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Cybernetics and the Publius Enigma

from The Division Bell Concept, a nice introduction to cybernetics, in this case specifically tied into that author’s proposed solution for Pink Floyd’s “Publius Enigma” and their Division Bell album (insterspersed with Norbert Wiener quotes):

“But while the universe as a whole, tends to run down, there are local enclaves of whose direction seems opposed to that of the universe at large… Life finds its home in these enclaves.”

The key to progress is the process of feedback – in its most simple form, two-way communication. This is true for living organisms, organizations, the earth, (if viewed as a complex self-regulating system) as well as for some automatic machines. (such as the digital computer) The two-way flow of information is the key to progress in any form: growth, learning, evolution, travel to a destination, etc. Note: this is absolutely true. Feedback is prevalent everywhere in our world, on so many levels, in so many ways.

“It is easy to make a simple machine which will run toward the light or run away from it, and if such machines also contain lights of their own, a number of them together will show complicated forms of social behavior…”

The basic unit of communication is the Message. Messages are subject to the forces of chaos in the form of noise. Just as living individuals are subject to the advance of entropy and eventual death, messages in a communication system are subject to deterioration due to noise. The living individual, like a message, consists of a pattern. (DNA was later discovered) Signal is the physical form the message takes. Through the metaphor of the message we might see all manifestations of progress as message.

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