S=(E-F)/T LO25380

From: AM de Lange (amdelange@gold.up.ac.za)
Date: 09/26/00

Replying to LO25372 --

Dear Organlearners,

Roy Benford <roy@benford.demon.co.uk> writes:

>Stan & At
>Thank you for clarifying S=(E-F)/T.
>Perhaps, I could clarify Groupthink by quoting a section from
>'Management and Organisational Behaviour' by Laurie Mullins.
>"The effectiveness of group behaviour and performance can
>be adversely affected by the idea of 'groupthink'. From an
>examination of some well-known government policy-making
>groups, Janis concluded that decisions can be characterised
>by groupthink which he defines as: 'a deterioration of mental
>efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment that results from
>in-group pressures.' Groupthink results in the propensity for
>the group to just drift along.

Greetings Roy and Stan,

Allow me first to say something more on the formula
. S=(E-F)/T
where S is the "entropy", E the "total energy", F the "free energy"
and T the "abosulte temperature" of the system SY. Of all the "total
energy" E of the system, only a certain amount called the "free
energy" F is available to change the future organisation of the
system SY or even any other system in its surroundings SU. The
rest of the "total energy" E is locked up to maintain the present
organisation of the system. The "entropy" S is a measure of the
present organisation of the system.

Perhaps the formula seems to be too simplistic, or too much
clothed in "entropy" S. Then we can rediscribe it as
. present-organisation = function(E-F)
It says that the present organisation (entropy) of the system is
a function of the difference between its "total energy" E and its
"free energy" F. Should any one of you have not yet learned how
to think in terms of "free energy" F, this function will be meaningless
to you. But with what, for example, Roy had quoted above, we will
be able to add meaning to this function. Let us do it.

It seems that "groupthink" in an organisation is a situation in which
the organisation (entropy) of "organisational thinking" stays the
same, or follow a "reversible change". This "reversible change" a-la
"groupthink" is often called "linear thinking", although I prefer to call
it self "rote thinking". Whatever we call it, we have to make sure
whether we all not think one and the same thing, namely, that the
organisation (entropy) of "organisational thinking" stays the same
should it not change infinitely slowly.

Should we agree to this description of "fixed organisation" in
"organisational thinking", then it means that the input (E-F) of
. present-organisation = function(E-F)
is constant. In other words,
. /_\E - /_\F = 0.
. /_\E = /_\F
Since /_\E = 0 only when the system is isolated, we can say in
general that
. /_\E <> 0 (is not zero).
so that we can conclude
. /_\F <> 0 (is not zero).
It means that the "free energy" of the system (in this case the
system of "organisational thinking") does change.

But remember that the "free energy" F of a system is that part of the
total energy E available to change "systemic organisation in future".
Consequently it seems as if we have a paradox here. We have assumed
orginally that "groupthink" means that the organisation (entropy) of
"organisational thinking " stays the same or change at most reversible.
i.e. infinite slowly. But now we have concluded that the "free energy"
does change (/_\F <> 0) so that the future organisation (entropy) of
"organisational thinking" does change.

This paradox becomes resolved when we look at
. /_\E = /_\F
once again. It says that whatever the change /_\E in the "total
energy" E of the system, that change had to be accomplished
by a change /_\F in "free energy". In other words, when importing
"total energy" E by an amount /_\E, the system has become a
"free energy vampire" or "free energy scanvenger" by importing
all that energy as its "free energy" needs rather than using some
of its own "free energy" too.

In the case of the system "organisational thinking", it means
that the system does not use its own free energy to change SELF
the organisation (entropy) of its "organisational thinking", but
imports all its changes in the organisation (entropy) of
"organisational thinking". It is not an "entropy producer" self, but
a "entropy importer". In other words, all the members of that
organisation are rote learners since they import changes in the
organisation (entropy) of "organisational thinking" rather than
producing organisation (entropy) of "organisational thinking".
For them "autopoiesis" will remain a black hole.

Should we assume that "authentic thinking" is closely linked to
"deep creativity" and thus "entropy production", then it means
that the organisation imports all its creativity needed to change
the organisation (entropy) of its "organisational thinking" together
with all the "free energy" needed for such creativity. It does not
act creatively self and consequently use up its own "free energy"

Roy, the above is evident in all which you wrote:

>For example, Britain's do-nothing policy prior to the
>Second World War, and in America the attack on
>Pearl Harbour, the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba and
>the escalation of the war in Vietnam were a result
>of groupthink.
>The idea of groupthink is not limited however to government
>policy-making groups. Janis maintains that groupthink is a
>generalised feature and can be apparent in any organisational
>situation where groups are relied upon to make important
>Janis identifies a number of specific symptoms of groupthink,
>- a sense of invulnerability with excessive optimism and risk taking.
>There is an unquestioned belief in the morality of the group;
>- pressures on individual members to conform and teach
>consensus means that minority or unpopular ideas may
>be suppressed. Members who oppose the group are
>stereotyped as evil, weak or stupid;
>- the search for group consensus can result in rationalisation
>by members to discount warnings and there is an illusion of
>unanimity. There is self-censorship of any deviation from group
>norms or apparent group consensus. "

Let us think about my recent contribution
. Work and Free Energy -- The Dance of LEP on LEC
in a series of three Parts. I know that I have made profoundly
important connections in this dance of LEP on LEC. But if any of
you fellow learners would be following such connections by rote
learning, all my work would have been in vain. Nevertheless,
despite the danger of such rote learning, let us consider Part III
in which that "cyber movie" focussed on equilibrium systems and
reversible (equilibrated) processes.

A system which imports as a vampire or scavenger all its "free
energy" F rather than using its own "free energy" F self and
regenerate self its "free energy" F when it became depleted, is
a system which is actually constant in its OWN "free energy" F.
In other words, for its OWN free energy F the change
. /_\F = 0
It means that the system is at an equilibrium state, stable or

If it is a stable equilibrium, the system is at its lowest possible
"free energy" F. In this case the system imports all its "free
energy" needs because it cannot regenerate its OWN "free
energy". This means that there is some serious illness in the
system should it act as a living, viable system. In the case of
a labile equilbrium, it can either be rheostasic (/_\X = 0) or
homeostasis ([Y(2) - Y(1)] = 0]. If rheostasis, then at least one
of the seven essentialities of creativity is seriously impaired.
If homeostasis, then at least one of the essentialities is maintained
at a requisite level of complexity. By undoing (though authentic
learning) a rheostasis or by breaking (through rote learning) a
homeostasis, the system (in this case a person or human
organisation because learning is involved ) can go to a lower level
of "free energy" F once again.

Let us use my own body as an example. Influenza induced a
diabetic condition 18 months ago in my body. I do not take
any medication to increase artifically the low insulin level in
my body. I rather avoid by strict diet as much carbohydrates
as possible. I now use protein for my "free energy" requirements.
The pathway, called gluconeogenesis, for producing within the cells
carbohydrates as fuel, is very complex and thus happens MUCH
SLOWER than importing carbohydrates. Thus, when I exert my
body and mind extensively, my personal free energy drops to such
a low level that I go into a "deep sleep" (coma) from which nobody
can wake wake me the first two hours. This happend several times
to me, the last time when working on
. Work and Free Energy -- The Dance of LEP on LEC
itself. But then, by way of gluconeogenesis, my body recharges
itself slowly so that after two hours I woke up, ravingly hungry. Hence
I cannot rely on a homeostasic lable equilibrium for glucose in my
blood anymore.

In the case of my diabetic condition, the influenza has broken the
"glugose homeostasis" by incapacitating the beta cells in the
pancreas which produces insulin. My body was used to this
"glugose homeostasis" for more than fifty years and my mind
actually ignorant to it. But because it as happened, my mind had
to recognise that this homeostasic equilibrium has been broken
and thus my mind had to take over what once had happened
automatically in my body. If I did not know anything about
. Work and Free Energy -- The Dance of LEP on LEC
in advance, I would not have been able to do it.

Let us now go back to the system of "organisational thinking".
If that system has "groupthink" so that it cannot change the
organisation (entropy) of its "organisational thinking", then it
means that it has become stuck at a certain level of its "free
energy". It has become a vampire or scaveneger for all its needs
in "free energy". It will even buy creativity than promote creativity
among its own ranks. By not preparing itself in advance, it will
not be bale to heal itself.

In the case of my own body, a simple thing such as a virus
(influenza) caused all the troible. In the case of the system of
"organisational thinking", it may be worthwhile to bear in mind
that simplictic mental virusses (simple Mental Models) may
also be the cause of such a fixing.

There are two questions which I think we must answer before
we can begin thinking of healing. They are
* Why did the system got stuck at a certain level of complexity.
* How can the system be released from that level of complexity.

When thinking of the dynamics of that complexity, it is clear
to me that we will have to think about "free energy" F, "entropy"
S and "entropy production" by means of [Y(2) - Y(1)] x /_\X

The last two questions now are for the Learning Organisation and
its role in healing the organisation's thinking:
* Should a Learning Organisation investigate complexity in its
  Systems Thinking too?
* Should the investigation of complexity entail a study of "entropy
  production" and "free energy"?

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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