THE SECOND CYBERNETICS Deviation-Amplifying Mutual Causal Processes[PDF] THE SECOND CYBERNETICS Deviation-Amplifying Mutual Causal Processes | Semantic Scholar
THE SECOND CYBERNETICS Deviation-Amplifying Mutual Causal Processes
- Magoroh Maruyama
- Published 1963
Since its inception, cybernetics was more or less identified as a science of self-regulating and equilibrating systems. Thermostats, physiological regulation of body temperature, automatic steering devices, economic and political processes were studied under a general mathematical model of deviation-counteracting feedback networks. By focusing on the deviation-counteracting aspect of the mutual causal relationships however, the cyberneticians paid less attention to the systems in which the mutual causal effects are deviation-amplifying. Such systems are ubiquitous: accumulation of capital in industry, evolution of living organisms, the rise of cultures of various types, interpersonal processes which produce menial illness, international conflicts, and the processes that are loosely termed as “vicious circles” and “compound interests”; in short, all processes of mutual causal relationships that amplify an insignificant or accidental initial kick, build up deviation and diverge from the initial condition. In contrast to the progress in the study of equilibrating systems, the deviation-amplifying systems have not been given as much investment of time and energy by the mathematical scientists on the one hand, and understanding and practical application on the part of geneticists, ecologists, politicians and psychotherapists on the other hand. The deviation-counteracting mutual causal systems and the deviation-amplifying mutual causal systems may appear to be opposite types of systems. But they have one essential feature in common: they are both mutual causal systems, i.e., the elements within a system influence each other either simultaneously or alternatingly. The difference between the two types of systems is that the deviation-counteracting system has mutual negative feedbacks between the elements in it while the deviationamplifying system has mutual positive feedbacks between the elements in it.