Class 1: Milling

Milling around person-to-person is all well and good but the answers don’t really come until you’re forced to sit and take that person’s hands in your own and recognize the power in that person. There is an infinite amount of wisdom and experience in each person, behind the facade of socially-constructed solitude and closedness. When it’s a matter of finding kindred spirits who are just as motivated and energized to change things in the current system.

The current system is, of course, one of a broken feedback mechanism. Living systems theory is based on the assumption that each and every interaction and relationship occurs within a self-regulating system of inputs and their associated outputs. In a normally-performing living system, there are two individual feedback mechanisms which serve to regulate and stabilize the system. These two feedback cycles are either “balancing” or “reinforcing.”

A balancing feedback loop is one that will recognize when some aspect is above and beyond its productive level. Some outside factor will intervene and insert itself to lower the level of the outperforming variable, to re-stabilize the levels of system inputs. The second feedback is a reinforcing one, that utilizes certain inputs that best benefit the system when continuously above their normal levels. In this case, some input will be introduced to stimulate the beneficial one.

After learning the difference between these two feedback mechanisms, it’s easy to understand why the significant absence in today’s culture and profit-driving society is that of the balancing feedback regulation. There is solely a reinforcing one, that keeps the incessant need for consumption and overconsumption alive and well.

The hope is that there are enough concerned people in the world who are dismayed about the current state of things to change and inform those around them. The best thing is to work cooperatively, realizing the inherent strength and power within each individual – sometimes by stopping the milling around to hold someone’s hands in your own…

– Trisha C.

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