Schrodinger's Cat, his Kittens and Reality? LO26420

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 03/23/01

Replying to LO26364 --

Dear Organlearners,

Alfred Rheeder <> writes:

>I would like to question my own mental model
>regarding reality by contrasting different paradigms.
>My questioning and probing has inevitably lead to
>more questions!

Greetings dear Alfred,

Welcome to our LO-dialogue. Thank you also for this fine contribution.
Even though your first one, it is very nutritious ;-) Thank you for
voicing a second opinion from the Afrikaans speaking people here in South

Your strategy above reminds me of openness ("paradigm-open"), one of the
seven essentialities of creativity. You have been using openness to probe
into your mental models. You may also use the other six essentialities.
These seven essentialities have helped me immensely in becoming aware of
many of my mental models. Senge's eleven essences of a LO will have a
similar function.

The great value of Einstein's General Relativity Theory (GTR) is the
wholeness (another of the seven essentialities) which it breathes. As you
have noted, it brings space, time, celestial mechanics and
electromagnetism into one whole. When Einstein, after having formulated
the GTR, studied Jan Smuts' "Holism and Evolution", he realised just how
much holism="increasing wholes" has been the riving force in his personal
evolution in science. He even went so far as to predict that his GTR and
Smuts' Holism would play key roles in shaping the next millennium. He did
not include Quantum Mechanics (QM), even though he could have done so. The
reason was that by that time he suspected too much "dice throwing" in QM

As you write:

>The quantum cookbook they discovered provided us
>with an even more mysterious and strange world.
>Unfortunately the "world" is not governed by causality.
>It is inherently uncertain and only probabilities exist.
>Those "damned quantum jumping"! The hell with those
>particles if we cannot determine their position and
>momentum at the same time! How can they know
>we are looking at them?

Einstein had no quarrel with the physical foundation and the mathematics
of QM. In fact, he used the QM to predict an artificial phenomenon
completely unknown at that time, namely "laser-maser". Today lasers are
crucial to many technologies (information, medicine, warfare). By this I
want to stress with the Afrikaans saying "Einstein was geen bobbejaan met
QM nie" -- (Einstein was no baboon on QM).

His quarrel was with the interpretation which physicists under the
leadership of Max Born gave to the complex wave functions used in QM and
what this interpretation did to their further understanding of QM. They
interpreted these complex mathematical functions as probability functions.
One of the results is that it forced them to give up the idea of

At the same time a brilliantly creative geneticist Sewall Wright was
struggling with the same problem. Geneticists tried to pinpoint
microscopic genes responsible for certain macroscopic traits by means of
regression analysis. Also they found out that they had to give up on
causality when using conventional probability theory in this complexity of
genetics. Wright could not accept it and like Einstein he voiced his
concern. He also tried to come up with a solution which would take
causality into account once more. With the sublime stroke typical of the
genius he came up with Path Analysis. Causality is indeed possible in the
complexity of genetics, but it requires the recognition of the
complementary category "states-paths" in statistical analysis. This is
nothing else than one of the many ways in which the essentiality liveness
("being-becoming") manifests itself. Another manifestation would be
"structure process".

So why could Einstein not do the same for QM? Perhaps it is because he had
a peculiar mental model himself. He considered reversibility of crucial
importance to almost all of physics. One way to express this reversibility
. /_\PE = -W
There must be a one-to-one mapping (assured by the equality sign "=")
between the work W done on the system and the change /_\ in Potential
Energy (PE) of the system. At least two different physical quantities
concerned with W have to be measured and then W calculated from them. The
physicist then will use this value of W to know the value of /_\PE by
virtue of the "=" since it is impossible to measure /_\PE itself.

In the past I have explained to fellow learners that the Potential Energy
PE is merely that part of the "free energy" F of any system which could be
"finger-printed" by Newtonian Mechanics. In other words, we may suspect
that Einstein knew tacitly how crucial the following general equivalence
relationship (rather than the partial expression above) is to physics:
. /_\F = - W
The moment when the order relationship
. /_\F < - W
is admitted, we arrive at a one-to-many-mapping. It means that physical
measurements alone involving work and all calculations based on them are
not sufficient any more to predict the complete outcome of the system. We
need to know more than merely that which can be measured. It is tragic
that complexity thinkers who stress that measurements alone cannot lead to
a comprhension of complexity, are not aware that the order relationship
above is the reason for this insufficiency of meausrements.

I have also explained to fellow learners (in the "dance of LEP on LEC")
how the expression
. /_\F < - W
is one of the most holistic expressions ever derived in the entire history
of science. JW Gibbs connected LEC (Law of Energy Conservation) and LEP
(Law of Entropy Production) in a most peculiar fashion which I now can
describe quite lyrically by means of the concept of a "creative collapse".
Einstein probably knew this derivation because he used some of Gibbs'
other insights extensively in depicting the maser-laser phenomenon.

I think that what prevented Einstein from trying to understand the deeper
meaning of the relationship
. /_\F < - W
is that in those times probability theory ruled not only the
interpretation of the wave functions of QM, but also the interpretation of
entropy of thermodynamics. Since its discovery seventy years earlier,
about a dozen major different interpretations had been given to entropy.
Of these only one survived (as if fittest for its time in the Darwinian
sense), namely that entropy expresses the probability for chaos. Einstein
was very open-minded. But using probability theory to cover up for a lack
in creative interpretation made him "dwarstrekkerig". (How will I ever
translate this Afrikaans word which we know so well? Perhaps the best, and
yet an inferior translation into English, would be "austere".
"Dwarstrekkerig" means to differ for the sake of otherness -- to explore
tenaciously what is highly improbable so as to escape the dreary formalism
of what is common.)

In my opnion Einstein made a fatal error because of this "dwarstrekkerig".
Since he assumed reversibility to be real and irreversibility to be
fictious, all physical processes, EVEN MEASUREMENTS, had to be reversible.
However, should any measurement be reversible, it means that the
measurement plays no role in changing the future of that system. This, and
I cannot put it stronger, is a myth. Every measurement on any system, how
tiny and innocent it may be, changes the system irreversibly. Every
measurement will effect the system forever. This is exactly what Wheeler
tried to express according to your succinct summary

>Wheeler explained what this game has to do with
>quantum theory. Like our concept of the real world
>existing out there when we are not looking at it, Wheeler
>imagined that there was a real answer to the object he
>was trying to identify. But there was not. All that was
>real was the answer to his questions, in the same way
>that the only thing we know about the quantum world
>is the result of the experiment.

Physical measurement, like intellectual questioning, is one way by which
the surroundings can probe the system. This probing involves a transfer of
energy and thus, whether we like it or not, the transfer of the form of
that energy too, namely its entropy. This sets up entropic forces
(differences in intensive qualities) between the system and its
surroundings. As soon as the system responds (measures up) to the probing,
entropy is produced so the system will necessarily change its
organisation. In other words, to assume that measurement (whatever means
we employ) will leave the system intact, is to assume that dogs will leave
a piece of meat thrown before them untouched. Is this not what you try to
express with

>We thoroughly postulate the questions when we left the
>room to leave less room for invalid results. We asks the
>questions and upon which the respondents reply in essence
>very much the same way as in the twenty questions game.
>We gather the answers to our questions and run simulations,
>determine interactions and reach conclusions about consumer

Our very questioning itself influences consumer behaviour rather than
leaving it intact. This brings us to your following sentence which I want
to urge every fellow learner to contemplate seriously:

>Are we not creating the object (consumer behaviour)
>through our questioning and probing?

As for myself, I can give a clear answer -- yes, yes, yes. I have more
than half a century of experiences to speak safely from. For example, many
a "leader" cannot and will not handle the questioning of their rulership
because of the changes which will follow upon such questioning. In fact,
when I want to probe the authenticity of a leader, I merely observe how
that leader reacted, reacts or will react to anybody else's questioning.
Think of teachers as another example. Who had the most profound influence
on you -- those who questioned you sincerely or those who flooded you with

But I can also speak with some confidence from my studies on the
self-organisation of complex systems. Questions which make effective
contact (fruitfulness) will produce entropy and thus change the
organisation of the system. Questions which bring associations together
(wholeness) will do the same. In fact, every question involving one of the
seven essentialities of creativity will change the system's organisation.

We now arrive at your very last question:

>Do we not assume or imagine that the real world
>(real world of consumer behaviour) exist independently
>from whether we look at it or not - in this case that
>there is a real answer of consumer behaviour
>independently from whether we ask questions or not?

I will, but with a strong qualification, definitely say yes, the real
world can exist independently from our observation of it. The strong
qualification is the following -- there must be no irreversible flow of
information FROM the observer TO the real word (notice the direction). In
other words, the observer will have to lurk so as to become aware of this
independent world. Obviously, an irreversible flow of information from
this world to the observer and an inner reflection by the observer are
necessary to become aware of this independent world as a reality.

But what is the sense of having as lurkers a real world existing
independently from us? We would live in a universe of which that world
surrounding us may produce as much entropy and deluge us with it as it
likes whereas we self will have to minimise our entropy production and its
overflow into that world. Our living in such a world will become
precarious with mortal dangers looming everywhere at any time. Sooner or
later we will become extinct because of this one-way rather than two-way

Let me offer you a few examples. Foremost to our experience as South
Africans was the era of apartheid. White people were promised that by
forcing black people to create a world (involving the "Banthustans")
independently from their own white system they will ensure the existence
of their white system forever. This promise never could be actualised and
finally the ideology of apartheid brought disgrace upon almost all
Afrikaners, even most of the minority who opposed apartheid.

Another example is your own company. Think of those products which you
have manufactured and marketed without actively probing the market, but
merely have assumed that they will be sold. In how many of these products
have you wasted valuable resources rather than making a profit?

A last example is the schools and university which you have attended.
How much had you to deal with curricula which presented a world existing
independently of you and which you had to enter by rote learning rather
than interactive, authentic learning? How much of this rote learning had
been detrimental rather than beneficial to you?

In terms of the seven essentialities I will definitely say that it is
impossible to live endlessly within a world considered to exist
independently from our own existence. The real world is one in which there
is a two-way interaction between the system SY and its surroundings SU as
its world. For example, the being of the system SY is connected through
its becoming to the surroundings SU -- liveness. The surroundings SU plays
an undeniable role in establishing the identity of the system SY --
sureness. The greatest whole is the universe, i.e. both the system SY and
its surroundings SU -- wholeness.

We will rather have to learn that just as each of us depends on the world
around us for our own existence, that very world also depends on us for
its existence. The irreversible self-organisation of any system SY within
the universe UN depends on the irreversible self-organisation of all other
systems surrounding it in that universe, i.e. the irreversible
self-organisation of the surroundings SU.

Let me offer again some examples. Many, if not the majority, of our
problems in the Republic of South Africa on all walks of its life stem
from our Republic being situated in Southern Africa (Africa south of the
Sahara) and interacting with it. By imbettering merely our own economy
while assuming that the rest of the countries in Southern Africa will do
the same independently from us, we have become flooded by peoples from the
rest of Southern Africa seeking a better future for themselves. The reason
is that these other countries in Southern Africa cannot organise
themselves independently from us. Why? When the colonizing powers withdrew
themselves from their colonies in Southern Africa, they did so by
promising them a glorious future based on their own independence rather
than based on a collaborating partnership. This myth brought Southern
Africa on its knees. Our Republic is but a midget when compared to
countries like the USA or Japan. However, midget or giant, every leading
country in a continental region has to learn this lesson that the rest of
the world does not exist independently from that country.

Think of your own company once again. The success of your company is the
quality in the manufacturing and marketing of your products. Others want
to follow suite as your competitors. However, they merely see profits to
make and not also all the effort which you have put into the quality of
your products. Sooner or later the consumers become disillusioned by these
products of your competitors. Consumer resistance builds up and the
selling of even your own products begin to suffer, despite their superior

Another good example is in the world of farming. The key to successful
intensive farming is quality control, especially in preventing the buildup
of diseases and wastes. The first farmer in a region who makes a success
in a new kind of intensive farming usually makes a heavy investment in
quality control also. Prerequisite to this success is for the farmer to
think independently. Soon others follow suite, seeing the profits to be
made, but not the investments in quality control. The first successful
farmer still thinks independently, believing that he has the upper hand
because of superior quality control. However, eventually that kind of
intensive farming crashes because of a buildup of diseases and waste at
units with inferior quality control. Many of the diseases will spread out
to every other intensive unit, even the original one despite its superior
quality control.

Alfred, your last question begs another question. How will we break out of
this dilemma of having to work independently when endeavouring something
which is novel and valuable, but afterwards seeking the interdepence
between the leader and the many followers? Some assume that free
competition is the best way to regulate the new wave of enterprises. But
we have more than enough examples showing that when some of the
enterprises collapse, they take down the entire wave of these enterprises.
Others assume that impartial governmental control affords the best
regulation. However, even here we have to reckon with an interdependence
of interests which may easily lead to corruption and nepotism.

As for myself, I think that the establishing of a LO in a SPONTANEOUS
manner for all interesting parties is the best way of regulating any kind
of trade, industry, business or profession. Shall we tell our fellow
learners that we have in Afrikaans one word for all these kinds of making
a living? We call it a "bedryf". Adding the prefix "be-" to a verb makes
it a noun. In this case the verb is "dryf"=drive. So what do we know about
what is becoming in trades, industries, businesses and professions so that
we can articulate it with "dryf"=drive and thus speak of the beings of
such a becoming as a "bedryf"?

I think we know tacitly that they are all driven by "something". But do we
also know tacitly exactly what this "something" is? As for myself, I am
sure that this "something" is "entropy production". The world which seems
to exist independently is driven by entropy production too. Our own
existence has to be driven by entropy produced within ourselves. However,
as soon as the rest of the world forces its entropy production upon us or
we force our own entropy production upon this world, the existence of
every system in this tit-for-tat-exchange becomes precarious. That which
is beneficial to any system, namely to produce entropy slef, becomes
detrimental to any system when it is deluged by entropy not self produced.
To assume independent existence is to make every independent existence
precarious since such an assumption cannot allow for entropy production
and its complexity of manifestations.

It is most extraordinary that all the experiments used in quantum
mechanics to illustrate the "probability nature" of atomistic particles,
also illustrate that such particles do not exist independently. Even
merely one particle behaves as if it is continuously interacting with many
other non-existent particles. To use the "throwing of the dice" to
interpret such interdependence is enough to make even me "dwarstrekkerig".

Thank you Alfred once again for the delight of studying your contribution.
What is the life of Schrodinger's cat when there are no chickens for it to
scare the daylight out of them ;-)

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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