Mental forces LO25329

From: Winfried Dressler (
Date: 09/13/00

Replying to LO25319 --

Dear At and all,

Thank you, for checking and adding background to the word 'algedonic'.

>Both ideas (flee from all pain, seek all pleasures) taken together may be
>called "algedonism" according to the rules of English, although I have
>never encountered this name before. (I will have to consult the Oxford
>Dictionary on this one.)

I have checked not the ethymological root of the word, but it's use in the
cybernetically oriented organization theory. I don't have Stafford Beer at
hand, but Fredmund Maliks "Strategie des Managements komplexer Systeme."
The most cited authors are Beer and Ashby ;-)

What I understand from there is the following:

In order to control a cybernetic system, information has to be passed
through a hierarchy of support systems. Most of this information is highly
aggregate with all the details left out (total sales, total cost, total
investment, cash flow...). But this is not all, some detail information
has also to be passed in order to have the system 'viable'. Which ones?
Those which tell about pain or pleasure! Thus (and thanks to your
explanations I also understand why) such detail information passed beside
aggregate information is called 'algedonic signal' or 'algedonic

There is nothing dialectical in the signal itself, on the contrary it is
complementary to the aggregate information. In your words it is meant to
add the lost sheep, the 10 % or 1% missing, which must be cared for.

The question of how such a signal is processed by the higher level support
system is a very different one. "Algedonism" in your sense above would be
surely a very poor form of processing, the discipline of personal mastery
is a much better one:

>He [Job] then proposes the only dialectical dual to be the
>wicked path and the devine path.

"Algedonism" and personal mastery may be a reflection of this dialectical

I can recognise in your descriptions of your journeys in the desert your
pointing to the importance to have the 'algedonic channel' wide and open
and not dumb and fed up by the artificial signals provided by consume and

Take for an example your explanation of how to find a specific specimen of
a succulent in the desert. Similarily (or was it in that context?) we once
wrote on gem detectors.

More on the pain-side, you offer the following evidence for the importance
of (authentic) algedonic signals:

>Not all fears are bad. For example, a desert wanderer has to fear
>poisonous insects and snakes. Using such a fear, the wanderer then do not
>make fractal moves without first thinking. For example, turning a stone
>over will cause a scorpion underneath to attack immediately. Pulling out a
>tuft of grass to make a fire may cause a "horing-adder" (a small, deadly
>snake with a pair of horns on its head) to do the same. In both cases
>death will come within an hour.

I have to apologize that I was fast in identifying entropic forces with
algedonic 'forces'. I guess it happened due to the context of 'motives'
and 'motivation', when it occured first and without thorough checking I
may have quack-started to quack-use it. I hope I could make the topic
clearer above.

Liebe Gruesse,



"Winfried Dressler" <>

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