为新媒体艺术家阿角“控制”(Cybernetics)展览所作序言

控制与失控的悖论

毛向辉

阿角是一颗神经元( @aaajiao),每个人都是,但是他的作用很特殊。

他刚和我提及Cybernetics 的时候,我吃了一惊,因为从中国艺术家最里面讲出家庭控制、社会控制或者政治控制我都不稀奇,但是能够冒出控制论令我这种理科生要有危机感了。穿透科学、艺术、宗教的细胞壁,进入和糅合的人并不多,阿角这颗神经元从一开始就渗透得绰绰有余。

以Cybernetics理论中最常用的火箭的控制作为范例,我们知道火箭的目标是很明确的,所以需要一套系统来保证它排除各种因素达到预定的目的地。这时候你去控制的目的是清楚的,而且能够透过正反馈和负反馈机制达到目标。但是无论控制火箭的系统设计多么高超,火箭的结果就是毁灭,所以完美的火箭控制就是完美的毁灭控制。社会比火箭还要复杂,社会是没有特定清晰的目标的,即使有,也是千千万万,难以用唯一的标准去衡量。在大的趋势上,人类社会本来已经经历了多次大辩论,也用鲜血生命去铺垫了少数精英的社会“梦想”,最终那些梦想,无论是共产主义还是社会主义,他们都把自己当作简单的火箭去控制,不管那个目标多么令人激奋,都是一个劫持整体的不归路。

当初翻译维纳的理论时,把Cybernetics 的简体中文名称定为控制论可真是悲剧,因为会简单地误解为“是关于如何能够加强控制的学科”,而如今因为“控制”一词在某些国家与“和谐”、“维稳”一样令人精神紊乱。但是却恰好被阿角这颗神经元巧妙地拿来搭成一个新的隐喻,那就是“也许控制会变成失控,而不控制也许会成为最佳的控制方式”,这是符合Cybernetics 学科后来发展出来的精神的。

联想到对社会的控制让整个中国历史变成是一个重复失败的历史,延续到如今。马上浮现出半个悖论,一个希望精准控制结果的系统却总是失控。

控制的结果是注定的,就是自我结束。可是控制论不是这样的,控制论希望达到的是可生存的目标,用时下的名词来说就是可持续性。在控制论的延伸中,我最欣赏的是那些更加实际应用的模型,例如VSM(可生存系统模型)。这是Stafford Beer 在20世纪70年代将控制论应用于组织机构的的最突出贡献。VSM用五个子系统模型,展示了作为一个系统(大可致全球人类,小到政府、企业机构)都可以用这样的五个子系统去展示生命力,都可以成为了管理控制论的核心,也给我们提出了最关键的问题,“什么是可以生存的系统”。VSM的一个基本原则就是系统产生的多样性(在控制论中为Variety)必须在和系统环境的多样性相互匹配,才可能生存延续,否则就是朝生暮死,朝生暮死的组织自己终结不算,永远都是害人的。

这就浮现出后半个悖论的猜想,如果让越来越多独立单元保持自由不受控制状态,创造多样性的机会,只是在高阶层浮现有效的法则,是否就可以协同产生足够多自我生存的可能性,让整个系统更加安全可控。这种智慧在中国哲学思想中或曾有所闪现,但永远没有系统地作用于整个社会体系,艺术作品应当创造改变这种思维方式的机会。

所谓在高阶层的法则,并非如期望控制者所定义,而是来自于进化的升华。这一点现在更加清晰地从科学哲学家 Stuart Koffman的进化上帝学说得到阐述。在”Reinventing The Sacred”中论及上帝造物的宗教过程是可以被科学逐层重演的,意识和人性也都是复杂进化的结果,所以宗教的造物主不是必须的。这与我提出的"分享主义" (Sharism)不谋而合,分享主义将独立个体的群体如通人类大脑的神经元一样各自分享到周边,透过递归叠加产生高阶智慧。叠加智慧理解为一个高阶超能力,所以会产生“社会性上帝”(Social God)现象,更整体地产生嬗变,个体无法理解,但是个体可以感受到神圣。

我在2009策划奥地利电子艺术节研讨会时提出"云智慧"(Cloud Intelligence)作为主题,让科学家和艺术家同时兴奋,因为科学家探求云计算(Cloud Computing)对知识的结构,艺术家探求云聚散对社会的结构。研讨会异常成功,其中来自加拿大的教育学家 Stephen Downes 也是主讲者之一,和我谈到宗教创造了人类未来的镜像,那就是在宗教中“上帝”是存在的,但是在现实中不是自初始就存在,而是在进化中产生,因此就算如今上帝也可能只是在很婴儿的时期,我们每个人都是他大脑的一个神经元而已。我们摆脱了“上帝”概念的控制,就成为了新上帝的一部分。

阿角就是这样一个社会神经元,社会性上帝大脑的一部分。他不控制,他只在乎艺术与科技如何在山顶会合。

The paradox between control and losing control

Isaac Mao

Aaajiao is a neuron, same to everyone of us, but his function is unique.

He surprised me when he mentioned to me about his new curation named “cybernetics” which I suppose not many people understand that. Many artists in China, as well the whole world, know more about control whether from family, social or politics. It’s quite normal because it’s not same training to them. I felt pressure as a trained engineer. Not all the people I know can link science, art and religion. Mash them up? I think only Aaajiao can handle.

When I was young reading the theory of Weiner in Chinese, I believed think the name of “control” is disaster to the real meaning of cybernetics. It misled everyone that ‘cybernetics’ is about ‘controlling’, you know what’s that mean in a communism country. Amazingly, Aaajiao use it now as a metaphore to indicate our ‘harmonious’ society, which is now losing control. The real spririt of ‘cybernetics’ is actually not controlling, but adapting.
Early cybernetics is really about controlling. The most famous example of and navigating rockets. We know the goal to launch a rocket, so we need a system to ensure it can reach the goal with considering all kinds of possible influential factors. The goal is very clear, we can use positive feedback and negative feedback to adjust. However, the doom of a rocket is to destroy itself. So the perfect controlling of a rocket is to destroy it accurately. In the human being track, we had many many big debate over the function of the “goal”. Those many perfect ‘social dreams’, either communism or socialism, were designed as simple rocket, it’s alwasy impossible to roll back.

Let’s associate the doom with Chinese history which includes many failures, till today. There comes a half-paradox, why a system with many dreams of accurate control ended up with always losing control.

Controlling will end up with self-destroying. But cybernetics not. It’s more than controlling, but sustainable goals. In the extended researches along cybernetics, I love the model called Viable System Model which developed by Stafford Beers in 1970s. In the VSM, the 5 sub-systems show us the viability of a wholistic system, which then formed the core theories of managment cybernetics guiding our social system. The basic principle of VSM is about variety and diversity. The organizations with enough variety can survive itself. Otherwise, it will destroy itself and all components within it.

So the next half-paradox is about how to keep individual units in a system in a status of free will. The more diversified, the more order emerged in higher level. The whole system will be more secure and sustainable. It’s a safe control without control. It’s a political wisdom every sparked in Chinese classic philosophies, however, it never been really adopted by rulers in history. Arts can change it in their works imaginatively.

The higher level of orders will be not definable by any single unit in a system, instead, it emerges from evolution. The post-modern scientist, Stuart Koffman, cleary give us an image about evolutionary god. In his book “Reinventing The Sacred”, he argued that the ‘god’ which supposed to create everything is actually a evolutionary power. It takes effects on everything we have today, from single cell to complicated society. The rules run in different layers all come from evolution and pre-adoption. It quite match my theory on Sharism.

Sharism define every human as a social neuron, the more we connect to each, the more we see a higher level of intelligence. Someday we can see the effect of “social god”, which is super powerful beyond today’s democracy, much more intelligent than totalitarian system. Any single individual can’t understand the whole, however, they can feel the scared of the powerful intelligence.

I was curating Ars Electronica 2009 symposium with David Sasaki. We defined “cloud intelligence” as the them of the conference. Those artists and scients gathered and exited about that because it’s just like artist like cloud the shape and scientists like the forming. It’s very successful. One of the speaker in the symposium is a pedagogist from Canana whose name is Stephen Downes. You can find his blogging histroy back to 10 years ago. He told me that religion is just like the mirror of our future. In religion, the god created. In the future, we got another god from ourselves. So we have a infant god now, which we will grow with him. We can feel the power of ourselves because we are part of the god. The new god won’t control us, it’s just sustainable.

Aaajiao is such a social neuron in the social god brain. He doesn’t like to control, but caring more about the meeting point in the peak of art and science. They share same peak, luckily.

2010年10月22日, 12:57 下午
分类: 公民博客