Sunday, June 26, 2011

The basis of Social Cybernetics

From Norbert Wiener's "Cybernetics: Communication and Control in the Animal and the Machine", 1st ed (1948)

"Where knaves assemble, there will always be fools; and where there are fools present in sufficient numbers, they offer a more profitable object of exploitation for the knaves.

"...It is only in the large community, where the Lords of Things as They Are protect themselves from hunger by wealth, from public opinion by privacy & anonymity, from private criticism by the laws of libel & the possessions of the means of communication, that ruthlessness can reach its most sublime levels. Of all these anti-homeostatic factors in society, the control of the means of communication is the most effective and the most important.

"...Any organism held together in this action by possession of means for the acquisition, use, retention, and transmission of information. In a society too large for the direct contact of its members, these means are the press, both as it concerns books and as it concerns newspapers, the radio, the telephone system, the telegraph, the posts, the theater, the movies, the schools and the church.

"...On all sides we have a tripple constriction of the means of communication: the elimination of the less profitable means in favor of the more profitable; the fact that these means are in the hands of the very limited class of wealthy men, and thus naturally express the opinions of that class; and the further fact that, as one of the chief avenues to political and personal power, they attract above all those ambitious for such power. That system which more than all others should contribute to the social homeostasis is thrown directly into the hands of those most concerned in the game of power and money, which we have already seen to be one of the chief anti-homeostatic elements in the community.

"The State is stupider than most of its components."

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