[From Fred Nickols (2005.11.07.0825 EST)] -
I've been following (loosely) this thread ("improper actions") and a comment below caught my eye and triggers a comment...
From Bjorn Simonsen (2005.11.07,13:15 EUST)]
Well we know (or shall I say hypothesize, Martin) that living organisms
control their perceptions. They don't control their actions. Give me a
reason for reading something I don't know is an action, intended result or a
side effect. Well of course it is entertainment.
The comment above about controlling perceptions and not controlling actions (or behavior) is a commonplace remark on this list. Indeed, unless I'm mistaken, it amounts to a central tenet of PCT.
I also think I understand the statement in a PCT sense. I further think it flies in the face of common sense. I just now reached for a cup sitting on my desk and took a sip of coffee. Is there an elegant PCT-based explanation of that "action" or "behavior"? Sure, and it hinges on the control of perception. However, were you to ask me if I controlled my "cup getting" behavior or my "coffee sipping" action, I would say, "Sure." So would most people I know.
I wonder if a technical explanation of control is getting in the way of communicating PCT to others, of capturing their interest, and of engaging their minds.
And so I try to avoid saying things like "we control our perceptions" and "we don't control our behavior." I think they raise unnecessary barriers to understanding and invite rejection as well as scorn.
What do I say instead? Well, I sometimes say that "our actions are controlled by way of our perceptions." I sometimes say that "behavior is controlled through perception." And I sometimes say that "perception is the means through which we control our behavior and actions." But I try very hard NOT to say, "We don't control our behavior or our actions." Or even the more familiar, "Behavior is the control of perception."
What to say? What to say? Do others on this list find it awkward to tell others that they don't control their behavior or actions? What do you say?
Fred Nickols, CPT
"Assistance at A Distance"