Java’s reading this book on Cybernetics – dealing in particular with the study of control and communication in organisms – as opposed to that of organic processes or electronic systems. And that to me was pretty far out! I mean, Java is hardly the studious type, being more into picking up bits ‘n pieces from here ‘n there and applying his own system of analysis in arriving at the conclusions he arrives at. So when I saw him pretty much absorbed in the tome, no music on and no doob in sight, I though it best to let things lie and not disturb the flow.
Heey maaan, check dis sheet out. Know what? Dis cybernetics thang be ‘focusing on how anyting (digital, mechanical or biological) process informashun, reacks to informashun, and changes or can be changed to better accomplish da fust two tasks’. An hey, anodder descripshun be dat ‘cybernetics is da study of systems and processes dat interack wit demselves an produce demselves from demselves’. Coool sheet, huh?
I first heard of cybernetics through a book by Gregory Bateson called ‘Steps to an ecology of mind’ back in those tripped out and spacey days of the seventies in that City of the Lost Angels. Systems of thought and ponderings on alternate realities were very much by-products of the psychedelic adventures many of us experienced in those days when Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert (aka Baba Ram Das), Allen Ginsberg, Alan Watts and them heavies got it together to show folk like us that there were other ways at looking at the world – or reality, if you will. John Lennon and The Beatles, along with many other singers, writers and artistes brought it home to millions of others and so the changes in the value systems that the generation older than ours believed in were dissed as hypocritical and meaningless by a whole lot of the younger generation. But the cybernetics that Bateson discussed has branched out since then and now, from what I gathered from the liner notes of the book Java was into, one characterization in the fifties was ‘the art of ensuring efficacy of action’, whilst the more recent one was the one that Java referred to a bit ago – ‘cybernetics is the study of systems and processes that interact with themselves and produce themselves from themselves’. And this extends to all manner of disciplines – biology, computer science, sociology, engineering, management – you name it!
Say maan, dis ‘systems an processes interacting wit demselves’ sheet sound like dis blogosphere we be trippin thru – an ‘producin demselves from demselves’ soun like dem strands of dat DNA sheet, huh? An in de end do it turn out to be systems organizin informashun as best dey can like som kinda genetic code dat gets moved on tru time an space and temporary physikul manifestashuns?
I kinda sense that this is heading into those unchartered realms of Java’s imagination and don’t really want to take the trip. The morning started out to be one of those gorgeous hill country ones with the overnight rain leaving the leaves and ground cover glinting as the sun’s shafts lit them up. Since then however, darkish clouds have covered the source of shine and a gloomy outlook prevails. The dogs have been spooked by something in the garden, so this was a good excuse to make my exit. Java too may have felt the shift in mood as he moved to get his fixins and turned on the sound.
I caught the strains of 10CC’s ‘Life is a Minnestroni’ as I wandered out to get the dogs.