Natural and Cultural Increases LO29105

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 09/03/02

Replying to LO29098 --

Dear Organlearners,

Jan Lelie < > writes:

>.. and here i'm lost. Why is the last series not:

>9 (10 -/- 9) 18 (..) 25 30 33 (44 -/- 11 so far so good)
>but then: 34 (50 -/- 16) 33 (55 -/- 22) 30 (..) 25 18 9 (65 -/- 56) ?

Greetings dear Jan,

I worked so fast in my reply to Dwig that I had not time to check upon my
mental arithmetic. You are right -- the error is mine. I will now correct

Fellow learner Alfred Rheeder in a telephone conversation also pointed the
error out to me. He also suggested that i extend my explanation to Dwig to
include graphics.

Swenson is right when he say that "maximum entropy production" is
needed in a system to have an ordinate bifurcation. Please refer to
figure 1.

The "production" of "maximum entropy production" means that the
successive values of the entropy has to increase. This is indicated by
the series of numbers
1 2 4 7 11 16 22 29 37 64
The series of numbers are just illustrative. The "maximum" (it should
rather be "maximal") of "maximum entropy production" means that
the increases themselves should increase. This produces the graph
"system" which not only goes upwards (the "production"), but also
bends upwards (the "maximum").

However, no system can act on its own. It is forever connected to
other systems of the same kind, whether it acknowledges it or not.
All of them together form a "symbiotic universe" (parasitism or
mutualism). We now assume that for a "symbiotic universe" the
entropy changes are the same as for the grand universe. For the
grand universe it is like the series of numbers
10 20 29 37 44 50 55 59 62 64
Again there is an increase of numbers indicated by the "production" in
"minimum entropy production", but the increases decrease indicated
by the "minimum". This means that the graph "universe" bends
downwards while going upwards.

By now subtracting the entropy values of the "system" from that of the
"universe", we get the entropy values of the "surrounding systems". In
other words, the entropy production of the system and the entropy
production of the surroundings have to add up to the entropy
production of them together as the universe. It means that when the
graphs "system" and "surroundings" are added up, the graph "universe"
must be the result. This is what figure 1 tells us.

However, figure 1 tells is two important things which Swenson does
not even mention.
(1) The "entropy production" of the surroundings is not maximal. In
other words, its graph never bends upwards. This means that the
surroundings cannot have any bifurcation.
(2) Far worse, from 34 onwards the entropy of the surroundings
decreases. Since entropy is a measure of organisation, it means that
the surroundings actually loses in organisation. The safe region in
which the system thus can operate, is from
1 2 4 7 11*
Thereafter the system destroys the organisation of its surrounding

How can this be prevented? Please refer to figure 2.

Firstly, the system has "to know" where its limit of safe operation is.
Secondly, the system has to bifurcate before this limit is reached.
Thirdly, the system has to follow up this bifurcation with its
complementary dual, namely a digestion. During the digestion the system
has to decrease its entropy production so fast that the entropy production
of its surrounding becomes maximal once again.

This is indicated by the curve "surroundings" in figure 2. From the time
at 33 (preceded by 9 18 25 30) the entropy in the surroundings changes
into a "maximum entropy production". In other words, the curve
"surroundings" begins to bend upwards once again. It means that the
surroundings may have bifurcations. It definitely also means that the
surroundings will not get poorer in organisation (of which entropy is its

The entropy of the system has a ridge (for bifurcation) and then a
valley (for digestion), followed up by other ridges and valleys not
shown. Stuart Kauffman calls these ridges and valleys the
ruggedness of a fitness landscape. The more rugged the landscape,
the more adaptive the system. You fellow learners may read more
about it in
"Fitness Landscape and other landscapes. LO27222"
< >
"Fitness Landscape and other landscapes. LO27257"
< >

What will ensure that the bifurcation of the system will be timely
within its safe region? I can think of nothing else than the 7Es (seven
essentialities of creativity). They are:-
liveness ("becoming-being")
sureness ("identity-context")
wholeness ("unity-associativity")
fruitfulness ("connect-beget")
spareness ("quantity-limit")
otherness ("variety-quality")
openness ("paradigm-transfer")
Should one or more of them fail to develop and thus become impaired,
the bifurcation cannot resolve into a constructive emergence. The gully
which occurs on the top of every ridge, begins to deepen into an abyss.
< >
Sooner or later the "maximum entropy production" will push the system
over the edge of that abyss into a destructive immergence.

There are strong indications that LEP (Law of Entropy Production)
drives all evolution, natural and cultural. I find it astonishing that LEP
puts a "responsibility" on the system to its surrounding systems once
the system is "free" to produce entropy according to its "own liking".
It is as if LEP requires intelligence from the system to govern its
actions. Nature seems to have this intelligence in what is better known
as mutualistic symbiosis. What happens is the following. Please refer
to figure 3.

Three cycles of the entropy landscape of one of the many systems in the
"symbiotic universe" is shown. Now imagine another system with a similar
entropy landscape, but of which the ridges coincide with the valleys of
the first system. (Below fig 3 this second system is shifted somewhat to
the right of the first system.) When their entropies add up, the nett
effect is to produce a smoother landscape for both. When all the other
systems also add up in a similar manner, a smooth landscape is obtained
for the symbiotic universe.

But what about humankind with all its cultural systems?

In my reply to Dwig I have mentioned the WSSD2 (Second World Summit on
Sustainable Development) in Johannesburg, South Africa. What strikes me of
particular importance is that the poorest countries try to articulate that
their development follows the curve "surroundings" of figure 1. But the
richest countries do not want to give up on their development which
follows the curve "system" of figure 1. No person in any rich country can
sleep in peace when millions of people in poor countries suffer famine and

So what is Sustainable Development (SD)? The WSSD2 defines it as:-
   "Sustainable development is the ability of the present
    generation to meet its needs without compromising the
    ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
However, we need something more of a foundation rather than
debating endlessly over needs. I would thus propose that SD is for
all the countries of the world have to work together in such manner
that each can have a rugged entropy landscape with ridges (for
bifurcations) and valleys (for digestions), generation after generation.
This involves the synchronisation of their entropy landscapes so that
for all of them together the entropy production becomes minimal, i.e.,
like the curve "universe".

However, this is exactly where the paradigmatic problem lies. Every
country not only wants a positive growth rate (the "production" part of
entropy), but also wants to increase it as far as possible (the "maximum"
part). Many countries do not succeed. Those countries which do succeed, do
so in terms of increased usage of fossil fuels. They seem to be blind to
the fact that die-off is not so distant far away in the future. Meanwhile
the gully in their entropy ridge is developing into an abyss like the
Grand Canyon. Die-off will push them ober the edge of chaos into it.

>Your message though comes across very clearly,
>but i do have a question regarding the last part.

I hope that the graphs will help to clarify the message.

>It does remind you of the parabel by George Orwell,
>doesn't it? Towards the end, the pigs and the human
>meet in the farm house and the animals are looking in.
>The pigs and humans run around the table and look
>more and more the same.....

Sadly, it is the case. This happens when greed displaces wisdom. I intend
to write on this topic under the subject "The knowledge indicator"

>>It is not the survival of politicans, industrialists, businesses
>>and farmers which are stake. It is not crazy people who
>>oppose each other. It is a complete ignorance of how LEP
>>works and what the outcome of LEP is. The G8 countries
>>are caught up in the course of "maximum entropy production"
>>like in
>>1 2 4 7 11* 16 22 29 37 46 56
>>The 80 poorest countries are caught up in the bifurcationless
>>and increasing poverty of the series
>>9 18 25 30 33* 28 26 22 16 8
>>But Mother Earth is just going on with the course of "minimum
>>entropy production" like in
>>10 20 29 37 44 50 55 59 62 64
>>She does not know of an aterisked number.

Please correct the series of numbers of the poor countries to
9 18 25 30 33* 34 33 30 25 18

>>Where exactly are we in this series, before the aterisked
>>numbers, at them, or after them? I myself wake up often
>>at night in cold sweat, a pain in my groin and a mind
>>flashing vividly images of a great catastrophe in the making.
>>We are already after the aterisked numbers. We need a
>>grand bifurcation involving all walks of culture (politics,
>>ecomomics, social and education) over the whole globe NOW.
>Doesn't the asterix depend on the starting number of the universe?

Please refer to figure 1. The aterixed number is the limit of the safe
region. Obviously, the safe region has a beginning, but it is its end
which is here important. And it it is not at 34, the turning point for
the graph. The reason is that every ridge (for bifurcation) has a
gully in it. This gully is not shown in the ridge of the graph "system"
in figure 2. The reason is that 10 numbers do not allow me such
fine detail. However, this gully is shown in the graph
< >

>>But such a bifurcation is prevented because we know
>>too little of the 7Es. We do not know how their impairing
>>is preventing that bifurcation. What then lies ahead? The
>>inevitable destructive immergence which will involve the
>>globe itself.
>Why would knowledge - or noknowledge - of the 7Es play
>a role? Didn't nature apply these rule already in the past?
>Is there a reason why they will not be evoked now or in the
>near future? (for instance after the coming collapse, when
>we start to really realize how limited our knowledge was
>- forgive us, because we didn't know what we did. Perhaps
>we're witnessing a destructive learning cycle).

Jan, this concerns the point which I have been trying to get over for so
many years now. Each of the 7Es has to increase in complexity to manage
evolution. For example, it is not wholeness, but "increasing wholeness"
which manage evolution. Jan Smuts called this "increasing wholeness" by
the name holism.

Now how do we humans increase in each of the 7Es? By remaining true to our
destiny -- "Homo sapiens". There is no other way than that of LEARNING. It
stand to reason that when we are willing to learn more of thousands of
things, but not of the 7Es, then we will not be able to emerge
constructively at the ridge of chaos. We will always try to get to its
top, but its top merely becomes higher and higher. This means that we are
caught up in the graph "system" of figure 1.

>>The past billion years Mother Earth experienced 5
>>such cataclysmic catastrophes. Each of them had
>>been caused by a natural event like an asteroid
>>hitting the earth or volcanoes erupting when two
>>continents were ripped apart. The sixth one is now
>>being made by humankind itself.
>Why only 5? Are we no natrural event ourselves?
>And isn't it a kind of progress that we now are
>learning to engage cataclyssmic catastrophes. One
>of my rules is that the best way to get people moving
>is to set fire to their chairs. It is - as our new princess
>has put it - "hij is een beetje dom" ("he has been a bit

The 5 which i refered to, involved life since the simple protozoa
appeared. Obviously, there had been "cataclysmic" events before those 5,
but they had nothing to do with the extinction of life forms.

You are right -- we have to to LEARN how to avoid cataclysmic
catastrophes. Many people all over the world are learning it. But the
majority of humankind are not. Unfortunately, it includes the leaders of
rich countries and multinational corporations. The WSSD2 demonstrated this
fact once again. They rather want their graph "curve" (figure 1) --
"maximum entropy production".

You are also right -- we can form a natural event. But there is one
property of all constructive emergences which we have to bear in mind --
they are spontaneous. They cannot be forced by just more entropy
production as has happened during WSSD2. This is the one stupidity we all
must avoid.

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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