Hard Work and Efficient Management = Success? LO28418

From: Alfred Rheeder (alfred@pvm.co.za)
Date: 05/06/02

Replying to LO28381 --

Dear LO'ers

I would like to inform fellow LO'ers about my experiences and in the
process make other connections related to hard work and efficiency. Some
of you might be frustrated by my jumping around to other seemingly
unrelated topics but I cannot avoid it. Please be aware that I am not
English speaking and take cognisance of the fact that I am entering
uncharted territory - for myself that is! Those who prefer bullet point
posts I suggest you bail out now.

At wrote:

> Several years I wrote a very long essay
> "Efficiency and Emergence LO22426"
> < http://www.learning-org.com/99.08/0043.html >
> To sum what it says: We cannot have both our cake (emergence)
> and eat it (efficiency of converting free energy into work). I am
> still convinced, if not more, of this as in those days.

>I have tried many times to explain patiently to Alfred why the =
> sign cannot be used in Fe = Fp + Fw. Please note that I have
> changed the E's into F's because I am focussing on "free energy"
> F and not "total energy" E. There is not conservation law for F
> like for E!!! In other words, we ought to write Fe < > Fp + Fw
> where the "< >" means "is not equal to". The reason is that
> between these tow < > signs we can write
> Fe < bifurcation's > Fp + Fw

Allow me to provide some background on our business. Our company
manufacture's health and nutritional products. We are neither a
pharmaceutical nor a traditional food manufacturer. A scientific
understanding of the biological processes and of the energy exchanges
between humans and their environment has been at the center of our
existence for the past 35 years. Please note when I am referring to energy
exchanges I mean physical energy exchanges. Some of you might be aware
that human nutrition, physiology, biochemistry etc. is rather complex.
Few universal truths currently exists. In fact it is quite bewildering
how incomplete "sciences" current understanding are.

The company employ's dietitians. Probably the most fundamental principal,
dietitians are taught is related to energy. Dietitians will calculate
(approximate) the amount of energy a person expend and express it in terms
of calories or kilojoules. In order to achieve energy balance, a diet is
prescribed equal (=) to the energy a person expends (expressed in
calories). Its quite simple. In short:

Energy In (calories) = Energy Out (calories)

Now lets assume a person is overweight what now? Well one must consume
less energy than one spends. The opposite is also applicable.

It turns out its not that simple.

I am not schooled in a discipline of the natural sciences -although I am
immensely interested in the natural sciences - amongst various other
things. At any given point in time I have at least more than 10
work-in-progress books - I jump around from the one to the other -
sometimes leaving a book half read for over a year before returning.

The first day I was confronted by the assumption that Energy In = Energy
Out (in the dietetical frame of reference) I felt extremely uncomfortable.
The exploring and questions started. What is Energy? What is Entropy?
What is Free Energy? What is Work?

Strictly speaking calories or kilojoules is not Energy in the sense of
Total Energy (E). It is closely related to Free Energy (F). It is a fact
that the Law of Energy Conservation (LEC) is applicable to Energy (E). It
is also a fact that the Law of Energy Conservation (LEC) is NOT applicable
to Free Energy (F). The problem is that when dietitians speak of Energy
they are referring to calories in the sense of Energy (E) and not Free
Energy (F).

We posed the question: "What is Energy (E)?" to almost every dietitian we
have contact with. Their answers could basically be divided into two
groups. The majority replied that they haven't thought about it but that
was in their text books. The minority, less than 5%, mentioned that there
is something like the Law of Energy Conservation (LEC). Some of them go
on and argue that it is because of LEC that Energy In (Calories In) =
Energy Out (Calories out) and must balance! Not even one of the
dietitians mentioned Gibb's equation which differentiates between Energy
(E) and Free Energy (F). Not one even knew that the change in Free Energy
(F) does not equal Work? How could this be?

While this exploring happened I still had to manage (in) the business.
If only managing was about arranging things in time and space. I studied
accounting and auditing at university. Management accounting was one of
my subjects during graduate and post graduate studies. Cost accounting
was the prevailing paradigm. I developed an interest in TOC (Theory of
Constraints) and was often in those days engaged in interesting
conversation with a friend of mine who has worked with Eli Goldratt. For
those of you who are not familiar with TOC - it is a different than cost
accounting in many ways. In contrast to the cost accounting paradigm, the
order of importance in TOC is to:

1) Increase Throughput (Sales minus totally variable cost)
2) Decrease Inventory
3) Decrease Costs (Fixed Overheads)

Being young, enthusiastic and ignorant, I was eagerly setting out to
change the company overnight, or so I thought! I was completely oblivious
to the problems I was about to cause. Well, I learnt my first valuable
and painful lesson regarding paradigm shifts. Today I can confidently
state that the consequences for myself would have been far worse, was the
company not family owned. I would either have been fired or I would have

The hard work = success formed part of our cost accounting paradigm. In
order to monitor the work of physical resources, the efficiencies of
resources were determined in order to manage those resources. Physical
resources always had to be operational at its maximum capacity. The more
the better. Idle resources always cost us money. Hard work equals (=)
being busy and equals (=) constructive creativity. Right?

I never disputed the fact that one has to work hard in order to achieve
success. I only believed that hard work is necessary but not sufficient.
I never claimed that "efficiency management" is not useful at all but I
was deeply aware of its limitations the parameters/boundary of its
usefulness. What was remarkable to me was the emerging corresponding
patterns between the mental models and the physical manifestations of
energy changes that I started to observe.

At, I have also became aware that we cannot have both our cake (emergence)
and eat it (efficiency of converting free energy into work). This reality
has incredible consequences!

The crux is the complementary nature of emergence and efficiency of
converting free energy into work. Sometimes one has to increase the
quantity of lower order properties in order to increase the probability
(chance) of emerging in the higher order qualities.(Please note I am
saying probability - thus this increase in quantity of lower order
properties is necessary but not sufficient!) Ever tried to learn when you
are desperately hungry? Ever asked a professional athlete to train day
after day without eating? Doesn't it give new meaning to something as
trivial as the handing out of bread and fish before........

On the other hand one has to know when to "sacrifice" the further increase
in quantity of lower order properties in order to emerge in higher order
qualities. It sounds like a paradox, doesn't it. I think not!

Bifurcation's is part of the swing of harmony. Each bifurcation is unique.
One has to be at the right time and right place (space-time) to deal with
the bifurcation. This however is not enough. One needs to act. Thus
knowing what to do in order to emerge is critical at the bifurcation
point. But very important, its not just knowing what to do BUT also
knowing to what degree or extent it should be done. We do not live in a
black and white world. Thus the degree of doing is just as important as
doing itself! Apart from this, the ability to imagine the outcome of
existing bifurcation's is crucial along with the ability to anticipate
future/coming bifurcation's. Without this readiness/preparation one will
not be able to emerge into a higher order. Isn't Einstein's remark on
solving problems (without changing our patterns of thought, we will not be
able to solve the problems that we created with our current patterns of
thought) evidence of his sensitivity to this reality?

Is this awareness not shared by many on the LO list. Can I legitimately
claim that this awareness is one of the main reasons for the existence of
the LO dialog?

In a more pessimistic mode. Is it possible to comprehend the Entropy
crisis that awaits should we continue on our current path? The Entropy
crisis will make an Energy crisis look like child's play. Humans keep on
increasing information, technology, material wealth etc. We are seemingly
unaware how our continuous increase in quantitative properties is robbing
us of the necessary Free Energy (F) that is needed at bifurcation points
in order for us to emerge in qualitative properties.

The creations of humans are catching up with humans as the creator.

What about the children, the future. Are we not impairing the constructive
creativity of some children by feeding (spoiling) them too much? Are we
not impairing the constructive creativity of some children by failing to
even provide them with food? I see too many childen dying of hunger in
Africa and too many overfed kids in the West.

More of the same is sometimes necessary but will definitely not suffice.


Alfred Rheeder


Alfred Rheeder <alfred@pvm.co.za>

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