Topic VI: Control Imperative

Given the Nature of Things (partial order, discontinuity and consequentiality as general persisting conditions) all entities are behavioral entities (BE), subject to behavioral necessity. Some BE are more behavioral than others (i.e., multi-step takers – and, especially in the case of humans, step makers). Behavioral variety abounds.

Collisions, some avoided, some arranged, best exemplify the general conditions and call our attention to the first of six behavioral requisites and imperatives for any BE: the Control Imperative. We have to do something about collisions, exerting control with respect to other BE – and with respect to ourselves (self-control).

The closest collision typically has priority (PCC) as suggested by the observation of less action at a distance.

Generally we are concerned with the relations among control need (CN), control capability (CC)* and control achieved (CA). Thus:

Success: CN = CC = CA
Failure: (CN = CC) < CA Accident: CN > (CC = CA)

The accident interpretation is crucial to development, lest efforts to improve capability be squashed by undeserved criticism (by self and/or others), especially as difficulty in estimating the CN – CC relation may lead the BE to attempt the impossible or improbable – or to indulge in escape behavior.

Given where we are (QL-point:), under development behaviorally, failures and accidents occur frequently. Common consequences are losses (of time, possessions) and damages (of personal and social discomfort, operating capability).

The focus on collisions emphasizes relationships between bodies, beginning with gap (as with the use of communication to bridge) and gappiness (Psits comprising other BE and/or objects:I). The formula for calculating gappiness (Gp) is:

Gp = n(n-1)/2 where n is equal to the BE plus the other situational BE and/or objects

Various Gp combinations of relevant BE and/or objects demand special managerial attention (e.g., a group of persons vs. a set of objects: Does (should?) BE give more emphasis to agreeability or to understanding? Does BE treat persons as objects?

How big a problem (Psit) do we have? Gappiness increases rapidly relative to n (e.g., if n = 10, then Gp = 45). Somewhat paradoxically, we often add a control entity (CE) to n, increasing Gp, in order to be effective. Communication messages are an obvious example.

We may minimize Gp via a control entity and a control structure (CS) as, for example, where only the control entity (e.g., “commander”) dictates relevant gaps (Gp = 10) and bridges. Institutions typically possess distinctive CE’s and CS’s (e.g., roles, lines of authority, tools and procedures).

The actor as BE is free to neglect or focus on Psit gaps. The actor may be concerned only with the (n-1) gaps involving self, neglecting all others. Call these “on-gaps.” Troubles arise sometimes (e.g., meddling, envy and jealousy) when BE focuses only on one “off-gap.” But more typical is the neglect of some or all off-gaps, thereby often leading to miscalculating the CN demanded by the Psit.

A person as a CE implies responsibility – but not necessarily capability (e.g., some political appointees and elected officials). For all the prominence of assigned personal responsibility in regard to Psit’s, CE’s step making and step taking with respect to Pbeh are going to have to make crucial contributions to problem solving.

Finally there is the matter of discontinuity per se — aka supergappiness, the separateness (inescapable individuality) any and every BE has from all else. With it may come angst. But given the Nature of Things, we must face that and our situational problems with courage. And become better prepared (see.

CN, CC, CA, CE, CS and, of course, BE: are all among the control foci for dealing with Psit’s. A lot to think about. But in doing so, it is too easy to overlook Pbeh and the needed capabilities implied by the Nature of Things, these to be discussed next in the rest of behavior’s imperatives and requisites.

*CC comprises capacity as well as capability. It would be a serious error to think of CC as only capacity, however.

(c) 2010 R. F. Carter


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