Volitional change in references, Buddhism

[From Rick Marken (960618.0800)]

Bruce Gregory --

The good news: You can change your own pictures.

Jeff Vancouver --

[This] implies we have VOLITIONAL control of our pictures. I do not think
PCT makes that claim.

Bill Powers (960613.1830 MDT)

Why not? Reference signals are set and varied by higher-level systems.

Jeff Vancouver (960617.17:10) --

By changing your own pictures I took that to mean reorganizing. You are
taking it to mean controlling...(but even controlling can be difficult).

Reorganizing IS controlling. Bruce Gregory correctly noted that we can
volitionally change the specifications ("pictures" = reference signals) with
reference to which we control our perceptions; that is, we can change what
perceptions we _want_. There is nothing difficult about doing this. Try it!
Hold your hand out in front of you; now place your hand on your head. If you
can do this (I'm betting that you can) you have just volitionally changed
your reference specification ("picture") for the perception of the position
of your hand. That is, you just volitionally changed what you want.

While we're on the topic of "wants", I finally asked my carpooler what this
Buddhism stuff was all about (this was AFTER I posted the "PCT Buddhism"
post). The first words out of her mouth were "Buddhism is about how wants
create problems for us". That's EXACTLY what she said. The Buddhist solution
to the problem of wanting is a little ambiguous. At one point Angie said that
the goal is to eliminate wants. But then I realized that Buddhist "wants"
are more like what we might call "extreme settings of reference signals". The
problem in Buddhism is wanting extreme values of perceptual variables:
extreme amounts of wealth, food, sex, whatever. In PCT terms, I think
Buddhism is recommending that we should want in a way that will allow success
(control of the wanted perception) and that is not likely to create conflict.
Sounds good to me! Go Buddha!