Monday, October 24, 2005

Positive Feedback Loop

Nature may abhor a vacuum, but she also abhors positive feedback loops. Most biological reactions are set to monitor themselves. A reaction's product may inhibit the very enzyme which makes it. Negative feedback loops control most of the metabolic processes which run our bodies. On the other hand, positive feedback loops are self-perpetuating, never-ending; they throw the system off-balance, spiralling out of control and away from that ever-present goal, homeostasis. Consequently, they are much less common.

That being said, I have discovered a new positive feedback loop in nature. I may have to publish a journal article.

What is this loop, you ask? I'll tell you. It all started with a conversation between two persons engaged to marry one another. These two persons decided "it's time to think about setting a date" (after almost 2 years of engagement). This sparked a chain of phone calls to parents, friends, potential guests, and potential members of the bridal party, to let them know "we're thinking about setting a date in June." Even at this early stage of the pathway, the reaction is amplifying itself. Note that no official date has yet been set, yet the process has taken over. Phone calls led to internet searches for wedding dresses, photographers, sites to hold the wedding, the reception, and the rehearsal dinner; internet searches led to emails, not only between the bride-to-be and her mother, but also between Inns with Beautiful Views, places with Wedding Experience and Sumptious Food, and sites with trees and chipmunks. Emails led to further phone calls and considerations of the price of invitations, save-the-date cards, bouquets, boutonnieres, hiring a salsa dance instructor, and serving brunch versus dinner at the reception. Barely a week after deciding "to think about setting a date", the betrothed couple is immersed in making appointments for dress fittings, and picking a color theme for the wedding, and considering asking a good friend to officiate so as not to offend religious family members when they offer their own pastors.

Watch as this system spirals out of control, totally unchecked. Watch as the extremely modest budget for a very small ceremony and reception is stretched out of all reality. As the chain of phone calls expands into a vast web, and the email accounts of involved parties are filled, and infinite numbers of pictures of cozy bed-and-breakfasts and dark mountain cabins and lake/mountain views crowd the bride's brain, she realizes there are over 8 months left before this event will occur in which to totally lose her mind. Is it too late to elope?

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