Greetings to you all.
Our host, Rick wrote to me off-list:
>Just a short joke... One of the "features" (?) of a Unix system
>is the program "fortune" which gives me a random joke each
>time I log in.
>... I logged out ... then in again, and saw this joke:
>>If entropy is increasing ......... where is it coming from?
>I thought it was especially fitting.
Yes, it is a fine joke. I wondered whether I should answer the question
(which is indeed formulated in such a manner that it requires a most
creative answer) or write on the role of jokes in human creativity and
thus authentic learning. I will do the latter!
I have after many years of toil and groping in thee dark identified what I
call the "elementary sustainers of creativity". The closest someone else
came to this idea was Goethe with his "Uhrphaenomen" ("archetypes"). He
succeeded in identifying the archetype for plants, something which he most
vividly describe in his brilliant "Die Metamorphosis der Pflanzen". Did
you that up to today botanists still use this archetype from somebody
rather known as a poet as the best availble archetype! He serched in vain
for the archetype for animals.
Goethe's idea of an archetype was as follows: a set of patterns or
elementary organisation which from the lowest level of a kingdom of
creative entiries (like plants) unfolding themselves with increasing
formedness while progressing upwards in the levels of complexity of that
kingdom. Let me explain it. It is like thinking of any pupil in the first
grade of elementary school. Such as pupil at that stage is an "schooling
archetype". At the second grade the pupil has now increased in the many
folds of his/her personality. The basic patterns are still there, but in
each one additional patterns unfolded. In the third grade the process
takes the next step.
I place two conditions for any human activity to qualify as an elementary
sustainer of creativity:
(1) The activity must be common to humankind as a whole and not merely
some sections (religion, politics, wealth, age, sex, race, ...) of it.
(2) The activity must also be manifested among at least another species
of animals with a central nervous system so as to escape anthropomorphism.
Up to now I have identified five elementary sustainers of creativity:
(1) thoughts-exchanging (dialogue)
Now what are jokes? They are not an elementary sustainer of creativity,
but a secondary sustainer of creativity. The "joke-telling" makes use of
the elementary sustainer "thoughts-exchanging", but it is something which
only human's do. That is why it is called a secondary rather than
elementary sustainer of creativity. Dog's have "dog dialogues" and cats
have "cats dailogue", but somehow they do not laugh as humans do in some
of their dialogues.
Why a sustainer of creativity? Because in such an activity the animal's
(including humankind) creativity gets promoted. For example, our parrot in
his less than two years have now solved a number of problems like, for
example, opening the cage door and creeping out underneth the blanket
pulled over his cage at night. Each time he solves a new problem, although
it may take him months to do so, the bravado and compassion with which he
tackles his next activity, even something as prosaic as teating, is a
sight for sore eyes.
In such a sustainer of creativity certain patterns exist which promote the
the creativity of whoever particiaptes in it. In an elementary sustainer
it takes immense focus to observe these patterns and almost superhuman
power rto articulate them. But in a secondary sustainers some of these
original patterns unfold themselves so that it becomes easier to recognise
them intuitively, although it may still be very difficult to articulate
What happens in a joke? The listener is cleverly guided to think away one
of the 7Es (Husserl's pehnomenology in practice!). Then, in the punch line
the E is presented in a striking manner. Within a few seconds, the
listener is driven by imagination to the edge of chaos, presented with a
bifurcation, supplemented by a possible immergence and then reminded by
the punchline which 7E lacks. The entropy production is then manifested in
constructive laughter so as to return to the valeys of equilibrium. But it
could also be manifested in destructive anger. Thus, whever wants to tell
a joke, must be very careful about the mental tuning of the hearers.
In the joke
>>If entropy is increasing ......... where is it coming from?
The body is "If entropy is increasing .....". Well, thinking in terms of a
reversible exhange /_\(rev)S(sy) of entropy, the increase within the
system SY has to be fed by a decrease -/_\(rev)S(su) in some or other
system of the surroundings. Since people are aware that LEP is a universal
law, i.e /_\S(un) > 0 for the universe UN, it means that there must be a
system outside the universe of which the entropy is decreasing. But there
is only one universe with no surrounding system, except for those who
believe in God and dare to think of God as a system too. Have you become
aware to how your thoughts are rushing to the edge of chaos?
Now for the punch line "......... where is it coming from?" What a clever
suggestion for "irreversible self-organisation"! if it does not come from
somewhere else, than it must come out of the system self by some or other
strange organisation responsible for it.
Aha, but we have tacit knowledge of what At is articulating here =>
laughter => issue resolved => creativity sustained by rechaging free
energy through this tacit emergence. In which essentiality was the lesson
here? Openness -- open up to the self being able to transcend itself!
"Telling-jokes" is one of several secondary sustainers based on the
elementary sustainer "thoughts exchanging". Another secondary sustainer on
the same elementary is "telling-paradigms" like Senge's "parable of the
boiled frog". In that case the lesson is on the essentiality liveness (too
It is possible to have several secondary sustainers on each of the five
elementary sustainers. For example, the 52 pack of cards is secondary on
"game-playing" as elementary sustainer. My dogs often play games
(elementary), but they never play cards (secondary). Give them a pack of
cards and they would rather devour it, thinking that they had been clever
in protecting me.
Another example is the magician (not the magus), the artist which fool our
eyes with deft movements of the hands. This "art of magic" is secondary to
the elementary sustainer "exemplar exploring". What the "magic artist"
does, is to hide one of his action pertaining to a certain 7E by
overstressing one of the other 7Es. Here the emotiontional reaction is awe
rather than laughter as in the case of jokes.
Using secondary sustainers based on elementary sustainers of creativity is
a powerful way to promote the creativity of people in a tacit manner, i.e.
not telling anything about creativity itself and never telling them
anything about such sublime/grotesque things as the 7Es or LEP dancing on
LEC. Works of art like Goethe's Faust (thoughts exchanging) or Da Vinci's
Mona Lisa (art-expressing) are divine examples of such secondary
sustainers, showing what humankind is capable of while paving the way for
more such singular sustainers. Our personal poems and our personal
paintings may seem to be worthless to others, but they are the spiritual
children of our creativity. One loves one's children no matter what!
With care and best wishes
At de Lange <firstname.lastname@example.org> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa
[Host's Note: Another little joke, which is one of my favorites... I read that the first two automobiles ever created... crashed into each other! ..Rick]
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