Changing another person LO20265

Fred Nickols (
Wed, 23 Dec 1998 07:45:53 -0500

Replying to Jon Krispin in LO20257 --

At the risk of doing injustice to a long, thoughtful post, it sounds to me
Jon, that you, like many other people on this list, have been trying to
piece things together for many years. I, too, find the behaviorist
perspective to be limiting, especially regarding the "world inside me"
and particularly regarding matters such as intention and purpose.

As I read your post, it struck me that one name missing from the thinkers
you mentioned was William T. Powers. Powers is the author of "Behavior:
The Control of Perception," a 1973 book that greatly influenced my own
thinking about behavior. If you haven't read it, I encourage you to do

At the risk of doing damage to Powers' work, the essence of what he has to
say is that we act to keep our perceptions aligned with our internal
reference conditions. It's a very cybernetic view and it accounts very
neatly for something that behaviorism has never been able to account for;
namely, the maintenance of stable outcomes under varying conditions.

I count Powers' work as one of the "pieces of the puzzle" in my own small
effort to understand who and what we are and why we do what we do.

If you get a chance, I'm confident you'll profit from reading it.


Fred Nickols Distance Consulting (609) 490-0095

Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <>