George Spencer-Brown (1923–2016)

I received news last week that G. Spencer-Brown had passed away. Mostly known for his book, Laws of Form, Spencer-Brown was an esoteric figure. I first encountered him circa 2006, in relation to cybernetics — he influenced a number of cyberneticians including Heinz von Foerster. I have long suspected a deep connection between the LoF’s “Law of Calling: Form of Condensation” and “Law of Crossing: Form of Cancellation,” and the magical operations of evocation and invocation, respectively, though I have never made anything formal of it (perhaps one day). For anyone interested in reading more about the LoF, in additon to the Spencer-Brown’s own text I recommend:

  • Cybernetics & Human Knowing—Peirce and Spencer-Brown: History and Synergies in Cybersemiotics, Vol. 8, No. 1–2, 2001
  • various works by Louis H. Kauffman, including “Laws of Form: An Exploration in Mathematics and Foundations” and “Laws of Form and the Logic of Non-Duality”
  • “Chapter 12: Laws of Form” (pp. 89–96) in Prcoesses and Boundaries of the Mind: Extending the Limit Line by Yair Neuman
  • “Chapter 3: System and Form” (pp. 61—93) in Posthuman Metamorphosis: Narratives and Systems by Bruce Clarke

Leave a Reply