Goaling is what we all do every day. If you want to get to know someone, learn about their goals. If the movement of someone’s arms and legs puzzles you, or you’re perplexed by the string of words you’re hearing from them, it’s because you don’t know their goals and the way they’re currently experiencing their situation.
So, to return to the title and subtitle, “behavior” is the same kind of “thing” as constellations, such as Orion and the Great Bear. Constellations are particular patterns in the night sky that we have demarcated, but they are completely illusory.
In fact, the first 18 words to the entry “Constellation” in Wikipedia are: “A constellation is a group of stars that forms an imaginary outline or pattern on the celestial sphere.” The outline or pattern exists only in our own imaginations. In the same way, “behavior” really only exists in the eye of the beholder. Goaling, on the other hand, only exists in the mind of the goaler. From outside that mind, we can see some of the effects of the goaling, but we can’t share the goaling.
Incidentally, the first definition for “psychology” in dictionary.com, is “the science of the mind or of mental states and processes.” Ah! Now, we’re getting somewhere. Well, at least we would be getting somewhere if we understood “mental processes” to be goaling.
Goaling is really control. The science of goaling is the science of control. Understanding our mental processes as control processes, and learning about how control works, will take us to a very different place from where we are now. We might cease discussions about such things as “behavior change programs” and “behavior disorders.” We might invest less in modifying other people’s “behavior.”