To become or not to become. LO24065

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 02/25/00

Replying to LO23986 --

Dear Organlearners,

Greetings to all of you becoming-beings.

In LO23954 we studied two mathematical expressions. They were
        P(1)xV(1) = P(2)xV(2) = .... = constant
        [P(2) - P(1)] x /_\V > 0

The first expression symbolises Boyle' law. (I explained in LO23921 how
its symbolism works.) It was first formulated 340 years ago in 1660. The
second expression never even got to the stage of having a name attached to
it. (I explained in LO23954 and LO23986 how its symbolism works.) It was
not given the attention it deserved until well after 1947 when Ilya
Prigogine made a remarkable distinction with respect to the change (/_\)
in entropy (S) of any system.

What was this distinction? Before we have a quick look at it, let us
remind ourselves what mathematics is about. It seems that in LO23887,
LO23921, LO23954 and LO23986 I dared to confront you with mathematics,
thus making life very unpleasant for some of you fellow learners. I argued
that it is indeed a confrontation (a mental abuse) when I do not present
the mathematics in context, but as pure mathematics. Thus I carefully
prepared a context (desert, tyre, me) which had to serve as content from
which I could form the pure mathematics which we will be needing from time
to time.

It may also seem as if I did it all merely to justify my usage of pure
mathematics. However, I stressed that it is not your learning of
mathematics which I have at heart, but the spiritual healing of each of
us. In order to get healed, we have to stop avoiding that which hurts us
and rather come to peace with it. That is the principal reason why I did
not avoid mathematics in this topic. (We later return to this issue of
peace in this topic.) One of the benefits of a healed spirituality is that
we can adapt much better to our environment. How? The healing involves an
emergence which enables us to digest that which previously would have
digested us!

The "pure/context" issue of mathematics is but an example of something
going much deeper and wider. Think, for example, of management (or even
psychology or theology). Now try to conceptualise the difference between
"pure management" and "management in context". How much hurt has "pure
management" caused each of us? How much do managers struggle with the
"they/we" syndrome in relation to their subordinates? How much do people
in organisations suffer with with the kind of behaviour
"management-is-not-my-style" of its members?

In LO23921 I did a rather shocking thing by comparing the "application" of
a "pure discipline" to meiosis (sexual production of a novel cell) and the
"exersize" of a "contextual discipline" to mitosis (asexual reproduction
of cells). Meiosis requires two complementary gametes (male and female
"half" cells) to produce the sigote (first "full" cell of the new
specimen). Likewise the application of a "pure discipline" (think of it as
the male gamete) WILL ONLY succeed when the applicant (think of it as the
female gamete) has been SUFFICIENTLY PREPARED. Not only must half of its
DNA be removed, but also must it be imbedded in a nourishing receptable
like the carpel of a flower or the womb of a mammal. The reason is that
once the sigote has been formed, it will depend on mitosis and mitosis
alone for the rest of its life to develop in a mature organism consisting
of millions of cells.

It is very important to see the ratio here -- ONE initial meiosis followed
by MILLIONS of mitosis. It is also very important to see which comes
first. Mitosis happened very early in the evolution of life when
multicellular organisms began to evolve from unicellular organisms
(bacteria). Meiosis came millions of years later to the scene when some
multicellular organisms began to reproduce sexually so as to increase
diversity among them. This means that should the correspondence between
meiosis<=>mitosis and pure<=>context hold, we would have to excercise a
discipline far more contextually and refrain as much as possible to apply
the discipline purely.

It took me four long contributions (LO23887, LO23921, LO23954 and LO23986)
of mitosis to get to this contribution which I began with a meiosis.
(Study their form to make sure of it.) The ratio of 4::1 is still far to
small to make this topic of becoming effective for all of you. Perhaps
another hundred or thousand mitotic contributions are needed.
Nevertheless, I think that I have done enough to make my point.

See how this contribution begins after the introduction "Dear
Organlearners, Greetings to all of you becoming-beings." It immediately
presents some pure mathematics to you -- two symbolic expressions. Were it
not for those 4 contributions, the mathematical beginning of this one
could be characterised by that abusive phrase "wham bam thank you mam".

The same can happen when you want to facilitate or manage your
organisation to emerge into a LO. You have to prepare your organisation
sufficiently before you present the art of the LO to them. To rush in with
pure management by claiming something like "the best thing for you to do
is to become a LO" is like "wham bam thank you mam".

The reason why people so frequently resort to applying a pure discipline
is because it seems to be such a time saver -- short and sweet, no
"foreknow" and no "foreplay". Present the idea as the one (male) gamete
which has to fuse meiotically with the mind of the learner as the other
(female) gamete. Then simply wait for the zillions of mitotic
reproductions so that a magnificent, muture specimen can grow out of it.
Dear fellow learners, it will not happen unless you have provided for it
at least a nourishing receptacle. This nourishing recaptacle is nothing
else than the Learning Organisation!

Now let us do an experiment. In my Primer on Entropy I carefully provided
the context in which Prigogine's distinction in 1947 can be understood. In
that Primer I followed a mitotic pathway which horrifies "pure
discipliniarists" who want the "wham bam thank you mam" of "entropy
production". I will now follow the meiotic pathway so as to present his
distinction short and sweet to you. Just follow each instruction in the
lines below and do not worry at all about the subsequent mitotic
ramifications of his distinction. The goal of this experiment is to see
whether this pathway makes some sense to you as someone who previously
avoide the art of mathematics.

Begin experiment:

Prigogine's distinction involves the "=" and ">" relationships in the
change of the entropy of a system as follows. Let /_\ symbolise change and
let S symbolise the entropy. (Merely think of entropy as some property of
any system like mass, energy or temperature are properties of it.) Let any
property of the system be marked by (sys) and any property of its
surroundings or environment (also a system) be marked by (sur). Let the
total change be marked by (tot), reversible by (rev) and irreversible by

Let Prigogine's distinction be symbolised for the system by
        /_\(tot)S(sys) = /_\(irr)S(sys) + /_\(rev)S(sys)
and for the surroundings by
        /_\(tot)S(sur) = /_\(irr)S(sur) + /_\(rev)S(sur)
It says that the total change in entropy (left side) is made up of
two parts (right side), an irrreversible part and a reversible part.

For the irreversible part we have
        /_\(irr)S(sys) > 0
        /_\(irr)S(sur) > 0
It means that there is a persisting production of entropy in the
system as well as a persisting production in the surroundings.
Each of the system and the surroundings acts in its own right
and thus requires its own order relationship ">" of becoming to
articulate its autopoiesis ("self-making") of entropy.

For the reversible part we have
        /_\(rev)S(sys) = - /_\(rev)S(sur)
It means that what entropy the system gains (or respectively
loses) by a reversible transfer, is matched by a loss (or gain)
of entropy in the surroundings. The equivalence relationship
"=" of being used here is sufficient to articulate this "reversible
transfer between", but not capable of articulating the "irreversible
production within". This entails even that trying to equate
"entropy production" with a change in negentropy (negative
entropy) is deadly to its understanding.

Making such a distinction between a "reversible transfer between"
and an "irreversible production within" enabled Progogine to create
        /_\(irr)S(sys) > 0
into a very complex formula. I do not want to describe this complex
formula and I will not be able to symbolise all of its details because
we need far more symbolic power than that available by the standard
ASCII code of the computer keyboard. However, should we restrict
irreversible changes merely to pressure and volume, this hideously
complex formula quickly simplifies into order relationship
        [P(2) - P(1)] x /_\V > 0

End experiment

It took me many screens in four contributions to develop the
mathematics in CONTEXT of
        [P(2) - P(1)] x /_\V > 0
It took only a couple of screens to describe Prigogine's distinction
and how it simplifies into this expression by PURE mathematics.
It is because of this brevity of pure mathematics that it is so much
in favour. Pure mathematics is the sharpest razor of Occam's kind
we can get! But using it without wisdom is like putting a razor in
the hands of an ape. The brevity of pure mathematics in the hands
of apes is perhaps the overwhelming reason why so many of us
experienced such immense immergences in our mathematical

In setting up the context I made use of a desert, a punctured tyre and me.
I described certain experiences of mine which you had to transfer into
you. (This is where Prigogine's /_\(rev)S(sur) comes into the picture.)
The only thing which I required from you, is your own constructive
imagination. (This is where Prigogine's /_\(irr)S(sys) comes into the
picture.) Yet it is this very constructive imagination of yours which was
needed to create the context just as I had to use mine (with its
/_\(irr)S(sur) ) to guide you in doing it.

However, let me articulate some tacit knowledge of yours which you perhaps
have not yet considered as vitally important. Our constructive imagination
can only include things which we feel positive about. It is difficult to
include things which we feel indifferent about and nearly impossible to
include things which we feel negative about. So, if you feel negative
about the desert, or punctured tyres or me, your constructive imagination
will not work. Thus my four contributions would have been in vain. You
will still not have learned by the emergence of your own tacit and formal
knowledge the significance between
        P(1)xV(1) = P(2)xV(2) = .... = constant
        [P(2) - P(1)] x /_\V > 0

Is there any remedy other than power of positive thinking? Yes. Go back
to direct (personal) experiences rather than transfered experiences which
require no constructive imagination to evolve self into tacit and formal
knowledge. In other words, cut the desert, punctured tyres and me out of
the picture. This is how you can do it.

Experience Boyle's law as follows. Think about your respiratory system
(lungs) and the air in it. Since this law requires the system of gas to be
closed, you will have to close your own respiratory system as follows.
Press your lips together so that no air can flow through the mouth and
press your soft palate against the lower nose cavity so that no air can
flow through the nose. Lift your thorax (chest, rib cage) forwards and
upwards so that its volume increase. According to Boyle's law the pressure
in your lungs will have to decrease. Feel this decrease. Lift your thorax
even more to get the feeling of how this decrease is inversely
proportionate. Do the opposite also. Lower the thorax so that its volume
decreases. Feel how the pressure now has to increase. Do it over and over
again until you have the tacit knowledge which may be articulated by
        P(1)xV(1) = P(2)xV(2) = .... = constant

Now here is a few interesting things to think about. You can experience
Boyle's law based on the equivalence relationship "=" of BEING only for a
minute or two normally or up to 5 minutes if you are a professional diver.
After that you will have to let go of Boyle's law for something else. We
will soon see for what else. In the case of strangulation Boyle's law is
invoked permanently on the body. It leads to death.

You cannot even make your body available for acquiring empirical data,
even for merely a couple of minutes. To test Boyle's law, we need the
absolute pressure P and the total volume V of the air in your lungs. It is
possible by using a barometer and manometer in conjunction to determine
the absolute pressure of the air in your lungs. But it is impossible to
measure the total volume of air in your lungs. To do that, your lungs will
have to be emptied completely. It entails that all the alveoles (minute
air sacs) in your lungs will have to collapse completely. Unfortunately,
such a collapse is irreversible. These sacs will not fill up with air
again. It will lead to death.

Is it not extraodinary that a law which is known since 1660 cannot be
applied permnently upon the body nor be tested on the body. It will lead
to death. To discover and test the law we need an inanimate apparatus. So
what other relationship apply when the equivalence realtionship "=" of
being does not apply on the lungs? That relationship which became sensible
after 1947 to the few "initiated", namely
        [P(2) - P(1)] x /_\V > 0
Why do I write "initiated"? Because to come to this expression by
beginning with the LEP (Law of Entropy Production) and then apply pure
mathematics innumerous times via first Classical Thermodynamics and then
Irreversible Thermodynamics filter so many people out that only a handful
remain like the priests guarding a grand initiation ritual consisting of
many seremonies.

We have been experiencing the order relationship ">" of becoming in your
respiratory system since the moment of birth from our mother's womb.
Perhaps it needed the "kick-start" (shake or slap) of the midwife, but
since then it just went on and on. This is what I am. I am merely a
midwife which has to give a fellow learners a "kick-start".

If you want to become aware of this experience, you will have to change it
slightly so that it is not normal any more. Close your lips and palate as
before. Now point your lips into a kiss mode and open a very small hole
between them. Breath through this small hole in and out, almost like as if
you had an asmathic condition. Do it over and over again until you have
the tacit knowledge which may be articulated by
        [P(2) - P(1)] x /_\V > 0

Unlike Boyle's law, you can make your body available for acquiring
empirical data. You can measure [P(2) - P(1)] any time by putting a
manometer (U shape tube partially filled with water) in your mouth and
breathing past it. The difference in height between the water in the two
legs indicates the pressure difference [P(2) - P(1)] You can measure /_\V
like Archimedes of old. Sit in a tub with only your head above the water.
The rise/fall in watere level as you lift/lower your thorax indicates the
flow in volume /_\V. So next time you take a bath, enjoy it by take a
piece of tubing (for the U tube) and a pencil (for marking a reference
level of volume) with you.

Please remember that
        [P(2) - P(1)] x /_\V > 0
or what we have shortened into
        PAIR > 0
is not the only thing which you have to experience. You also
need to experience (see LO23954 near its end)
        /_\PAIR < 0
How? Try to suck in or blow out as much air as you can with
your lips in the kiss mode and a small hole in them. You will
first feel
        PAIR > 0
but as the velocity if the air going through the lips decreases
until equilibrium sets in you will also get the feeling of
        /_\PAIR < 0
At equilibrium your lungs will be filled at maximum capacity or
be emptied to the minimum capacity. Try to think of the rhythm
of your breathing between these two extreme levels. Do it over
and over again until you have the tacit knowledge which may be
articulated by
        PAIR > 0
        /_\PAIR < 0

So was Robert Boyle in 1660 rather than Newton in 1684 the culprit who
fixed our attention on the equivalence relationship "=" of being? I said
earlier emphatically that blame and shame cannot solve any problem. Long
before even the scientist Boyle the writer Shakespear let the noble mind
of Hamlet speak the words "To be or not to be". So even Shakespear focused
on being rather than becoming. Then he must be the culprit! No dear fellow
learners, trying to find the culprit will take us back many, many
centuries on an exciting journey of discovery, looking at the history of
humankind from a new viewpoint. In the meantime, the question which our
noble minds have to struggle with, is "To become or nor not to become".

For example, I have described some physical excercises above
which you can do so as to emerge to the tacit knowledge which
can be articulated by
        P(1)xV(1) = P(2)xV(2) = .... = constant
        [P(2) - P(1)] x /_\V > 0
I have given them on purpose so that while doing them, you can
become aware how tacit knowledge emerge within you while
experiencing these excercises. But how many of you will be
doing these excercises so as to actually become aware how
this tacit knowledge emerge? We all have been abused so much
by the educational system with its rote learning that we have
become completely insensitive to the emergence of tacit knowledge
within us.

Since we are not aware to these emergences, we are also
insensitive to their generative adjoints like curiosity, happiness
and expectation. Hence we do not become aware how these
generative adjoints give us the guts to continue with our learning
all our life -- to fill us with "free energy" so as to create the
Let me end this contribution with the promised desert story to tell
how important this refueling is.

Its only some four years ago when my dear wife first accompanied me to the
deserts of Namibia. I have a very important rule when I get into Namibia.
When getting to a fuel station, never pass it, but fill up, even if the
fuel tank is more than 90% full. That day when we crossed the border, I
ought to have filled up in Karasburg. But I was so delighted with having
her and my youngest daughter with me that I forgot to fill up. As we was
cruising towards Grunau some 160 km further, I told them about my error.
My wife tried to sooth my conscience by asking whether fuel was generally
available at Grunau. I said yes, but added that I have broken a sensible
rule and I have the forebode that we will regret it.

When we arrived at Grunau, the fuel pumps were not operating as a result
of a power failure. She said to me that perhaps it was I with my vivid
imagination who caused the power failure. I laughed and said: "Well, let
us go to the next town Goageb to see what my imagination did to it." The
fuel tank was still almost half full. When we arrived at Goageb, the one
and only fuel station was closed down some months earlier. I became
worried for her part. I promised her that we will sleep each night in a
bed and Goageb does not have the kind of beds which she will sleep in. My
daughter had been with me to the desert earlier and knew what to expect. I
did not worry about myself because I can sleep in the open like an animal
on any flat rock or stretch of sand.

I told them that we will have to make some 100 km deviation to Bethanie to
get fuel there. It was an important town for that region. When we arrived
there, believe it or not, the tanks of the fuel station was empty for
already more than a week. All the Bethanians were waiting for a new
supply. I then said to my wife: "Today we will have to cut it as fine as
never before." She said "What do you mean by that." I said "Alica, I know
you -- if you have to sleep in the hotel of Bethanie, you will never
forgive me."

I explained that the next fuel station is at Aus, the last outpost before
one reaches Luderitz Harbour in the very Namib. We have exactly 70 minutes
to reach Aus. The fuel station at Aus is owned by a German lady. With
German punctuality she closes it at exactly 6 o'clock. If we arrive there
one minute later, we will have to wait until 6 o'clock the next morning.
We have exactly so much fuel that if we drive too fast so as to reach Aus
before 6 o'clock, our fuel will not last us up to Aus. Then we will have
to sleep in the veld. Should we drive too slowly so as to definitely reach
Aus after 6 o'clock because of a better fuel consumption, we will have to
sleep on the pavement because there is no hotel in Aus any more.

(Sorry Winfried for the German creeping in here. But you know as well as I
that German people can be extremely punctual and that some German woman
can be very headstrong. ;-)

The next 70 minutes became one of continuously observing the watch, the
fuel gage, the odometer and speedometer, making mental calculation upon
mental calculation. The last km turnoff road into Aus has a drop from the
national road to Luderitz. As I turned into it, the engine stopped because
all the fuel was used up. I freed by gravitation to the fuel station. As
I pulled in before the pump, the German lady came out with the key in her
hand to lock the pump. I smiled at her, greeted her and asked her to fill
the tank up, but as usual she gave me just a frown. She sternly filled up
the the tank, well knowing that I have beaten her with a few seconds. She
locked up and went inside, still saying nothing.

My wife could not believe the climax of the drama which began 70 minutes
earlier. "How can a woman be like that" she explaimed. I said to her:
"Alicia, the desert does all sorts of things to all sorts of people in a
manner according to the personality of each." This is what Smuts' theory
of Holism on evolution is about.

The next hour and a half's drive through the desolate deep Namib to
Luderitz in moonlight was something both my wife and my daugther will
never forget too. Luderitz is usually cold and misty because of the cold
Bengualla current of the Atlantic ocean. But than night a warm, soft
breeze from the inland transformed the petite little haven town into
heaven at sea. The drama with its climax at Aus gave it a much deeper
feeling. For the first time ever my wife and daughter began to understand
why I insist on refueling at every possible opportunity, even in spiritual
journeys. It made that last leg possible through the real desert where
nothing grows until heaven is reached. At the Gasthaus in Luderitz a
wonderful, old German lady took care of us like only a mother can do.

There is something about this story which makes me think of humankind
itself with such a major portion of it driving for industry and
technology. A growing number of people are becoming aware that global
civilisation is on the least second last leg to the ourpost Aus of its
course to Luderitz at the ocean. Its fuel tank is dangerously low.
Reading the Celestine Prophesies did much to increase that number. Should
civilisation drive too fast to reach Aus in time, it will not even reach
Aus because of the increased dissipation (global warming and pollution).
Should civilisation drive slow enough to definitely reach Aus, it will not
reach Aus in time to fuel up (rejuvenation of spirituality). It is all a
matter of plotting and managing a course according to
        PAIR > 0
        /_\PAIR < 0

Please take care to fill up your spiritual fuel tank. Please take care to
excercise yourself in sleeping like an animal without the luxuries of a
care-free night.

With care and best wishes


At de Lange <> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <>

"Learning-org" and the format of our message identifiers (LO1234, etc.) are trademarks of Richard Karash.