Alienation will be viewed as a generic term for different kinds of information‐processing problems in human individuals, viewed as autopoietic, variable‐boundary systems. Applying general systems theory (GST), especially second‐order cybernetics, to alienation theory not only results in a reconceptualisation and increased mutual comparability of existing (e.g. Marxist and psychoanalytic) theories of alienation, but also presents a rationale for subsuming several typical, modern, “information‐overload” problems in Western societies under the rubric of alienation theory. Such problems include those of selection and scanning, assimilation, flexibility, overchoice, and self‐realisation or self‐actualisation — problems which typically occur in complex and fast‐changing environments.
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