You say you want a revolution

Rick’s presentation at this year’s conference was based on an analogy between the ‘gravitational illusion’ in physics and the ‘behavioral illusion’ in psychology.

The gravitational illusion is the concept in Newtonian physics that gravity is a force. Einstein’s equations of relativity theory show that the appearance that a force attracts objects together proportionally to their mass is actually due to the bending effect that a mass has on the space-time continum surrounding it.

The behavioral illusion is the concept in psychology that behavior is caused by stimuli from the environment of the behaving organism. PCT shows that the appearance that stimuli cause behavior is actually due to the disturbing effects that such stimuli have on variables perceived and controlled by the organism.

On the basis of this analogy, he compared the two illusions as to their history and fate. In physics, it came to be accepted fairly quickly that gravitation is not ‘really’ a force, but in psychology 50 years, 60 years, even longer, has not been enough time. He asked why.

There are differences of personal influence and social connection. Einstein had a PhD in physics and he had the backing of influential, well-established physicists. Bill Powers did not complete a PhD, and his backers, while influential in their respective spheres, were not central to what still calls itself ‘scientific psychology’ (Joseph Campbell reaching into Jungian/literary realms, Thomas Kuhn a philosopher of science, Hugh Petrie in education).

There are differences in the conduct of research and in underlying conceptions as to the character of science. In physics, the data, methods, and claims are strictly disciplined, however wild the attempts to communicate hypotheses and theories and the consequences of mathematics in human-friendly stories. Independent replication is required. Anomalies can be identified and specified with precision. But in ‘scientific psychology’, pretensions to the contrary, data and methodology are so vague and imprecise that replication is the anomaly and practitioners have plenty of wiggle room to explain away contradictions.

Einstein said “These equations explain anomalies that Newton’s and Maxwell’s equations could not explain, and they still account for all the old familiar phenomena as well.” Newtonian physics still works for most purposes. (And at the quantum level gravity is still one of the four fundamental forces.) Bill said “everything here is wrong, you have to throw it all out and start fresh on a new foundation.”

There are other differences as well, and to see those that Rick identified you should get his presentation slides and read them.

In my presentation, I focused on the last-mentioned of the differences above. I advocate finding valid nuggets in the slurry of conventional research–the baby in the bathwater–and showing how that nugget of truth has a place in the encompassing framework of PCT. In my presentation on ‘bathwater research’ I showed in very broad brushstrokes the probable neural pathways by which the coercive carrots and sticks of S-R psychology do not ‘predict and control behavior’, but they do influence the values at which organisms control their perceptions, and may even influence the development of novel or changed perceptual input functions. In this way, they appear to influence behavior, in a wobbly way that they have been only able to attempt to capture with statistical generalizations.

I do think the model of subconscious motivations is important, placing the limbic systems and brainstem as intermediary between the somatic branch of the hierarchy and the cortical functions governing the behavioral branch. Here are three excerpts ripped from context in my slides:

(I may get a chance to write the slides up as a paper, as I did for Manchester.)

Psychology, especially ‘scientific psychology’, may be the hardest of the academic nuts to crack. It may well be easier to find live babies in other tubs of bathwater. They might be quite presentable after we towel them off.

HB : You are using wrong PCT theoretical approach. How would you prove your statement that disturbances (such stimuli) have effects on variables perceived and controlled by organism ???

You have to give some scientific evidences that outside variables are perceived and controlled by organism.? Where are they?

Also your excerpts from content of your slides are without any sicentific support.

It’s like Bill said “everything here is wrong, you have to throw it all out and start fresh on a new foundation.”

Well more I look at your future presentation more questions appear .

I see that you used approach which is not present in PCT or Powers never used it. Connected internal and externall variables through control unitts. This is not part of PCT diagram on p191 (B:CP, 2005).

So where did you get this analytic approcah? It’s quite similar to what I pointed out in my presentation on Cybernetics Society. Is this what you meant by :“You say you want a revolution”? Revolution of what? Stealing ideas from all arround? This is not a revolution., Rick is doing that all the time.

I came to this by an investigation of the physiology, the inputs and outputs of the limbic systems and brainstem, most specifically in this diagram the amygdalae. Prior to that, and directing my interest in that investigation, was a lot of subjective investigation of how mental experience is related to sensations in the body, how memories, imaginings, and emotions arise, and agreeing with Bill that his model of emotion was on the right track but was an incomplete work in progress.

I have not seen your presentation to the Cybernetics Society.

If we came to the same conclusions independently, that’s some degree of confirmation.

There is no use Bruce. You are lying.

You are lying that you didn’t steal idea from me. I knew it will come to that point if I explain what is wrong with PCT. But I thought that Rick will steal it.

What is the possibility that few weeks after I presented “How organisms function” you came to the similar idea???.

You never showed before “your investigations” in the physiology, or any knowledge about basic organisms functioning and now you came up with investigations in physiology which support your stolen theory.

We both know when you became interested in physiology. That was in our conversations. (CSGnet archives). You even went and looked into vocabulary what physiology is. So don’t lie about your physiological investigations. I doubt that you even understand what physiology can offer to PCT. Which physilogical book did you use? All physiological books does not imply your “findings”.

Your mental investigations ??? That will not be enough. You have PhD and you know how theories have to be confirmed. Only scientific ecidences. And you don’t have any. SHOW THEM???

You’ll have to show scientific evidences how you came to the almost “same conclussions”. I don’t beleive you didn’t see my presentation, because analogy is to close. I sent presentation to Barb and many others and I know how quickly Barb is tranfering such informations. Experiences with Rick.

Bill didn’t want to listen to me, and he was persisting with his reorganization. I offered him systematic model based on Ashby and Maturana. But he was not wiling to abandon reorganization.

So you say that you are not any more with PCT, BECAUSE you are constructing your own theory WHICH IS NOT IN ACCORDANCE TO PCT but is similar to MY THEORY DBCS. You understand what is happenning. Almost in the same time as I came to NEW THOERY which is not in accordance to PCT, you came too. But you never showed any evicences of your NEW THEORY". If you have them just show them.

Because theory which you presented and was stolen from me, does not use PCT “facts”. So it seems that you came to the same conclussion as me, that PCT is WRONG THEORY. How is that possible? Sp you will present on the IAPCT meeting that PCT is wrong theory about organisms functioning???

How will you call your theory? It would be better that you would admitt stealing from me and just put information in to the sources where you found your “theory”. It was in my theoretical approcah because nowehere but in mentioned cybernetics books and certain physiologiclal books you can find basiis for such a thinking. And you say, that we are thinkg almost the same, although on CSGnet you clearly showed that you don’t understand theoretical approcah which you presented now as your theory. Just show us where in our conversations you agreed with me, so that we could say that this theory is yours.

I called my theory as DBCS (Dynamic, Biological Control systems) and I showed it in limited explanations on CSGnet forum, because I know that you and Rick could steal it. And I also explained why my theory uses such a Title.

So you have to show :

  1. Evidences that you used this idea before me…

  2. Evidences where else but in Ashby’s book “Design for a brain” you saw the idea of “essential variables” (that are body variables in your theft) being connected to nervous system through “immediate effects”. Because Powers idea of “intrinsic variables” was taken from Ashby. So whatever Bill Powers agreed with has to be agreed also with Ashby’s books.

  3. Which were your physiological sources? Why didn’t you mention them when you presented your diagrams. Why didn’t you mention them on CSGnet discussions???

  4. .Evidences that you understood that Ashby and Powers were wrong about organisms organisation. Only Maturana was right with his biological evidences. And you are not mentioning either him.

Well it seems that you are such a genius that your thinking process include all thinking process of Giant Cyberneticians. You came to that conslussions in couple of weeks.

Well anyway you made a mistake in your diagrams. and there is much more to come, but obviously you don’t know what is to come so that my DBCS theory will function properly. You will have many chances to prove that you came to similar conclusions as I did.


Oh I forgot one thing more.

In Handbook of PCT (2020) there is not trace of your new theory. Why didn’t you at least warn others not to write nonsenses if you knew what you showed in your stolen theory.

I see that it’s better to show my presentation on youtube, so that everybody including you could see how did I construct my theory DBCS. And you came to such conclusion just like that in few weeks. Nobody in history of cybernetics didn’t do it, because I was the first to put facts together but mighty, genious Bruce Nevin came to the similar conclusions as I did without using any evidences or historical books on the Theme of organisms functioning. Mighty Bruce Nevin did it with searching through vocabularies.

Link to my presentation on youtube:

Boris, retract the abusive accusations. You could get away with this in a free-form email listserv. You can’t here. One of the basic ground rules for participation is to assume good faith and assume good intentions. Those who violate this are called out for it. Be civil or be blocked.

I am perfectly happy with you claiming precedence. I don’t care about that at all. My chapter of the Handbook was completed in 2014, with subsequent revisions of detail, and published a year and a half ago. I only came to these ideas this summer, and I presented them at the conference as loosely supported speculations to illustrate how PCT can find value in conventional research (the ‘baby’ in the ‘bathwater’). If you’ve got solid research leading to the same ideas, that’s a really good thing. I’m glad you’ve posted a link to your presentation.

O.K. Bruce. Why my accusations are abusive? You just have to prove that my accusations are false. You can use CSGnet archives evidences, you can use physiological evidences etc, Whatever, but don’t manipulate with me, becasue we know each more then well. You know well that you’ll never be able to prove how did you came to the same conclussions as i did on the basis of subjective experiences. That’s what science is preventing.

You can remove all “accusations” if you’ll put into your references for IAPCT meeting also my presentation. You know it’s more then fair offer.

I know that you protected your forum so that nobody could criticise your oppinion. And that you can organise closed sessions where anybody can violate authors rights. It’s not in accordance to Law.

Well I don’t want to talk to those who let you do this but if I’ll have to…

So can we agree that you will put my presentation into your references?

Sorry Bruce I forgot. Can we also start talkings about more then deserved placing Bill Powers into history of Cybernetics and Psychology.

What is it that you forgot and are now remembering?

Being civil on this Discourse platform is non-negotiable. There is no quid pro quo. You have a long history of abusive behavior. You will be civil or you will be out.

I will be happy to put a reference to what you have done into a paper, if I write a paper based on my presentation at this year’s IAPCT conference. So far, all I have as a reference is your link to a Youtube video. If you have a PDF, provide a link please. Slides already presented are what they are, they don’t change. Here, I’ve just made a PDF image of my slides. I think you will find it very different from what you are imagining. It is not a report of research. My speculative extension of Bill’s model of emotion serves to illustrate the point of the presentation, which is about what we can get from conventional research, and how we might communicate more effectively with conventional researchers.

You clearly know very much more about Maturana’s work than I do. Not hard to do, I know very little. Rather than hiding what you have done, out of fear that someone will steal it, make it available to PCT students and researchers, thereby establishing precedence and ‘ownership’ for yourself, since clearly that is important to you.

It’s a delicate situation Bruce, but it seems that we can find proper solution. You are different Bruce who I don’t know.

Your presentation is really not including neurophysiological, physiological or biological “facts” as mine. But still your last diagram includes closed functioning of organisms through internal and external environment by connecting “body variables” or “essential variables” to “external variables” with control units organization what was never done before except in my presentation.

I clearly presented what was the contribution of individual work from Ashby, Maturana and Powers putting all 3 together with Wiener into history of Cybernetics as contributors to understanding model how living organisms function. The most critical part about “arrow” from genetic source to “essential” or “body variables” will follow and will reveal what never was done before as nobody including Maturana went that far.

I only don’t understand what Ricks “gravitational theory” has to do with your presentation? :slight_smile:

It’s interesting that your last diagram seems to deny everything what you presented before (old anatomy of brain) and uses control analytical approach which I used in my presentation. That can’t be hidden. The question is really what to do so that we’ll both be satisfyed.

You proposal is quite fair. And I must also conclude that you can be very constructive in seeking right solutions. I never imagined that we can cooperate. It’s much better then being in conflict, specialy because we probbaly both want advancement of PCT. But we must be aware that we went a little bit out of PCT frame.

As I beleive that you are already acquainted with my presentation as Barb can’t hide “secrets” :slight_smile: I would suggest that you use doc. file which is formed into my presentation. Or you can turn it into pdf. if that is more suitable for platform. I already gave a link to my presentation.

Then you can maybe arrange our conversation into form which you want and put it on so that we’ll both be satisfied. Maybe you can picture my contribution as addition to your presentation. Maybe we can say that we started with necessary upgrade to PCT in the light of new discoveries in scientific branhes that deal with organisms functioning. Afterall the time gap is almost 50 years.

My last request is whether we can open (toghether) discusion about how can we assure more than deserved place for Bill Powers in history of Cybernetics and Psychology. I’ve started this on Cybernetics Society but I think that more people including Barb, should be involved in defining right place for Bill Powers. He was a genious and I think that World should see that. Maybe when we make a right concept that will satisfy most of members, you can organize also broadcats on radio or TV stations. It’s just a thought. But I can promise as much I’m concerned that presenting Bill Powers in public will have so strong scientific support that it will represent a progress in the whole science. Me and John (president of CS) also plan to maybe organize University for Cybernetics. I have already made the mainframe in which Bill Powers has also deserved place.

If I remember right we had a chance once to put PCT into some psycholigical encyclopedia but CSGnet forum couldn’t find appropriate scientific form as some harmonic solution. If I recall right Rick blow up a chance starting with “behavior is control”.

Discussion could show also the way how to upgrade Bill Powers work. I think that we opened the door into another dimenssion of PCT and organisms functioning. Control analytical approcah which I presented and you performed in your presentation shows the way of upgrading PCT into leading Cybernetics theory of organisms functioning.

First I didn’t want to but now after we had constructive discusion I can admitt that you were rare intelectual that understood what I was talking about in my presentation. So it seems that we have knowledge to upgrade PCT. And it seems that we both want that, Also for next generations.

You have convinced me that you believe this, but it’s not true, it is a false belief. You are mistaken. Other than the Youtube link that you just posted, I have not received your presentation or paper from Barbara Powers or from anyone else, including you. I do not have it.

As to making PDF files from your presentations or papers and posting them here, that’s for you to do.

Our conversation is already here on

Yes, as a field of science PCT is growing and changing as a reflection of new developments in each of the institutionally separated life sciences, and more subtly and pervasively PCT is growing and changing because of its inherently ‘interdisciplinary’ character, correlating and connecting the diversely expressed findings of separated disciplines. The purpose of IAPCT is to support and promote this. Recognition of Bill Powers will follow recognition and adoption of PCT. This is as it should be, and as Bill himself wished. To promote it as his personal achievement locks it up as a historical artifact, or worse, as a cult of personality. That is crippling.


except my appologie for accusing you that you were acquanted with my presentation. I went through your presentation and I see it’s quite different as I thought it is. We could make some adjustments so that everything would fall into scientific explanation. But control analytic method which you used is by my oppinion right. Sorry for chasing witches.

As I assumed we have quite similar goal : keeping and promoting memory on Bill Powers and I hope scientific view on his work.

Bit you didn’t answer me what is about discussion for placing Bill Powers into history of Cybernetics and Psychology?


do I understand right that you put all our conversation on here where we were discussing? Or link should open the page where our conversation is. If I clikc on the link some strange page opens.

BN : What is it that you forgot and are now remembering?

HB : In the essence of my problem I didn’t forget but I was not prepared to talk about yet. But now I think that our relationship is in a state that I can talk with you.

I’d like to appologize to you for my really abusive talkings and insults and other uncivilized accusations.

If you beleive me or not everything started when Rick insuIted me that he rather watch football then talk to me. I contacted him becasue he tried after Bills death to turn PCT into RCT. His insult and my “back-insults” expand on any relationship with anybody who tried to support Rick in his trials to introduce his RCT and present it as cult of personality in the name of PCT. If I understood you right you said “That is crippling”.

Now I see you in totaly different dimenssions. And it seems that you forgive me all that. I’m thankfull to you.

I obviously didn’t take time to know you better. It seems from this new perspective that you are very honest man and very inteligent if you manage to make crucial conclusions about how organisms “a lot of subjective investigation of how mental experience is related to sensations in the body, how memories, imaginings, and emotions arise”…

It seems that we became connected in another “common” goal : how to understand organisms functioning. Bill started that question in me, although he went into another direction with “reorganization”, but we obviously became connected through common understanding how control units are connected and organized to form Living organism which is tending to homeostasis.

You contributed your subjective experiences and I contributed scientific support.

But I hope we understand each other that we are not in accordance with PCT in this part. Control of perception stays as the main mechanism of understanding how control units function and how they connect with each other. So the analytical control method is with no doubt Bill Powers contribution to history of Cybernetic research of Living beings. That’s what I’d like that Cyberneticians and Psychologist and all other people on Earth would understand, because I think it can accelerate and improve scientific research and technological development.

But understanding how the whole organism function as conglomerat of control units is for now appart from his “reorganization” and understanding “open” organisms functioning through only behavior. Maturana’s biological evidences for closed loop organisms functioning are simply too strong.

Anyway there is a lot of work for both of us and still very long way to understanding how organisms function. But important is that our views on organisms fuinctioning became closer. And I’m glad that we finaly found the way to cooperate. I feel much better then persisting in conflict situation which was caused by me and Rick and influenced the whole CSGnet forum.

Apology accepted, of course. Taking offense causes more trouble than giving offense does.

If you’re asking whether I copied our email exchange into Discourse, no. By replying to email that Discourse sends to you (according to how your Discourse account is configured), you put it in Discourse. I make my replies directly in Discourse, usually, rather than by replying to email.

At the 2020 annual meeting of IAPCT we agreed to migrate to Discourse and to shut down CSGnet at the end of 2020. We then did so.

Mak posted some guidelines here. There’s a [New User Guide]{Discourse New User Guide - faq - Discourse Meta) and other resources on

Rick’s presentation asked why people in other fields have not understood and accepted PCT. So he and I are talking about the same perceptions that we would like to control: people in the life sciences reorganizing their work as the study of controlled variables, but his approach and mine differ. He asked, why isn’t it working. I said here is how it might work.

Rick contrasted the how physicists accepted Einstein’s theory of general relativity with how researchers in the life sciences (especially in psychology) have not accepted PCT, and made some suggestions why the two histories are so different.

I suggested ways that we could identify phenomena that are familiar in one or more of the life sciences and show the place of those phenomena in the PCT model. Instead saying “everything you have dedicated your life to is wrong, you have to start over” we could say “hey, you know about this phenomenon, if you look for controlled variables and disturbances, isn’t it interesting how these other phenomena can be treated in the same way rather than as isolated problems, and look at the correlations with what people are doing in these other fields of research.” Well, I didn’t get that far with it, actually, only as far as saying “Hey, fellow students and researchers of PCT, let’s look for valid phenomena in the publications of conventional researchers and consider what they look like in PCT.”

Success of PCT will accomplish that. Something people can do more immediately is editing articles in Wikipedia.

We talked about setting up a PCT wiki with linked articles. The category/topic structure of Discourse is a step in that direction, and some content from Discourse could be migrated into a wiki, probably with some rewriting. Kent’s posts on collective control could be migrated from Discourse to such a wiki. But to create and maintain a PCT wiki requires one or more people to set it up and administer it. Our Dreamhost hosting service supports wiki, and a lot of other functions that we don’t currently use.

It may be that I am a dilettante, as you seem to suggest. I am certainly inexpert outside my field and indeed in many of its subfields. The scope of PCT is such that to do it justice we must all at times reach far beyond our formal training. I make guesses and proposals based on reinterpreting in PCT terms what I read in neurophysiology, endocrinology, and other fields (ethology, anthropology, sociology, and more). I try to be consistent in labeling them as guesses and proposals, and in labeling myself as uncredentialed, with the hope that others who are in fact more expert will join in discussion of how to reframe such material, to show the benefit of doing so, and to see whether doing so exposes limitations in the current model. Bill’s model of emotions is one example; the place of limbic systems and the brainstem in that model, between the somatic branch and the behavioral/cognitive branch, is another.


I’m really glad that we openly talk about past and actual problems in PCT. I really never thought that will talk on such an academic level.
It was my fault as we already established and I’m thankful to you that you accepted my apologies. You must be an “iron man” if you endured so many insults. I must say that I started to admire you as a person.

And I’m really glad that you gave me a chance to open new chapter in our relation.


Rick’s presentation asked why people in other fields have not understood and accepted PCT. So he and I are talking about the same perceptions that we would like to control: people in the life sciences reorganizing their work as the study of controlled variables, but his approach and mine differ. He asked, why isn’t it working. I said here is how it might work.

I see. I think that you really opened very substantial topics for understanding why people “don’t want” to understand PCT. The analogy with Einstein and physicist is very good. But I think that problem why PCT is not so accepted is not because people should understand “if you look for controlled variables and disturbances” then they would understand PCT.

From our previous discussions we saw that most important is that we understand how organisation of nervous system was accomplished through evolution and how it really functions. You showed that intuintionaly and I showed it scientifically. I think that you should continue your thought experimenting in that direction. Your internal diagrams extremly differ from standard behavioristic explanation of behavior as Rick as psycholigist think it is.

As there are tens of bilions neurons (99% direct nerv communication) organized into “input-ouput” as you called them, it’s hard to talk about “controlled variables” as major activity of nervous system, specially when we talk about external environment.

So I think that major PCT method for understanding nervous system functioning is not “input - disturbances” and “output-controlled behavior” but Control Unit Synhronization Analyses (CUSA) in nervous system as I and you presented in similar diagrams. I think this is major research method in PCT although Powers didn’t see that because he was misleaded by Ashby and so he concentrated to external output - behavior, as major “correction” of homeostatic conditions in organism. But Maturana’s and physiological evidences show the opposite picture…

Also by understanding of PCT there is no “controlled variable” in external environment (diagram LCS III). There is no “control of behavior” and there is no disturbances to “controlled variable” in external environment. You would be surprised as I was that Wiener and Maturana directly support Bill Powers diagram (LCS III) with no “control of behavior” and thus no “controlled variable” in external environment. But we can talk about such attributes in internal environment and effects of disturbances on “body variables” as you called them. Also neurophysiology is quite specific about “uncontrolled” behavior. I hope that Earling emphasized that when he was presenting neurophysiology.

I even think that common understanding of Friston and Powers about these issues came from neurophysiology. Powers was acquanted with neurophsiology. Usually the output of thinking processes depend on information of what is stored in memory. So I think that every person is limited with quantity informations she/he has and how quality of control units organization “digest” complex perceptions.

TCV seems to be side effect of organisms functioning as “control unitscomplex organization”. I again think that was the problem because Ashby misleaded Powers into “behavioral error-correction” process of homeostatic imbalance.

So I think that major problem why people don’t accept PCT is so different understanding of PCT of their protagonists.


V V pon., 18. okt. 2021 ob 03:57 je oseba Bruce E. Nevin via IAPCT <> napisala:


I am not the best equipped to carry such a discussion with you, though I will be glad to participate as I can once you get it going. You should be corresponding with Martin Taylor and reading Martin’s multi-volume book in progress. I have no idea what preparation you may have for the mathematical aspects of his work, but he is also deeply grounded in the physiological aspects and the perceived behavioral and social consequences. I suggest you write to him directly if he doesn’t respond here. He recently posted an excerpt in a discussion of robotics.

We all come to PCT with our particular prior experience and training, and synecdoche is the inevitable rule of our conduct: like the fabled blind men and the elephant, we each assume that the aspect that we grasp is the whole. The breadth and scope of PCT forces change on us all, and that process of change does not stop. The Babel-sundered specializations of the life sciences implicate one another, so changes in some other field are liable to come 'round and affect my own ‘home base’ even after I thought the ramifications of the PCT revolution there were clear.

Just assume good will, be civil, maintain awareness that everyone’s comprehension of PCT is incomplete, and you can get a hearing for your views–and you might learn something too.

I started looking at your youtube video this morning. I have a number of obligations intervening. I will return to it as soon as I can. It would be helpful for you to post the slides or a PDF rendition of the slides. I heard Warren’s voice giving some help about how to advance the slides. Introducing you, the convener said you were educated in sports and health, had a university degree in pedagogical informatics, and an MD (medical doctor?) in social pedagogics using Maturana and Powers, and 40 years’ work in education in schools. Now this is my rendition of his rendition of (presumably) your notes, so probably I’ve got something wrong. So please write a brief introduction of yourself and post it in the member introduction subcategory.

You note that Maturana published about e. choli chemotaxis in 1989. That is the same year that Bill Powers and Rick Marken jointly published on the same topic:

Marken, R. S., & Powers, W. T. (1989). Random-walk chemotaxis: Trial and error as a control process. Behavioral Neuroscience, 103(6), 1348–1355. APA PsycNet [Repr. in R.S. Marken (1992) Mind readings: Experimental studies of purpose pp. 87-105.]

They cite
Koshland, D.E. (1980) Behavioral chemotaxis as a model behavioral system. New York: Raven Press.

Presumably, Maturana makes the same citation and his observation is also derived from Koshland’s published work.

My impression over the years has been that Ashby and Maturana and Powers are in agreement about the primacy of intrinsic homeostasis, but that where Bill saw that as the ultimate arbiter of reference values and of learned organization of the behavioral hierarchy, which in turn governs behavior within tolerable error, they saw homeostasis of intrinsic variables as more directly governing the behavioral feedback loops with the environment. In simpler organisms it can certainly seem so.

I don’t want to comment in any detail on your explanation of Ashby’s diagrams without having more time to do so with care. As I said, I would prefer to be a secondary contributor to your conversation with someone more well prepared than myself. In any case, I have to interrupt any further look at this to deal with some more immediately vital issues.



I talked already to Martin and he sent me introduction and 1. Chapter where it stopped, because the beggining defitnition of PCT was in RCT style. I adviced him to use Powers meaning of PCT and there where our communication get stuck. He didn’t answer.

I personaly think that you are right about learning from each other. But experiences show that I’m willing to learn but others are not. They persist at existing level of knowledge and do not accept any other knowledge. It’s somehow like a buble hanging in the air.

I’ve returned to PCT community with only intention that Powers work in science light would be promoted as I think it’s in this moment the top thinking about Cybernetics understadning how organisms function.

I think that LCS III tells everything where Bill was heading too. I understood that when he sent me some Chapters of his book to talk about before it was published.

And I see now that you understand that too. LCS III is about some kind of introduction to “control unit organization” of organisms. It seems that Martin’s enormous work didn’t comprehend that.

As I see it now we are the only two islands in the PCT ocean. Please look at the LCS III again specially beggining of the Chapter “Multidimensional control”. It says : “The basic approach to many dimenssions that we will take here is elementary, but it is a start toward understanding large organization made of control systems”.

I see Chapter 6 and 8 (LCS III) somehow as the end points of his theoretical approcah to understanding organisms as “complex control units organization” as you (intuitivelly) and me scientifically came to the same conclusions analysing internal structure and functioning of organism.

As E,colli is concerned Maturana and his experimental work, I think it’s originating from time much before he published his central book with Varella in 1979. I mentioned edition which I have from 1987. Thank you for noticing that I made a mistake in year of publishing revised edition. So there is no paralel time connection between Koshland and Matuana. Maybe Koshland (1980) copied something from Maturana.

But anyway Bill nad Rick are who knows which source of E.colli understanding. And the main problem is that Bill didn’t mentioned “goal-directed” behavior performed by E.colli because he obviously didn’t know for experiments mentioned by Maturana, I was the first one who mentioned them on CSGnet forum.

Biological experiments mentioned by Maturana show that not only behavior of 4 bilion years old micro-organisms are goal directed, but also that “net of molecular reactions” as Maturana called organic structure can make a “decission”. How is that possible? These are questions that I left in my presentations opened as I’ll try to answer them in my next presentation with “genetic control subsystems”. I’m glad that you start watching my presentation. It’s historical as nobody before integrated knowledge of great Cyberneticians with temporary knowledge in physiology and neurophysiology.

As original PPS is concerned I sent it to many PCT’ers including Martin, Gary, Bruce Abbott, Barb… So maybe you can get from them what you need. I’m sorry I didn’t send material to you, but we were not in such good relatioship as we are now. But I can send it now if you wish.

Maturana’s experimental legacy which showed the specter of microorganisms including amoeba and other protozoans, and insects etc. prolonged probably from his graduating at Harward University (1958). So there is no doubt who was the origin of biological experiments Bill used. There is no presumably connections between Maturana and Koshland and even less between Bill and Rick. They were the last “consumers” in the chain of knowledge about how organisms function.

But I feel somehow that you’ll try to defend Rick again. Rick’s RCT is really totaly wrong as he doesn’t have any scientific evidences (at least he didn’t show them till now and still he is selling his theory arround. I don’t mind about whether his oppinion about PCT is different. I mind that he is saying that PCT says that and that… He is hiding his RCT behind PCT. It’s not PCT that he is talking about but his privatae theory. He just have to say that his oppinion about PCT is such and such. Not that what he is saying is PCT.

Anyway I admitt I’m a “pig” in relation to him. I could explain to him how to connect his RCT to PCT, so that RCT would work properly and could of great use for understanding PCT. But I didn’t when he asked me to do so, because he is not respecting authors rights. Maybe once in future I’ll explain to him if our relationship will get better.

All in all Bruce I’m glad that you are interested in my work as I become interested in yours. My personal oppinion is that it doesn’t matter how you represent nervous system : reptilian etc. It does matter how you analyze this imagined “control areas”. And you did it as I did, with control units what was the course of Bill’s last LCS III. As I have quite a “mountain” of physiological evidences (see my references) so that I’m sure that this is the right course for understanding and analysing and researching of Living beings.