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June 1, 2010

Just a thought : is running amok strictly an individual feedback runaway? Or is it a social one? More importantly : is it possible when talking about feedback in a system, runaway and homeostatic equilibrium to clearly separate the individual from the social? Case study: Falling Down (1993).

It is quite possible for this world to be destroyed by human folly. We used to think at once of nuclear war, but that is only one edge of a many-sided emer- gency in which human damage to the earth can come back on us. The perils manifest in many forms: proliferation of weapons, nationalisms, racisms, destruc- tion of animal and plant habitats, of soil, air, water, cities. Yet there is a pattern that connects them. These individual symptoms interlock to form a very big runaway system, which is the enactment of our own presuppositions, the underlying habits of thought that are deeply embedded in our everyday life as what we call ‘common sense.’

– NACHMANOVITCH, Stephen (1981). “Old Men Ought to be Explorers” [PDF]

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