Quotes by Heinz von Foerster

Everything that is said is said by an observer.
Something that cannot be explained cannot be seen.
The world, as we perceive it, is our own invention.
Should one name one central concept, a first principle, of cybernetics, it would be circularity.
What we need now is the description of the “describer” or, in other words, we need a theory of the observer.
First-order cybernetics is the science of observed systems; Second-order cybernetics is the science of observing systems.
Hard sciences are successful because they deal with the soft problems; soft sciences are struggling because they deal with the hard problems.
Objectivity is a subject's delusion that observing can be done without him. Involving objectivity is abrogating responsibility – hence its popularity.
I don't know where my expertise is; my expertise is no disciplines. I would recommend to drop disciplinarity wherever one can. Disciplines are an outgrowth of academia. In academia you appoint somebody and then in order to give him a name he must be a historian, a physicist, a chemist, a biologist, a biophysicist; he has to have a name. Here is a human being: Joe Smith -- he suddenly has a label around the neck: biophysicist. Now he has to live up to that label and push away everything that is not biophysics; otherwise people will doubt that he is a biophysicist. If he's talking to somebody about astronomy, they will say "I don't know, you are not talking about your area of competence, you're talking about astronomy, and there is the department of astronomy, those are the people over there," and things of that sort. Disciplines are an aftereffect of the institutional situation.
It seems that cybernetics is many different things to many different people. But this is because of the richness of its conceptual base; and I believe that this is very good, otherwise cybernetics would become a somewhat boring exercise. However, all of those perspectives arise from one central theme; that of circularity. When, perhaps a half century ago, the fecundity of this concept was seen, it was sheer euphoria to philosophize, epistemologize, and theorize about its unifying power and its consequences and rami?cation on various ?elds. While this was going on, something strange evolved among the philosophers, the epistemologists and, the theoreticians. They began to see themselves more and more as being included in a larger circularity; maybe within the circularity of their family; or that of their society and culture; or even being included in a circularity of cosmic proportions!