Replying to LO26950 --
Not directly replying, but the subject line intrigued me.
A while ago we were discussing the question whether knowledge is intensive
My thinking/model was:
Based on Ricks notion that knowledge is the capacity to act (please
correct if wrong or incomplete), I argued that knowledge is an intensive
quality, which gives rise to an "entropic force" when a difference (know -
not know) arises - curiosity - while the resulting action is the
corresponding entropic flux. Thus curiosity - action forms an entropy
producing force-flux-pair which through some chaos in case of emergence
may lead to higher organization of knowledge.
Without suggesting another model, At de Lange indicated that he has "shot
so many holes" in this model in his own questioning of this model, that he
couldn't stick to it any more. The effect on me was, not to stop
questioning the nature of knowledge myself.
The subject line here helps me to articulate another model which I am
contemplating for a while now. While I used to think of knowledge as only
related to the intellect I realize now how much knowledge is
emotion&intellect. In fact, e-motion is much more related to "capacity to
act" than intellect. I read of a case study by Damasio, that a person with
a certain brain damage lost his emotional capacity while his intellectual
capacity remained unaffected. This poor person, while understanding his
situation, was unable to act in any "reasonable" manner, lost his job and
And is curiosity not much more an emotion than a delta in knowledge?
In my new model I have associated emotion with entropic force, the
difference of an intensive quality, a property which does not scale, when
it is shared with other people. The emotion gives temperature (temper?) or
color. On the other hand, the intellect is a kind of entropic flux, an
extensive outcome, a flow of thoughts, a property which scales, when it is
shared with other people.
In this model,
learning = emotion x intellect
learning = /_\ knowledge (/_\ = "change of")
emotion = /_\ intensive property (which one? concentration of enzymes?)
intellect = /_\ extensive property (which one? electrons or ions?)
Because entropy (S) is produced (/_\S) by a force-flux-pair:
/_\S = force x flux
force = /_\ intensive property
flux = /_\ extensive property
my model indicates that learning is closely related with entropy production
while knowledge corresponds to entropy.
As entropy is a measure for the organization of any system, be it chaos or
order, so is knowledge a measure for the organization of a person or
organization of persons. Now, this is a very encompassing understanding of
the term "knowledge", but I wonder whether more specific understandings
are not too fragmenting and thus ill-shaped for the organization of our
knowledge on knowledge?
Now I will try to link this equation
learning = emotion x intellect
to a question we have discussed before: What makes learning to cease?
The equation allows for three cases (at the first sight):
1.) emotion = 0
2.) intellect = 0
3.) both = 0
I wished I could have found the discussion in the archives. Specifically I
have a contribution of At in mind, where he painted a rich picture (a
dropping ;-) on metastable equilibria. But Google didn't help with this and
other terms I have tried.
The third case is the stable equilibrium. No feeling, no thinking.
The first case is homeostatic equilibrium. No entropic forces, but the
flow goes on. No entropy is being produced, no learning takes place. The
efficiency of work is 100%. That may be good for machines. Not so for
humans. Have you ever been asked: "No emotions, please, keep factual."?
Emotions disturb efficiency. But learning requires emotions. A manager
viewing the learning organization as a mean to increase efficiency will
not create a learning organization. Effectively he is asking his empolyees
to learn about ways to become machines (first order learning).
The second case is ? equilibrium. (Unfortunately I forgot the name,
although I actively participated in that discussion.) Emotions don't find
their way to articulation. The emotions keep, the tension may even
increase over time, but learning does not take place. If these emotions
are common to the majority of people, who are ruled by a minority ("work!
but no emotions!") and finally someone manages to articulate these
emotions a snowball effect will start known as revolution. The first one
to articulate will be a great learner, but the tragedy is that he usually
will not be able to manage the subsequent mass-entropy-production.
At a second sight, there is a forth case: Case one and two simultaniously,
which is not the same as case three. This happens when emotion and
intellect are separated. Then two metastable equilibria coexist. An
example would be the wife who is doing the household for years and on the
other has growing emotions against this situation which no one recognizes,
least her husband. May be this case is what Karl Marx had in mind ;-) when
he wrote about alienation. The revolution is then the natural outcome when
both, emotion and intellect meet. Unfortunately, we know now by
observation that such revolution does not necessarily lead to higher order
organization. So the theory of material dialectics as theory of evolution
is flawed. The problem in my eyes is, that the phases of alienation and
revolution do not correspond to the phases of digestive and emergent
learning. Digestive learning (Hmm..-learning) is needed to develop the
house of knowledge to a necessary degree of maturity, so that at the edge
of chaos, a higher order knowledge can emerge (Aha!-learning). Dynamically
this means low entropy production CLOSE to equilibrium for digestive
learning and high entropy production up to saturation for emergent
learning. But as I understand it now, in the phase of alienation NO
learning takes place AT ALL. When finally the revolution is triggered, the
deluge of entropy will lead to destructive immergence.
The question to all of us would be: Does our thinking and feeling
correspond in a way that makes us learn? If unsure: Do we experience in
our learning the cycles, the rhythm, the dance of slow and accelerated
learning? Does the imagination of such dancing fill us with anticipation
or with fear?
Finally I need to say that I am aware that I write intellectually on
emotions. I would love to read a complement written emotionally on
intellect. As long as both are fully appreciated...
"Dressler, Winfried" <Winfried.Dressler@Voith.com>
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