Mental Models and Change LO29597

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 11/27/02

Replying to LO29577 --

Dear Organlearners,

Jan Lelie <> writes:

>Without prescience it [entropy] "knows" or "senses" that it can
>produce - or perhaps is procreate more appropriate - itself
>"better", "faster" by creating order.

Greetings dear Jan,

First I want to say something which glue this contribution to the topic.

A movie/video is made up of many sequences of static snapshots. They are
called technically frames. See for example
Each next frame has a fixed image which has changed slightly from the
fixed image of the former frame. By viewing a regular sequence of such
slightly changed frames, say 30 per second, our eyes do not see the frames
anymore individually, but as one picture with continuous changes in it.

Now here is perhaps the Mental Model which many people may have of reality
and which almost all experts have on entropy. The fixed image in each
frame is of primary importance so that it gets captured. The actual change
from one frame to the next is of secondary importance and does not get
captured. Only its outcome, namely the slightly changed and again fixed
image of the next frame is again of primary importance so that again it
gets captured. Likewise reality is thought of as a regular sequence of
fixed, slightly changed instants ("beings") rather than also a string of
changing events ("becomings"). Technically it is said that reality is
ontological so that it may be categorised by ontologies. This is then also
indeed the case in knowledge management and information technology.

Most experts on entropy thinks in terms of the same Mental Model of LEP
(Law of Entropy Production) -- a regular sequence of static frames, each
slightly changed and fixed from the preceding frame. In other words, their
focus is on entropy, the "being". Their focus is definitely not on
"entropy production" (two words, one concept), the "becoming". They do not
think in terms of a sequence of dynamic changes which need not to be
broken (stopped) to end up in a static frame. Should they think so, their
thinking will be called technically ontogenical.

My personal opinion is that LEP should be thought of as a sequence of
actual changes (each called an "entropy production") rather than as a
sequence of supposed outcomes (each called an "entropy value"). I think of
LEP as a dynamical operator. It operates on energy as the operand.
Therefor i think of LEC (Law of Enegry Conservation) as a sequence of
actual outcomes, having been operated upon by LEP.

LEP is not only the universe's most fundamental operator, but also its
prime phenomenological operator. Likewise LEC is the universe's most
fundamental operand and also its prime phenomenological operand. By
phenomenological i mean that in every phenomenon (or system) of the
universe, LEP operate on LEC in every level of order in it. This means
that LEP and LEC is not merely entities of physics, but also entities of
higher levels like chemistry, geology and biology. Thus i think of reality
with its both its physical and spiritual dimensions as an
ontology&ontogeny. Reality tells "I become what I am to become again".
This is reflected in liveness ("becoming-being"), one of the 7Es (seven
essentialities of creativity).

With this explanation above i may perhaps be the one with the serious,
skewed Mental Model (MM). But it took me 34 years (since 1968 in soil
science research) to piece this MM together. I am very happy that i did
because it gave me a fruitful viewpoint on reality.

Jan, after so much verbalage, i can now get to your important
"...[entropy] it can produce ... itself "better", "faster" by creating
order. The "entropy production" can definitely be faster in order because
there are much more diverse entropic force-flux pairs possible to do it
with. But the question which we have to answer is the following:- is the
"faster" entropy production in order also the "better"?

You seem to had this question tacitly in mind because you write:

>What shall we do: stop this ridiculous process of creating
>entropy faster and faster by destroying this world? Or
>support it and keep on making more and more ordered
>systems, like Learning Organisations?

There is also a third possibility besides (1) accelerating or (2) fixing
"entropy production" and that is (3) decelerating it. As for myself, i
have studied enough natural systems and creative humans to become
convinced that that there is a harmonius relationship between the
accelerating and accelerating phases of "entropy production" in them. The
accelerating phase is needed to procure a bifurcation far from equilibrium
and the decelerating phase is needed to mature by way of digestion close
to equilibrium.

I agree with you that many sectors of humankind have overdone the
accelerating phase of "entropy production" by far, especially the past
fifty years. Any further overdoing it will have catastrophic consequences
-- in the physical dimension like poverty, famine and incurable diseases
while in the spiritual dimension like illiteracy, crime and complacency.
Few people may understand anything at all of the "accelerating phase of
entropy production". But many people are well aware of "increasing the
change" like "higher productivity", "higher living standard" and
"increased national growth". This Mental Model of "increasing the change"
is ridiculous in the light of the future catastrophes it will cause. It is
tragic in the light of the already splitting of the world in the few
"haves" and the many "have nots".

Other Mental Models may inhibit change, but this Mental Model of change
itself is already doing humankind as well as the ecology of our planet
unprecedented harm. Who will put a stop to it?

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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