The impact of people's need for control

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04 Apr 2019 04:31 #336882 by ghost of the mist
I have been thinking about this particular subject. Control is something we as humans completely need. Or is it? I myself think that it is the great downfall of man. It is our need for control that keeps us at war. It is why countries are so often times at odds with one another. I wish to see the Jedi community's opinion upon this matter.
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04 Apr 2019 04:49 - 04 Apr 2019 05:04 #336884 by Adder
A function of authority probably. This might all relate to oneself in that if you've no control over yourself you might feel lower self worth. So anyone without any authority might exert control outwards to increase a sense of self worth, in lieu of self control. Or someone who wants to maintain existing authority without exerting control internally might extend control outwards to both intimidate/pacify internally and try to gain more authority by accumulation of that outer and stabilization of the inner. Obviously is they wanted to exert control internally then they already have that authority.... so what is authority: a right to control IMO. Who determines the right to control, participants.... in joining, or being part of a process to determine as much.

My most salient example is in aviation, the relationship between aircrew and air traffic controllers. The aircrew are responsible for their aircrafts flying but they have rules to follow. The ATC have degrees of authority and that is to assist the aircraft do what they want to do... but sometimes by virtue of participating in a system of other aircraft the ATC have to control where an aircraft is allowed to go. They have authority, they exert that as control as required.... but they do not actually have control. A pilot can ignore a directive but they might get in a heap of trouble, never fly again.... or die trying! It's why its important to know the rules and follow them, or build a better system based on 'evidence based practice' :D

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Last edit: 04 Apr 2019 05:04 by Adder.
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04 Apr 2019 05:04 #336885 by Bridget
If I were to reduce it to relationships, on an individual level, the need to control tends to stem from a lack of trust or confidence in another's abilities or motives. Scale it up a bit to see why countries exert their power and authority over other countries that they oversee. This could be out of greed, competition, or other motivators.
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04 Apr 2019 14:56 #336891 by Gisteron
What has a simple answer cannot be a complicated question. I don't think that a lot of conflict between individuals or communities can be safely reduced to just a "need/desire for control". For one, it isn't much of a reduction to begin with in that more is assumed than said about what we even mean by need or control. Also, what would then be the difference is between a situation where the participating parties have a need for control and one where they do not?
Now, I am being slightly pedantic here. Of course in colloquial settings we roughly understand each other when speaking of control.
I don't think it is at all a controversial to say that, even from a very calculating perspective, we are mortal. Time any one of us gets to take part in the game of life is finite, as are the resources at our avail, and by the sheer likelihood of such things surviving we carry genes that generally promote the survival of their carriers for at least as long as it takes to spread them with maximal efficiency. Natural fears of circumstances that can get in the way of our genes' success in this are coded into us. This includes an instinct for survival but also a desire for prosperity, and for the well-being of our neighbors. After all, genes we share with them and with our offspring are more likely to survive in bodies that are in health and security than in those that are not.
We do not just want raw survival in the moment, we want security of the future for ourselves and our fellows. We want that the future on the one hand provide for us but we also want to see it in advance and to take action to optimize it for the current and future copies of our genes' well-being. We want, in a word, "control", and this is so fundamental to us - not even as humans but as heirs to lineages that have been bred for survival for billions of generations - that there is no escaping it. But just as every competition for resources of all kinds is a consequence of our prioritizing carriers of our own genes over those we share less with, so is pretty much every advancement we have made. This is easy enough to say of technologies, but I'd go as far as to assert that even the arts are a means to cope with our emotions, to communicate and bond with our fellows, and thus to improve our security and control over the immediate environment and future. Far from it being a bleak mechanistic view to say that we are survival machines and that without exception everything we do reduces in its motives to something along that line, it is astonishing and inspiring just how complicated the structures are that have emerged from what is ultimately a very singular condition: Finitude.
And complicated these structures are indeed. When we say control in the context of this topic, we might think of the overly jealous partner, or the power-hungry sovereign, or their respective victims, but follow the thread down as far as it will go, and a far more complicated web of motivations turns out to be connected with them all. Why we do things is not a simple question. We could boil it down to something very simple if we had to, surely, but that I don't think would much help us much understand and predict each other. On the other hand, certainly, it cannot be boiled down to a higher level motivation like "control" without overlooking most of what else moves us at that level.

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04 Apr 2019 23:05 #336907 by Carlos.Martinez3

ghost of the mist wrote: I have been thinking about this particular subject. Control is something we as humans completely need. Or is it? I myself think that it is the great downfall of man. It is our need for control that keeps us at war. It is why countries are so often times at odds with one another. I wish to see the Jedi community's opinion upon this matter.



This is only own personal view and can and will differ from others practice.

On the subject of control
Man , I try my hardest to control things. I’m human. It’s my nature to be the dominant one by my raise and by my time in the army... not excuses , but in real life that’s where they come from for me. I have come to the point in my own Jedi ism that I understand the need and the not need ... of that makes sense. ?? As a believer in the Force and as a seeker and as a server of the Force I also understand the ebb n flow of things. Have to or ide go nuts ! Balance is key to everything in life often times and for me - I’m no exception.
I’m a cook by trade and choice ( small jobs led to a obsession ) now , I cook for my family and we all sit at the table. There’s an open invitation to my family and friends. So at any given time we can have a few more feet tucked under the table- my practice of control kicks in and I could very well - become Gordon Ramsey and pitch a fit when they show up un announced or —-add a few chairs - pour a few rounds - and laugh until some one falls asleep or passes out from all the fun. Point is - I can be in control as much as I can but I also try to remember - some times the wind blows and the rain falls - it all depends on me and how I perceive things at times.
In my meditations I control my thought and my flow. Then.... at times I do not.

Me personally - I try to make room for all but that’s my own choice.

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05 Apr 2019 14:08 #336915 by Cyan Sarden
Our apparent need for control is the result of an incomplete / undeveloped mind. One that is driven by instinct rather than rational thought.

The obsession to control arises from fear of the unknown. We fallaciously believe that there is no unknown as long as we seemingly control our environment.

The fact is: once we've conquered our fear of the unknown (and in our lives, close to everything is unknown - what we believe to know is only a infinitesimally tiny amount of our actual environment and our place in the Force), the need for control automatically disappears.

The sooner we realize fearlessness and stop wasting our resources on attempting to control what is inherently chaotic and uncontrollable, the sooner we become peaceful, free from fear and happy. We can then use our resources to benefit others.

Do not look for happiness outside yourself. The awakened seek happiness inside.
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05 Apr 2019 15:28 - 05 Apr 2019 15:29 #336926 by Gisteron

Cyan Sarden wrote: The obsession to control arises from fear of the unknown. We fallaciously believe that there is no unknown as long as we seemingly control our environment.

In order to have control, would we not need to have knowledge/understanding? Why is this a fallacious inference to make, that the extent to which we control our environment it is known to us, and by extension, the extent to which we can maximize control is as well the extent to which we can minimize the unknown?


... in our lives, close to everything is unknown - what we believe to know is only a infinitesimally [sic] tiny amount of our actual environment and our place in the Force...

Would one not have to know enough of the environment and the Force and the amount of human knowledge in order to make that comparison? How do you know how much there is to know? I'm not necessarily arguing the opposite here - though this is not to say that I couldn't - I'm just pointing out that one would have to have access to knowledge that seems to be safely outside of what we can confidently say we have before one can make a proclamation of this sort.

Last edit: 05 Apr 2019 15:29 by Gisteron.
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05 Apr 2019 20:48 #336934 by Cyan Sarden

Gisteron wrote: In order to have control, would we not need to have knowledge/understanding? Why is this a fallacious inference to make, that the extent to which we control our environment it is known to us, and by extension, the extent to which we can maximize control is as well the extent to which we can minimize the unknown?

Would one not have to know enough of the environment and the Force and the amount of human knowledge in order to make that comparison? How do you know how much there is to know? I'm not necessarily arguing the opposite here - though this is not to say that I couldn't - I'm just pointing out that one would have to have access to knowledge that seems to be safely outside of what we can confidently say we have before one can make a proclamation of this sort.


I'd argue that the amount of knowledge required to actually control our environment is simply unobtainable. Anything we believe we know can only approximate complete knowledge, which usually falls short so badly that what be believe is "control" is simply an educated guess with so many undefined variables that the outcome is haphazard to a high degree. If the outcome apparently seems to be what we expected, we feel encouraged that it was our controlling the situation that led to a certain outcome. Which of course in some cases it will - but mostly, our actions cause more reactions than meet the eye - and these reactions might get back at us in ways that we simply can't fathom. They may be so far removed from the original event that our "knowledge", again, fails to enable us to see the entirety of the system.

Within the elaborate, universal system of cause and effect in which we live, the only truly controllable situation would be an enclosed simulation / an altered environment - a sub-system that we have created ourselves in which our own rules are the only rules. In nature, this is not possible. We can build decent roads to minimise the risk while driving. We can build a house to minimise the risk of being exposed to the elements. But none of that is more than a crude attempt at control and may fail us at any time.

Being able to let go of trying to control what we can't control leads to peace of mind. At least it does for me - your mileage may vary.

Do not look for happiness outside yourself. The awakened seek happiness inside.
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05 Apr 2019 23:24 #336937 by Gisteron

Cyan Sarden wrote: I'd argue that the amount of knowledge required to actually control our environment is simply unobtainable.

Please, do.


Anything we believe we know can only approximate complete knowledge, ...

So can it approximate complete knowledge or is it but an infinitessimally small fraction of complete knowledge? Which is it?


... which usually falls short so badly that what be believe is "control" is simply an educated guess with so many undefined variables that the outcome is haphazard to a high degree.

Hardly. I don't understand why it has to be not just an all-or-nothing game, but a literally both-all-and-nothing. First we have almost no knowledge to speak of, then it is approximately complete, and now even that almost complete knowledge is somehow highly unreliable again. I don't think we would call it knowledge if we didn't have an extensive record of how useful it has been to us. We are talking about world wide communication devices essentially made out of rocks. Do we understand rocks perfectly? By some measures of perfection, yes, we do. Do we understand everything as well as we understand rocks? Far from it. They are guesses, but they are, as you put it, educated guesses, not wild ones. The variables are not undefined, but well known and deliberately left uncontrolled when we know that the material costs of keeping them under control does not outweigh the benefits it'd promise. I don't understand what you mean by "haphazard to a high degree", when our rock-machines are so powerful as to allow us to make predictions even about the most chaotic natural systems. We can debate whether it is all or nothing or something inbetween, but I don't understand when it is painted as if it were both, almost entirely beyond our grasp and almost entirely within it at the same time.


If the outcome apparently seems to be what we expected, we feel encouraged that it was our controlling the situation that led to a certain outcome.

Well, yes, if it works a billion times out of a billion attempts, and then another billion times out of another billion attempts with slight variations in the variables and outcomes matching the adjusted predictions, at some point one is bound to start growing confidence in the understanding. I don't know if there are philosophical traditions that find that unwarranted because warrant has to be ultimate to them, but then there is only so much time we have in life that we can reasonably reserve to worrying about things so thoroughly disconnected from it.


Which of course in some cases it will - but mostly, our actions cause more reactions than meet the eye - and these reactions might get back at us in ways that we simply can't fathom.

I don't understand what that means. Either we have knowledge of the system, which we demonstrate by successfully predicting its behaviour, or we fail to predict it, thus demonstrating that we do not have sufficient knowledge of it to not be failing like that. Again, it can't be both. You say it is fallacious to say that if we could control a system then it would be known to us, but what is knowledge if it doesn't manifest in power?


Within the elaborate, universal system of cause and effect in which we live, ...

Some people find that an intuitive way of describing event progressions. I don't. There is no definition of cause and effect that would allow us to separate coincidental event pairs from causally linked ones. For practical purposes, we do not live in any such universal system.


the only truly controllable situation would be an enclosed simulation / an altered environment - a sub-system that we have created ourselves in which our own rules are the only rules. In nature, this is not possible. We can build decent roads to minimise the risk while driving. We can build a house to minimise the risk of being exposed to the elements. But none of that is more than a crude attempt at control and may fail us at any time.

Not at any time. We can predict to within known and finite margins of error how well the crude attempt at control will serve us and for how long. Again you seem to be voicing this sensibility that control isn't "truly" control unless and until it is total in scope. Why? What I've been asking is why it is fallacious to think that control correlates negatively with un-knowledge. How else would we measure knowledge? The absoluteness of knowledge or of control or their respective lacking in limitlessness is entirely irrelevant to that question.

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06 Apr 2019 19:24 #336950 by Ambert The Traveller
> Why is this a fallacious inference to make, that the extent to which we control our environment it is known to us, and by extension, the extent to which we can maximize control is as well the extent to which we can minimize the unknown?

You might have given the answer yourself:
>one would have to have access to knowledge that seems to be safely outside of what we can confidently say we have before one can make a proclamation of this sort.

Working Hypothesis:
the extent to which we can minimize the unknown IS NOT rhe extent to which we can maximize control

Approach: because it is not possible to minimize something that is not known.

Let's try and think this through using some math.

Let K be a set, or a world, that countains all the known knowledge. Let's say there is also a time t and a state K_t of what is known at time t. Let c(K) be a function that expresses that you have managed to control what is in this set and make good predictions of how K_t+1 will look like a future time t+1, because you know K_t and that K_t+1=c(k_t). Now let there be an Environment E of this K, which has a set of unknown elements U which is disjunct, not connected to the elements in K.
It is obvious that it is possible to maximize K by creating new elements of it, through using c(K). Yo might be able to find a lot of new elements that you can create. There might even be no limits. Or there may be limits. It all depends on K and c(K).
But how would it be possible to minimize the cardinality of the set U in the environment E, with the same delta of how the cardinality of the set K was maximized? K and U are disjunct. There is no connection, isn't it?

I tried to find one, but failed:
We assume there is possible control of the unknown, c2(U) which is somehow corelated with c(K), some kind of say c2(U)=m*c(K). An unknown control of the unknown through the control c of what is known and some other sort of mapping m.
How would we be able to tell how much of U would we be able to control with our combined function ?
Let's say we maximize m*c(K) and so will see c2(U) going up as well. But what can we say about what U might do?
We can not tell if it is going to minimize, because we do not know anything about this U and c2(U).

Or speaking about controllable error, how large would the error be of trying to control and know something of which nothing, neither magnitude, quantity nor quality, is known, and which can not be accessed, nor measured, nor be in any relation to anything known?

In a distributed system, there might be a model running quite well, with little error, accurate predictions, and maximized knowledge within its context. Somewhere 'next to it', there might things be happening, irrelevant to the model and its context, but nevertheless existing, that are there even if they are and will remain completely unknown to the model.

I recently drove in my car thinking about what you said about predictive models. I agreed with you. It is all about how accurate we can predict the future. I am driving, controlling, keeping distances to the left and the right, knowing when to turn right, I have an accurate model of driving. Am just about to take it for the world, my mind being proud about it's predictions and ability to control everything. Then I see a nun in another car driving towards me. And I realised: How could I have ever predicted that a nun would be passing by in a car? Even if I would have had all the knowledge about my predictive model?

It is not only that I would have had to process an awkward amount of complexity to predict this. It is also that if I assume that any model has a context or environment, there are always things completely unknown to the model. It can never be complete.
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