Why the arts need cybernetics for our long‐term viability

Gary Boyd (deceased) (Department of Education, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada)


ISSN: 0368-492X

Publication date: 9 August 2011



The purpose of this paper is to encourage critics and artists to make use of a cybersystemic perspective in their work to improve its potency and long‐term value to humankind and the larger living world. The arts are centrally involved in the competitive propagation of our deep cultural identities and involved also in the marketing needed to ensure our biological identity propagation. We need better ways to formatively evaluate the arts so that requisite life‐enhancing control variety can be universally available. Unfortunately, the arts are not widely enough understood to be the crucial system steering activities that they are, for us to realize the immense visionary guiding benefits they can offer for solving the very serious global problems of the twenty‐first century.


This is a conceptual paper that proposes a methodology to enable critics and artists to make use of a cybersystemic perspective in their work.


Transformative re‐education of artists and critics to develop cybersystemic leveraging of their own work is now possible by deploying via the web: systemic modeling, simulations, and educative dramatic role‐play games together with learning conversations. The essential content in education for human long‐term viability has to do with how complex system steering really works and precisely how the arts play such a central role in it all.


Education which specifically demonstrates how cybersystemic viability principles such as: good closings, balancing loops, requisite variety, requisite heterarchy, and multi‐level learning conversations work can be used by artists and critics to steer human activity better and so can be a big part of the solution to the severe threats that the world is now experiencing.



Boyd, G. (2011), "Why the arts need cybernetics for our long‐term viability", Kybernetes, Vol. 40 No. 7/8, pp. 976-983. https://doi.org/10.1108/03684921111160205

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