KEY TWO: ωθώ – ώρα – ωχρός

23 / Agency.

The field of cybernetics is characterised by a focus on the commonalities between systems of various types, be they organic or mechanical, designed or evolved. Such a perspective lends itself to a “fractal” view of cybernetic organisms, which are self-similar in that they are nested within each other across a wide range of functional scales.

For example, mitochondria evolved as organisms in their own right, and now they remain more or less unchanged as an integral component of every cell in every eukaryotic organism (which includes all known intelligent species). Individual animals such as humans operate as intelligent systems in their own right, on their own scale. Groups of humans coordinate to form larger and more effective functional entities such as families, communities, cities, and nations. Some would argue that cybernetic systems exist at scales smaller than mitochondria, and larger than nations. To focus on the human individual as a sole repository of meaning and value is arbitrary, at best.

All intelligent systems use “peripherals”, whether they have knowledge or intent of doing so or not. Some animals use tools, and some tools are intelligent systems in their own right, and all cybernetic systems arguably have sensory “peripherals” of one sort or another (such as eyes, skin, or indeed even a simple thermometer in an early example of such systems from cybernetic theory).

Now, ask yourself: You have peripherals at your disposal, in your capacity as a free-standing intelligent system. But you also are a peripheral of sorts yourself, in service to one or more larger systems. What are those systems? What would you want them to be, if you had any choice in the matter?