Entropy and creativity LO17298

Mark Michaels (michaels@ipat.com)
Thu, 5 Mar 1998 08:57:36 -0600

Winfred Dressler wrote extensively concerning the relationship of entropy
and energy, questioning the role of entropy production:

Winfred, my research in this area concurs with yours. To put it more

Self-organization requires (and, by association, creativity):
1. A nonlinear system
2. The system must be far-from-equilibrium
For a system to remain far-from-equilibrium, there must be a continued
source of energy (heat gradients are the appropriate example.)

When energy is removed from the system, it will return to equilibrium.

Based on the history of the word entropy, entropy production mearly means
the production of evolution. Put another way, energy moves a system FFE,
which pushes the system to evolve (produces entropy in the system) so as
to better process the higher levels of energy.

The above description relates to physical systems. When dealing with
organizational systems, both energy and information serve in similar

This issue is becoming very topical in cosmology, as anyone reading the
media these days will recognize. It is related directly to the issue of
the expanding universe, whether the rate of expansion is state (energy
level remains constant), slowing (meaning energy is being expended - the
traditional big bang theory with a cold death), or the speed of expansion
is increasing (the heat death which requires a resolution of the second
law of thermodynamics with the big bang. Einstein handled this with his
cosmological constant, which he later rejected.)

The report out this past week, to the surprise of cosmologists, is that
the rate of expansion of the universe is increasing. That suggests energy
production in some way, in a universe where energy and matter are
supposedly constant with neither being able to be created or destroyed -
only conversion between states being possible.

The only way to resolve this paradox will be by either just accepting the
cosmological constant or through Prigogine and other's work on "entropy
production" as described here.

Why raise the issue of cosmology in a discussion of creativity? Because it
serves as a (possibly the) basic model for creative processes.

Mark Michaels
People Technologies

"To move a mountain, start with one pebble at a time."


"Mark Michaels" <michaels@ipat.com>

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