Sketches of Another Future
This is a great interview with Professor Andrew Pickering, University of Exeter, author of The Cybernetic Brain: Sketches of Another Future.
It gives a nice introduction to some key aspects of cybernetics. He doesn’t make much of a distinction between first and second-order cybernetics, but it is a great presentation. Some highlights (in note form, based on my interest):
- Brain as performative organ, and an organ of adaptation. Not a representational, thought-based organ.
- Work spanned out into adaptive systems everywhere, beyond just the brain (even into spirituality).
- “We don’t have to be in the world in the way that most of us are today…”
- “I understand cybernetics as a very different paradigm from modern science and modern engineering. It’s a different way of going on the world.”
- Ontological theater: the decentered dance of agency.
- Gordon Pask: from control to conversation. Open-ended interactions, allow for novelty, creativity, diversity.
- Cybernetics quite saturated with spiritual elements. British cyberneticians often associated with spiritual ideas and practices, including seances, speaking to the dead and that sort of thing.
- Cybernetic vision: endless becoming, endless surprises… performatively. One class of surprises is spiritual.
- Cybernetics sees our own selves as capable of surprising performances as well.
- Rethinking the “self” — undermining the modern (reified, centralized, limited) self…