying neither. I was _trying_ to say that I have
had the same questions about existence (the one's Bill mentioned
in the post I quoted, such as "what is consciousness? Who is this
Observer inside me, that I am...Why is there goodness, why is there
evil?) as everyone else. And, like everyone else, I have been
searching for answers to these questions for a long time. But,
unlike _almost_ everyone else, I have never been convinced that
the answers to these questions are to be found in religion.

The passage of Bill's that I posted reminded me why PCT is so
important to me. PCT provided me with what I consider to be a
nice, solid _approach_ to answering my questions about existence.
The PCT model provides a _testable_ framework for answering these
questions; the model tells me (tentatively and testably) the
purpose of life (to keep intrinsic variables under control), how
we can live together without pain (by lightening up and respecting
the fact that others are controllers, too, controlling their
perceptions relative to references that work for them), why there
is good and evil (because we have references for what we should
and should not perceive), etc.

The quote from Bill [Bill Powers (930430.0600 MST)] that I
posted made me realize that PCT is a science that plays the
same role in my life as religion plays in the lives of others --
and that that's OK. PCT (not just the model but the whole
_approach_ to understanding the nature of life itself) is
important to me for the same reason that religion is
important to many other people; PCT is my approach to answering
the basic questions of existence. PCT is the approach -- not
the destination -- but it's been (and remains) a very satisfying
journey.

Best

Rick

···

--
Richard S. Marken Phone or Fax: 310 474-0313
Life Learning Associates mailto: rmarken@earthlink.net
http://home.earthlink.net/~rmarken

[From Bruce Gregory 9990816.1158 EDT)]

Rick Marken (990816.0830)

The quote from Bill [Bill Powers (930430.0600 MST)] that I
posted made me realize that PCT is a science that plays the
same role in my life as religion plays in the lives of others --
and that that's OK. PCT (not just the model but the whole
_approach_ to understanding the nature of life itself) is
important to me for the same reason that religion is
important to many other people;

PCT also makes me aware of the incredible need to control evinced by the
Christian God. If ever there was a control freak, He is One!

Bruce Gregory

[From Kenny Kitzke (990816.1230EDT)]

<Rick Marken (990816.0830)>

<< PCT is my approach to answering
the basic questions of existence. PCT is the approach -- not
the destination -- but it's been (and remains) a very satisfying
journey. >>

And, for me, PCT and science itself, has provided few if any answers
concerning the nature of my existance. PCT says I am quite like my dog,
Ramzi. He lives each day controlling his perceptions as best he can until he
dies. Is that my fate too?

It is easy to demonstrate that I have a mind that differs from Ramzi's brain.
I can easily do things which no amount of reorganization in Ramzi would seem
to be able to produce. At least it has not so far in the history of the dog
species.

So, I hold out the hope that this difference is more than a fluke of time and
chance. I see design everywhere in people and the entire physical universe
they exist in. The law of entropy suggests to me that our universe and world
should be tending to disorder and decay and not evolving to order and
complexity.

Perhaps, as one with a science degree (whatever that confers), that is why
religion does appeal to me. It at least offers some reference perceptions
that science can't muster for me. Then, like you, I test them against what I
perceive about me and the world. I am at peace with that comparison. And, I
am glad your test satisfies you, at least overall.

Kenny

[From Kenny Kitzke 9990816.1300 EDT)]

<Bruce Gregory 9990816.1158 EDT)>

<PCT also makes me aware of the incredible need to control evinced by the
Christian God. If ever there was a control freak, He is One!>

You got that one right. He is supreme and answers not to his creation. He
even told us plainly, he made us in his own image, just like PCT has
discovered.

If He is real, it might be wise to not make him angry. My father was very
loving, even when he punished me for disobedience. He thought his control
was for my own ultimate good. But, he was a control freak too, just like all
of us. :sunglasses:

Now, back to HPCT and what it tells us and what it doesn't about human nature.

Kenny

[From Bruce Gregory (990816.1310 EDT)]

Kenny Kitzke (990816.1300 EDT)

If He is real, it might be wise to not make him angry. My
father was very
loving, even when he punished me for disobedience. He
thought his control
was for my own ultimate good.

Everything is starting to make sense. I'll bet you loved your father
didn't you? Especially considering what would have happened if you
didn't. Did someone mention counter control?

Bruce Gregory

[From Rick Marken (990816.1030)]

Kenny Kitzke (990816.1230EDT)--

And, for me, PCT and science itself, has provided few if any answers
concerning the nature of my existance. PCT says I am quite like my dog,
Ramzi. He lives each day controlling his perceptions as best he can
until he dies. Is that my fate too?

It sounds to me more like PCT has, indeed, provided you with answers
concerning the nature of your existence; you just don't seem to have
liked the answers. This suggests that you knew the answers you wanted
concerning the nature of your existence well before you found those
answers in the Bible. There is certainly nothing wrong with this but
(as you note) it has nothing to do with taking a scientific approach
to understanding human existence, which is the approach taken by PCT.

Best

Rick

···

--
Richard S. Marken Phone or Fax: 310 474-0313
Life Learning Associates mailto: rmarken@earthlink.net
http://home.earthlink.net/~rmarken

[From Bjoern Simonsen (990816:21:05 EU time)]

[ .From Rick Marken (990816.0830)]

The passage of Bill's that I posted reminded me why PCT is so
important to me. PCT provided me with what I consider to be a
nice, solid _approach_ to answering my questions about existence.
The PCT model provides a _testable_ framework for answering these
questions; the model tells me (tentatively and testably) the
purpose of life (to keep intrinsic variables under control), how
we can live together without pain (by lightening up and respecting
the fact that others are controllers, too, controlling their
perceptions relative to references that work for them), why there
is good and evil (because we have references for what we should
and should not perceive), etc.

For the time I am more reading then writing. I still need some time to be convenient with the concepts in PCT.
In your letter above I agree totally.
For me also PCT provides me with what I consider to be a
nice, solid _approach_ to answering my questions about existence.

I prefere to use my own words:

For me "purpose of life" is the sum of the referances (referance levels) I am conscious about.

And of course I respect the referances everybody choose for themself.

My "job" here on earth is to control my perceptions.

And for me " happines in life" is the degree I succeed to control my perceptions.

Thats all. So simple is life.

Bjoern

I manage what I choose

E-mail bsimonse@c2i.net

At 13:11 Bruce wrote about Re: Theology and PCT on 16 Aug 99,

[From Bruce Gregory (990816.1310 EDT)]

Kenny Kitzke (990816.1300 EDT)

> If He is real, it might be wise to not make him angry. My
> father was very
> loving, even when he punished me for disobedience. He
> thought his control
> was for my own ultimate good.

Everything is starting to make sense. I'll bet you loved your father
didn't you? Especially considering what would have happened if you
didn't. Did someone mention counter control?

Bruce Gregory

[From Norman Hovda (990816.14:33 MST)]

A game of emotional terrorism where the victim / child worships (counter
controls) the abuser / father?

nth

[From Bill Powers (9907816.1746 MDT)]

Kenny Kitzke 9990816.1300 EDT)--

If He is real, it might be wise to not make him angry. My father was very
loving, even when he punished me for disobedience. He thought his control
was for my own ultimate good. But, he was a control freak too, just like
all of us.

That's an old intellectual scam. God, the omnisicient, knows your inner
thoughts, and you are subject to eternal torture if they are not the
_right_ thoughts. On the other hand, if you do think the right thoughts,
you will be rewarded with an eternal life of bliss and joy. OK, Bubby,
which is it going to be for you?

If you allow yourself to believe even for a moment in this scam, you're
doomed. You have to monitor your thoughts and make sure they are always
pious, dutiful, and worshipful. You can't even think that God doesn't
really exist, because if you do think it, and God _does_ exist, you are
doomed to eternal hellfire, or at least to being shut away from the joys of
Heaven. This is what faith boils down to: deciding that it's safer to bet
that God does exist, and therefor deciding to go for eternal rewards and
avoid eternal punishment. If you're been in conflict about this, making the
decision would come as a great relief.

But making the decision the other way also is a great relief, and it leaves
your mind free to seek the truth in ways that are not biased from the very
beginning.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Chris Cherpas (990816.2201 PT)]

Kenny Kitzke 9990816.1300 EDT)--

If He is real, ...

Bill Powers (9907816.1746 MDT)--

...making the decision the other way also is a great relief,
and it leaves your mind free to seek the truth in ways that
are not biased from the very beginning.

Kenny, I just want to second that emotion. It's possible
you've underestimated the joys of atheism (my religious
faith). I would like to propose you try an experiment that
has been tried by most of the most revered religious scholars
of history: Honestly try not believing for a while and see
what it's like.

I can say I've honestly believed, so I've truly seen
both sides. I was brought up in the Eastern Orthodox
tradition. Now I consider myself a "reborn atheist"
-- I was born an atheist, was taught to be a theist
by my childhood caretakers, and eventually reverted
back to my earlier state.

I feel that free of a supernatural agent, I experience
the universe with much more awe and bliss.

I think that a supernatural being is an 11th-level
perception, a system concept. I think its properties
come partly from the mysterious way reorganization itself
works, creating order out of chaos, always in the background
waiting to surprise us with new possibilities! It's like
internalized evolution. I've never heard of a "being"
that held more interest for me than that, or that left
me with such a total sense of connection to all life.

For me, the holy grail is a drop in the bucket compared
to the primorial soup. But, then, I like soup.

Best regards,
cc

[From Kenny Kitzke (990817.1000EDT)]

<Bill Powers (9907816.1746 MDT)>

<This is what faith boils down to: deciding that it's safer to bet
that God does exist, and therefor deciding to go for eternal rewards and
avoid eternal punishment.>

Faith in the God of the Bible is not based just on logical probabilities,
although one could perceive it the way you have.

<If you're been in conflict about this, making the decision would come as a
great relief.>

I have been. Some call it a mid-life crisis. My "reorganization" to use
your PCT term, has provided great relief and has changed what I control for
from day to day. Compared to Kenny the nuclear engineer and capitalist, I am
at much greater peace with the new existance.

<But making the decision the other way also is a great relief, and it leaves
your mind free to seek the truth in ways that are not biased from the very
beginning.>

Yes, it's a great relief too for some people. But, the second part seems to
me to have just as much bias in it and constraints for you as my system
references do for me.

I find how the Bible describes human nature and free will as intellectully
true for me. We have an innate right to choose our system level references.
Our references are formulated in our intrinsic human spirit, the part of us
that is not currently described in HPCT. At least that is my speculation for
what the mysterious reorganization system in our mind is like, as opposed to
your speculation about it.

Thank God, or the natural universe, for making man this way. Hopefully, we
can both continually live in peace internally and relationally while we both
try to better understand the behavior and nature of human beings as
controllers while applying our own unique system level references, however
they get there.

Kenny

[From Kenny Kitzke (990817.1430EDTT)]

<Chris Cherpas (990816.2201 PT)>

Chris:

Knowing you hold an system level atheistic reference perception helps me
understand and accept some of the behavior I see you do. I suspect that is
the same for you regarding my Biblical/Christian reference perceptions and
some of my behavior.

Beyond that, I doubt if anyone else on the forum gives a hoot about either
one, unless perhaps it would help us understand the mechanism used to
establish them (say a random reorganization a la HPCT or a spiritual
awareness of something outside our brains). In fact, at least one
participant suggested the theological discussion be moved off-line.

So, I am going to post a response to you privately. I must admit being
proselytized to give atheism a try is pretty creative. And, since many
Christians have a reference for proselytizing, it seems fair for you to
counter-control (if there is such a phenomena).

And, since I like soup, you never know what might happen when I deal with my
observations of your behavior. After all, my enneagram as a romantic in your
perception could reveal some pretty creative behavior on my part to you as
well.

Peace (assuming we have a shared reference for that),

Kenny

[From Bruce Gregory (990817.1720 EDT)]

Kenny Kitzke (990817.1000EDT)

I find how the Bible describes human nature and free will as
intellectually
true for me. We have an innate right to choose our system
level references.
Our references are formulated in our intrinsic human spirit,
the part of us
that is not currently described in HPCT. At least that is my
speculation for
what the mysterious reorganization system in our mind is
like, as opposed to
your speculation about it.

Are you suggesting that our intrinsic human spirit and divine
inspiration is responsible for the reorganization that takes place when
we learn to ride a bicycle, for example? Or do we still need Bill's
speculation about reorganization to handle the more mundane processes?

Bruce Gregory

from [ Marc Abrams (990817.2137) ]

[From Kenny Kitzke (990817.1430EDTT)]

In fact, at least one
participant suggested the theological discussion be moved off-line.

If it was me, I suggested a move to a different forum. :slight_smile:

Rick seemed to like the discussion. Different folks, different strokes. :slight_smile:

Marc

[From Kenny Kitzke (990817.2220 EDT)]

<Bruce Gregory (990817.1720 EDT)>

<Are you suggesting that our intrinsic human spirit and divine
inspiration is responsible for the reorganization that takes place when
we learn to ride a bicycle, for example? Or do we still need Bill's
speculation about reorganization to handle the more mundane processes?>

Are you sure what happens when we learn to ride a bicycle is
"reorganization?" I'm not. And, I don't think Bill uses that term for any
phenomena that does not involve intrinsic variables and random attempts at
new behavior. You best ask him what is going on when one learns how to ride
a bike. Is reorganization involved or not? Or, does it depend on something?
And, what is that?

My speculation is about a higher level system that sets the reference
perceptions for the system levels in humans rather than a "reorganization"
system. Riding a bike would seem to be at the lower sensual and mental
levels of reference perceptions.

Kenny

[Chris Cherpas (990817.2242 PT)]

Kenny Kitzke (990817.1430EDTT)--

Knowing you hold a system level atheistic reference perception
helps me understand and accept some of the behavior I see you do.

Glad to hear it. I like others to understand me the way
I understand myself, so to speak. I am skeptical, but do
have faith in there being no deity. So, I consider atheism
to be my religion, and I cannot even recall the last time
I really questioned that faith.

I suspect that is the same for you regarding my
Biblical/Christian reference perceptions and
some of my behavior.

Yes, that helps in my perceiving you in a holistic way --
overriding any apparent contradictions, or simply filling
in the Gestalt in the face of almost no direct interaction.
That's one of the beauties of level 11 perception.

I must admit being proselytized to give atheism a try is
pretty creative.

I admit it: I am a campaigner for atheism. I want everybody
to feel as good about the idea as I do. Like the Christian, who
must pity me as a lost soul, I genuinely feel bad that anyone is
burdened with a theistic world view. We're terribly ironic.

Peace (assuming we have a shared reference for that)...

It's my #1.

Best regards,
cc

[From Bruce Gregory (990818.0652 EDT)]

Kenny Kitzke (990817.2220 EDT)

Are you sure what happens when we learn to ride a bicycle is
"reorganization?" I'm not. And, I don't think Bill uses that
term for any
phenomena that does not involve intrinsic variables and random attempts at
new behavior.

I don't know about you, but that is a good description of how I learned to
ride a bicycle.

My speculation is about a higher level system that sets the reference
perceptions for the system levels in humans rather than a "reorganization"
system.

I think that's called a "deus ex machina".

Bruce Gregory

[From Bill Powers (990818 MDT)]

Kenny Kitzke (990817.2220 EDT)--

My speculation is about a higher level system that sets the reference
perceptions for the system levels in humans rather than a "reorganization"
system. Riding a bike would seem to be at the lower sensual and mental
levels of reference perceptions.

Let's ask the basic questions about your ideas: If what you say is true,
and if HPCT is the correct model, what is implied, and what should we observe?

If there is a higher-level system that sets system reference signals, what
sets the reference signals for that higher-level system? And when you
answer that question, I can ask it again about the answer you give.
Eventually we will get to the highest level, and my understanding of your
proposal is that God sets the reference signals at that level.

It seems to me that if God is setting the highest reference signals,
whatever they are, our worries are over. Everyone will be at peace, or at
least will be aspiring to the goals God has set; there will be no crime, no
sadness, no envy, no disorganization, no ignorance -- unless God wills that
such things should exist. In fact, if what you say is true, we should
observe a world of people acting exactly as God wills that they should act.
What I am writing to you now is the outcome of my spiritual level operating
through my system level and so on down to the level of typing, with God
manipulating the spiritual reference levels (and of course any other levels
He or She chooses to manipulate). So these are the words of God you are
reading. And so are yours, Rick's, and so on. What any of us says,
therefore, should always be infallible, unless it is God's will that we
make mistakes.

If God is in charge of the highest reference signals, then we should not
observe human wills to have any effect at the level where God chooses to
set the goals. Our degree and quality of spirituality is not up to us; it
is determined by God (this has been called Grace). This relieves us of any
reponsibility for being either more or less spiritual than we are.

Given that God sets the highest reference signals, the settings of lower
reference signals will reflect both God's choice and disturbances of the
perceptions in the hierarchy being compared with those reference signals.
However, if God created the physical universe as well as the details of our
bodies, He knows what the disturbances will be at every level, and so He
knows how the next-to-highest goals will be set, and so on down to the
lowest level. Even if there is a randomly-operating reorganizing system,
God in His omiscience knows how every intrinsic error will end up altering
the hierarchy of control systems, and so he knows how our organizations
will develop from conception to death.

It has been said that God has granted us free will so that we can freely
choose between right and wrong. This appears to contradict the idea that
God sets the highest reference levels. At the lower levels, it's perfectly
clear that we are not free to choose goals that violate our own goals at
the next level up. For example, if we have decided to drive a car from
Chicago to Denver during the next two days, we are no longer free to choose
which way to turn at each intersection we encounter. If we had no
destination in mind, or no time-limit, we could freely choose to turn left,
right, or not at all at each place where there is a choice. Eventually we
would get to every place a car could go. But once we have chosen a
higher-level goal, a destination, and once we have chosen time constraints,
the lower-level choices are no longer free. They are forced by the
higher-level goal. Our free will at any given level is superseded by our
reference signals we have "freely" set at the next level up.

I presume that this situation holds at each level. This means that at the
next-to-highest level, our apparently free choice of goals is superseded by
the requirements of the goals set at the highest level, which by your
proposal are set by God rather than by our own free will.

This leaves no place for willing freely, in the sense of arbitrarily or
capriciously, at least if both your proposal and HPCT are correct. So we
have to conclude that what we see people doing on this Earth, both for good
and for evil, is the will of God, and is not freely chosen. It appears that
God is the one who chooses that evil and misery exist.

There is, of course, a ready-made answer to these problems: Satan. Satan is
described as having powers allowing him to interfere with the will of God,
and set his own choices of reference signals in our hierarchies, to make us
seek goals other than the highest goals set by God. So if we are to do the
Will of God, somehow we must distinguish between the goals set in us by
Satan and the goals set by God.

Making that distinction would imply that we have a viewpoint from which to
see both God's goals and Satan's -- in other words, a level of perception
at still a higher level. But if such a level existed, it would by
definition be the highest level, and God and possibly Satan would be
setting the reference signals there. So we must conclude that God and
possibly Satan set goals that are known to us only as what seem the right
or wrong kinds of systems to establish and maintain. We have no way to know
_a priori_ whether a given "spiritual aspiration" was put into us by God or
by Satan. In fact, we can't even trust any of the earthly advisers who
claim to know the Will of God -- we have only their word that they are not
working for the Great Deceiver. Neither can we trust the "still small
voice" of conscience, because Satan, too, can influence that voice.
In truth, there seems to be little we can do but stand by and wait for God
and Satan to battle it out to a conclusion.

Clearly, the implications of your proposal in relation to HPCT are many and
complex, and it is not at all clear how the questions and apparent
contradictions could be handled. As far as human experience is concerned,
there is really little to choose among the propositions that our highest
goals are set by reorganization, evolution, God, or Satan. Whichever is the
case, we have no conscious way of altering them on purpose. It's not easy
to know exactly what our highest goals are, or even to talk about them,
since they are several levels above the levels where language operates. Our
experience of them seems to consist mainly of a sense that some high-level
perceptions are good, to be sought, and some are bad, to be avoided.

In fact, this would seem to be one of the main phenomena that religions and
other theoretical concepts are intended to explain. Where do these concepts
of right and wrong come from? What are our purposes in life? What does an
individual life amount to, that it is worth living despite all the pain it
can bring? Why do we care about science, logic, truth, beauty, or love?
Basically, why are some things experienced as good and other things as bad?

HPCT offers a theory to answer such questions in a way different from
religious explanations (which also can differ from each other quite
radically). It doesn't use concepts like God or Satan. It assumes that all
actual phenomena are natural, not supernatural and thus contradictory to
all knowledge. One of its virtues, as I see it, is in the questions it does
not purport to answer. Instead of compulsively having to give an answer to
every question, we who are using HPCT can recognize that we aren't prepared
sufficiently to answer some questions, such as the nature of consciousness,
and that we must first work on questions we have some hope of answering.

Best,

Bill P.