C-41. Another fundamental force: Pbeh

The four fundamental forces of physics, which pertain to body-body relationships, are themselves in consequence of another force: Big Bang. The force of Big Bang has other consequences – most familiarly an expanding universe. Yet another consequence is still another fundamental force. This latter force pertains primarily to steps — but to bodies as well, as behavioral entities (BE), via step-body relationships (XI).

This fundamental force manifests itself as the behavioral problem (I: Pbeh – see Diagram there), which derives from the Nature of Things’ general persisting conditions of partial order, consequentiality and discontinuity (III). Collisions exemplify the consequences of these three conditions. They in turn demand behavioral ability to avoid and/or to arrange collisions, capacities by evolution and capabilities by development (C-20, C-38). This is the continuing, omnipresent behavioral problem.

Every solution, we said, is in consequence of two problems, the situational problem (I: Psit) and the behavioral problem. The latter, we also said (C-1), has been seen to be wandering around: sometimes a matter of finding a solver in possession of a solution (e.g., a champion or, perhaps, a leader or even an omnipotent god or demigod); sometimes as part of the situational problem (e.g., weakness, lack of power); and/or later, sometimes confounded, as (only) part of the behavioral solution (I: Sbeh). A particular step taken may even be regarded as pretty much the whole of the situational problem (e.g., an unacceptable move), ignoring the fact that the behavioral problem pertains not just to a particular behavior but to the general persisting conditions for behavioral entities in consequence of the Nature of Things (III).

Which is to say that the behavioral problem understood as an enduring consequence of the Nature of Things and as an independently established condition – not confounded or conflated with either the situational problem or the behavioral solution … this behavioral problem is profoundly consequential in its relationships with other conditions, behavioral and otherwise.

We should be looking to see the places, so to speak, of those other conditions (and the concepts describing them) with respect to the behavioral problem. Not vice-versa. But conduct, not concept*, is our first concern. This force is considerable.

Consider religion, organized or not – from the most dictatorial to Schweitzer’s “reverence for life.” Consider affiliation, in all its many forms – from fandom and follower to friend and family to organizational memberships. Consider drug usage – from casual and mild narcotic to disabling addiction. Consider the desire for power — even omnipotence. Consider the emphasis (XI; C-36) on control systems (e.g., “law and order,” statutes) relative to operating systems (e.g., principled collective behavior). These are all impressive counterforces to the behavioral problem’s force. Awareness of this force may be helpful to our developing more effective counterforces – as, for example, in realizing our future as humans (App. VIII). As things stand now, it is too much akin to “dark matter.” It needs to be developed as a life, not a death, system (App. V).

The behavioral problem as a fundamental force is as ubiquitous and continuous in its applicability to step making and taking (and the bodies thus affecting and affected) as the four basic forces that physicists see for body-body relationships. (An S-force to go with the B-forces:III)

Like “gravity,” it is more appropriately seen in the context of a “field” theory (i.e., the Nature of Things’ general persisting conditions of partial order, consequentiality and discontinuity) rather than as a property of this or that particular body (as in the common view expressed in “the earth’s gravity”). It’s an already-shared condition.

Like our response to the earth’s gravity, this force generates counterforce via the steps we make and take. As, for example, when and how we take steps collectively to solve the behavioral problem in preparing a solution for a challenging situational problem. The particular counterforces are much more apparent than this general fundamental force. Thus the myriad dysfunctions of our behavioral endeavor, in efforts and in effects (0: S-P, Ps), are not tracked back through limited functionality to this fundamental force. They may even be seen as more a matter of responsibility than of capability (XI). The dynamics of behavior (XI) are a major key to dealing with this force, which is probably why dysfunctions reek of neglected dynamics (see C-37 re functional indicators).

Our acquaintance with the Pbeh force is (unavoidably) wide but unfortunately very shallow, given the failure to establish the behavioral problem’s source, and its independence – albeit potential interdependence (XI) –relative to the situational problem. Consider, for instance, the consequentiality of failed behavioral solutions on the behavioral problem. They heighten the behavioral problem and damage “confidence.” (Tragic indeed when the “failure” is a misdiagnosis, it being instead better seen as an accident [App. IX], thwarting development needed to avoid further mishaps.)

Our acquaintance is befogged, not just shallow. The BPO bias (C-39) has much to do with that handicap. There lies the source of emphasis on bodies, situational particulars and (only) an order of things. The shadows in Plato’s cave come to mind. The BPO bias has us seeing the behavioral problem in terms of particular bodies’ attributes (e.g., anxiety), particular behavioral counterforces (e.g., arranged or avoided collisions), to the neglect of the fact of collisions – and thus the generalities inherent in the Nature of Things (those persisting conditions of partial order, discontinuity and consequentiality).

This is not a cave, of course. It’s the hole we have dug ourselves down into. But the shadows are real. They are the particulars of counterforce. They illustrate why we cannot settle for just the generality – and principles — we can distill from particulars of body and step (III). The counterforces we have generated do not give us a full and accurate picture of the Nature of Things – nor of the way forward.

(Kierkegaard seems exemplary in his awareness of counterforces, as in his attention to human anxiety. However, his observation that we walk forward while looking backward might be usefully amended, to wit: We should look backward all the way to the Nature of Things, not just to the particulars of what can be seen in the past and present – and especially not as we have seen them framed [e.g., characterized {C-14}, as in such terms as stimulus-response].)

Our impoverished picture of Pbeh as a fundamental force has not lacked for clues to the malady. But we pass over them. Consider, for example: From birth humans are engaged with the behavioral problem, exercising the capacities they have and then cognizing and memorizing their consequences. So much so that when instructional learning via language is introduced, first in the family and then later in formal education, they can be notably rebellious when confronted with situational problems and instructional learning as the standard operating procedure for conduct. Adolescence, when imitation has already become a frequented (and more plausible?) mode of learning, engenders further rebellion against instructional learning. (See IX, XI and C-44 with regard to the knowing x learning dynamics.) Temper tantrums start early in life and persist. Torment and anguish, ala Hamlet, may come to dwell. The behavioral problem, with its intractable backdrop of partial order, discontinuity (VI: “supergappiness”) and consequentiality (i.e., there will be collisions!), may be “forgotten” while, and by, engaging with the situational. Forgotten perhaps, but not forgiven.

Despite our immersion in situational problems, there is still another indication of the behavioral problem which, though often nagging (e.g., non-decisional uncertainty, “boredom”), has not brought the behavioral problem sufficiently to our attention. Daily conduct, our step making and taking, offers countless opportunities to improve our acquaintance with the force of Pbeh because, given the Nature of Things, humans as multi-step behavioral entities encounter a gap of sorts between steps: the next step is not the same step over again – unless, as in habit and routine, we arrange for it to be so. (With a metastrategy [XI] of ADOPT that de-emphasizes ADAPT and, especially, ADEPT, we can manage to appear completely instructed … and our behavior gapless. But what then of freedom, opportunity, compositional change and possibility?)

This between-step gap condition of functional ignorance (FI; see VIII) does sometimes manage to obtrude. Such bumps in the road can be very functional, as reminders that we are not completely instructed. But they can be dysfunctional as well as if we lack Pbeh capability, such as curiosity and compositional competences, and/or if they trigger nonproductive escape behaviors.

We can improve our utilization of the FI “signal” if we extend our sensibility to their occurrence to within behavioral molecules (e.g., “actions”), of behavioral units within behavioral units, as in our often tentative constructive efforts. Considerations of control foci (C-11) and process consequentiality (C-16; C-37), where units within conventional steps also invite “stops to think” … then FI stops can usefully signal that attention be paid the force of Pbeh. (If not then and there, at an arranged time with requisite resources – such as BFPS-based development.)

Process development and product development (V) are obvious counterforces to Pbeh’s enduring force. These are helpful, and in the healthy spirit of a life system, not a death system(App. V). Still, the Pbeh force often elicits a need – sometimes a fervent and singular desire – for support, not developmental help. (The two, help and support, are subject to the balance requisite [XI] and should therefore also be deemed – at least potentially == as complementary and interdependent [e.g., II: ATIT.] But if we were to predict on the basis of current behaviors, a balance hypothesis of “Support/help = f [Pbeh/Psit]” seems indicated.)

One thing that seems to work against our crediting Pbeh’s force is the attention we pay to the behavioral core (C-2), to the minding=>moving innards of the step. We do not then look between steps – or if we do we see a void (not the FI condition). However, we are more likely to place concepts like uncertainty in the core’s minding, and/or on the willingness to commit to this or that particular move — not on the option and opportunity of our constructing a new step. (Seeing behavior strictly in terms of decision making cements this biased focus.)

Then too there is convenience in the conventional defining, via attribution, of behavioral concepts as properties of bodies – again neglecting the FI gap and thereby forfeiting the discriminatory productivity which can be had by establishing step structure independent of, but interdependent with, body structure (III, XI). This practice reaches an apex of sorts when behavioral researchers look to situational content for “operational definitions” of their concepts (XII) – a different and limited form of grounding.

We saw in C-38‘s “What Darwin missed” evidence of a fundamental (“evolutionary”) force at work in the emerging functionally relevant structural similarities among bodies. Now we see here in steps evidence of that same fundamental force, manifested as developmental counterforces.

The same fundamental force. If we regard constants as principles, then here we have another behavioral principle to go with the Nature of Things’ other two: the general persisting conditions and the requisites and imperatives of behavioral necessity which follow from those conditions.


(*So we can also consider the proposition that many behavioral concepts, often vaguely understood and vaguely defined, can be usefully placed – indeed, anchored (C-22) — with respect to the independently established behavioral problem. We can do this by grounding them, In part at least, as behavioral consequences of that problem (see thingks: X; C-27., not just of the situational problem. “Motive,” for example, in regard to acts of step making and taking [e.g., "Got to do something!"], is not to be seen entirely in terms of a situational problem and/or the solution to it [I: Psit & Ssit]. Many concepts, after all, are such constructions, even though predicated on particular situated instances, striving toward generality – of a limited sort. The contribution of the behavioral problem is not well seen. “Emotions” for example, though typically and usefully seen as body states, can also be seen as manifestations of our countering to the Pbeh force. Many other concepts seem in need of such treatment. For example: will and will power, spirit, irrationality, community, doubt, anxiety, suicide, freedom, personality and self, character, purpose, aggressiveness, liberal, conservative, progress … many indeed: probably any behavioral concept. Anchoring concepts to the Pbeh is to anchor them to the Nature of Things, given the genesis of the Pbeh force in the Nature of Things’ general persisting conditions. This would also have the virtue of impeding an impediment [IV; C-39] – i.e., the notion that a concept is nothing more than a label for a set of instances [the BPO-infected application of the inside=outside relation to objects and attributes as particulars]. Indeed, we could construct a theory with this force as a base. [Ala Freud's Id as counterforce?] We would present therein a different interpretation of behavioral concepts – the inevitable interplay of theory and concepts. We would also advance hypotheses about behavioral relationships in accord with BFPS. For example: The principle of least effort in response to the force is [partly] responsible for the favoring of ADOPT and ADAPT over ADEPT as coping metastrategies [XI].)

(c) 2012 R. F. Carter