A Scale from "lie" to "truth" LO16653

Mnr AM de Lange (amdelange@gold.up.ac.za)
Fri, 23 Jan 1998 20:34:26 GMT+2

Replying to LO16627 --

Dear organlearners,

Ed Brenegar <edb3@email.msn.com> writes:


> Truth emerged through the incongrueous relationship of entities.
> I'm confident that this will take us to a depth of understanding
> that our prior mental models would not allow. Now I don't know
> how this fits into your philosophic scheme. But it certainly is the
> nature of the way truth emerges in life, as I see and experience it.
> Thanks again for your kind thoughts. It has made this long and tiring day,
> much more pleasant.

Ed, I also want to thank you for your kind and delightful response.
Sadly, I had to snip all of it except for the last four sentences.

Your sentence "Truth emerged through the incongrueous relationship of
entities" is the heart-beat of my philosophy. It supplies blood to all
parts of this philsophy. Therfore, I cannot tell you how it fits in with
my philosophy because the result will be a book with at least 300 pages!
But why do you not write a book on this very theme?

Dear Reader. Please skip the rest of this long contribution if you are not
interested in fringe societies and the incongruencies they struggle with.
Please skip it if you do not want your emotions to run out of control.
Please skip it now.

Most people may think that your sentence and my reaction to it are the
idiosyncracies of two fringe people. Anyway, we are not alone. For
example, the modern fashion is to think of confessing christians as a
small minority of fringe people.

I use this very example of christians to let something else emerge. Many
christians consider the Relevations of Jesus Christ to John as the most
difficult book in the Bible to understand. One reason is they do not
realise that your sentence is a main theme in this book. Furthermore,
they have the illusion that the Truth is "out there to be transfered into
them" so that the Truth cannot emerge from within them through the
incongruencies pointed out by the Word.

I belong to a Bible study group which has been studying the book
Relevations for little over a year. We have four Bible study groups in our
congregation to cater for the youth, working people, retired people and
home makers. Each of the other three groups has also worked through
Relevations during the past two years, but it took none of them longer
than four months. Our group is now at chapter 17 after 15 months! Why so

First of all, each of us enjoy every minute of our weekly group meetings.
The group has become a learning organisation about two years ago. (Please
note the five LO disciplines in quotation marks). We stick to a verse
until every member is satisfied with his/her "personal mastery" of it. We
examine our "mental models" by comparing them with each other and that of
known commentaries. Our "shared vision" is to prepare ourselves for a
revival in the spiritual life of the church at large. The sensitivity to
"team learning" is so intense that members who are physically ill, attend
the meetings while they should have stayed in bed (home and hospital). Our
church subscribe to three major reformed confessions (16th century) which
serves as the guideline for our "systems thinking".

Secondly, our group consists of fourteen ordinary people from the common
walks of life, except for me. I cannot and will not clutter their minds
with my personal philosphy or what I know about the learning of humankind.
Although during a meeting my mind roams racingly with terms such as
entropy production, dissipation, bifurcations, construction, emergences,
immergences, essentialities, autopoiesis, adaptation, self-organisation, I
keep my mouth shut and never mention these terms. I am one of them.

But I do act as a midwife. If someone has a diffculty and a "mental
abortion" or a "mental indigestion" seems to be inevitable, I step in
with a definite question here or a provocative comment there, based on my
knowledge of dissipative (entropy producing) self-organising systems.
Whenever I do that, the group seems to shift into a new level of
awareness, discovering new things which they previously could not even
think of. It is as if they are holding back until a member has recovered.
This takes additional time - yet they are not aware of time when doing it.

Let us leave the realm of religion to enter the realm of the inanimate
world and those who study it. Among these people there is also a species
which is fast becoming endangered - the physicists. Once upon a time it
was fashion to imitate their way of thinking just as it was fashion to
imitate the thinking of christians. But now they are tolerated mostly
because they are needed to sustain and promote modern technologies.

The ultimate truth for an arch physicist is either (firstly) to discover a
universal conservation law or (secondly) to discover an exception to that
law. Discovering an exception causes such mental incongruencies that it
drives the minds of physicists to discover a new universal conservation

Now, what does a "universal conservation law for X" in physics mean? It
means that for a locally measureable quantity X, this quantity X for the
universe cannot be created or detroyed. In other words, it means that the
sum of X for the universe is a constant. If X decreases locally, then it
has to increase with the same amount at other localities. Metaphorically
speaking, there are no better accountants than these universal
conservation laws.

After three centuries and only a few such universal conservation laws
having been discovered, it became clear that there were few conservations
laws left over to be discovered, if any. And because of the holistic
impetus gained through relativity theory and quantum mechanics, physicists
began to compare these conservations laws in all sorts of manners. Then an
insight emerged within Herman Weyl, a great master of physics and
mathematics. He noticed that every conservation law (such as for
momentum, electrical charge, fundamental parity, etc) existed because of
the breaking of a symmetry uniquely related to that law. (He did not use
your words "incongrueous relationship", but he did created the term
"symmetry-breaking" which means very much the same.) This means that the
more "conservation laws" physics has, the more "symmetry-breakings" there
are in physics.

The most basic conservation law in physics seems to be the "Law of of
Energy Conservation" (LEC) - energy cannot be created or destroyed, but
parts of it can be moved between localities. Einstein created the idea of
a symmetrical, homgenous, 4-dimensional space-time (3+1) continuum to
serve his theory of relativity. Weyl showed that the LEC is associated
with symmetry breaking in this 4-d space-time continuum. But what is
responsible for this symmetry-breaking in the 4-d space-time?

Is this last question not foolish since this smooth 4-d space-time is the
principal backgroud (canvas) which thus cannot have a background itself?
If it is a foolish question, thus accepting the LEC without further
questioning, then it means that all other things, even life, are merely a
number of symmetry-breakings as well as some deformations (relativity
theory's account for objects with mass) in a smooth 4-d space-time
background. How dreadful is life not if we have to assume the LEC without
any further questioning it. Or is the life of a physicist really that
dreadful? Who will dare to question the unquestionable?

In thermodynamics the LEC is known as the first law of thermodynamics. But
there is also a second law of thermodynamics. This law (discovered
roughly 150 years ago) says that the entropy of the universe has to
increase. Entropy, like energy, is a physical quantity. It means that it
has a magnitude (number) and a unit. This law says that the magnitude of
the entropy of the universe increases - entropy gets produced. We may thus
call the second law also as LEP - the "Law of Entropy Production".

What a bizarre law - while all other laws conserve, this universal law
does the opposite - it produces! How to understand such a bizarre thing?
Soon afterwards physicists "gave an interpretation" to entropy which they
hoped will help them to "understand" this LEP. They "interpreted" entropy
as a "measure of chaos". Thus they concluded that the chaos of the
universe must increase. This conclusion, based on "their interpretions"
coincided roughly with another profound conclusion by the very Charles
Darwin himself - that life proceeds from less to more complexity through a
universal process which he called evolution by a selection of the fittest.

Speaking of " incongrueous relationships" - what more incongruent can we
have than "the universe become more chaotic" and "life become more
ordered". What has become of Truth? No wonder that even religions and
especially the christian religion were caught up in the ensueing drama for
the next 130 years (a drama of which the last act is now unfolding!). Who
were with the truth - the physicists with their physical principle or the
biologists with their biological principle? The tension was gradually
building up, not only in the realm of academics, but also in the realm of
cultures. To make things even worse, the physicists themselves discovered
a new mechanics much more complex and ordered than the Newtonian mechanics
which they relied so much upon with blind trust. It was quantum mechanics
which encompassed Newtonian mechanics. In other words, while they believed
the universe is becoming more chaotic, they MENTALLY managed to order
their mechanics more, against all their expectations.

Ed, to use your words, slightly changed: they did not know any more how to
fit these developments into their philosophic scheme. But in the mean time
it seemed as if the world was really becoming more chaotic because two
wars followed, wars so destructive (immergently) that for the first time
ever they were called World Wars. Maybe the pysicists are right and not
the biologists! Maybe humankind will destroy the biological priciple by
using the physical principle.

But soon after WWII a young man named Ilya Prigogine began to struggle
once again with the second law of thermodynamics, the LEP His first
question was bizarre itself. What happens when entropy gets produced? Why
bizarre? Physisicts struggle to disovered a law - only then to try and
disprove that law. For them the ultimate nirvana is to know how a true law
of physics works. They consider the how of "how a physical law works" as
senseless because it never led to measurable results, but only bizarre

But was Prigogine's question bizare? Let us see. The 2nd law concerns
entropy. The "how of the law" is that the universe's "entropy increase",
i.e. it is not constant, nor does it decreases. If the entropy of a system
decreases, then in the rest of the universe the entropy has to increase
with a larger amount so that the total change is an increase. When the
entropy of a system increases, then if in the rest of the universe the
entropy decreases, it has to decrease with a smaller amount so that the
total change is again an increase. This the how - thats all to it. But
what is the how of the how?

With the brilliant insight of a genius, Prigogine distinguished in any
"entropy change" of any system two contributing changes. The one is the
"reversible" change. It concerns that entropy which goes out of a system
(or into it) and which is equal to the entropy which goes into the
environment (or gets out of it). If it goes out of the system, then the
change is negative, but if it goes into the system, then the change is
positive. Thus he forced "accountancy" or "reversibility" on one part of
the "entropy change". But by doing so, he created a mental incongruency on
the "entropy change of the universe" because it is is basically
"irreversible". This enabled him to experience a profound mental

The other "not-reversible" part of the system's "entropy change" must then
be the very "irreversible" change. It must always be positive so that the
entropy of the universe can increase. Furthermore, only when this
irreversible change occur, the reversible change will also occur.
Prigogine realised that this irreversible change is the key to know the
how of the how. Eventually he succeeded to derive an equation which
describes how the irrversible change increases. It is a tremendously
complex equation, but the first thing which strikes the student of this
equation, is that it is made up of force-flux pairs, showing exactly where
the heart-beat of incongriencies lies. What is even more striking, the
"how of the how" not only led to measurable results, but tied up already
existing fragments of measured results which could not be fit in
previusly. (See for example the Onsager reciprocal relationships - a study
in incongruencies if there ever was one.)

Ed, have you noticed that I am tracing a circular course through the
history of physics, a course of which only two segments are needed to
complete it? The two segments still absent are defined by the following
questions. Firstly, does entropy production have any role to play in
material emergences? Secondly, although it appears as if the 2nd law
concerns only the physical-material world, does it not also concern the
spiritual-abstract world and its emergences? If we could have these two
segments, then your sentence "Truth emerged through the incongrueous
relationship of entities" begins to make incredible sense.

Well. let us tackle the first question "Firstly, does entropy production
have any role to play in material emergences?" Prigogine began to suspect
that the LEP (2nd law, "Law of Entropy Prouction") is connected to two
very important relationships. Firstly, LEP is the primodial cause of all
symmetry-breaking. Secondly, LEP is primarily responsible for
self-organisation in the material world. Thus the slow process began to
substantiate these suspicions. This process is not yet completed. But the
results were initially exciting.

Firstly, Prigogine and co-workers discovered star-hermitian quantum
mechanics. One of its operators is the entropy operator which has this
symmetry-breaking effect on the other operators. But how to relate this
operator to breaking the symmetry of the smooth 4-d space-time? How to
show that LEP gives rise to LEC? How to show that the becoming of LEP
precedes the being of LEC? Secondly, he and his co-workers discovered
that when the entropy production drives the system far from equilibrium,
higher orders of self-organisation can emerge occasionally. But why do
they not emerge automatically - is it the final end of certitude - is it
the final acknowledgement of uncertainty? Or is our mental uncertainty
(chaos) not indicating that also mind and not only brain are both part of
such a grand scheme that it leaves the mind paralyzed? You can read all of
this in his enticing book "From Being to Becoming". But be forwarned - it
is primarily a book for physicists and chemists.

After remarkable initial successes, it seems as if they have come up to a
solid wall. Progress is now very slowly - the physical principle seems to
have lost its power. On the other hand, researchers like Kaufman and
co-workers who follow the biological principle initiated by Drawin seems
to have increasingly success. It seems as if CAS - Complex Addaptive
Systems is taking over from dissipative self-organising systems. The drama
of 120 years ago is repeating itself!

However, Ed, in the circle which I am tracing, you will remember that two
segments are missing. The one is the material segment, namely that entropy
production is responsible for material emergences, including the
emergences of biological life. It does appears that entropy production is
the primordial cause, but since we cannot describe exactly how it happens,
this appearance might be an illusion. However, it is the second abstract
segment which I wish to draw your attention to. Does the LEP also apply to
the abstract world of mind? If LEP does govern the mind, then it means
that we still have to experience some mental symmetry- breakings (caused
by the LEP) before we could complete the material segment!

Ed, consider this last sentence of mine. It is a complex sentence. I would
not mind if you would even say that it is a horrible sentence. But compare
this sentence with your much more elegant sentence, namely "Truth emerged
through the incongrueous relationship of entities". They say very much the
same thing! You go even further and write: " I'm confident that this will
take us to a depth of understanding that our prior mental models would not
allow." I have probably led you and all the others through such deep
waters that you feel close to drowning - we are going too deep! Are we not
having too much confidence?

But then you also write: "Now I don't know how this fits into your
philosophic scheme. But it certainly is the nature of the way truth
emerges in life, as I see and experience it." Let us first examine your
last sentence. I can assure you that I agree in full with it. It is how I
have experienced and now understand the emergence of Truth by way of the
"incongrueous relationship of entities" (as you have formulated it). I am
not advocating mental cloning here because I have formulated it in a
different manner - remeber that horrible sentence. What I am saying is
that I understand your formulation. What you also have been saying is that
you do not understand what I am saying. Why? I have made many
contributions and yet you write "Now I don't know how this fits into your
philosophic scheme."

My philosophy is very complex because I had a long life to work on it,
rich with incongruent experiences. But it is not the complexity of this
philosophy which prevents you from knowing it. It is one unique
incongruent experience which I had. It changed my whole conceptual outlook
on reality. It concerns that last segment of the circel which I am buzy
drawing. I discovered EMPIRICALLY that the LEP (Law of Entropy Production)
also applies to the abstract world of mind. This discovery changed my
viewpoint completely. This is the one thing which separates us.

This discovery allowed me to bridge that immense abyss between the
physical and spiritual "worlds" which humankind had been cleaving since
times immemorial. Those worlds are not separate (occasionaly rubbing
against each other) any more for me. They are now two sides of one complex
reality. I have bridged the incongruency which humankind has erected
between these two worlds. I do not feel particularly proud about it - I
had experienced too much pain to feel proud. But I am extremely happy
(blissful) that I have bridged this abyss.

It also opened my eyes to the fact that uncountably many people before me
have also bridged that abyss. For example, Leibniz was one of them. If you
carefully read his fragment (The Philospher's Dream) which I posted
roughly a week ago, you will realise what light imbued his eyes. I
sometimes get the stirring thought, one which Leinbiz also articulate in
the dream, that the bridging of this abyss will always be in an individual
manner and will never become a collective venture. Is this bridging of the
abyss not the deepest experience which each of us can have in our personal
mastery? Let us trace this last question.

Let us accept the fact that every human has beliefs. I will now complete
the circle by connecting to the fringe society which I first mentioned.
Christains believe in the historical Jesus - a man of flesh and blood -
the Son of Man - the material principle. But they also believe in the
resurrection of Jesus - the proof that He is the Son of God - the
spiritual principle. What more incongruency can we have than between these
two beliefs of christians. Yet this very incongruency resolves itself in
an emergence which christians refer to as their second birth - their
rebirth. What is more - they claim that this emergence has revealed the

I cannot make excuses for it any more. Reality - Creator and Creation - is
not only complex, it is becoming more complex by the second. Reality is
one - let us stop fragmenting it - let us begin to put it together again.
Reality is one - the broad road of dissipations going down to chaos and
the narrow road of constructions going up to order.

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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