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Dag Forssell — my background

I was born in 1940 and attended Vasa Högre Allmänna Läroverk in Gothenburg, Sweden from 1950 through 1959. This secondary and upper secondary school had departments of physics and chemistry with large collections of experimental apparatus and excellent teachers. For nine years, several lessons a week, I watched and participated in a broad range of physical experiments. Because of my involvement in Perceptual Control Theory, PCT, I have given a great deal of thought to how people think. I credit the way I think, visualizing physical interactions, to the thorough introduction to natural science I received at this school.

Following graduation, I served in the Swedish army artillery.

I attended Chalmers University of Technology and graduated in 1965 with a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering.

In 1967, I accepted a job offer from Boeing and moved to the U.S. with my wife Christine. The move became permanent rather than the see-the-world-before-you-settle-down adventure we anticipated. I have since worked with toy production, optical effects in Hollywood, tooling components and recreational vehicles, among other things, with engineering, marketing and management responsibilities. In the mid-70s I also founded a small company producing a 14-foot inflatable catamaran that received favorable mention in Popular Science. The startup failed, however.

I attended the University of Southern California evening program and received an MBA in 1973.

Curious about what makes people tick, I attended programs and read books from 1975 on. By 1989 I found and read Behavior: The Control of Perception (1973) by William T. (Bill) Powers, which spells out in quite some detail how our nervous systems work. I was sold on the revolutionary concept.

I joined the Control Systems Group, CSG, and began attending annual conferences. Here, I met other students of PCT, and of course its creator, Bill. By 1993, I started videotaping these conferences and became self-appointed deputy archivist for the group. I served as President of CSG 1995-1996.

I am committed to PCT because it offers a new and different explanation regarding what behavior is and what it accomplishes, thus offering a fresh start in the social and other life sciences. I am convinced that if you want to understand how purpose and behavior works, PCT is the only game in town. PCT can be understood at many levels, from an overall sense that people control what happens to them, to in-depth detail regarding the interaction of multiple control systems. The major requirement for study of PCT is an open mind and willingness to study how control works and what control controls.

From 1991 through 1993, I made an effort to introduce PCT to industry. Despite some successes—which included a three day course that was particularly well received by the engineers in my audience—I could not sustain that effort.

By 1994, I found that I could make a living as a professional translator between Swedish and English. It helps a great deal to be able to understand a technical manual as you rewrite it in another language.

During the CSG conference in 2000, Philip Runkel asked me to review his forthcoming manuscript for technical accuracy. For the next three years I worked with Phil and laid out People as Living Things in PageMaker. It became a thousand page trade book. Phil entrusted me to become his publisher, and I found it economical to use laserjets to print the book in small batches. I was able to reduce the book to 542 pages by changing to a bigger, two-column format. More books have followed. As of 2008, all books I publish are printed on demand and available worldwide.

The Internet is now making it possible to make information accessible. My efforts to introduce PCT to the public at large continue.


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Dag Forssell, Publisher, Webmaster
dag at livingcontrolsystems dot com