The Enigma as Interactive Farce
-Norbert Wiener, Cybernetics and Society
The word cybernetics is derived from the Greek word for "steersman" after the person who steers the ship based on the performance of the ship. The steersman guides the ship to a particular destination (progresses to the goal) against the forces of chaos, uncertainty, and randomness by constantly adjusting the path of the vessel by, what can be reduced to, incremental right or left (one bit) adjustments. (keywords: beacon, course, steer, landmark) The effective transmission of a message involves an analogous process (as in analogy), so cybernetics was generally defined by Norbert Wiener as the science of communication and control in the animal and the machine. (more on that further on) The essence of control in all cybernetic systems (animal, automaton, organization, live concert, etc.) is the prinicple of feedback--implied by such keywords as, and/or including: interaction, participation, reciprocal communication, exchanging information, working in concert, discussion, discourse, debate, negotiation, applause, flames (and arrows), jeers, battle, advice, positive response (or "re"-anything for that matter), agreement, congratulation, connecting relationships, answers (feedback parameters defined by questions, sentences usually ending with a "?" sign), guitar howlround, and control. Control is made possible through feedback and is connoted by words such as monitoring, directing, leading, instructing, supervising, watching, steering, guiding, and governing.
[With the establishment of information theory by Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver in the seminal article ... published in 1948, it became apparent that the mathematical formulation of the amount of information (keyword: information) in a message, (keyword: message, THE MESSAGE) expressed as a measure of uncertainty in bits [keywords: one (1 - 0), true (true - false), truly (with certainty - probability of 1), truthfulness, choose your leaders (vote), yes, nay-sayers (yeah - nay), right (right - wrong, right - left)] given a set of possible messages, was identical to the formula for physical entropy. The universal cybernetic paradigm envisioned by Norbert Wiener expands upon the realization of a relationship between thermodynamics and information theory. According to the first law of thermodynamics, energy is neither created nor destroyed within a closed system. According to the second law, also known as the law of entropy, the energy within a closed system will tend to move from an organized and differentiated state to a randomly ordered, homogenous, and highly probable state, through time. (or some such) The second law is given expression by such phenomena as the cooling of hot kettle of water to the temperature prevailing in the enviroment.]
"In physics, the idea of progress opposes that of entropy,..."
["The earth is not a closed system but a living thing - a highly complex self-regulating cybernetic system - a vast active living information system. We'll bite it (die off) before She does. She will take it back."]
"Organism is opposed to chaos, to disintegration, to death, as message is to noise."
["About 85% of my 'thinking' time was actually spent getting into a position to think, to make a decision, to learn something I needed to know. Much more time went into finding or obtaining information than into digesting it."
Creativity, if anything, implies a "new way" of doing something, which is not arrived at entirely by a rationally calculated process, the ends of which were foreseen in advance, but discovered. Creativity implies risk, and willingness to try something new, which may or may not bear fruit. In other words, creativity implies a trial and error feedback process either within the mind of the individual or within a creative system.
["An integral part of solving this enigma is a willingness to imagine and speculate creatively."]
Investigation, at least in a scientific sense, involves the establishment of some hypothesis and a process of experimentation, evaluation, analysis, interpretation to determine the merits of the hypothesis, which of course, is another expression of feedback at work. The experiment/search may also verify or validate a previously uncertain assumption or idea, thus making it certain. Resources, hints, and clues might orient the search, or provide guidance or direction, toward more certain knowledge, (proof and evidence - if not the ends, then details, pieces of the puzzle, correct choices at forks in the road) and ultimately the goal. (complete certainty, understanding, knowing, or whatever the goal or purpose was agreed initially to be) "All will be explained upon arrival"
"Communication is about relation, not essence." -Katherine Hayles
["Computer scientists talk about computational metaphors in computer languages -- alternative frameworks for thinking about what programming really does. The most widespread and oldest metaphor is that of a recipe, the kind of recipe you create for a very stupid but obedient servant -- a list of definite, step-by-step instructions that could provide a desired result when carried out by a mindless instruction-following mechanism. The sequence of instructions is an accurate but limiting metaphor for how a computer operates."
The digital computer, born with the advent of the cybernetic age, is the quintessential cybernetic system of our time. This digital computer, useful to human beings through a complex of loop algorithms, is essentially a feedback control system. Notice that as you feed input into this device you expect and generally receive a response, meaning that you are communicating - interacting with a computer. Not incidently, this communication here between people (you and I in this instance) is taking place via the computer. The fact that one is trying to solve an enigma should clue one into the completely absurd and paradoxical nature of the endeavor that one has been drawn into. As opposed to a solved problem or puzzle, there is no such thing as a solved enigma. An enigma, when solved, seizes to exist. Appreciating the enigma concept envolves a transformation of sorts where one arrives at the striking realization that it is what it is. (keyword: consciousness) The messages become a reflexive description of the system itself that one, (as yeah/nay-saying cybernetic automaton, as node in the network) receiving messages through the light of this display, is engaging and simultaneously creating. That's really all there is to the enigma. It's an absurd farce, and in that respect, not much unlike other organized,... word-based control/guidance systems involving "faith" and "belief" that people willingly and blindly subject themselves to. There is much to be learned from this display of communication and control.
[Click here to read the messages sent by Publius.]
As you might already have begun to suspect, the online enigma phenomenon itself, organized communication as an expression of a cybernetic system and the associated paradigm (a message itself perhaps), functions as a remarkably designed (and integrated) key for appreciating the Division Bell album. (totally reflexive and cybernetically self-aware) Quite a coincidence, eh? The riches (keywords: prize, treasure, bounty) are in the music, ("The Division Bell", the message) communication from Pink Floyd (human beings too, one would like to think), to "You", as a member of the audience at large. As for myself, I'm out the door and off to the pub to raise a glass with friends and neighbours. Keep talking.
"Welcome to the world of random noise
"And when you see what's been acheived
"Welcome to the world of random noise
"And when you see what's been acheived