[iDC] Re: reading list

Brian Holmes brian.holmes at wanadoo.fr
Fri Sep 1 17:34:03 EDT 2006

Hello Omar,

No I don't that book, thanks for the tip. I'm actually an 
ignoramus in this area, just got very curious as my 
attention came to focus on that peculiar post-WWII 
atmosphere that Bush, Cheney and their administration seem 
to hark back to with such horrid insistence. I will check it 
out, sounds good. Basically I think there have been 2 main 
phases, a "closed world" electrical engineering based period 
where the primary issue is identifying, tracking and 
targetting (that's the history I am trying to catch up on) 
and from the 70s onward a second phase, somewhat more 
familiar, corresponding to "second-order cybernetics" and 
complexity theory, which became the operative ideology of 
the globalization decades (80s and 90s, Nigel Thrift makes 
the operative side of it very clear in his book Knowing 
Capitalism). Really interesting people like Bateson and 
Guattari are at the hinge between these two periods, it 
seems. But such figures contributed to the worst of 
globalization (eg Mandelbrot with his work on finance) and 
at the same time, they helped us forget that the logistics 
(ex: air travel) that runs the whole show is still from the 
first military-dominated period. So the present really does 
look like a return of the repressed! The figure that 
interests me most in the first period is Jay Wright 
Forrester, inventor of the Whirlwind computer and developer 
of the SAGE radar-defence perimeter in the 50s, who after 
his military years became a kind of prophet of 
cyberneticized industrial management. I am waiting to get 
his Urban Dynamics, where he applies his cybernetic 
management principles to cities, and discovers, among other 
things, that welfare is a bad policy and ought to be 

best, Brian
Khan, Omar wrote:
> Brian,
> I too have been working with many of the texts you cite. Do you know the
> following which I found to be incredibly informative especially regards
> to your question 2: Dupuy, Jean-Pierre. The Mechanization of the Mind:
> On the Origins of Cognitive Science. Princeton University Press.
> --------------------------------------------------------- 
> Omar 

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