Ferro em Wiener (1989 [1950])

We are swimming upstream against a great torrent of disorganization, which tends to reduce everything to the heat death of equilibrium and sameness described in the second law of thermodynamics. What Maxwell, Bolzmann and Gibbs meant by this heat death in physics has a counterpart in the ethic of Kierkegaard, who pointed out that we live in a chaotic moral universe. In this, our main obligation is to establish arbitrary enclaves of order and system. These enclaves will not remain there indefinitely by any momentum of their own after we have once established them … We are not fighting for a definitive victory in the indefinite future. It is the greatest possible victory to be, to continue to be, and to have been … This is no defeatism, it is rather a sense of tragedy in a world in which necessity is represented by an inevitable disappearance of differentiation. The declaration of our own nature and the attempt to build an enclave of organization in the face of nature’s overwhelming tendency to disorder is an insolence against the gods and the iron necessity that they impose. Here lies tragedy, but here lies glory too. (Steve J. Heims, in: Wiener 1989 [1950]:xiii)

A prosthetic device which looks hopeful but has not yet been subjected to any real development or final criticism is an artificial lung in which the activation of the breathing motor will depend on signals, electrical or mechanical, from the weakened but not destroyed , breathing muscles of the patient. In this case, the normal feedback in the medulla and brainstem of the healthy person will be used even in the paralytic to supply the control of his breathing. Thus it is hoped that the so-called iron lung may no longer be a prison in which the patient forgets how to breathe, but will be an exerciser for keeping his residual faculties of breathing active, and even possibly of building them up to a point where he can breathe for himself and emerge from the machinery enclosing him. (Wiener 1989 [1950]:174)

I have spoken of machines, but not only of machines having brains of brass and thews of iron. When human atoms are knit into an organization in which they are used, not in their full right as responsible human beings, but as cogs and levers and rods, it matters little that their raw material is flesh and blood. What is used as an element in a machine, is in fact an element in the machine. Whether we entrust our decisions to machines of metal, or to those machines of flesh and blood [186] which are bureaus and vast laboratories and armies and corporations, we shall never receive the right answers to our questions unless we ask the right questions. The Monkey’s Paw of skin and bone is quite as deadly as anything cast out of steel and iron. The djinnee which is a unifying figure of speech for a whole corporation is just as fearsome as if it were a glorified conjuring trick. (Wiener 1989 [1950]:185-6)

WIENER, Norbert. 1989 [1950]. The human use of human beings: cybernetics and society. London: Free Association Books.