When Science Meets Net.Society
Principia Cybernetica

When Science Meets Intuition
Principia Intuitiva

How to play in these higher dimensions?




The Principia Cybernetica Project is an attempt to unify systems theory and cybernetics, using the tools and methods of cybernetics itself. Managed by leading researchers from the City University of New York, NASA, and the Free University of Brussels, Principia Cybernetica is amassing an awesome and ever-growing info-tube of information on the underlying meme-technology of the Matrix:

  • self-organizing systems
  • cybernetics
  • human-computer interaction
  • knowledge structures
  • cognitive science
  • artificial intelligence
  • philosophy
  • and evolution, to name a few.

No ivory towers here, simply practical information on web-weaving and Internet use commingled with academic papers and cyberculture rants, such as Ronfeldt's Cyberocracy.

Non-linguistic Signs
in Writing

Finn Bostad

When we speak we communicate by means of both linguistic and non-linguistic signs. We speak the words, but we add intonation and stress, pauses and gestures among other things. These non-linguistic signs are not available to writers. Traditionally a writer works with visual signs only, and not auditive ones. In our culture and time the writer's signs have mainly been communicated through the medium of paper. The electronic writing and presentation technology has, however, introduced new media and a wider range of non-linguistic signs.

1. Space

Writing with a hypertext writing tool emphasizes the fact that writing is a visual and spatial activity and experience. The writer uses space as a sign because he manipulates space when writing. The writer is not writing on a page, but can position text (or messages written with other sign systems than verbal language) anywhere in a space which is accessible from the graphic monitor of the computer. What we see on the display when writing or reading on a computer is limited by the dimensions of the hardware and the functionality of the software. In most text processing programs the space is equivalent to what we traditionally call a page in an article or a book, while desktop publishing software operates with spaces found in the graphic industry, what has previously been the spaces of the printing press. These are all limitations imposed by the tradition of printing on paper. The same limitations are not always present in the electronic space. Electronic space introduces a new concept of space whether we for the time being call it cyberspace or virtual space.

2. Nodes

Nodes are containers of information. They are the things which we can link to and from (Nielsen 1990), or the smallest piece of an electronic hypertext that can be addressed by a link (Berk 1991). We can say they are the enclosed spaces in which we write, and they might be of two types. Either they are enclosed spaces or boxes presenting messages or parts of messages. Or they are enclosed spaces which include other spaces like in a series of chinese boxes.

3. Links
Links connect nodes, or they are pointers from one node to another. They indicate that there is a relationship between the node that is the source of the link and the link's target node. The visual, graphic representation of a link is either a highlighted word or phrase, a button or an icon, or other graphics e.g. a visual line connecting the nodes (ibid:554).

The nodes may be linked together in various ways. There can be a linear linking, where the writer of the text signals a traditional sequential way of reading which we are familiar with from printed books. The linking might also produce an hierarchical presentation of the text indicating the super- and sub-organization of information.

A third way of organizing text through linking is the hypertextual model. Hypertext has been defined as the technology for non-sequential reading and writing (Nelson 1987), and this is the way we read when we read a book by way of the index or an encyclopedia by way of key phrases. A text that is organized hypertextually is like a web of information through which a user or reader can move either by following established links or by creating new ones.


Hypertext programs provide several ways to view text. One way is to reduce or enlarge what is displayed by means of a zooming function. Another is to make the window that the user works in larger or smaller or even have more windows open at the same time.

Most hypertext programs enable the user to manipulate with different text views by ways of icons or drop-down menues. The user may choose to work in a view which displays the web of nodes and links. When working in that view, the user may manipulate the nodes and the links to form new sequences or connections. This is the view that presents the hypertext structure of the text.

Another view presents a list of node names. This is equivalent to a table of contents and to the view you have when using the outline tool in text processing programs. Lastly the user may view the text as a graphic representation of the hierarchic structure of nodes and sub-nodes, as it is possible to create nodes within nodes for as many levels as may be practical (Bolter et. al. 1993).

5. Colours

Colours have of course always been a resource to writers, but more or less fell out of use with the coming of printing. When colours are used in the presentation of written language, they are used typographically in addition to or as substitutes for other typographic devices mainly for emphasis, to differentiate and make things stand out from the rest. Colours may also be used to create coherence between various parts of text that is written in the same colour, and for the same purpose they are used in graphical views of hypertexts.

6. Sound

Sequences of sound can be part of text and may be activated by pressing a button. In this way written text is not just visual, but auditive as well, as the sequences may be speech, music or other digitalized sound. For verbal language it means that the non-linguistic signs of speech, e.g. stress, intonation and pauses, become part of the written text. Bringing in the auditive aspect as a new expression potential in writing gives a new dimension to the concept of text.

7. Graphics

Graphics have always been part of written text. In our Western culture the illuminated manuscripts from the Middle Ages are outstanding examples of advanced integration of graphical and typographical signs.

The introduction of printing led to an almost exclusive development of the typographical sign based on an alphabet. Writing in the Western world became synonymous with the use of typographical signs. The use of graphics and pictures in writing slowed down the printing process and made it more expensive, so the use of these sign systems was discouraged.

With electronic writing it is not only possible to integrate non-linguistic images as parts of the text. Such items are also easily produced with the appropriate applications, and they may be as easily imported from picture data bases and clip-art archives.

8. Icons

Icons in the context of electronic writing and presentation are systematically coded pictures and images. Normally they constitute a culturally recognized sign system with a strict regularity, and the signs are clearly distinguished from each other. Iconography has long traditions in visual communication of messages, and is today used for a variety of purposes, examples can be shop and traffic signs. An important point about these signs is that they are meant to be understood by speakers of all languages.

The software industry makes use of iconic signs in order to label functions and improve the interface of applications. For the writer with an electronic writing tool the iconic sign system is a supplement to the linguistic code and increases the expression potential of writing.

9. Animation and Video

Many definitions of writing argue that writing leaves stable, visual signs on a surface. From what has been said above, the idea of a writing surface makes little sense with electronic writing technology, and the term 'writing space' (Bolter 1991) has been introduced instead. Also the visual signs are not necessarily stable. What is displayed on the computer screen is a transient representation of a digital code. There is no element of permanence in electronically displayed text.

The transitoriness of electronic writing is emphasized by the fact that the text might include elements of animation and video films. In addition to the visual representation of what we experience as stable or static sign systems, like linguistic and iconic signs, the text can also be made up of sign systems paradigmatically characterized by movement. This is a non-linguistic quality that has been ascribed to among other things facial expressions, gestures and body language. Now this expression potential does not only belong to the linguistic code of speech, but to the code of written language as well.

10. Text Norms

A new potential of expression and new rules of writing are established through the introduction of new writing and reading technology. Nobody thinks about explaining to a reader of a book how this book is to be read, or how to find one's way through the book. There are established conventions for those procedures, and when we talk about text we call these conventions text norms (Berge 1993). A text norm is the social dimension of text. It is how users agree to apply and respond to text. Text norms are usually the result of an historical development, and we may take them so much for granted that we become blind to their cultural and historical reference.

Finn Bostad

Intuitive XMethod

Across Space,
Time and Mind

by Tyler Volk

Metapatterns begins with the archetypal patterns of space, both form building and relational. Tyler Volk then turns to the arrows, breaks, and cycles that infuse the workings of time. With artful dexterity, he brings together many layers of comprehension, drawing on an astounding range of material from
atmospheric science
and oceanographic science.

Volk offers an exciting new look at science and the imagination. As playful and intuitive as it is logical and explanatory, Metapatterns offers an enlightening view of the functional universal
forms in space,
processes in time,
and concepts in mind.

What then are the metapatterns?
look to the wind for an answer;
listen to the wind.

It whispers and bellows,
but I hear no words.

Then try the moon;
go ask the moon.

It waxes eloquent,
but again not in words.

Then seek out the grape;
go ask the grape.

It rounds out the conversation;

.....not with words.


Suppose you were asked to define a canoe.

You describe a canoe's shape, its dimensions, materials, even methods of construction --- as if preparing to build or at least to recognize one.

In another type of answer you might describe what a canoe does, how it functions, namely, carrying a person across water. Perhaps in this case the listener might need to use the canoe.

There is yet a third way of responding. Rather than saying anything directly about the canoe,
you describe the experience
of being in a canoe, what can be seen while paddling around -- perhaps creeks tumbling from forested gorges into seculded lake.
This third way of answering is the way I have chosen to present the metapatterns.


Let's say that the metapatterns are not the canoe but the lake itself. Just as the feeder streams flow into this sinlge body of water, so too the streams from many regions of reality pour into the great reservoir of metapatterns. Perhaps the matapatterns are attractors
----- functional universals for
forms in space,
processes in time,
and concepts in mind.


1995, Columbia University Press


    Majesty of the sphere
    The grape-moon koan
    Small surface, great volume
    Buckyballs, domes and shells

    Shape's specturm
    Functions of flatness
    Tubes for transport
    Synergies of things and relations

    Bulwarks of being
    Ins and outs
    Separation and connection
    Doors and more as metaphors
    Border mind

    Triumph of twos
    Families of simplest complexities
    Across parallel pairs
    Beyond the binary

    Geometry of suns and kings
    Two great nucleations
    Brains, bees, and alphas
    Government, God, and Gaia

    Vision of the rose
    Hierarchies and holarchies
    Holons and clonons
    Handfuls of holons
    Alphabetic holarchies

    Space, time, movement, memory, and mind
    Holons and clonons in cycles
    Taking breaks
    Resetting the great count's arrow

    Galileo's free fall
    Arrows in property space
    Linked ups and downs
    Arrows in and out
    Arrows in possibility space

    Time's waterfalls
    Time's skins
    Sequencees of stages

  10. CYCLES
    Rounds in time
    Cycles propelling arrows
    Music of the cycles



Close your eyes
Breathe in
Breathe out
Breathe in

For the highest good
Breathe out
I am opening my mind
Breathe in
I am opening my heart
Breathe out
The blue/white light protects me
Breathe in
May the lifeforce be with me
Breathe out


Breathe in
Breathe out

I travel the distance
Breathe in
I travel from my old comfortable self
Breathe out
I travel to my new creative self
Breathe in
I travel to Castalia
Breathe out


Breathe in
Breathe out

I take along the visual of an object from my timespace
Breathe in
I take along this amulet so that I can find my way back
Breathe out
My amulet is my time beacon
Breathe in
My time beacon will bring me home
Breathe out


Breathe in
I move beyond the level of Form
Breathe out
Breathe in

I move beyond the level of Experience
Breathe out
Breathe in

I move beyond the level of Flow
Breathe out
Breathe in

I exist at the level of Myth
Breathe out


I am in touch with the
Now Moment
I am in touch with
Cosmic Mind
I have opened
the gate of timespace
the glass beads
as a creator

using the tools of the future!


Play in the higher dimensions.