Learning, Training and Chaos LO25325

From: AM de Lange (amdelange@gold.up.ac.za)
Date: 09/13/00

Replying to LO25315 --

Dear Organlearners,

Stan Schellenburg <stan_schellenburg@hotmail.com> writes:

>I think I've heard this mindset referred to as "business as
>usual" -- growth, growth, growth. Even people I associate
>with who identify as "environmentalists" working for
>"sustainability" suffer this kind of mindset, I think. Hip to hip
>and lock-step with politicians and self-identified conservatives
>and libertarians here in the U.S..

Greetings Stan,

I think that what you have described for the U.S. go much further.
Perhaps we may see it as a disability for organisational learning, perhaps
a complex version of the parable of the boiled frog. The organisation
draws you so much in that it actually becomes your world of experience.

>Anyone in France care to comment on their experience of /_\F?
>Others among you, how about http://www.dieoff.org
>or http://www.hubbertpeak.com?

I appreciate the fact that you refer to /_\F and not energy. People
concerned about the future of humankind and its "energy hunger" uses the
word ENERGY (with symbol E) left, right, up, down and center. But I think
it is of decisive importance to use at least the two words FREE ENERGY
which is one concept with symbol F. The FREE ENERGY AVAILABLE is that
part of the TOTAL ENERGY which can be used to change in FUTURE the
ORGANISATION of any system.

Whereas the symbol for "free energy" is F, the symbol for "free energy
available" is /_\F -- the change /_\ in "free energy" F from its value now
to its value in future.

Thank you for giving us information about these two websites. I like the
first one very much because of the many serious articles in it. I would
recommend them to fellow learners who want to free themselves form the
claws of an "free energy addicted society".

One of the articles which I have read on this website, is
    The Olduvai Theory:
    Sliding Towards a Post-Industrial Stone Age
    Richard C. Duncan, Ph.D.

It brought back memories of my years as a student. In 1964 in a course on
chemical engineering we each got a major literature research task. Mine
was to determine the known available fossil fuel (oil, coal, peat)
resources and to compare it to growing consumption. At the same time in
physics we were studying LCR circuits (L - inductance of coils, C -
capacitance of condensers, R - Ohmic resistance). I went one step further
in my task by splitting the consumption into two parts -- actual delivery
(a lagging C like thing) and future wants (an advancing L like thing).

I ended up with a very damped oscillation diagram with a frequency of some
100 years. The first peak was very high and at 1970. The second peak was
much lower and at 2070. The other peaks were insignificant. I was schocked
at the implications. But the Chem Eng prof did not like it at all -- too
much maths from physics involved ;-) Three years later on in my research
on solitions (one peak waves) and the wierd KorteWeg-DeVries equation
rather than the celebrated Harmonic Wave equation (many peak waves), I
realised where I have erred. I should have obtained one peak. But by then
I was over my head into cybernetics to also go back to my earlier task and
make corrections to it, if merely for my own satisfaction.

Duncan tells in his article how he listened "fascinated and stunned" to a
lecture given in 1964 by the cosmologist sir Fred Hoyle. He quotes Hoyle
. With coal gone, oil gone, high-grade metallic ores gone,
. no species however competent can make the long climb
. from primitive conditions to high-level technology. This is
. a one-shot affair. If we fail, this planetary system fails so
. far as intelligence is concerned. The same will be true of
. other planetary systems. On each of them there will be
. one chance, and one chance only.

Duncan assumes that the intelligent animal (Homo sapiens) emerged in the
Olduvai Gorge of Tanzania. But discoveries of much older archeological
artifacts had been made in South Africa, some close to Pretoria. Any way,
what Hoyle have said about humankind in modern times, has a striking
resemblance to the story which Plato recorded 2400 years earlier about
Atlantis. I wish I was in that audeince listening to sir Fred Hoyle rather
than battling it out with my local prof.

>I think At's right. If W < /_\F and S=(E-F)/T is a topic for
>anyone, it's a topic for learning-org.

I have been working the past week on a contribution which
will cover the W < /_\F relationship. I intend to call it
    Free Energy and Work -- The dance of LEP on LEC
Please keep a lookout for it so that we can have an authentic
LO-dialogue on Free Energy and Work.

>Now. Question is, can we give it thoughtful consideration
>and straight talk without being negatively stereotyped?
>Probably not. Best remain silent or stick to topics about
>the latest 9 steps, 7 acronyms, 5 gurus, and 3 (expensive)
>trainings for producing and selling more sugar-coated,
>jelly-filled donuts.

I think we can fathom what we will all be up to in the near future. We
will have to function as Learning Organisation to be able to do it. We
cannot dare to behave like people once did with respect to the Titanic.
The tragedy of it all was people led by clever sales talk to believe "The
Titanic cannot sink". Our "free energy addicted society" is nothing else
than the "Titanic Titanic" which dwarfs the Titanic of old by its sheer

I do not want to bring "angst" into your hearts. I rather want to
encourage you to learn (train ?) what to do with clear understanding
in the little time left before the "Titanic Titanic" will begin to
It is indeed possible to transform a collapse into a "creative
collapse", but it requires understanding of the highest level.

Think of someone who is stranded in the desert. The person has to leave as
much baggage as possible behind so as to cross the desert. What does the
person need to take with on the journey through the desert?

The San people taught us the answer. The person can leave every material
thing behind, except perhaps a tiny leather skirt to protect the "tender
family jewels". But the person has to take mental preparedness (knowledge)
with him so as to live from the desert itself. This mental preparedness
must be acquired in advance.

With care and best wishes,


At de Lange <amdelange@gold.up.ac.za> 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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