Toward a Unified Theory of Human Behavior

Grinker, Roy R. (ed.), Toward a Unified Theory of Human Behavior. New York: Basic Books.

Grinker, Roy R. 1956a. Preface. In: Grinker, Roy R. (ed.), Toward a Unified Theory of Human Behavior. New York: Basic Books, v-vii.

Such a multi-disciplinary group in itself gives no guarantee of significant communications relating to a unified theory of human behavior. Its conferences could easily be of educatory value for its participating members by clarifying concepts and methods of fields strange to workers in other areas, but participants have been selected partially because of experience with more than one discipline and familiarity with several. The group might be tempted to translate concepts from one living or life-derived system to another, as for example biologizing psychology or psychologizing sociology, resulting in tautology rather than unification. We hope rather that communication between disciplines and abstractions from all of them will lead to considerable integration among us and what we represent, so that we may approach even though silently the goal of unification. (Grinker 1956a: vi)
Is sociosemiotics then a tautology or a unification? I know some claim that psychosemiotics is the former. In any case, I hope to see integration between what the representatives of these "allied disciplines" represent.

Ruesch, Jurgen 1956a. Introduction. In: Grinker, Roy R. (ed.), Toward a Unified Theory of Human Behavior. New York: Basic Books, ix-xi.

Today, with the ever-increasing scientific and technological body of information, the individual solution used by our predecessors is no longer applicable. Instead, various attempts at establishing a universal scientific language, at agreeing upon basic scientific assumptions, at developing generally acceptable theoretical systems and at constructing giant electronic brains can be interpreted as moves to build the foundations upon which a body of knowledge which deals with the integration of specialized scientific information can rest. (Ruesch 1956a: ix)
Here we already see a movement towards "a system of common symbols".
In these latter fields the greatest handicap to theoretical advance is related to the facts that the human observer is significantly influencing the phenomena which he purports to investigate and that the persons he studies are somewhat unique and cannot be replaced by other similar individuals. But we can call ourselves fortunate indeed that we possess this knowledge and that we are capable of explicitly formulating this very difficulty. (Ruesch 1956a: x)
So there's a double-edged sword: on the one hand the researcher is influenced by what he researches, and if what he researches humans then it has to be taken into account that no two persons are completely identical. The same could probably be said about cultures: the researcher is necessarily part of a culture, and at the same time studying a culture unlike any other.
Today we conceive of the individual as a living organism whose social relations are combined into complex organizations, whose inner world of experience is closely related to his social operations and whose soma materially makes possible his varied activities. We also have come to recognize that such a view necessitates a more unitary approach to man, and that what we need is a first approximation to a scheme which will enable us to represent physical, psychological, and social events within one system of denotation. If such an undertaking were to be successful, it would provide for an entirely new perspective of the intricate relations between mind, body, and socio-economic events and would furnish a framework which would consider simultaneously the individual and his surroundings, both in health and disease. But only a concerted effort of many minds can be expected to yield results. A transcript of the discussion of some fifteen scientists, dedicated to this task, may help others to continue our efforts. (Ruesch 1956a: x-xi)
This is as general as it is useful. Individual/social; relations/organizations; inner experience/social operations. Unified system of denotation is what they seem to strive towards. The effort definitely demands continuation.

Grinker, Roy R. 1956b. The Intrapersonal Organization. In: Grinker, Roy R. (ed.), Toward a Unified Theory of Human Behavior. New York: Basic Books, 3-15.

I have undertaken the task of dealing with nte intra-organismic or intrapersonal organization in the most general and succinct terms possible. In such an attempt at any level (cellular, humoral, neurological, or psychological) two difficulties immediately present themselves. The first is semantic and concerns the vocabulary of generalizations or abstractions. Usually, when efforts are made to derive generalizations from the intrapersonal system applicable to others, anthropomorphisms have been utilized as though the parts were endowed consciousness and volition. On the other hand, the forces of the intrapersonal psychological systems are often described in social terms. We speak of boundaries, areas, conflict, compromise and hierarchies as though they were agencies. The phraseology is dynamic enough, but seems always to use figures of speech belonging to the next larger organization. If we consider the actions of one organization in terms of another, the tacit assumption is that the patterns are identical. Yet, logically, identity in language is no proof of reality; in fact, it hinders its testing. (Grinker 1956b: 3-4)
Is this anything like Ruesch's earlier intrapersonal network? The dilemma here is between anthromorphism and sociomorphism. The latter is especially evident, in the sense presented here, in titles like "what the body wants" (or, an actual title, What every body is saying). Memo: notice where patterns seem to be identical; i.e. where analogizing has replaced unification.
Furthermore, to find the common factors in biological, interpersonal and social processes, the basic concepts of another organization must be viewed at their point of transaction in order to obtain an abstraction significant for both; in fact, this is the only frame of reference for the scientific observer. (Grinker 1956b: 4)
The same goes for phatics: there is a need for abstraction significant for both interpersonal and cultural level (at least if notions like phatic media culture are to be taken seriously).
However, the human nervous system consists of not only correlating and conducting centers with their peripheral receptors and effectors. The cortical mantle has been associated with the intensification of functions which permit the living organization a greater mastery of time and space, involving memory of the past and projection into the future and the capacity for more choice instead of rigidly stimulus-bound action. (Grinker 1956b: 7)
The human Umwelt is distinct due to retrospect and prospect.
Coghill hypothesized: "In the organic sphere the total pattern has three constituent components, structure, function and mentation. These three components of the living organism undergo varying degrees of individuation. Structure is fundamentally spatial. Function is primarily temporal. Mentation in its highest degree of individuation conforms to neither space nor time." It is at this point of the "more-than-organic function" that the space-time continuum in the organism-environmental Gestalt becomes less clear and a new language has to be devised. Because of the lack of perceptive systems by which we can observe the mental clearly, analogical terms have been used and concepts have been manipulated by "it is as if." (Grinker 1956b: 8)
I used to think that structure is spatial and process is temporal. Function, after all, can lay dormant as well as be activated - it can be in potentia. Mentation, on the other hand - if they mean cognition - is temporal, as is expressed in the idiom "train of thought" (thought is metaphorically a moving object).
AS one reads the language of Bentley, the complexity, the unnaturalness of syntax and the number of multi-hyphenated words necessary to maintain the concept of an unfractured field are disconcerting. It is apparent that contemporary man is under the greatest of strains in conceiving himself subjectively in process, as part of and in transaction with his environment, and in losing his selfness, his I-ness, his boundaries even in phantasy. This difficulty has been raised by Scott in a discussion of the body scheme. (Grinker 1956b: 9)
I-ness? There's the Estonian minasus, but this is the first I'm reading of I-ness.
THOMPSON: But the psychological system is changing, isn't it, in a sort of spiral process? The process does not just come back to the same thing all the time in the psychological system, does it?
SHAKOW: It is circular but without returning to the starting point; that is a spiral. Change is going on in one direction but a constant back-and-forth movement is going on all the time. The movement is not on one and the same level. (Grinker 1956b: 10-11)

Spiegel, John P. 1956a. A Model for Relationships Among Systems. In: Grinker, Roy R. (ed.), Toward a Unified Theory of Human Behavior. New York: Basic Books, 16-26.

Let us say this is an organ system, or it is a whole multi-cellular entity. Then the resemblage becomes larger, and one moves on to the next so-called level, which turns out to be a psychological system. These are then assembled into larger groups, culminating at the top in something which is called the "highest level of the culture." One might describe this model as a container-can, chinese box or telescopic system. Everything at lower levels is contained in higher and higher, larger and larger assembly units. Then one may speak of reducing what he has put into a larger assembly units to the original something. It is hard then to know exactly where to ascribe the dominance. (Spiegel 1956a: 16-17)
The common metaphor around these parts is the Russian Matryoshka doll. This may be a point of convergence with cultural semiotics.
SPIEGEL: There is another way to understand such a system. When concentrating upon any particular focus, one is confronted with three questions: What are the system's essential components? What are the processes which relate its parts to the whole - the integrative process? What function in relation to the adjacent or neighboring systems or foci, or the system as a whole, is observable from this particular focus? At any one moment in time there is some function which we could call purpose (although that, perhaps, prejudices the concept a little), which this particular focus is subserving for the entire field. There seem to be three different axes which correspond to the question of What? How? and Why? They are:
1. The content, substance or basic component of each system. This will be denoted as the Constitutional Determinants of the focus of organization.
2. Processes which maintain the structures-in-function or persistent pattern of the focus of organization. These will be denoted as the Integrative Determinants of the foci.
3. Traits which characterize the purpose or function of the system as a whole within the field. Such traits or attributes cannot be discovered from observing the basic components of the system, or the patterned relationships of its parts, but only by observing the transactions and interrelations of the system as a whole among other systems. This axis will be denoted as the System Determinants of the foci. (Spiegel 1956a: 21)
Details of the integrationist viewpoint. Now apply this on phatics!
If you specify these dimensions or axes for each of the foci - the result is an analytical system which can provide the answers to certain persistent questions. For instance, a study of integrative processes involves the polarities of integration and disintegration at any specified time of observation. IF we say that the second dimension is the integrative dimension, then we can examine the focus itself from the point of view of its location in a gradient between integration and disintegration. The processes can be so examined as to show that at any one moment they are tending moret oward integration or more toward disintegration. They alse may be set up in such a way that disintegration is seen to be stalled off, so to speak, by defensive processes. For biological and psychological processes this method of analysis is valid, but I am not in a position to say whether it is generally applicable; it would be very important to find that out. (Spiegel 1956a: 22)
One way to do so (to tie this in with phatics) is to consider the conceptual pairs integration/disintegration and unify them with other such pairs like centrifugal/centripetal force, communization/differentiation, and, what hasn't left my mind since revisiting Jakobson's writings, continuant/discontinuant. (I'll note that I have to use Recoll for this later, because Ruesch has written about continuance of the system elsewhere.)
GRINKER: In order to avoid polar opposites of integration and disintegration, you put in defense as some kind of middle ground but I think it should be assumed that there are no such isolates as integration and disintegration. Both are going on at the same time. You used the word "defense" to mean a happy medium, a neutral position, which never occurs because the steady state is never actually ready. (Grinker in Spiegel 1956a: 22-23)
Grinker interjects with something relevant: integration and disintegration, continuation and discontinuation, are not "isolates" but two poles of the process of "maintenance" (we'll probably get to homeastasis and relative stability later on in the book). // Also, compare this to Abercrombie's comfortable intelligibility.
SPIEGEL: No. I meant it to be a description. It is a model which can describe the processes that we observe in nature. A group is not an agglutination of individuals but has these three components: the basic components, namely the individuals and their roles in the group; the integrative processes; and the function and relation of the group to other groups in the system as a whole. These properties may be ascribed to all systems and the description is valid for all systems - including both soma and psyche. (Spiegel 1956a: 25)
This makes the integrationist standpoint much more understandable. These elements are already familiar from Ruesch's work. The third, for example, involves extero-functions on the group level. For phatics, the roles within the group are those of communicants, the integrative process is management of the c mmunication system (or simply interaction management), and relations with other groups and systems involves the broader social network (i.e. mutual acquaintances).

Shakow, David 1956a. The Psychological System. In: Grinker, Roy R. (ed.), Toward a Unified Theory of Human Behavior. New York: Basic Books, 27-35.

I would like to have you imagine you are looking down a deep alleyway, as if a tube had been sliced at a particular point for us to observe. But at the same time, while certain processes are going on, other processes are ending and some are beginning. What we see depends upon the focus of attention; we are dealing for the present with what we have directly before us, neglecting for the moment the other things. I am not dealing here with structure - and by "structure" I am thinking mainly of the device which maintains these processes and gives some regularity of performance through time. I am presenting here what might perhaps be thought of as the fundamental psychoanalytic model which David Rapaport most recently has brought forth very clearly. It posits the need, the need-satisfying object and the need gratification - the pattern of events in that order of time. (Shakow 1956a: 27)
A surprisingly actionable definition of structure. May be used in conjunction with Jakobson's definition of function.
SHAKOW: Evaluative would probably cut across both the conative and the affective, in the sense that it contains both elements and organizes them. It is a kind of organizing process. (Shakow 1956a: 30)
Considering that evaluation is basically their equivalent of the referential or cognitive function, this is, again, surprisingly cogent. The fact that the dominant referential function by necessity contains emotive and conative elements is painfully underemphasized.
SHAKOW: Right. If I were to draw a curve of the psychological energy expenditure, it would be a sloping line reaching approximately a plateau. This plateau perhaps would flatten at the level of what we might call "automatization," where skill becomes so ingrained and so thoroughly a part of the organism that it is called forth automatically, and the individual does not have to give psychologically, as we say, any attention to the act. This is an important concept because, as has been pointed out by many people, so much depends upon the number of things we can do automatically. It also has great significance for the problem of neuroses and psychoses. (Shakow 1956a: 32)
There are never enough definitions of automatization.

Ruesch, Jurgen 1956a. The Observer and the Observed: Human Communication Theory. In: Grinker, Roy R. (ed.), Toward a Unified Theory of Human Behavior. New York: Basic Books, 36-54.

In social science and in psychiatry the observer is always in a personal situation when he gathers information. I emphasize the word always. Whether the data be psychological or cultural, they must always be found and gathered, and you cannot obtain information from a crowd - only from individuals. Basically, the sociologist, anthropologist, or psychiatrist will gather data derived from persons. It cannot be otherwise. However, once he has gathered those data, he can interpret them as he pleases, using whatever systems he likes. In other words, first he gothers data from specified individuals and later he can omit the names of those individuals and deal with the information itself. (Ruesch 1956a: 36-37)
These are pretty bold assertions, especially consider the data mining going on nowadays. But the notion of the observer's personalit intruding and introducing external variables is probably on point.
The information an observer can collect depends upon his lecation within or without the system and upon his views of the boundaries. (Ruesch 1956a: 37)
This is what Roman Jakobson was referring to when he wrote that "as formulated by Jurgen Ruesch, the information an observer can collect depends upon his location within or outside the system" (Jakobson 1971[1961b]: 575).
In the middle of the twentieth century, the concept is implied that any organization, whether biological or social, has an inner and an outer boundary. One can look at either boundary from two sides, and for successful functioning there must be information that pertains to the structures located beyond the inner or outer boundary. (Ruesch 1956a: 37-38)
This is equally reminiscent of Sherrington and his deep and surface field as well as E. R. Clay's discussion of limits, i.e. "a limit of a part of space supposes a beyond" (Clay 1882: 53). // Also, compare this to "the orbit of the system" in Jakobson and Tynyanov.
RUESCH: Just as in cell physiology membranes are hypothetical, so the are in psychology. They are revealed by discrepancies of views. In the individual it is the view of himself contrasted with the view of other people. In a hospital ward it is the view held by the participants on that hospital ward as compared to the view obtained by outside observers. In terms of nations, it would be the view of the United States as seen by us as contrasted to the view of the United States as seen by Englishmen or Frenchmen. You can apply it to any level of abstraction that you wish. (Ruesch 1956a: 38)
This is something already familiar to anyone familiar with Ruesch's synopsis of the theory of human communication. At the moment I' am considering how to tie this in with Jakobson's quasi-metalinguistics, i.e. "the attitude of the speakers to their own language, to other languages with which they come into contact, and to language in general" (Jakobson 1985[1954b]: 69).
The thing we consider now is what we focus upon and label, being well aware of the fact that there are countless things we are ignoring. In human communication, we usually are not able to say what the things are on which we do not focus; but we are at least vaguely aware of the existence of the neglected aspects. (Ruesch 1956a: 38)
Something to consider in relation with Clay's types of indistinctness, i.e. the abditive and inabditive stuff.
RUERSCH: That is what many people hope; but ultimately the information derived from a team of twenty people is to be integrated in one brain. We have no machine as yet that compares to the integrative qualities of man's brain. (Ruesch 1956a: 40)
I've previously met, in Ruesch's writings, a scheme that focuses on the top (the longitudinal axis) of this diagram, and how the three operations (reception, evaluation, and transmission) interchange. But this here is doubly valuable, for it brings the levels of abstraction into play.
When we communicate we never consistently talk about any one of these perspectives. For example, we quickly consider one person; and in the second half of the same thought we think about that person in a two-, three-, four-, or five-person situation; then all of a sudden, perhaps in the same breath so to speak, we think about this person as part of a large group. What we do is to think and talk about human processes by employing some sort of oscillation phenomenon; we constantly switch the magnification with which we focus upon the individual. In addition to the magnification, we switch frames of reference. You find multiple frames of reference in any one thought or statement. Confusion, and at the same time lucidity, of communication depends upon these switches, because if you ever think of something in one of these perspectives only, you do not understand what is going on. In order to understand the human being, one needs constant oscillation, which phenomenon is related to perception of differences rather than to perception of the thing per se. Thus all information we exchange is transacted in a social situation, the context of which determines to a large extent the nature of this exchange. The field of communication thus concerns itself with the phenomenon of how information that is outside the human being gets to be represented within and how information that is inside gets out. In other words, the science of communication deals with the representation of outside events inside and of inside events outside. (Ruesch 1956a: 41)
I hold that Bühler's organon model, and it's remnants in Jakobson's scheme in the form of the so-called "verbal persons" (first, second, and third person reference) should be considered in light of this outline.
The basic function of reception is devoted to the process of input; the function of transmission is devoted to output; and the function of evaluation is devoted to storage of memory traces, to decision-making and to control. But the functions are interrelated with the levels. At the one-person level, the individual can do with himself what he pleases. In a two-person system, the freedom is already limited because the sorts of things that go on between two people require that at a given time there exist mutual adaptation: for example, one person talks and the other listens. In group systems and particularly in societal systems, people become parts of evaluative, transmitting or receptive bodies. There are news analysts, military observers and scientists; there are decision-making and executive bodies; and there are action bodies that transmit messages: the propagandists and broadcasters. (Ruesch 1956a: 42)
"Mutual adaptation" is basically what Jakobson describes as "the alternation of the encoding and decoding activities in the interlocutors" (Jakobson 1971[1970d]: 697). // The above remark that evaluation involves both affective and conative functions is here implicitly elaborated: affective - decision-making - executive bodies; conative - control - action bodies.
The processes of perception, therefore, have three roots: the impulses which derive from exteroception, the impulses which derive from proprioception, and the impulses which denote past events. When these combined afferent impulses reach the communication center, they are subjected to a complicated series of operations which deal with the evaluation of what has been perceived. Essentially one can say that these evaluative processes consist of operations with the available information. At this point one must remember that stimuli which reach the organism are probably not only transformed once but several times before they reach the communication center, and each process of transformation entails a loss of information. (Ruesch 1956a: 45)
Why only representation of past events (i.e. retrospect). Why not also anticipated events (i.e. prospect)? // In fact, all six of Clay's types of experience should be considered in a thorough synthesis.
The messages emitted by person A can then be picked up by person B, and after passage through the organism of person B, the transmitter of person B will broadcast the response to person A. These two persons have to be viewed as one system in which messages circulate and oscillate forth and back innumerable times. Communication takes place when person A emits a message which is received by person B, who in turn responds by sending an acknowledgement to person A. Inasmuch as person A knows the context of the message, the interpretation that B gives to this message, when communicated back to A, gives person A a chance to evaluate whether B has understood the message. (Ruesch 1956a: 45-46)
This process of correction is sadly missing from Jakobson. At best he outlines something similar in relation with code clarification, but that seems to be it. Here we also have metacommunication, at least in the sense of communication of acknowledgement (the phatic "message received").
The third question inquires into the destination of the message. It may be paraphrased by saying, "To whom is the message addressed?" To the people of the United States? To the citizens of Chicago? To the members of this committee? To one specific person? Or, perhaps, to self? (Ruesch 1956a: 47)
The radius of communication. To whom it may concern and whatnot.
The sixth question inquires into the method of metacommunication, which indicates the interpretive devices used in the exchange of messages explicit instructions, implicit instructions contained in role assumption, reference to context of the situation, rules, sequences, patterning. Metacommunication has to be separated into the giving of instructions and the interpretation of instructions. If you enter a store as an automobile buyer, you are treated quite differently from the way you would be treated if you let it be known that you are a seller of an old jallopy. Under the rubric of metacommunication come all the emotional factors. When we talk with someone else, we evaluate the state of his or her organism, his tension, irritability, kindness and patience - all factors that bear upon the interpretation of messages. (Ruesch 1956a: 47)
Here metacommunication accounts for emotive information. Parsons adds immediately after that "no symbol in human communication is ever purely cognitive. It is always both cognitive and expressive at the same time." This is further clarified by Ruesch on the next page:
RUESCH: One person sends; the other person receives. On the part of the receiver there is an interpretation which depends upon the instructions of the sender. If somebody is very tense, then the other person might try to pick up all the other signals that are being transmitted in search for clues that might help him to interpret this tension. (Ruesch 1956a: 48)
Notice that it's not exactly emotive in that the tense person is not intentionally communicating tension. It's on the receiver's side, meaning that it's more pragmatic than semantic.
FRANK: Two points should be recognized in this discussion. First, every cultural group establishes in its members a selective perception of what is going on in the world, in other people and in themselves. Secondly, every cultural group also gives priority to some of the many, many to-whom-it-may concern messages, as Norbert Wiener has said. Thus, each of us picks out from the "surround" and pays attention to what we selectively perceive. Even when messages are not sent specifically and directly to us, we are receiving and responding to them. Thus we may say that we are continually selecting, evaluating and interpreting what is going on in the surrounding and in ourselves and shaping our lives accordingly. (Frank in Ruesch 1956a: 49)
And To whom it may concern, literally. This would be a good point to tie together cultural sign systems and a generalized sensory gateing (selectivity). The idea is that there are cultural instructions about which anonymous messages should be taken personally (which ones you should interpret as being addressed to you).
Now let me turn to the question about the to-whom-it-may-concern messages. Messages may run from one to one, from one to many, from many to one, or from many to many. When the origin of the message and its destination are known, the result is a greater degree of intelligibilitiy and greater security, and consensus can be reached. If, however, the origin of the message or its destination is known, and particularly when both are unknown, then frustration sets in. (Ruesch 1956a: 49)
  • Interpersonal: from one to one;
  • Group exterotransmission: from one to many;
  • Group propriotransmission: from many to one;
  • Intergroup: from many to many.
RUESCH: We are considering the two-surface or boundary problems that I mentioned before. In any communication system, there must be an observer. The observer has a purpose and a training and an identity, and by that his observations are defined in terms of the bias he uses. Wiener assumes communication almost without human observers. He postulates superhuman observers as all physical scientists do. I start with an identified human observer or several who are at least identified. I believe that in social sciences we must have an identified human observer in an identified position at an identified moment. Social science does not work with a non-identified or superhuman observer. (Ruesch 1956a: 52)
Exactly Randviir's protest against the semiosphere: it works only with a superhuman observer (in Lotmanian terms, a suprahuman subject, or, philosophically, a transcendental ego).
RUESCH: The self-observer? We know of no better method for self-observation than psychoanalysis. But it has to be complemented by the observation of outside events. That is the task of training in social science - not only theoretical social science but in field work as well - because the sort of thing you observe in an Indian setting or in a modern American community cannot be observed in psychoanalysis, lying-on-a-couch. The two things have to be complemented. Personally, I don't think there are good social science observers without their being also self-observers; because otherwise they introduce distortions through their own bias and emotions. I don't think we have good psychoanalytically trained people who can observe social science phenomena because they do not have the knowledge of relevant cues and cannot integrate data beyond single individuals.
There is another poinT: when one works with someone who has been trained in psychiatry, he operates with the basic assumption that the human being is a good a scinetific entity as he is a biological entity. But whether the human being is a scientific entity is very much of a question, and in many procedures the human being has turned out not to be a good scientific entity as a unit of study. It takes something like a year of working with somebody to get out of his head that simple assumption that the human being is an entity. On the other hand, if I deal with the opposite sort of person who knows that a man may not necessarily be an entity, then I have to deal with the reverse problem. (Ruesch 1956a: 53)
This is most likely the source for one reviewer claiming that according to Ruesch, here, "all observers must be psychoanalyzed first".

Parsons, Talcott 1956a. The Social System: A General Theory of Action. In: Grinker, Roy R. (ed.), Toward a Unified Theory of Human Behavior. New York: Basic Books, 55-69.

In two recent books what I am about to say is elaborated in considerable technical detail. The frame of reference involved is what a group of us agree to call "action." The choice was as between the terms behavior and action. The terms do not matter much, but I believe "behavior" tends to be somewhat more restricted term and it has become associated with behaviorism. So, we preferred the word "action."
Action is not concerned with the internal structure or processes of the organism, but with the organism as a unit in a set of relationships, the other terms of which we sum up under the concept "situation." (Parsons 1956a: 55)
In a lecture a long time ago, Randviir asked what's the difference between behaviour and action. I answered that one is more psychological and the other more sociological. Here is the answer, elaborated: behaviour is concerned with the internal structure and processes of the organism while action is concerned with the organism as a unit in a set of relationships.
The contingency of alter's reaction, which is part of the situation and in interaction the most important part of the situation, is not only contingent on other factors in the situation but on what ego himself does, or on what alter interprets ego as intending to do. So communication enters as a fundamental condition. Double contingency essentially means an order of system that differs from the classic behavior system, where the behavior of the organism is studied in terms of a single contingency situation, as the classical T maze. The rat runs along the right arm, and gets the food; along the left arm he does not get the food. (Parsons 1956a: 56)
This view of contingencies (this "double contingency") is relevant for metacommunication and the phatic function. It may even contribute to a revision of Jakobson's phatic function in terms of Ruesch's approach, preservation and detachment (mirrored in Jakobson's establishing, prolonging and discontinuing).
For our purposes the kind of interaction system in which we are interested always involves communication in complex symbol systems. I have just begun to take a serious interest in the theory of symbolism since it is one of the critical points of the whole concept. I find it not only convenient but highly illuminating to think of culture as consisting of complex symbol-meaning systems which arise out of social interaction and are embodied in it, and which (an extremely important property) may be transmitted from system of action to system of action. From this point of view there are two fundamental types or classes of system of action, namely, personalities and social systems. (Parsons 1956a: 56-57)
A surprisingly workable definition of culture. Transmission from one system to another is indeed extremely important but there seem to be few means to approach it at the moment (at least I can't think of any suitable models).
One phase of learning is the transmission of culture from personality to personality. The corresponding term (a very interesting and well-established term in anthropological usage) is "diffusion," which is learning from social system to social system. Culture is not merely something accessorily added, but is integrally built into personality and social systems as components. For the building-in process in the personality we have to thank Freud's insight into the development of the superego by a process of "internalization." On the social system side, the building-in of culture is called "institutionalization." In one sense it and internalization are two sides of the same thing; and in another sense they are not. There is here exactly the same problem of perspective mentioned before. While it is terribly important to see their equivalence to each other, it is equally important not to confuse them. (Parsons 1956a: 57)
And Parsons proposes a model, although a limited one. Above, the terms "group exterotransmission" and "group propriatransmission" can be replaced with internalization (from many to one) and institutionalization (from one to many).
Let us call the two personalities ego and alter. For an integrated social system I would uset he word "collectivity" which may be constituted by two or more persons. Asymmetry lies in the fact that there is no social system without personality, and I would go so far as to say that, although there may be behavior systems or organisms without social systems, there is no personality in the human sense without social system. It is asymmetrical because there is an independent integration of personality within the organism. The collectivity is in a true sense an emergent system. Whenever and however it begins, the child has to be socialized; he has to be integrated into the social system of which the other people surrounding him are parts, and that means he has to internalize the culture. (Parsons 1956a: 57)
At least one of the mechanisms of emergence for a communion or collectivity is certainly phatic communion (a process of socialization).
HENRY: What would be your objection to substituting the word "motivation" for "affectivity"?
PARSONS: None. This is just the term that we have been using. We all get set on certain terminological ways. You might run into a semantic difficulty in another direction. I would be inclined to use "affectivity." (Parsons 1956a: 64)
I thought about my odd terminological setting above, when using the concept of sensory gating. Although there are better terms available (filter, selectivity, etc.), I stick to this one because it's the first of its kind that I understood immediately thanks to vivid imagery (something like it appears in Futurama, The Great Big Yonder, where the two professors throw little robots through gates that let through only organic matter).
We now come to what is the most interesting point of all, the boundary maintenance area. It is a value maintaining system and not a mechanical system or physical-chemical system in the ordinary sense. Then, you can say this: State B differs from state A in that internally an icrement has been added to what we called "the optimization of gratification"; an increment to the total gratification system, not merely the gratification of a particular need. We deliberately chose that term. We wanted to avoid "maximization" because we did not want to be accused of being naive hedonists, and we did not know whether there was an integral that could be integrated in the mathematical sense; so we deliberately chose an unconventional word. From the external point of view, it seems to me that this is the production of an increment to the value realization of the system. This is where evaluation and values come in - value standards. There have to be standards in order to define this variable and give the values of it. (Parsons 1956a: 65)
"Preservation of existing relationship is achieved through providing satisfaction to the other person's needs [...]" (Ruesch 1972[1953a]: 65-66).
RUESCH: But how do you reconcile your closed system with the agreement we arrived at this morning that all social systems are open systems?
PARSONS: I think it is a system in two different senses or on two different levels. We distinguish between three levels of conceptual system as distinguished from empirical system, and have called them a categorical system, which is one in which you have definition of components, their classifications and certain structural classifications of their combinations relative to a frame of reference. There is, however, no statement of the laws which state is categorical plus a complete set of laws, and the third stage is an empirical theoretical system. You could have a theoretical system and not have empirical closure, because other systems impinge upon it, and there is a certain abstractness in the applicability of this theoretical system. The same is true of the biological system in physiology, where the physical-chemical systems of the organism are investigated. Obviously, the physiologist aims at a complete theoretical system with respect to the particular aspect of the physical-chemical processes of the organism in question. But there may be several such systems on the physical-chemical level, and they may be abstract relative to behavior. I do not see any fundamental theoretical difficulty. I think the fallacy of physical concreteness pretty well took care of that problem. (Parsons 1956a: 68)
Surprisingly cogent. The empirical system is presumably open, the theoretical system (such as a mathematical model) is presumably closed, but their convergence yields an empirical theoretical system, a complete theoretical system purified of unapplicable abstractness.

Thompson, Laura 1956. The Societal System, Culture and the Community. In: Grinker, Roy R. (ed.), Toward a Unified Theory of Human Behavior. New York: Basic Books, 70-82.

By the societal system anthropologists generally mean the entire system of interpersonal relations, both formal and informal, which comprises the interaction pattern of a society. These relationships are expressed in the society's institutions and institutional practices, in its cultural traditions and products, and in its behavioral and symbol systems including its language, art forms, religious ceremonials, literature, values, goals and aspirations. (Thompson 1956: 70)
Good stuff, good stuff.
In order to understand the societal system as an on-going life process, created by and arising from the needs of its human component, we must view it in its total relevant environment extending backward and forward in time and inward and outward in space. When this is done we discover that any one societal system in relevant environmental context is one facet, so to say, or one part of a multi-dimensional cultural event in space-time. (Thompson 1956: 71)
Here we do have extension into the past as well as the future. I.e. "every synchronic system has its past ad its future as inseparable structural elements of the system" (Jakobson & Tynyanov 1928).
FRANK: To discover whether there is any unification in a culture, we may examine individual personalities to see how each acts and relates himself in these various patterns and relationships where there may be a greater or less degree of unity or congruity. However, we must not forget that the individual bearer of cultural traditions, through the very process of being enculturalized and socialized, may more or less seriously distort and neglect some aspects of his cultural traditions and therefore exhibit a highly idiosyncratic lack of unity, as contrasted with the more coherent and highly integrated formulation of cultural traditions around which he and all other members of his group deviate. In their religion, their philosophy, their art and literature or folklore, almost every group expresses a much higher degree of unity and coherence than they exhibit in their actual conduct and relationships. In developing a unified theory, we should recognize both the traditional formulations of the core values and their interpretation and translation in and by individual personalities. (Frank; in Thompson 1956: 80)
Frank has a good point. This is definitely something that should be incorporated into cultural semiotics. The point here is comparable to Jakobson and Tynyanov's (1928) insistence that "the individual utterance cannot be considered without reference to the existing complex of norms". In other words, the individual's cultural capital (poor choice of terminology) cannot be considered without reference to the existing cultural system. // Thus, this is a good place to start a unification or an examination of congruity between the general systems theory of this compendium with the particular systems theories of Jakobson & Tynyanov, and Lotman et al. (2013[1973]).

Kluckhohn, Florence 1956. Value Orientations. In: Grinker, Roy R. (ed.), Toward a Unified Theory of Human Behavior. New York: Basic Books, 83-93.

GREGORY BATESON says, "The human individual is endlessly simplifying, organizing and generalizing his own view of the total environment, and constantly imposing his own constructions and meanings, and these constructions and meanings are characteristic of the culture as over against another." He is talking about the core values. Clyde Kluckhohn says it this way: "There is a philosophy behind the way of life of every individual and every relatively homogeneous group at any given point in their history." (Kluckhohn 1956: 83)
Bateson 1942. "National Character and Morale". Kluckhohn 1949. Mirror for Man.
First, let me give you a definition which appears in a paper by Clyde Kluckhohn on value orientation which in some part was taken out of the paper that I wrote on culture orientation. He says, somewhat formally, "A value orientation is a generalized and organized conception influencing behavior of nature, of man's place in nature, of man's relation to man, and of the desirable and non-desirable as they relate to man-environment and interhuman relations." (Kluckhohn 1956: 84)
In this sense my sociopetal and sociofugal phatic dispositions are also value orientations (pertaining to interhuman relations, though "interhuman" is an odd expression when compared to "interpersonal").
I have singled out five common human problems of key importance. They can be phrased in the form of questions:
  1. What are the innate predispositions of man? In other words, what is the definition that a people will give of basic human nature?
  2. What is the relation of man to nature?
  3. What is the significant time dimension?
  4. What modality of activity is to be most valued?
  5. What is the dominant modality of man's relation to other men?
We have been using shortened names for the five: the first one, the human-nature orientation; the second, the man-nature orientation; third, the time orientation; fourth, the activity orientation; and fifth, the relation orientation. (Kluckhohn 1956: 85)
What does "dominant modality" mean in this context?
The three points range of the activity orientation - the Being, the Being-in-Becoming, and the Doing, was derived for the most part from the distinction made long ago by philosophers between Being and Becoming. Moreover, to some degree the three-way distinction is in accord with the classification of personality components made by the contemporary philosopher, Charles Morris - the Dionysian, the Buddhist and the Promethean. (Kluckhohn 1956: 85)
Morris, Charles 1948. The Apen Shelf. New York: Prentice-Hall. Similar discussions can be found in Powys's A Philosophy of Solitude, and in E. R. Clay's The Alternative: "That cosmogony tends to shape the idea of the divine is evinced by the Hindoo Trinity consisting of the creator Brahma, a preserver Vischnou, and a destroyer Siva." (Clay 1882: 105)
I would like to make one general qualifying remark. No society ever emphasizes any one of three principles to the exclusion of the other. It is a matter of emphasis. The possibilities for any one society are shown when you work out the logical combinations of the three. for instance,in the dominant American pattern individualism is first order. The second order is collateral, and the third is the lineal position. Or first order may be individual, the second lineal and the third collateral. There may be any combination of the three principles with varying combinations of weakness or strength for each other.
However, I do not think it is possible for any society or any individual in a society to behave always consistently according to one orientation. For instance, in American culture, in the occupational system which is our major prestige system, one would expect to find individualism first and collaterality second, but in other spheres of activity - the recreational area, for example - I would expect the collateral to be dominant. In other words, in no society is there a single dominant emphasis which is found consistently in all areas of life. (Kluckhohn 1956: 89)
The phraseology here could be used to reformulate Jakobson's hierarchical perspective, the keyword being emphasis.

Henry, Jules 1956a. A System of Socio-Psychiatric Invariants. In: Grinker, Roy R. (ed.), Toward a Unified Theory of Human Behavior. New York: Basic Books, 94-109.

Erich Lindemann recently stated the following as one of the major obstacles to good mutual cooperation between the psychiatrist and the social scientist:
"The psychiatrist is likely to remain patient-centered and focused on intrapsychic phenomena even if he wishes to contribute to social science. The social-science-centered statements of the social scientist are likely to appear to the psychiatrist as being 'superficial' and lacking in pertinence for the individual case requiring care."
As Lindemann sees it, when the psychiatrist perceives a social dimension in the problems of his patient, the perception may not help him because his clinical problem is to manipulate the patient and not the society. The purpose of this discussion is to help toward the dissolution of the patient-society dualism.
But in science dualism can be dissolved only by theoretical formulations of such character as to bring both members of the dualism within reach of one set of invariants. As long as we think about patients in one way, and about society in another, Lindemann's thoughtful statement will hold ture. Hence, another purpose of this presentation is to develop a set of invariant equations that will have meaning both within the intrapsychic system of the patient and the social system. (Henry 1956a: 94-95)
The logical outcome being Ruesch's social psychiatry.
Let us assume that in all societies there are certain types of paired socio-psychological factors that can be viewed as standing in dialectical relationship to one another. Examples of them are (1) reward and punishment; (2) activities performed under constraint and activities performed as free choice; (3) activities permitted and activities forbidden; (4) important things and unimportant things; (5) familiar situations and unfamiliar situations; (6) success and failure; and (7) painful situations and gratifying situations. (Henry 1956a: 95)
On first sight all of these factors seem to be pertinent for phatic concerns.
The next category concerns commitments and fulfillments. Every society provides statements of what one is to expect from it. One society promises a crock of gold at the end of the rainbow. We see this in LIFE magazine's success stories every week, and in the ads for perfume which promise that if you smell right people will love you. More seriously, however, our society promises we will always have a constantly rising standard of living and equality of treatment from our fellow men. The Pilagá Indians of Argentina, with whom my wife and I lived for over a year, expect that all people will share their food with them. Among the Kaingáng Indians of Brazil, with whom I lived for a year, everyone was led to expect love from everyone else. These expectations of what one has the right to receive from society I call the "commitments" of the society. Dialectically opposed to commitment, then, stand the factors of fulfillment and no power to fulfill commitment. (Henry 1956a: 97)
In these terms we could talk about phatic commitment and relational fulfillments.
A third course: the person with low S may attempt to increase his own powers, yet never claim what one would be supposed to achieve thereby. He thus does not attempt to garner the "fulfillments," but contents himself only with the means with which to reach them. Outstanding in this group would be those who accumulate knowledge about everything but never put it to any use. (Henry 1956a: 99)
HENRY: Being forbidden to do something under ceratin circumstances might be considered as a punishment. This question has arisen because I have not defined punishment. I define it as follows: By punishment is meant the administration of pain to a person by another person or group as a consequence of the performance of a given act. Such punishments may range from having people look at one or comment adversely on his behavior, to the extreme of capital punishment. (Henry 1956a: 100)
And my collection of throwaway definitions grows. It is noteworthy that visual attention from a group is a type of punishment, most likely for a faux pas.
It will be seen at once that this theory of need simply applies to "normal" needs or to the theory of "compensation" developed by psychiatry for the understanding of "abnormal" needs. Implicit in psychiatric theory is a mathematical model of the abnormal person: he is one who strives "too much" for recognition; who wants "too much" to be free; who hungers "too much" after novelty; and who tries "too hard" to achieve. This "too muchness" is believed, generally, to arise out of experiences of "too much" punishment, failure, and so on. If this is correct, then one must conclude that just the "right amount" of punishment, failure, and so on, must account for the "right amount" of striving, search for new experience, struggle for achievement, and hunger for freedom. (Henry 1956a: 106)
Mathematical! yells the sword-wielding blonde boy in white hat.
Culture is the summation of the integrated values in interactional systems of individuals, groups and institutions. Thus, the individual and culture are related to one another somewhat as the molecule to the total volume of the gas of which it is a part: the culture as a whole has properties that the individual, alone, lacks. The behavior of the individual cannot be understood apart from the culture of which he is part, and the culture cannot be understood without an understanding of the individuals in it. (Henry 1956a: 108)
So much for isomorphism.

Grinker (ed.) 1956a. General Discussion Terminating the First Conference. In: Grinker, Roy R. (ed.), Toward a Unified Theory of Human Behavior. New York: Basic Books, 110-131.

We are struck with a lack of a practical, realistic, analytic approach that will go beyond the mere statement of the fact that we have hierarchical nature, that it does consist of a system of Chinese boxes one inside the other, that they are integrated, interrelated, coordinated, and all these other terms. We should go beyond these statements to an identification, if possible in quantitative terms, of just what that correlation, integration, and so on, consist of, so that we can really work with and operate with them. We aim ultimately not merely to restate the case, but to try to come to grips with it. (Weiss in Grinker (ed.) 1956a: 114)
This was quoted in one of the reviews. Neat terms, tho. Reminds me of Floyd Merell.
The characteristic thing is that this does not depend on the properties within the collective. In this case you have organization of a higher order emerging as a result of the processes which take place.
Here again we are merely restoring something which we ignored in the beginning. We are treating systems on the blackboard as though they were static, standing still in time. They never are. No cell, no organism, no group is ever standing still. All we are doing is artificially laying a cross-section through a time course and arresting it for expedience. Then, of course, we are surprised if this thing does not go on remaining the same as time goes on. Of course, the change is actually the primary thing. We arrest it arbitrarily. The process is the primary thing, while the static form or state is merely a cross-section through an endless chain or processes. All the problems of form versus function really resolve themselves if we take this attitude. (Weiss in Grinker (ed.) 1956a: 119)
This feels important, though I cannot think of a way to apply it at the moment. One of the things I'm frequently thinking about when reading all this is that systematics and cybernetics, to my knowledge, has not taken Jakobson and Tynyanov (1928) seriously. Although they think systematically, their efforts are not contributions to general systems theory. In that light it may be beneficial to attempt consolidation between systems theory and the theory of literary evolution.
As long as this is true we should not assume that there is anything more to the unity of an egg or a group of cells than there is to this reassembled body. So here we have an experimental case of dissociability and reassociability with emergent properties of collective unity, properties of organization much like those of an egg - only in an egg we cannot do it. it is not necessary to assume that the difference between the two systems is fundamental. (Weiss in Grinker (ed.) 1956a: 120)
Much like continuant, discontinuant, and isolate, I have a feeling that dissociability and reassociability will be haunting me later on.
Some of us may find it more congenial to approach a unified tehory by emphasizing the distinctive properties and separate operations of these different systems. Others, including myself, may be more inclined to seek a unified theory of human behavior by focusing primarily upon the individual human organism-personality and observing how he, in the very course of his life career, becomes a participating member of his group as he learns to use the patterns for action and for relating himself which are provided by more experienced persons who induct him into our symbolic culture and our social order wherein he lives as an idiosyncratic personality. In this way we may lok upon weapons and tools, language and other forms of symbolic expression and communication, institutions, and all the other innumeratable dimensions of group living as being utilized by human beings and giving rise to these different systems or organizations with their various properties. (Frank in Grinker (ed.) 1956a: 125)
Relevant for phatics: communion is necessary for social integration.
WEISS: It does. As a matter of fact, you might keep in mind one more very marked evolutionary step which comes into the culture and symbolic level. Originally we had to rely on genetics in order to improve the viability of a species. That was a slow process. Now we do not have to breed generations to pass on an improvement; we do it by communication. The time unit of trial used to be a generation. Now we can try out things infinitely faster and keep them on record, and thus there is an entirely new time scale of development. (Weiss in Grinker (ed.) 1956a: 125)
What is neurobiotactical freedom? If these guys only knew about the latest time scale of development brought on by the internet...
It seems clear, however, that as the organism grows and develops and learns to live in our culture and social world, the coercion of internal biological needs seems to diminish. Increasingly the child and the youth may be freed from the coercion of their own organic processes as they become more and more responsive to culturally and socially defined events and situations. For example, the child's eating is governed by the meal pattern of his family rather than by primitive hunger; indeed, we may say that he "gets hungry" when mealtimes come, just as he learns to eliminate at specified times and places in response to the appropriate vessel. By emphasizing the way the growing child learns to relate himself to the public world, we may escape from the concept of primitive needs and biological motivations which apparently are observable in much of our animal experimentation from which we have extrapolated to human behavior. (Grinker (ed.) 1956a: 130)
Once again, neurobiotactical freedom.

Grinker, Roy R. 1956c. Comparisons between Systems of Organization. In: Grinker, Roy R. (ed.), Toward a Unified Theory of Human Behavior. New York: Basic Books, 135-141.

The organization is capable of differentiation, specialization or development of gradients of activity. There is a capacity to transmit or conduct forces capable of maintaining and changing part to part to whole relationships. Relationships such as reciprocal relationships and phasic relationships may all be included in such an organization. Structurally, both somatic nad psychological systems constitute an apparatus for transformations of energy. They both constitute for specialization and gradients, and they have apparatuses or patterns for communication. The determinants of these systems may be represented in the somatic field by the hereditary constitution of the organization and in the psychological field by the psychological "id." (Grinker 1956c: 137)
Phasic relationships? Semiotic literature contains phrases like "phasic alternation", "phasic integration", "phasic explanation" (Lotman & Uspensky 1978), and "the extremely significant phasic-process of interpersonal/intrapsychic differentiation with its momentous, cognitive/dynamic sequelae" (Aragno 2010),
Somatic learning in the sense that bodily surface contacts result in self-discrimination enables one to differentiate self from not self and create an image of self and its boundaries. However, much of significant somatic learning is inside the organism and has to do with conditioning of teh vegetative nervous network. On the psychological side, the counterpart is the function of reality testing. (Grinker 1956c: 138)
Interpersonal/intrapsychic differentiation.
In the somatic organization we can generalize and state that communication occurs by means of signs - be they electrical or chemical. In a system of social interaction in which the individual is already differentiated, communication is through symbols. I would like here to attempt a definition and say that the essential characteristic of the psychological system, in this frame of observation, is that it constitutes the area of transaction between somatic signs and interpersonal symbols. Through such transaction the psychological system differentiates, grows, proliferates and maintains its defense against disintegration. It is associated with varying degrees of awereness or consciousness based on the capacities made possible by the structural configurations of the species and the individual. (Grinker 1956c: 139-140)
Huh. I wonder if differentiation could work for phatics. I mean not only in the Morrisian communization/differentiation sense, but on a higher level or foci where a communicative dyad differentiates from random dyads and other group formations through differentiation, growth, proliferation and maintenange against disintegration.

Toman, James E. P. 1956a. Multiple Origins of the Uniqueness of Human Society. In: Grinker, Roy R. (ed.), Toward a Unified Theory of Human Behavior. New York: Basic Books, 142-146.

Let us recognize the smallness of the mass of human protoplasm. If we were to call the entire human race into this conference, according to a rough estimate it could easily be seated in a lecture hall thirty miles long by thirty miles wide. We could see all mankind from the speaker's stand. (Toman 1956a: 142)
Because of the basic vulnerability of human society we must be preoccupied with two different levels of potential disruptions. First of all, there is the level of disruption in the individual, which we can call psychopathology. Since in such a coordinated unit as human society the bizarre behavior or inability to function in a useful way of even a few individuals can potentially have cataclysmic consequences for the many, psychopathology becomes socially important. But at a higher level we must deal with the question of societal psychopathology, if we can call it that, in relation to the laws governing conflicts between large groups within human society as a whole. That is something about which I can certainly say nothing authoritative, as a neurophysiologist, but I think it poses a major problem for our attempt to arrive at a unified theory uf human behavior. Hurricanes, earthquakes, or the accidental approach of large astral bodies are not likely to disrupt our society badly in the near future, but rather many of the unresolved conflicts within the human race itself. I would like to conclude with a question: To what extent can we speak at the present time of any generally accepted laws of human behavior that are useful in an interpretation of the internal conflicts within human society? (Toman 1956a: 146)
Another instance of something like social psychiatry.

Emerson, Alfred E. 1956. Homeostasis and Comparison of Systems. In: Grinker, Roy R. (ed.), Toward a Unified Theory of Human Behavior. New York: Basic Books, 147-163.

Grinker mentioned the fact that I analogize the gene in the genetic system with the symbol in the human societal system. If it is valid to draw such an analogy, then one can describe evolution in a symbolic system that partially parallels evolution in an organic system, and add the important and absolutely necessary time dimensions to the social system. (Emerson 1956: 147)
This was of course before the advent of the meme.
It is not always generally recognized that integration and division of labor are not ends in themselves but serve a function and that function is the controlled regulation of the necessities of life and the relative optimal conditions of existence. (Emerson 1956: 148)
Controlled regulation. Optimal conditions of existence amounts to the type of homeostasis that might be conditioned by human interaction, at least when it comes to phatic infrastructure.
PARSONS: I was very much struck by what you said about the control functions of sex relative to variation. The human use of sex is in part to aid in the establishment of a fundamental control mechanism of behavior. (Parsons in Emerson 1956: 154)
The human use of sex. The cybernetics is strong with this one.
One gene, for instance, has numerous functions. One developmental process may have many functions. A clear-cut and easily understood example may be seen in the gill bars which were originally a part of the breathing mechanism of the fish and which evolved into a jaw. They changed their function from breathing to eating. Then that jaw became partially incorporated into the middle ear of the land vertebrates. So it changed its function from eating to hearing. (Emerson 1956: 155)
I recall reading something about how the facial nerve in humans that is affected by Bell's palsy is present in fish and moves some gills or something.
RUESCH: Grinker pointed out that he could translate physiological into psychological - psychological into physiological - by means of analogies. Theories of theories do not rely any more on analogies, but they take the data of a lower order and derive functions of a higher order. In other words, the theories of theories are not content-bound. But the theories themselves are always content-bound. For example, growth theory, homeostasis and information theory are theories of theories which are not content-bound; they are closer to what we might call mathematical functions. But as soon as we talk about the ego, or as soon as we talk about the hermit crab getting something, we deal with content-bound specificities. (Ruesch in Emerson 1956: 157)
Theories of theories are metatheories. But the point is good: the level of generalization I'm attempting to reach with phatics is the level of a metatheory, and thus it shouldn't be particular to any one type of "content".

Spiegel, John P. 1956b. Comparison of Psychological and Group Foci. In: Grinker, Roy R. (ed.), Toward a Unified Theory of Human Behavior. New York: Basic Books, 164-180.

Looked at in this way it would seem that any system in the field can be characterized by three different sets of properties: its constitutional determinants, its integrative determinants and its system or field determinants. In the first set, one is speaking about the kinds of processes which go to make up the fundamental "stuff" of the organization or system; in the second, one is concerned with processes which integrate the system itself or maintain it as a bounded organization; and in the third, one deals with processes which take place precisely because the system in question is a component of a larger group of systems, all of which are in transaction within the field. (Spiegel 1956b: 164)
Another iteration of the focus perspective (is opposed to the level of abstraction perspective). At this juncture I'm considering whether Ruesch's approach, preservation and detachment could be joined with constitutional, integrative and system determinants. The only barrier is the conjunction of detachment and systemic (or field) determinants, which I only see applicable in the social network sense delineated by Laver (1975) in linguistic cases such as "give my greetings to this and that person".
RUESCH: What do you mean by Culture?
SPIEGEL: It is the symbolic behavior, the system of meanings and values, through which a society understands itself and the world in which it exists.
RUESCH: But this is an abstraction. Does something like Culture really exist in nature?
SPIEGEL: It is an abstraction, yes. I think that all of these foci are abstractions. They are ways of organizing the raw data of experience from which we make abstractions. An individual is an abstraction from the group.
RUESCH: But when you are dead that is not an abstraction! Do I understand you correctly that the order of the abstraction that you use for Culture is different from the order of abstraction for the individual?
SPIEGEL: It has to do with the step-by-step progression in time, in history, and so on, but I am not here concerned with a hierarchy of abstractions. (Spiegel 1956b: 166)
I can't help but find this funny. It is also a manifestation of deeper seated intellectual conflicts between Spiegel's field theory and Ruesch's social matrix theory.
I have had some difficulty characterizing the time scale of these different foci. But one of the things that characterizes any group, or characterizes any individual, is its history. Although it is difficult to describe, it belongs among the system determinants of the psychological focus. The psyche has a history and its history is one of its determinants. The same is true of the group. The group is not only what it is constitutionally, integratively and in relation to other groups, but what it was; it is shaped by its history and traditions. (Spiegel 1956b: 171)
Once again I cannot help but notice the lack of future orientation. Perhaps tradition contains an inherent extension to the future (as traditions are traditionally something that must be held up, maintained, preserved, continued, etc.). Still, a conjunction with the proto-systemics of Jakobson and Tynyanov might be useful. Also, notice the phraseology for systemic determinants: "in relation to other groups".otice the phraseology for systemic determinants: "in relation to other groups".
PARSONS: In trying to state the problem of the behavior side, I have found the idea of inertia extremely interesting. Instead of assuming that the combustion of the gas must make an automobile go, you take the logical equivalent of the assumption of mechanics; namely, that a process such as motion will continue unless interfered with by counteracting forces. That works, I think, very well in the theory of social interaction in analyzing the two fundamental types of non-continuing processes. These two are learning, i.e., the socializing processes whic hare a change in the patterning of the system itself; and the processes of deviance (as contrasted with social control, to use sociological terminology) which are the processes of continuing adjustment through the interplay of the different parts of the system. (Parsons in Spiegel 1956b: 177)
Addendums to integration and disintegration: learning and deviance.
PARSONS: Behavior enormously extends the range of possible homeostatic integration. Symbolic behavior extends the range beyond non-symbolic behavior tremendously. That is where culture comes in. The fact is that the material of culture cannot come spontaneously from the interaction of organism and environment; it would take a million years for a child to learn by his own invention what he can learn by socialization in a few months. (Parsons in Spiegel 1956b: 178)
Add this to the omne symbolum de symbolo folder.

Shakow, David 1956b. Comparison of Psychological and Group Foci (Continued). In: Grinker, Roy R. (ed.), Toward a Unified Theory of Human Behavior. New York: Basic Books, 181-189.

I am going to divide my system into structures which I define as memories and previous experiences, and into function - meaning function in the sense of acts. The former is the persistent relativity permanent system. The aspect of structures to be accounted for are the units and the organization of these units. The units of the psychological system are conative, cognitive and affective combinations, and the organization is personality. In the family group, the units are its individual members. (Shakow 1956b: 184)
Combinations of what?
RUESCH: All our discussion today has been turning around two sets of things. One set was related to properties of systems, such as death. Now death is something distinctly observable and occurs with and without observers. Somebody may die whether you observe him dying or not. We all agree to that. (Ruesch in Shakow 1956b: 187)
Somehow, Ruesch manages to make the discussion of the observer's position existential.
PARSONS: The thing "out there" depends on symbolization. I think we should probably infer that on pre-symbolic levels, objects simply do not exist as entities independent of the relation of observations. It is only through special symbolic elaboration that this "out there" can exist at all, apart from an observer.
RUESCH: Right. But our whole process of observation and symbolization is more adequate for certain functions than for others. When we deal with an area where the symbolization and observation process is adequate, we can forget about the technicalities of communication. But when we come then to the kinds of things for which they are less adequate, then we have to concern ourselves with the process of observation and symbolization. In this latter case we are not really saying something about a thing "out there." (Shakow 1956b: 188)
I did not expect to receive something valuable about concourse from Ruesch. The point here, for me, is that talking about things for which we have plenty of words is simple and automatic, but when talking about things for which there are few words it becomes difficult, deautomatized, unfamiliar, and the process of talking about it is foregrounded (i.e. it gets metalingual).
RUESCH: But sometimes it is due to the fact that all contemporaries in that generation do not possess denotative concepts for certain processes. For example, there are certain fast moving processes which neither sense organ nor machine can register. They are therefore globally connotated because we have no way of specifically symbolizing these processes. In our language all processes that more or less conform to our time scales are very adequately presented. When we deal with functions that are much slower than our own time scale, or much faster, we begin to fail. The same applies to space scales, to growth scales, and so on. But in our system construction we do not take cognizance of that fact. (Ruesch in Shakow 1956b: 189)
I have a feeling like this could concern microexpressions.

Parsons, Talcott 1956b. The Relation Between the Small Group and the Larger Social System. In: Grinker, Roy R. (ed.), Toward a Unified Theory of Human Behavior. New York: Basic Books, 190-200.

The phenomenon of social interaction is such a critical focus point that whenever two or more interacting organisms or personalities constitute a system, it becomes a special kind of system distinctly different from other types of interaction. There are continuities all the way from the two-person interaction to the United States of America as a social system. (Parsons 1956b: 190)
First mention of dyadic systems.
In observing social interaction, what emerges is contrary to the thinking of a generation or so ago when society was set over and against the individual. Now, society is seen to consist of an immensely ramified network of social subsystems and ramified not only in the sense of an immensely differentiated variety, but of wheels within wheels within wheels on many, many levels. (Parsons 1956b: 191)
Compare to permanent dynamic synchrony.
DEUTSCH: There is one very big difference; when there are permanent channels between two or more persons, messages get stored in them. If you imagine that the channels are long and the messages are slow, you begin to get equivalents of memory. Certain primary groups have common memory. Probably the family has more stored memory per person than any other group in this society. The ad-hoc committee has no common memory. (Deutsch in Parsons 1956b: 193)
Another unexpectancy. Common memory is a factor that is missing from most communication models, except perhaps by those of some Soviet semioticians (Isaak Revzin and his wife Olga Revzina).
DEUTSCH: The difference between face-to-face groups in memory is very important in all the problems of national assimilation. The members of a minority or ethnic or regional group are in situations where they have very limited numbers of face-to-face contacts with the out-group. So long as there is a minimum of face-to-face contacts with a few of the in-group, and a lot of memories with a large number of the in-group even though they have not seen them for ten or fifty or 100 years, there will be group identification. Actually, the face-to-face contact is important because it provides an opportunity for checking and correcting memories. (Deutsch in Parsons 1956b: 193)
Damn. Deutsch is on point. This aspect must be considered for discussion of group identity as it proposes an alternative to Latour (2003), who leaves an impression that group identity is constructed by politicians "from the outside", so to say.
We are thinking of the family particularly as the socializing agency. The third part of our conceptual scheme is going to be the theory of the socialization process itself. (Parsons 1956b: 197)
Socializing agency is a concept I need to broaden for phatics so that this agency could be seen in a variety of interactions.<

Frank, Lawrence K. 1956. Social Systems and Culture. In: Grinker, Roy R. (ed.), Toward a Unified Theory of Human Behavior. New York: Basic Books, 201-222.

Rather, this field may be viewed as we are learning to conceive of other fields, as arising from the patterned transactional relations of all members of the cultural-social field, each of which carries on continual intercourse with other members of the group. Viewing his conduct and feelings as circular, reciprocal, transactional, occurring between and among persons, all the varied pattern, rituals, institutional practices and symbols of group life appear as so many different modes of communication in an through which each person can approach, negotiate and seek consummation. In this way we may view the economic, political, legal and social patterns and transactions as defined and prescribed modes of human behavior which each member of the group must utilize if he is to communicate with others. Likewise, we may see that other persons in turn must utilize these same modes of communication so that all members of the group conform with greater or less fidelity to these sanctioned patterns. (Frank 1956: 201-202)
These prescribed modes of human behaviour include phatic routines.
This conception implies not a series of different environments, but rather the idea of an organism in a geographic environment who is enculturalized, and socialized, and through those processes learns to establish and maintain a number of different modes of relations and communications with different dimensions or patternings of the organism-environment field. (Frank 1956: 202)
Establishing and maintaining but not discontinuing or detaching?
It may be useful to recall how the individual member of a group is subject to a similar coercion by his cultural-social life when he communicates through language with others. He cannot communicate with others nor can they communicate with him unless he utilizes the group-accepted consensual patterns which are recognized, accepted and responded to in verbal and written communications, however idiomatically he speaks. In much the same way we may view the coerciveness of economic, political, legal and social patterns as arising from a similar dependence upon common patterns of communication. (Frank 1956: 203)
So this is some sort of "light" or "soft" coercion? (i.e. weakly constitutive coercion?)
It should be noted that this conception of communication goes beyond the bare idea of sending messages. The individual member of a group which relies upon socially sanctioned modes of communication of necessity must code or translate his message in such a fashion that it will be recognized, accepted and responded to by the individual or group to whom it is addressed. This means that in all human communications the individual person is concerned not only with the selection of the appropriate mode of communication, but what he says or transmits is governed as much by the recipient as by his own intentions or purposes. This means that human communications are likely to be attempts primarily to evoke responses instead of just transmitting information or sending messages. (Frank 1956: 205)
This seems like mature communication theory. The aspect of evoking responses definitely suits my current purposes. (cf. the language band)
It may be useful at this point to consider roles as group codified patterns for communication since each role serves to focus and to guide the activities of individuals in such a way as to facilitate their recognition by others, and to evoke from others a readiness to receive and to respond. Taking a role or, more precisely, patterning one's activities, verbal or otherwise, according to the prescriptions or requirements for ag iven kind of communications, serves not only to reduce the inescapable individuality and ambiguity of most human communications, but also serves to channel human activities into the recurrent patterns and regularities through which the social order is maintained. (Frank 1956: 206)
"A readiness to receive and to respond" can readily replace the hoopla about continued attention in Jakobson's definition of the phatic function.
Here we should see each individual as having developed an extensive repertory of modes of communication both for approaches to other individuals and eliciting their responses, and for responding to their approaches. This means that he is expected to rceive an almost bewildering array of messages, to be able to decode or interpret them, and to reply or respond in terms of what will be meaningful to others. (Frank 1956: 207)
In other words, every interaction is a potential socializing agency. Notice the congeniality with "reportory of modes" and Ruesch's metacommunication (I'm not sure if he used the term "repertory" but metacommunicative instructions are definitely learned).
All this learning takes place in the context of interpersonal relationships, through processes of communication as the organism is transformed into a personality capable of entering into and actively participating in the maintenance of the cultural-social field. (Frank 1956: 208)
Of course ultimately it all leads back to the highest levels of abstraction.
RUESCH: The problem of distance of observation is related not only to distance but also to the dimension of the thing observed. If you want to look at a tower, for example, there are two alternatives: either you go far away and see the complete tower or you stand close and look first at the point of the tower and then at the base of the tower. In order to get a full view of something big you have to get away from it. When you get away from it, the relationship is called "objective" in science. "Subjective" is the term used in science when the dimension, proportion and time scale of the observer are similar to those of the events under consideration. (Ruesch in Frank 1956: 212)
Huh, a workable definition of subjectivity and objectivity.
EMERSON: The symbol as a means of communication and continuity presents some suggestive and stimulating comparisons in the dynamics of cultural evolution in contrast to the gene in the dynamics and mechanisms of biological evolution. I think this comparison needs to be carefully investigated down to small details to see whether, for instance, the gene as a system in biological evolution really corresponds in important attributes to the symbol in cultural evolution. I am inclined to believe that it may, but I think it needs very careful investigation. (Emerson in Frank 1956: 216)
More on memetics. In fact, the whole next page is dedicated to finding an analogy to gene, resolving with cultural symbol. Since I have no interest in memes at the moment I'll let it be, but I'll note that it's quite interesting seeing people like Talcott Parsons discussing proto-memes.
But social scientists are moving toward that idea, too. Instead of treating culture simply as symbol systems in the psychological tradition, we are moving in the direction of motivated symbolic action systems. We are looking at the same phenomena from a different perspective, in terms of the regulatory mechanisms that make the interaction of human beings patterned and orderly within limits, orderly but variable. (Parsons in Frank 1956: 219)
The difference seems minute but relevant. Do sign systems have agency? (I am somewhat interested in this question.)

Rapoport, Anatol 1956a. Homeostasis Reconsidered. In: Grinker, Roy R. (ed.), Toward a Unified Theory of Human Behavior. New York: Basic Books, 225-246.

The living organism now appears more like a mechanism than a mysterious carrier of some vital force. The whole science of mechanics was founded on the metaphysical revolutionary principle that one should not consider ultimate causes at all, only the causes here and now, pushing, as it were, instead of pulling from the future, which the teleological explanation assumes. The mechanistic outlook led one to look for states of the organism which more or less automatically drove things in the direction in which they went, without considering what the ultimate outcome of such activity might be. (Rapoport 1956a: 227)
This is why I consider the concept of hemoestasis relevant for my purposes: centrifugal and centripetal forces embody pushing and pulling. In interaction terms these could be temporal, i.e. the margins of interactions: one pushing towards approach and the other pulling towards detachment. (Though these could be reversed: empathy pulls people together, antipathy pushes them apart.) Note also that between these two extremes is selection (unlike mechanisms, living beings make choices).
The process I am working on now is that of child development. The child at birth is not really integrated in any system of social interaction. It then becomes integrated closely in a mother-child system, which is a subsystem of the family, a larger system. He then becomes more fully integrated in the family as the larger system, and less exclusively with the mother. Finally, the family is a subsystem of a larger system that we might call residual community system, and the last major transition the child has to make is integration in the community independent of family orientation. (Parsons in Rapoport 1956a: 241)
Levels of abstraction specified, particularized, concretized, clarified.
MORRIS: Can you indicate what type of quantification you mean?
EMERSON: This equilibrium, so-called, may be a control or maintenance of disequilibrium, if disequilibrium has a function.
RAPOPORT: The difference between steady state and equilibrium can be pointed out.
EMERSON: That's right. You mentioned dynamic equilibrium. Dynamics may be the maintenance and control of an asymmetry in the system, rather than a static equilibrium. (Rapoport 1956a: 244)
Relevant for maintenance phase of the communication system (or communication duration). Detachment is a function of disequilibrium.

Toman, James E. P. 1956b. Stability Vs. Adaptation: Some Speculations on the Evolution of Dynamic Reciprocating Mechanisms. In: Grinker, Roy R. (ed.), Toward a Unified Theory of Human Behavior. New York: Basic Books, 247-263.

The organism also contains a continually increasing quantity of information about its environment. Here I am thinking not just of conditioning in those animals which have complex nervous systems but also about chemical conditioning in the simplest kinds of organisms. Furthermore, it could be said that organisms contain, in their genetic make-up, past experience as part of their internal environment. Here we are no longer concerned with the steady state of the organism over a brief period of a lifetime, but with its stability over generations. (Toman 1956b: 148)
Something to add to the discussion of common memory.
Some of the viruses themselves, if one can call a bacteriophage a virus, already begin to show a duplex structure, but apparently insufficient for tehir independent propagation. (Toman 1956b: 251)
First time meeting the concept of "duplex structure" outside of Jakobson and Halle's phonology.
PARSONS: I suggest an analogy with written language, which is a kind of extraorganic memory. The importance of the analogy might lie in the fact that here is some kind of anatomical residuum, whatever it may be, analogous to a linguistic symbol. It can be scanned like a page of writing, and it is a pattern which is put together but need not in any way resemble the original objects any more than the letters on a page resemble the meanings of the words. (Parsons in Toman 1956b: 257)
This anatomical residuum is kinda like Schandorf's phatic gesture.
PAPOPORT: For example, the birth of a fad, or the spread of a panic, or the birth of an idea - any sort of contagious process in society - may settle on an equilibrium or die out or explode like a bomb. One can put down the conditions for equilibrium, for treshold, for explosion, and so on. There are very nice analogies. "Gain" means whether it will multiply or not. (Rapoport in Toman 1956b: 259)
Ruesch actually did construct a model of fad circulation in society. Here it is interesting what are considered contagious: fads, ideas... and panic. In recent times we've seen a lot of that, in constant small dosages. (I have yet to read up on the topic of moral panic.)
You remember by flattening and sharpening images, patterns, rumors and the like. If this is so, then there comes a stage where we have thrown away so much detail, and simplified so much, that we can no longer reconstruct the earlier ensemble from which the latter patterns were generated. Irreversibility thus would occur where generative combinatorial universes have become critically modified or depleted by selection. (Deutsch in Toman 1956b: 261)
I should use this phraseology in the introduction to my article about reconstructing the sources for Jakobson's definition of the phatic function. He threw away detail and simplified a lot but luckily it is at least in part possible to reconstruct (even though it has taken some years to do so).

Henry, Jules 1956b. Homeostasis in a Special Life Situation. In: Grinker, Roy R. (ed.), Toward a Unified Theory of Human Behavior. New York: Basic Books, 264-277.

The question now arises, who is being kept in a steady state by this procedure - the baby, the mother, the hospital, American society as a whole or the world?
The baby would eat when hungry and sleep when sleepy if permitted, so pediatricians tell me. Its own physiological self-regulatory mechanisms would take care of this. In the hospital, the baby drifts off to sleep repeatedly, but is awakened and obliged to eat. In social interaction the baby's own self-regulatory mechanisms are ignored. If homeostasis occurs at all, it has little to do with baby's self-regulating system. Maybe the mother is maintaining the steady state. If so, what is non-regulatory for baby is regulatory for mother. Hence, within this biosocial system the homeostatic mechanisms of mother and baby are opposed.
Since most of the eighteen babies in our sample are bottle-fed, physiological homeostasis of the mothers cannot be in question. Since, as we have seen, the baby's physiological homeostasis is not either, we must search within our very general handling of the homeostasis hypothesis for some other explanation of the behavior just described. (Henry 1956b: 265)
The first paragraph was quoted in one review. Without context it seemed funny. But the discussion here is on point. The hospital has a routine schedule for feeding babies, and mothes have to conform to these routines and force their babies to wake up and eat without any consideration of the timing of the baby's bodily needs.
The matter is still more complicated. The utterances of the mother revolve around certain ideo-emotional elements - emphasis on achievement, work, dominance, quantity, the importance of minutia, and success. These are related to the importance of an expanding industrial order.
Thus, in a hospital, which is a cultural institution, the environment of the baby is such as to oblige the mother literally to shove the cultural ideals down the baby's throat. When this is done the hospital and American society as a whole are enabled to go on being what tehy have always been.
This circumstance might conceivably be brought analogically within the conception of homeostatic control, but whether it has any relation to optimal function, maximum human happiness, or even to survival of the commonwealth is open to question. (Henry 1956b: 269)
Henry takes some poetic liberties. The cultural ideals shoved down the baby's throat are embodied in the nibble thrusted into its mouth when it's sleeping.
MORRIS: I would like to make two points. One is on the matter of value that I find dogging this discussion. On the first point there may be a sense in which there is an over-all notion of system, whether characterized by homeostasis or some other way, but nevertheless there are sub-classes of systems that have certain properties in common with all systems and yet that have differential features. We are not yet spelling out in sufficient detail these differential features which characterize the human social systems, the biological systems and certain other kinds of systems.
My other point concerns the notion of progressive evolution. We are living in a culture in which "progress" is a sacred word, and I think the question of how far this is an evaluative term, and how far it is a scientific term, is a point we ought to be clear on. I think you cannot just equate it with homeostasis and the development of homeostasis.
(Morris in Henry 1956b: 276)
This is the first lengthy comment I've noticed by Charles Morris. His two points are weird. One is basically a continuation of what is systematic about a system? and the other points out that progress and homeostasis are not in a clear-cut relationship (much like earlier someone commented that adaptation and homeostasis are not interchangeable).

Deutsch, Karl 1956. Autonomy and Boundaries According to Communications Theory. In: Grinker, Roy R. (ed.), Toward a Unified Theory of Human Behavior. New York: Basic Books, 298-297.

HENRY: What is the difference between high-order feedback and memory?
DEUTSCH: The high-order feedback may be wiped out immediately after it has been used. That is one difference between it and memory. The other difference is that items or traces in a memory pool can be kept there for long periods without interacting with each other, just as books in a library do not disturb each other; even though written by controversial authors, books peacefully sit side by side on the shelves. On the other hand, in a consciousness type of feedback it is of the essence that you inspect your abstract information for things such as consistency. The man who directs from the landing tower at the airport the incoming airplanes must be aware of whether there are two airplanes heading for the same runway or not. (Deutsch 1956: 282)
Books that talk to each other? This would certainly make for an interesting short story. It seems likely that something like it already exists.
RAPOPORTQ: (Deutsch 1956: 286-287)
All this reminds me once again that I have a moral obligation to write about the fact that all of Jakobson's additional functions (poetic, metalingual, phatic) are essentially metacommunicative functions, that is, characteristic of messages about messages. Even the metalingual function, which deceptively appears to be a message about the code, is in actuality a message about the code used in a message.
RAPAPORT: The whole issue of anticipation, not in the scientific sense but in the sense of the subjective psychological process, or unconscious psychological process, involves recognition. It reminds me of what happens when you listen to a lecture, then read it. Even if the transcription is absolutely correct, the difference is amazing between reading and hearing it spoken. I would not call it "filtering." Ther are additional signals beside the words which make the speech understandable; the visual context is clear and the emotional context is clear.
Besides filtering and besides the major context of the signals there is a secondary signal system given with every signal system. I believe it is true not only for individual but for social institutional contacts, that such a signal is accompanied by individual or authorial signals, meaning that there is not just a field question here but a higher clearing of signals.

RUESCH: We have called it "instructions about communication" or "metacommunication." The filter refers to the fact that any information is unintelligible unless it is accompanied by the things which do refer to the message itself, yet are not content. But the filtering also applies to the second thing: Not only can you filter out messages about messages, but also messages about messages about messages, of any kind of order. But the filter is a different quality or dimension.
PARSONS: I think there is a difference between the mechanical communications systems and human systems. In human social life the sender and the receiver are not determinate apart from the interaction process itself. There have to be messages that have to do with how the sender and the receiver are to be defined relative to each other, and not merely the independent content of cognitive communication. (Deutsch 1956: 286-287)
Some much-needed context to the concept of metacommunication. The part about "messages about messages about messages" raises the question of how deep the metacommunicative layering really goes. And it once again verifies my ideas about Jakobson's three later functions as metacommunicative functions (speech in the metalingual function, for example, essentially refers to a "metalingual message" responding to a previous message asking for an explanation of a code element in a previous message).
DEUTSCH: That is a good point. One could think of the Greek slave economy as a culture which was ontogenetically self-destructive, but phylogenetically it was extremely productive in contributing to cultures which came after it.
Could one then generally include in the process of growth such things as the capacity for mutation or change, innovation and creativity, and, if you wish, the capacity for self-transcendence? That is, the capacity to transmit significant patterns beyond the physical existence of the channel system involved, just as parents do for the children who will live after they are gone.
A culture can do that kind of thing. The question came up: Why should human beings make provision for events after they are dead? Obviously, there is a reward for this behavior on the part of natural selection; but why should we care to be rewarded then?
One of the answers was this: If you build a network that handles information and extrapolates data and makes predictions, there is no reason in the world why this network should have an automatic cut-off device in it, saying, "Stop all predictions beyond the probable date of your own physical dissolution." In other words, it would be much more expensive to build a computer that is afraid of its own rusting, or that cuts off all predictions beyond the date of its own obsolescence. It is much more economical and simpler to build something that would cheerfully work and extrapolate things into the future beyond its own death.
There is thus a possible reward from the economy of design. I might call it an elegance of mind and body which might function as a biological reward. It is not only more pleasant but more natural for us to think beyond our own death, in other words, to think in terms of self-transcendence. (Deutsch 1956: 296)
Self-transcendence is something I've considered for a long time without knowing the correct term for it. Science is characteristically self-transcendent: the study for the sake of study is in fact study for the sake of future generations who may continue, refute, or otherwise utilize past studies. Also, curiously, self-transcendence in this sense - of an artificial intelligence making predictions and taking precautions after its own obsolescence - is exactly the theme of the movie, Transcendence with Johnny Depp.

Grinker (ed.) 1956b. Concluding Discussion and an Outline for Future Conference Deliberations. In: Grinker, Roy R. (ed.), Toward a Unified Theory of Human Behavior. New York: Basic Books, 298-304.

DEUTSCH: Would you put "goal-seeking" between "maintenance" and "change"? "Maintenance" means that you maintain the physical channel system. "Change" means it would have to drift somewhere else. But "goal-seeking" means that a system in organization moves in search of certain things which are not directly related to its maintenance. (Deutsch in Grinker (ed.) 1956b: 299)
In this light Jakobson's maintenance concerns the physical channel while Ruesch's preversatiaon pertains to the psychological connection. Goal-seeking, in this relation, would refer to whatever pseudo-phatic aspects one could think of.

Rapoport, Anatol 1956b. Statistical Boundaries. In: Grinker, Roy R. (ed.), Toward a Unified Theory of Human Behavior. New York: Basic Books, 307-324.

The notion of a boundary is difficult to analyze, because it is sometimes confused with the notion of distinguishability, which is truly a rock-bottom notion, not further analyzable. If, however, it is defined in terms of distinguishability (as a derived notion0, we see at once that important generalizations suggest themselves. (Rapoport 1956b: 307)
You mean distinctness and indistinctness?
Similarly, if a social class in a society is characterized by the response which its members make in a particular situation, then unambiguous membership in a class is determined by the exclusive occurrence of a particular response. Those people who respond sometimes in one way and sometimes in another can be said to be in the statistical boundary, which can be more precisely defined by specifying the particular probability of response which is to be considered as the treshold of membership. (Rapoport 1956b: 308)
This probability of response reminds me of Morris's idea of statistical analysis of interpretants.
RAPOPORT: There are some things which are so just because people say they are so, without any possibility of verifying it. My name is Rapoport simply because people say my name is Rapoport, and it is so for no other logical reason. (Rapoport 1956b: 322)
Social constructionism in the making.
MORRIS: What you are saying is made possible by the genius of language. While language involves limitations on the possibility of types of combinations of signs, that is, they can be combined in certain ways and not in others, it sets no limitations on the number of combinations possible. So, always, by combining signs, you can get complex symbols (also complex concepts) which had no experiential origin and which may not denote. (Morris in Rapoport 1956b: 324)
Syntactics and semantics.

Parsons, Talcott 1956c. Boundary Relations Between Sociocultural and Personality Systems. In: Grinker, Roy R. (ed.), Toward a Unified Theory of Human Behavior. New York: Basic Books, 325-339.

My view is that culture is keynoted by the concepts of transmission of the social heritage and of its relation to learning as over against the genetic determinations. An inferencee which would not be universally accepted in that the focus of culture lies in its relation to symbolic processes, and to the meaning which patterns of symbols in humans (therefore social) interactions would help to define and stabilize. Culture there has a very intimate connection indeed with communication. This way of looking at it puts culture in a rather special position relative to the concept of action system or behavior systems, for a system of culture is not a behavior system at all from this point of view, but is a set of components that are essential to behavior systems at a certain level. (Parsons 1956c: 325-326)
A definition of culture that conflates it with communication.
You cannot invent your own symbols and your own meanings at will and arbitrarily. There has to be some kind of agreement. It does not have to be arrived at by discussion, but there has to be common understanding of commun meaning. If you are going to be understood, you have to observe the conventions of the language. This goes for all kinds of symbolic communictaion, and therefore there is always a normative element: Are you doing it properly from some point of view? From that viewpoint, social norms, let us say, having to do with the definition of the major expectation patterns of social relationships, are special cases of this much more general normative emphasis. (Parsons 1956c: 326)
Contra private signs, as is tradition.
RUESCH: Previously I defined culture as the cumulative body of knowledge of the past, conatined in memories and assumptions of people who express this knowledge in definite ways. The social system is the actual habitual network of communication between people. If you use the analogy of the telephone line, it corresponds to actual cells made. The society is the network - the whole telephone network. Do you agree with these definitions? (Ruesch in Parsons 1956c: 328)
Although Parsons does not quite agree with Ruesch's definitions, I quite like it because it emphasizes both past (cumulative body of knowledge of the past) as well as future (assumptions of people who express this knowledge in definite ways).
An important thing that perhaps is hard to understand if you have not been through a long analysis is this: This interpretation of personality in the social system imposes certain conditions on the nature of personality. In other words, you cannot have a personality which is in fact part of the same system or that interpenetrates with an interaction system unless its organization is congruent with that of the social system.
This is the basic thing that Freud discovered with his concept of the superego, and the internalization of culture, and it is very interresting, although not nearly as widely recognized by psychiatrists and others as it should be. It was independently discovered by Durkheim from a sociological point of view. (Parsons 1956c: 333)
This is once again the self-community nexus that he discussed (years) earlier. Now he resolves it with "interpenetration".
MORRIS: It is essential, as Parsons would recognize, to see that the notion of role is really itself a symbolic concept. For him a role consists in sets of expectations - systems of expectations - so that the role, say of policeman, is symbolically defined and maintained. A policeman is meant to act in certain ways, and certain people are meant to act toward him in certain ways. Role behavior seems to me to be symbol-controlled behavior, and therefore role boundaries to be symbolic boundaries.
PARSONS: That is what I meant by the common culture element as defining boundaries. It is the symbol system that defines the location of boundaries, not the mechanisms.
MORRIS: Now take the organism in its process of growth - and here I am thinking in somewhat Meadean terms: It does not become in a strict sense a personality until certain symbols are operative in the organization and steering processes of the individual.
To the extent to which the symbols by which we define the social system become also the key integrating symbols of the personality system, there is a process of internalization of the social system.
The fact that the same symbols operate and constitute the social system that become dominant symbols in the personality system gives the linkage - the common element - between the social system and the personality system.
(Morris in Parsons 1956c: 335)
Part 1 of Charles Morris and the policeman. Upon reflection, what Morris says about roles as symbols can also be applied to social techniques in their meta-phatic aspect, i.e. social techniques as symbols. This would broaden social techniques from purely verbal to possibly visual and other modalities.
MORRIS: Insofar as the internalized role symbol becomes a dominant organizing element in an individual's personality structure, to that extent you have approximated a convergence of personality and social systems.
This is a matter of degree, as Parsons pointed out, and it seems to me that it is a question of how basic the role symbol is in the organization of the personality.
A man may very well be a policeman in the sense of performing certain behavior conforming to the role symbol "policeman," without this symbol being a basic organizing component of his symbolic process - and to that extent the personality system and the social system diverge.
(Morris in Parsons 1956c: 336)
Part 2 of Charles Morris and the policeman.

Ruesch, Jurgen 1956c. Analysis of Various Types of Boundaries. In: Grinker, Roy R. (ed.), Toward a Unified Theory of Human Behavior. New York: Basic Books, 340-361.

The fourth type is the psychological boundary. When psychologists talk about "identity," they mean the sense of boundary that mature people possess about their limitations, social functions, and roles. (Ruesch 1956c: 340)
Identity as a type of psychological boundary.
Three people are at a bar, and in walks a fourth person known to them. "Won't you join us?" There is an existing imaginary boundary among the three people, and the fourth one stands a little hesitatingly until the invitation is extended. Or someone says, "Give me a ring before you come out," which means, "Warn me before you call. I don't want you to penetrate my boundaries without my knowledge." Or in a meeting someone says, "You never talk. Can't you say something so we know where you stand?" He means, "We don't know where your boundary is, so please define it." (Ruesch 1956c: 342)
Finally something phatic: interaction management and third-person inclusion.
RUESCH: Perceptual boundaries exist where the stimulation changes. If there is continuous stimulation, there is no boundary. If it stops, or becomes more intensive, or decreases, or changes in nature, there we detect a boundary.
The same notion applies to action. We may do something that we are not aware of, and someone else may perceive it. Whenever action becomes discontinuous, a boundary exists. (Ruesch 1956c: 343)
Detachment. Jakobson's discontinuation is, here, the self-same discontinuity.
MORRIS: I think the richness of Ruesch's tabulation is in the details in the rows; but before we get further into that I would like to say something about the problem of relation of the columns in his table. You will remember that Parsons distinguishes the personality system, the social system and the cultural system. The personality system intersects with the social system, and the social system intersects with the biological system. The question is, what makes them all "a" system?
Now there are certain symbols, which me way call common symbols, which are common features of the cultural system, the personality system and the social system. It seems to me that these symbols which are common to the discriminable subsystems make of them a human action system.
If you hold a theory of signs in which a sign or symbol always involves some change in the organic state of the person for whom something is a sign, then these common symbols would also involve changes in the biological system. Therefore, whether you want to consider the total human action systems formed from just the three subsystems so far mentioned, or whether you also bring in the biological system, is largely a terminological matter. In any case, it is these common symbols that make human action "a" system, and which anchor the human system upon the biological system (Figure 20, below).
I think this position fits in with Parsons' scheme. It is clear that for him a culture system is a shared symbol system. This would be analogous to Ruesch's communication universe.
The social system is a role system in Parsons' analysis, and roles are ultimately symbol-controlled behavior; so this matches the social action universe in Ruesch's scheme. The personality system, as distinct from the biological, involves some sort of self-reference or some sort of "I," and hence symbols. The personality is more than the organism, by virtue of the fact that symbols play a certain key role in the orientation and direction of the biological system.
It seems to me that the psychological, social action and communication systems in Ruesch's chart all involve the operation of symbolic behavior, and that they are linked with the physiological universe in his scheme through the fact that these symbols modify the organism and hence its responses.
HENRY: What would be an example of such a common symbol that unites the three systems?
MORRIS: Well, "policeman" is the example we used before. It pertains to all of them. It has a meaning in the communication system, and it has a meaning in the social system in that it defines a role; it also has a meaning in the personality system in that if a person becomes a policeman and now symbolizes himself as a policeman, he has become a policeman. He is then not merely performing that role in the social system but has become a changed person. (Morris in Ruesch 1956c: 350-351)
Part 3 of Charles Morris and the policeman.
MORRIS: In this first state we are engaged, in a certain sense, in the theory of theories; that is, we are taking the different theories and are asking for translation and the operations by which we can do it. That is a necessary part of the job.
But the name of our group shows that we are concerned in principle with the possibility of a further stage, in which we are attempting to get a theory. In that case we are attempting to get laws that will connect these various variables in the various systems in which, rather piecemeal, we have studied them. We want to do that in the great variety and number of ways.
(Morris in Ruesch 1956c: 359)
Definition of the theory of theory.
TOMAN: On the question of the reality versus the symbol, at one time we seem to be talking about rules of operation with symbols, and at other times the actual rules of operation of the universe external to symbols. As far as I can see, the symbols themselves have as much a real physical meaning as anything going on outside of them, and they make sense only insofar as they refer to things going on externally. They are representative, not identicaly with things going on elsewhere, nor are they usually complete. Furthermore, they do have a time element which enters constantly into our thinking. Our symbols always lag behind what is actually going on. The universe is always changing. Our symbols take time to catch up. On the other hand, they have the persistent quality that they outlast a particular event, and their utility is that they are relevant to something which might happen again. (Toman in Ruesch 1956c: 360-361)
I have a feeling that Toman was inspired by Morris here. I can't blame him. Despite Morris not presenting a paper he did contribute a lot of worthwhile insight, often in much clearer language than anyone else in the whole book.

Grinker, Roy R. 1956d. Summary. In: Grinker, Roy R. (ed.), Toward a Unified Theory of Human Behavior. New York: Basic Books, 365-375.

The members of the conference were committed with great zeal and seriousness of purpose toward a program of developing a unified theory of human behavior. Yet all of us implicitly knew that this could in reality not be attained by us in our time and that we would be satisfied with a little progress toward the ultimate goal. It was amazing that through the years the group continued to be overly optimistic, each member continually striving to understand various aspects of human behavior discussed by the others. (Grinker 1956d: 366)
This was quoted in the reviews, and for a reason: it's the most general statement about the book.
At this point the conference considered a theme that was repeated over and over again for it wsa often forgotten: The fact that observations in all sciences are made by an individual who has a position relative to his object. He can only have one frame of reference at a time, although several may be put together through a mental operation. Natural events are viewed not in terms of the reality of the matter but through the eyes of an observer who is part of a specific communication system. Much was said about communication processes and how they differ with the type of system under observation. (Grinker 1956d: 367)
Yeah, it almost seems like Ruesch was present for the sole purpose of reminding everyone every once in a while about the importance of the observer's point of view.
The concept of core values was introduced by Thompson who developed seven minimal conditions to be met by an adequate theory of the formal and informal aspects of intrapersonal relations. She contended that societal systems must be viewed as a multi-dimensional pattern in the space-time of which it is a part. Kluckhohn's value orientations were then presented and are related to five common human problems of key importance. These included the innate predispositions of man, the relation of man to nature, the significance of the time dimension, the modality of activity most valued and the dominant modality of man's relations to other men. Kluckhohn showed how she used these five orientations as a means of categorizing various societies. (Grinker 1956d: 368)
That's some good advice to end on. Good book was good.


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