The Systems Approach and its Enemies Helps Us Find the Morality of a Revised Democracy | van Gigch | 2006

In a book series celebrating C. West Churchman, John P. van Gigch digests (and portends to extend) The Systems Approach and its Enemies.

On enemies …

I note the similarity/difference between the words ‘enemy’ and ‘adversary.’ Other authors use the word adversary (ies) to denote all the forces that impede the progress of his/her own discipline.

In the Oxford dictionary (1976), the concepts of adversaries and enemies are considered synonyms. However other sources show a distinction between these two concepts.

An enemy is seen as a hated opponent and is usually considered a person who hates another and eagerly seeks his/her defeat. Words used in lieu of ‘enemy’ include: opponent; hostile army or nation, an alien.

An adversary is an opponent who is not hated; an adversary is someone who is ‘in front of, opposed, coming from another direction, averse. Adversary indicates one against the other without intent to harm. As an example, in the conflict between Ronald Reagan and Gorbachev during the Cold War, they called themselves adversaries but not enemies. Reagan acknowledged that he considered Gorbachev a worthy adversary: they faced one another but did not necessarily hate each other. [pp. 42-43, editorial paragraphing added]

The four enemies presented by Churchman:


CWC concentrates in The Systems Approach and its Enemies on four main enemies (of the rational mind), namely:

a) Morality, a concept that usually stirs up countermorality that threatens to destroy morality. More details concerning each of these threats are given below.

b) Politics that reveals two versions of evil. The first being the threat on the life of the polls; the second, the need of the polls to threaten another polis in order to survive. One nation against another is the equivalent of one polls against another.

c) Religion is a concept that is used widely in CWC’s book: It acquires a special meaning which refers to blind ‘worship’ of an idea, a god, an issue. Thus, in their research, physicists worship ‘The Holy Grail Of Truth.’ Worship can be the blind adherence to a cause like that pursued by environmentalists and anti-environmentalists on different side of an issue. Those who defend the spotted owl or the salamander in order to save the environment do it in the name of so-called ‘religious beliefs’ or a ‘faith’ in the infallibility of their cause. Their opponents are equally convinced of their own righteousness.

d) Aesthetics is another enemy that in the name of protecting the quality of life of a polls can result in actions that may be counter-productive because it may act to destroy the quality of life of another polls. “Aesthetics fights the tragedy of those who destroy the quality of life.” [pp. 43-44]

On rationality, and a systems approach:


In the SA&E (abbreviation for The Systems Approach and its Enemies) CWC raises the question “How can we be certain that we are making ‘good decisions’ in view of ‘the enemies’ which are lurking at every turn to derail our project?”

If the Systems Approach is an attempt not only to be holistic but also to be rational, these enemies are making it impossible not only to be rational but also to be holistic.

What is ‘a good decision’? Is a good decision one that is merely rational?

Or does a good decision also needs to be ethical? As we study the world of decisions, we realize that we have no way to prove that a decision is ‘good’ i.e. that it will result in a success. As an example, in the world of investments, we may choose a stock after careful research. It may or may not be a good investment. Too many variables are at play. To say that ‘the future will tell’ is admitting our ignorance of where the stock will go. It is admitting that our rationality is flawed or at least limited.

When seeking The Good or The Beautiful, we cannot use the rational mind to prove whether our quest has been successful or not. In every realm. the process of making choices is tied to behefs (held behefs) that are not necessarily of the realm of the rational mind.

CWC argues that as we try to reach rationality and truth our minds are hampered by enemies …. [pp. 44-45]

van Gigch sees the possibility for more enemies of The Systems Approach:

Why does CWC consider Politics, Religion, Morality and Aesthetics the enemies of the Systems Approach? I hope to have attempted to address this question in this essay.

Basically, CWC sought to explain that efforts to be rational and use rational thinking for planning and decision making is fraught with hindrances and barriers which apart from the inadequacies of our methodologies is due to the way the world is organized. Human beings congregate in tight communities as a result of their adherence to groups which may be political or religious and to which they owe their allegiance. Furthermore, while seeking to be rational or ethical they naturally impose their own brand of rationality and ethics, because that is what they believe in. Consequently they do not only impose their own political and religious beliefs but also in addition impose their own rationality and morality while interrelating with other human beings.

While CWC limited himself to four enemies (Politics, Religion, Morality/Ethics and Aesthetics) it is easy to conjure other enemies. I will try to address a new list of enemies in this changing world in another paper. These will include pitting one kind of culture and one kind of science against another, and other obstacles to reach an objective, rational and balanced view on any problem or issue. The world is made up of factions, partisans and enemies. The way CWC describes the enemies is original, revealing and certainly not trivial. Having decided that conflicts are the order of the day and that we cannot solve any problem in this world without addressing the notion of enemies, we must suggest at least one approach at resolving them. [p. 53, editorial paragraphing added]

Van Gigch, John P. 2006. “The Sytems Approach [Sic] and Its Enemies Helps Us Find the Morality of a Revised Democracy.” In Rescuing the Enlightenment from Itself: Critical and Systemic Implications for Democracy, edited by Janet McIntyre-Mills, 1:42–54. C. West Churchman and Related Works Series. Springer, Boston, MA.

van Gigch (2006) Rescuing the Enlightenment from Itself


#churchman, #systems-approach

Restoring Legitimacy to the Systems Approach | Clinton J. Andrews | 2000

A public policy professor, Clinton J. Andrews, looks at how The Systems Approach may encounter problems in skepticism from engineering practice.

The systems approach is one general way of going about tackling a problem; some others include the experimental, political, moral, religious, and aesthetic approaches [1,p. 5], [2]. The systems approach to a problem tends to take a broad view, tries to take all aspects into account, accepts the basic propositions of science, assumes that the world contains structured wholes, and concentrates on interactions between different parts of the whole [1, pp. 5-6]. […]

Elements of the systems approach have long been in widespread use. [….] Most of these users have had only descriptive aspirations, and they have merely wanted to show how things fit together and related to one another. However, others with more ambition have wanted to prescribe changes — they have wanted to act like engineers. They have wanted to redesign landscapes, cities, economies, governments, and even Earth systems. When they have tried, they have often come to grief, and in so doing they have given the systems approach a bad name [3]- [7].

Engineers should care about this because it tarnishes the field’s image. Non-engineers should care because the world we live in could be vastly improved, and we need more effective prescriptive thinkers in many fields. But the prescriptions need to be credible and legitimate. [….]


[1] P. Checkland, Systems Thinking, Systems Practice. Chichester, UK: Wiley, 1981.
[2] C.W. Churchman, The Systems Approach and Its Enemies. New York, NY: Basic, 1979.

Andrews, C. J. 2000. “Restoring Legitimacy to the Systems Approach.” IEEE Technology and Society Magazine 19 (4): 38–44.  Cached at

Andrews (2000) Restoring Legitimacy to the Systems Approach


#chuchman, #systems-approach

The Systems Approach: Its Variety of Aspects | Richard Mattessich | 1982

An informed view of the Systems Approach from 1982.  (Richard Mattessich was a well-respected professor at UBC when I started in the doctoral program in 1982, but I wouldn’t get to appreciate the Systems Approach as described by C. West Churchman until the ISSS 1998 meeting).

In his latest work [The Systems Approach and its Enemies], Churchman (1979) continues the search for generality and for a design of social system. Here, the major themes, with many variations, are the “environment fallacy” and “the enemies of the systems approach.” The latter expression is not meant in the personal sense and does not refer directly to such opponents of systems thinking as Berlinski (1976) or Lilienfeld (1978), but refers to the traditional approaches to politics, morality, religion, and even aesthetics. Of course, this could easily be misunderstood, and its full comprehension is hardly possible without reading Churchman’s entire treatise. [pp. 389]

I see from the Mattessich profile at UBC of a “Tenure Professorships … 1959-1967 University of California, Berkeley”, and he would be an accounting professor in the same business school that Churchman had joined in 1957.

Mattessich, Richard. 1982. “The systems approach: Its variety of aspects.” Journal of the American Society for Information Science 33 (6): 383–94.  Cached at and

Mattessich (1982) The Systems Approach

#churchman, #mattessich, #systems-approach

A logic model for philanthropic effectiveness | Peter Frumkin | 2006

Program evaluation can be approached from the philanthropic perspective.

In searching for ways to give money effectively, donors have many options and confront a wide range of theories about how to achieve impact. It is possible to think about these theories as falling into three main categories: theories of change, theories of leverage, and theories of scale. Of course, there are strong connections linking these theories to each other, and choices made in one realm have consequences for choices made in others.  [p. 174]

[….] Clarifying a logic model usually starts with defining a theory of change that commits the donor to a set or class of giving targets. [p. 175]

[….] Theories of leverage are different from theories of change in that they focus not so much on the grand idea of how impact is best created, but rather on the mechanics of the process. Leverage is something that allows donors to increase the effectiveness of their giving. [….]

[….] Beyond developing a theory of change and locating points of leverage, donors concerned with increasing the impact of their giving tend to focus on a third element: the theory of scale that will guide their philanthropic work. [….]

Theories of change, theories of leverage, and theories of scale can be understood as a set of interconnected concepts, all pointing toward the idea of increased programmatic effectiveness and impact. Theories of change are the hear of logic models and strategy development. Theories of leverage and scale are the supporting tactics at the front and back ends of the logic model that allow the donor to maximize impact. [p. 176]

Here are the headings in the rest of the chapter.

  • Theories of change
    • Individuals
    • Organizations
    • Networks
    • Politics
    • Ideas
    • Unresolved Issues
  • Theories of Leverage
    • Grantmaking Tactics
      • Short-Term Grants
      • Matching Grants
      • Loans and Program-Related Investments
      • Large Grants
      • Grants Drive by Proactive RFPs
      • High-Engagement Grantmaking
      • Overseas Funding
      • Joint Funding
      • Technical Assistance, Planning and Capacity
    • Programmatic Tactics
      • Communities, Not Program Areas
      • New Initiatives and Pilot Programs
      • Support for Nonprofit Collaborations, Not Isolated Work
      • Private Funding for Public Programs
      • Funding of Commercial Ventures within Nonprofits
      • Funding for Organizations Designed ans Set Up by Grantmakers
      • Funding for Independent Evaluations
  • Theories of Scale
    • Scale as Financial Strength
    • Scale as Program Expansion
    • Scale as Comprehensiveness
    • Scale as Replication
    • Scale as Accepted Doctrine

“Logic Models: Theories of Change, Leverage, and Scale” | Peter Frumkin | 2006 (online 2013) | Strategic Giving at

#theory-of-change, #theory-of-leverage, #theory-of-scale

Program Logic Models and Theory of Change | Kellogg Foundation | 2004

From the program evaluation community, with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation …

The program logic model is defined as a picture of how your organization does its work – the theory and assumptions underlying the program. A program logic model links outcomes (both short- and long-term) with program activities/processes and the theoretical assumptions/principles of the program. (p. iii)

The Why and Why of the Logic Model

The most basic logic model is a picture of how you believe your program will work. It uses words and/or pictures to describe the sequence of activities thought to bring about change and how these activities are linked to the results the program is expected to achieve. [p. 1]

Kellogg 2004 Figure 2

Descriptions of Three Approaches to Logic Models

1. Theory Approach Models emphasize the theory of change that has influenced the design and plan for the program. These logic models provide rich explanation of the reasons for beginning to explore an idea for a given program. [….] They are built from the “big picture” kinds of thoughts and ideas that went into conceptualizing your program. They are coming to be most often used to make the case in grant proposals. Models describing the beginnings of a program in detail are most useful during program planning and design.

2. Outcomes Approach Models focus on the early aspects of program planning and attempt to connect the resources and/or activities with the desired results in a workable program. These models often subdivide outcomes and impact over time to describe short-term (1 to 3 years), long-term (4 to 6 years), and impact (7 to 10 years) that may result from a given set of activities. [….] Models that outline the approach and expectations behind a program’s intended results are most useful in designing effective evaluation and reporting strategies.

3. Activities Approach Models pay the most attention to the specifics of the implementation process. A logic model of this type links the various planned activities together in a manner that maps the process of program implementation. These models describe what a program intends to do and as such are most useful for the purposes of program monitoring and management. This type provides the detailed steps you think you will need to follow to implement your program. […] [pp. 9-10]

Developing a Theory-of-Change Logic Model For Your Program

As you engage in the process of creating your program logic model, your organization will systematically address these important program planning and evaluation issues:

  • Description of the change strategy that your program supports.
  • Definition of the problem you are attempting to address.
  • Quantification of the scope of the needs or assets that make the case for your selection of the problem you address.
  • Acknowledgement of the factors that may influence your ability to create change in your community.
  • Application of best practice research that supports plausible solution strategies for identified problem area.
  • Statement of your assumptions about why your selected strategies will work in your community in the ways you described. [p. 27]

Constructing a Program Theory

Exercise 3 Uses the Theory-of-Change Template

Kellogg 2004 Exercise 3

What problems are you attempting to solve or what issues are you striving to address? A well-constructed program theory points toward your program’s eventual effectiveness. Begin your problem statement explaining concisely the issue you will address, stating the issue either as a community problem or asset. Your theory-of-change logic model will be built upon this statement, which illustrates how the program will function and what it expects to achieve in your community. It is smart to refer to research about your program’s problem or issue in your statement; Internet searches can provide other successful program or “best practice” information. [p. 29]

What Parts of Your Program Will Be Evaluated?

Kellogg (2004) Program Evaluation

W.K. Kellogg Foundation | Logic Model Development Guide: Using Logic Models to Bring Together Planning, Evaluation and Action | 2004 at

From coauthors of the report …

How are Logic Models Different from Action Plans?

Logic models are often confused with “action plans.” While there are some overlaps, the difference is subtle but very important.

An action plan is a manager’s guide for running the project. It shows, often through a set of program objectives and a timeline or task outline, what staff or others need to do to implement a project (e.g., “hire outreach worker,” “launch media campaign,” “revise curricula”).

A logic model illustrates the presumed effects of hiring an outreach worker, launching a media campaign, or using revised curricula. (For example, “trained outreach workers lead to more information about AIDS getting dispensed in a high-risk neighborhood; increased contacts with outreach workers leads to a greater proportion of hard-to-reach clients coming in for treatment”).

These hypotheses about program effects are described in a logic model, are tested in a “theory-based” evaluation, and lead to “lessons learned.” If program planners don’t have any hypotheses guiding them, their potential for learning from the initiative is low, and the program is probably in trouble.

“Everything You Wanted to Know About Logic Models But Were Afraid to Ask” | Connie C. Schmitz and Beverley A. Parsons | 1999 | InSites at

#logic-models, #program-evaluation, #theory-of-change

Restoring Manjaro Grub after Ubuntu upgrade

On a multi-boot Linux computer where Ubuntu has already been installed, adding on Manjaro Linux installs its own version of Grub (that I’ll call Arch-Grub) that is different but compatible with that previously installed (that I’ll call Debian-Grub).

Updating Ubuntu to a newer version (or installing an older version) restores Debian-Grub, replacing the working Arch-Grub.  This will result in Debian-Grub showing both Ubuntu and Manjaro as options on booting.  Choosing Ubuntu from Arch-Grub works just fine.  However, choosing Manjaro from Debian-Grub will lead to a black screen with messages, e.g.:

… Failed to execute /init (error -13)
… Starting init: /sbin/init exists but couldn’t execute it (error -13)
… Starting init: /bin/init exists but couldn’t execute it (error -13)
… Starting init: /bin/sh exists but couldn’t execute it (error -13)
… Kernel panic – not syncing: No working init found. Try passing init option to kernel …

… —[ end Kernel panic – not syncing: No working init found …

Kernel Panic after upgrade

“Kernal Panic after upgrade” as reported by ben1 in December 2017

On my Thinkpad X200, the only way to exit this screen was to pull the battery for a cold reboot.

The reason that Arch-Grub is different from Debian-Grub is that it loads Intel microcode before the OS, rather than inside the OS.

Manjaro will load intel-ucode using grub.
Unlike other OS’s, it is not built into initd (initramfs) nor into kernel.
But it will load this separately (first) from /boot/intel-ucode.img

But don’t worry about this. It will be done automatically for you when you install or boot Manjaro (provided you use Manjaro’s bootloader (grub) as default bootloader).

… says gohlip | “Does manjaro supply intel microcode automatically?” | May 2016 at

Thus, Arch-Grub does more work than Debian-Grub.  Arch-Grub will successfully start Ubuntu (based on Debian), but Debian-Grub will not successfully start Manjaro (based on Arch).  The resolution is to replace Debian-Grub with Arch-Grub to the multiboot system.

gohlip suggests seven ways to fix this …

1. chroot from livecd (which you’re aware of, I think)
2. use this method which does not need chroot or boot livecd but still make manjaro default boot
3. remove intel-code from manjaro OS but you’ll boot Manjaro without intel microcode enabled
4. …

The Intel microcode updates are theoretically desirable for patches, e.g. Spectre, but unfortunately the Core 2 Duo Penryn CPU I have isn’t one of the them, says “Intel finishes Spectre patching, some older CPUs won’t receive planned updates” | Brad Chacos | April 4, 2018 at

After digging into trying to remove the intel-ucode, I figured out it was simpler to just use a Manjaro install DVD (or USB) to restore the Arch-Grub. This then has to be done after every Ubuntu upgrade … but is relatively straightforward (and having a Manjaro install ISO burned onto a DVD means that it’s readily at hand).

Here’s a summary of the steps I’ve used:

  1. With Ubuntu running, use GPartEd to confirm which partition has Manjaro installed.  (In my case, it was sda11).
  2. Boot from the Manjaro install DVD or USB.
  3. When the menu appears, choose the LiveDVD option (rather than immediately (re-)installing Manjaro, which isn’t necessary).
  4. Open a terminal.
  5. Confirm the partition with Manjaro installed:
    $ sudo fdisk -l
    $ lsblk -f
  6. Mount the Manjaro system partition (mine was sda11):
    $ sudo mount  /dev/sda11  /mnt
  7. Reinstall Arch-Grub:
    $ sudo  grub-install  –boot-directory=/mnt/boot  /dev/sda

This method is consistent with the description of “Restore the GRUB Bootloader” at for a BIOS (not UEFI) system.

While this procedure will have to be repeated after every Ubuntu upgrade, it’s understandable and replicable.

#arch, #boot, #debian, #dual-boot, #kernel-panic, #manjaro, #multiboot, #ubuntu

2018/03/19 16:10 Geoffrey Bowker, “How the West was Won by Data”, UToronto iSchool

Lecture at UToronto iSchool, on four overlapping epochs in data history

This digest was created in real-time during the meeting,based on the speaker’s presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. The digest has been made available for purposes of scholarship, posted by David Ing.

Introduction by Brian Cantwell Smith

  • Geoffrey Bowker, now at U.C. Irvine, having previously been at U. Pittsburgh
  • Studied with Bruno Latour, where he met Susan Leigh Starr who would become a collaborator
  • A historian
  • Rigourous intellect

[Geoffrey Bowker]

UToronto iSchool

Visiting Toronto for dissertation by Sandra Danilovic, passed with flying colours

Italian librarian:

  • Shouldn’t ignore data centers
  • Data is moved into a central part of our culture, has been happening for a few hundred years

Key idea:  temporality

Babbage analytic engine

  • 9th bridgewater … computer time
  • Can program miracles into computers

Based work on trip in industrializing Britain

  • Economy of cities and manufacturers
  • Watch production:  used to be put together by a skilled watchmaker, can be turned into simple tasks to be farmed out to semi-skilled workers
  • Division of labour was the greatest invention to humanity
  • From distribution of mechanical labour to distribution of intellectual labour

Time of the clock, computer clock

  • 8Ghz, 8 billion clicks per second — who needs that?
  • Traders on Wall Street (who move buildings closer to Wall Street) and astronomers — theoretical and practical

Temporality of nothing happening

The world and data

Human world

  • Formation of different union structures
  • Census categories, e.g. age categories
  • Canada:  4 years, up to 90 in 4-year chunks … whereas U.S. goes up to 75
  • Even though people age differently at massively different rates, we build around the categories and make the categories more real over time

Also in the natural world

  • Histoire Naturelle, Generale and Particuliere
  • 1830s:  governmentality in the Foucault sense
  • Natural contract, Michel Serres:  world population increasing exponentially, agriculture linearly –> management need

Principles of Geology, Charles Lyell

  • 1830s
  • Dominant science of the times
  • Equations:  earth does double entry bookkeeping — accretion of land on Syrian shores, with submarine volcanoes — posed as a zero-sum game (even though it’s not really zero-sum)

Applies also to human development:  Dunoyer 1837

  • People will begin by grouping themselves more naturally
  • Single people, without confusion
  • Progress

Horkheimer:  synchronizing world history, as one for the whole human race

Soon after 9/11, Mapping American’s War on Terrorrism

  • Non-interacting gap, where the U.S. will have to carry out military operations.
  • Same argument as Bacon:  it’s the people in the gap who haven’t yet become part of civilization, we can afford to go to war with

Overlay a map of Internet communications.

Human Memome Project:

  • Like the human genome project
  • Peter Thiel:  the power of big data and psychographics
  • Fan of Things Hidden to the Foundation of the World, Rene Girard
  • A memetic core that will bring us into the world

Donning an electronic skin:  a rich data structure, but strongly philosophically charged

  • Hobbes Leviathan
  • Body of the King made up of people — no technology intervening between the ruler and his people

Neil Gross, 1999:  The Earth Will Don an Electronic Skin

  • Put out the vision of the Internet of Things
  • Gross coins the phrase
  • Skin does more than register superficial events, dead cells accumulate in layers to prevent unwanted penetration

2017 article:  graphene as electronic skin

  • What happens when data gathers insert themselves?
  • Dildonics to give pleasure at a distance
  • Seems to give immediacy, yet puts a layer of data in the immediacy

The Internet of Things:

  • Vehicles, assets, persons and pets — all managed the same way?
  • Internet of cows

Difference between ever faster time, and no time at all

  • Michelle Bastian:  Clock or calendar, can see becoming out-of-synch with some worlds, but not other
  • Clock time as coordinative time that works well in a data ecological system

Stewart Brand:  Clock of the Long Now

  • Rings every 10,000 years

Some recent articles on ecosystem services

  • What has species been doing for us, lately?

International Barcode of Life

  • Life can cause major economic losses
  • Nature is interesting, only to the extent it fits into the economic system we want
  • Want ever-faster, one that responds

Biodiversity associated with geodiversity:  preserving, for human benefit

  • Dangerous and false way
  • Preserving is dangerous
  • Want to preserve the principle of change

Put biocultural diversity into the same way

  • e.g. cut off Molokai for native Hawaiian population
  • Times are wrapped into the way we understand ecosystems

The Self and Data

Josh Berson, Computable Bodies

  • Great phenomenology of self
  • If bodily sense is an emergent property of the community, then how might we use instrumentation to expand the sphere of those comfortable in theiri skin

Watches have gone away, now coming back as Fitbit

Arthur Bentley, died in the 1960s, Leigh Starr said would have married him

  • The Human Skin: Philosophy’s Last Line of Defense
  • Skin is interesting and problematic

Joanne Recuse:  over 90% of the body is made of microflora

  • We’re interpenetrated by the outside
  • Digestive system is actually inside

The Data double, Star Trek TNG

  • Data double comes back and performs me
  • Idea of an inner self, separated from data flows, prevents political responses

[Will omit:  You’ve got to have skin, Shelly Berman]

Michel Serres:  The Natural Contract

  • Construction of the ecosystem around us should be mediated by data

Should have a discussion that is political

  • Cambridge Analytica
  • Palantir:  thesis of structural functionalist

The March of intellectual 1 (1828), William Hamilton

  • Vacuum tube between London and Egypt
  • Drones
  • Flying postman
  • Velocity, things are getting faster, goes back to early 19th century

The March of Intellect 2 (1828)

  • Leviathan pumping out printing press

Conjunction in govermentality:

  • Discovery of history
  • Also, March of the Intellect

Timothy Mitchell:  Carbon democracy

  • The late 19th century, decentralized projects, coal everywhere
  • Wouldn’t have gotten Marx and Keynes, writing outside of historical themes, they’re writing about their energy sources


Beats, frequencies, synchronization of sequences?

  • Rhythm is important
  • Question you didn’t ask:  industrial revolution and time getting faster, P.P. Thompson, for the working class, it was more about busy-busy time (speed clocks went faster, kept the child labourers working)
  • Also a chaotic time, work for a short period of time, then unemployment
  • Sarah Sharma:  gig economy
  • Business traveler out of time
  • Taxi driver forced to fit to the rhythm of others

Bad examples of the data-driven world, longer trajectory.  Are there positive examples for a liberatory agenda?

  • Early 1950s cybernetics was mechanical
  • Then second order cybernetics, Stafford Beer, Platform for Change
  • That agenda is attractive and possible
  • Think second order cybernetics built these
  • The Brain of the Firm:  ECG of the firm
  • Liberatory, different world from being a child, messing around with an encyclopedia
  • We all have access to encyclopedias, now
  • UToronto rescuing environmental data from Trump
  • We can create our liberatory data sets

Data not being separate from the self?  Laws around ownership of self, rights to integrity.  Ownership of data not written into law.  Can’t lend your hand to another agency.

  • Europe and Canada more interesting than the U.S.
  • Talk about privacy is irrelevant, it should be about agency (over ownership)
  • Not seeing much happening with agency
  • A shell game:  political questions on how we can create and deal with new forms of agency
  • Incredibly liberatory
  • A side of political action
  • Privacy:  Schoenberg, Forgetting in the Digital Age, it was easier to pick up Jews in Holland than in France, because the French lied
  • Seed vault in Norway, not Costa Rica:  both political climate and physical climate favourable
  • Fukuyama:  End of History, into permanent statis, uniform world

Time, and the spiritual:  Eckhardt Tolle, The Power of Now — there’s only right now.  Tolle as derivative of Buddhism, being present.  Many focused on right now.  Jesus, focus not on tomorrow or yesterday, focus on now.

  • Cynical aside:  Silicon Valley executives spend money to be in the now
  • Hedde:  Enlightment, trying to bring every part of nature onto a single timeline
  • Innumerably different times, e.g. elephant time, time of humans
  • That would be a true living in the present, being aware of an honouring of those rhythms
  • Unflattening, actor-network theory as a cartoon — unflattening all of our temporalities

Computers phenomenology.  Relativistic physics, a nanosecond and a flop.  We are slow, meso scale.  Contingent facts.  Re-imagine space-time to be more general.  Operating in relativistic space-time.

  • Michele 1830s:  Out in space is back in time
  • Paris is center, south of France is back in time
  • McKowski:  time
  • Reading Craig Callendar, What Makes Time Special — temporality is fundamentally different
  • Ontology:  have to develop a new ontology about what it means to be in the world — both a philosophical and political task

Value in disequilibrium analysis?

  • Know nothing about disequilibrium analysis
  • Do see an issue where people say we need to understand equilibria — things falling over each other
  • Climate change
  • Interest in fitness landscapes — they’re not about time, it’s not the fittest who survive, it’s the luckiest

West is invested in disproportionate distributions of time.  Colonial time.  Going back into past, making a trajectory of time, into the future.  Time artisans, extracting timelines.  What are a larger set of typologies in western time?  Temporalities of climate change, when did they begin?  Data as politics, substituting for?

  • Western history have problems with Vico, which is about circular time.
  • Separate ideology of circular time
  • Principle of remembering, Jewish spiritual traditions, celebrating certain festivals, presence of the past in the room with you, as a relative historical time
  • Universal time is western
  • Kalpa:  the unit of time, if you take a boulder, and stroke it once every 10,000 years, it’s the time it takes to fall to dust
  • Don’t think that there is a single universal time
  • Certain people get to live disjunctive lives, so other live in organized time
  • Science as Alienated:  universal space and time (Galilean) came with the rise of the capitalist form

Data double, partially true.  Authoritative tools.  Need to develop a politic of data and time?

  • Can create non-authoritative
  • Believe in liberatory technologies
  • Where is the site of these happening?  At Facebook?  In the computer clock?
  • Steppenwolf:  A person has an infinite number of souls within in them.
  • Leibniz, the fold, not things inside and outside, everything is folded into everything else
  • If get into folds, then process ontologies, Whitehead
  • Pure analytic philosophy:  identity of the thing — mereology, things are not identical over time, everything changes over time
  • Understanding selves is unstable folding
  • Terrorist group in France:  committee for the liberation or destruction of computers