C-11. Control foci

What pilots do in a modern airplane is subject, among other things, to two control features, an instrument panel and a standard operating procedure. These embody experience with what makes a difference in achieving successful flight. They are, so to speak, control foci. They, along with tools and circumstances, are matters of consequence.

In life we only occasionally use a procedure, and then not just but one. Our reads are rarely of an instrument panel, but no less consequential for that. Even so, control foci are of the greatest importance, for our success rests on our knowledge of each and every behavioral condition that is of consequence. (Hence the importance of our knowing the anatomy of behavior, of our knowing the answer to the question, “(What!) units of how?”)

In considering the experimentation that we might undertake in Community Science, we should have a clear delineation of the behavioral conditions that might contribute to composing a behavioral molecule (to wit, creating a solution to a problem). Only then can we try these out in various sequential arrangements, over a range of situational problems.

(That which distinguishes an accomplished surgeon, for example, is not just the absence of accidents and failures but the smoothness, the lack of wasted effort, in performance. And you can see more, appreciate that performance more, if you know what to look for. The integrity of the behavioral molecular, we might say. Improved performance is the goal of the development we seek for community capability [S-CMY].)

Consider, for example, a set of rather large (rectangular, not cubic) blocks (or bricks) – too large to be mistaken for the ordinary children’s blocks. On each surface would be “painted” a representation of one of behavior’s control foci. How might these be put together in a given situation? By students of behavior at what level? By teachers providing principled instruction? And so on. (These blocks, which are objectifications [see App-3: Cmu & Cog], would be accompanied by cubic blocks to represent objects [e.g. situational persons and other circumstantial conditions].)

The idea here is to choreograph a community, in step making and taking, not just in body moves. The choreographed product will be procedures, in anticipation of role playing by future members of the community. “Consciousness” is made manifest, in terms of operating system specifications, developed well beyond mere attentiveness. Helping (see App-1) is enhanced, not just cooperation.

Now suppose that with computer assist we can produce a much more flexible set of representations (i.e., ideographs: see diagrams in X and App-3, for example). Affording our choreographic efforts a distinctive language, making sure that every difference that makes a difference – i.e., all that is of consequence – is represented. Thus prepared (see C-12), experimental community building can be more effectively realized. Community problem-solving efforts can be essayed by two or more “subjects” acting – or trying to act – as a collective operating system (of some type, from friends to task force).

The experimental context might even be a game or a simulation. It should be a competition. It can be an economically productive source of innovation.

That which is important here, not just in regard to the behavioral problem, is the basic capability to compose, to be able to implement Adept as a strategy. (The intransitive that must come before the transitive?) This is the capability that can rescue us from a life of ricocheting from one collision to another – from being a “victim of circumstances.” (This “stimulus-response” kind of back-and-forth life is the bane of children and decision makers.) Compositional capability is the foundation for a composed life (see App-5: Health)

(c) 2010 R. F. Carter