This article is about the sociological theory. For the novel, see Deus Ex: Icarus Effect.
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Icarus, the figure from Greek mythology who flew too close to the sun.

The Icarus Effect is a sociological construct relating to how society naturally controls its rate of evolution and advancement. The theory was initially proposed in 2019 by Doctor Malcolm Bonner of the University of Texas. The general idea of the theory is that any renegades in society whose abilities greatly exceed the average are a threat to the stability of the species. Thus these renegades, like Icarus who dared use technology to allow him to fly, figuratively "fly too close to the sun" and are eliminated. This allows stability to return as the species does not advance too rapidly.

Although the Icarus Effect plays out naturally in society, the Illuminati take it upon themselves to artificially induce it when it suits them. Their goal is to ensure that advances, particularly technological ones, do not develop too quickly and escape from their control. An example of the Illuminati employing the Icarus Effect is their attempt to control and restrict mechanical augmentations. They use tools such as the Tyrants to eliminate or silence those who support the unregulated advancement of augmentation technology. In this way, they create a bias towards having the technology restricted - thus keeping its rate of advancement under their control.

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