Principle control as the control of intrinsic variables

Activity: Talk or presentation typesConference contribution (without a publication)Academic


In this talk I will propose that the reorganization process, the control of intrinsic variables and the principle level of control overlap to such extent that they can be considered the same process.
From the principle level, we control variables that inform us of the state of the whole system, for example: safety, health, friendship. Loss of gain of control at this level is associated with feelings and emotions at lower levels. In Method of Levels therapy, we become aware of the controlled variables at this level when we ask ‘why’ questions, and inquire what is important, what the meaning of something is. Intrinsic variables are those variables that need to be under control to keep the entire system healthy. They are essential for the functioning of the system. Intrinsic error is the driving force for reorganization. Reorganization is the process of changing the forms of functions in the hierarchy of control systems. This process can make changes to the learned hierarchy in order to decrease intrinsic error.

My suggestion is that reorganization is how the principle level controls its perceptions. Principle control is needed when program-level control or lower levels are not able to solve the error in the system. In such cases, the principle level control systems output will randomly select program-level control systems to solve the error, just like any other output system works. Because principle-level is high in the hierarchy, this process happens within consciousness and will impact many lower-level systems.
For example, consider safety. If I am in a social group and one of the members starts insulting one of the other members of the group, this will disturb my principle-level control of social safety. I would feel emotional (shocked, angry) and would be compelled to take action immediately. However, no fixed program exists for dealing with this bullying, and because the threat is immediate, I need to act now. This would look like reorganization: a trial and error process of different efforts to stop the bullying and regain safety. I’d suggest the chair to step in, but if that wouldn’t work, try to mute the bully, or try anything else that comes to mind until safety is restored.

This looks like reorganization: a trial-and-error process that serves to regain control over essential variables. These essential variables are principle-level type variables: a complex variable that takes care that the quality of a part of the hierarchy is maintained. That explains the experience of principle-level control as a holistic, intuitive approach that makes use of lower level perceptions (such as emotions) to control in the here-and-now what matters most. In this talk, I will present my hypothesis and discuss its implications.
Period6 Oct 2022
Event title32nd International Association for Perceptual Control Theory Conference and 2021 Annual Meeting
Event typeConference
Conference number32
Degree of RecognitionInternational