Application X: The Psychlotron Protocol

Appearances, in a strange but far from paradoxical way, are crucial to progress in both science and art. In science the advances made possible by eliciting appearances via telescopes, microscopes, “staining” and cyclotrons are legendary. The “classic experiment” extolls appearances further by arranging for them to appear – or not to appear. In art, the contribution of enhanced appearances is less obvious – although some of their products (“Avant guard” painting, music and writing) are quite apparent, less obvious because the process is known, too obliquely, as imagination. What is actually happening is a poorly understood process of cognition and communication, the latter enabling the futuristic former. Which is to say: realizing possibility.

Functional indicators (, ) deal with the challenge of making more apparent the consequentiality of behavior in units amenable to composition, so that we can improve both the means and the ends of problem solving.

A functional indicator can focus our attention in several productive ways in addition to EHAC’s approach to assessing the consequentiality of behaviors via an “accident” interpretation (not just via a success-or-failure verdict). One such way is that of the cyclotron, in which distinctive behaviors (i.e., particular functionings) are used post-collision to identify atomic components (e.g., particles). The psychlotron protocol introduces another way, a way much needed for developmental progress across the board (Applications: I - VIII).

The psychlotron protocol reverses the cyclotron’s procedure. Here entities are used to identify functional components. Objectifications (e.g., names, symbols, glyphs, physical objects, punctuation)* can be used to represent consequential behavioral conditions. The Protocol as a procedural tool makes apparent the behavioral conditions (e.g., the functional necessities for minding, types of nonsingularity, forms of knowing, the aspects of ideational mechanics), the dynamic conditions… all the units with which we can then visualize as control foci as we compose behavioral molecules to solve problems.

So, where the cyclotron looks to decompose entities to ascertain their components, the psychlotron looks toward composing useful processes (and their products), to the making and taking of better steps via an understanding of their composing components. And then, also, to a more informative reconstruction of steps already made and/or taken – historical reductionism. There is a strong educative potential here, as for the repetitive efficacy needed for solutions that need to be repeated (0:Sp) by successive generations to sustain quality of life. But the other problem types threatening our quality of life are even more demanding.

Why should this protocol be desirable – even necessary? Because further developmental needs (i.e., : P-S, Ps, P) require this kind of infrastructural base. Evolution may find such behavioral detail incidental to – merely characteristic of human advance, but development cannot afford such neglect. Evolution, at best, is too much an after-the-fact accounting. It does not give us the before-the-fact strength/capability we need for the problems we have yet to solve – and to make the most of the human condition.

How might we employ the psychlotron protocol? If we are to introduce bodies to identify steps, steps made and/or to be made — steps made if we are educating after the fact (a kind of “functional literacy,” but not of the usual sort!), steps to be made if we are inventing a solution … then we must base the protocol on a fully principled knowledge of functioning.

And we must develop means for making the Protocol’s contributions as useful as possible – in a way analogous to the role of tool making in the familiar manufacturing industries. The possibilities are far ranging. For example: Skill-taxing games, with isometric benefits for minding’s development; cockpit-type “instrument” pedagogic exercises; signs, posters and T-shirts (e.g., as for ATIT and EHAC) to admonish or encourage; guides for historical reduction analyses; guides to self-realization; … perhaps most importantly: development and research projects that can improve us, whether individual and/or community, as operating systems. The possibilities are far-ranging because the need is not just for a research instrument. Think millions of protocols in action, not just a few here and there for formal research projects (as with the cyclotron).

Think “quality control” that extends back through product to all aspects of process – i.e., to all that is of consequence. So that we are not focusing just on the “bottom line” or “success vs. failure,” the terminal functional indicators. So our response to problems is not a reactive “fire them!” or “cream the talent crop.” So we inform process improvement because we see needed capability development – not just capacity deficiencies. We need more and better functional indicators than we now employ.

For this foundation we can turn to BFPS. Therein is exposed the grounding and groundwork needed. It begins with liberating behavior from the thralls of substantialism’s body emphasis (; also see ), and seeing that steps have structure that is independent of, but interdependent with, body structure. Then behavior per se, principled in consequence of the Nature of Things, is freed from its confounding with an instance of behavior – so that its unique generalities are distinguished from the limited generalities of particulars. Then those principles, crucial to a more productive compositional change capability, and thus contributing to a more complete pragmatism (, ), can be directed toward solving the problems depressing our quality of life.

Consider the concept of failure: It is itself a failure. As a terminal functional indicator It pertains to a large class of problems (: Ps), whose members are more familiar as pollution, fatigue, low morale or depression … and word definition. In this sense failure is just the problem resulting from a solution that did not work. It is in this sense that EHAC urges us think of accident as a more compassionate and productive perspective on the difficulties of the behavioral and situational problems (, , ). However, the 0:Ps kind of problem comprises any and every kind and instance of behavioral dysfunction. (The 0:S-P variety, of which the BPO bias is an exemplar, even qualifies for membership; but it cries out for special attention, if only because it has produced so many other Ps kinds of problems.) It is this endemic behavioral dysfunction which plagues the history of humanity and frustrates our efforts to improve the quality of our life. We need to get at the specifics of dysfunction, then to improve our compositional functioning to provide us with more constructive, more productive solutions. To conceive of our task as merely improving the concept of failure misses the point of the Protocol and the Nature of Things on which it is based.

Wherever “be prepared” is appropriate – which is just about anywhere at any time! – then to have become better prepared, with helpful technological aids, is appropriate before the fact. Detailing and indicating behavioral units of consequence and their consequences via the Protocol undertakes that task. Envision, for example, an educational curriculum component which continues throughout grades K-12 (and beyond?), the goal of which is to improve compositional capability. Not just in a few modes like languages (e.g., English composition). Across the board! Making things (e.g., friends, eats, clothes, teams); arranging things (e.g., introductions, folk arts, class notes, collections); planning things (e.g., trips, parties, study hours) … inventing solutions, individually and collectively. Composing is not just a matter of learning the palette of the Protocol; this is bringing the future into the present via ideational mechanics (: see pointed questioning), of fostering and mining the resources of the future’s consequentiality in addition to those of the past and the present.

The better prepared — to be ADEPT, the further the present’s horizon. Short-term considerations (e.g., “immediate rewards”) infect human behavior – especially among those who, as a behavioral metastrategy, eschew problem solving for decision making, who are content to just choose among available solutions – or to not choose, oblivious though that might be. ADEPT most closely resonates as a behavioral strategy with being in accord with the Nature of Things (see ). Compositional capability is to be the chief beneficiary of the Protocol’s contributions. Still, ADEPT is subject to dynamic considerations, just as the problem solving x decision making option is.

Indeed, the dynamic challenges of the balance requisite exemplify the assistance that the agent of compositional change will need. In our discussion there we visualized the task as analogous to riding bareback on more than two – dozens perhaps – horses at a time. If we are to become more effectively functional, we need a lot of help.

So let’s imagine. (Think of this as a kind of thought experiment, but not the usual kind. Experiment here is that of synthesis, whether we can make — not find — the consequentiality we are looking for.)

Imagine then an adjunct: the Accord-Adept Adjunct (AAAdjunct). Visualize it as a behavior-enhancing product: say as a belt. (Not a magic wand! Omnipresence and omniscience are more to the point than omnipotence.) Now think of the belt as the final product of a development and research project, the culmination of a program of evaluated composition, whose objective was to furnish a technology that would equip compositional change agents to better face, individually and collectively, the challenges of their unsolved problems.

A belt which could communicate to the change agent as composer the full extent of relevant, in timing and content, material aspects of appropriate functioning: our collective and collected knowledge up to then about behavior. (The “communication problem” suggests that we had better fashion our D&R program to pursue along the way intermediate forms of the target technology. As, for example, pedagogic aids for all those compositional curricular segments of the K-12 curriculum. Sort of like the “other benefits” of the space program — had we never made it to the moon, and when we did ….)

What might we expect of such an investment in behavioral infrastructure? What might the early investigations look like? Picture the cockpit of a contemporary airplane, with all its instrumentation to make flight conditions apparent. Together with ground maps (e.g., : “Sitypes” **) and atmospheric reports (e.g., body states), these indicators are an impressive improvement over “flying by the seat of your pants.”

When it comes to human behavior, when we aren’t just flying an airplane, and although our “ground maps and atmosphere reports” are very extensive in matters of particulars, behaviors and otherwise … well then, behaviorally, we are flying by the seats of our pants. Our performance suffers. And the rampant dysfunction throughout human history shows it.

What the target AAAdjunct would look like, in cockpit terms, would comprise far, far more instrumentation than that of the most advanced aircraft. We would even have to have some, probably hierarchic, panel just to indicate the priority – for our immediate focal attention – of one indicator over another. We would have to have another special display, under an ATIT reminder, analogous to the passenger-friendly “distance covered” flight path, to keep us in mind of where we are in the problem => solution compositional process. Still, the most striking feature would be the sheer number of pertinent indicators – of all that is consequential in and to behavior. Consider, just as one example, how many functional indicators are implied by the dynamics of the balance requisite principle. So many duos and trios, and each to be assessed with regard to independence, balance, complementarity and interdependence – and all of them subject to priority consideration, singly or in combination (as in decision making’s “consumer clog”). Ideational mechanics, the basis for a technology of imagination, makes similar demands on representational capacity and capability (, ).

But we are not seeking to make robots of ourselves. Think instead of Hardin’s and Crowe’s respective suggestions for what is needed to resolve the “Tragedy of the Commons.” What is lacking in the community and its members, they say, are conscience and consciousness. The belt – and any technology we can develop in our quest for that belt – would have to embody the full functionality entailed by the Nature of Things. Conscience points us toward non-singularities, especially elicited criteria and cybernetic discrepancies, as essential behavioral control features: to stop when we should. Consciousness points up minding generally, with all its functional requisites: those of exposure, focal attention cognition, memory and questioning.

Fortunately, we have the industrial developments in material sciences to lend a hand, so we can look forward to housing all the functional indicators (and additional adjunct mechanisms) in less than a belt. But we need to expand the material emphasis to include the compositional in any case, to ally science and art in the service of humanity. “Allied” may not be the “unity” envisioned, even worshipped by many for humanity, or for the sciences, or for art and science. But it would serve. It’s a useful oneness, and in accord with the singularity requisite.

Finally … Surprise! We already have something akin to that belt. It’s languages. They are our closest behavioral companion as we journey forth. Unfortunately however, in their current state of development, they are binding on minding – a belt too tight — and not just enhancing of minding. As troublesome as natural languages are for expressing what we think … they can be much worse for helping to do the thinking (, :S-P). No other current technology is more in need of reinvention. Principled reinvention.

Languages share a history with steam engines. They were brought into play before theoretical principles were in hand to help guide the engineering design. It’s a good thing for human progress that we didn’t wait for a better understanding of behavior to get started with this communicative and cognitive technology. But with behavioral principles now laid before us by BFPS, it would pay to begin again, to redesign that technology.

Composing, as for problem solving, needs all the help and support it can get. Making evident all that it takes to accomplish compositional change, especially all that is involved in agency capability, so as to become better prepared to make changes, is what we aim at with the Protocol. Writing exercises, though strengthening, were never enough. The Protocol attempts to fully realize composition, before the fact to program the process, after the fact to serve as analytic framework.

The task is not as hard as it might seem. For we have by now developed the minding capability to work in “compositional time.” The “belt” technology would have us (and it) operating in B-time and B-space – “real time,” so to speak. (At this stage of human development at almost unimaginable speed, in almost unimaginable complexity.) Compositional time is S-time in terms of the behavioral molecule, the time needed to produce a solution to a problem. It’s more clearly seen in the operating systems of communities than of individuals, for members’ contributions have to be made apparent to each other and fitted into the ongoing collective proceeding. It is problem solving’s version of the flight progress display (See above.)

“Deliberation” suggests what the protocol might be able to help achieve for communities and individuals working in compositional time. But the Protocol would suggest, in return, that what is preached and passes now as deliberation is a weak candidate for our adoption. It’s not ADEPT enough.

It does appear that we might do well to first develop Protocol technology for communities, to take advantage of their need to operate transparently and in compositional S-time. Then let the lessons of improved deliberation be made available to individuals, as in the service of “critical thinking.” (This would productively illustrate the interdependency aspect of the individual x community dynamic.)

Finally, another thought experiment: a case history of a designed-to-fail “feedback” study. An organization (business, say) offers a product/service or products/services and it undertakes to improve the bottom line by asking consumers’ satisfaction with their most recent experiences. It asks for their satisfaction on a scale of 1-5 (or 1-7 or 1-10), generally and then on specific points. But: Is the result more useful for public relations, internal and external, than for performance improvement via a developmental program? Almost certainly. For all of the process consequentiality has not been tapped, and what has been touched on, in general or in particular, has been given a score but not materially analyzed so as to enable scoring in the sense of artistic composition – whether for symphony, dance or cooking/baking recipe. How much operating system improvement can be expected?

Consider a compositional alternative, such as Boggs’ focus on “Attend-Tos,” foci of attention critical to community performance – in his case, arranging for organ donation. Relevance – i.e., process consequentiality – sparkles here. Much less risk then of irrelevant “point-less satisfaction” analysis, such as pervades the “satisfaction with this and that” questions, often vague and sometimes double-barreled, of out-sourced opinion surveys.

* Three methodological developments (the Signaled Stopping technique, Cognigraphics and the figured molecular notation [: diagram]) utilize punctuation and symbols, respectively. They are useful for making, and not just measuring, communication messages – i.e., they work for development and research as well as for research and development enterprises.

** See the diagram for Topic VI, which illustrates how situation types (“sitypes” in terms of the number of persons and objects involved) can be relevant to the dynamics of agreement vs. understanding – i.e., to the behavioral problem — as well as to the situational problem overall “size” of the. For example, as the number of persons in a situation increase, agreement with others may become more important than understanding of the object(s) involved.

(c) 2012 R. F. Carter

  1. App. III: Communication and Cognition
  2. App. IX: EHAC & Operating System Development
  3. C-37. Functional indicators
  4. App. VII: Technology
  5. Topic VII: Functional Requisite
  6. Topic VIII: Singularity Requisite
  7. Topic IX: Evaluation Imperative
  8. Topic X: Construction Imperative
  9. Topic XI: Balance Requisite
  10. C-11. Control foci
  11. Topics: Introduction - Quality of Life
  12. C-14. Characterization
  13. App. VIII: Humanism and HAS
  14. Topic II: All That It Takes (ATIT)
  15. App. IX: EHAC & Operating System Development
  16. C-36. System(s)
  17. Topic III: The Nature of Things
  18. C-38. What Darwin missed
  19. Topic XI: Balance Requisite
  20. C-16. Process consequentiality
  21. C-21. Pragmatism: concept and theory
  22. Topics: Introduction - Quality of Life
  23. App. IX: EHAC & Operating System Development
  24. Topic I: Two problems, two solutions
  25. C-2. The behavioral core
  26. C-41. Another fundamental force: Pbeh
  27. C-38. What Darwin missed
  28. Topic X: Construction Imperative
  29. App. IV: Education
  30. Topic XI: Balance Requisite
  31. C-9. Behavioral meta-strategies
  32. Topic XI: Balance Requisite
  33. Topic XI: Balance Requisite
  34. Topic VI: Control Imperative
  35. Topic II: All That It Takes (ATIT)
  36. Topic XI: Balance Requisite
  37. Topic X: Construction Imperative
  38. App. III: Communication and Cognition
  39. Topic VIII: Singularity Requisite
  40. Topic VII: Functional Requisite
  41. Topic VIII: Singularity Requisite
  42. Topic IV: Impediments
  43. Topics: Introduction - Quality of Life
  44. C-19. Concepts and pseudo-theory
  45. App. VII: Technology
  46. Topic II: All That It Takes (ATIT)
  47. Topic III: The Nature of Things
  48. Topic XI: Balance Requisite
  49. Topic VIII: Singularity Requisite
  50. Topic X: Construction Imperative
  51. App. III: Communication and Cognition
  52. Topic VI: Control Imperative
  53. Topic XI: Balance Requisite