Glanville R. & Varela F. J.
“Your inside is out and your outside is in” (Beatles 1968)
Cite as: Glanville R. & Varela F. J. (1981) “Your inside is out and your outside is in” (Beatles 1968). In: Lasker G. E. (ed.) Applied Systems and Cybernetics: Proceedings of the International Congress on Applied Systems Research and Cybernetics, Volume 2. Pergamon, New York: 638–641. Available at
Abstract: This paper examines the grounding of George Spencer Brown’s notion of a distinction, particularly the ultimate distinctions in intension (the elementary) and extension (the universal), It discusses the consequent notions of inside and outside, and discovers that they are apparent, the consequence of the difference between the self and the external observer. The necessity for the constant redrawing of the distinction is shown to create “things”. The form of all things is identical and continuous. This is reflected in the distinction’s similarity to the Möbius strip rather than the circle. There is no inside, no outside except through the notion of the external observer. At the extremes, the edges dissolve. The elementary and.the universal thus re-enter each other. “Your inside is out and your outside is in.”
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