Quotable (#82)

This is simply superb:

“Logic is a very elegant tool,” [Bateson] said, “and we’ve got a lot of mileage out of it for two thousand years or so. The trouble is, you know, when you apply it to crabs and porpoises, and butterflies and habit formation” – his voice trailed off, and he added after a pause, looking out over the ocean – “you know, to all those pretty things” – and now, looking straight at me [Capra] – “logic won’t quite do.”
“No?”
“it won’t quite do,” he continued animatedly, “because that whole fabric of living things is not put together by logic. you see, when you get circular trains of causation, as you always do in the living world, the use of logic will make you walk into paradoxes. Just take the thermostat, a simple sense organ, yes?”
He looked at me, questioning whether I followed and, seeing that I did, he continued.
“If it’s on, it’s off; if it’s off, it’s on. If yes, then no; if no, then yes.”
With that he stopped to let me puzzle about what he had said. His last sentence reminded me of the classical paradoxes of Aristotelian logic, which was, of course, intended. So I risked a jump.
“You mean, do thermostats lie?”
Bateson’s eyes lit up: “Yes-no-yes-no-yes-no. You see, the cybernetic equivalent of logic is oscillation.”

[Minor spelling amendment made.]

Quotable (#81)

Hollywood brings its signature brand of coke-fueled opportunistic delirium to China watching:

But with great opportunity, comes great cost. Assessing the upside of doing business in China and its risks, [Relativity founder and CEO Ryan] Kavanaugh said: “China is the most capitalist place I’ve ever seen. It’s as capitalistic if not more capitalistic than the U.S. It doesn’t happen to be a freedom of speech society. It’s a communist society, and you have to live by their rules. … It is the single most capitalist place there is. There is more venture capital, more investment, more real estate growth — you name the industry and there are people just clamoring to grow with it. The government doesn’t want it to stop. They want to see growth, they want to see capitalism occur. They just divided capitalism and freedom of speech. Or capitalism and communism. They’re not tied.”

(What do those last two sentences even remotely mean?)

The Unimaginable

A warning at The National Interest:

COULD A U.S. response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine provoke a confrontation that leads to a U.S.-Russian war? Such a possibility seems almost inconceivable. But when judging something to be “inconceivable,” we should always remind ourselves that this is a statement not about what is possible in the world, but about what we can imagine. As Iraq, Libya and Syria demonstrate, political leaders often have difficulties envisioning events they find uncomfortable, disturbing or inconvenient.

As a general principle, the future can be expected to deliver the ‘unthinkable’. (It’s in our nature to forget, very quickly, how much of that happens.)

Quick links (#31)

Rudd against the China bears (related), but on the other hand … Political engineering. The AIIB challenge. The limits of comedy. Hacktastic. Chinese mobile app trends.

The new Eurasia. Jehu’s hangover begins.

“The Cuban revolution has always viewed money as a problem, not a solution. That’s why the peso of the old republic had to be destroyed overnight in 1961. Having money let people be independent and operate outside the system. “It’s part of the DNA that Fidel imprinted on the revolution,” notes Ted Henken, a sociologist at Baruch College who has specialized in the island.

Architectural visions.

Shale did it. Corporate dark matter. Thiel on innovation.

The Internet — lame when not terrifying. Writing in the Internet Era. Buterin on proof-of-stake. IPAs. Machine learning goes mainstream. End asymmetric information. VR-blockchain mash. Exponential energy efficiency. A little Moore. E-Residency ‘in‘ Estonia.

The bamboo ceiling.

Rochat, in contrast, models human cognition as fundamentally social in nature. Each person learns to be aware of himself – is [constrained toward] self-consciousness – by other people being aware of him. He learns to manage his image in the minds of others, and finds himself reflected, as in a mirror, through the interface of language and non-verbal communication. This structure hints at infinite recursion, but cognitive resources are limited, and in practice only the first couple of levels of mutual simulation are salient.

Hidden complexity. Extraterrestrial oceans. Life on orphan planets.

Sherry whine. Discrimination at work (intersectionally related). Societal cybernetics. Castle of Chaos. Cyber-dissidence starts to freak the left out. Death in the Anthropocene. Neoliberalism, the puzzle that keeps on giving. Mutant feminisms (related). Laruelle on power (and religion). Negri on Marx and Foucault. Minor cinema and war.

I gave up shouting about “Peak Zombie;” it’s the craze that refuses to die. Into black. HEXEN2.0. Giorgio de Chirico, the game.

Nonmusicology. Anglossia. Katak sounds (plus, plus, plus).