values, addictions

[From Rick Marken (920614 11:40)]

Well, it's pretty quiet out there. This makes it difficult
for me to avoid the drudgery of writing up a paper on the
"conflict-based stabilization" (to borrow Bill Powers' name
for it) of improving performance in tracking tasks. So as
a pass at trying to create a diversion let me try to start
a thread or two. Actually, I would love to restart the
standards thread because it seems like standards (or "family
values") are going to play a big part in the US election. The
Republicans seem to be planning to push the message that the
problems we have in our society are the result of people having
adopted bad values. It looks like the media is going to take the
rap for having failed to teach good values and at the same time
providing lots of bad value models.

Leaving aside the question of what might constitute a good or bad
value -- ie. assuming everybody could agree on a set of good
values, say -- I'm wondering what the Republican program is
that will lead people to adopt all these good values. Is the
idea to allow the media to show only material that is a model
of good values (or that shows the bad consequences of having
bad values)? What about the people who watch little or no TV? Movies?

Based on what I've heard the Republicans saying about the
importance of family values, I think what they must have in mind
is a program like this:
   1) first make a list of the actual good family values
   2) then publish them everywhere (especially in poor
communities where, the Republicans claim, that they are
most needed) and
   3) accompany the published list with exhortations to
"have these values, have these values"

This reminds me of the time of the French revolution when people in
power had a more tangible idea of what the scruvy masses really
needed and suggested the solution to them in public -- "Eat
cake, eat cake!!". I sure hope the scurvy masses in the US
like family values better than the french masses liked cake.


Next possible thread -- let's talk about addiction from a PCT
perspective. I think this is a big problem for many people --
who feel that they are addicted to sex, drugs, alcohol (a drug),
work, food, etc. Addiction of one kind or another seems to
be a big problem for many people in our society.

So what is addiction from a PCT perspective? Are all addictions based
on the same principles? Some addictions (like addiction to posting on
CSG net) seem easier to deal with than others (like addiction to
nicotine). I've been addicted to both -- I am still addicted to CSGnet
(the easier addiction) but haven't smoked for 10 yrs. I suspect that
quitting CSG net would be a hell of a lot easier than was quitting
smoking. What's the difference? What creates a physiological
addiction? Are some people more suceptable to certain addictions
than others (for example, are there really "alcoholics",
"anorexics", "nymphomaniacs"?). It seems like much of conventional
wisdom about addiction is based on the idea that there are these
"types" of people-- they have a "disease" that makes it difficult deal
with alcohol, food or sex in anything but a compulsive manner. Surely
PCT would say that this is ridiculous. Yet it does seem that
some people are simply unable to deal with certain substances
or situations in a non-addictive/compulsive manner. Why? And
how might PCT help such addictive types (assuming that the
person does not want to be addicted)?

Just wondering. Now, for a brief session of CSGnet withdrawel.

Best regards



Richard S. Marken USMail: 10459 Holman Ave
The Aerospace Corporation Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 336-6214 (day)
(310) 474-0313 (evening)