Representation is a concept we find at the intersection of cybernetics, epistemology, logic, mathematics, politics, and psychology both cognitive and clinical. In my studies it led me from math to psych and back again, with sidelong glances at the history of democratic governance. Its time come round again, here’s a bit I wrote on that:
Plato • Alcibiades • 135 A
Statistics were originally the data a ship of state needed for stationkeeping and staying on course. The Founders of the United States, like the Cybernauts of the Enlightenment they were, engineered a ship of state with checks and ballasts and error-controlled feedbacks to achieve the bicameral purpose of representing both reality and the will of the people. And Max Weber understood a state’s accounting systems were intended as representations of realities its crew and passengers must observe or perish.
The question for today is —
- What are the forces distorting our representations of what’s observed, what’s expected, and what’s intended?