A Scale from "lie" to "truth" LO16570

Mnr AM de Lange (amdelange@gold.up.ac.za)
Wed, 14 Jan 1998 22:52:48 GMT+2

Replying to LO16500 --

Stephen Heaps <stephen.heaps@arch2.nara.gov> writes:

> At de Lange wrote:
> >If "to learn is to create" is a mental model and not a profound truth of
> >the highest order, then, as far as I can see it, humankind is doomed to
> >extinction.
> Then I suppose I better make sure I have clean underwear for the
> hereafter. Are there other profound truths I missed, or is At's the only
> one? I thought I also learned sometime on my journey a few profound
> lessons in the following list. How are these less profound truths than
> At's? What makes them less profound? And, how do they relate less to the
> end of humankind than his?

<snip list>

> On a day-to-day basis, I have to confess, I am much more worried about
> staying true to these truths than I am the coming bifurcation. And I
> would be interested in knowing more about when that will happen, or, at
> least, what it means. (Sounds like all on earth will be divided, such as
> those who will live in harmony and those who support the Yankees)

Steve, you are right. I made a pseudo inference (if A and not B then C)
It is worthless. On the scale from "lie" to "truth" it rests at the "lie".
I should have said in a more direct way that "learning is a form of
creating" and that "we are humans since we are the most creative species
of all living species". Then we would have had two separate propitions,
each of which we could have investigated its truth value (true or false).

I created the pseudo inference to connect these two propositions into one
complex proposition. I wanted to stress the importance of the connection
by its complexity. It is wrong because it merely intimidated you and thus
annoying you. I apologise.

You have supplied a list of questions. Questions are not propositions and
thus do not have truth values (either true or false). They have a
different kind of evaluation. Yet you write "... I am much more worried
about staying true to these truths ...". It does not make any sense for

I do not know why you have formulated them as questions. By removing the
question marks, all of them become commands except the first one, namely
my propostion "to learn is to create". Commands, like questions, do not
have truth values. They also have a different kind of evaluation which
differs from that of questions.

As a consequence I cannot evaluate your list in terms of "true" or "false"
or even a gradual scale between them.

I also follow the commands which can be derived from your list - some
always like "Honor thy Mother and Father" and some occasionaly like "Have
Milk with cookies". But I will never conform to "Then I suppose I better
make sure I have clean underwear for the hereafter". I find it repulsive.

You also write "And I would be interested in knowing more about when that
will happen, or, at least, what it means." (I was writing about the global
bifurcation which humans create themselves.) I will try to answer you.

I have written on it on this list almost two years ago. It is related to
the global warming, depletion of the ozone layer, the growing incidence of
cancer and viral diseases, but much more serious.

Mentioning these issues above and the ways in which people react to them,
reminds me of the learning dissabilities of a LO which Peter Senge have
identified. He calls one of them "the parable of the boiled frog". If we
put a frog in hot water, it will jump out of it because of the sudden
change in temperature. If we slowly heat a frog in cold water to the
boiling point, the frog will boil to death because of the imperceptable
change in temperature. This parable gives the reason for the demise of
some organisations, including giant corporations.

An explanation for this parable can be given in terms of self-organising
dissipative systems. A bifurcation happens when enough entropy is produced
at a rate fast enough. This requires large force-flux pairs. A temperature
difference is a force and the corresponding flow of heat the flux. See any
textbook on irreversible thermodynamics.

Assume that the mind is also a self-organising dissipative system until
empirical evidence is provided to settle the truth. The initial cognition
of anything, even a bifurcation, is also the result of a bifurcation. If
the entropy production in the neural system is low and slow the neural
system cannot move far away from equilibrium where cognitive bifurcations
have to happen. This is one of the dynamical reasons why cognition (an
intellectual emergence) cannot happen. (The seven essentialities can be
considered as mechanical reasons.)

If we want to perceive this grand bifurcation, we will have to rely on
things which become hundreds or even a couple of thousand years old. Our
information age is far too young to rely upon it. We then have to make
comparisons based on large increments in time. We have to look at all
drastic changes. We will recognise most of them as natural changes, but a
few will be appear to be completely unnatural. These unnatural changes
should not slip our attention, otherwise a cognitive bifurcation will not
result. To put it in "simple" English: we have to see what we are looking

Best wishes


At de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre for Education University of Pretoria Pretoria, South Africa email: amdelange@gold.up.ac.za

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