Catalysis in LOs LO21912

AM de Lange (
Mon, 14 Jun 1999 15:36:46 +0200

Dear Organlearners,

Lessons from the biorealm are making more and more impact
on the art of management. It is as if there is a paradigm shift
in the viewpoint of business from the mechanorealm to the
biorealm. All the entities in the mechanorealm have one thing
in common -- they are machines. Likewise all entities in the
biorealm have one thing in common -- they are living organisms.
It seems sensible to say that human organisations have far
more in common with living organisms than inanimate machines.

The possibility of such a paradigm shift and its potential benefits
are most exciting. There is no doubt in my mind. But I seriously
doubt whether such a paradigm shift will happen. My reason is
simple. The paradigm shift is from A (mechanorealm) to C
(biorealm), skipping B. (We will soon figure out what B is.) It is
a shift in the material world from A which is least complex to C
which is most complex. The jump in complexity is immense,
so much so that most people (managers and consultants
included) will have extreme difficulties to comprehend the
complexity of C. This will lead to a lot of half-baked claims
which will have disastrous effects when implementing them,
although they were presented in good faith. I see it already
happening at an increasingly rate.

In order to make the lessons from the biorealm of actual value
with a consistency and coherency to ensure success, the
paradigm will have to shift from A (mechanorealm, low
complexity) to B before it can shift once again to C (biorealm,
high complexity). Is B really necessary? Yes, a kid cannot
become an adult without becoming an adolloscent. The
essentiality of wholeness also suggests it. The associativity
pattern A*B*C is necessary to maintain the whole. We need
the intermediate B, the facilitator or "umlomo" (mouthpiece).

So what is the realm B of intermediate complexity between
A (mechanorealm, low complexity) and C (biorealm, high
complexity)? A biologist will be able to give you the answer.
But you can find it yourself. Just compare the books and
papers on biology of all the centuries before the twentieth
century with those of the twentieth century, especially after
WWII. The sources published before the twentieth century
are mostly descriptive with little explanative or predictive
power in them.

Now, near the end of the twentieth century, descriptive
biology has almost become an extinct art, eventhough
much more descriptive work is absolutely needed. Why did
descriptive biology suffered so much? It has been replaced
left, right and centre with other disciplines having much more
explanative or predictive power in them. This was the result
of biology's advancement along the scientific path of
observation (including description), speculation and
falsification. In this advancement chemistry plays an
essential role. In other words, we may call B the
chemorealm of intermediate complexity. Let us face it:
chemistry is one of the umlomos of life. Without chemistry
as an interpreter, we are groping in the dark.

A deep knowledge of chemistry is not only essential for the
paradigm shift of the viewpoint from A (mechanorealm) to C
(biorealm). It is also essential to the world of business! Any
manager having anything (directly or indirectly) to do with a
chemical related industry needs a deep knowledge of
chemistry. Here in South Africa thousands of BCom and
hundreds of MBA students graduate each year without having
the feigntest clue what chemistry involves. Thus they
eventually get to an executive level where they often make
decisions which are contra-productive to raw chemistry. This
happens despite consultations with chemists. Why?

The reason is the inability of managers and chemists alike
to think at least interdisciplinary and especially
transdisciplinary. (See my contribution on transdiciplinary
thinking.) One by one the big chemical industries (metal,
ceramics, plastics) in South Africa are now hitting the dust
because of CONTRACHEMICAL decisions made by CEOs.
It gives me the shakes. What is now happening to us here
can and will happen in some of your countries as business
becomes globalised. Please take warning. You cannot close
your eyes to complexity and expect to live a happy life.

All living organisms have two properties in common. Both these
two properties are chemical in nature! The one is heredity of
which the macro-molecule DNA is probably the best known. In
other words, the genetics of all organisms are chemical in origin.
This message is already told clearly in the first chapter of most
modern textbooks on biology, botany and zoology. I will not
attend to genetics, its chemical basis and its lessons for all
walks of human life in this contribution. Maybe I will do so at
a latter occasion, although I wish that somebody else will do
this essential job.

But what is the second property? Usually, one has to work
through many chapters before it is seriously attented to. A
similar thing happens in general chemistry textbooks. The
heart of chemistry is the chemical reaction. The chemical
reaction can be acid-base, or oxidiser-reducer, or even both.
If the textbook starts early with acid-base reactions, the redox
(oxidiser-reducer) reactions will usually be presented much later
-- or the other way around. It is as if the focus cannot shift easily
from the one to the other. The same happens in mathematics,
geology and many other subjects. The reason? It is one of the
symptoms of a lack in transdisiplinary thinking.

The second property which all living organisms have in common
is catalysis. Yes, genetics and catalysis are the two properties
which all living organisms have in common. I have read too many
pages and screens to keep count of people trying to figure out
what genetics teaches on human culture in general and
management science in particular. But literature on the role of
catalysis in the walks of human life is almost as scarce as
snow balls in the Sahara dessert. Why?

Hundreds of thousands of breeders and growers have
demonstrated that one can get seemingly far into genetics
without needing a deep knowledge of chemistry. I am always
surprised how often many farmers and fanciers of plants or
animals pick up many of the principles of genetics. However,
the same cannot be said of catalysis. It is as if a curtain
surrounds the mysterious ark of catalysis -- a curtain which
needs to be sheared from top to bottom. Why the mystery?

It all has to do with the relationship between energy and entropy
which culminates in free energy. The experiences of people in
terms of energy are frequently reflected in the articulations by
experts on energy. However, I have taken many pains to point
out that the experts on entropy are few and far in between.
Any "expert" who claims that entropy is a measure of only chaos
so that order have to proceed by a different law than the Law
of Entropy Production is but a expert claimer. Such "experts"
usually sell all over the market their advice that people need
not to know anything of entropy to become knowledgeable on

My advice is different and twofold.
(1) Begin to learn of entropy and free energy and make
continual assessments whether it is beneficial or not. Do not
trust my accounts. Take care to stay on the road of scientific
thinking -- observation (switch on your gem detector and the
other off), then speculation (switch on your spoiler detector and
the other off) and consequently falsification (switch on your crap
detector and the other off). Repeat this loop many times to
benefit from its feedback.
(2) Learn self as far as possible in a creative manner. Break
through your most horrible experiences in science. They may
seem to be an unsurmountable barrier to you. But take the
following metaphoric advice from me. You can gain entrance
to the exciting world beyond that barrier through the tunneling
effect of quantum mechanics. (One day, if God permits, I
will write on this effect and what it means to you.) ONLY when
that barrier is ABSOLUTELY INFINITE in height, is such a
tunneling not possible. I have never encountered any learner
with experiences so horrible that the barrier has become

You need not know much about entropy to know a lot about
free energy. The rest of this contribution will be an example. But
if you really want to know how universally powerfull the concept
of free energy is, then you will have to study free energy in the
context of entropy. There is no other route of escape. Thus the
following sentence is merely a claim unless you have placed
free energy in the context of entropy:- FREE ENERGY IS THE
will have to look far and wide to find a book or paper on systems
thinking which even mentions the quantitiy free energy. I have
done it myself. This is why I can say with confidence that the
sentence above is a claim (proposition). But for me this sentence
is far more than merely a claim -- it is almost like the holy grail of
germanic folklore. Why?

FREE ENERGY is that part of the total energy of a system which
it can use to CHANGE THE FUTURE ORGANISATION of itself or
any other system in its environment. Only the free energy can do
it. Note the phrase in capitol letters. It contains three concepts:
change, furture and organisation. Pages of the books and papers
on these three concepts amount to millions. Do you want to take
a bet? We are deluged daily with information having anyone of
these three words. Do you want to take another bet? Very little
of that information also contains the "word" FREE ENERGY.

If I would had a say in it, I would write it as "freeenergy" (even
the three e's in it) because it is one single concept. In my mother
tongue Afrikaans we do it by writing "vryenergie" rather than
"vry energie". Well, eventhough you may not want to write
"freeenergy", you must try to think holistic of "free energy" as

When the majority of chemists think about the chemical system,
they never use the word organisation for it. They will rather use
the words composition (especially if they are from the older
generation) and structure. Such chemists ontologically orientated
(fixed on being). A minority of chemists will use both the words
"structure and process" when speaking about chemical
organisation as such. Sometimes they will use the words
mechanism or function rather than process. When they think of
other systems than chemical systems, they will use the words
procedure or method rather than process. There are very few
chemists who are ontogenically orientated (fixed on becoming).
They tend to reduce everything to process rather than structure.

However, chemists are a stranged bunch of people. Most of them
appear to the uninformed as being hooked on process. It is
because they are more sensitive to process than other kinds of
specialists. Why do they appear to be so hooked on process?
It is because of the heart of chemistry -- the chemical reaction.
Take the reaction out of chemistry and it loses its heart.

A chemical reaction is the process whereby compounds change
their composition (organisation) so that they become new
compounds. Since a chemical reaction is about the change in
the organisation of substances, the concept free energy is a key
to understand chemical reactions.

In the old days the study of chemical reaction was mostly
descriptive. But since the magnificent work of Gibbs by opening
up thermodynamics to chemistry, chemical studies became
revolutionised from descriptions to explanations and predictions.
In other words, the same transition from content (descriptions) to
form (explantions and predictions) which characterised the
development of biology, has also happened in the development

It is also beginning to happen in many other subjects of academy
-- just open your eyes to it. This is why I say that we are right in
the middle of an almost unprecedented emerge in the
consciousness of humankind. Almost unprecedented? Yes, it
happened once before approximately 2500 years ago, give and
take a hundred years. Another hundred years and the present
one will be completed. All over the entire academical spectrum
people are becoming conscious of "causes => effects". Not the
"single cause => single effect", but a multitude of causes
connecting to produce ate once multiple effects. At the heart of
this dynamical "causes => effects network" lies the Onsager
matrix of cross inductions in entropy production.

A powerful model for this "causes => effects network" is the
chemical reaction. All the reagents to the left of a chemical
equation may be thought of as a multitude of causes. All the
products at the right of the equation may be thought of as the
multiple effects of these causes. Unfortunately, since the far
majority of you have little, if any, experience in chemistry, this
powerful model will not even be a weak metaphor to you. But
this may be coreected through learning.

Let us look at the role of free energy in chemical reactions.
There are millions of reactions involving more than a million
of known compounds possible reactions. Thus we need a
very economical shorthand to refer to all these reactions at
one glance. It is
aA + bB + .... = cC + dD + ....
An example:
2C4H10 + 13O2 = 8CO2 + 10H2O
a = 2
A = C4H10 (buthane)
b = 13
B = O2 (oxygen)
c = 8
C = CO2 (carbon dioxide)
d = 10
D = H2O (water)

The 4 and 10 in C4H10 tells us that there are 4 C (carbon) atoms
and 10 H (hydrogen) atoms in one molecule of buthane. Thus the
formula "C4H10" tells us something more about the composition
(structure) of the compound than the name "buthane". Carbon
and hydrogen are not compounds, but two of the more than a
hundred of elements. The compounds represented by A, B, ....
are called reagents while C, D, .... are called products.

Each of the compounds A, B, .., C, D, ... in
aA + bB + .... = cC + dD + ....
has its own definite free energy. Chemists are a clever bunch of
people. They speak of the "free energy of formation" of a
compound rather than the "free energy" of a compound. They
have a very important reason. It is very, very difficult to measure
or calculate from other measurements the absolute "free energy
of a compound". It is far easier to measure the change in free
energy when a compound reacts. So what they do is to measure
or calculate the change in free energy when a compound is
formed from its elements.

Subsequent work with this "relative free energy of formation of
a compound" give exactly the same results as working with the
"absolute free energy of a compound". This is so because the
rule of correspondences (relativity) is also working here. Hence
I will simply speak of "free energy of a compound" because this
technicality of "relative free energy of formation" might just confuse
you. However, since correspondences (==) work here, you do not
have to worry too much until such time when you actaully will
want to measure or calculate free energies.

Should we now add up "a" times the "free energy of compound" A,
"b" times the "free energy of compound", ... , untill all the reagents
have been considered, we will have the total free energy of the
reagents. I will designate it as F(r), the F symbolising "free energy"
and the "r" refering to all the reagents. Likewise F(p) symbolises
the total free energy of all the products. The change /_\ in free
energy F for the reaction is then given by substracting the beginning
value form the final value, i.e
/_\F = F(p) - F(r)

We are now going to draw a state (niveau, level) diagram of free
energy for the reaction. The free energy will be repesented by the
vertical height of a level: We have two possible diagrams:

Diagram (a)
| reagents
| products
| ___F(p)____

Diagram (b)
| products
| ___F(p)____
| reagents

These diagrams is the shortest way we can get insight to
the concept of "fitness landscapes" introduced many years ago
by the genetist S Wright. (It is the same person who developed
Path Analysis on which I wrote several months ago.) This concept
of a "fitness landscape" is becoming more important by the as
is indicated by the complexiologist Stuart Kauffman.

In diagram (a) the total free energy F(p) of the products is
smaller (lower) than the free energy F(r) of the reagents. In
other words
F(r) > F(p)
so that
/_\F < 0
for the change in free energy of the reaction (system). In
diagram (b) the free energy F(p) of the products is greater
(higher) than the free energy F(r) of the reagents. In other
F(r) < F(p)
so that
/_\F > 0
for the change in free energy of the reaction (system).

In previous contributions I have gradually led you to the
insight that the key to the spontaneity of any change is
the quanity /_\F. In fact, when
/_\F < 0
the change (even if it is a chemical reaction) is spontaneous.
But when
/_\F > 0
the change is non-spontaneous. A spontaneous reaction will
be driven by itself. The system may even use some of this
hange of free energy to do work on any system(s) in its
surroundings. A non-spontaneous reaction will never happen on
its own. However, it may happen when the surroundings force
the system by doing work on the system rather than the system
doing its own work. Consequently diagram (a) depicts a
spontaneous reaction. It happens like water running down the hill.
Likewise diagram (b) depicts a non-spontaneous reaction. It is like
forcing water to run up the hill.

Ok. This is chemistry. But what lesson does it have for Systems
Thinking and thus anyone having to do with changes in human
organisations? In many ordinary human organisations, unlike the
behaviour of organelles, organs, organisms and organons in
nature, the change is determined by
/_\F > 0
What does it mean. Almost every member has to scream or
flatter, kick or lick and use similar means to force the organisation
to change or get work done. Water flowing uphill. Very little
happens spontaneously. But in a Learning Organisation, most
changes happens according to
/_\F < 0
Almost every member, if not every one, find through love a way to
get things happen in such a way that almost everybody is happy.
Water flowing downhill. In other words, a paradigm shift (major
transformation) is necessary to change the diagram for free
energy levels in that organisation from diagram (b) to diagram (a).

Should diagram (b) applies to an organisation rather than diagram
(a), no matter how many experts make claims about its status,
how much money it makes or what position it occupies among
its competitors and even in the Fortune list, then it is NOT a LO.
I know that this sentence may either leave many of you
completely dumbfounded or shock many of you. But this is what
it takes to emerge into a LO. You will have to transform your
organisation such that for most of its activities, if not all of them
/_\F < 0 (spontaneous)
rather than
/_\F > 0. (non-spontaneus)

How will you transform your organisation from diagram (b) to
diagram (a)? By encouringing CREATIVE learning as much as
possible. By thinking of your organisation as a living garden with
plants and animals. Soil have to be prepared so that seeds can
be sown. Tender seedlings have to be cared for so that eventually
their flowers as mature plants can be pollinated. Think rich when
thinking of creative learning. Think of deep creativity. When your
organisation becomes a LO, it recognises itself as a dancing
partner of the self-organising universe. The first step in this
"dance of change" has to be:
[diagram (b)] ---(creative learning) ---> [diagram (a)]
or more symbolically
[/_\F > 0] ---(deep creativity)---> [/_\F < 0]

The greatest danger is to confuse the case
/_\F = 0
with the other two, i.e not to make the first step in the "dance
of change". Many people use LEM (the Law of the Excluded
Middle) to argue them out of the need for
/_\F < 0.

Here is one example. If not /_\F < 0, then /_\F = 0. In ordinary
words, things do not happen spontaneously in our organisation
because we keep things as they are to maximise stability. Do
not fool yourself. The condition
/_\F = 0
refers to equilibrium -- nothing happens except minor fluctations
from Y to Z then back to Y, from Y to X then back to Y, from Y
to Z then back to Y, from Y to X then back to Y, from Y to Z
then back to Y, from Y to X then back to Y, from Y to Z then
back to Y, from Y to X then back to Y, .....-- reinventing the
wheel continually.

The diagram for /_\F = 0 is

Diagram (c)
| reagents products

Compare (c) with (a) and (b). No water to run downhill or to be
pumped uphill. Just water laying around, enough of it to get
drowned by it. Have you ever got that feeling that you are
drowning in the regular reinventing of the wheel during meetings?
Have you ever got the feeling that a consultant is dishing out to
you the same old theme (pill) with just a different verse (coating)?
Have you ever got the feeling that the workers are falling back
into the old grooves despite all your efforts? Is it not high time
to get the water flowing again?

Logically, diagram (c) (or /_\F = 0) is different from diagram (a)
(or /_\F < 0) just like diagram (b) (or /_\F < 0) is different from
diagram (a). Compare them to see the difference. Thus also here
the first step in the "dance of change" has to be:
[diagram (c)] ---(creative learning) ---> [diagram (a)]
or more symbolically
[/_\F = 0] ---(deep creativity)---> [/_\F < 0]
But since diagram (c) borders diagram (a), this first step in
the "dance of change" will be more radical (but not more difficult)
to accomplish. Your organisation will have to be shocked out
of its equilibrium trance.

Ok. You will argue that you are quite sure that
NOT /_\F = 0
We can write this symbolically as
/_\F <> 0
where the "<>" means "is not equal to". But which of the two
cases does it correspond to?
diagram (a) with /_\F < 0
diagram (b) with /_\F > 0

Look for two things to identify /_\F < 0, ie, spontaneous
organisation by the organisation for the organisation.
(1) producers of work must outweigh consumers of work
by far.
(2) ubuntu (metanoia) must be plentifull.
If one of them is not present, do not give up hope. The
organisation needs just a little bit of guidance. If both of them
are absent, now is the time for action against all hope. The
organisation is in desparate need of your major guidance,
even if its bank balance is brilliant green or the price of its
shares soares sky high. Your biggest problem will be that
their money making will have made them blind to their phlight.
It does not matter if the organisation is a business or even a
whole nation. Think of ancient cities now in ruins or your
favourate sports team now in shambles.

But what if your intuition (tacit knowledge) tells you that
/_\F < 0 (spontaneous) and yet very little happens in that
organisation. This is where catalysis comes into the picture.
Aha, finally we get to the point! No the first point is that
[diagrams (b)&(c)] ---(creative learning) ---> [diagram (a)]
or more symbolically
[/_\F=0 & /_\F=0] ---(deep creativity)---> [/_\F < 0]
For this transformation you will need TEACHERS (facilatators)
to guide the members of your organisation to become
spontaneous people. It is primarily the job of a teacher, not a
leader. I cannot stress this point enough. But when /_\F < 0
and yet nothing happens, you will need LEADERS and not
teachers. You will need CATALISTS.

Leaders without teachers are generals without armies,
captains without ships and presidents in excile. They need
teachers to provide them with disciplined armies, seafaring
ships and prosperous nations. A thousand and one books
on leadership will not provide them with that dominium so
necessary for leadership. Only teachers can do that. Rare
indeed are those leaders who first taught so that they could
lead -- who provided for the chemical reaction before they
could catalyse it. So what is catalysis, one of the two
properties common to all forms of life?

Consider diagram (a) for the general chemical reaction
aA + bB + .... (reagents r) = cC + dD + ....(products p)
once again.
Diagram (a)
| reagents
| products
| ___F(p)____

On the left side of the diagram we have the level in free energy
for all the reagents. On the right side of the diagram we have the
level in free energy for all the products. A compound is either a
reagent (like A, B, ....) or a product (like C, D, ....). Is it not
to have the LEM (Law of Excluded Middle)? No. Try to focus on
that mysterious third band in the centre of the diagram indicated
by the =======. If you thought of it as merely something to
differentiate the left from the right rather than something in its
own right, then you may have been the victim of LEM. If this is
the case, then you would seldom, if ever, have thought of
catalysis (leadership) as such an important property of life.

The ======= is also a level of free energy. Let us indicate it by
the symbol F(c). The property (c) will soon become clear. It can
have three possible vertical positions:

Diagram (a-1)
| ___F(c)___
| reagents
| products
| ___F(p)____

Diagram (a-2)
| reagents
| ___F(c)___ products
| ___F(p)____

Diagram (a-3)
| reagents
| products
| ___F(p)____
| ___F(c)___

Which one will it be?

Diagram (a-2) represents two spontaneous transformations,
F(r) -------> F(c) and F(c) -------> F(r)
Thus diagram (a-2) for ====== will not be the reason why
F(r) --------> F(p)
does not happen. Diagram (a-3) also represents two
transformations, the first one spontaneous and the second one
non-spontaneous. Thus diagram (a-3) will at least lead to
"products" associated with F(c) if not products for F(r). But
nothing happens, not even F(c)! Thus diagram (a-3) for
======= will not be the reason why F(r) --------> F(p)
does not happen. Thus we conclude that diagram (a-1) must be
the reason.

Does this reason have any sense? Yes, once you have opened
up your mind and heart to COMPLEXITY! The qualification (c) in
F(c) stands for complexity. When the reagents A, B, ... have to
react in
aA + bB + .... (reagents r) = cC + dD + ....(products p)
they have to form an "intermediate complex" (or a whole series of
intermediate complexes) before they can resolve into the products
C, D, ...... Yes , chemists have been calling this intermediate
stage (the mouthpiece or "umlomo") COMPLEX long before
complexity have become a fashion word. Why?

Have you ever tried to arrange a meeting between many people
from many places who each follows an own schedule? To get
them all together in one single event is an excercise in
complexity. Likewise, to get the correct number of units
(molecules or ions) of each reagent A, B, ... together in one
event to form one intermediate unit A|B|.... is something of
greater complexity. Since this unit A|B|.... is more complex
than the individual reagents A, B, ....., it also has a HIGHER
total energy, a HIGHER entropy and a HIGHER free energy.
That is the fundamental reason why diagram (a-1) applies
rather than diagram (a-2) or diagram (a-3).

Let us again look at diagram (a-1)
| ___F(c)___
| reagents
| products
| ___F(p)____

For the reagents with free energy F(r) to become products with
free energy F(p), they have to be lifted above the ridge/wall of
free energy F(c) of the intermediate complex. What happens in a
chemical reaction is that ONLY molecules of reagents A, B, ...
having high enough kinetic energy (energy of becoming) are
capable of making an effective collision to form the intermediate
complex (see essentiality fruitfulness). To increase the fraction of
such molecules, entropy has to be produced so as to drive the
molecules closer to the edge of chaos.

Sometimes F(c) is so much higher than F(r) and F(b) that it is
impossible for units of A, B, ... to make effective contact. A
typical example is the reaction
2C4H10 + 13O2 = 8CO2 + 10H2O
buthane oxygen carbon dioxide water
considered earlier in this contribution. A mixture of buthane
gas (LP gas) and oxygen is highly explosive. But it does not
explode until a spark (chemical or electrical) catalyses the
reaction. This is what happens in an ordinary cigarette lighter.
But some fancy, expensive lighters do not make use of a
spark as catalyst. They use a tiny piece of expensive platinum
wire as catalyst. The moment when the buthane|oxygen
mixture passes over the wire, the platinum catalyse the
reaction. Such lighters burn with a much cleaner (i.e invisible)
flame because of a much more effective conversion.

The symbolisation for the catalysed reaction is minutely different
from that for the uncatalysed reaction. The latter is:
aA + bB + .... = cC + dD + ....
The former is
aA + bB + .... =*= cC + dD + ....
(Usually the aterisk * is written over the = sign. But this is
impossible to do in ASCII codes.) The former equation is never
written as
aA + bB + .... + * = cC + dD + .... + *
The catalyst * is neither used up as a reagent in the reaction nor
produced as a product, eventhough it participates heavily in the
reaction. Some consider this property as the defining property
of a catalyst. It is indeed a defining property, but refers only to
the mechanics of FORM of the reaction.

What is the defining property with respect to CONTENT or
dynamics? Consider diagram (a-*1*) to see what happens:

Diagram (a-*1*)
| ___F(c)___
| reagents ___F(*c*)___
| products
| ___F(p)____

The free energy F(c) of the intermediate complex lowers to a
value F(*c*) for the "catalysed intermediate complex". We use
the aterisks on both sides of the "c" for complex, namely
"*c*" to symbolise the "catalysed complex". Since the ridge to
overcome in F(*c*) in order to move from F(r) to F(p) is much
lower than in F(c), a relatively greater number of units of A, B, ...
will make effective collsions to form the intermediate A|B|...

This is what the main task of a leader is and which distinguish
leaders from teachers -- to serve as a catalyst -- to provide the
spark or the platinum so that the free energy of the intermediate
complex can be lowered, thus ensuring more effective collisions.
Unfortunately, the personal secretaries of CEOs often function
better as catalysts in bringing the various reactants together
than the CEOs themselves. Why? Perhaps because the
secretaries are tacitly (intuitively) more aware of the job as a
catalyst than the CEOs themselves? No. The secretary has to
bring together a number of "persons". But the CEO has to bring
together a number of "personalities" to make an intermediate
complex through effective collisions.

Effective collisions of what? Of thoughts and especially Mental
Models so that the Systems Thinking can emerge as the
"catalised intermediate complex". Should the Systems Thinking
not be capable of lowering the free energy of the intermediate
complex from F(c) to F(*c*), then such a Systems Thinking has
little value, if any.

This is what distinguish the true leaders from those who can
manage at most. A true leader is as rare and expensive as
platinum. A true leader is the spark which ignites the explosive
mixture. A true leader is the sage who calls for teachers to
prepare such explosive mixtures. A true leader, like a catalyst,
is never used up in the reaction like one of the reagents A, B, ....

Think of Nelson Mandela. As a true leader he did not allow him
to be used up in whatever reactions they needed him for. The
pressure on him not to function as a catalyst, but to become a
reagent or product was great, locally as well as internationally.
Locally the black pan-africanists on the left and the white
supremacy radicals of the right wanted to pressure him to give
up his job as a catalyst -- to take sides so that they could play
their win/lose games. Internationally he was pressurised by
expecially the USA to serve that country's interest rather the
interest of humankind in general.

I have focussed only on the free energy in the phenomenon
of catalysis -- the lowering of the free energy ridge. But there
is much more fascinating things to write about catalysis. However,
this contribution has already grown far too long. In our follow
up dialogue we can focus on the magnificent catalysts of life
which are usually called enzymes.

Is it not wonderful that we can symbolise the whole Fifth
Discipline (Systems Thinking) into the two aterisks of F(*c*)?

Best wishes


At de Lange <> 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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