The Monkey’s Prose – Cybernetic Explanation: | Systems Community of Inquiry

Imagine that you are on your daily walk in the park. You see a monkey on a park bench, busily typing away. You become curious as to what is happening. You slowly approach him from behind, and try to see what is being typed on the paper. Strange enough, what you see typed on the paper so far is legible prose; complete with grammar and semantics. What could be an explanation for this phenomenon? This example was given by the great anthropologist cybernetician, Gregory Bateson. He used the example to explain “cybernetic explanation”, as he termed it. He said: Causal explanation is usually positive. We say that billiard ball B moved in such and such a direction because billiard ball A hit it at such and such an angle. In contrast to this, cybernetic explanation is always negative… In cybernetic language, the course of events is said to be subject…

The Monkey’s Prose – Cybernetic Explanation: | Systems Community of Inquiry