American Society for Cybernetics


2366 West. 18th Ave
Vancouver B.C. V6L 1A8
Fax (604) 732 - 9834
Phone (604) 732 - 9864

March 15, 2000

Dear ASC community,

This is our third letter in our desire to keep you informed about happenings concerning the American Society for Cybernetics. We are happy that many of you have accepted our invitation to comment on issues that concern you. We have responded to you individually, and to the extent that we could without compromising others, we have acted on your concerns.


About 70 people have now registered as current members. If you are one of these, we thank you, and have enclosed a thank you note. Given the minimal financial resources of the Society, we cannot continue to send out materials, including the monographs, to the entire mailing list of about 650 people.

If you wish to receive mailings, please register.

If you have a life membership, please let us know; as the Society records are not complete in this respect. If you want to be removed from the mailing list, also please let us know

Web site

The new ASC web site is now available for your review at:

We would very much like your comments on the site; in terms of its architecture, design, and content. A small group of us have worked for about 4 months to integrate the work of previous websites into a new, and we think, delightful website for the ASC, one that reflects the qualities that attract people to be members of this society. As you will see, in true cybernetic fashion, we have designed the website to come to life with your interactions and contributions and not just present "information". We hope you will accept our invitation to explore and participate so that we can generate an on-line space for our on-going interactions between the actual delight of being with each other at conferences. As you will see, we welcome contributions.

Many of you have already contributed to the site, and we thank you for this. Since we have adopted the policy that all materials on the web-site specify the author and the date, specific credits for the contributions are on the site itself. You may wish to click on the visuals to see a poem, story, or explanation, as well as the credits.

What is not visibly present is the website review committee. Each web page that invites new submissions has a "page editor", and major contributions will be directed to members of the review committee. We would like to thank Ranulph Glanville, Ernst von Glasersfeldt, Kevin Kreitman, Klaus Krippendorff, Lou Kauffman, Allena Leonard, Paul Pangaro, Larry Richards, and Paul Schroeder for accepting to become members of the website contributions review committee along with us.

ACTION: Anyone interested in becoming a member of the website review committee, please contact Pille Bunnell <>.

After there has been ample opportunity for ASC members and our friends in the systems community to comment on the site, we will revise whatever needs revising, and post the site at a permanent address which will be easier for the public to locate. (We will notify you, and in any case the address given above will provide a connection.)

ASC Conversational Conference this July

We have not been able to find anyone able to host a conference this fall. Consequently we have decided to link a one day ASC Conversational Conference to the World Congress of Systems Sciences which the ASC is co-hosting in Toronto this summer. Larry Richards and Ely Dorsey, have offered to act as the Conference Coordinators. Peter Corning, President of the ISSS, is providing logistical support by extending the existing structure of the World Congress. There is no call for papers; though you are invited to come prepared with materials to contribute to the conversation. If you wish to make a presentation, please contact:

Dr. Ely Dorsey. Howard University School of Business
2600 Sixth Street, NW; Washington, D.C. 20059

We will compile a report on the conversation, and if relevant written materials are submitted, they will be published on the ASC website.


You are invited to the year 2000 ASC Conversational Conference
July 15, Toronto, Ontario

"Cybernetics, a Circularity in Praxis and Ethics"

Registration fee $25.00 ($10.00 for students)
payable on site

please pre-register immediately with

Larry Richards
School of Management and Aviation Science
Bridgewater State College, Bridgewater, MA 02325, USA
Office: (508) 531-6151/6152
Fax: (508) 531-6168


Annual ASC Business Meeting
to be held in the evening of July 15



A Week of Systems and Cybernetics

The meeting in Toronto this summer offers you a very full week of Systems and Cybernetics:

July 15 ASC Conversational Conference

This will be a full day of conversations on the theme of Ethics and Praxis, touching on the possible contributions of cybernetics to dissolving racism and poverty.

July 16-19 World Congress of Systems Sciences

This Congress is co-hosted by over 20 organizations including the ASC. There will be plenary sessions each morning, followed by afternoon panel discussions and evening events. The ASC is contributing a Plenary talk "Conservation and Change" by Humberto Maturana, a Panel on "Conservation and Change, a Circularity in Ethics and Environment" and an evening session of enactments on the same theme presented by the School for Designing a Society.

July 20-22 44th Annual Meeting of the
International Society for Systems Sciences (ISSS)

The ISSS invites all participants of the World Congress to attend this meeting (with no further registration fee in addition to the World Congress fee). The meeting is largely based on presentations in Special Integration Groups (SIG’s) on various systems topics. The ASC is sponsoring a new SIG on Environmental Systems.

ISSS is organizing the World Congress: logistics, abstracts, proceedings, registration and accommodations. Please see the website for the conference at for details. We can also send you a registration form, or you may contact Peter Corning directly by writing to 119 Bryant Street, Suite 212, Palo Alto, CA 94301, or sending an email to <>.

If you are already coming to the world congress, you may request an extension of your accommodations through ISSS, if you are coming only to the ASC conference on the 15th of July, contact Larry Richards for more information.

Coming Conferences

The next conference will be in May, 2001 in Vancouver, Canada, hosted by Pille Bunnell and Kathleen Forsythe, most likely at the University of British Columbia. We have been discussing the possibility of a further conference with Fred Steier, who is offering to host a conference in the late fall of 2001 or early winter of 2002 in Tampa, Florida. Lou Kauffman has also expressed willingness to provide the local logistics for another conference in Chicago. Thus the schedule we are considering is:

May, 2001 Vancouver, Canada

Nov., 2001 Tampa, Florida

May, 2002 Chicago, Illinois

Your comments and input concerning themes for the conferences and this tentative schedule are welcome.

ACTION: We implore anyone who can contribute to organizing these conferences to contact Pille Bunnell <>.


We apologize for our clerical mistake in failing to include the monograph prepared by the School for Designing a Society in the last mailing. Any member who wishes a copy of this publication should contact the ASC Business office 2033 K Street, NW Suite #203, Washington DC 20052), email:

Monographs will now be published and mailed directly to registered members from the group in Urbana convened by Steve Sloan, editor of the Monograph series. The next monograph is based on an internet conversation that took place last summer on the topic of Evil and Ethics.


We have had several responses to the question in the last newsletter concerning the identity of ASC — and it appears that the question of who we are and what we do is not resolved. In some way it may be good to leave it open to the arising of our doings. In other ways it may be good to evoke a sense of a community that conserves some ways of being or some way of doing. If we are to conserve something, what is that? An interest, a principle, a way of being and knowing? We propose to continue the conversation as to what does cybernetics in general, and the ASC in particular, have to contribute in this time. We have provided a forum on the ASC website for continuing the conversation, and we intend to generate space for it in the upcoming conferences.

The question of identity was raised by the 1999 ASC Syntegration workshop in asking what does Cybernetics have to contribute to the 21st Century. The results of this meeting are now posted on the ASC website, and paper copies are available to registered members on request. A synopsis of ideas relevant to the question on identity will be circulated prior to the year 2001 ASC Conference.

Archives Project

In 1995 the ASC decided to establish an Archive to ensure continuity in the preservation of official Society records and related materials. Paul Schroeder has now carried this initiative to fruition.

After evaluating the merits of maintaining the records in ASC offices (or in an in-house site established specifically for this purpose), the Society decided to seek a permanent institutional home for these materials. Following discussions with the University of Illinois Archivist at the 1997 meeting in Champaign-Urbana, an agreement was reached with Illinois to house ASC materials there permanently, a setting open to public access. Some ASC materials have now been transferred to Illinois, beginning with copies of Society publications going back to the earliest newsletters ofthe 1960s. In addition to official Society publications, the Illinois Archive has agreed to accept personal papers of scholars and others who have been closely associated with the Society.

ACTION: Anyone interested in participating in this project is invited to contact Archives Project Coordinator Paul Schroeder <>.

Email connection

This letter is being sent out by email to those persons who have provided us with a current address. We will also send out short notices as appropriate, but will continue circulating newsletters by post to registered members. If you have a new email address, please send it by email to


Comments were made at the ASC Syntegration last April, and have also been made in individual letters sent to us, that suggest the ASC, although the birthing ground of much of the cybernetics that is permeating modern life, has fallen by the wayside through its failure to maintain mainstream relevance. Recently we were reading an article in a major business magazine about The Cluetrain Manifesto,in which the authors argued that the Internet means the end of business as usual because markets are conversations and hyperlinks subvert hierarchy. Such ideas do not seem out of place with the conversations of the ASC. We continue to think that the ASC is the birthing ground of the new, and that, given the passionate and caring inquiry by all those involved, as to how our ideas can make a world in which we can all live in respect, love and beauty, we will continue to open the space for such hope-filled conversations.





Pille Bunnell, President Kathleen Forsythe, Vice President <>
(604) 732 - 9864 (604) 731 - 8445

2366 West 18th Ave. 8468 Victoria Dr.
Vancouver, B.C. Vancouver, B.C.

Canada V6L 1A8 Canada V5P 4A9