One can suspect that to survive and
prosper in a rapidly changing world it might be useful to understand
the way complexity, conflict and change are manifest in one's
(personal) environment: Complex changes in (external) conditions may
require a reconsideration of one's current organizational and belief
systems in order to discover which rules are still valid and which
procedures need changing. In turn, it is perhaps important for us to
understand the affect, on ourselves and our environment, of the
modifications that we make to compensate for the changes made by others
-or by the system itself.
Understanding and Control:
"Cybernetics" has been defined as the study of control and communication in the animal and the machine
>. However, there are many different ways of controlling something and a broader approach might be more advantageous: "The notion of a system may be seen as simply a more self-conscious and generic term for the dynamic interrelatedness of components
" -Von Bertalanffy <http://www.n4bz.org/gst/gst1.htm
This wider range of approaches and techniques might then offer a
greater individual choice regarding the aesthetics of control -which
can vary from externally imposed coercion to internally organized
self-control. Presumably, the way the system is organized also affects
the way (both internal and external) communication and control systems
might operate. So understanding the system is probably an effective
part of the process of gaining control -although perhaps, when we
understand the system well enough, we may be able to work within the
(existing) bounds of the system and have less desire (or need) to
control it externally. Or maybe the way the system is defined would
determine what is "internal" and what is "external".
Towards a Unifying Language:
However, it is surely not easy to
understand a complex and diverse system with many components operating
on different and perhaps even conflicting principles.
In this context, a "General Theory of Everything"
might be useful: Provided this was designed not to impose a
preconceived structure upon the world -but to function as an
"interface" which, without imposing hidden and unwarranted assumptions,
could act as a language allowing us to compare and evaluate the
diversity of organization and process which surrounds us on both
physical and mental levels.
Perhaps an important first step in constructing such a unifying system
involves an understanding of the relationship between fundamental
concepts such as Space, Time, Process and Language:
-If the computer is perceived in terms
of Turing's "universal simulation machine", in the form of a
self-modifying memory system, which in turn can be interpreted as a
one-dimensional Einsteinian Time/Space machine -then this would seem to
integrate the concepts of Time, Space and Process quite effectively.
See "What is Space?
" , "Some personal Remarks on Conceptual Space
" and "Developing the Einstein/Turing Machine
-So how might "Language" then link both descriptive and computational
processes? Could the concept of Model (implicit in the universal
simulation machine) be the missing link which connects language to the
processing of time and space? What is the a distinction between
"interface" and "language"? Is the computer fundamentally a
"linguistic" machine after all? Might "technology and "language" be linked -and not opposed, as so often appears to be assumed?
Originally published as a comment to Dialogues and Directions at <http://www.korakora.org/dialogues/>
Presumably, understanding of the fundaments of both the aesthetic
practical problems involved in the description, comprehension and
control of systems generally would have many useful and creative
implications for a wide range of culturally important subjects
-including politics, economics, ethics, science and art.