Energy quality of oil, etc.. LO24603

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 05/15/00

Replying to LO24586 --

Dear Organlearners,

Dan Chay <> writes:

>Thinking in terms of energy and entropy production, do you
>see curves of (relatively soon to be) declining petroleum "reserves"
>not "resources" (extracted at increasing energy-cost and cost of

Greetings Dan,

Yes, as sure as
        night follows day and winter follows summer.

Think of a community people living in a rural area where their only source
of "free energy" is wood. Think now how the number of people in that
community increases. Initially they will remove only dead trees from their
environment because that will burn immediately. When they begin to remove
more dead trees than what the environement supplies, the environment will
eventually run out of dead trees. The next step is to make dead trees by
chopping off live trees. Eventually all the live trees will have been
removed. Next they turn to small shrubs and soon even that will be

Finally, famine sets in. Why? The fertility of the soil has been damaged
irreversibly by removing the trees and shrubs. Even worse, the fertility
of the mind has also been damaged irreversibly by removing the awareness
to the environemnt as the sustainer of life. The less "green" the
environment AND THE MIND, the greater the famine.

The picture which I have painted above seems to be peculiar to Africa and
perhaps now South Asia too. However, far too many people in the rest of
the world think that since they rely on the technologies of coal-oil or
uranium which seemingly have nothing to do with "green", the same will not
happen to them. By thinking in such a manner, they demonstrate that the
have lost much of the "green of the mind" A metaphor for understanding
"deep creativity"). For example, the coal-oil and uranium reserves are
not only limited as the number of trees living in a rural area, but they
are also non-renewable. Once they are gone, the are gone for keeps.

So people console themselves with the thought:
        just sure as night follows day and winter follows summer
        our coming night and winter will be followed by another
        day and summer.
Scientists will open up a new source of energy. Did we not spent a
lot of taxes on them to open up this new POSSIBLE sources by

Dear Dan, when thinking of POSSIBLE new sources, we MUST also think of the
stark POSSIBILITY that there are NO non-renewable sources left over. It
means that we have to recognise and comprehend spareness
("quantity-limit") in our creativity. However, this also requires careful
research. How much taxes do we spend on this kind of research?

There is already much information laying around, uncovered by research for
decidedly positive outcomes, to answer this stark negative outcome for
those who cannot collapse creatively -- reaching the end of an era. The
key concept in answering this negative outcome is "free energy". We can
calculate by measurements and complex formulae the "internal energy" and
"entropy" of any system WITHOUT ever having to take even the slightest
into consideration the environment of that system. But we cannot ever do
the same for the system's "free energy". The system's "free energy"
depends completely on the specific nature of its environment. In other
words, take the same system and put it in a different environment -- its
internal energy and entropy will stay the same, but its "free energy" will
change and sometimes even drastically.

Dear Dan, I want to give vital advice to you and those fellow learners who
do try to think in terms of liveness, sureness, wholeness, fruitfulness,
spareness, otherness and openness. Make renewable and sustainable sources
of "free energy" central to your Systems Thinking. Stop planning your
future on the exploitation of non-renewable sources of "free energy". Move
slowly, but surely from the one to the other. If you have money to invest,
try investing it wisely. As for our future generations of children, are
they not our greatest investment?

I know from own experiences that "picking the last meat from the bones"
with others who gain from it is alluring (?), attractive (?), charming
(?), enticing (?), tempting (?) and seductive (?). Have you seen this
wisdom in the movie "The lion king" based on an African tale? Who will see
what the hyeans are now doing? Our young lions and lionesses who have
learned to play imaginatively with fellow creatures.

>As an aside, At, I've taken to using "demergence" instead of
>"immergence." The prefix "de-" seems to have come from Latin
>meaning out, off, out, apart, away, and down. According to our
>dictionary at which I'm looking, "im-" is an assimilation of "in-",
>from Latin meaning in, into, within. What were you thinking?
> ...grin... I've been saying "demergence", though, because in
>speaking with others using "immergence," I was having trouble
>saying it comfortably in a way that others would hear and
>understand the distinction I was making from "emergence."

Dan, I tried to find the best English words for what I think in my mother
tongue as "ontluiking" (emergence) and "terugvalling" (immergence). The
closest literal English for "ontluiking" will be
"open-going"+"show-beginning"+"out-appearing" and for "terugvalling" it
will be "back-falling"+"show-closing"+"bad-going". Perhaps this will help
you to find better descriptive words.

>The title of this thread, "Energy quality of oil, etc.," was
>as an implicit reference to the essentiality otherness
>(quality-variety). I have been learning to distinguish between
>energy sources such as oil and energy flows such as solar
>energy. Among energy sources, it seems, there do not seem
>to be many sources that deliver the punch of oil, let alone ease
>of use.

Yes, I have been a fool not to comment on what interests you
so much. The quality of an energy source depends much on the
environment (the system SU -- surroundings). The punch of oil
is in the availability of air (and thus the oxygen in it). When the
oil reserves are compared to the oxygen reserves in the atmosphere,
the oil and not the air SEEMS to be the limiting factor. But when will
be wise to the fact the liliting factor is determied by the
For example, kilometers down the earth in our gold mines oil has
no punch at all -- there the air seems to be the limiting factor. But
is not the case. It is actually the production of carbonmonoxide
and carbondioxide when burning oil openly or in a combustion

The ease of use of oil is because we can make it up in separate
containers. Thus, if the suppliers of oil to depots keep up the
wholeness of their trade, we fill our empty container with oil at
the nearest depot without thinking twice. But in many countries
of Southern Africa and especially in sparesely populated deserts,
its only a fool who assume wholeness in the supply of oil.

>As you might guess, the entropy production in my mind has
>been increasing, particularly when I read material such as from
>this link directly above and connect it with other information from
>other sources. I can see, now, not only the possibility of a large
>human population dependant on immanently declining quality
>resource, but also intensification of the hydrologic cycle, spread
>of persistant organic pollutants, power politics, and numerous
>other entropic fault lines.

I like the "entropic fault lines" for "immergences" or "terugvallings"

I like the your thinking because it involves the material (eq. "spread of
persistant organic pollutants") and the abstract (eq. "power politics")
sides of reality.

Southern Africa would have been a much different sub-continent should it
not had such vast diamond and gold recources. Form my late father who was
one of the world's best diamond cutters ever and my brother who is also an
outstanding diamond cutter, I have learned much about the "psychology of
the diamond industry". I use this strange phrase because there is not an
industry which depends more on human psychology for generating wealth to
the few in control of it than the diamond industry. Sheakespeare could
have written a dozen of dramatic plays on the "psychology of the diamond

What worries me deeply is that the "fossil-fuel industry" is increasingly
converging to a similar thing which we might call the "psychology of the
fossil fuel industry". That which made Southern Africa the hell which is
today, may easily make the rest of the world a similar hell.

>In this link at the ecological economics site, Jay Hanson, in
>1996, quotes Schneider and Kay about the laws of
>>"Non-isolated systems (such as the human body or the
>>economy) are subject to the same forces of entropic decay
>>as are isolated ones. This means that they must constantly
>>import high-grade energy and material from the outside, and
>>export degraded energy and matter to the outside, to maintain
>>their internal order and integrity. For all practical purposes,
>>this energy and material 'throughput' is unidirectional and

Very wise words. The phrase "high-grade energy" means an energy source
with much free energy for the present kind of surroundings (environment +
technology) we have created so far for ourselves. In a couple of decades
from now much less people will be able to afford a share in this present
kind of surroundings plus its future extensions. Thus, in such a
surroundings, the far majority of humankind will experience a drastic
"terugvalling" in their "their internal order and integrity".

>>"The human economy is one such highly-ordered, complex,
>>dynamic system. It is also an open sub-system of a materially
>>closed, non-growing ecosphere, i.e., the economy is contained
>>by the ecosphere. Thus the economy is dependent for its
>>maintenance, growth and development on the production of low
>>entropy energy/matter (essergy) by the ecosphere and on
>>the waste assimilation capacity of the ecosphere.

Dan, please, do not get stuck in seeing entropy in the sense of
traditional thermodynamics as merely a "measure of chaos". The paradigm
shift which you will have to make, is to understand entropy as a "measure
of organisation with chaos and order".

I will also not focus too much on seeing "economy" and "ecosystem" as the
two dialectical opposites, although studied on their own as such they will
give us good mileage. In this light then, what economy does, is to strip
the ecosystem from its "organisation rich in order" so as to enrich
itself while of necessity giving back to the econsystem "organisation rich
in chaos". In other words, rather than self-organising irreversibly as all
subsystems in the ecosystem do, the economy has become a vampire of

Although the economy is for many people the emporer of human activities,
it is merely a major facet of all human activities. We may call all these
human activities by the name "culture" as the anthropologists do. Whereas
culture and nature ought to have functioned as a complementary dual, this
complementarity gradually immerged into the dialectical battlefield which
we have today. Culture takes from nature what it has to offer as a result
of its constructive creativity and gives back to it its own outcomes of
destructive creativity. The price to pay for polluting nature with the
outcomes of destructive creativity is to make it less sustaining for the
little constructive creativity of culture left over.

Doomsday will set in when nature cannot sustain anymore SPONTANEOUSLY the
constructive creativity of culture. A little bit of this doomsday is
reflected in the last section of your quote:

>>"This means that beyond a certain point, the continuous
>>growth of the economy (i.e., the increase in human populations
>>and the accumulation of manufactured capital) can be
>>purchased only at the expense of increasing disorder (entropy)
>>in the ecosphere.

Dan, you also wrote:

>Here's a quote from Tom Robertson: "Energy determines what
>can happen, and often what will happen."
>What do you think?

Put "Free" before his "energy" and you will be much, much closer to the

I think that your study on the nature of free energy sources will give you
much needed insight in understanding human nature too. Once you understand
"free energy", your understanding of spontaneity will rocket sky high.

But I have one deep concern. The destructive way in which the majority of
humankind presently exploits these sources of free energy may release
toxins in your spirituality which will destroy step by step your own
constructive creativity. Please take care that this will not happen to
you. Many humans have become "free energy vampires" -- take care that they
do not give your jugular which feeds your brain with free energy a "love

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

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