I was recently asked to write a short reflection on the Cybernetics of Time. It occurs to me that such a narrative must be in no small measure the Cybernetics of Causality. This itself leads to the curious revelation and plausibly cathartic insight that the aspirational control as shaping, influence or purposive feedback that inflates both Cybernetics and Causality with meaning is a reflexive function of the narratives selves that engage in this process. Control and the direction of, or participatory engagement with, technical or technological systems exists on a spectrum from creating a stone tool through to setting fully autonomous systems as Artificial General Intelligence.
There is an enigma here. We define our selves and our purposes in relation to the ways they allow us control as knowledge over those systems and objects of our experience and conceptual abstraction. Complex systems science, much as with a number of ‘traditional’ ways of engaging with the world, approximates towards a description and model of reality for which the selves that imbue meaning upon it are quite conspicuously absent. This absence is also the endless slipping away of time and as indefinitely-extensible logic in entropy or information generation suggests that if we were ever to unambiguously (or at least transient as constructively “solve” the riddle of time, it would simultaneously resolve many of our questions about self, sentience, logic and existence.
The Cybernetics of Time as a science of control is deeply inflected with an irreducible fact that to understand time is to reflexively invalidate the self and temporal vessel of experience that asserts significance to the endeavour. This is, of course, not really an extinguishing of the light (and significance) of qualia or experience – it is the disentanglement, decompression and emergence of a new kind of subjectivity, self and human experience.