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…


Commenting area

  1. Fabulous. Thank you. What of the governing principal of a closed regulatory system the Egyptian Kheper, everything in life, every thought of man. Karl

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