Dignity in LOs LO21789

AM de Lange (amdelange@gold.up.ac.za)
Tue, 1 Jun 1999 10:58:44 +0200

Replying to LO21726 --

Dear Organlearners,

Winfried Dressler <winfried.dressler@voith.de> writes:

>A second read made clear, that you are talking of disturbances
>due to irreversible thermodynamics. Hmm. I would have answered
>a question like: "Disturb the system as little as possible" with
>"Make the measurement as reversible as possible", which
>means as little as possible transformation of energy. The typical
>example for this is measuring electrical voltage (force) causing
>as less as possible current (flow) due to the measurement.
>Therefore one needs a device with an as high as possible internal
>resistance. Measuring the flow (current) requires the opposite
>condition: In order not to disturb the flow, the internal resistance
>should be close to zero. Ok, I think I have enought to come to
> quesitions:
>Why do you think, that the scale of the measuring device has an
>influence on the disturbance of the system? (I think you are not
>talking of the lower accuracy of our knowledge with a less precice

Greetings Winfried,

This is my second reply to your contribution LO21726. In the first
reply I discussed what we can learn from Quantum Mechanics on
measurement. That reply become far too long to also include what
we can learn from Irreversible Thermodynamics (IT) on measurement.

Fellow learners may wonder what diginity and measurement have
to do with each other. Dignity is an implicate property of a person.
Should we try to measure (evaluate) a person's dignity, we make
some part of the dignity explicate. This change leads to a reduction
of the person's implicate dignity as well as mixing that person's
dignity with some of our own explications on dignity. This change
in the dignity of the person brought about by measuring systems in
the surroundings impair far too often the person's creativity.

Winfried. You are right that I have omitted the role of energy
transfer in measurement as the principal cause for disturbing the
system. This ommision can lead to the notion that the lesser the
calibrations on a scale is the principal cause for the higher
disturbance by measurement. This notion, as you have pointed
out, is wrong. The principal cause is and will always be the
entropy production which causes the transfer of energy during
measurement. Entropy production is also (in the majority of cases
as I will soon explain) necessary to make the coarser calibrated
scale effective (essentiality fruitfulness).

In this discussion on the calibration density of the scale as a
cause (but not a principal cause) we have a wonderful example
of the difference between implicate and explicate representations.
I made too little explicate. Winfried reacted to it, thinking that I
may have lost my emergent bearings in the creative course of
time. This is possible, and when it does happen and consequently
create confusion, I will appologise for it. But I wrote on purpose
as little as possible on measurement so that the focus in that
initial contribution remain on dignity as an implicate property
of humans. I still do not want us to lose focus on dignity
because the dignity of a person is of far greater importance to
me than all the measurements in whatever property of that
person which we can make.

On the other hand, when my contributions become more
explicate and thus necessarily longer, people hint and
complain that also this does not suite them. Why not?
Because of the intimidation which the more explicate
account causes. This may be explained by the Digestor
model. The more the crystal (explicit account) increases in
quantity m and quality M, the more difficult it becomes to
digest such a crystal.

It means that when anyone (me or someone else) meander
towards low entropy production close to equilibrium so that
we can learn digestively, those people who want to meander
towards high entropy production at the edge of chaos (where
they can learn emergently) will not be happy. Should that
person meander towards high entropy production at the edge
of chaos so that each of us can learn emergently, those
people who want to meander to digestive learning will be
unhappy. Unless each member of a team is able to perceive
these two asymptotes of learning, it will be difficult to learn
harmoniously as a team.

The problem why we do not perceive the disturbance made by
a measuring instrument on a system, is that we are using
instruments which have been designed to have as little
influence as possible. Thus we are caught up in the existing
explications of former developers. A Peter Senge puts it, we do
not appreciate the difference between invention and innovation.
The first measuring instrument of a kind usually had an immense
irreversible effect on the system. It is through innovation that we
have learnt to reduce that irreversibility to an acceptable
minimum. On of the most dramatic cases was the development
of radioactivity -- many researchers paid with their lives. Today
we use x-ray and soft gamma-ray sources as standard tracing
techniques in medicine.

Let me use the measuring instruments for electricity as an
example. We use an ampmeter (ammeter) for measuring current
(flow of electrical charge -- entropic flux) in ampere and a
voltmeter for measuring potential (difference in electrical
potential -- an entropic force) in volts. Both meters make use
of a galvanometer.

The modern galvanometer is very sensitive to small changes in
current passing through it. It consists of a coil to which a needle is
attached. The coild can swivel in a magnetic field. Its electrical
resistance is of a medium value. An ampmeter is constructed
by connecting a galvanometer parallel to a resistor with a very
low resistance. Thus most of the current can flow through the
resistor rather than the galvanometer. A voltmeter is constructed
by connecting a galvanometer in series to a resistor with very
high resistance. Thus little current can flow through the resistor
and the galvanometer. In both meters the entropy production
(proportianal to ampereXvolt) is very low, even for a full
deflection of the galvanometer's needle.

Let us now make a thought experiment by deliberately using
an apparatus which respond to only two ranges in current --
all values lower as a certain value and all values higher than
that value. A electromagnetic relay is such a type of apparatus.
But let us make it even simpler. A fuse (consisting of a wire
which melt when the current and thus entropy production
become too high) will do. It also shows the role of entropy
production more vividly. Let us think of a malfunctioning PC
(Personal Computer) as the system of which we want to
measure the current. Thus we have to connect the fuse in
series to the PC to "measure current". How?

The fuse corresponds to a measuring scale with only one
calibration mark -- either a current lower than the threshold
value so that the fuse stays intact or a current higher than
the threshold value so that the fuse blows. Thus the mark
distinguish TWO ranges. Let us assume that the fuse is
rated 1A (ampere). We switching on the PC two cases are
possible for the 1A fuse

(1) The fuse blows. It tell us that the PC draws more than
1A current. It might it be a short circuit somewhere, thus
reducing the internal resistance and increasing the entropy
production in the PC. But we will not know because the
blown fuse has disturbed the PC so much that it cannot
draw current even to malfunction. We will never know with
only 1A fuses available -- i.e. a two range measuring scale.

(2) The fuse holds. It tells us that the PC draws less than
1A current. It might be a broken circuit so that the PC
draws no current at all. Again we will never with only 1A
fuses available.

To get more information on case (1) for 1A, we need a fuse
which can handle a higher current, say a 5-fold increase to
5A. Bringing such a fuse into the original IA fuse measuring
device, increases its calibration to two marks (1A and 5A).
These two marks distinguish THREE ranges: i < 1A,
1A < i < 5A and i > 5A. Again we have two cases on the
5A fuse.

(1) The fuse blows. Probably a short circuit. Try 10A fuse
to check.
(2) The fuse holds. Same conclusion as for 1A fuse.

To get more information on case (2) for 1A, we need a fuse
which have to handle a lower current, say a 5-fold decrease
to 0.2A. Bringing such a fuse into the original IA or 5A fuse
device, increases its calibration to three marks. These three
marks distinguish FOUR ranges:
i < 0.2A, 0.2A < i <1A, 1A < i <5A and i > 5A. Again we
have two cases on the 0.2A fuse.
(1) The fuse blows. Definitely not an open circuit.
(2) The fuse holds.

We can go on and on. But the point to observe here is that
we have used as device something which itself responds
fatally to a too high rate of entropy production. Furthermore,
we have used (through series connection which corresponds
to the logical AND) a device which thus induces a fatal
consequence in the system, irrespective whether it has
TWO, THREE, FOUR,...., TEN,.... or even a ZILLION ranges.
This fatal consequence happens when the measuring
instrument exceeds its operating limits (the essentiality
spareness or "quantity-limit").

When measuring a human as system, we can get exactly
the same response. It happens when we measure things
which should have remained implicate. What things? Things
which belong to a very high, if not the highest emergent order.
Things like love, belief and dignity. For example, should
someone ask me how to indicate how much I love my wife
with a TWO scale (no or yes), THREE scale (low, medium,
high), ...FIVE scale (0, 1, 2, 3, 4) I would fuse that question
by letting it blow to vapour.

I have used my wife and my love for her as a deliberate
example because such a question is seldom asked, except
by wives feeling insecure. Since we are not used to such a
question, we jump sky high when it is asked. But think
about the parable of the boiled frog. We set up a battery of
test items on a certain section of a course to be learnt. Each
one questions a minor objective which had to be mastered
(one correct answer and a number of worng answers). We
add up all the correct answers (similar to the explicated
density operator discussed yesterday) to draw a conclusion
on the student's ability to learn. The student gets 48%.
"Why jump sky high" they say "that is life. Many get 48%
and some get 84%. Accept it."

I am one who cannot ever accept it. I have helped too many students to
transform failure into success to believe in such crap.

The thought experiment illustrated how a restricted
callibration can cause too much entropy production for the
system to handle. It depends on the failure of the
essentiality spareness ("quantity-limit"). A measuring
instrument can fail in anyone of the seven essentialities,
thus leading to excessive entropy production and possible
destructive immergences. The thought experiment illustrated
the explicit level for spareness. But all these failures can
also happen on an implicate level. Here is an example.

We measure the temperature of an ill patient with a
thermometer. The heat capacity of the medical thermometer
is very low and it is kept at room temperature. But if I use
a large mercury thermometer (see the Beckman type) and
keep it in a oven, you will certainly hear the patient screaming
when using such an instrument to measure temperature. On
the implicit level the entropy production happens as a result
of too high an entropic force or entropic flux.

I hope that the above answers your following question:

>And how do dignity and judgement fit in the force-flow

Best wishes


At de Lange <amdelange@gold.up.ac.za> 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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