In Bateson and Luhmann’s terms, communication is an emergent reality, a sui generis state of affairs that fluctuates between purposes of structuration and trivialization and autopoietic tendencies. The model of multiple selections-operations (information, act of communication, act of understanding, act of endorsement-rejection) may help us in the task of understanding the fact that the goal of communication is not transmission but the absorption of uncertainty, via production of redundancy and reduction of excess, in order to produce more communication. The system of communication has its own goal: reproduction. The absorption helps and facilitates this.
Despite being a normal feature of many modern buildings, corridors did not become common until the late-17th century, and were only first used widely in the 19th century. Prior to the use of corridors as a means of circulation, people would simply flow from one room into the next.
The preoccupation with balance belongs to an older form of society–one based on hierarchy and centralized control. Autopoietic systems never reach a condition of equilibrium. There is never balance between system and environment, but systems can still be relatively stable over the long term. Stable systems do not need to be in equilibrium. A physical structure like a table can be balanced, but living, evolving systems cannot be balanced.
The central figures in the discovery of “child abuse” were pediatric radiologists, whose research reports, published in a variety of professional journals for over a decade and a half, demonstrates an increasing willingness to “see” and define child abuse as a distinct medical entity. Why pediatric radiologists? Why not emergency room physicians, who frequently saw injured children, or surgeons or internists who treated their injuries?
Spencer was wrong. There can never be a science of science because there be can be no single, unifying observation–or an observation without a blind spot. All observations are partial, and they all reduce the complexity of whatever they are supposed to be observing. All we can ever have is a plurality of partial knowledges, and these ways of seeing can not be harmonized.
Disability is, of course, one side of the dis/ability distinction, and this distinction is made by some system. It’s not a thing that exists outside of communication. That is to say, it’s a social construction. The bodies or brains that are to be disabled exist in the environment of society, the environment of communication. We must observe the observer.