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Sequences of Feedback

SERIES: Positive Feedback
AUTHOR: Jim Schofield


This is not a single paper, but a series of five covering a period of time that commenced some four years ago, and containing an important set of processes, which can deliver productions as far apart as the Radical Creation of the entirely New, all the way to playing a crucial role in the maintenance of a Stable Overall Situation or Level.

Clearly, such a range of possibilities for what appeared to be a single process, demanded a through-going analysis, which, for this author, reached a recent climax in his Theory of Emergences (2010).

In this particular set, however, are much earlier technical considerations involving the conception of Positive Feedback all the way from the simply comprehended Avalanche, to integral parts of systems such as those involved in Living Organisms (Metabolic Pathways)

There is, of course, a much broader area of feedback than the above definition, and elsewhere it has been shown that both Positive and Negative feedbacks are different manifestations by natural transformations of a single set of circumstances, where one can be transformed directly into the other.

But here, we are concentrating upon a more limited, yet considerably more important, remit:-

to equip ourselves to tackle the clearly alternate episodes of Emergence and Stability in all overall processes of Development.

Positive Feedback in Stability and Emergences
is a succinct description of the range of roles involved.

The Nature of Processes is a wider look at all forms of Feedback, and outlines their roles in everything from the Second Law of Thermodynamics to Emergences.

Then Moderated Positive Feedback looks at the basic elements involved in that process, and particularly at how it can be changed from an unchecked avalanche to a controlled Phase in a bigger system.

Preparatory to their confident inclusion in Emergences, the inter-relation of separate feedback processes is carefully considered in Sequences of Feedback, which plots a path to their ultimate integration into the Metabolic Pathways of Life itself.

Finally, the necessary wherewithall for the construction of a simulation/animation model of positive feedback is included in Modelling Positive Feedback, which though by no means comprehensive, should be sufficient to guide the initial attempt at the creation of such a necessary and revealing demonstration.

This is not a comprehensive collection (that would certainly require a very much-expanded publication, which would require a very different location and a much longer involvement by the author. But, several possible following developments have been outlined, and they will, if they prove both appropriate and useful, be also aired here on SHAPE Journal.


1.The crucial feature of some kinds of positive feedback is that they are not merely transitory blips upon a constant stable background, but actually transform that background into something significantly different.

2.The situation becomes revolutionary when sequences of positive feedback processes occur, which radically alter the situation, so that a wholly new and qualitatively transformed context emerges.

3.Simple diagrammatic means are employed to illustrate such sequences of processes.

4.But, at every stage the attempts at a viable model show evident weaknesses, and a defining diagram of a standard positive feedback avalanche is introduced to help the objective along.

5.A further set of diagrams of such sequences including Resources, Agents and Products and their inter-relations is next included.

6.Finally, we are able to list the possible outcomes of such processes depending upon the changing enclosing context.

7.The possible construction of an animation to illustrate the sequences of positive feedbacks required to precipitate a major change is defined

8.Then the actually existing Metabolic Pathways of Life are illustrated by a fairly comprehensive diagram, which clearly shows the sequencing, cycles, external resources and generated products all facilitated by necessary catalysts and inhibitors...

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