Week 4 (Oct. 3)


Nigel Thrift—Pass It On : Towards a Political Economy of Propensity (2008)

David Bates—Unity, Plasticity, Catastrophe: Order and Pathology in the Cybernetic Era (2014)

Dean Lockwood & Rob Coley—Cloud Time, Ch. 2: Parasite Regime & Inception (introduction) (2012)


Tiqqun - Cybernetic Hypothesis, sections 1-5 (2001)

Andrew Pickering—The Cybernetic Brain

Gregory Bateson: Social Planning and the Concept of Deutero-Learning (1942) (Section 4.1)

In which the celebrated anthropologist / cybernetician floats the idea of a stealthily designed labyrinth occulting its own framework in the name of a putative freedom. (An idea taken up by British documentarian Adam Curtis in his series The Trap)

Friedrich Hayek: The Road to Serfdom (1943)

Favorite book of both Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan (!). Austrian economist Hayek argues that the economic planning required by socialism inevitably leads to forms of totalitarianism (eg. fascism).

Gilles Deleuze - Postscript on the Societies of Control (1990)

Sigmund Freud: Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920)

Important reference point for both cyber-inhumanists and post-WW2 social thought. The centrality of the death drive forces a prosecution of increasingly tight cybernetic systems to mold individuals. Inhumanists see Freud’s discovery of the unconscious as the third traumatic blow to anthropocentric conceit (following the Copernican Revolution and Darwinian natural selection).

Tony Sampson – Virality (2012)

Another crack at reinvigorating Gabriel Tarde’s work on “(semiconscious) psychosocial processes of imitation” and the emphasis on the molecular (bottom-up) model of social transformation and emergence vs. Durkheim’s contemporary top-down “molar” model. The intro gives a good idea of the arguments therein.

Humberto Maturana – Autopoiesis (1981)

Later summary of the concept of autopoiesis (developed by Maturana and Francisco Varela in the early 70s), a self-contained process of self-constitution and transformation.

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