3. The Structure of Empathy

 

ABSTRACT

 

XIII. Introduction

 

A logical calculus of behavior, formulated in a set-theory notation, was devised in a previous publication (Hilgartner & Randolph, 1969a). It was deployed to show the structure of any mainly 'perceptual' encounter, and to describe situations of physiological 'need' and satisfaction, of frustration, and of danger. In a second publication (Hilgartner & Randolph, 1969b), the rigorous language of the first was used to examine the situation of finding a contradiction between what we expect and what we observe, and the consequent process of changing our premises. The major conclusions of these two papers may be summarized as (a) there is an inevitable uncertainty inherent in 'perception'; and (b) this uncertainty is counterbalanced by the fundamentally self-correcting structure of organisms.

 

Thus we showed in detail how, in any moment of 'awareness' of an environmental object, an organism can be certain of one and only one thing: that it has organized its activities so as to form a recognizable subset of its Self, in which the organism's expectations are determined by its previous experience. But the degree of correspondence between this 'awareness' and the actual 'environmental conditions' cannot be established at the moment of the 'awareness'. Instead, by the process of using its 'perceptions' as hypotheses, which it puts to test by the process of forming further interactions with the presumed environmental objects involved.

 

But the process of using 'perceptions' as a guide to behavior necessarily involves a guess, the inference that there do exist environmental objects to which the organism's 'perceptions' correspond, i.e.d. to which they are in some sense similar in structure. We defined the process of making this inference as the psycho-logical mechanism of projecting; and we saw that this projecting can be done more or less 'awarely'. Projecting is done entirely 'unawarely' in situations in which the organism acts as if it assumes that the operations of its Self involved in forming an 'awareness' of an environmental object are indistinguishable from an identity-mapping on the environment, IE(yi) = yi , i.e.d. that the psycho-logical processes of 'perception' give delivery of absolute certainties. Projecting is done entirely 'awarely' in situations in which the organism acts as if it recognizes both the uncertainty inherent in 'perception' and the fundamentally self-correcting structure of organisms. We pointed out that 'aware projecting' involves an operator, which we called affirmation, and designated by Frege's "signpost" notation, (signpost); and we showed that, as with other operators, affirmation is detectable by proprioception.

 

Since in this paper we shall need to show that our hypothetical organism is inferring that there do exist environmental objects to which his 'perceptions' correspond, let us now define an operator, 'aware projecting', , which shall replace the fairly lengthy expressions, such as those occurring in sentences (107) or (114) (Hilgartner & Randolph, 1969b), which were originally used to indicate the process of making this inference. In order to exemplify its use, we shall reiterate sentence (107), and then paraphrase this sentence using the new operator Pa .

 

(107)

 

The conditional clause can now be replaced by an expression using our new operator.

 

(125)

 

Finally, we describe a process by which an organism, "in imagination," puts its proprioceptible body parts into imitative correspondence with the visible details of an environmental object, resulting in a (visual (intersect) proprioceptive) Gestalt. When done freely and spontaneously, this process constitutes a direct non-verbal experiencing of the relations between a human organism and its environment. We designated this process by the term 'conscious projecting'.

 

Again, in the present paper we shall repeatedly need to show that our hypothetical organism is engaging in the process of 'conscious projecting'; therefore we shall define an operator, 'conscious projecting', Pc , which shall serve to replace the very unwieldy expression, comprising the entirety of sentences (115) to (120, in terms of which this process was originally defined (Hilgartner & Randolph, 1969b). As we pointed out in that text, the process of 'conscious projecting' can be specified in our notation only as a directively correlated activity, with a novel set of coenetic variables and a novel set of focal conditions; however, we shall not now subsume these coenetic variables and focal conditions in this operator. Instead, we shall specify these parameters in detail in each situation we analyze.

 

XIV. Human Inter-personal Transactions

 

Up to this point, the examples have considered only the relatively simple situation of an organism dealing with non-living environmental objects. We are now ready to consider the structure of the directive correlations by means of which a human organism deals with other human organisms. As before, we shall systematically build up the logical machinery needed for this purpose.

 

(A) DEFINITION OF 'SOCIETY'

 

Sommerhoff (1950, pp. 164-171) defines an association of living organisms as a 'society' iff there exists a system of integrated directive correlations between the states or activities of the members of the association which has the continued existence of the association as an ultimate focal condition. Our present task is to analyze examples of human inter-personal transactions, showing the structure of these directive correlations.

 

In order to do this, we need four more new operators. Sommerhoff speaks of an ultimate focal condition, which we can paraphrase as 'continuing the association', So (subset) FC . This operator is equivalent, on inter-personal levels, to the ultimate focal condition of all living organisms, solitary or social: Pr , 'preservation-and-growth'.

 

But if we speak of 'continuing the association', this implies another operator, an equally fundamental focal condition which in temporal order must precede So , i.e.d. 'forming an association', As (subset) FC .

 

Any encounter in which two strangers are so situated that the states or activities of one are detectable by the other qualifies as a suitable situation in which to study the process of 'forming an association'. Currently, of course, in most inter-personal encounters between strangers, one or both parties tacitly indicate that their 'association' is to be made up of indifference. Occasionally it happens that a person observes a stranger in desperate danger, and proceeds to 'form an association' by risking his life in a rescue effort. At the other extreme, no one went to the aid of a girl in New York City who was stabbed repeatedly by an unknown assailant, although her screams were heard by 38 persons, most of whom subsequently admitted to investigators that they had felt an impulse to go to her rescue, but for obscure reasons had suppressed the impulse (Rosenthal, 1964).

 

These considerations indicate that the process of 'forming an association' does operate at a fundamental level in human 'social' relations. By similar reasoning, the process of 'continuing the associating' may be shown to operate at a fundamental level in human 'social' relations.

 

In order to specify the third of these operators, it will be necessary to make use of the two new operators defined in the first section of this paper. Writing on the taxonomic topic of Trueness to Type, Polanyi (1964, p. 348) points out that English Common Law

 

... makes the crime of murder, and punishment for murder, dependent on the human shape of the individual whose death has been caused. It demands that through all its variations -- caused by differences of age and race, by malformations and mutilations, or by ravaging disease -- we should always identify the presence of the human shape. Nor does this demand seem excessive, since no case is known in which an accused has pleaded failure to recognize the human shape of an individual he had killed.

 

He then proceeds to discuss the process of classification by which one human being 'recognizes' the human shape of another; and one of his major points is that this act of classification poses difficulties.

 

Yet it would seem impossible to devise a definition which would unambiguously specify the range over which human shape may, and beyond which it may not, vary; and it is certain that those who recognize this shape are not in possession of any such explicit definition.

 

In our notation, this process of classification is represented as a series of inferences, which can be indicated by showing our organism detecting a moment of 'awareness' of an environmental object, successively engaging in the process of 'aware projecting' and the 'conscious projecting' with respect to this presumed environmental object, and asserting a one-to-one correspondence between his proprioceptible parts and the visible details of the environmental object, such that the environmental object is asserted to constitute an element of the set of human beings. We shall subsume these processes in the operator 'person', Pe .

 

(126)

 

This operator, then, contains at least two affirmations: that there exists an environmental object to which the 'awareness' in some sense corresponds, and that this environmental object comprises an element of the set of human beings. For the same reasons which led us to regard our organism as a set, Oi , we shall also regard an element of the set of human beings, Pei , as a set. If necessary, subclassifications can be indicated by appropriate indices.

 

The notational indications for recognizing a 'person' as a stranger can be expressed as recognition of a 'person' with whom an association has not yet been formed, i.e.d. (Pe: )i) .

 

The fourth of these new operators may seem very similar to the relation Pe ; but Pe indicates only the recognition of an element of the set of human beings, which can be a very distant and almost un-felt relation, whereas this new operator will designate the act of 'empathizing with' or 'understanding' a 'person', and thus will stand as a way of indicating closeness of contact between our organism and a 'person'. This process was previously discussed in some detail:

 

... If I come in contact with a female, and form a nervous-system picture of her, then according to this Zen meditation, I necessarily compare this picture with my built-in need, to see how close a correspondence there is between the two. So far, this gives only the biological aspect of contacting; but synchronously with this biologically-based sizing-up operation, there is a sizing-up on the specifically human levels also: I watch what this creature does, and compare her observed actions with things I have done or said. If I detect no correspondences, then she remains entirely unknown to me; but if I detect one or more correspondences, in effect I say, 'If I were blinking my eyes the way she is, then I would be feeling so-and-so. Therefore she must be feeling her version of so-and-so.' To express my perception of these correspondences, I would say that I recognize her as a part of myself; or, alternatively, that I see myself in her. These phrases express the relationship of loving: If I detect such correspondences, I love her (in the sense of agape love). Now, if we remember the fact that I cannot feel your feelings, nor can you feel mine, then in these terms it becomes apparent that the human capacity to understand another human being necessarily and uniquely rests on this kind of projecting. A moment of understanding or empathy can be a profoundly moving experience; it can have the deepest consequences extending over a lifetime; but in the end, it is based on a guess.

 

By the operator empathizing (Ez), let us designate the process of detecting a correspondence between some observed act of a 'person' and some past activities of our organism. Thus this operator also subsumes a series of inferences: the organism affirms that there exists an environmental object which comprises a 'person', and by a kind of 'conscious projecting', imitatively puts his body parts into a relation with each other similar to that displayed by the 'person', such that he affirms that if he were performing his version of the observed act of the 'person', he would be experiencing affect1, and therefore the 'person' must be experiencing his version of affect1. (As we shall emphasize later, an affect comprises an example of an action, and therefore the use of the term 'affect' in this definition does not limit its generality.)

 

In order to state this series of activities in our notation, we shall make use of several conventions which will be defined explicitly only in a later section of this paper.

 

(127)

(B) 'SENSING' AND 'COMMUNICATING' IN 'SOCIAL' TRANSACTIONS

 

A systematic discussion of the structure of the 'social' interrelations between humans requires a thoroughgoing exploration of the means whereby the states or activities of one human organism can be detected by another, and the means whereby the states or activities of one can be expressed or communicated to another.

 

In Indo-European language in general and English in particular, we naively speak of the five senses". Considerable work on 'perception' has been done; and by several criteria (including histological studies, psychological and neurophysiological experiments, etc., cf. Weddell, 1962), something nearer 20 distinguishable "senses" have been found (the exact numbers depending on the convenience of the persons doing the classifying): these include visual receptors, auditory receptors, balance-and-position receptors, four types of taste-receptors, perhaps seven types of smell-receptors (Amoore, Johnston & Rukin, 1964), and at least six types of receptors in the skin (Houssay, 1955, pp. 866-8). For our purposes, it is also necessary to include the various types of tendon, joint, and muscle proprioceptors, and the large group of interoceptors, which are sensitive to parameters such as blood pressure, heart rate, blood partial pressure of carbon dioxide and of oxygen, blood glucose concentration, etc. These topics were touched on very briefly in the first paper of this series (Hilgartner & Randolph 1969a), and were referred to as the 'modalities' of sensory intake.

 

Furthermore, as members of a time-binding class of life, capable of symbolic behavior (cf. Korzybski, 1921), each of us has learned how to emit coded behavioral events ("signals" or "symbols") which serve to express or communicate our states or activities to our fellows. Indeed, from our point of view, virtually every human act, no matter how minute, is to be considered an act of 'communication' aimed at some particular audience, i.e.d. a component of directively correlated activities. For our present purposes, we shall neglect written symbols. The behavioral events which comprise speech and which accompany speech are of great complexity. Since mathematical analysis proceeds essentially by a process of 'oversimplification', our present purposes can be served by pointing out that non-verbal behaviors comprise ordered sequences of more or less smooth, continuous, superimposed, synchronous 'changes'; and further served by listing some of the subsets of a human organism which are importantly used to produce these 'changes': e.g. visible details (direction of gaze, facial expression, gestures, posture, grooming, dress, etc.; also, visceral behaviors such as the blanching or flushing of exposed skin surfaces, pupillary dilatation or constriction, piloerection ("goosebumps", etc.), audible details (tone of voice; also, speech, including word choice, stress-inflection, and the various para-verbal signals such as laughter, grunts, belches, sniffs, coughs, etc.), touch-contact details (embracing, handshake, pat on back, etc.), and olfactory details (native body odors; olfactory adornments, such as perfumes, deodorants, etc.).

 

These 'modalities' of sensory intake, and these 'changes' which make up communicative emission, along with the motor operators and the apparatus of internal secretion, constitute the mechanisms by means of which the states or activities of one human organism are directively correlated with the states or activities of his fellows.

 

Shortly, we shall fabricate, describe, and analyze a supposed "behavioral sequence." Before this can be accomplished, however, we must consider several sets of empirical observations concerning human inter-personal transactions, and interpret these in the terms of this theory.

 

(C) SELF-SYNCHRONY AND INTERACTIONAL SYNCHRONY

 

Most inter-personal transactions do not occur entirely non-verbally, but rather occur in situations which include the activities of speaking, and listening.

 

Recently, linguists have become adept at specifying the structure of spoken utterances, and of the 'languages' which are inferred from the spoken utterances of the members of different tribes (including our own). Spoken utterances, and 'languages', are of very complex structure; this adeptness constitutes evidence that, in their analyses of these phenomena, they have displayed a very high degree of ingenuity.

 

But in inter-personal transactions, the spoken utterances (i.e.d. sound waves) comprise only one aspect of the total situations; and more than that, they comprise the one component of the total situations which can most easily be captured with great fidelity by means of instruments like tape-recorders and phonetic alphabets, and thus can easily be treated as an "isolated system" (cf. Platt, 1966). Thus linguists can repeatedly re-examine given sets of happenings, which facilitates analysis. The non-verbal activities which make up speaking have also received considerable study, while the non-verbal activities which accompany speaking apparently have received little attention.

 

In inter-personal transactions which involve speech, the process of listening is at least as important as the process of speaking. Up until the studies of Condon & Ogston (1966, 1967), so far as we know, no one had found a way to capture the un-spoken components of inter-personal transactions, with the predictable result that what was known about these aspects of behavior was gleaned "on the fly" or by indirect methods, without the opportunity repeatedly to re-examine given sets of happenings.

 

Condon & Ogston have partially solved this dilemma. Setting out to correlate body-motions (kinesics) with the linguistic phenomena of speaking, they took 16 mm black-and-white sound movies of human beings in the process of interacting. They then subjected their film records to intensive analysis, making use of a time-motion analyzer, "the familiar slow-motion projector used by football coaches to analyze films of games" (Condon & Ogston, 12967, p. 224). One of the severest problems they faced, and eventually solved, consisted of adequately synchronizing the recorded sounds and the recorded motions. Once this problem was solved, they found some surprising phenomena:

 

An intensive, linguistic-kinesic analysis was undertaken on a film of a three person interaction; a mother, father and their four-year-old son at dinner. The film was taken at the standard rate of 24 frames per second (f.p.s). At the time of filming the mother was in therapy and the son was felt to be a behavior problem. Figure 1 presents a section of the linguistic-kinesic transcription of their interaction.

 

FIGURE 1 P. 9 ABOUT HERE

 

Figure 1 constitutes a behavioral flow description of the patterns of change of the bodies of the three interactants in relation to syllable and word length speech segments. The shaft of the arrow indicates the sustained direction of movement while the point of the arrow indicates change of direction of movement. The mother turns toward someone off camera saying, "I think that you... I think that you all should come around every night, we never have had a dinner time like this in months." Because of space limitations only the phrase 'should come around' is presented in Fig. 1.

 

The findings from the micro-analysis of this and several other films of behavior are as follows:

 

(1) Self-synchrony. The organization of change of a speaker's body motion occurs synchronously with the articulated segmental organization of his speech. The body dances in time with speech.... In Fig. 1, to illustrate using the word 'around', the mother moves in precise harmony with the tripartite segmentation of the word as she articulates it.... Paralinguistic phenomena such as laughter, crying, pause verbalizations like 'umm' and 'ahh' etc., also occur synchronously with body motion.

 

(2) Interactional synchrony. During the intensive micro-analysis of the three person interaction described in Fig. 1, a startling discovery was made. The father and son were found to share patterns of bodily changes in a precise harmony with the mother as she spoke. These changes occurred in both in relationship to the mother at exactly the same frame (1/24th of a second). All three sustained directions of change across syllable and word length segments of speech and changed together at the same 1/24 of a second that these segments ended, to again sustain directions of movement together across the next ensuing segment. This occurred throughout the two utterances examined and in all other films of 'normal' interaction subsequently studied. Changes of velocity of movement were shared to some extent by all three. (Pitch and stress variations are also related to the velocity variations of body motion.) Metaphorically, the three interactants looked like puppets being moved by the same set of strings. Figure 1 also provides an illustration of this interactional synchrony. (Condon & Ogston, 1967, pp. 225-9)

 

An experiment that the reader can easily perform may prove helpful as an illustration. If you will read the preceding sentence slowly, and while uttering each word move different parts of your body on purpose, some sense of the harmonious relationship between speech and body motion may be felt. If you will repeat the work 'experiment', for example, you may find that your body, particularly the head, shifts naturally with each 'syllable'. (Condon & Ogston, 1966, p. 338)

 

These fascinating observations raise perhaps as many questions as they settle; but at the very least, they leave no further reasonable doubt concerning one aspect of the processes of speaking, and of listening: these processes do show a structure, composed of ordered relations, which cannot adequately be described in terms of orderless, structureless, and therefore animistic constructs such as "the mind". As this point was previously stated, "Even the most complicated and elusive of those phenomena which most people call "the mind" are demonstrable physical activities, which require nothing beyond the equipment our bodies are already provided with. (Hilgartner, 1965)

 

For example, the phenomenon of interactional synchrony clearly shows that the presence of a 'person' in the immediate environment of a human organism comprises a coenetic variable, an exigency which requires behavior; and since interactional synchrony is made up of a set of imitative movements on the part of the listeners, this suggests also that hearing-and-interpreting the speech of a 'person' involves in a fundamental way some complex process like 'conscious projecting'.

 

Studies such as those of Condon & Ogston have not, however, progressed beyond the initial stages of description of the structure of these micro-interactions under certain conditions; and they have not tried to deal with the phenomena of communication in the absence of speech. Thus in order to deal with larger segments of behavior, such as the formation of 'meanings' or behavioral Gestalten, in situations involving either non-verbal or verbal-and-non-verbal modes of communication, we must proceed on our own.

 

(D) INTERTRANSLATINGS BETWEEN NON-VERBAL ACTS AND VERBAL STATEMENTS

 

Even if taken in context, the interpretation of the significance of non-verbal acts, such as a particular shift in the direction of gaze from an initial to a terminal position, poses a considerable problem. To handle this problem, we shall make use of the principle expressed by Dettering (1958), which was previously quoted [Hilgartner & Randolph, 1969a, p. 296(Premises)], and paraphrased as the proposition that any action of any organism can be interpreted as the non-verbal equivalent of a verbal statement, and vice versa [Ibid., p. 321 (Encounter as Self-Correction)]. However, let it be noted that this expedient introduces difficulties which is the major purpose of this paper to delineate.

 

Fortunately, there are sets of empirical observations concerning human inter-personal and intra-personal transactions which provide major help with this problem. Feldman (1959), from a lifetime of experience as a practicing psychoanalyst, has published an analysis of a great number of mannerism of speech and gesture which are in common usage. To paraphrase Feldman, a manneristic verbal expression is almost always used by a speaker for the purpose of concealing, from himself-and-others, some aspects of his situation or his actions; and in general, a speaker who has just used a manneristic expression is most unwilling to admit that the mannerism is used for the purpose of concealing something, or just what message the mannerism conceals, or the reasons for which he wished to conceal this message. In a psychotherapeutic setting, where one major purpose is to bring into 'awareness' those things which were being kept 'unaware', analysis of manneristic verbal expressions can prove most useful. Some of the non-verbal gestures which Feldman analyzes serve a similar concealing purpose; but a goodly number of his analyses go along exactly with our purpose, that of providing a primer of interpretations by means of which to translate between non-verbal acts and the equivalent verbal statements. Thus, Feldman has a section discussing Mannerisms with the eyes and looking:

 

When we meet and converse with a person, we look at and see each other. If we do not, there is some trouble. Looking and seeing are two different features of one process....

 

The meeting of two pairs of eyes is one of the closest possible relations, whether this meeting expresses love, hatred, or the hundreds of variations between these two emotions....

 

The eyes are cast down when one does not want another to see what he could betray; nobody wants to reveal himself in this way. On the other hand, one looks into the eyes of the other when there is nothing to conceal, but rather wants the other to see everything....

 

If two people of the opposite sex look at each other while passing on the street, there is an emotional reaction. If the man looks at the woman a second time, she will avert or drop her gaze. Her thought, in noticing the man's way of looking, his that his intention is rape. She drops her gaze because she does not want the man to know that she understands his thoughts or that she has similar thoughts of her own.... (Feldman, 1959, pp. 233-6);

 

In later sections of this work, we shall make use of most of these observations. First, however, let us discuss the remark that "The meeting of two pairs of eyes is one of the closest possible relations...." First of all, this observation is verifiably true -- most readers, on the basis of their own experience, will immediately agree that this observation is correct; and furthermore, anyone who is fairly well oriented can test and verify this observation as often as he pleases. But when we try to make explicit the behavioral mechanisms by which gaze-contact constitutes one of the closest possible forms of contact, we find the processes involved so complex as to require a rigorous framework such as this theory, in order to avoid confusion, or intolerable oversimplification. Let us outline these mechanisms in a spiral fashion, starting with the briefest aspects and gradually including more and more long-range aspects:

 

The situation of gaze-contact between our organism O and 'person' A refers to a set of moments during which A , and in particular the face and eyes of A , is occupying the center of the field of vision of O , while the direction of gaze of A is such that O must be occupying the center of the field of vision of A . Regardless of what other things are true of O's situation, a moment of gaze-contact with a 'person' A serves as a coenetic variable, which requires the behaviors of interest, attending, affirmation of the presence of a 'person', some degree of empathizing, and (as we shall see in more detail shortly) responses aimed toward achieving the dominant focal conditions fo O which are operating at that momemt of gaze-contact. Moreover, since O can see that the direction of gaze of A must hold O at or near the center of the visual field of A , O infers that the converse conditions must hold for A ; and this inference is tested by the structure of the immediately succeeding events. Thus, regardless of the large context, gaze-contact provides prima facie evidence for some satisfaction of the fundamental focal conditions, As (intersect) So; therefore there will exist in O , and by inference also in A , some affect Ec (subset) Af [cf. Hilgartner & Randolph, 1969a, p. 314 (Possible outcomes, and focal conditions)].

 

But, according to our theory, an affect constitues a binary relation, an activity of our organism executed in his environmental situation; and this will be evidenced by some of the 'communicative' 'changes' discussed above. Moreover, the affect will be detected by our organism O in part by means of proprioception of these 'changes'. Thus, in the process of an affect, the facial expression, posture, position of head relative to trunk, etc., of O will change; and in the situation of gaze-contact, presumably these 'changes' will be detected-and-interpreted-somehow by A (as well as by O ). Likewise, if, in the situation of gaze-contact, the facial expression, posture, etc., of A undergo 'changes', these 'changes' will be detected-and-interpreted by O (as well as by A ). Thus, in principle, in gaze-contact the inter-personal transactions between O and A will occur at a maximal rate.

 

But we are forbidden by our theory to consider any moment, including a moment of gaze-contact, as occurring outside a larger context., i.e.d. a directively correlated sequence which results eventually in the formation of a behavioral Gestalt. When we say that, in gaze-contact, the inter-personal transactions between O and A will occur at a maximal rate, this statement implicates the larger context: as a binary relation, an affect constitutes for our organism indispensible evidence concerning the momentary state of the (organism&environment) field; but in the same act, it serves also as an operator to alter the state of the (organism & environment) field in such a way as to bring about further developments toward the achievement of the dominant focal conditions. Thus, if the larger context of O is such that, in the moments of gaze-contact, his affect toward A consists of friendly interest, his 'changes' will show this; and the actions of A will subsequently show his detection-and-interpretation of the 'changes' which express O's affect, in the context of the (inferable) dominant focal conditions of A . Or if the affect of O toward A , and the concomitant 'changes', comprise hostility, then the actions of A will reflect this state of affairs, again in the context of the dominant focal conditions of A .

 

For readers brought up in one or another of the cultures where English constitutes the native tongue, this double relationship between affects and the larger contexts may well prove difficult to grasp. Writing from a theoretical viewpoint quite similar in structure to ours, Perls et al. (1951) provide a brief lexicon of inter-translations between different classes of affects and different configurations of the (organism&environment) field. Their remarks are not addressed specifically to the topic of gaze-contact, but their approach is applicable to this topic:

 

For instance, longing is the heightening of appetite confronted with a distant object, in order to overcome distance or other obstacles; grief is the tension of loss or lack in accepting the absence of the object from the field, in order to withdraw and recuperate; anger is the destroying of obstacles to appetite; spite is an attack on an unavoidable overpowering enemy in order not altogether to capitulate; compassion is the avoidance or undoing of one's own loss by helping another; and so forth. (Perls, et al., 1951, p. 408)

 

Thus, in the context of gaze-contact, O will express anger toward A iff, in O's view of the larger situation, A somehow represents or presents a surmountable obstacle to the satisfaction of some appetite of O ; and the anger is then an attack on the obstacle.

 

In our notation, we shall designate a moment of gaze-contact by the symbolism vPevi .

(E) OUR FORMULATIONS IN PERSPECTIVE: EXPERIMENTAL TESTS

 

It is now our task to use the logical calculus we have developed in order to analyze the structure of human inter-personal transactions. Shortly, we shall present a notational analysis of a relatively commonplace situation, an encounter between two strangers, who pass each other in an otherwise deserted hallway, and exchange a glance and a warm smile, but no words.

 

First, however, we shall make a few comments concerning the larger significance of these efforts, and concerning the ways in which, by proper deployment of our resources, we can convincingly put our formulations to test.

 

There appears at present to be growing agreement that the main biological tool by means of which the human species has survived for the past million years or so, and continues to survive, comprises the ability of its members to cooperate. From their quite different points of view, writers as diverse as Korzybski (1921, 1933), Burrow (1927, 1964), Teilhard de Chardin (1955), Whyte (1948), Huxley (1953), Platt (1966), and many others, have converged on this conclusion. As Whyte (1948) points out, this ability to co-operate represents a further development of the ancient tribal structure of the great ape ancestors of mankind, which has been progressively modified by a class of organisms capable of speaking and of writing. And this ability to co-operate depends on a form of what Polanyi (1958) refers to as 'tacit knowing'; i.e.d. each human being knows what to do in order to co-operate with other humans, as is evidenced by the fact that he can and does do it; but insofar as he cannot say what he is doing, and how and why he is doing it, his 'knowing' remains tacit.|-

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|- As examples of 'tacit knowing', Polanyi cites, among other things, swimming, and riding a bicycle.

 

I shall take as my clue of this investigation the well-known fact that the aim of a skilful performance is achieved by the observance of a set of rules which are not known as such to the person following them. For example, the decisive factor by which the swimmer keeps himself afloat is the manner by which he regulates his respiration; he keeps his buoyancy at an increased level by refraining from emptying his lungs when berating out and by inflating them more than usual when breathing in: yet this is not generally known to swimmers. A well-known scientist, who in his youth had to support himself by giving swimming lessons, told me how puzzled he was when he tried to discover what made him swim; whatever he tried to do in the water, he always kept afloat.

 

Again, from my interrogations of physicists, engineers, and bicycle manufacturers, I have come to the conclusion that the principle by which the cyclist keeps his balance is not generally known. The rule observed by the cyclist is this. When he starts falling to the right he turns the handlebars to the right, so that the course of the bicycle is deflected along a curve toward the right. This results in a centrifugal force pushing the cyclist to the left and offsets the gravitational force dragging him down to the right. This maneuver presently throws the ;cyclist out of balance to the left, which he counteracts by turning the handlebars to the left; and so he continues to keep himself in balance by winding along a series of appropriate curvatures. A simple analysis shows that for a given angle of unbalance the curvature of each winding is inversely proportional to the square of the speed at which the cyclist is proceeding.

 

But does this tell us exactly how to ride a bicycle? No. You obviously cannot adjust the curvature of your bicycle's path in proportion to the ratio of your unbalance over the square of your speed; and if you could you would fall off the machine, for there a number of other factors to be taken into account in practice which are left out in the formulation of this rule. (Polanyi, 1964, p. 49.)

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From our point of view, one crucial aspect of the phenomenon of time-binding, the exponentially-increasing accumulation of human 'knowledge' (Korzybski, 1921), can be understood as the process of converting more and more of the elements of human inter-personal transactions from the status of 'tacit knowing' to that of 'explicit knowing'.

 

Huxley discussing the topic of human evolution, offers some comments which nicely supplement our own:

 

It is easy enough to make broad statements about the steps of advance which have transformed the qualify of human life and experience. We have the technical steps -- the step from food gathering to hunting; the domestication of animals and plants; the development of urban life; the invention first of writing, then of alphabetic writing; and so on to the familiar triumphs of modern applied science. We also have the steps in the organization of thought and creative expression: the passage from thinking exclusively in terms of magic to thinking also in terms of gods; the origin of philosophy from mythology and of drama from ritual, the pursuit of learning for its own sake; the rise of the scientific method of inquiry. That, I repeat, is all too easy. What is difficult is to discover just how any one step is effected, still more to distinguish desirable from undesirable change, and restrictive from non-restrictive improvement.

 

That is the job of the science of man. Perhaps, I should say, the job of the human sciences, from psychology to history, from ethnology to economics, for there is as yet no single science of man, in the sense of an organized branch of inquiry with a common body of postulates and ideas. It is, I think, fair to say that the human sciences today are somewhat in the position occupied by the biological sciences in the early 1800's; they are rapidly exploring different sectors of their field, but still looking for a central core of general principles.... (Huxley, 1957, pp. 124-5)

 

Against the background of this evolutionary perspective, we can begin to see the significance of our claim to have developed a logical calculus in which the structure of inter-personal transactions can adequately be described. That claim can be tested experimentally by producing records of actual human inter-personal transactions, e.g. movies of encounters between strangers, and then, by methods like those of Condon & Ogston, translating these non-verbal occurrences into the terms of the theory. If the theoretical framework does allow us adequately to account for the detailed structure of the observable occurrences, then we can (at least tentatively) claim to have a tested theory, of the form of an axiomatic system, which can stand as "a central core of general principles" for which Huxley calls "the science of man".

 

Some movies of this type have already been taken and analyzed, and our findings do not disconfirm the theory. The results of these experimental tests are presented elsewhere (Hilgartner & Johnson, 1968); let us now get on with the job of setting up a detailed example in the notation.

 

(F) THE INTER-PERSONAL CONTEXT OF OUR ANALYSIS

 

Our notation of the interacting (organism&environment) field was carefully set up so as to require that every encounter be considered from the point of view of some organism, O ; and any objects, 'persons', etc., which are not actually a part of that organism must be regarded as elements of the environment, x Î E . Thus, in keeping with those constraints and with our previous practice, I shall draw on certain recent experiences of my own, and fabricate a verbal description of an "encounter", which, upon my repeated re-examination, meets my criteria of "authenticity"; this then will be stated in words, as if from my own personal point of view; and then will be specified in our notation.

 

Readers of this theory will face a particularly difficult challenge when they try to make sense of these formulations, not only the notational but also the verbal ones. For if, as we maintain, the behavioral processes we are describing comprise the fundamental structure of inter-personal transactions, then the evidence for these processes is of universal occurrence, and can be observed in any inter-personal transactions whatever; and if, as we also maintain, these processes have never before been made as explicit as we are making them in this theory, then it is very likely that our readers are not as explicitly 'aware' of these processes as we are; thus, you, our readers, are submitting to being told that, for some reasons or others, you probably have failed (at least in part) to observe-and-understand what is going on before your own eyes and in your own lives. That is to say, you are submitting to being told that you have been parties to fundamental theoretical errors; and as Perls, et al. point out,

 

Fundamental theoretical errors are invariably characterological, the result of a neurotic failure of perception, feeling, or action. (This is obvious, for in any basic issue the evidence is, so to speak, 'everywhere' and will be noticed unless one will not or cannot notice it.) A fundamental theoretical error is in an important sense given in the experience of the observer; he must in good faith make the erroneous judgment; and a merely 'scientific' refutation by adducing contrary evidence is pointless, for he does not experience that evidence with its proper weight -- he does not see what you see, it slips his mind, it seems irrelevant, he explains it away, etc. Then the only useful method of argument is to bring into the picture the total context of the problem, including the conditions of experiencing it, the social milieu and the personal 'defenses' of the observer. That is, to subject the opinion and his holding of it to a Gestalt-analysis. A basic error is not refuted -- indeed, a strong error, as St. Thomas said, is better than a weak truth -- it can be altered only by changing the conditions of raw experience.

 

Then, our method is as follows: We show that in the observer's conditions of experience he must hold the opinion, and then, by the play of awareness on the limiting conditions, we allow for the emergence of a better judgment (in him and in ourselves). We are sensible that this is a development of the argument ad hominem, only much more offensive, for we not only call our opponent a rascal and therefore in error, but we also charitably assist him to mend his ways! Yet by this unfair method of argument, we believe, we often do more justice to an opponent than is common in scientific polemic, for we realize from the start that a strong error is already a creative act and must be solving an important problem for the one who holds it.

 

Up until this point, we have judged that the anxiety engendered in our readers by (a) our criticisms of the assumptions of other students of human behavior, coupled with (b) our proffer of what we deem to be more nearly adequate formulations, could safely be ignored. But now, we are asking our readers to study and to try to make sense of an account of an "encounter" involving inter-personal transactions, which embodies our chosen assumptions and the psycho-logical relations we have built up. This no one can do without going through the process of comparing in detail the written formulations with his own personal experience. Any reader whose views differ in structure for our own because of what Perls, et al., call "a neurotic failure of perception, feeling, or action" will find this experience elicits some kind of emergency-behavior [e.g. anxiety, the impulse to ridicule, "significant incomprehension" (Hilgartner, 1965), blanking out, etc.]. Therefore the exercise of trying to make sense of our formulations stands as another kind of experimental test, this time a test of your assumptions.

 

(G) FOSTERING AND EMULATING

 

When we proffer descriptions of human behavior which we claim are more nearly adequate than the currently available rival theories, and when we presume to offer you, our readers, an opportunity to test your own assumptions against the standard of ours, we are displaying a fundamental form of behavior; and this behavior of ours will serve as a coenetic variable, requiring some kind of behavioral replies, which, as we just pointed out, provide you, our readers, with an opportunity to increase your familiarity with and to test your own assumptions. Now we are about to define the last two operators which are required for our present purposes; and in the process, we shall make explicit the structure of this "fundamental form of behavior" we are displaying, and of the possible behavioral replies we may elicit from you.

 

Polanyi makes the following comments on the topic of submission to authority:

 

All arts are learned by intelligently imitating the way they are practiced by other persons in whom the learner places his confidence.... This kind of communication can be received only when one person places an exceptional degree of confidence in another, the apprentice in the master, the student in the teacher, and popular audiences in distinguished speakers or famous writers. This assimilation of great systems of articulate lore by novices of various grades is made possible only by a previous act of affiliation, by which the novice accepts apprenticeship to a community which cultivates this lore, appreciates its values and strives to act by its standards....

 

Just as children learn to speak by assuming that the words used in their presence mean something, so throughout the whole range of cultural apprenticeship the intellectual junior's craving to understand the doings and sayings of his intellectual superiors assumes that what they are doing and saying has a hidden meaning which, when discovered, will be found satisfying to some extent.... The learner, like the discoverer, must believe before he can know. But while the problem-solver's foreknowledge expresses confidence in himself, the intimations followed by the learner are based predominantly on his confidence in others; and this is an acceptance of authority....

 

Meanwhile, I have yet to add an essential qualification to the principle of authority. Every acceptance of authority is qualified by some measure of reaction to it or even against it. Submission to a consensus is always accompanied to some extent by the imposition of one's views on the consensus to which we submit.... Indeed, whenever I submit to a current consensus, I inevitably modify its teaching; for I submit to what I myself think it teaches and by joining the consensus on these terms I affect its content. On the other hand, even the sharpest dissent still operates by partial submission to an existing consensus: for the revolutionary must speak in terms that people can understand. Moreover, every dissenter is a teacher. The figures of Antigone and of the Socrates of the Apology are monuments of the dissenter as lawgiver. So also are the prophets of the Old Testament -- and so is a Luther, or a Calvin. All modern revolutionaries since the Jacobins demonstrate likewise that dissent does not seek to abolish public authority, but to claim it for itself. (Polanyi, 1964, pp.206-9)

 

Let us designate the act of 'submitting to authority', i.e.d. the act of 'placing an exceptional degree of confidence in another', by the operator emulating (Et). This operator subsumes a series of inferences: the organism affirms that there exists an environmental object which is an element of the set of human beings, and further affirms that if his own actions imitate those of this 'person', then the outcomes of his actions will be a subset of his focal conditions.

 

(128)

 

The complement of emulating () also subsumes a series of inferences: the organism affirms that there exists an environmental object which comprises a 'person', and further affirms that if his own actions imitate those of the 'person', then the outcomes of his actions will not be a subset of his focal conditions. This pair of terms then corresponds closely to the more conventional psychological terms 'identifying' and 'alienating', as used in, e.g., Perls et al. (1951)

 

Let us designate the act of claiming authority (as a subset of 'unimpaired' human behavior) by the operator fostering (Fo). This operator also subsumes a series of inferences: the organism affirms that there exists an environmental object which is an element of the set of human beings, and further affirms that if this 'person's' actions imitate his own, that the outcomes of this 'person's' actions will be a subset of the 'person's' focal conditions.

 

(129)

 

This is equivalent to saying that one of the focal conditions of the fostering organism is the satisfaction of the focal conditions of the 'person', i.e.d.

 

(129a)

 

(The complement of fostering () includes a number of complex topics which will not be discussed in detail until we are ready to specify the structure of psycho-dynamically stabilized distortions of behavior.)

 

To return to the first paragraph of this section, the "fundamental form of behavior" which we pointed out that we are displaying comprises a subset of fostering (claiming authority), and can be stated explicitly as the following claim: this empty form of set-theory symbols which we have created is similar in structure to the non-verbal phenomena of intra-personal and/or inter-personal transactions; and furthermore, anyone who has as a focal condition an increased 'understanding' of self-and-others (which, according to our view, is a universal focal condition, appearing at least in distorted form even in human beings who show severely 'impaired' behavior) will find that, if he progressively learns how to inter-translate between his own personal experience and this structure of set-theory symbols, then this focal conditions of his will be progressively satisfied. We pointed out that this fostering behavior of ours will serve as a coenetic variable, requiring some kind of behavioral replies from each reader; but whatever the detailed structure of the immediate responses in each instance, it is to be hoped that the considered behavioral responses of each reader will take into account not only the claims we have made so explicit, and the manner of making these claims, but also the evidence against which these claims are tested.

 

Previously, when we spoke of our organism as having become a disciplined psycho-logician, and then analyzed his interactions with non-living environmental objects, it became possible to show the structure of some fundamental subtleties of human behavior. Let us now try to gain a similar advantage by regarding our organism as a disciplined psycho-logician, who has made explicit a very large fraction of the tacit behavioral mechanisms which make up inter-personal transactions, and who is able to use these explicitly-known mechanisms explicitly, in his directively correlated efforts to satisfy his 'needs'. This can be represented in our notation by having our organism show certain 'expectations', e.g. (i) that although interpersonal transactions hold the possibility of danger (just as any other situation do), still he can trust the operations of his Self here as elsewhere to make it possible to avoid danger as well as other unfavorable outcomes; and (ii) that the fundamental 'social' focal conditions (As (intersect) So) are not only his own, but also are focal conditions of any 'person' he may encounter; and finally (iii) that if he is able to empathize with a 'person', as it were to "recognize the 'person' as a part of himself", and to communicate this empathizing to the 'person', then this already constitutes a satisfaction of the initial focal condition of the 'person', 'forming an association': PeOc (subset) PeAs(O) ; and this satisfaction of the initial focal condition serves as a coenetic variable and elicits directively correlated efforts on the part of the 'person' to 'continue the association', PESo(O) .

 

In the verbal description of the inter-personal transaction we analyze, these 'expectations' will be implied in the 'manneristic' expression, "spontaneously interested,...", and by the self-assured empathizing (e.g. interpreting the 'meanings' of the different actions of the 'person', the quick effort to reassure the 'person', etc.). But in the notational deployment, these 'expectations' will be stated explicitly.

(H) CONCERTED DEPLOYMENT OF THE LOGICAL CALCULUS OF INTER-PERSONAL TRANSACTIONS

 

(i) Verbal description

 

I am quietly wandering down the K-3 hallway, struggling with a problem concerning my biochemical research; but I am not so engaged or 'lost in thought' as to be entirely oblivious of my surroundings. And so I am immediately 'aware' of a young woman, a stranger, who rounds the corner and starts up the hallway towards me. Spontaneously interested, as I walk along I attend visually and take in her good posture, attractive dress and grooming, unhurried pace, rather serious and perhaps "intense" facial expression, and the way that she is gazing at the floor about ten feet ahead of her. She has not yet indicated 'awareness' of my presence, but continues unhurriedly walking along, apparently (as I infer) engaged in struggling with some problem in her own life. By this point rather intrigued by these parallels between her and myself, I find myself engaging in further empathizing with her; and as I successively 'understand' more and more of these things I can see her doing, I find I am moved. When she is a little over ten feet away, she scans my vicinity and presence, while her facial expression progresses from startled to "questioning-classifying". By the next step, at a distance of about eight feet, her gaze meets mine; and her facial expression seems just the slightest bit troubled. I surmise that, in gaze-contact with me, she is feeling slightly endangered; and in an effort to reassure her, smiling, I change my course so it will be a foot or so further away from hers. Her facial expression changes again, as if she has taken in, and then 'understood', this backing-off gesture of mine; and then she too smiles, warmly if a little shyly, as she scans my features. I feel my smile broaden and deepen, and see hers do so also; and we permit ourselves to remain glowingly in gaze-contact, while continuing our non-collision courses, until we pass from each other's view. And for some time afterwards, perhaps a quarter-hour or so, I am 'aware' of a feeling-tone of contentment.

 

(ii) Refinements of notation

 

In order to describe specific 'changes' occurring in an inter-personal transaction, we require a more extensive vocabulary of behavioral terms than we have yet defined, and a set of indices with which to specify the subsets of our organism or of a 'person' by which these 'changes' are produced.

 

(alpha) As before, in order to indicate a verbal proposition to which some non-verbal act is held to be equivalent, we shall indicate the non-verbal act by an operator, and set this operator equal to a proposition enclosed in quotation marks.

 

(beta) Let the subscript f , placed to the left of an operator, indicate that the 'change' involved is produced by means of facial-expression-and-gesture, e.g. fX .

 

(gamma) In any passage where it may be ambiguous whether a given operator refers to an action of our organism or to one of a 'person', let a superscript written to the left to the operator be used to indicate who performs the action, e.g. OML , PeSm , etc.

 

(delta) Let the facial expression which in our text we called "questioning-classifying" be indicated by the operator fQc . [Actual behavioral sequences which correspond to this operator have been described by Scheflin (1964).]

 

(epsilon) Let the facial expression that accompanies the "AHA!" of insight (Gestalt-formation) be indicated by the operator fAh .

 

 

(zeta) Let the operator Sm indicate the motor act of smiling. Since an organism cannot see its own smiling, its 'awareness' of its own smiling would constitute the proprioception of a motor act. Detection of the smiling of a 'person' would be indicated as detection of a facial expression, and thus the operator would be preceded by the subscript f.

 

(eta) In any moment of association, Soi (as in any other moment), every organism will make a judgment concerning whether or not it is in danger. Let the operator trusting (Tr) indicate the judgment that in this Soi there is no danger, Tri = (So: D_)i . Its complement then would designate mistrusting.

 

With these refinements of our notational resources before us, we are ready to begin the actual analysis.

 

(iii) Notational deployment: Myth1 and the Stranger

 

Initially, our organism is "aimlessly" wandering, almost "lost in thought".

 

(130)

 

"I am immediately 'aware' of a young woman..."

 

(131)

 

(132)

 

"Spontaneously interested, I take in her good posture," (etc.).

 

(133)

 

"And as I successively 'understand' more and more of these things I can see her doing, I find that I am moved."

 

(134)

 

"... she orients and glances up, and with a couple of fixations of her eyes, she scans my vicinity and presence, while her facial expression progresses from startled to 'questioning-classifying'."

 

(135)

 

"... her gaze meets my own; and her facial expression seems just the slightest bit troubled."

 

(136)

 

"I surmise that, in gaze-contact with me, she is feeling slightly endangered; and in an effort to reassure her, smiling, I change my course so it will be a foot or so further away from hers."

 

(137)

 

"Her facial expression changes again, as if she has taken in, and then 'understood', this backing-off gesture of mine."

 

(138)

 

"... and then she too smiles, warmly if a bit shyly, as she scans my features."

 

(139)

 

"I feel my smile broaden and deepen, and see hers do so also; and we permit ourselves to remain glowingly in gaze-contact, while continuing our non-collision courses, until we pass from each other's view."

 

(140)

 

(141)

 

An explicit expression for the subset of 'consciousness' produced in this encounter would contain virtually every term comprising sentences (130) to (141). The main point of this expression, however, would be that this subset of 'consciousness' is not equivalent to the empty set.

 

(142)

 

Assimilation of this experience is represented in the usual way:

 

(143)

 

(144)

 

 

(iv) Interpretation

 

Let us now translate sentences (130) to (133) into words, in order to determine what we have been able to reveal about these 'inter-personal transactions' by the use of our mathematical notation.

 

(130) says that just prior to the beginning of the "encounter", our organism is ambling along, in a state of unhurried tranquillity (), neither attending to nor particularly interested in his surroundings.

 

(131) says at the time t62 there is now an environmental object x , and that the focal condition of our organism becomes to classify this object somehow. (And of course the mechanisms by which an organism classifies environmental objects have already received exhaustive analysis in our text.)

 

(132) says that our organism "propriocepts" (detects by proprioception) his own walking, and that he classifies the environmental object x as a stranger (Pe: ); and having achieved his first focal condition, he is in a state of (some degree of) excitement (Ec).

 

(133) is entirely devoted to an exegesis of the phrase "spontaneously interested", in its context. It says that the coenetic variables, those aspects of the 'external' and 'internal' environment which require behavior, are (a) the presence of a stranger, (b) the organism's state of excitement, and (c) his state of unhurried tranquillity. The focal condition of the organism's activities becomes to form and continue an association with this stranger.

 

Except for the last phrase, the rest of sentence (133) specifies the expectations which the organism holds, which are stated as the intersection of four expressions: G1G2G3G4G5, and three more complicated expression marked off by brackets. In the first expression, G1G2G3 refers to the "rectangular assumptions" [cf. sentences (59) to (98)], which specify the relations between rectilinear environmental objects and the images of these objects on the plate (retina) of a simple camera (eye). G4 refers to what our organism learned when he encountered the Ames trapezoidal window display, which is specifically designed to lead to observations which contradict expectations based on G1G2G3 . and G5 refers to a direct experiencing of a human organism's relations with his environment, such as is produced by certain projective Zen Buddhist exercises which were previously discussed in detail [sentences (105) to (124)].

 

The second expectation is that the organism is such that to form and continue an association with this 'person' is not dangerous for our organism; this is composed of the same elements as is the operation of our organism trusting his own transactions with this 'person'.

 

The third expectation is that for this 'person' to form an association with our organism constitutes a focal condition of the 'person'; therefore in this encounter the focal condition of our organism is composed of the same elements as is the focal condition of the 'person', which is a subset of the situation of mutual fostering (tenderness).

 

The fourth expectation is that for our organism to empathize with the 'person', and then for the 'person' to become 'aware' of our organism's empathizing, comprises a subset of the situation of the 'person' forming an association with our organism, which is a focal condition of the 'person'; therefore this achieved focal condition of the 'person' functions as a coenetic variable, which elicits the further focal condition in the 'person' to continue the association with our organism.

 

The last phrase of sentence (133) says that (in light of these expectations) the organism visually attends to, is interested in, and empathizes with (the 'person'); in other words, the organism is using all his capabilities to 'perceive' and to 'understand' (the 'person').

 

In summary, then, the expectation stated as G1G2G3G4G5 comprises a rigorous summary of the nature, the capabilities, and the limitations of 'perceptual' information about one's relations with any environmental object. Expectations 2 and 3, concerning the nature and focal conditions of inter-personal transactions, comprise the conclusions of a member of a social species who has considered Sommerhoff's definition of 'society' as a guide to the understanding of his own inter-personal relations; and expectation 4 deals with the strategy by which our organism may hope to achieve his focal condition of forming and continuing an association with this 'person'. (And in the rest of the "encounter" (not translated into words here), our organism acts on these expectations, thereby putting them to test; and the result is a moment of contact with the 'person' which, though devoid of speech or touch-contact, is so close as to be akin to the intimacy of lovers.)

 

But if we return now to the original verbal description, we can see that the phrase "spontaneously interested" refers to the observable fact that the speaker looks at the approaching young woman, undergoes subtle changes of posture, gesture, and facial expression, and does not avert his gaze. This "observable fact" is in principle observable by the person performing these acts, or by other observers (including the young woman he is looking at), or by physiological measuring instruments. Ordinarily, we might pass over a phrase like "spontaneously interested" with the superficial understanding that it refers to some set of actions like that listed above. But if we stop ourselves, and ask questions about the fundamental operations implied by this phrase, we find that the "simple" act in which a man looks at a beautiful woman (or at anything else, for that matter) involves epistemological and neuro-biological issues of such complexity as to be unmanagable without the help of a powerful logical language.

 

(v) Discussion

 

In order to aid our readers correctly to interpret this "encounter," let us back off for a moment and establish what point we have reached in relation to the overall intent of this work.

 

As we have already pointed out, the "parent" papers of this series (Hilgartner, 1968, 1965) constitute a verbal presentation of a korzybskian doctrine which specifies the structure of human psycho-dynamics. Two claims were made about those papers, viz. (a) that this doctrine stems from more parsimonious assumptions than those generally employed in the study of behavior, and (b) that the doctrine itself is logically consistent. In order to test these two claims, we translated this doctrine into the form of an axiomatic system, stated in a mathematical language of known structure.

 

As we re-emphasized in the opening paragraphs of the present paper, our efforts to construct a set-theory language which describes the structure of the relations between and organism and non-living environmental objects have disclosed no self-contradiction in the doctrine under examination. And at this point, we can now affirm that our extensions of this language so as to describe the structure of 'unimpaired' inter-personal transactions still discloses no self-contradiction in the doctrine under examination.

 

 

Moreover, the theory gives such explicit accounting for the structure of inter-personal transactions, right down to the level of processes which exceed the flicker-fusion time of human organisms, that it becomes feasible to subject the theory to experimental test, by taking sound movies of actual inter-personal transactions, and then subjecting these recorded happenings to intensive analysis. However, as we shall discuss below, the ;most important kind of test of this theory will have to be done not in a laboratory, but by its readers.

 

So far, the picture we have drawn lacks contrast: We refer to this "encounter" as an example of 'unimpaired' inter-personal transactions, without having as yet shown the contrasting structure of distorted or 'impaired' behavior. Therefore let us re-emphasize that this "encounter" shows our organism in the process of subjecting his expectations (including his 'picture of himself') to a severe test, in a context where, as Perls, et al (1951, p. 398) puts it,

 

the experiment [is] real and meant, in the sense of making a personal difference, of being a sophisticated effort for happiness, and therefore a partnership in which the 'experimenter' and the 'subject' are both men.

 

As a result of this "encounter", our organism is somewhat altered, O90 = G6 (union) O61 . Since his expectations were not falsified, he emerges from this encounter a little more self-assured, i.e.d. a little more confident that the operations of his Self, though not infallable, are competent to serve as reliable guides to behavior (cf. Hilgartner & Randolph, 1969b); and in particular, a little more confident that his picture of the structure of human inter-personal transactions, as given in sentence (133), is not mistaken.

 

In order to finish off the task we set ourselves, in subsequent papers we must use our notation to analyze the structure of 'impaired' subsets of Cs ('unsane' behavior), and the structure of the processes by means of which a human organism can learn how to 'complete' his hitherto 'impaired' subsets of Cs .

 

In the meantime, the manner in which this theory can serve as an instrument of insight begins to be apparent. For to call this axiomatic system a theory is equivalent to the assertion that this mathematical system represents non-mathematical happenings: we are making the claim that this theory is similar in structure to the behavior-and-experience of human organisms, i.e.d. to the overt and covert relations of a human organism with itself and with other organisms. And so the most important question becomes not "is it consistent?", but "is it correct?"

 

But when we begin to inquire about the correctness of this theory, we find that we must face curious and challenging difficulties, which require us to deal with two of the fundamental epistemological questions: "what do we mean?" and "how do we know?", i.e. "what do we mean, 'correct'?", and "how do we know whether or not it's 'correct'?"

 

The initial embarrassment comes from the fact that this theory comprises an account of the structure of human experience, written by a human being who frankly and unabashedly draws on his own personal experience, and who explicitly written for an audience composed solely of other human beings. And in traditional Western science, we are not accustomed to being cast simultaneously in the roles of both student and subject-matter. Being required to play this unaccustomed dual role is likely to elicit anxiety, which we cannot fully account for until we have specified in our notation the structure of 'impaired' behavior.

 

This fundamental embarrassment concerning subject-matter leads to similar embarrassments concerning the questions about correctness: according to this theory, any theory is analogous to a map, i.e.d. it constitutes an empty form composed of arbitrary symbols manipulated by equally arbitrary rules. For example, the mathematical formula f = ma, or F = H - TS, or e = mc2 show these characteristics no more and no less than a map of the highways of New York State. To say that a theory (or a highway map) is correct is equivalent to the assertion that this empty form of symbols is somehow or other similar in structure to the territory for which it stands. But we can know whether or not a theory is similar in structure to the territory for which it stands if and only if we use it to make predictions about the behavior of elements of the territory, predictions which are capable of being disconfirmed, and then put these predictions to test.

 

But this theory describes the structure of human behavior-and-experience. According to this theory, when a human being engages in the process of trying to comprehend a structure of symbols written (or spoken) by another human being, he necessarily engages in a process of comparing in detail the symbolic constructs with his own behavioral repertoire. Therefore, the first judgment as to whether this theory is correct, i.e.d. similar in structure to the 'territory' of 'human behavior-and-experience', is not to be made primarily in a laboratory, but rather must be made by each human being who reads the theory. The first 'experiments' to be performed should test the so-called 'null-hypothesis', i.e.d. "this theory accounts for nothing." The null-hypothesis receives a sufficient iff someone reads-and-comprehends the theory, and finds one or more correspondences between the theoretical constructs and his own behavioral repertoire. In other words, the initial judgment on the correctness of this theory will be made in terms of the finding, "I can (cannot) find-and-make one or more correspondences between the theoretical constructs and my own experiences."

 

As of now, I must regard the null-hypothesis to be already refuted: not only have I subjected the developing theoretical constructs to test in virtually every interpersonal encounter in which I have taken part during the past 18 months or more, but also a number of friends and colleagues have examined the theory in greater or lesser detail, and each has reported to me that he did find at least one of these crucial correspondences. From my point of view, my further testing of this theory should make use of the resources of a laboratory.

 

In the meantime, we will be able to say more about this theory as an instrument of insight after we have completed our next task, the specifying of the structure of 'impaired' subsets of Cs .

 

REFERENCES