Work and Free Energy -- The Dance of LEP on LEC: LO25578

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 11/03/00

Replying to LO25522 --

Dear Organlearners,

Leo Minnigh <> writes:

>Last week a disaster has happened again in this valley.
>Due to excessive rainfall, the Dora Baltea could not cope
>with all the water running via numerous smaller streams
>and sampled in the main stream. These masses of
>water in such a narrow valley (the only way to escape the
>mountains) have damaged lots of houses and the complete

Greetings Leo,

Thank you for your sober warning.

Thinking of "work" and "energy" as the one-to-one-mapping
. "work" = "energy"
is such a narrow gorge in which a terrible accident is going to happen
sooner or later. The order relationship
. /_\F < W
is a one-to-many-mapping, an openening of that gorge into a delta
as I tried to figure in my contribution.

>Notice that the angle of this slope stays constant,
>even with the addition of more sand. Notice too that
>the slope is strait, neither concave, nor convex
>(unlike for instance the bell-shape of the Gauss curve).
>It is a critical angle (called the Richter angle),
>characteristic for certain size and shape of the grains.
>Look for instance also to the debris at the foot of
>mountains and hills, the angle is always the same!
>These steep slopes are very unstable. If one removes
>some sand at the foor of the slope, the complete slope
>starts to 'flow'.

Again a sober warning. It is the same with human affairs whenever they are
dealt with as a loose aggregate.

When water (as rain) infiltrates such an aggregate (rubble, sand and even
clay), it gradually lowers the Richter angle. Thus what once had been a
stable slope (stable equilibrium) becomes a very unstable slope (labile
equilibrium). One slight alteration and the homeostasis or rheostasis is
broken. Countless of mudslides taking horribly the lifes of thousands of
people are witness to this.

People of whom their knowledge are merely an aggregate, ought to take
notice of this. When they get deluged with infomation "mental rain", the
Richter angle of their knowledge will also lower. Their knowledge will
become very unstable.

Is your knowledge a heaped aggregate rather than a mountain of solid rock?

>For me the most intreguing part was at the end, where
>he sketched the principles behind rheostasis and
>homeostasis: the two sides of labile equilibrium. It turns
>down to the formula:

>[Y(2)-Y(1)] x /_\X = 0,
>In the case of rheostasis /_\X = 0.
>(I think At should have written in the beginning of this paragraph:
>"Consider a labile equilibrium. Then one of the two factors
>[Y(2) - Y(1)] and /_\X SHOULD be zero.")

>So far I understood it. But then At continues a little
>bit further in his contribution with another example of
>homeostasis. And this example brought my mind in
>serious unbalance. In my mind it is essentially the same
>situation as in the example that At gave for the rheostasis
>situation: "release the foot from the break pedal against a
>slope and see what happens!"
>(remove the seal of the container, and see what happens).

I see what you mean. My example was not very good then.

The thing is that nothing is changed in the acting forces. [Y(2) - Y(1)]

>The desert dune is a very delicate example. When
>the dune is in (dynamic) balance, the windforce,
>resistance and gravity are in perfect equilibrium.
>All three forces 'neutralise' each other, as I may
>say so: homeostasis.

Very good example. Vertical component of friction forces balances force of
gravity. Rain changes friction. Vertical component of friction forces now
less than force of gravity. The aggregate moves down, i.e /_\X > 0. Much
entropy is produced. Many people die in slide.

>The dangers of bringing a subtle equilibrium into a flow
>again, lie mainly in GRADUAL removal of the impaired
>essentiality, or changing the acting forces in such a way
>that ATTRACTION will be the prevailing one.

Yes, yes. But the system self has to contol the pace, not the surroundings
-- self-organisation and not con-organisation

>I hope that my thoughts have some sense and hopefully
>they will be of some sense for you too.

You have done a great job.

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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