The British management scientist Stafford Beer occasionally used to begin lectures by describing a horrible experiment he had witnessed in a medical laboratory, in which neuroscientists cut the connection between the cerebrum of a cat and the rest of its brain. The animal lived the remainder of its short life in a peculiar state of dysfunction—it could walk, eat food that was placed in front of it, and even clean itself, but it was no longer capable of purposive action. It could survive only in an unchanging environment; it could no longer respond to unanticipated stimuli.

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