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Stefan Odobleja
Precursor of cybernetics  
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Stefan Odobleja Photo

Stefan Odobleja, the creator of psycho cybernetics and the father of generalized cybernetics was born on the 13'th of October 1902 in the house of some poor and illiterate peasants from Izvorul Anestilor - Mehedinti. He attended the Faculty of Medicine in Bucharest and became a physician, practising as a military doctor in many cities of Romania, including Bucharest, Dej, Drobeta Turnu-Severin, Lugoj and Targovişte.

Endowed with an uncommon capacity of work and with an astonishing spirit of inventivity, Stefan Odobleja dedicated the greatest part of his life to the problems of knowledge in general, to the knowing of human nature, especially. Despite the vicissitudes that the unfair fate gave to him, this great scientist of Romania, and the world, left an impressive work to the posterity. This work was comprised in about 50.000 pages, but only 15.000 were published.

Stefan Odobleja "Psyhologie consonantist"

His most important creation, "Psychologie consonantiste" appeared in two volumes from the French prestigious publishing house Librairie Maloine in 1938-1939.The work had almost 900 pages and more than 300 drawings and was about the theoretical foundations of the generalized cybernetics.The author considers that “this book is rather a table of contents, an index or a dictionary of psychology, a general plane for a great Treatise of Psychology that should contain 20-30 volumes.” This fact confirms us the proportions of the work at whose achievement the bold personality of Stefan Odobleja engaged himself.

The cybernetic model, beginning from observations, intuition and rationality, created by Odobleja in 1938-1939, but used (as we know) ten years later, in the American literature by Norbert Wiener, was used and applied in many scientific fields.

The appearance of this pioneer work in the domain of cybernetics drew the attention of scientists through only two published reviews. The first was published in a Romanian magazine "Spirit military modern", in 1939, and the second in the well-known American magazine “Psychological Abstracts” in January, 1941, written by S.M. Strong. It is also to be noticed that the author himself – Stefan Odobleja – has diffused the prospect by which he announced the participants at the International of Military Medicine about the appearance of this paper “Psychologie consonantiste”. That Congress took place at Bucharest between 8- June, 12th, 1939. At this Congress also participated a delegation of the Military Navy of USA, lead by Dr. W.S. Bainbridge who invited Odobleja to visit USA.

But the Second World War caused difficulties for Odobleja to leave Romania and also stopped "Psychologie consonantiste" to receive its deserved recognition in the world’s greatest scientific centers, to whom the author already started to send copies (almost 120 copies were sent to university and medical libraries in Rome, Neapole, Bologna, Lisboan, Madrid, Copenhagen, London, Stockholm, Athens, Bruxels, Haga, Amsterdam, Cairo, Calcutta, Bombay, Tokyo, Pekin, Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Mexico, Boston, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and others).

After the war Odobleja isolated himself from the world and started to work on a new Logic, different from the traditional one, aristotelic, or the modern one, mathematic.

In 1966 he moves back to Turnu Severin where he finds Norbert Wiener’s book “Cybernetics” and becomes intrigued with the similarities to his own "Psychologie consonantiste". From this moment Odobleja started to wonder who had the priority of discovering cybernetics, given that Wiener’s book had been published in 1948 ten years later after his and was translated in Romania, in 1966, two years after the authors death. Consequently, Odobleja launched some pertinent arguments about the way his rough manuscript could have got in the hands of Wiener. In 1938 he had send 5 copies to Dr. W.S. Bainbridge, who met Wiener when the USA Military Navy ordered the Technological Institute in Massachusetts, where Wiener was a member, to build devices for the anti-air raid cannons from battle ships.

Beginning with 1972, when he read Norbert Wiener's autobiography, Stefan Odobleja devoted his time to prove that the origin of cybernetics is in psychology. He published a special creation named "The consonantist psychology and cybernetics". He died on the September, 4th, 1978 in misery.

Out of the Romanian forerunners of cybernetics (ex: Daniel Danielopolu, Paul Postelnicu), Stefan Odobleja is - undoubtedly - the most important. A European recognition of his indisputable contribution to the foundation of cybernetics took place 20 years ago. At that time his paper, entitled "Diversity and Unit in Cybernetics" was of a very successful. This paper was defended at the 4th Congress of Cybernetics and Systems, at Amsterdam, 21-25 August 1978 by Stefan Odobleja's emissary, engineer Stelian Bajureanu. This was his most enthusiastic admirer. Being ill, Stefan Odobleja could not be present that very important scientific manifestation. In Romania, doctor Stefan Odobleja's merits as a Romanian scientist's at the foundation of the generalized cybernetics were well - known at the academic level, at the same time with the publication of two collective works. These works are: "Romanian Forerunners of Cybernetics", published in 1979 and "Odobleja between Ampere and Wiener", published in 1981. The former work has a Preface also translated into English that is signed by Mihai Draganescu and the latter being entirely printed in English. The Romanian also known on an international plane has dedicated themselves, with a great consideration and competence, the work of this pioneer of cybernetics, who was Stefan Odobleja.

His work was better appreciated after his death - in 1982 began the establishment of Stefan Odobleja General Cybernetics Academy and the participants (from Romania and from foreign countries) decided to establish such an Academy in Switzerland too.

Since his time, mainly due to Odobleja's influence, cybernetics has become increasingly important in Romania. One of the largest Romanian state universities, Academia de Studii Economice Bucureşti, has a Cybernetics department.

As an appreciation for his entire work of mapping the unknown territory of the consonantist psychology, cybernetics and generalized cybernetics, Ştefan Odobleja was elected posthumously an honorary member of the Romanian Academy (1990).

His true value was discussed and recognized all over the world with appreciations like:"You have a golden man, he deserves a golden statue".

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