From Greg Williams (920829)
Bill Powers (920828.1800)
RE: Prolegomenon. I didn't know that Machiavelli was Greek.
Interesting you should say that. It turns out that people of Greek descent
(also Chinese) are considered hard to sell by (small- or big-) con artists.
... why not join with me in constructing a general treatment of
manipulation from the point of view of PCT -- a general treatment which
will show the scope and limits of manipulation?
While we're at it, let's be sure to examine hidden assumptions.
Definition 1 and Axiom 1 state that control consists of comparing
perceptual signals with reference signals and acting to maintain them
in a match. Axiom 2 states that people can't alter each others'
reference signals. The definition and the two axioms thus indicate
that there is no way for people to alter each others' perceptual
signals if those signals are under control.
True, but I can provide the opportunity for you to control perceptual signals
which you would certainly not have been controlling had I not been around
("Come over and look at this wallet I found here!"). I cannot be sure that you
will come over, of course, because that depends on your current control
structure (reference signals) -- but without my "disturbance" (ALTERING your
perceptual signals, as I said in the "Prolegomenon," but perhaps more to the
point, leading to an alteration in WHICH perceptual signals you are
controlling), you would certainly NEVER come over and look, since there would
be nothing to look at. I think this restatement obviates your critique.
The use would be to take these counterexamples apart and show that in
every case they require the active cooperation of the manipulee.
This was exactly my point. PCT says that for manipulation to have a chance of
success (setting aside coincidence/"lucky" guessing by the influencer), the
influencer must try to alter the influencee's perceptual signals so that the
influencee's control processes will result in certain perceptions of the
influencer. You and I are in complete agreement on this.
He [a con man] manipulated your perceptions, right? No. YOU manipulated your
perceptions; you're the only one who can.
In general, the con men alter the marks' "don't-care" perceptions in such a
way as to SHIFT the marks' controlling processes so as to result in certain
perceptions of the con men. This is perhaps a clearer expression of what I was
trying to express in the "Prolegomenon." Again, you and I are in complete
agreement (unless you hold that one individual's disturbances of another's
"don't-care" (uncontrolled) perceptions can never result in the latter's
shifting to control perceptions which he/she otherwise would not have been
controlling). Your (earlier, above) bringing up the importance of "don't-care"
perceptions in the manipulation process has provided me with the opportunity
(which I otherwise would not have had) to make this PCT-based theory more
detailed (which I want to do). Thanks for the manipulation! You get the "yes,
Bill, you are right" perception.
Now this may sound like blaming the victim, and in a way it is just
that. I am not very interested in developing a manual for
manipulators. I'm interested in teaching people how to avoid being
manipulated, which would obsolete any such manual.
Who said that manipulating or being manipulated is always (or usually) bad? I
think it is part and parcel of everyday life, and has both good and bad
effects for influencers and influencees in particular cases. I don't think it
would be a very pleasant world if everyone steadfastly refused to manipulate
or be manipulated -- have you ever lived around a "paranoid"? I do think that
PCT can provide the basis for a general theory of the nature and limits of
manipulation, giving insights into its everyday operations, and possibly
usefully exposing con games.
What you have to learn is that manipulation can't work on you unless you
actively help it along.
PCT can help to flesh out assertions like this. Again, are you game?