Heinz von Foerster Festschrift

Perplexity

I first met Heinz at Harvey Horowitz's house one evening in the mid 1980's. He wasn't what I expected. I drove home in a state of consuming perplexity about what ("an idea should be a sculpture!") he'd said, who (scientist? philosopher? magician?) he might be, and what (????) he might mean to me. At home I watched the final quater of Monday Night Football, then found I could not sleep.

The next evening I went to see him lecture. He gave his lecture on perception and the "double blind."

Once more, I returned home. Once more I could not sleep.

I had fallen under the spell of a profound insomnia—8 or 9 days with no sleep at all.

When I awoke from my insomnia, I felt that I had aquired a dimension—not in the characterological sense, but in the old-fashioned geometric sense. I felt another plane was intersecting with the others.

Furthermore, I opened my eyes from the sleep of sleeplessness into paradoxical blindness: the visual field of both eyes was replaced by rings of shifting geometric figures. I stumbled around. Technicolor shapes unfolded for half a day like abstract origamis being slowly and ceremoniously undone.

While I could blame it all on stress from househunting and from a tenure review, or on something I ate, I prefer to accuse Heinz of being the perpetrator of these baffling and ultimately benevolent afflictions.

Frank Galuszka

Heinz von Foerster Festschrift