Definitions and Learning. LO25886

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 01/15/01

Replying to LO25850 --

Dear Organlearners

Jan Lelie <> writes:

>You biject definitions and learning, defining and
>lessons. Is defining the beginning ("def-ini") or the
>ending ("de-fini") of learning? Or is it a stepping
>stone in between. All four, but not at the same time.
>One has to choose. Choice, having a choice, making
>a choice, generating choices (you sometimes call it
>branching, branches): life is about choosing;
>developing conscious life is about learning to choose.
>And then to define these choices.

Greetings Jan,

Thank you for your thought provoking response. You are a careful reader
because it is the first time ever any fellow learner has taken Arthur
Koestler's "biject" (making an effective collision) in the mouth, thus
expressing sensitivity to the essentiality fruitfulness.

What I did was something else, although your thinking is also a delightful
possible response. I wanted to tell that along the paradigm of simplicity
the definition is sufficient to establish identity. But along the paradigm
of complexity we have to explore also the context of the definition so as
to establish "categorical identity", i.e sureness. The most profound
property for me self in this context is the evolution of what has to be
defined -- the course of history. This makes "rigid definitions" untenable
in complexity thinking.

>Yesterday i learned of an innovative thought in cosmology:
>what if the speed of light - considered to be a constant of
>nature - was not constant. Someone proposed that it was
>much higher during the early "days" of our universe. We
>were not shown the mathematics, but it seemed possible -
>although it meant that the law of energy conservation had
>to go too - and the outcomes seemed to solve some riddles.
>Now, did this change the course of evolution? Of course not.
>Did it increase happiness? Yes, it did. The people in the
>program were happier than before - as was i, because my
>daughter worries a lot about the end of the universe as we
>know it.

The South African Smuts (also named Jan) made a most daring thesis (1926)
-- that evolution happens both in the physical and spiritual world. His
thesis was even more daring because he saw "holism" (increasing wholeness
rather than merely wholes) as the precondition for evolution. Today we
know that "entropy production" is the necessary condition and that
wholeness is one of the sufficiency conditions.

Evolution, creativity, history, learning -- what is in a word?

The day when I realised through my own experiences that every spiritual
emergence in the human has adjoints of which happiness is one, my own
happiness knew no end. The innovative thought which you refer to, is an
emergence in the intellectual (knowledgable) level of the human spirit.

I once tried to biject General Relativity Theory (GRT) and the Law of
Entropy Production (LEP). The trouble with the definition for "entropy
change" (which includes both irreversible entropy production and
reversible entropy transfer) is that it makes use of temperature. GTR
alone cannot be used to show that temperature is one of its ramifications.
So it seems that we have to modify our operational definition for entropy
changes so that temperature does not occur in them. It is possible to do
so in terms of entropic force-flux pairs by letting go of temperature as
the Langrangian indefinite multiplier.

But I tried a different modification. The speed of a photon (the quantum
packet of all electromagnetic radiation) is taken as constant for GRT. I
pictured a photon of which its "outer velocity" is constant, but its
"inner velocity" swings between a minimum (the photon digesting itself)
and maximum value (the photon bifurcating itself). This assumption worked
in getting some bijection between GRT and LEP. But the idea of a variable
"inner velocity" was too horrible to contemplate for fellow physicists
with whom I shared it. As you put it:

>A few hours later i learned that talks about
>a place called sacred, perhaps because once
>a wise king invented what we in Holland call a
>"Salomons oordeel", another name for definition
>and learning, were heading to a disaster. It doesn't
>seem possible to allow each other to go were one
>wants to go. Now, did this change the path of
>evolution? Of course not, we're like a feather in the
>breath of God. Did it increase happiness? No, and
>it won't. I think that a lot of unhappiness will occur
>but that it will not change the universe as we no it.

We actually have a little worm here in South Africa doing exactly as I
pictured a photon is doing. We call it the "meetwurm" (measuring worm). It
quickly strectches itself forward until it has reaches its "maximum
linear" length. Then it grasps with its fore legs a firm place, loosens
its grip by its back legs, and then slowly and quivering pulls in its body
by making an arched shape to reach a "minimum linear" length. Half of its
legs (the pullers) are right at the front and the other halve (the
pushers) right at the back. Most of the rest of its long body has no legs.
Were that little worm not manifesting what already happens on a much lower
level of complexity in the photon? Is it not reminescent of the swinging
of "entropy production" between the "edge of chaos" and the "valley of
equilibrium"? I thought so and it made me self happy.

The little "meetwurm" is a creature which can create havoc in soft
succulent plants. It looks like a bent blade of grass, occasionaly turned
sideways by a gentle breeze. But it eats too and thus leaves the scars of
its own existence. These scars take several days to show themselves up on
the plant because of the slow metabolism and thus even slow healing of
succulent plants.

>So, defining and lessons are about discovering one's
>self. Sometimes we still have to fight to learn that the
>other is just like us - fighting to learn about himself.
>Sometimes we sit and listen, read and think. And the
>best way to do so, is by becoming a facilitator - have
>you ever met someone who "is" a facilitator? - , facilitating
>others to become learners too. Plunging stepping stones
>into the sea of knowledge - for the other one.

You have just described Michael Polanyi's thesis with respect to Personal
Knowledge in a most novel manner.

Or is it perhaps moving forward in knowledge like that little "meetwurm"?
Plunging a stone in the sea of knowledge or quickly streching the head
forward, what is the difference? Facilitating others to do it also
afterwards with all the patience necessary, i.e cautiously stepping on
these stones by others or slowly bringing the tail of the worm forward by
arching the whole body, what is the difference? The learning of the living
together is one great adventure.

>Could say more, have to go now, i'll be back,

Thanks a lot. Meanwhile, think of the LO as a little measuring worm which
has to strech and bend its back alternatively, leaving seemingly no marks
;-) Or is too horrible a metaphor to contemplate for the organisation

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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