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and comments on PsychNews International

The following contribution is a reply to the
Fifth Column by James C. Mancuso in the PsychNews
International 2(1). The article can be retrieved
at http://userpage.fu-berlin.de/~expert/psychnews.

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                 REPLY TO DR. MANCUSO

                   Amos M. Gunsberg

MANCUSO - To accept constructionism is to give
up the capacity to tell another person, "You
are wrong."
GUNSBERG - Were Dr. Mancuso to hire a carpenter to
build something for him...and the carpenter
"constructed" the lengths of lumber needed from the
elements of his own mind...and proceeded to cut the
lumber according to his "constructions"...and the
lengths he cut didn't fit...so Dr. Mancuso had to buy
more lumber...I think it is safe to say Dr.  Mancuso
would tell the "constructionist" carpenter he is
"wrong," fire him, and hire a carpenter who uses a
tape measure.
      There are tape measures in use in all professions,
in all walks of life.  I think Dr. Mancuso is being
irresponsible when he claims constructionists have
"discovered" the need to apply checks and balances...
as if we who use tape measures are not already
engaged in that endeavor.

MANCUSO - I am not concerned about the TRUTH of my
position.  I wish only to have others validate my
position.  I haven't yet said which means of
validation I would ask others to endorse.
GUNSBERG - Dr. Mancuso does not delineate the means of
validation that are acceptable to him.  That leaves us
unable to validate his position.  More importantly, it
leaves us unable to possibly INvalidate his position.
He can always say the means we have used are not
acceptable to him.
     Doesn't that place his constructions in a
privileged position?
     Is it fair for him not to state the means of
validation to be used?

MANCUSO - Why do we need the concept "reality" -- the
idea we relate to a "real, out there world?"
GUNSBERG -  1) Does this imply we are not part of the
world?  Are we the only things that are real, and
everything else is not?  Is everything else a
hologram, which we imagine into existence and jumble
about at will?
     2) The position "man is the measure of all
things" leads to the Tower of Babel all over again.
Man does the ACTIVITY of measurING.  Our lives depend
on the ACCURACY of our measurements.
     3) To proceed on the basis "man IS the measure"
is to establish the very elitism to which Dr. Mancuso
says he objects.

MANCUSO - Nevertheless, people should be prompted to
consider the gains that would derive from abandoning
the concept of REALITY.  In the long run, the concept
fosters elitism.  The concept fosters submissive-
dominance relationships as people compete to establish
methods of affirming or denying the validity of one or
another "realistic" position.
GUNSBERG -  1) Constructionists, such as the Nazis and
the anti-holocaust propounders, take the position what
they say is valid simply because they say it.  I
submit the competition is fierce, and deadly, when it
comes to affirming or denying the validity of one or
another "constructionist" position.  I submit the
elitism which is sometimes deployed in the use of tape
measures is a result of an abuse of the system...not
inherent in the system itself.  I submit elitism IS
inherent in "constructionism."
     2) Dr. Mancuso says we need to apprise the anti-
holocaust theorists [sic] of the ways in which we
validate propositions.  Does Dr. Mancuso observe these
people do NOT use tape measures in ANY of their
     3) One of the quotes criticized by Dr. Mancuso
contains the following sentence:  "We know a lot about
cancer -- but we don't know enough."  Is that an
example of an "elite" position? ... of claiming to
know the TRUTH?
     4) Dr. Mancuso consistently sets up the TRUTH,
inferring we are claiming to have arrived at some
ULTIMATE truth.  Within the system of using tape
measures, it is clear anyone who claims to have
ultimate truth is either delusional or a knave.

MANCUSO - With these developments, thought leaders can
promote the general acceptance of constructionist
views.  The considerations of concerned scholars
should be transmitted throughout the society.
GUNSBERG - Thought leaders!!  Concerned scholars!!
Isn't Dr. Mancuso establishing an elite
group?...composed of those who promulgate
"constructionist" views?

MANCUSO - All of this, of course, evolves from placing
positive value on each person's participation in a
multiple systems approach to evolving "local truths"
which society invents in its efforts to organize and
control social action.
GUNSBERG -  1) On the one hand, Dr. Mancuso inveighs
against the use of "truth."  Does his approval of
"local truths" involve the use of a double standard?
     2) Note the shift from "each person's
participation" to the designation of "society" as an
entity with a mind of its own and powers of its own.
Suddenly, there are no more "persons" who make
decisions, etc., which affect "persons."

Amos M. Gunsberg
Psychotherapist in private practice.
61 West 74th St., New York, NY 10023
email: clubking@ix.netcom.com