© 2014 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston. Catastrophe is usually seen as something that befalls the organized, adaptive system from the outside, threatening its future existence. While some cyberneticians explicitly pathologized catastrophe, the French mathematician René Thom in the 1970s redefined catastrophe as a sudden unexpected turn that is generated from within the complex system. While “catastrophe theory” had a limited impact, unlike the broader notions of chaos theory and complexity theory that are now more familiar, I use this idea to turn back to the earlier twentieth century, to locate the ways in which catastrophic events were understood to be essential to the functioning of a complex unity. I trace in Kurt Goldstein’s The Organism (1934) the idea of “weak catastophe” and its relation to Georges Canguilhem’s ideas of pathology and norm in order to demonstrate that in fact, cybernetic-era theorists of the automatic machine were interested in developing what we might call a “pathology of the machine” that was influenced by organismic ideas of internal catastrophe.