One of the best explanations on Cybernetics by Dr. Paul Pangaro


I'm a lot of things, Mental Health Provider, Sociologist, Consultant, Educator but I'm also a budding Cyberneticist. For those that don't know it has nothing to do with the internet per se. And being a Cyberneticist has nothing to do with god damn call of duty. So what does Cybernetics have to do with anything and what does it especially have to do with Gun-Fighting?


My answer is simple: EVERYTHING. But the quintessential question you should be asking is:


What is Cybernetics?


The very word Cybernetic is a Greek word and when broken down it means to steer or steersman. It was the famous Plato in his work entitled Alcibiades which was a sort of intellectual sparring of the minds between two scholars (Plato and Socrates) regarding various academic topics and disciplines.


But in Platos work Alcibiades the term Cybernetics was used to refer to the study of governing oneself. Sometime after that the term Cybernetic popped up again this time within the works of the French physicist André-Marie Ampère" where we get the term "ampere" or "amp" used the term cybernétique" in reference to government And the classification of human knowledge.


There were many notable Cyberneticists such as Allen Touring. But as we fast forward to contemporary times we will mention Dr. Anthony Stafford Beer or Stafford Beer. He was a theoretical Cybernetician as well as a University Professor. We have to also must recognize a one Norbert Wiener Who again in 1948 brought Cybernetics to the forefront of the world. And expounded upon it [Cybernetics] in 1948 in his published work entitled:


“Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine".


It was this publication that put Cybernetics in the lime light. Lastly, I must say his name Dr. Paul Pangaro, because not to mention his name will be a sin of epic proportions.


But when it comes to articulating the discipline of Cybernetics it is my professional position that Dr. Paul Pangaro articulates in the most efficient manner. Whether it is of the First Order Cybernetics or Second Order Cybernetics so that people who are uninitiated are able to easily grasp the information and put it to immediate use.


According to the American Society for Cybernetics, Cybernetics can be defined as:


"develop(ment) (of) general theories of communication within complex systems. ... The abstract and often formal mathematical nature of its aim ... makes cybernetics applicable to any empirical domain in which processes of communication and their numerous correlates occur. Applications of cybernetics are widespread, notably In the computer and information sciences, in the natural and social sciences, in politics, education and management."


Now that we have acquired a brief history on the subject of Cybernetics and who were some of the most influential educators in the field of Cybernetics; let us now define and examine First and Second Order Cybernetics and how it pertains to Gun-Fighting.


First Order Cybernetics takes root in the premise that a system is a separate entity from the Observer and it is something to be studied by an Observer.


Second Order Cybernetics takes root in the premise that the system being observed and the Observer observing the system should be observed as one because they both cooperatively share positive and negative Feed-Back Loops.


The understanding of First and Second Order Cybernetics plays a vital role in Gun-Fighting because Cybernetics is used by the Gun-Fighter to steer, control, and manipulate variables within his or her environment or Area of Operation A.O.


The study of Cybernetics also aides the Gun-Fighter in understanding that everything is connected and everything is connected to the Gun-Fighter themselves. Although there are many topics in the field of Cybernetics I will highlight a few Cybernetic topics that are relative to the Gun-Fighter which are:


  • Variety

  • Entropy

  • Input/output (located within reading)

  • Positive Feed-Back  / Negative Feed-Back



The Gun-Fighter must understand that there are many different states that may be coexisting internally and externally to the social and Fight context that he must either recognize, be made swear of or already know. Even more than that the Gun-Fighter should know that there is an infinite variety of what Francis Heylighen and Cliff Joslyn in their work entitled: "Cybernetics and Second-Order Cybernetics" refer to as "possible states or actions".


Again, this is the underlying reason as to why we never take anyone especially bad guys for granted. You simply do not know what they are thinking. For many this may appear to be common sense; however, we are here to dig beneath the surface and seek to understand the "why" behind or in this case understand the "how".


Even more than that, the Gun-Fighter must also understand that while he or she is operating everything in their Area Operation will have a Positive and Negative effect on what they do and how they do it. These Positive and Negative effects are the Inputs and Outputs of the Fight or Flight response “system" that will naturally occur.


I should also be noted that within that Fight or Flight (system) there are a variety of Cybernetic Feed-Back Loops going on at the same time. Each Observer has their own Feed-Back Loop and the more Observers there are the more Feed-Back Loops that are running. What this means is that each Observer will have their own interpretation of what transpired before, during and after the Gun-Fight (system).


Their interpretations will be largely based off of the various social systems that they have encountered and currently exist in throughout their own lives. Due to no fault of their own, but see it as a way for any intelligent species to survive. So yes, the cliché of you being a product of your environment comes in the play here.



Another interesting dynamic topic that comes from physics is "Entropy". As a Sociologist I know Entropy as Anomie (coined by Sociologist Emile Durkheim). Entropy is the decay or the inability of a system to establish equilibrium through the successful transfer or conversion of Energy to Work.


This is important to know because all systems no matter Open or Closed (Closed Systems are considered high-risk) are always in a perpetual state of decay and run the risk of producing chaotic results. For the Gun-Fighter, he or she should tend to seek out the variables which could possibly serve as a catalyst or accelerate the rate of Entropy in the system or A.O. that they are operating in. While seeking out these variables, the Gun-Fighter is better able to perform risk assessments and or make a good judgment call to aid in the lessening the chance that they will have to deploy their weapon systems.


However, if the need to deploy a weapon system should arise, by being aware that a system is always in a state of Entropy the Gun-Fighter should be able to assess and properly address the source of conflict with the correct degree of "Force" or lethality. Additionally, while applying Force or engaging in lethal action(s) the Gun-Fighter should also be aware of the reciprocating Feed-Back Loops that will occur. Remember for a Loop to occur there MUST be both Inputs and Outputs of either Positive and or Negative Feed-Back Loops.



Just as there are Negative and positive Feed-Back Loops there are Negative and Positive Feed-Forward Loops. Feed-Forward Loops occur when Observers and elements within a system become "proactive" in an attempt to correct potential errors before they become errors within the system. The best way to think of this is to think of Feed-Forwarding as an "assault". Remember, the goal of anything with intelligence is self preservation.


Hence, the Gun-Fighter possesses this same essential element of survival. When faced with life and death situations it is in the Gun-Fighter best interest to Feed-Forward or become proactive. The notion of the "prey becoming the predator" comes to mind. What we are looking to accomplish when we Feed-Forward is to cause a disruption in the O.O.D.A. Loop of our aggressor. In doing so it is then when we as Gun-Fighters can "interject" our "will" onto our aggressor, thus putting them on the "defensive".


This is important to understand because for the Gun-Fighter there is a fine line between Self-Defense (SD) and "Force-on-Force" or F.O.F.. For when we examine Force-on-Force we are simply examining the differences between two motives. Think of it in these two terms:


Self-Defense = Passive

Force-on-Force = Active


Cyberneticly, the differences between the two is that SD is passive in that it allows the Gun-Fighter to operate independently and observe the variables within his or her environment which are out of their control. Force-on-Force is active in that it allows the Gun-Fighter to actively seek out and control the variables within his or her environment.


Granted under the LAW OF THE LAND, we have to wait for something to occur that warrants the use of lethal force. However, it is ones unregulated thoughts and motivations that distinguish S.D. from F.O.F.. It is the "gray area" that we are talking about here.


Positive & Negative Feed-Back

Positive Feed-Back when summed up into one word could be understood as "encouragement". Negative Feed-Back in contrast when summed up into one word could be understood as "correction". This is relevant to the Gun-Fighter in that it allows the Gun-Fighter insight into what works and what doesn't.


Now the thing about Feed-Back Loops whether it be Positive or Negative is that it doesn't provide information on the motivation behind the actions being carried out.  It is simply a matter of plainly looking at the actions for what they are and not looking more into it other than that.  With that said, Positive Feed-Back is NOT always the ideal Feed-Back Loop to seek out for many of the times it leads to complacency.



Negative Feed-Back in contrast like Positive Feed-Back is NOT always the best form of Feed-Back to seek out either because it can possibly lead to "over-correction". We all currently know (or at least should), over-correction can become self-defeating. And that simply boils down to inefficiencies and if it persists it will ultimately lead to counter-productivity.


This is not meant to be a cumulative article on Cybernetics, as it was written to shed some light into the some of the Logic that is espoused here at VODA and elsewhere around the world. Cybernetics is a very broad and dynamics transdisciplinary discipline that requires not only an open mind but a mind capable of independent thought.


Even more than that, Cybernetics aids in the understanding of the relationship between communications between two or more variables. What this means for the Gun-Fighter is that he or she though the use of Cybernetics should be able to obtain a deeper understanding or at the very least an alternative understanding regarding the mechanics that occur as they operate.


Remember O.O.D.A. & M.A.R.S.











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