Today bastardized to refer to the union of man and machine, the term “cybernetic,” first popularized by mathematician and philosopher Norbert Weiner in 1948, is technically used to refer to models of systems that incorporate closed-signaling loops in pursuit of an objective. In this vein, “Self-Correcting Sisyphus” is an image that inspires me to persevere in seeking understanding of our complex, interconnected, contradicting, messy and remarkable world. The philosopher Albert Camus advises the reader of his essay “The Myth of Sisyphus” that, in order to make peace with and function within the apparently meaningless absurdities of modern life, “one must imagine Sisyphus happy.” It sounds like a recipe for delirium — but if one can accept that the rock will always roll back down eventually and cease to agonize over ultimate futility, the door is opened not only to savoring our temporary victories, but to using the lessons of past failures to achieve goals that once seemed beyond the realm of possibility. Indeed, given the acceptance of impermanence, the opportunity to try again and again and the ability to incorporate past feedback in a perpetually self-correcting, cybernetic loop, who knows what Sisyphus cannot achieve?
I’ve found some use in Timothy Leary’s definition of intelligence, as presented in the writings of Robert Anton Wilson and Antero Alli. It’s modeled after the major functions of a neuron: “the ability to absorb, organize and communicate information.” Communication gives mental maps a contextual purpose, incentivizes a more rigorous standard of coherence, and externalizes the map so it can stimulate feedback. The maps shared within this space might be categorizable as commentary, exegesis, art, music, fiction, reflection, psychology, speculation, sociology, politics, science fiction, culture, and whatever else I can congeal from my ongoing attempts at self-education. Feel free to comment or contact me with addendums, criticisms, and seeds for collaboration. Let’s help each other get where we’re going.