The circulation of steam in the steampipes of a factory is an unquestioned precondition of the factory's operation. However, the workers in a factory hardly give a moment's thought to the circulation of the steam. Their attention is completely concentrated on their work. The energy engendered by the steam is "not everything" in the factory. There are other important interests, e.g., the manufacture of machines and similar things. Let us imagine that all of a sudden one or more steam valves became clogged. The flow of energy engendered by the steam would cease immediately. The pistons would stop; the wheels would no longer turn; work would be out of the question. All the workers would have to direct their attention with dispatch to the obstructed flow of steam in the pipes. All thinking would be centered on one question: how a regulated circulation of steam could be reestablished in the quickest way. Let us further imagine that some workers began to argue about this situation as follows: "This confounded theory of heat exaggerates the role of steam. Sure, it's true that steam is necessary, but it's far from being everything in this factory. Don't you see that there are other things to worry about? What about the economy?" In a breakdown like the one described, these "brainstorms" would merely be laughed at, and one would quickly attempt to eliminate the basic disturbance in the circulation of the steam before turning one's thoughts to "other things." It would serve no purpose to consider the interests of economy when the steam valves are clogged.

Reich's biosocial mechanism of society