By John E. LaMuth


 (beginning on page 14)

The conditioning terminology underlying Behavioral Psychology finds direct parallels within human society, where mankind’s symbolic use of language permits approval to be expressed in more dramatic formats; namely, praise, commendation, etc. Symbolism also gives meaning to what Skinner terms the secondary reinforcers; e.g., money, power, etc. Although paper currency is not intrinsically pleasing in itself, it is second­arily reinforcing in that it can be exchanged for any of the primary reinforcers: as in food, shelter, etc. These secondary reinforcers directly encourage procurement be­haviors in complex types of situations where rewards are customarily delayed. Herein lies the basis for the traditional Protestant work ethic; e.g., no work - no pay!

      Although the effectiveness of rewards clearly remains without question, social hierarchies are rarely so idyllic as to be ruled entirely through positive reinforcement. Grooming behaviors are typically restricted to members of the opposite sex, or members of the same sex that are not a serious challenge to each other. The drive to become the dominant member of the troop is alternately determined through aggressive types of behavior. Such power skirmishes, unfortunately, can prove detrimental to the cooperative social unit, particularly in terms of the threat of serious injury or fatalities. Most social species, accordingly, have evolved stereotypical sub­missive behaviors serving to terminate the conflict well ahead of any permanent damage. Instead of continuing to act contentiously, the loser switches to appeasement to escape further punishment.

     In the highly competitive wolf pack, for example, the defeated wolf bares its throat to the victor in an overt plea for mercy. This submissive display effectively serves as a visual cue to the dominant wolf to leniently terminate the conflict well ahead of any permanent damage. For the primate troop, this aspect is alternately seen in the crouching/appeasement postures assumed by the subordinate member. Such actions are similarly suggestive of the “prisoner of war” mentality, where waving a white flag is a cue to the victors to forgo the certain extermination bound to occur in a fight to the death; e.g., “Remember the Alamo!”




Although such ethological observations prove extremely enlightening, their extrapolation to the human condition proves infinitely more complex. In particular, the extreme degree of complexity separating human and animal societies renders any direct comparisons tentative at best. In contrast to animal societies, mankind is essentially a product of his supportive culture, which cooperatively permits the effective management of environmental factors. Whereas lower animal societies remain at the mercy of the environment for their reinforcement (or lack thereof), mankind’s facility for taming the forces of nature has led to the unique reassignment of reinforcement to specialized agencies within the social hierarchy. This is particularly evident in the traditional work place setting, where the employee performs a service function in exchange for secondary reinforcers; namely, money, praise, prestige, etc. Individuals in the enviable position of controlling reinforcement typically enjoy coveted positions of power or authority within the social hierarchy, employing rewards to encourage the procurement behaviors of the subordinate staff of laborers in order to encourage their cooperation.

     This overall control over reinforcement has progressed to the point that reinforcement now primarily drives procurement in contrast to the order typically encountered in nature. Indeed, one might rightfully surmise that procurement behaviors (either appetite or aversion) would only rarely be prompted to occur without a precipitating round of reinforcement behaviors: e.g., a job offer of a reinforcing nature typically precedes any practical work actually being done. It might alternately be argued that the remnant hunter gatherer societies around the world remain chiefly dependent upon the environment for reinforcement, where a certain degree of initiative of a procurement nature always proves crucial for maintaining any complex style of social structure.

This formal behavioral model further brings into focus the major paradox of the conditioned relationship; namely, as a two-stage sequential process only one role can occur in the present at any given time. In particular, when procurement is actively occurring, reinforcement remains a future potentiality. Similarly, when reinforcement finally comes to pass, procurement is similarly thrust into a potentiality status. This dual style of conditioned interaction is schematically represented in Fig. 2A: with procurement represented as the letter (X), whereas reinforcement is specified by the letter (Y). The complete scale of time is further represented by paired (oppositely-facing) “wedges” denoting the past and future time frames, with the gap representing the present. This dual wedge format was purposely cho- sen in reference to the observation that the measure of time increases as a direct function of its distance from the present.

     According to Part A of Fig. 2A, when procurement (X) immediately occurs, reinforcement (Y) remains a future potentiality. This conditioned interaction is formally based upon the successful completion of previous such interactions from the past, formally represented by the X ® Y (small type) notation depicted within the past-directed time-wedge. Indeed, this previous experience serves as the primary motivational template for the current ongoing interaction, where active procurement (X) anticipates the bestowal of future reinforcement (Y).

     As schematically diagrammed, the procurer of reinforcement is actively depicted within a present time-frame indicative of a subjective “I” perspective characterizing the initiation sequence. The subsequent reinforcement role is projected as a potentiality within the future time-frame, in essence, a mental projection on the part of the procurer, hence, experienced as an objective style of “you” perspective in relation to “the other.” This future-directed style of mental projection allows the procurer to form a mental map of the entire procurement-then-reinforcement dynamic within the conditioned interaction, whereby supplying the motivational rationale for one’s active means towards the achievement of reinforcement.

     The reinforcer within the condition interaction, in turn, is thrust into his/her own active status when the time for bestowing reinforcement finally comes to pass. According to Part B of Fig. 2A, this sequence of events remains formally punctuated from the subjective perspective of the procurer, being that the respective you/I polarities are carried over unchanged in relation to those initially established in Part A. Here the active bestowal of reinforce­ment (Y) in the present, in turn, prompts the anticipation of upcoming procurement behaviors (X) in the future, in essence, providing an effective sense of closure within the two-stage operant schematic.

     Through this systematic interplay of sequences (A) and (B), both procurement and reinforcement share an equivalent status within the present, along with their potential displacement into a future-based time-frame respectively. Indeed, the ultimate completion of Part B further sets the stage for additional cycles of interaction within the operant sequence: for if configuration (B) is phase shifted one step further into the past, one returns back to the initial configuration depicted in Part A. This cyclic (recursive) periodicity emerges as a key factor underlying this two-stage model allowing each motivational interchange to accumulate in a seamless fashion over real time. It is chiefly through such a systematic style of analysis (isolated through individual stages over real time) that the conditioned relationship is seen to be punctuated from either the procurement or reinforcement perspectives. In this dual sense the procurement and reinforcement roles maintain their given order within the conditioned interaction, each punctuated from one favored perspective or the other.





This dual “staggered” model of the conditioned relation­ship, although technically comprehensive in scope, unfortunately is restricted by a strict reliance upon behavioral terminology. Although procurement and reinforcement retain their operant status within an active time frame, their respective extension into a future-directed time-frame begs for a further corresponding distinction in meaning. Although behavioral terminology (true to its scientifically-objective focus) remains inadequate to this task, colloquial English proves much better qualified, particularly verbal categories dealing with subjective motivations.

     The most fitting launch-point for such a determination concerns the very initiation of the operant sequence, where active procurement anticipates the future bestowal of reinforcement. As schematically depicted in Part A of Fig. 2A, the operant sequence of X ® Y represents such a future-directed interaction, with active procurement (X) aimed towards securing future reinforcement (Y). The predicted set of colloquial terms therefore exhibits two distinct modes of specialization; namely, an active mode occurring within the present and a potentially predicted mode projected into a future-directed time-frame.

     The active behavioral mode appears to be equivalent to the introspective terminology governing behavioral conditioning, employing colloquial terms with clear instinctual overtones; e.g., guilt, worry, nostalgia, and desire. These ego states are specialized into the active reinforcement themes of desire and worry, as well as the active procurement perspectives of nostalgia and guilt. In contrast, the future-directed set of mental projections target a more pronounced set of behavioral characteristics consistent with such a projected mental focus: e.g., approval, leniency, solicitousness, and submissiveness. This latter class of terms is rightfully termed the alter ego states in reference to their conceptual dependence upon the ego as the source of intentions occurring within a future-directed time-frame. Generally speaking, the ego states actively initiate each distinctive phase within the conditioned interaction, whereby prompting the projected potentiality encompassing the alter ego roles (lending credence to the notion of “alter ego”). Accordingly, these future-directed alter ego states directly complement their more active behavioral ego state counterparts within the operant conditioned relationship: namely desire/solicitousness, worry/submissiveness, etc. The remainder of the current chapter endeavors to examine the behavioral dynamics underlying this predicted eight-part complement of terms, providing a sturdy conceptual foundation for a discussion of the remaining virtuous hierarchy to follow.




The more straightforward class of positive reinforcement proves to be the most logical initiation point for such a grand scale analysis, being that positive rewards appear a much more tangible experience than the vaguer concept of leniency. The interplay of nostalgia/approval will be examined first, followed by the remaining sequence specified for desire/solicitousness. As suggested by their elementary character, it is fair to say that this overall realm of behavioral terminology encompasses the most basic one-to-one style of personal dynamic targeting the behavioral interplay of personal authority/follower roles.

     As initially outlined, the nostalgic sense of solicitousness on the part of the procurer initiates the conditioned interaction in anticipation of the reinforcer’s approving potential to reward. The initial solicitous quest for approval occurs within an immediately active time-frame consistent with a subjective “I” perspective and experienced as a nostalgic acknowledgement of previous such cycles occurring in the past. This initiation phase is experienced in terms of such a poignantly-nostalgic perspective due to an acknowledgement of previous such cycles of procurement-then-rewards from memories of previous experience. 

     The subsequent predicted rewarding sense of approval represents a mental projection directed into a future-directed time-frame, whereby equating with the complementary objective “you” perspective within the conditioned interaction. The projected/potential nature of the approval perspective, in essence, equates to the personal follower role: whereas the immediately active experience of nostalgia invokes the respective personal authority role. The approving potential to reinforce is formally assigned the personal follower status in that it (in essence) formally follows the procurement behavior that had initiated the conditioned interaction. The latter initiatory role, in turn, is assigned the status of the personal authority role, being that the personal follower depends upon the authority figure for guidance concerning upcoming action within the conditioned interaction. Consequently, the follower looks to the authority figure for the immediate rationale driving one’s projected behaviors within a future-directed time-frame: in essence, the authority status is based upon the power inherent to the very initiation of the conditioned interaction.

     A familiar example of such a one-to-one style of personal interaction concerns the enduring interplay between the master craftsman and his artisan apprentice. The craftsman's apprentice typically performs routine duties around the shop in order to solicitously seek the approval of the master artisan throughout their shared endeavor. The apprentice aims to display his fledgling talents under the approving gaze of the established master, perhaps one day achieving a master’s status in one’s own right. This potential sense of reinforcement on the part of the master is colloquially equated with approval, a projected mental perception arising from the nostalgic sense of solicitousness actively expressed by the apprentice (in the role of personal authority. Indeed, nostalgia is primarily defined as a wistful reminder of some favorable poignant event from one's past consistent with its memory status in relation to one’s formerly active expression of solicitousness. Here, the apprentice is granted the authority role through the very initiation of the conditioned interaction.

     In order to more clearly grasp the varying perspectives at issue, it proves useful to identify the individual subjective/objective polarities for each role within the conditioned interaction. Being that the apprentice acts first within the operant interaction, he/she rightfully assumes the status of a subjective "I" role characterizing the immediately active sense of solicitousness. The master, alternately, is projected (through potentiality) to assume the objective "you” role indicative of the potential for reinforcement anticipated within a future-directed time frame. The potentially rewarding characteristics of approval are formally reflected in its linguistic derivation, tracing its origins to the Latin probus (good). It is traditionally defined as an act of sanction or commendation, also synonymous with the related theme of approbation (of similar derivation). This potentially approving attitude is also colloquially equated with the theme of hero worship, where both perspectives yield essentially an equivalent result: namely, potentially encouraging additional potential cycles of nostalgia-then-approval on future occasions within the conditioned relationship. Indeed, the current subjective/objective style of role specialization conveniently permits the tracking of precisely which perspectives are active or passive during each given stage within the operantly-conditioned interaction.

     In summary, I (as personal authority) nostalgically act solicitously towards you in anticipation of your (as personal follower) potentially rewarding sense of approval. The latter approval perspective clearly rates such a projected objective status, being that such reinforcement is potentially deferred to some future-directed time-frame. Here, approval is distinguished in terms of such a future-directed focus, effectively complementing the initial nostalgic sense of solicitousness expressed on the part of the personal follower. This approval perspective, accordingly, represents the overarching conceptual framework for the nostalgia-then-approval interaction linking both the personal authority and personal follower roles. The procurer bears a certain risk in assuming that reinforcement will eventually be forthcoming. He/she, however, can nostalgically be reasonably assured by the wealth of previous cycles of procurement-then-reinforcement on previous occasions, spurring hopes for similar reinforcement within a future-directed time-frame.

     This initial dual-interaction represents just the first of the two predicted stages within the overall operant interchange. The follow-up sequence specifies that the personal follower ultimately acts upon his/her own predicted rewarding intentions, whereby encouraging future cycles of solicitous behavior on the part of the procurer. Although the reinforcer may act immediately with respect to his rewarding intentions, (more often than not) such complex interactions entail a more leisurely pace of deliberation on the part of the reinforcer. Indeed, it is this tenuous power of deliberation that ultimately imparts the power leverage enjoyed by the reinforcer in relation to the procurer, the latter wholly depending upon the former to fulfill one’s anticipated reinforcing mandate.




As suggested previously, the inevitable passage of time ultimately dictates that the time for reinforcement eventually comes to pass. The motivational dynamic governing this second stage within the conditioned sequence, in essence, mirrors the interplay previously established for the initial stage, although with a few key differences. According to this second phase, the personal follower ultimately acts upon his approving intentions, desirously acting rewardingly towards his willing apprentice, whereby prompting solicitous feelings of worthiness and determination on the part of the latter. Here, the desire perspective now becomes actively experienced in the present tense as the active bestowal of approval. Indeed, desire is traditionally defined as a longing or craving for a wished-for course of action, in this case, the future cooperation of the willing apprentice. This initiatory phase is experienced in terms of such a passionately-desirous perspective consistent with an acknowledgement of previous such cycles of the desire for procurement extending to memories of previous such experience.

     Furthermore, the formerly active nostalgic sense of solicitousness (initially experienced by the personal authority figure), in turn, is alternately displaced into a future-directed time-frame, experienced as a potential determination to continue to act solicitously in response to such immediately desirous intentions. This potentially solicitous attitude is also colloquially equated with the theme of approval seeking, with both yielding essentially similar results. Here, the polarities governing the subjective/objective viewpoints are effectively maintained in place for this second stage within the conditioned interaction, with the procurer of reinforcement retaining a subjective perspective, whereas the reinforcer is viewed from an objective status (from the preliminary perspective of the procurer).

     In line with this subjective/objective role-based arrangement, you (as personal authority) now desirously act rewardingly towards me in anticipation of my (now as personal follower) determination to continue acting solicitously towards you (as experienced within a future-directed time-frame). Note that the current personal authority role (now in the active guise of reinforcer) desirously seeks the future-based validation of the personal follower as potential rationale for such an immediately active style of rewarding perspective. The subjectively-based personal follower role, in turn, occupies a future-based solicitous perspective with respect to potentialities of an approachful nature within a projected (anticipated) time-frame, providing a follower-style validation for the approval immediately occurring.

     Analogous to the previous case of nostalgia, desire also represents a form of mental time travel directed into a future time-frame. This mental projection into such a future-directed time-frame (exclusive of the present) provides the motivational rationale equivalent to a follower status within the conditioned relationship. Each such follower stage represents an independent mental representation within the mind of the procurer (or the reinforcer) in terms of immediately-active and/or future-directed time-frames, respectively. The active class of behaviors is more generally suggestive of a focused state of mindfulness that formally lacks a reflective nature. The contrasting future-directed perspectives alternately are perceived as strictly reflective projections formally experienced as mental time travel. Indeed, one basically experiences only one's own outward motivational projections, projected mental states that are periodically verified in terms of the outwardly observable behaviors exhibited by others.

     Returning once again to our ongoing master and apprentice example, a number of key factors are further predicted with respect to the corresponding authority/follower roles. In terms of his/her own active expression of desirous approval, the master artisan, in essence, relinquishes the initial personal follower role, whereby taking on an active personal authority status in relation to one’s willing apprentice. The apprentice, in turn, now assumes the formal mantle of personal follower role consistent with the potentiality of a future-based determination to continue to act solicitously. According to this formal role reversal, the master artisan now actively offers his desirous approval in anticipation of instilling a determined sense of solicitousness on the part of the apprentice (conducive to future such feats of greatness).  

     This active expression of desirous approval immediately acknowledges the unfailing potential for future cooperation on the part of the apprentice. This actively admiring perspective is frequently expressed as a glowing sense of adulation and/or appreciation on the part of the master towards his apprentice. The apprentice, in turn, is reciprocally dependent upon the rewardingly-desirous attentions of his master/mentor, his potential for future achievement remaining entirely meaningless without such suitable fanfare.

     This future-based determined sense of solicitous cooperation represents a mental projection based upon a pointed acknowledgment of having acted worthily of such active desire (on the part of the reinforcer). These projected feelings of solicitousness (experienced in a deliberative fashion (on the part of the apprentice), in turn, prove conducive to the initiation of further such cycles of procurement and reinforcement within the conditioned interaction. This latter aspect upholds the inherent power leverage enjoyed by the apprentice (now as personal follower figure), for without this determined sense willing cooperation, the actively desirous expression of approval by the master artisan (as personal authority) will all have been for naught. The master, therefore, desirously acts approvingly towards his apprentice in anticipation of latter’s willing cooperation within a future-directed time-frame.    

     Therefore, to summarize, the actively expressed nostalgic sense of solicitousness on the part of the personal authority figure initiates the conditioned interaction, whereby prompting an anticipated determination to act approvingly on the part of the personal follower. The latter style of reinforcement perspective, in turn, ultimately reaches an active status, whereby approvingly prompting a future-directed determination to continue acting solicitously (conceptually experienced from the viewpoint of the procurer), now designated from a personal follower role). According to this second stage, you (as personal authority) now desirously behave approvingly towards me (as personal follower) in anticipation of my solicitous determination to act worthily within a future-directed time-frame. This latter solicitous status, as a deliberative perspective in its own right, can further serve as the deliberative foundation for initiating additional such cycles within the conditioned interaction at some future date. Indeed, such actively approving reinforcement typically proves sufficient for justifying further such solicitous overtures within a future-directed time-frame in hopes of gaining additional such measures of reinforcement. Consequently, a stable and enduring pattern of procurement-then-reinforcement is encouraged and maintained within the social environment over the long run, providing a solid foundation for stable enterprise and commerce characterizing our modern culture.




The two-stage interplay inherent to conditioning theory shares many of the attributes of a recursive style of process. Recursion is the process of repeating items in a self-similar way. It represents a procedure by which one (or more) steps of a process work to invoke a repetition of the procedure in the form of mental recapitulation. Recursion in linguistics involves embedding sequences within sequences (of a self-similar type) in a hierarchical structure through the process of reiteration. This process of embedding ideas within ideas is a skill that humans seem to acquire in an effortless fashion, perhaps the one true dividing line between the animal kingdom and human-kind. Such recursive ability enables humans to freely engage in mental time travel, recalling past memory episodes within present consciousness, and then employing this mental-map for imagining future potentialities as mental projections. Such advanced mental abilities appear to arise primarily through progressive increases in short-term memory and the capacity for hierarchical organization chiefly made feasible through incremental increases in brain development.

     In summary, the completed description of the operant sequence of nostalgia, approval, desire, and solicitousness represents a master theoretical overview of the dynamics governing positive reinforcement within a personally-focused relationship. Although the master/apprentice example proved enlightening for illustrative purposes, many other examples also come to mind; e.g., the hero and his sidekick, the comedian and the straight-man, etc. This stepwise analysis devoted considerable effort to restate the obvious, although the true goal for this exercise aims towards providing a solid conceptual foundation for a parallel style of analysis targeting the more abstract listings of virtues and values comprising the group authority levels (and higher). Indeed, the most basic personal level of behavioral dynamics provides the key conceptual mechanism for understanding the instinctually-driven nature of humankind in general, as further extended to a grand unified model encompassing the respective dynamics governing the virtuous realm.




Before jumping ahead to such significant virtuous applications, it proves crucial to examine the remaining motivational dynamics associated with the realm of negative reinforcement. This alternate style of motivational analysis is scarcely as clear-cut as that targeting positive reinforcement, being that negative reinforcement involves the lenient withholding of punishment, as opposed to the more straightforward bestowal of rewards. In the general state of nature, negative reinforcement involves the lenient withholding of punitive consequences from within the environment, or (in a social sense) the lenient treatment of aversive types of behavior. For example, the personal authority figure guiltily acts aversively in anticipation of a lenient sense of concern on the part of the personal follower figure. These anticipated lenient intentions, in turn, eventually become actualized as an immediately active worrisome expression of concern (within an immediately-based time-frame). Accordingly, the initial sense of submissiveness (that first prompted the conditioned interaction), in turn, is further mentally projected into a future-based determined effort to submissively act more appropriately in the future.

    This submissive style of interplay is particularly apparent in the throat-baring behaviors previously described for the wolf pack, where the submissive pack member exaggerates one’s degree of vulner­ability in anticipation of an unconditional bestowal of leniency. In terms of more advanced human society, submissiveness equates to a vocal admission of guilt aimed towards verbally eliciting a lenient sense of concern on the part of one’s personal follower figure. This phase is experienced as a guiltily sense of submissiveness in relation to the memory of previous such cycles of aversion-then-leniency from past previous experience. It would certainly appear risky to express such an extreme degree of vulnerability without a reasonable assurance of lenient treatment. Past cycles of lenient treatment effectively come into play, where previous such instances of leniency ultimately justify such a radical act of faith.

     The colloquial concept of leniency certainly fits the typical profile for negative reinforcement, conventionally defined as professing concern towards the difficulties experienced by another. In response to the personal authority’s guilty expression of submissiveness, the personal follower leniently acts in a concerned fashion in a committed effort to alleviate such an aversive perspective. According to this future-projected focus upon leniency, a concerned potential for rehabilitation (rather than vengeful retribution) now rules as the order of the day. Indeed, this potentially lenient attitude is also colloquially equated with the colloquial theme of blame, where blamefulness essentially yields an equivalent result: namely, verbally acting in a leniently-blameful fashion in order to dramatize the deficiencies currently at issue with the aversive interaction. Consequently, blamefulness is generally used interchangeably with leniency with respect to the purposes of illustration within the current chapter.

     A familiar example of this one-to-one style of personal interaction is observed with respect to the interplay between the drill sergeant and the raw recruit. The recruit is expected to fall in line with the dictates of his drill sergeant, (in the process) guiltily acting submissively in hopeful anticipation of a lenient sense of concern on the part of the drill sergeant. The initially active expression of aversiveness (in a guilty sense) represents a future-directed emotion anticipating a contingent projected sense of leniency on the part of the drill sergeant. Indeed, guilt is traditionally defined as a submissive acknowledgement of some past aversive event, a verbal admission of culpability along the lines of appeasement behavior.

     Being that the recruit initiates this first stage within the conditioned interaction, he/she rightfully assumes a subjective "I" role, whereas the drill sergeant alternately assumes the projected-objective "you" role indicative of potentiality within a future-directed time-frame. Consequently, I as personal authority (the recruit) guiltily act submissively towards you as my drill sergeant in anticipation of your lenient sense of concern. The recruit bears some risk in assuming that reinforcement will follow, although reassured by a wealth of previous such cycles of reinforcement.




This initial future-directed sequence of guilt-then-leniency further implies that the reinforcer must eventually act upon the potentiality of one’s lenient intentions, whereby worrisomely acting in a concerned fashion (within an actively-based time-frame) in anticipation of a submissive determination to perform better on the part of the recruit This latter course of action often necessitates an extended course of deliberation on the part of the reinforcer. Indeed, this tenuous power of deliberation ultimately imparts the active style of power leverage enjoyed by the reinforcer in relation to the procurer of such reinforcement. Once the opportunity for action finally occurs, the worrisome expression of leniency (on the part of the personal authority) serves to encourage future submissive cooperation on the part of the recruit.

     The respective interplay of authority/follower roles, in turn, is formally modified with respect to this second stage of the conditioned interaction. Here, this subsequent phase represents the worrisome bestowal of lenient reinforcement by the drill sergeant (now in the role of personal authority), as schematically represented in Part-B of Fig. 2A. This second stage is phase-shifted within the current time frame, with reinforcement (Y) now occupying the present, whereas procurement (X) is now projected as a future potentiality. In essence, the drill sergeant is now respectively thrust into an immediately active role, leniently reinforcing the guilty sense of submissiveness initially expressed by the recruit. Accordingly, the drill sergeant ultimately acts upon his lenient intentions, worrisomely acting in a concerned fashion towards his trusty recruit, whereby prompting a potentially-based determination to act appropriately on the part of the recruit. This projected submissive attitude is also colloquially equated with the theme of fear of failure, where both perspectives present essentially the same results: namely, potentially encouraging additional cycles of aversion/leniency within the conditioned interaction.

     A number of key modifications are further specified with respect to the polarities for the authority/follower roles. With respect to his/her active expression of leniency, the drill sergeant now abandons the former (projected) personal follower role, in turn, switching to an active personal authority status in relation to the trusty recruit. The recruit, in turn, now assumes the mantle of the personal follower role consistent with the motivational leverage inherent to such a future-directed time-frame. By definition, the personal follower depends upon the personal authority for active guidance concerning proper action within the conditioned interaction: hence, the authority leads the follower in terms temporal priority.

     This role reversal certainly proves warranted being as it reciprocates the initial conditioned sequence based upon guilt/leniency, although now punctuated from an active reinforcement perspective (rather than the submissive variety). The drill sergeant now worrisomely points out weaknesses (in a lenient fashion) in anticipation of a submissive determination to perform better on the part of the recruit. This initiatory phase is experienced in terms of a worrisome expression of concern reflecting an acknowledgement of previous such cycles of conditioned behavior extending to past memory experience. This process of worrisome deliberation, in turn, proves conducive to promoting further such acts of compliance on the part of the recruit (within a future-directed time-frame), whereby encouraging additional such cycles of the conditioned interaction in the process. This serves to enhance the inherent power leverage enjoyed by the recruit (as personal follower), for without this submissive determination to do better, the lenient behavior expressed by the drill sergeant will all have been for naught.

     In summary, during this second stage within the conditioned interaction, the drill sergeant worrisomely acts in a concerned fashion towards his recruit in anticipation of the projected determination to improve on the part of the latter. In this latter respect, the deliberative dictates governing the authority figure’s worrisome perspective are finally fully realized. Here, the recruit plays-up his vulnerability within the conditioned interaction: in essence, a submissive determination towards improvement effectively cutting short the potential for any further sense of conflict. Any subsequent action taken against the submissive party is now motivated out of a blameful sense of concern rather than vindictive retaliation. Accordingly, the recruit remains reciprocally dependent upon the worrisomely-lenient intentions of his drill sergeant, his submissive expression of obedience now becoming entirely meaningless without such a lenient sense of concern.

     Although the rather broad range of connotations associated with guilt, leniency, worry, and submissiveness might possibly suggest other possible interpretations, the current range of viewpoints certainly fits the prerequisites specified for negative reinforcement: a finding further verified with respect to the even more abstract sequence of levels within the ascending virtuous hierarchy. Indeed, this fundamental understanding of the most elementary personal authority/follower roles proves exceedingly critical for ultimately defining the motivational dynamics governing the more abstract groupings of virtues and values to follow.




According to the preceding somewhat technical style of analysis, the initially active procurer role is formally specified from a subjective “I” perspective, whereas the subsequent reinforcement role is alternately designated from a complementary style of objective “you” perspective. This reciprocal pattern of subjective procurement and objective reinforcement roles follows a strict give-and-take dynamic, formally defined as “if you, then I,” (and vice versa). According to this complementary style of power-sharing strategy, the initially active procurement roles within the conditioned relationship are designated in terms of a subjective “I” status, whereas the subsequent reinforcement roles are specified in terms of an objective “you” status. Indeed, this arrangement essentially mirrors what typically occurs in nature, where the organism actively procures and the environment (inanimately) reinforces.

     This reciprocating model of motivational communication, however, can scarcely claim to be the total picture, for it formally accounts for only half of the introspective roles predicted within the linguistic matrix: e.g., only the procurement focus. The inherent versatility of the human mind, however, (by definition) allows for a subjective reflection upon one’s objective status (after the fact: in essence, subjectifying the objective status initially ascribed to the reinforcement roles. This role reversal is similarly counterbalanced by a parallel objectification of the initially-active subjective class of procurement roles. This reflective role-reversal conveniently allows for crucial insights into the feelings and motivations experienced by another, an aspect traditionally defined as empathy. It is chiefly defined as that indwelling sense of inter-subjectivity by which one introspectively participates in comprehending feelings privately held by another. This empathic style of motivational perspective formally predicts the existence of a parallel complement of affective terms for designating this dual range of versatility (and specified as the accessory class of motivational terms). Fortunately the English language is richly blessed with an abundant number of synonyms conducive to fulfilling this predicted complement of accessory themes.

     The specific details underlying this innovation are reserved for the upcoming Chapter 7: a section devoted exclusively to a description of these accessory motivational perspectives. Here, the "you"/"I" perspectives are systematically reversed in terms of polarity across the board, ensuring that both procurement and reinforcement roles encompass their full range of objective/subjective potentialities encountered within a real-life situation. For the personal realm, for instance, the proposed accessory class of ego states (poignancy, culpability, passion, and apprehension) effectively complements the main listing of terms: namely, nostalgia, guilt, desire, and worry. Furthermore, the accessory alter ego states of admiration-concern-aspiration-deference, in turn, reciprocate the main listing of terms (approval, leniency, solicitousness, and submissiveness, respectively).

     In terms of the main pairing of desire and solicitousness, for instance, the accessory complement of passion/aspiration proves particularly well suited to the task. Here, I (as personal authority) passionately act rewardingly towards you in anticipation of your (as personal follower) aspiring treatment of me. In terms of the related context of worry/submissiveness, the personal authority figure switches to an apprehensive perspective, whereby anticipating the personal follower’s deferential expression of submissiveness. A similar pattern further holds true for the personal authority’s poignancy in anticipation of admiration from the personal follower, or culpability in expectation of concern. This reciprocating interplay of both the main and accessory sets of terms collectively permits a convincing simulation of the empathic dynamics governing the conditioned interaction in general.





According to this main/accessory model of empathic communication, it remains only a further minor step to extend this personal complement of motivational terms to the even more abstract realm of the virtues, values, and ideals characterizing the higher authority levels. This yields the full forty-fold complement of accessory terms schematically depicted below, and also described in an expanded format in Chapter 7.


Poignancy Admir.       Culpability   Concern

Exalt. Circumspection  Uprightness   Equity
Bountiful. Devotion       Freedom Fairness
Blessings Charm         Conscience Credence
Serenity Rapture     Brotherhood • Content.

Passion • Aspiration    Apprehen. Deference               
Respect Continence       Probity Bravery
Courtesy   Kindness     Forbear. Scruples
Gracious. Benevolence  Patience • Shrewd.
Affection Gladness        Amity Accordance


This compact diagram represents a mirror-image variation on the main listing of virtuous terms depicted in Fig. 1 of Chapter 1. Indeed, this parallel master hierarchy of accessory terms spans the entire range of group, spiritual, humanitarian, and transcendental domains within the motivational matrix as a whole. Consequently, this reciprocating interplay of both main and accessory terms permits a convincing simulation of empathic communication in general, the objective and subjective polarities effectively reversed through an inversion of the “you” and “I” polarities. These accessory groupings of terms scarcely exhibit the pedigree or tradition initially established for the main listings of terms. Accordingly, the accessory listings of terms are formally designated/labeled through the addition of the prefix “accessory” to the better-known titles specified for the major groupings: enabling these empathic foundations to be verified to an extreme degree of precision.




Returning to our ongoing description of the main operant sequence, in a strictly interdependent sense, the personal authority and personal follower roles effectively complement one another within the conditioned interaction, formally maintaining an equivalent balance of power in the process. Indeed, the hero is equally dependent upon the potential attentions of his sidekick, whereas the master craftsman is totally lost without the anticipated services of his apprentice. Herein resides the basis for the fundamental paradox underlying the authority/follower relationship: namely, one hand is always needed to wash the other. The old Zen Buddhist adage describing how the follower leads the leader (as much as the other way around) certainly rings true in this basic regard.

     It remains only a further minor step to formally label this dual complement of colloquial terms for both the personal authority and personal follower roles. The ultimate designation of ego and alter ego states immediately comes to mind. The first-mentioned listing of ego states formally specifies motivations encompassing the personal authority role; namely, guilt, worry, nostalgia, and desire. This initial class of ego states represents immediately active perspectives taking as their object the more abstract (projected) complement of future-directed alter ego states: the latter also defined as that of “the other.” The ego is typically defined as that most basic sense of self to emerge within an immediately-active time-frame. Indeed, the elementary nature of this active class of ego states certainly bears out such an interpretation, proving equally applicable with respect to inanimate objects within the environment (such as in desiring a cup of water).

     The remaining class of alter ego states, in turn, refers to the potential realm of projected motivations specific to the personal follower role: namely, approval, leniency, solicitousness, and submissiveness. This collective follower complement of terms represents a motivated sense of potentiality within a future-directed time-frame, in essence, serving to ultimately consummate the immediately active behaviors initiated within the two-stage operant schematic. For instance, the subjective guilt perspective of the personal authority, in turn, anticipates the objective alter ego state of leniency, as formally attributed to the personal follower figure. Furthermore, the immediately active sense of nostalgia, in turn, antici-pates a projected sense of approval: whereas the desire perspective prompts projected feelings of solicitousness, etc. Generally speaking, the personal authority role immediately initiates the conditioned interaction, whereby prompting the range of potentialities encompassing the projected personal follower role: hence, lending credence to the notion of “alter ego.” Consequently, the active ego states of guilt, worry, nostalgia, and desire effectively anticipate the future-directed potentialities of approval, leniency, solicitousness, and submissiveness. Indeed, this basic style of personal interaction is effectively seen to repeat for the remaining group and spiritual authority levels as well: providing an accurate means for understanding the dynamics underlying the ethical traditions specific to the virtues, values, and ideals. 




The higher-order paradigm of the alter ego state is further reminiscent of a similar concept pioneered in the emerging field of Communication Theory; most notably, the metaperspective format advanced by R. D. Laing and P. I. Watzlawick.  In  Interpersonal  Perception  (1966)  Laing  (et al)  researched  the dynamics of  interpersonal  communication, charac­terized as “the spiral of reciprocal perspectives.” In his Pragmatics of Human Communication (1967) Watzlawick (and associates) alternately focused upon the informational aspects of communication, defined as

the hierarchy of metaperspectives.” Both such formulations share a common theme; namely, communication between individuals is generally compounded by abstract “meta” messages defining how the relationship is to be conducted. The metaperspective, from the Greek meta- (above), is defined as a higher-order perspective on a viewpoint held by another: schematically defined as “this is how I see you seeing me.” Spontaneous forms of communication are objectified as formal objects of discourse, adding both content and context to a given verbal interaction.

     In addition to this preliminary class of meta-perspective, even more abstract perspectives are theoretically feasible, leading to what Communication Theorists term the meta-metaperspective. This more advanced perspective is one meta-level further removed from the more basic meta-perspective format, schematically defined as: “this is how I see you - seeing me - seeing you.” Indeed, there does not appear to be any barrier limiting the degree to which reflection can serve as a basis for itself, resulting in a multi-level hier-

archy of meta-communication in general. This metaperspective format, depicted in Fig. 2B, provides a schematic interpretation of the unified motivational hierarchy of authority and follower roles, an enduring format culminating in an unprecedented 10th-order level of meta-abstraction.

     According to Laing, relationships typically are defined implicitly rather than explicitly, developing over time through negotiation. Furthermore, the outwardly observable behaviors of another are publically accessible, analogous to the active style of motivated communication specified for the ego states. Mental experience, in contrast, is defined as internal perceptions that are privately felt, corresponding to the future-directed class of alter ego states. Consequently, one can observe the behavior of others but not another’s own mental experience. Direct perspectives arise when observing/interpreting the behaviors of others, whereas metaperspectives occur when attempting to infer the projected inward motivations held by another. By definition, metaperspectives are not always necessarily accurate, highlighting the contrast between feeling understood and actually being understood by another.




In summary, the completed description of the ego and alter ego states effectively rounds out the stepwise description of the personal realm of the conditioned interaction.  The somewhat technical tone for this introductory chapter proved particularly crucial in this systematic regard. Indeed, a sturdy foundation is crucial to the construction of any higher-order level style of structure. It proves particularly informative, therefore, to formally summarize what has previously been proposed in this somewhat technical style of chapter. First proposed were the instinctual types of conditioned interaction so eloquently categorized in B. F. Skinner’s terminology of instrumental conditioning. This instinctual foundation, in turn, proved applicable within a human sphere of influence, a model of motivation taking full account of mankind’s enduring heritage within the animal kingdom. Skinner’s elementary principles of positive and negative reinforcement proved particularly well-suited to the task, formally anticipating the elementary motivational framework for the predicted hierarchy of virtues, values, and ideals.

     Further described were the two-stage dynamics governing operant conditioning: offering crucial dynamic insights into motivational sequences that project into future-directed time-frames. Human society is uniquely specialized to operate within such projected/planned contexts: namely, the tendency to learn from past experience conducive to planning for future contingencies (also known as Prospective Psychology). Operant terminology scarcely seemed adequate for defining the entire range of introspectively derived perspectives, whereby necessitating the introduction of a number of colloquial terms into the mix (as evident in the listing of ego and alter ego states). These colloquial groupings added a crucial introspective dimension to the primarily objective restrictions governing behavioral terminology, in essence, serving as the conceptual foundation for the remaining higher-order listings of virtues, values, and ideals.

     This resultant ten-level hierarchy of ethical terms, in turn, redirects the focus of the current analysis, effectively specifying the repetition of both the authority and follower roles within the motivational matrix. Being that the personal authority role occurred first within the operant sequence, it seems only fitting that it be the first to repeat (in a modified sense of) the group authority role: followed, in turn, by that of the group representative. Indeed, the ascending hierarchy of authority/follower roles ultimately extends to (an ascending confluence of) spiritual, humanitarian, and transcendental levels: culminating in an unprecedented 10th-order hierarchy of meta-abstraction: as reflected in the respective individual categories of virtues, values, and ideals.

      One might rightfully question the capacity of the human mind to entertain such a formidable multiplicity of metaperspectives, particularly in light of the most abstract meta-order levels. The mind is apparently able to selectively focus upon the immediately relevant levels within the ascending power hierarchy similar to the analogy of a ten-level flight of stairs. The process of rising to the next higher step implies the primacy of the immediately adjoining levels, equal to a span of three sequential levels (e.g., the meta-meta-perspective): quite a modest task for the versatile human mind.





Although this predicted style of virtuous hierarchy proves suitably comprehensive on an intuitive level, its intimate degree of detail necessarily specifies an even higher degree of precision than has currently been specified. In this latter respect, the systematic organization of the authority hierarchy formally permits the construction of what are technically termed the schematic definitions for the motivational matrix. This crucial innovation spells out in longhand the precise location of each virtue/value within the linguistic matrix while simultaneously preserving the correct orientation of the respective authority/follower roles. Each such definition is formally constructed along the lines of a two-stage sequential format; namely, (A) the formal recognition of the preliminary power maneuver and (B) the counterman-euver currently being employed; and hence, labeled. Take, for example, the schematic definition for the representative cardinal virtue of prudence, reproduced below from the comprehensive series of definitions shown in Tables A-1 to A-4.


Previously, I (as your group

authority) have gloriously acted

nostalgically towards you:

in anticipation of your (as PF)

approving treatment of me.

But now, you, (as group

representative) will prudently

act approvingly towards me:

in response to my (as GA) gloriously

nostalgic treatment of you.


According to this specific prudence example, the glorious sense of nostalgia expressed by the group authority figure represents the preliminary power maneuver: countered, in turn, by the prudent approval professed by the group representative. Note that the polarity of authority/follower roles is effectively preserved equivalent to their schematic polarity outlined in Fig. 1.

     In terms of this two-stage schematic format, the preliminary power perspective represents the “one-down” power maneuver, whereas the current power maneuver designates the “one-up” variety. Power leverage, accordingly, is secured by rising to a “one-up” power status; namely, ascending to the next higher metaperspectival level. This comprehensive hierarchy of schematic definitions can effectively be viewed as a motivational calculus replete with the strict transformational rules governing how each level meshes with those above or below it.

     The complete forty-part listing of schematic definitions for the main virtuous realm is depicted in Tables A-1 to A-4 covering the entire ten-level span for the virtuous motivational hierarchy. The instinctual terminology for operant conditioning initially dominates the preliminary levels, replaced in due fashion by the virtues/values specifying the higher authority levels. At each successive level, a new term (distinguished through italics) is introduced, whereby designating the current power maneuver directly under consideration. Beginning with the group level, the preliminary terms begin to drop out of the equation, freeing-up space for the newer terms currently being introduced (whereby maintaining a stable buffer of motivational terms). 



The affiliated authority/follower roles similarly remain consistent throughout the ten-level power hierarchy, although systematically abbreviated (for the sake of brevity) in non-critical positions. Accordingly, PA stands for personal authority, PF represents personal follower, etc. The reciprocal interplay of the “you” and “I” roles proves equally crucial, maintaining a stable buffer of objective/subjective perspectives in relation to the reciprocal interplay of authority/follower roles. It is further crucial to note (upon careful examination of the schematic definitions) that the active behavioral states effectively reciprocate the future-directed (projected) perspectives within the operant sequence. These complementary pairings directly ensure that the proper pairings of "you"/"I" roles within the schematic definitions, providing a truly convincing representation of the motivational dynamics at issue within a given conditioned interchange. Furthermore, the corresponding virtuous terms similarly verify the exquisite dynamics governing the entire schematic definition format.

     The remainder of the current Part I is devoted to systematically outlining the formal dynamics of the entire virtuous realm. Accordingly, each successive chapter is devoted exclusively to a specific authority/follower realm within the virtuous hierarchy (replete with descriptions of the individual ethical terms). Chapter 3 initiates this analysis with a detailed examination of the group authority/follower roles, introducing the groupings of personal ideals and cardinal virtues, respectively. Chapter 4, in turn, focuses upon the spiritual authority/disciple roles: providing an in-depth examination of the civil liberties and the theological virtues. Chapter 5 subsequently examines the corresponding humanitarian-derived roles, introducing the classical Greek values and ecumenical ideals, respectively. Chapter 6, in turn, targets the crowning transcendental realm: offering an in-depth examination of the humanistic values and mystical values. Finally, Chapters 7 and 8 round out the current section with a discussion of a key number of supplementary issues relating  to the major virtues; namely, the accessory virtues/values, as well as the overarching concept of the general unifying themes. This grand-scale undertaking is, hereby, initiated with a detailed examination of the behavioral analogues for the group authority/follower realm, an institu­tion virtually synonymous with virtually every major form of cooperative human endeavor.