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Basic definintion of control

  1. May 24, 2003 #1
    as anyone has noticed the movie The Matrix has been the topic of many threads here recently, but i will add one more.
    upon watching the matrix (specifically the scene will the councilor in zion)i got to thinking about control. neo and the old guy argue as to who controls who, the humans or the machines. my basic definintion of control has always been that he who has the power to destroy an object has control over it. any replies with other ideas would be nice.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 5, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. May 24, 2003 #2
    Yeah, I think it was Frank Herbert in Dune that first proposed that definition of control. He was writing a social commentary about middle eastern politics, in his book the "spice" represented the oil in the middle east.

    One alternative is that control is a relative term. A dog may have the power to destroy a cat, but it is the dog's instinct to do so even if the cat blinds or kills the dog in the process and the dog hates to eat cats because they taste terrible to him. Does that mean the dog's instincts control the dog? If so then it can just as easily be argued that the ability to create something constitutes control. The dog's instinct is to mate and reproduce as well. In fact, your definition of control implies oxygen controls iron because it destoys it in a process we call rust.

    What you are really implying, as far as I can tell, is that the power to create and destroy things is an indication of how much control we have over these things. A counter argument is that control and the lack of control, creation and destruction, are simply complementary opposites similar to up and down, inside and outside. You cannot speak meaningfully about one without axiomatically making a statement about the other by default.
  4. May 24, 2003 #3


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    I have another take on it. Control is a subjective idea. When we have influence over something, we consider ourselves as in control. But in reality, almost all such influences are two way, and hence the idea of control only relevant if you set a certain perspective. In reality, all things are linked to each other by lines of causality and influence, and each is in control of everything else. It's a network, not a dominion. Everybody controls and is controlled.
  5. May 26, 2003 #4
    Re: control

    I would clearly state that the makers of the movie got control over the viewers minds.
  6. May 26, 2003 #5
    So, in other words control is subjective and, hence, we are not in control. If you are not in control, why should I believe you much less listen to you? I wanna talk to the owner!
  7. May 26, 2003 #6
    Re: control

    In case you hadn't noticed, the old man showed that, by destroying the machines, they would destroy themselves, and thus they both have "control" over each other.
  8. May 26, 2003 #7


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    As Mentat said, you have two choices.

    1. We are all in control. It's your free will. Want candy? Hey, you never believed in that fate crap.
    2. We are all out of control. In which case, I already know what you are going to choose. And you are here for a reason. You just don't know it. You have no control, even over yourself. See, you just read that.

    This can be a simple variation of the free will debate. If we have free will, we are all in control over everything, and the universe is a mesh of our individual wills. If we have no free will, we are all puppets to each other, strung up in a clockwork universe. Tick tock?
  9. May 26, 2003 #8
    That is only if you choose to look at it in dualistic, fundamentalist, western terms. As far as I am concerned, it can be both and neither simulataneously. The cat is both alive and dead at the same time and there is just no better way to express the concept. All you can do is refine the parameters.
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