Linear Thinking LO22812

AM de Lange (
Wed, 6 Oct 1999 13:40:21 +0200

Replying to LO22791 --

Dear Organlearners,

Fred Nickols <> write:

>I read but I'm not at all certain I followed your exposition
>regarding linear thinking. What I drew from it is that critiques
>of linear thinking are themselves examples of the kind of
>thinking they criticize (and neither constitute true linear
>thinking in a mathematical sense). Do I have it right?

Greetings Fred,

Thanks for the question. It reflects your sensitivity to sureness. It has
very much to do with "the dog biting its own tail".

Allow me to make sure of your "and neither constitute true linear thinking
in a mathematical sense" before I reply to that statement. Did you not
mean to write "and neither constitute true NON-linear thinking in a
mathematical sense"?

Yes, the majority of those critisising linear thinking use linear thinking
to do so. Some of them also use "logical thinking" to criticise "logical
thinking". If they were able to identify the LOGICAL FORM in any argument,
INCLUDING their own arguments against "logical thinking", they would have
realised this. Likewise, we need to be able to identify LINEAR FORM in
thinking, even possibly our thinking on linear thinking.

I say specifically that some who criticise linear thinking using unawarely
linear thinking, als criticise logical thinking using unawarely logical
thinking. In other words, what I want to stress is that they are rather
persistent in this pattern of "the dog biting its own tail".

Sometimes the "dog has to bite its own tail" in order not to bite some
other tail ;-) An interesting example of this is the topic of "feedback
loops" in control systems.

Sometimes the "dog who bites its own tail cannot eat
food also". I think here of
* many poor people using poverty trying to become rich
* taking to war to prevent a looming war
* offering money for what money cannot buy
* defining learning in terms of learning
* children wanting to grow up by making children
* escaping destructive creativity by creating destructions

People assume that the mere presence of a feedback loop will prevent any
linear process. They should buy some magazines on any cybernetic topic,
for example, "hi-fi" amplifiers for audio applications. Almost all hi-fi
amplifiers make use specifically of negative feedback loops to force a
slighty non-linear amplification (with no feedback) into a linear

Just as we need "hi-fi" amplification (the very linear increase of
signals) to prevent any distortion, we need linear thinking to prevent
distortion of information. But often we have to distort the very signals
in order to obtain new information which might seem to be distorted
information when compared with the original information. For example, this
happens frequently in cross-examination during trials.

Knowing you a little, I suspect that the possibility of such a list
compels you to make sure about the wisdom of undoing fire with fire in all
cases of fire.

It all has to do with entropy production right at the back of the
background. Entropy production cannot lead directly to some more entropy
production. Entropy production has to be manifested so as for the
manifestation to produce any further entropy.

Perhaps you may now understand the relationship between creativity and its
higher order emergents like learning better. Creativity cannot lead to
better creativity without the intervention of its higher or emergents.

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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