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The Data Rate Theorem that establishes a formal linkage between real-time linear control theory and information theory carries deep implications for the study of embodied cognition and its dysfunctions across human, machine, and composite man-machine cockpit entities. The stabilization of such cognition is a dynamic process deeply intertwined with it, constituting, in a sense, the riverbanks directing the flow of a stream of generalized consciousness. The fundamental role of culture in human life has long been understood. Here we argue that, not only is culture, in the words of the evolutionary anthropologist Robert Boyd, 'as much a part of human biology as the enamel on our teeth', but that it is an important part of the disorders of embodied cognition that different communities socially construct as mental illness. A shift in perspective on such illness is badly needed, from naive geneticism and a simplistic 'biomarker' focus to a broad cognitive theory that recognizes the central roles of culture, socioeconomic structure, their histories and their dynamics, in human development. Unfortunately, stabilizing analogs to cultural influence are unavailable to high-order real-time machine and cockpit systems that, increasingly, will be tasked with control of critical enterprises ranging from communication, power, and travel networks to nuclear and chemical reactors, organized deadly force, and so on.