Stafford Beer, Morse Peckham, Stewart Brand, Edward de Bono and Christopher Alexander?

Note: Richard has offered to write an updated article on Stafford Beer, Eno and Cybernetics, which should be added in place of this at some time in the future.

From (Richard Joly) telegraph! 
Fri Nov 18 14:42:48 1994
Subject: Beer, Brand, Bono 1-3
This is a bit long, but I believe it helps clarifying Eno's work
by providing a context other than pop music culture. 
In a previous Digest, some clarifications/pointers were requested
on S. Beer & Morse Peckham. I've added my own on creativity,
cybernetics, Stewart Brand, Edward de Bono and Christoper

Enjoy !                       ----->  Richard   <-----

*******> Some notes on  Stafford Beer:

"Stafford Beer was one who took operation research  from army to
industry after WW II...A pionner in the management application of
cybernetics (the science of control), he is also the author of
numerous publications, including a standard work, _ CYBERNETICS

RESEARCH (1967) (a sample of chapters heading)

Chapter 1- Processes and Policies

An art, yes, but a science too
Figures are not enough
The beginning of operation research
Lessons from early experience
System, prediction and profit
Understand first, diagnose second, prescribe third

Chapter 2- Chance, Risk and Malice

Getting to grip with chance
The use of approximation
How simple is a simple situation
How near is near enough?
The likelihood of getting near enough
Putting probability theory into action
Assessing the ideal stock size
Keeping the queue to acceptable length
The genuinely calculated risk

Chapter 3- Quantified Risk

The situation and its models
The scientist's model
Meeting deadlines in a complex operation
Delay and amplified delay
Models as a media for simulation
The payoff of simulation

Chapter 4- An Alphabet of Models
Fluid dynamics

Chapter 5 - It Works

The limitation of techniques as such
Modelling the real life situation
Using techniques to answer real life questions
When reducing costs looked too costly
Getting past the paradox to the problem
Getting past the problem to the solution

Chapter 6 - The Viable Governor

Implicit Control
What should be controlled ?
Homeostatis and ultrastability
A new model
The education of systems

Chapter 7 - Automation and such

Industry and evolution
What's holding things up ?
Rethinking about rethinking 
Why not just leave things to evolve ?
We'll-learn-in-time diehards
Death of a diehard

********>   Here's some more stuff about Beer :

"Stafford Beer is one of the half dozen international
heavyweights in cybernetics. He was hired by Allende to make the
Chilean economy cyber-responsive; soldiers cut short the
experiment. This is Beer's central book - a literate well
experienced  evocation of the best in operations  research : the
structure of management. There are insights well beyond the realm
of business here as well as clear advice on how to make your
expensive institutional computer earn its keep ."(from a 1974 
review by Stewart Brand of Beer's Decision and Control:

A definition of Cybernetics :

" Cybernetics is the discipline of whole systems thinking...A
whole system is a living system is a learning system." S. Brand

And again :

" Society, from organism to community to universe, is the domain
of cybernetics " S. Brand 1980

********> Cybernetics and early Eno

The feedback loop is THE primordial concept for control in
cybernetics (or Operation Research, Systematics, Whole Systems).

At some point in his early days, while playing with recorders,
Eno discovered that the complex tape-loops he was building in the
music making domain were an exact representation (in the real
world) of a cybernetic machine.

For example, the diagram on  _Discreet Music_ shows a canonical
cybernetic system. 

Therefore,  Eno realised, any results or conclusions reached or
attaigned in OR would/could/should map _more or less_ perfectly
unto his music construction projects.

His best insight then, IMHO, was not only that he could use the
results of cybernetics to build better machines for making music.

Rather he also concluded that he could apply the lessons and
tools of cybernetics to the whole world out there, EXACTLY in the
same manner as he did in music making, literally doing meta-
cybernetics (or cybernetic-ising cybernetics).

(Oh, BTW: there's a book by that same title : The Cybernetics of
Cybernetics - E. Von Foester)

********> Online resources :  Principia Cybernetica Project

    PCP home-page
    Links to articles on evolution, self-organization and

BTW: memetics is the nascient study of elemental thinking
elements (somewhat analogous to the *gene*, but in the mental
reprensation domain)

This is a cool place to explore.

>From telegraph! Fri Nov 18 14:45:56 1994 Subject: Beer, Brand, Bono 3-3 --------/\--------- ********>Some notes on Morse Peckham (a bibliography) After reading the FAQ related questions, curiosity got the best of me: I did an online search on Peckham. I dont know if it's complete and I also dont know how this connects to Eno. Can someone explain ? * A recent article : AUTHOR(s): Peckham, Morse TITLE(s): Valuing. In: Pre/Text. Fall 1989 v 10 n 3 / 4 * A list of books : AUTHOR Peckham, Morse. TITLE Art and pornography; an experiment in explanation. SUBJECT Erotica. TITLE Beyond the tragic vision; the quest for identity in the nineteenth century. -- SUBJECT Self-realization. Self-realization in literature. Self-realization in art. Civilization, Modern --19th century. Music --Philosophy and aesthetics. TITLE Explanation and power : the control of human behavior SUBJECT Meaning (Psychology) Psycholinguistics. Personality. Culture. Social institutions. TITLE Man's rage for chaos; biology, behavior, and the arts. -- SUBJECT Art --Philosophy. Literature --Philosophy. Performing arts. Aesthetics. TITLE Romanticism and behavior : collected essays II SUBJECT Romanticism. Civilization, Modern. TITLE Romanticism; the culture of the nineteenth century. -- SUBJECT Romanticism. Romanticism in art. TITLE The triumph of Romanticism; collected essays. -- NOTE Includes bibliographical references. Toward a theory of Romanticism.--Toward a theory of Romanticism: II, reconsiderations.--The dilemma of a century: the four stages of Romanticism.--Romanticism: the present of theory.--The problem of the nineteenth century.--Constable and Wordsworth.--The place of architecture in nineteenth-century romantic culture.--Can Victorian have a useful meaning?-- Hawthorne and Melville as European authors.--Darwinism and Darwinisticism.--Aestheticism to modernism: fulfillment or revolution?--What did Lady Windermere learn?--The current crisis in the arts: Pop, Op, and Mini.--Art and disorder.--Art and creativity: proposal for research.--Order and disorder in fiction.--Discontinuity in fiction: persona, narrator, scribe.- -Literary interpretation as conventionalized verbal behavior.-- Theory of criticism.--Is poetry self-expression?--Metaphor: a little plain speaking on a weary subject.--The intentional fallacy?--On the historical interpretations of literature.
>From telegraph! Fri Nov 18 14:47:04 1994 Subject: Beer, Brand, Bono 2-3 --------/\--------- *******>The S. Brand/B. Eno connection It has a long history. I recall that in the first interviews given/published in the US press (that I read anyways ) that Eno was always going on about Cybernetics and Control and Randomness as an artistic tools. In one of these, Eno was asked to list his *must-read list* and he named Beer and Edward de Bono (more about him later), and some others General Systems Thinkers. Popular treatises and information about Cybernetics were quite rare in the popular/alternative press back in the 70s', with Whole Earth Review, a West Coast mag, a favorite platform for dissiminating cybernetics related ideas and information about authors and resources. Remember this is before Yuppie-time BF (ie. before Koons), so management theories and art-making seemed like very unlikely bedfellows. Stewart Brand ( who I have quoted above on S. Beer )had started WER inspired by the strength of whole-systemic ideas of Buckminster Fuller, Gregory Bateson and Stafford Beer. I guess somehow/somewhere Brandt and Eno connected, soul mates with similar missions and similar agendas, but most importantly the same tool-box. Brand then went on to co- found the WELL Bbs system in California while still steering WER, till he was followed by editors Kevin Kelly and later Howard Rheingold both of whom recently wrote books that have been championed by Eno. On this subject, the most curious amongst you can check the great Eno-blurbs for, respectively Kelly's "Out of Control- The Rise of Neo-Biological Civilization" and Rheingold's "Virtual Reality". All three of them published Eno's writings in the magazine, most notably the recent texts _ Unthinkable Futures_ and _Resonant Complexity_. Brand is the supposed co-author , with Brian Eno, of a-to-be-published book on _The Future of Culture_. (That's the title I recall reading, but I wouldnt bet my life on it.) The book would be taken from their e-mail exchanges conversations/dialogues/exchanges on culture. And for the most-anally compulsive completists amongt us, some more gossip : In his recent book _How Buildings Learn_, Brand tells of having a picture of his friend Eno next to his working desk, as an inspiration / guiding light / mentor-in-absentia, to keep him company for the duration of the writing of the book. Eno's opinions on the theme of evolutionary architecture are quoted therein. *******> BOOKS by Stafford Beer * Brain of the firm; a development in management cybernetics. * Brain of the firm : the managerial cybernetics of organization * Decision and control; the meaning of operational research and management cybernetics. - * Designing freedom / by Stafford Beer ; with sketches by the author. -- * Diagnosing the system for organizations / Stafford Beer. -- * The heart of enterprise / Stafford Beer. -- * Management science; the business use of operations research. -- * Platform for change; a message from Stafford Beer. -- ********> RECENT ARTICLES by Stafford Beer * Easter.; In: Systems research : the official journal of the 1993 v 10 n 3 * May the Whole Earth Be Happy: Loka Samastat Sukhino Bhavant Lessons from Eastern philosophy for Western managers and management scientists ; In: Interfaces. JUL 01 1994 v 24 n 4 * On Suicidal Rabbits: A Relativity of Systems. In: Systems practice. APR 01 1990 v 3 n 2 *******> some notes about Christopher Alexander: Another Eno rave-up, another favorite for the Point Foundation gang (Kelly Brand Rheingold). You can find some very interesting texts from Alexander's architectures classeson the WELL gopher. Gopher to : (I think) Or try tunneling North America/USA/California/SanFrancisco; the WELL should be around there. *******> Some notes on Edward de Bono and the evolution of Oblique Strategies Anyone interested on another source for the genesis of the Oblique Strategies method is encouraged to look up the many books on creativity and thinking enhancement skills autored by british author Edward de Bono. One specific volume, TEACHING THINKING published in 1976, refers VERY explicitely to _oblique strategy thinking_ as an attention director tool. De Bono is an internationaly renowned specialist on creativity facilitation questions, in applying critical thinking skills to organisation and projects, with more than 25 books available. He's widely credited for inventing the phrase _lateral thinking_. Of course not only is Eno a great synthesist, he's also a great lateral thinker AND a fabulous facilitator. I think this triad is quite rare. I mean, Bowie is a great synthesist, but it's not like he's got a great track record at *helping* others shine. Laurie Anderson is a lateral thinker(er) par excellence, but again, she works alone. Quincy Jones, now ,that's a great facilitator - moving from jazz to pop into hiphop, from mainstream to street, helping artists grow, empowering them. The three talents in the same person? Very rare, I think. De Bono is also acknowledged on some Eurythmics records for the help his ideas and concepts brought to Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox for developing ideas for Eurythmics. Amazingly there's a lot of literature on the (related) subjects of creativity and critical thinking tools. John Cage had his I-Ching, Eno his Oblique Cards. Well, Eno is in good company : The Creative Education Foundation publishes a some-400 pages directory of resources, classes, seminars, tools and books on this one and only specific subject ! BTW : DeBono's books on creativity and creativity thinking tools are of very UNEVEN quality. I like the mid-period publications - which IMHO will help a broader range of person - more than the later books, which seem commissioned for mid-level management types.