Cybernetics is not the banana.


What are we offering the world?

Imagine a chimp in a cage. In this cage is a banana on top of a large shelf, out of reach for the chimp. However, there is also a stick in the cage. Of course, the chimp will manage to get the banana using the stick.
To this story, von Foerster said: cybernetics is not about the banana.

Ask yourself — what am I offering my clients? As a consultant, as a company, as a trainer, as a teacher…

That’s a much harder thing to get across — but much, much more valuable.

Because von Foerster is wrong, too — cybernetics isn’t the stick. Cybernetics is the *situation* (which Angus Jenkinson accurately pins as one of *the* core cybernetic concepts) — monkey, banana, stick, and shelf. Or it’s the ability to (re)conceptualise the situation. To make sense, in new ways.

We don’t need more bananas. We do need more monkeys who can think.

What are *you* offering?

The full conversation quote is nice (see links to the video along with my definitions of cybernetics here:

Thanks to Ed van der Winden who I think first introduced me to this story.

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