Essentialities of creativity LO17975 -Introduction

Mnr AM de Lange (
Mon, 4 May 1998 15:11:40 GMT+2

Replying to LO17940 --

Dear Organlearners and Don,

Don Dwiggens <> writes

> At, I'm confused (perhaps I've just been sleeping in class :-). I thought
> a bifurcation is something that happens far from equilibrium, to restore
> the equilibrium through an immergence or emergence. What's an
> evolutionary bifurcation? Is it just an opportunity for digestive
> learning, or something more?

Don, there are two possibilities for your confusion. Either you have
been sleeping or your paradigm is shifting. When a person's paradigm
begins to shift, that person awakens to new possibilities. The person
becomes aware of things which previously would have slipped the

Very, very few people are aware that self-organisation has two
phases - the revolutionary phase at the edge of chaos (where the
entropy production is high) and the evolutionary phase close to
equilibrium (where the entropy production is low). These two phases
are very different from each other. Yet in both cases
1 entropy is produced
2 bifurcations happen
3 the seven essentialities determine the outcome.

Bifurcations close to equilbrium can be depicted with the
predator-prey metaphor. Either the system eats or becomes eaten.

Self-organisation close to equilibrium is very, very important. It is
necessary to build up the free energy of a system. This
evolutionary gained free energy is then used to power a new
revolution far from equilibrium.

Often when I read, for example, books on history, I feel sad
for people when realising how difficult it must be for them to
understand (in terms of self-organisation) what they are reading if
they have been introduced to self-organisation only far from
equilibrium. When this self-organisation far from equilibrium became
a topic late in the seventies, I always felt very uncomfortable with
it in terms of my own experiences and tacit knowledge. Life is not
like only the uneven numbered symphonies of Ludwig von Beethoven -
- Sturm und Drang. It is also like the even numbered symphonies -
- Tranquility and Rejuvenation.

Then came a number of years in which I struggled in the dark to
express my tacit knowledge concerning evolutionary self-organisation.
One day, while helping chemistry II students with their practicals in
analytical chemistry, I found a clue in the so-called Ostwald
Digestion process. From that clue I eventually managed to create a
powerful model to help me understand evolutionary self-organistion
close to equilbrium. I call it the "Digestor", in analogy to the name
"Brusselator" for Prigogine's model for self-organisation far form

Hi, Don, I am not saying that you or I or anybody else are chickens
in a "egg factory". But while writing this contribution, this
metaphor keeps visiting my mind. Chicken farmers have succeeded in
breeding hens which can lay roughly 300 eggs per year - roughly one
emergence per day! What an incredible success story for continuous
emergences. Until you visit the chicken hens in such an "egg
factory". They cannot stand upright or turn around in their small
cages. They cannot even scratch themselves where it itches. They have
to feed and drink what is in front of them and produce eggs and
faeces from behind. If they skip two days in laying an egg they are
culled. Speak of down-sizing and re-engineering!

Take a hundred such "battery hens", say 6 months old, and put them on
a farm to care for themselves in the open - to find their own food,
water and shelter. After two days all hundred will be dead. When
they have a few wizend farm chickens to learn from by flocking with
them, one or two may survive. Sadly, only a few have been saved by
flocking (chicken learning organisation).

We may become very clever in transforming our organisations to
"emergence factories". When I say "emergence factories", I mean it.
I base it on the way in which creativity is defined (emergence of the
novel) and the stress on productivity (rating of daily work and
counting innovations) in organisations. But in my mother tongue we
have a saying ("slim vang sy baas") which means literally that
"clever catches its boss". What I mean is that when we are left alone
to look after ourselves like that "battery hens" on open farmland,
the acid test has arrived.

Can we survive when our organisations begin to immerge on a large
scale - when there is few other remaining "productive egg factories"
to flee to? This process has been happening in Latin America and
especially in Africa since WWII. South Africa is now last on the list
with at least 10 000 people (mostly whites) per month emigrating to
other countries where they believe "productive egg factories" are
still abundant. On the other hand, at least 50 000 people (mostly
blacks) per month immigrate to South Africa, believing it is the
last country on the continent where "productive egg factories" are
still abundant. Whatever the case (emigrating or immigrating), when
they arrive in their new country, most of them discover that the
"productive egg factories" are not for them. They discover that they
will have to behave like farm chickens to survive. Luckily for them,
they had the opportunity to flee to a better farm. What will happen
the day when there are no better farms with wize farm chickens to
flee to?

(These figures on South Africa are only my guesses - the situation
has become so desperate that nobody, not even the goverment, can
supply exact figures any more.)

Since the fall of the iron curtain, the former USSR countries
experience a similar bleeding (but on a lower scale) to the
capitalistic countries. The near collapse of the economies of
the "emerging eastern tigers" is beginning to have a similar effect.
There is no escape.

When I was a child, my parents bought us a series of ten volumes
called the "Skatkis" (Treasure Chest in English). It was compiled by
Afrikaners deeply under the impression of the Afrikaners as an
"emerging nation" (and did they "emerge" with their brain child
apartheid). The Skatkis contained stories and articles taken form
almost every culture from the world - illustrating the best of all

There is one story in the Skatkis which became my nightmare for many
years "How much territory could a man peg off (claim) in one day as
his future property?". That man ran for a whole day like crazy, but
when he finally arrived at the beginning point, he dropped dead. The
exhaustion was too much for him. His grave was but a small speck in
the vast terrirtory which he succeeded in claiming. The worst
thing about the story was an illustration of the man running in
tatters, his beard and hair flowing in the wind, but his eyes having
a cazy stare. Each time when I looked at that illustration, I became
physically sick. Eventually I covered the illustration with a piece
of paper. It helped, but reading the story still troubled my mind.

I still remember how I shocked my father when telling him that the
same will happen to the Afrikaners with their policy of Apartheid.
At first he was mad at me. Later on he cried. Eventually he refused
to discuss the issue. But when he thought he was alone, I often saw
the sadness on his face. One day he mentioned to me that he also now
sees that crazy stare in the eyes of other people and that it
fiightens him.

Don, in my mother tongue we have the saying "Dit is die klein
jakkalsies wat die wingerd verniel" (It is the small foxes which ruin
the vineyard.) With that saying we warn somebody to take care of the
smal immergences - the bifurcations close to equilibrium. We have
many kinds of foxes in Africa. The small kinds eat insects and fruit.
They are very fond of sweet berries. They will easily wreck a
vineyard in in a few days. It is diffcult to stop them because they
are foxes - very clever. But Africa is full of surprises. We have
many other kinds of animals which can do the same thing - insects,
birds, rodents, porcupines, monkeys. Name the predator - we have it.
Through all these predators we have learnt the wisdom of "It is the
small foxes which ruin the vineyard".

Best wishes


At de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre for Education University of Pretoria Pretoria, South Africa email:

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