Readings Week 1

Donella Meadows, Dancing With Systems




I found this article to be very engaging. My favorite sections were those about the Feedback Loops and Jimmy Carter’s proposals, and the ones about the importance of information, and of intrinsic responsibility. Coming from a very different culture, it seems to me odd how accountable corporations seem to be for things that shouldn’t concern them. It made me reflect on the US’s roots as a colony and the challenges it faced in amalgamating and accommodating many different cultures. From a political standpoint, it drew heavily on English and French values, but this was in equal parts advantageous as it is limiting. While it did allow the country to hastily set up a hierarchic system, its inorganic quality is evident due to certain loopholes that give far too much power to the ruling class, and yet simultaneously far too much power to the masses. The fact that Congress can legislate laws it is exempt from is a perfect example of this, as is the entire concept of lobbying. This in the past allowed for the government to quickly and effectively pass legislation, but now is being used by the corrupt to hoard more and more power to themselves.


Steven Johnson, Emergence




This article was also very interesting. I really enjoyed reading about how the advancement in one unrelated field aided in advancing others. The idea of the bottom-up system of hierarchy strongly reminded me of the term “holon” coined in Arthur Koestler’s “The Ghost in the Machine”. Holons formed to create a “holarchy”- a hierarchy composed of what is equal parts whole and part of a whole. Both this reading and that book made me reflect often on the structural qualities of this world, how hierarchy plays an essential role in our society, in nature and outside of it.

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