...changes in the media and techniques of communication are not marginal improvements. The system of society consists of communications. There are no other elements, no further substance but communications. The society is not built out of human bodies and minds. It is simply a network of communication. Therefore, if media and techniques of communication change, if the facilities and sensitivities of expression change, if codes change from oral to written communication, and, above all, if the capacities of reproduction and storage increase, new structures become possible, and eventually necessary, to cope with new complexities. However, these changes in communication have to be introduced by communication. There is nobody outside the system who could plan and direct it. The system evolves by self-reference. It can be managed and controlled only by parts of the same system, i.e., by itself. Observing and describing, planning and directing the system presupposes the system, and not only as object but also as subject of its own activities.


Niklas Luhmann, Modes of Communication and Society, p.100  in Essays on Self-reference, (1990), USA, Columbia UP.