C-1. The wandering behavioral problem

The behavioral problem has never been completely out of sight, but it has been seen in several places and in more than one beclouded way. At first, it seems, it was seen where we would here designate as the behavioral solution. That is, the behavioral problem was simply to either acknowledge that needed solutions were in the omnipotent and omniscient hands of one or more gods – whose attention needed to be called to the situation (a communication problem!) – or they were to be found in a champion among the people. That sense of things is still to be found here and there today (e.g., personality voting behavior), along with a related case where someone advocates a solution but a “communication problem” is said to prevent its adoption.

Then the behavioral problem migrated to the situational problem, becoming one among many circumstances working for or against the development of a behavioral solution. Existing behavioral differences, in capacity and capability, have consequences for behavioral solutions to situational problems. The problem might be the lack of behavioral entities for the needed effort. It might be the lack of skills. It might be the lack of motivation – see: “Whatever it takes!” It could be anything behavioral attributed as a property to a person and/or an object involved in the situational problem. (“Independent variable – dependent variable,” the tactical statistical method applied to any and all objects and their attributes – with objects being anything to which an attribution is made [!], demonstrates the homogenization and confounding produced.) Behavior is treated as (just another) kind of circumstance. This “one suit fits all” treatment of the behavioral problem persists. (Note, for example, “N-dimensional space,” which uses the object-attribute ideational relationship [X].)

The behavioral problem is thus still very much obscured. It is far from obvious that the behavioral problem is – or should be — independent of the situational problem, that the behavioral problem existed for entities long before humans came on the scene, that the behavioral problem derives from the Nature of things with its general persisting conditions, qualities without quantity, of consequentiality, partial order and discontinuity (III) and their functional implications for behavioral entities.

Whether or not a situational problem confronts us, the behavioral problem is always present. The behavioral problem is a continuing problem, of needed capability to avoid and arrange collisions. It is a development problem (V), whose demands and program for solution require us to specify the structure of behavior in functional terms (Topics VI to XI) so as to produce agents – especially ourselves, as individuals and communities – capable of compositional change (II). We do not want to bind ourselves to choices of existing circumstance. We want to build, not just choose, our future.

Establishing the independence of the behavioral problem does no good if we can not see it in behavioral terms, so we can see what to do about it. Thus, for example, formal education must do more for development of behavioral capability than gauging deportment and industry and affording extracurricular activities – whose most redeeming quality may be their opportunity for behavioral development.

Establishing the independence of the behavioral problem from the situational problem would also not serve us well if we did not have the Nature of things to identify our behavioral needs and if we have not extended our understanding of functionality to see that the structure of behavior requires that its minding capabilities (VII, X: re cognition) distinguish relation from relationship: the connector from the product of connecting, and conceive of functionality in terms of acts of relating.

To give the behavioral problem its due, to realize possibility, we must conceive life as a double crystal, seeing body and step as interdependent aspects of the behavioral entity, as each having distinctive molecular structure (III, XI). Understanding behavioral structure as in consequence of needed functionality is the key to effective compositional change – and to the solution of our most challenging problems (which may well require.our developing a community capability for their solution [O]).

It is the behavioral problem that often leads to our avoiding this or that situational problem. We are not just indisposed. We are unprepared – and as much in lack of understanding of the problem as in development of capability to meet it. The behavioral problem is timeless and persisting, not confined to, nor susceptible to complete and accurate understanding in terms of, the particular dictates of this, that or all of our situational problems. Its roots and applicable principles must be understood in light of the Nature of things. Its dictates come from there.

Compositional change calls for invention and reinvention, utilizing developed capabilities to arrange (preferably soft) collisions. Given the present quality of life (O), with so many crucial problems yet unsolved, invention and reinvention as developed capabilities are very much advised human enterprises – to which investments in educational, economic, and political institutions (to name just the most obvious) should be responsive.

Examination of the behavioral problem should avoid contamination from the particular practices and strategies of previous behavioral solutions. Development of needed capabilities may be blocked by reliance on “tried and true” – with its accompanying normative concerns (e.g., conformity, deviance) – and relegation of problem solving to decision making.

(See C-5: “The gift-wrapping of the black box” for another notion about the behavioral problem.)

(c) 2010 R. F. Carter