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RE: cybernetics and the Internet, Was: <nettime> NNA...
kenneth c. werbin on Sun, 11 Jun 2006 01:25:16 +0200 (CEST)


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RE: cybernetics and the Internet, Was: <nettime> NNA...


On Sat, 10 Jun 2006, Ronda Hauben wrote:

>The point there was to encourage cross disciplinary discussion and
>to break through the communication boundaries of the various disciplines.

>But the Macy Conferences were actually about feedback systems, not
>about "mathematical philosophy to open social order" as far as the
>reading I have done.

Ronda -

As I too stated, the Macy conferences were about feedback systems and
exposing cybernetics, a 'mathematical philosophy', to a variety of social
and hard scientists; encouraging cross-disciplinarity through this way of
thinking. And I'm sure you would agree that this 'mathematical philosophy'
had a massive impact on many fields, which in turn have contributed to
shaping society as a whole.

But, I want to take this a step further, recognizing the resonance and
hegemony of this feedback-based-autopoetic-OPEN-systems-approach in today's
SOCIAL ORDER. To some extent we are agreeing, but for some reason you don't
seem to want recognize any of the
military/surveillance/intelligence/social-order legacy that is clearly a
part of the history of these conferences, 'open feedback systems', the
internet and cybernetics as a whole. So be it. That is my reading.

>The effort to look at feedback or self organizing systems across different
>disciplines meant that the research was different depending on the
>different disciplines

yes, of course the research was different, but it was all based on the same
'mathematical philosophy': Cybernetics! Such unity of thought was the point!

So, thank you for your references. I have read the Wiener and am very aware
of 'netizen' thinking. I will take a look at the Macy proceedings you have
suggested... But like Mark, I too would recommend that you (re)read some
Wiener, particularly the 1st Edition of 'The Human Use of Human Beings':

On Sat, 10 Jun 2006, Newmedia wrote:

>Wiener's refusal to apply cybernetics to the effort to "control" people and
>populations is documented in his introduction to "Cybernetics."  In this he
>names Mead and her husband Gregory Bateson (secy of the Macy conferences) as
>well as Kurt Lewin.  All three of these *were* "military" supported and
>motivated.

>Weiner wrote "The Human Use of Human Beings" because of his massive concerns
>about military use of cybernetics (you have to read the 1950 first edition to
>understand this) and then around 1953 he gave up this fight -- because he was
>convinced that he had lost and the "military" had won.  He rewrote "Human Use"
>and dropped out of the cybernetics field.

best,
~kcw


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