More Social Control

More Social Control

More Social Control

There are four basic techniques of social control:

1 Spontaneous field control: acting on another person's field without intending to do so

2 Manipulated field control: acting on another person's field deliberately in order to secure a definite response by manipulating stimuli leading to rewards and deprivations

3 Command: controlling the response of a subordinate by threatening him with a penalty for non-performance (a particular case of manipulated field control)

4 Reciprocity: two or more people employing command or manipulated field control against each other

Spontaneous field control is a paradoxical technique of social control. It is a basic control technique in all walks of life; yet many people do not think of it as a form of control. It is the most tyrannical control to which most people are ever subjected, but it seems compatible with freedom.

It is unintended rather than deliberate control. Therefore, it can be pictured as the opposite of planning; yet it is one of the most important techniques of rational social action.

How does this paradoxical control technique work? Often when a person acts, without intending to do so he produces a stimulus about rewards and deprivations which influences a second person. The second person responds in an attempt to avoid the threatened deprivations or secure the reward. Yet the first person did not deliberately set out to produce this response. Thus the second person's response is functionally dependent upon the original act of the first person. Unintentionally, the first person controlled the second person's response.

Spontaneous field control is tyrannical because it is hard to escape. Wherever one goes a network of spontaneous field controls envelops him-in the family and among neighbours, colleagues, employees, and acquaintances.

Many of the rewards and deprivations dispensed by spontaneous field control are of fundamental importance to human beings (e.g., love and hate, affection and hostility, friendship and enmity, respect and contempt). Anarchists might conceive of a voluntary system of social order which substitutes spontaneous field control for state-enforced commands without recognizing its tyrannical nature. This is because it has none of the earmarks of social control: There are no commands, regulations, statutes or laws, judicial systems, or prisons for violators.


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