Cybernetics is not the banana.

What are we offering the world?

  • Am I offering them the banana? Tasty, juicy, sweet, addictive — but just one banana.
  • Or the stick? Very handy in specific situations where the banana is on a high shelf.
    As the joke says — teach a man to fish, and he’ll sit in a boat and drink beer all day.
  • Am I offering them the shelf, bananas for the storage of? Another chimp, to guard the monkey?
  • Or — am I offering them the ability to conceptualise the situation and the goal in context so that they can see the ways to actually achieve the goal — whether through stick, step, or tearing down the wall on which the shelf sits?

What are *you* offering?

  • Gooch: “I’m sure, everybody is wondering: What is Cybernetics?”
  • Foerster: “I wondered all the time myself, what it is. One of the things, I think, you learn, when you become interested in Cybernetics, is that definitions are no good. So I would rather not go into details what is Cybernetics….”
  • Gooch: “Well, it might be helpful thought to at least have some general feel for what Cybernetics is.”
  • Foerster: “But we are doing it already. We are doing it already by going into a dialogue. I think essentially, Cybernetics is a way of looking at things, a way of understanding what is going on. What is language? What are problems of that sort? And it is a little bit as — if I may be a little bit naïve at that moment — for instance you have a chimpanzee and there is a banana. And it comes up with a stick and pulls the banana out. Cybernetics is NOT the banana. Cybernetics is the STICK. It is how do you get there, how do you see that thing, how can you do this.”



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