All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace

Episode 1

  • “Love and Power” – Ayn Rand

Episode 2

  • Internet Utopianism to Global Economics to Ecosystems – balance and stabilisation without authoritariannism
  • This is “the dream of the machines – it reflects how they are organised – it has nothing to do with nature…”
  • The dream of the self organising system – machine fantasies of nature
  • London at the Height of the British Empire
    • Arthur Tansley – natives / wife – Sigmund Freud – 1922
    • Freud’s brain as a circuit –
    • Applying the model of the mind – to the whole of nature – energy flows
    • “Ecosystem”
    • Peder Anker – Historian of Ecology – “very mechanical indeed”
    • The Great Universal Law of Equilibrium – constant tendency towards balance and equilibrium
    • Scientific basis to the ‘underlying mechanism that regulates nature as if it were a machine’
  • Jay Forester – Systems Theorists
    • early warning system – radar installation – Cold War
    • feedback – “we live in these networks of feedback loops, that are controlling us and the things we interact with”
    • Norbert Weiner
    • Fred Turner – cybernetic theorists
    • Glympse of the deep cybernetic truth – that machine and man are linked
    • Cybernetics leads ecology into being the dominant science of the 20th century.
  • Howard & Eugune Odum… 
    • circuits of energy
    • real electrical circuits to adjust the environments
    • Peter J Taylor – Historian of Science
    • Oversimplification of circuit models
  • Fuller
    • Deemphasis of the human being – the welfare of the system
  • Ecotechnics – Randall Gibson – Synergia – man machine biological system working in combination
  • Stuart Brand
  • Richard Brautigan – All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace – “people pass computers as if they were spinning 
  • Jay Forrester and the Club of Rome – advising the group to model the world as a system
  • Alexander King – The Club of Rome – world a system – The Limits to GrowthWhat was in it
  • Holism – General Smutz – the whole world was a system – disappearing nations and having the
  • The abuse of vegetational concepts
  • Tod Bjork – Environmental Activist – claim nature has a balance, and that society needs to follow this balance
  • Gaia, internet utopia, web of life, running the planet as a single system
  • Enlightenment ideals of independence were under threat
  • Dr. Stewart Pickett – no stable patterns – offended the comfortable idea that nature is stable
  • Dr. Daniel Botkin – wolves + moose – found no steady states
  • Van Dyne – models of ecosystems – no steady state is ever reached – chaotic instability of nature


  • June 7, 2011 - 4:41 am | Permalink

    There are limits to what a TV documentary can do but Project Cybersyn potentially deserved a mention here given that this episode is about the connection between Cybernetics and Ideology.

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