A car needs no more than superficial control. An organism instead needs deep control, which may be prevented by superficial control, like the surface reflections of a pond may prevent one from seeing its depth.
Life is about controlling the environment.
Even more, life is about controlling the inner milieu. Controlling the environment aims to control the inner milieu. If this is OK, the living organism is OK.
From its very start 4 billion and a bit years ago on planet earth, life is about control
A living agent acts because it wants to go on living. ‘Wants to’ can be understood abstractly in this sentence, without common associations with ‘wanting.’ For instance, put complex molecules together within some lipid envelope. Is this a thing or original life?
Does it ‘want control’?
A living agent wants to preserve its inner milieu within an ever-changing environment that ‘wants’ to heighten entropy. [see: “Order out of Chaos?“] Therefore, the living thing needs to sense the state of the environment. Then it also needs to react to what it has sensed, in a proper way.
Sensing and reacting → the concept of control
A thermostat controls the temperature of the room you may be sitting in right now. Does this makes the thermostat alive? No. Control is but one of the characteristics of life. Complexity is another one.
So, we arrive at this: Living things seek control in complexity. Animals seek control in super sophisticated ways, compared to, for instance, bacteria. We, humans, are extremely complex control-seeking devices, organisms, agents, creatures. If something goes genuinely wrong, we seek
A disease can be seen as an ‘out of control’ situation, by definition.
- Ease = when in control.
- Dis-ease = when control has been lost.
All in all, if something doesn’t work out, we seek repair in order to regain lost control. In modern times, we call that ‘therapy.’ If we lose control of our mind, we seek psychotherapy, which lends clients the idea they gain control. Contented clients! Until now, there have been thousands of psychotherapies that purport to lend control, one way or another.
The ones who do so in the most obvious ways are most successful.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has control in its genes.
What kind of control?
The most critical distinction in this is whether the control is from mere-conscious conceptual ego versus the human being as a total person ― thus, according to mind-body unity and the presence of meaningful non-conscious patterns. [see: ” Your Mind-Brain, a Giant Pattern Recognizer“]
I see an analogy with pleasure versus happiness. Both are important. Attaining pleasure is easier than attaining happiness. The latter requires more work but goes deeper. It is more meaningful and sustainable. To most people, it is worth much more.
Superficial control may lead to pleasure. Deep control leads rather to happiness. Again, both are important. The latter is more meaningful and sustainable.
In general, depth is harder to pinpoint in scientific experiments. That does not mean it is less real. It may be merely less visible, less scientifically ‘operational’ using present-day instruments. And less marketable.
With the proper use of A.I., this will change dramatically.
One can compare it with the essential change through telescopes towards discovering a universe around us. We are again at the brink of discovering a universe, this time inside us. Actually, we already know it’s there (here).
Well then. One cannot control a universe. It can only control itself.
To the latter, a typically control-based therapy is not suitable.