Do you want development that is ‘sustainable’? This topic leads you to identify issues and assess possible actions to implement sustainable community economic development. It also provides an introduction to the Triple Bottom Line dimensions of economic, social and environmental sustainability.
Wildman, P. (2003). Economics for a Wriggling Universe: Economics and the Science For Ethical Ends. Human Science Technology - Harnessing Negentropy for Human Survival, Uki, NSW, Prosperity Press. 30pgs
Wildman, P., Socio-Economic Guidance from an Infinite Universe, in Human Science Technology. 2004: Prosperity Press, Brisbane. p. 35.
Economics for a Wriggling Universe:
Economics and the Science For Ethical Ends
Paper prepared for the Science for Ethical Ends conference 18-8-03 Science-Art Research Centre (SARC) Uki Northern NSW
Paul Wildman firstname.lastname@example.org
Acknowledgements: This paper draws from many authors much more learned than myself. In particular esp. Kafka (1994) – entropy and social systems, Jantsch (1975) Cultural Design, Corning (1996) – cybernetics, Krehm (1999) – entropy and economics and Pope and other researchers at the Science Art Research Centre (art, democracy and the second law). In some sections I paraphrase these works as they best illustrate my point. I have endeavoured to list all authors including where such paraphrasing has occurred however if I have missed any, I apologise and the responsibility remains mine.
This paper seeks to explore the link between economics, as it is commonly understood to do with financial markets and globalisation of production, and the second law of thermodynamics. Various aspects of the linkage such as the Singularity, cultural evolution, fractal logic, self-organisation and so forth will be addressed. The article then proposes a fourth law a neg-entropic law of thermodynamics. Various aspects of this evolutionary law are identified and an economic system that derives there from is outlined.
Economics and the Second Law of Thermodynamics
In this section we explore key aspects of the link between economics and the entropy law.
The problem with the present economic system
NB: In the next few sections the underlined sentences with Roman numerals at the end of the particular point represent the specific areas where our existing economic system is directly contributing to increasing entropy.
Critically the present economic process is systematically destroying a crucial survival ‘quality’ actually identified as neg-entropy embedded in complexity and diversity among the cultures and eco systems on earth, and converting it to a monoculture of entropic waste that is clogging our planets evolveablity and ultimately survivability. Even worse economics through its principal tenets of growth is good (i), needs are unlimited (ii) human satisfaction comes from consumption (iii); and its aspects of corporate capitalism and economic globalization (iv), obsession with financial rather than real transactions (vi) to the point where financial wealth is now 50 to 100 times what the actual production of goods and services are, US hegemony, and its agents such as the IMF and World Bank, is clogging our cultural and entropy sinks (vii) ie. the capability of the social and environmental systems to absorb products waste from our profligate productive systems and packaging processes.
Any approach to apply neg-entropy in economics needs to recognise the importance of the following:
· Recognising the difference between what Aristotle called Oikonomia and Chrematistics
· Chrematistics the ‘love of money’ or science of wealth; the science, or a branch of political economy that aims at controlling others for ones own wealth and finances – the entropy economy. (vi) – see above also
· Oikonomia the informal yet prudential household management hopefully based on love of others – the empathy or neg - entropy economy.
Oikonomia builds up from the household economy to the community rather than building down from the corporation to the Government to the region. Oikonomic initiatives include Community Economic Development (CED)– see Wildman and Schwencke (2003), removing entropy clogging in our environmental sinks. This will mean declaring war on our real terrorist – waste, and declaring peace with bottom up formal and informal economic development systems such as the natural step, the triple bottom line, and CED that grow from the household/home.
Waste. Experts such as Hawkins et al (1999) and, Womac and Jones (1996) estimate that over 2/3rds of what we produce and consume is designed in waste. And as western nations we consume 3/4rs of the entire worlds energy while comprising less than 1/4th of the world’s population. In the US for instance with 1/20th of the words population uses over 50% of the worlds energy. This means that with the current economic system less than 1/4 of the world’s population produces over 3/4ers of the world’s entropy viz. energyÞwaste. (viii)
Lean Enterprise then an evolution of TQM and QA represents one of our best hopes here. Lean Enterprise (see above references) seeks to eliminate all forms of muda (Japanese for waste) from the productive process using Kaizen (incremental improvement) and Kaikaku (radical or systemic or structural or paradimic or chunky improvement).
Types of Muda or entropic waste to be eliminated:
3. Goods and Services Movement - Transport
4. Over processing
6. Employee movements
7. Defective parts
8. Defective design
11. Excessive infrastructure
12. Lack of appropriate technology
13. Not getting the right advice about muda
14. Not hearing the small voice of the ultimate customer – first and last
15. Inappropriate demand eg. demand for weapons of mass destruction
I estimate that simply doing this would eliminate the majority of waste in our planet. If this can be added to a sustainability technology such as the triple bottom line or natural step we are well on the way to largely solving our waste and entropy sink clogging problem. Already there are companies successfully doing muda elimination such as Toyaota.
Eco forms the base root for both ecology and economics. Both have concern for our natural systems the first in that we live within them and the second in that we use them for the production and distribution of goods and services for every day life. So combining these two aspects of oikonomia (Waste Elimination and Community Economic Development) can lead us to the realisation that we have the basis for practical sustainability concepts such as bionomics, community economics, triple bottom line, permaculture and so forth.
Pope’s painting Biosphere Energy Flow shows a neg-entropic process with unclogged entropy sinks, whereas his Datum Markers shows the reverse – our present situation.
Economics and Entropy Sinks
Clearly, the non-viability of our present economy has to do with the entropy production in the wasting of energy, the squandering of resources and the choking of the ‘natural’ and ‘cultural’ entropy sinks (vii), (viii). All dissipative structures such as humans live on entropy production. Whether a given entropy use rate is viable or not, cannot be concluded from the second law of thermodynamics. In addition dissipative structures such as bureaucracies, which control the economic and social systems in which we live and have our business, live on and contribute to entropy production (ix).
The Invisible Hand: Self-Organised Chance and Complex Attractors
If we try to visualise the history of the world in the space of possibilities as a single line, we loose practically all intuition. Yet we cannot think of all dimensions at the same time. We can rather imagine infinitely many sub-spaces attached to the line in each moment, and view the complex dissipative structures as bundles of nearly closed loops in such sub-spaces. Then our ‘world-line’ consists of hierarchies of intricately interwoven narrow spirals in nested systems.
Nearly everything in this model is recursive in that it repeats itself again and again in nearly closed ‘orbits’, i.e. loops, which contribute viability in the long process of trial and error. Yet fortunately and unfortunately for us there are ‘accidental encounters’ which occasionally cause radical changes (called kaikau in Japanese the big sister to kaizen), and with extreme resolution we should be able to follow the history of such accidents back to tiny wriggling motions, which represent spontaneous formation fluctuations of what can become our tomorrow. At the ‘present’ momentary end of all those spirals, the random events give the whole bundle a chance to gain essentially new structural features, but this evolutionary progress through smaller and larger revolutions, the ‘Darwinian upward-drift’, is very slow compared to the quantum of changes required today.
We must understand, according to Kafka (1994) that the evolution of viable and thus valuable structures implies an increasing organisation of random fluctuations! Any viable ‘gestalt’, a type of dissipative structure of matter and energy in space and time, can be looked at as ‘attractor’ in the space of possibilities for syncretic or neg-entropic potential.
Causation can be in effect traced back but cannot necessarily be traced forward.
An attractor, which has proven its viability ie. value is likely to be used as a building block in the evolution of still higher structures, which derive their own viability from the fact that they organise the fluctuations of their constituents even better, protecting them from all stronger interactions, and thus stabilising their ‘attractivity’. Higher attractors organise relatively weak interactions of their constituents. Successful ‘enslavement’ of sub-ordinate structures in more complex higher ones does, therefore, usually not mean a loss of all their individuality, i.e. their proven viability. Molecules don’t try to change atomic nuclei, life doesn’t try to change the genetic code, mind didn’t – until recently – try and change the biology of the immune system or the climate of the earth.
The obvious hierarchy of attractors is not a hierarchy of ‘power’. Evolution is co-evolution. ‘Fitness’ of a part is a property of the whole. Kafka (1994) argues that the Darwinian drift towards ‘higher’ attractors is not at all based on some mysterious ‘drive’ of the attractors to ‘push aside’ and replace others. It is a logical consequence of a large number of independent trials of possible attractors, with slightly different realisations at many places and times.
The invisible hand however has been taken to mean exclusively the clearing capability of markets subject to the law of supply and demand. While this clearing function is important markets have been appropriated by larger economic entities such as Transnational Corporations. The concept of ‘perfect competition’ used by writers such as Adam Smith is increasingly coming to mean ‘monopoly power’, and the invisible hand of self-organisation is being replaced with the velvet gloved iron fist of bureaucracy (x).
In summary then the invisible hand of self-organisation in complex systems using fractal synergistic logic may well be the necessarily accidental, co-incidental, synchronomous and serendipitous organisation of accidents. Thus as it were the spontaneous organisation of chance by chance – in which more viable systems may arise eventually becoming a knowable entity in their collectivity viz. aggregate attractors. Possibly Adam Smith was speaking of this when he coined the term the ‘invisible hand’ in 1776 in his famous book ‘The Wealth of Nations’. Provided of course that they are possible in the accessible neighbourhood in the space of a range of possibilities. Soul and Mind are such high-level strange attractors.
Wriggling Wreality – Wriggling Economics
Synergistic self-organisation then can be generated not by universal centralised hierarchial systems of monopoly power rather by disbursed even ‘Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) based’ pilots, trials, simulations, microworlds, scenario development and others forms of ‘wriggling’. Such wriggling implies some basic conditions of success. For instance in a trailable potentially viable Self-Organisation requires:
(1) Sufficient diversity
(2) Sufficient autonomy
(3) Sufficient time
(4) Sufficiently host positive environment - a sufficiently facilitative or generative context to allow for, yet then be able to eliminate, errors before they have destroyed the viability of the very basis of their emergence
(5) A generative learning loop. Otherwise, it is not likely to find more complex attractors in the space of possibilities, and the wriggling at the front of evolution becomes unstable.
Reality as it is organised by my own attractors in the space of possibilities. The process of finding them is the self-organisation of my freedom along my individual ‘gestalt’ which I experience as my soul and mind, embedded in the ideas of our culture. ‘Praying’ is an old word for my wriggling in this process. God and the angels help by being around, and attractive.
Considering how fast man is changing life and even climate, we recognise that the recent front of Gaia’s evolution in the space of possibilities lies in the wriggling of our minds.
Pope’s painting Datum Markers shows just one such wriggling globe, though the wriggling is more because of the clogging of the entropy sinks.
We just have to admit: It works! In spite of infinitely many deviations, in immensely many sub-spaces as local attractors corresponding to local reality, the projections of the phase-space path run through similar cycles again and again following chreodes and without leaving the old basins of attraction. Evidently, these attractors of local reality are viable, and their viability means repetition, reproduction, improvement – in atoms, cells, people and cultures. The ancient Greek ethos, using a Hecatina rather than Apollonian logic, means custom i.e. what has proven its value in generations, i.e. in the repetition of cycles i.e. basins of attraction with chreodic tributaries – flow not stasis – empathy not entropy.
The necessary self-organisation of our future and human freedom depends on recognising and even developing viable generative and largely neg-entropic technology attractors is certainly possible, and it will become likely as soon as more people start talking about the phenomenology and the logical roots of the global acceleration crisis towards the coming singularity.
Viable complexity is valuable because while it can be anticipated it cannot be understood or planned. At the present front of evolution, new value is something that may grow in and through ourselves under proper boundary conditions. Those conditions, however, can be easily understood. They must guarantee diversity and a more leisurely pace so that system adjustments may occur. This will mean the end of history for all sorts of power which organise the global acceleration, and for many activities which are called economic but are, in fact, destructively wasteful (xi). And in the new realm of possibility, we must succeed in this self-organisation of our freedom, our culture, our economy. This means changing the course history away from these acceleration tendencies of economics and technology and we will just be beginning.
Our children’s children deserve nothing less
Entropy in Economics
The notion of entropy - the exhaustion of ‘neg-entropy’ (potential difference) has become a symbol of our day. It is being recognised in most areas of scientific thinking with the principal exception of economics. There the equations of neo-classical economics are supposedly timeless and self-balancing towards equilibrium (xii).
There really is nothing left to run out but our credulity.
Marx's doctrine, for example, was entropic. The increasing portion of ‘constant' capital (non-labour investment) due to technological change which, led to a falling rate of profit; for in this system surplus value is seen as arising only from the ‘variable capital' invested in labour-power. To counter this, the capitalists were driven to expand their operations. Inevitably they ran out of vital space and energy to pirate. It is not just energy that capitalism requires but also synergy. Using energy leads to chaos i.e. entropy however synergy as in increasing organisation, diversity and ultimately evolution.
Economic development has failed to create and maintain social welfare - natural and cultural resources are depleted, the living environment is dying and unemployment is increasing (xiii). Dangerously unstable physical and social entropic situations are emerging. This unsustainability is manifest in unemployment, corruption, criminal activities and wars are spreading like viruses. The present situation is best expressed in lyrics:
I’ve seen the future, brother: it is murder
Thing’s are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won’t be nothing
Nothing you can measure any more
The blizzard of the world
Has crossed the threshold
And it has overturned
The order of the soul (Cohen 1992)
Globalisation as energy colonisation and synergy piracy
Mark Balfour (1990) in his excellent book The Sign of the Serpent speaks of such synergistic universal energy coming from the serpent. In aboriginal terms the serpent is a critical matriarchal generative force associated with showing the tribes their walkabout paths and the balance (esotericÛexoteric) so important in day-to-day life. These special places have Kurunba energy. What is Kurunba? It is a word used by Central Australian Aboriginals to describe a sacred generative place. Further Balfour links the Rainbow Serpent lore with that of India’s and in particular the spectacled Cobra (pg54).
The present globalisation push that would remove all obstacles to the free flow of goods, services, and capital, though posing as an essay in equalisation, can be seen as the reverse. That is a huge push to:
(1) Use available energy for instance cheap labour thus directly generating entropy
(2) Take over negentropies and available synergies, for instance in local cultures.
Both of these enable transnational firms for instance to profit by the gap in living standards and in environmental protection between the developed and the ‘underdeveloped countries’ and by converting diversity in the so called ‘undeveloped countries’ to homogeneity in the so called ‘developed’ west (xiv). See also Khrem (1999)
From Physical Energy to Economic Synergy
Are we, then, devoid of a satisfactory 'why' theory for complex systems? Is the evolution of complexity an unsolved and perhaps unsolvable mystery? As it happens, there already exists a general theory of complex living systems (inclusive of human-made systems) that was proposed some years ago. It is called the 'Synergism Hypothesis’ first posited by Peter A. Corning 1998. The theory however, like much in social innovation, has taken nearly a generation to be come more widely explored, and was addressed primarily to evolutionary biologists, anthropologists and has generally not engaged social scientists.
The hypothesis, in brief, is that synergy, a vaguely familiar term to many of us, is actually one of the major organising principles of the natural world. It has been a wellspring of creativity in evolution, and it has played a central role in the evolution of complexity in nature. The Synergism Hypothesis asserts that synergy is more than simply a category of interesting and ubiquitous effects; it has also been a major causal agency in evolution. Synergistic functional effects of various kinds have been a necessary, if not sufficient, requisite for the evolution of cooperation, complexity and diversity (cp. competition, heterogeneity) singularity at all levels of biological organisation. It is in fact a unifying theory of complex living systems (though not all systems). It is also compatible with ‘inclusive fitness theory’, ‘multilevel selection theory’, ‘symbiogenesis’, and other formulations that are concerned with cooperative relationships in nature as in an important sense an alternative to the conventional Darwinian ‘survival of the fittest’.
Synergy, even more so than competition, (including the subcategory of symbiosis) has played a significant creative role in evolution; it has been a prodigious source of evolutionary novelty. Elsewhere it has been proposed that the functional (selective) advantages associated with various forms of synergistic phenomena have been an important cause of the evolution of complex systems over time including social agglomerations such as cultures, tribes and to a lessening degree nations. Underlying the many specific steps in the complexification process, a common functional principle has been operative. Furthermore, a major co-determinant of this process has been the parallel evolution of cybernetic processes and systems in the biological, natural, social environments.
As the counterpart to entropic production process (xv) money flows may well represent the best chance for harnessing neg-entropy viz. moneyÛfinanceÛsynergyÛneg-entropyÛgreater cybernetic organisationÛdiversity and complexityÛcreative evolvability. Finance could well prove the doing as it proving to be the undoing of society under the existing form of globalization.
Cybernetics – emergent synergy
In processes, occurring without assistance or control, the tendency in complex systems is toward a state of disorganisation, or chaos. Thus, according to the principles of cybernetics*, order (lowering of entropy) is least probable and chaos (increased entropy) is most probable. Purposive behavior in humans, social and eco systems, economies or machines all require control mechanisms that manage information in order to maintain an ‘energy balance’ between ‘synergy and energy’ by counteracting the tendency toward disorganisation i.e. increased entropy. Cybernetics incorporating creative technologies coupled with a feedback loop and learning ability can contribute to such organisation and entropy reduction. Economics then needs to encourage such ‘purposive’ synergic behaviour.
* Cybernetics nowadays is not so much used to describe a separate field of study rather as part of artificial neural networks and artificial intelligence. The term, is derived from the Greek word cybernetics ("steersman" or "governor"), was first applied in 1948 to the theory of control mechanisms by the American mathematician Norbert Wiener. Coring (1996)
Is there a fourth law of thermodynamics?
Identifying some characteristics of, and Criteria for, identifying social neg-entropy. The problem with the first three Laws of thermodynamics is that they esp. the second do not allow for increasing complexity and diversity ie. evolution, self-organisation and living systems. [see Appendix A for an outline of these three laws] Such a process is a neg-entropic one and is the basis of this document. In particular its social variant is considered crucial to our survival.
Entropic processes may in an esoteric sense be seen to be explosive yang positive energy systems. Neg-Entropic processes may be seen as implosive vacuum like, yin, and negative energy systems. In a more down to earth sense an illustration may assist – consider a stick placed in the middle of a fast flowing stream, with the stream flow representing the entropic dissipative structures of our current culture from low entropy to high entropy, then for a few centimeters behind the stick water flows in reverse yes water flows up hill. This then represents the neg-entropic eddy in the overall dissipative structure.
What we need is more sticks – social sticks.
So this fourth law advocates the potential for increased complexity and diversity that is evolution and self-organisation in living systems.
Characteristics of, and criteria for identifying, Socio-Cultural Neg-Entropy
Taking into account the above fourth law, neg-entropy in the physical and technological worlds is no longer only a madman’s fantasy or visionary’s delusional paintings like I have illustrated in this article with Pope’s work, it is now an emergent reality. The real challenge however is to get neg-entropy working in our socio-cultural settings as well. This is because it is through these latter settings that new directions in science, technology and economics can be set.
Some characteristics of social neg-entropy are:
· Giving (in that giving from the heart without necessary expectation of return generates good will – an esoteric form of neg-entropy)
· Empathy (care and concern for others health and well being as well as yourself)
· Net energy creation (as contrasted to an energy sink)
· Organologic (such as diversity encouraging, fractal geometry, spectral-reserve, self-organisation, recursiveness)
· Diversity harmonising cp. Conformity centralisation
· Informal/outside the box (in that all the formal economic structures are now seriously entropic and generally shrink wrap any within house initiative); not one best way; the whole is more than the sum of the parts, neg-waste (another word for entropy)
· Trans rational from either or to either and ie. towards the theory of the included middle where something can be both a and b rather than only a or b – with no middle overlap
· Replacing black with green letter law – this means being rewarded for what we will do right tomorrow and not punished for what we did wrong today. Wildman (2003).
Now having established this provisional list we can apply them in an effort to design a neg-entropic economic system - one that speaks clearly of a different form of Globalisation. Cavanagh (2000), Singer (2002), Stiglitz (2002), Wildman and Schwencke (2003)
Finding the true believers - Social Neg-Entropy Entrepreneurs
Now that we have identified neg-entropy and sought to outline its potential use in socio-cultural settings we need to be more targeted and ask ourselves - where are the most likely pro neg-entropy candidates and projects likely to be located?
Table 1: Locating a social space for Neg-Entropy to manifest
1 2 3 4 5 6
Praxis orientation Walk the Talk Walk the Walk Talk the Talk Talk the Think Talk the Walk
Vocational category Manager* OperationalWorkforce Politician Academic Entrepreneur; Scientist, Artists
% of the workforce å= 100% 5 91 2 1 1
Level of Entropy in the predominant world view Predominantly Entropic Completely Entropic ComprehensivelyEntropic MainlyEntropic PotentiallyNeg-Entropic
Source: P Wildman 2003
* Relates to status quo system maintenance at decision-making level eg. senior levels, and thus includes: bureaucrats (state, private and community) – the state includes the jurisprudential system, most of the governance system, local government.
· Sources of neg-entropy here in a systems context in this society, neg-entropy can only emerge from only the scientist, entrepreneur and not the academic or manager in the classic sense. The only generation of neg-entropy is in col 6 Talk the Walk.
· Consultants and futurists are generally neg-entropy free riders who create neg-entropy for themselves and entropy for the system they are consulting to
· Therefore and most disturbingly only 1% of the overall workforce can generate neg-entropy – entrepreneurs and scientists. While artists can illustrate neg-entropy they cannot produce it as such.
Key aspects of Neg-Entropy
The inevitability of the global crisis that the authors referenced in this article all identify, does not mean that it cannot be overcome. The word crisis means decision – decisions about how to create a culturological pro evolutionary environment for cultural evolution. This then is an evolution based on the physics of neg-entropic logic. Jantsch (1975)
So then, they will understand that we must not try and improve the world in the language of nuclear forces or the genetic code, but rather in our own language of social innovation.
In the economy and society more generally we can pass rules to make or ‘push’ reality inc. the economy and its players/people to fit the model eg. market and other forms of regulation whereas in science for instance galaxies cannot be told to behave differently. Such pushing does not necessarily increase the viability or value of social systems in general. In fact at present it is demonstrably achieving the reverse.
Value then is viable and thus valuable neg-entropic complexity and evolution may be seen as the increasing of diversity within this viable complexity through self-organisation and fractal logic. This will then lead to the emergence of something valuable and potentially viable which can be found by such self-organising fluctuations among the neighbouring possibilities.
In this section we explore several of the key aspects and impacts of the potential for Social Neg-Entropy.
Our clogged sources and sinks
Nearly everybody today seems to agree that present human activities endanger the survival of humanity and other higher life-forms on earth. The following have for millennia provided entropy sinks and sources of evolutionary variation now threatened by the very success of the ‘human’ project as it is now constituted. For instance the:
· Extinction of species (about one every hour!)
· Extinction of cultures (about 2 every week!)
· Spread of chemical compounds which never before existed on earth or in the universe (perhaps a new one every hour?)
· Population growth (by more than 10 people while I count to 10 as fast as I can!)
· Number of people dying from starvation (now one child every two seconds!)
· Steadily rising carbon dioxide content of the earth’s atmosphere (predominantly from the so called developed countries, where the average citizen contributes every day an amount of CO2 equaling nearly his own body-weight!)
· Thinning of the stratospheric ozone-layer (which has been developed by life and allowed the evolution of higher life-forms for a billion years)
· Perishing of forests, coral-reefs and more and more other ecosystems (witness the fires in Europe at this moment – in France the ground is so hot - towards 40degC - that it is shorting underground electrical cabling)
· Emergence of pernicious terrorism* (both reactive terrorism as in 9-11, structural or intra-active terrorism as in our planet laid waste by our western entropic systems, and proactive terrorism as in the singularity)
· Collapse in our social systems seen in indicators such as imprisonment and homelessness rates, long-term unemployment, explosion of poverty in the north and south and deterioration in fair living standards.
Pope’s painting Biosphere Energy Flow shows a neg-entropic process with unclogged entropy sinks, whereas his Datum Markers shows the reverse – our present situation.
* Terrorism The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.
Most of us feel that these are symptoms of decline or even, fall. In short our and our chidren’s futures have been betrayed..
Neg-Entropy and The Singularity
Our recent experience – that within a human life-time the terrestrial biosphere as a whole, including man, might be seriously threatened – seems to present a sharp contradiction to the previous ascent of life, mind and culture. Contrast this with the hurtling towards the technological singularity for our children where they will experience by around 2030 as much change in a week as we will experience in our lifetime. Bell (2003) and Modis (2003). This then is the much-touted singularity long expected by technophiles.
At this point, now think of it, all goes silent, silent because our ability to identify when change happens and thus change itself has disappeared. Contrast this to 2 millennia ago when a Roman foot soldiers wage stayed the same for 3 centuries yes 300 years at 30 denari per year - but then the soldier got a lot older.
Another view of the singularity is where the computing capacity of Artificial Intelligence equals and ultimately exceeds that of Human Intelligence. At present trends without including nano, bio, molecular or quantum computing this is likely to happen by around 2025 when a $2000 aud laptop will have the same computing power as a human mind and then most alarmingly by mid this century a $2000 laptop will have the computing power of all 12b humans on earth Kurzweil (1999:130-133). Now a couple of critical riders:
(1) This is technological change, which is the second singularity behind the first singularity of economic globalisation in the financial and manufacturing sectors that occurred progressively over a thirty-year period to the early 1990’s.
(2) Such change and related projections refer to the current techno-epicenter of the globe which is essentially Western and quintessentially American with some input from Europe
(3) The singularity we are dissussing in this paper involves convergence in what has become known as GNR technologies– Genetics, Nano Technology and Robotics.
Yet as Kafka and Georgescu-Roegen point out our social worlds are ever more further apart. Today globally we have many social downsides of the first globalisation appearing as poverty, unemployment, terrorism, poloarisation of wealth and so forth.
Our collective response as a species however, is to take refuge in ‘black letter or entropic law’. This in effect ensures great trials and tribulations for us. Black letter law refers to the passing of yet more expost law represented by black letters - on white paper of our statutes, Government Acts and regulations. This Black Letter Law is our form of social innovation – which usually takes 20-30 years to achieve substantial change but generally does this by ‘pinching us for what we did wrong yesterday and not rewarding us for what we will do right tomorrow’.
Such laws suit a stable society where change is not rapid and where the past is a good guide for the future. Today we face a world turned upside down where technological change occurs in three months not 30 years yet our socio-democratic systems are all atrophying and showing critical signs of fracturing. As the children’s nursery rhyme goes ‘and all the kings horses and all the king’s men will not be able to put entropic humpty together again’.
In such a turbulent environment as we are now experiencing, where our children will experience in a week what we and our parents experienced in our entire lives, backward forms of social regulation such as rules and black letter law are proving to be about as effective as driving a car backwards into our future in reverse with only the rear vision mirror to guide you.
Tocqueville 1825 identified a form of oppression as ‘mild despotism’, which he saw as erosion of liberty far more serious than violent form of despotism characteristic of feudal societies:
‘it covers societies surface with a network of small, complicated, painstaking, uniform rules though which the most original minds and the most vigorous souls cannot clear a way to surpass the crowd: it does not break wills, but it softens them, bends them, and directs them; it really forces one to act, and constantly opposes itself to one’s acting; it does not destroy, it prevents things from being born; it does not tyrannise, it hinders, compromises enervates (deprives, weakens), extinguishes, dazes, and finally reduces each person to being nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals (robots?) of which the government is the shepherd.’ Young, T. (2001). How to Loose Friends and Alienate People. London: Abacus. Pg 38
So from a social innovators point of view with technology we are moving forward yet socially we are becoming more entropic. For instance we can foresee a time after the singularity when our technology becomes sentient (conscious) and neg-entropic. For instance both the Matrix and Terminator series are post singularity and technology there is both sentient and neg-entropic. As humans however we seem unable to achieve this within our own socio-economic systems. For instance Tocqueville above, terrorism as we experience and perpetuate it, education is still organised as it was in the 19th century, the number of psychiatric disorders recognised in the west continues to increase.
Some of my futurist colleagues see humanity as a failed species and call for our replacement with sentient technology. I must with sadness in large part support this call. Must we only bequeath neg-entropy to T4 or the Animatrix? For each Terminator there has to be a Generator and for each Matrix there has to be a Patrix – for me it is to these types of areas we need to direct our attention to look for the emergence of neg-entropy in social systems.
What's New with My Subject?
Economic Implications of the Singularity
Here I list some of the key impacts of the technological singularity as it interacts with the pre-existing economic singularity over the next generation:
· End of Work as we understand it the full time job to be replaced with what? NeWork? Protirement? – Rifkin (1995); Wildman (2002)
· Evanescence of the Nation State through Transcendence of economic structures that control and patent the singularities technology
· When Corporations Rule the World Korten (1995, 1999) already nearly 2/3rds o the top economic entities on earth are not nations they are corporations, many being bigger than Australia
· Entropy sink clogging production activities continue to be exported to the third world
· Indigenous economies and cultures continue to disappear at the rate of 2 per week
· Economic Entropic Terrorism escalates – this is a two way street – Michael More and Bowling for Columbine (2002) see www.bowlingforcolumbine.com/
· Potential for Neg-Entropic Economic Terrorism of creative evolutionary bursts of social innovation that are faster than the status quo can stop.
· Believe it or not this will be comparatively easy given the long lead times for creative public sector responses to emerge, if they emerge at all
From Biological to Culturological Evolution
In any diverse system there is a ‘natural’ rate of adaptation in that diversity is not random complexity rather it is ordered complexity so evolution needs time to order i.e. self-organise and adapt this complexity through its neg-entropic principle.
Here we are after what may be called ‘habitable paths’ or post-evolutionary chreodes each with their own rate of survival and rate of change, together I call this the rate of thrival. If the biosphere is conserved, or influenced only very slowly, it remains within its survivable rate of change in complexity and thence if the front of evolution is basically restricted to our mental and cultural activities, and if diversity at this front is kept or re-gained, we may be able to organise boundary conditions under which evolution on earth can continue. These boundary conditions are therefore no longer purely biological they have evolved to be culturological. The spreading of this logical insight about the primacy of mental and cultural evolution is the key task, which, we have to fulfill in a hurry, and globally.
Today much of what we see as accelerated biological evolution inc. cloning etc. is really part of the GNR revolution, which is actually a culturological one. In a recent article I presented a taxonomy of Forms of Life. Wildman (2000). This has subsequently been expanded by Spanish futurist Jose Coderio (2003) into a taxonomy of transhuman. In a sense futurists and Science Fiction producers are now actually helping us navigate the early post singularity life.
GNR is I argue culturological phenomena that grows out of the entropic logic that we currently use to organise our social systems. GNR specifically refers to a convergence of Genetics, Nano, and Robotic technologies – all critical aspects of the singularity. Such GNR innovation is aimed principally at the manipulation of biological constructs for cultural ends.
What we need is an innovation process that facilitates very rapid evolution in the socio-cultural ground/chreode on which such GNR innovation is occurring.
Need for a Socio-Cultural Neg-Entropic Innovation Process
Clearly if Kafka is right, and I strongly suspect he is, we have urgent need for such a socio-cultural innovation process that can accelerate socio-cultural innovation and indeed human evolution by at least 10 times. Even this would however only reduce the social innovation cycle from 30 to three years. Clearly we will need to do better, however this would be a start.
And importantly we have only a generation to do it or it is likely we in the west will loose all to the GNR techno-singularity by around 2030. And this could well set the agenda for the rest of the world, although some are recognising it in contra terms. Make no mistake about the reality of the entropy crunch response to the ‘western’ singularity, for instance the Al Quaeda terrorists are fighting a western singularity as they see it. Certainly today Al Quaeda, just as Hitler a half a century ago, seeks to implement a socio-cultural innovation process. Their processes however were and are entropic and retrospective yet point to the incredible importance and power of an actualised social innovation process, all in opposition to a perceived singularity – spiritual King Canutes I suspect.
Such a Neg-Entropic Social Innovation Process (NESIP) will need to focus on:
· Global Governance
· Global responsiveness to socio-cultural events and acts of terrorism
· Zones of Social Innovation – resorced e.g. through private philanthropy or the UN
· Strong commitment to improve the health and well being of all people and peoples
· This leads to what Pope calls the Physics Of Love where relationships between living entities serves to ennoble and enrich our planet and lead to a deeper respect for all life and what supports it. For me this way of being is called ‘relatio’ where relationships, as a way of knowing, become neg-entropic. Wildman (1996)
Since Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen (1971), many of us think this all has to do with the second law of thermodynamics, which points to the inevitable growth of entropy in a closed system. The second law of thermodynamics may be seen as just a special case (for an isolated system where disorder is increased) of the tautological statement that ‘probably something (producing order or disorder) valuable is likely to happen’. Further this likelihood includes valuable (neg-entropic) and non-valuable events (entropic). Both are necessary for life. The system however is open, the universe infinite and the entropy law demonstrably does not hold universally.
If there are irreversibility and stochastic elements in the arrow of time it is therefore absolutely critical that we minimise the increase in entropy in order to enable us for the realisation of possibilities. Stochastically and thus entropically such ‘entropy sink’ dissipative processes such as economics and technology become practically ‘irreversible’ after very few steps. It is therefore infinitely unlikely to find the way back by chance or effprt, yet by applying such a different neg-entropic logic there can be a new way forward opening into the immense realm of possibilities.
Activism reworked – maintaining a praxis orientation – enter the Artificer
It seems to me therefore that the only way of dealing with bureaucratic or ‘black letter law’ entropy production is activism. This activism is one:
1 That starts outside the box ie. outside the status quo
2 Where the proponents in some key way model the social change they are seeking, and
3 Where the proponent has a means/technology/business/project that is implemented and constructively bridges the status quo mainstream with the sought after change
4 Embedded in this change is a learning loop for all as individuals and as a collective to participate in
These four comprise what I call neg-entropic activism.
The promised land of scientists and businessmen in gene-technology, nuclear and solar power and so forth, like the promised-land behind all those other doors which key technologies (also called silver bullet, picklock or breakthrough, technologies?) are supposed to unlock are proving of little benefit to the 3/4ers of humankind who live in or close to poverty. Is it the neg-entropic Holy Grail? In short No – especially when you embed these capabilities in an entropic system.
What does open however proves to be full of new problems, and more urgent ones at that. And we find that in the resisting status quo that the old we seek to move turns out to be no way to creating the new. We simply expend all our energies trying to shift something 1degree back on course that is 180degrees off it. And then we are discredited or die – hopefully to be married in between. So what we as activists need to move from a critical theory position to a positive alternative creative one with deep change that come from a Hecatian neg-entropic Yin paradigm as compared to one of Apollonian Yang picklock technologies.
This approach is what I call the artificer approach and I identify artificer learning as one that links Idea | Design | Implementation thereby overcoming the fatal flaw in Western thinking that Jantsch (1975) speaks of the separation of thinking and doing. Artificer learning is an extension of Action Learning. Artificers are entropy comfort pirates who, in order to spark quantum acts of realisation in us, can have occasional recourse to neg-entropic terrorism.
Quantum Acts of Realisation
In this section we explore the statement challenging assertion – Neg-Entropy OK – So what? What are some of the ways that neg-entropy can help us approach the world differently? Please let me know yours.
Neg-Entropic Terrorism – applying social neg-entropy
Let us start by seeking to identify an example of neg-entropic terrorism?
a An evolutionary burst that is beyond the capacity of the existing socio-economic system to engage
b Introduction of small scale pattern morphing social bio forms of nested loop initiatives e.g. CED to catalyse more generic neg-entropic processes – this is a different approach to critical mass e.g. pilots, simulations, micro worlds
c Tapping into the neg-entropic morphic field and use the results for entropic purposes, social innovation on structural levels not so much project or event levels but more at the paradimic ‘way we do things around here’ level – entropy terrorist – for instance requiring town planning to be sustainable and innovative
d (large scale rapid) learning in the sense of insightful self and collective-quantum-acts-of-realisation that our and our children’s futures can be different and divers.
e Widescale empathy
f Random acts of kindness/giving
g Practicing hope
h Wisdom in action
How would a neg-entropic system deal with terrorism reactively, actively and proactively?
a Slow down, move into causal layered analysis ie. use deep futures methods to engage the oncoming tsunamis
b use the concept of a different strange attractor, for instance not as dark father but as bright mother – a beautiful attractor - synergy
c Distribute power i.e. power with and if a critical aspect of social concern is for the economic futures for our children then use this distributed power network (relational power within network not positional power over) for synergistic ethical respectful mutual aid action learning projects
d Seek to develop a different logic based on the fractal logic of the cosmos that is of infinity where the parts are netlaced in various forms of conscious interaction/relationship for the betterment of all persons. This is the logic of Diabolos and of Hecate.
e Practice proactive neg-entropic terrorism
f Build in a learning loop with an eye to learnings contribution to our evolution
For example applying these criteria we ask what does ‘an eye for an eye’ mean? There are two possible perspectives on this statement.
1. Entropic - If you take my ‘eye’ (damage me) I will take you ‘eye’ (damage you back) entropic version. Enemy
2. Neg-Entropic - I give you my ‘eye’ so you my see the world from my vantage point and in return, my friend, you gave me your ‘eye’ so I may see the world from your vantage point. Empathy.
Shared information leading to knowledge. Knowledge building is a neg entropic version ie. Empathy not entropy
Creativity - from Strange Attractors to Familiar Enablers
This article maintains that creativity, to significant extent, is due to the principle of evolutionary self-organisation, which means: Wriggling among a lot of possibilities to make it likely to find more attractive ones.
There is an old name for the problem, which is no surprise, since it was so obvious to human intuition long before the critical time-scale and the global scale of today’s problems had been reached. This principle has long been recognised. It is called the Devil, ‘diabolos’, i.e. he who throws things into disorder while simultaneously bringing things into being – in potentia so to speak. As an angel, i.e. as a part of the divine principle of creation, the principle has been called Lucifer, i.e. the bringer of light – but then he tumbles down into hell, into the chthonic realms – which we might call a black hole, the utterly grounded world, the underpinning of possibilities. He has similarities with the figures Hecate, Gaia and Prometheus, the ‘fore-thinker’.
The Devil in this sense isn’t necessarily evil. (S)he (Hecate) as a counter point to Apollo, recognises that turbulence is the name of the game and is here to stay and thus seeks to improve the world more quickly than this is possible using our rational logic of rules, regulations and control. Terrorists, scientists, entrepreneurs and technologists are also in many ways seeking diabolis like approach to policy and social innovation. The point remains however that some terrorists wish to take us back to a yesteryear theocracy, whereas the technologists and entrepreneurs on the other hand have no end in sight. They practice a form of emasculated philosophy of means without ends other than the existing one ones of more technology or more dollars. Neither of these are adequate for what is required today for the w/health and wellbeing of Gaia and her people.
So ultimately the Devil or Hecate may well prove the needed ‘familiar enabler’ as Kafka’s beautiful neg-entropic attractor.
The Yin Motor – a fluctuation of the vacuum
In a deeper theory, though, space, time and matter and thence evolution may well ‘spring from nothing’ in a single ‘fluctuation of the vacuum’. If so it may well prove that by harnessing this vacuum fluctuation that we can move objects by generating a vacuum in front of them as contrasted with generating an explosion/combustion behind them e.g. as in a rocket or an internal combustion motor. In this sense should the vacuum creation process be directable then the vacuum could be directed to the side of the craft moving it effortlessly with our friction in that direction. Strong evidence exists, by way of research reports photos and technical drawings, of the experimental design and construction of a yin motor by the Germans towards the end of World War II.
Pope’s classic Aesthetison Drive depicts one such craft powered by beauty – that is, by a yin motor.
Our society is like a gigantic panopticon or instrumentarium that rational knowledge has built itself – the house that Jacks entropic logic built. Little space is left for relational as in r(el)ational or developmental or evolvemental know-how. Thus the recent rapid increase in long range planning in a belated and quite mistaken attempt to overcome this. There are several types of ‘know-how’ for design. This article advocates a developmental one. For instance Jantsch identifies three viz. (please note these are not mutually exclusive but rather overlap):
Table 2: Three types of Design Know How
Space | Approach RationalKnow-how R(el)ational Know-what DevelopmentalKnow-where-to
Physical Measurement Architecture Unity
Social Regulations Integrity Evolution
Cultural Gods Laws Ethics Telos*
Thermodynamics Second Law Fourth law
Source: P Wildman (2003)* Directionality/intentionality Table 2 Jantsch 1975:132
What then about Social Planning and Innovation?
Now we have identified three forms of know-how we can now look to see the implications for a neg-entropic approach to social planning.
Planning as we have come to know it is stabalisation and stasis at the current level of evolution through control by regulation based on negative feedback loops within a closed deterministic system of design operating in a stable macro system. This is what Jantsch (1975) sees as the tragic Apollonic design flaw - with structure to the exclusion of flow. Whereas the Diabolis/Hecatian, [after Hecate the goddess of flow and possibilities (cp. Apollo the god of structure and clarity)], planning and design are for flow, transformation and innovation towards the end of a ‘good society’. And a ‘good society’ is one that practices the ethical science of developmental design and planning by implementing neg-entropic projects while actively deliberating and acting on the question ‘how then should we live’ in a turbulent environment.
It is this latter form of planning that Jantsch identified as more suitable for guiding socio-cultural evolution in a complex open system operating in a turbulent environment.
A Beautiful Attractor as a link between Dissipative and Syncretic Structures
Many authors inc. Kafka (1994) claim that everything in the universe, and the universe itself, is a dissipative structure producing entropy – i.e. some arrangement of matter exchanging energy and matter with similar and other structures such that the pattern stays near the same idea, i.e. near the same attractor in the space of possibilities. Between the strange attractor of the neg-entropic big bang and the entropic big crunch at the beginning and end of our universe we have evolved life a form of neg-entropy through dissipative entropic structures.
So that in this sense while I accept Kafka’s view that we are all dissipative structures, and in a finite closed system this leads to increasing entropy. That inevitability does not mean that evolution or consciousness is so essentially because there is no completely closed system ie. free energy flows through the earth each day and we and other forms of life, as entropy jockeys demonstrate at a concrete and day to day level through evolution and some of the artifacts of our technology, the potential for a fourth law of thermodynamics
We are on the verge of producing such free energy or ‘exergy’ through fission and solar power etc. In fact in an open system evolution and consciousness can be a beautiful neg-entropic attractor of Syncretic Structures. Collectively we have yet to harness such neg-entropy for our social system.
Proposed Exemplar Beautiful Attractor pilot
The results of this symposium would be crucial to generate an exemplar of the above social planning approach. This would be a greenfield pilot ‘beautiful attractor’ project for instance jointly conducted by Sustainability Research Institute, Pacific Centre for Futures Innovation and the Community Learning Initiatives Inc. under the auspices of the Science Art Research Centre. Wildman (1997), (1998). Key areas for innovation would be economics, social organisation, landuse planning, governance, mathematical modeling, and networking with other communities. Further it would be good to see a network of small scale economic communities mathematically modeled so as to help resist that views that (1) such communities are for dope smoking and dole receiving ex-hippies and (2) there are no viable and sustainable alternatives to the current form of economic globalisation.
The 200 or so intentional communities from Coffs Harbour to Coolongatta and west to Lismore offer key lessons for small a scale self-organising neg-entropic approach to economic development – sustainable community economic development if you will. Any folks here interested in such a pilot I would be delighted to chat further in the plenary or subsequently tonight or on email. Alternatively Dudley and Robert are only too happy to answer your initial questions.
This article has argued that human knowledge of neg-entropic processes is urgently needed to avoid extinction. Sir Isaac Newton referred to the basic universal physics as a profound living philosophy to balance the mechanical description of the universe. This has become known as ethical physics and is known today through the logic of life viz. fractal logic the logic of neg-entropy. The holographic universe that such an approach begets and in turn begets it, is infinite, open, evolutionary and ethical – the new logic.
But I caution those of us here who are keen to bring the new from the old. Nothing short of focused determined work on a weekly basis over a number of years is necessary. This is not an easy fix, not an armchair ride. The centre you are sitting in right now has taken a decade to build so that we can be here tonight – where else would this sort of meeting occur I ask? Where else? Try this and we find the meaning of the phrase ‘labour of love’. Indeed it is both.
To those of us who struggle
To bring the new economy from the entropic debris old
Time is short
There are many dark nights ahead
[Paul Wildman – Brisbane - 1993]
This new logic needs to become the model for our social sciences such as economics. To this end this article has identified and explored several ways in which economics can start moving towards such a syncretive (ie. synthesizing as contrasted with dissipative) neg-entropy attractor – ways such as lean enterprise, triple bottom line accounting, community economic development etc. Finally the article calls for a way ahead to be constructed by launching a pilot neg-entropic community action learning experiment.
Thus in so seeking to build Syncretic Economic Structures we must take heed of the need to balance and even replace the essentially dissipative structure of conventional economics with one that builds on the criteria identified above for socio-economic neg-entropy. Only then will we have a truly positive neg-entropic economics suitable as a beautiful attractor for our wriggling universe.
Appendix A- The Three Laws of Thermodynamics
First law of Thermodynamics (postulated by Hermann von Helmholtz in 1847), also called the Law of Conservation of Energy states that the total amount of energy in the Universe is constant.
The second law (articulated by Rudolf Clausias in 1850) is also known as the Law of Increasing Entropy, states that entropy (or disorder) in the Universe never decreases (and, therefore, usually increases). As the disorder in the Universe increases, the energy is transformed into less useable forms. Thus, the efficiency of any process will always be less than 100% the whole is always less than the sum of the parts where understanding the parts is less (or more) than enough to understand the whole. This is the law of the finite universe of the heat death of the Universe. This is the logic of technology, energy production, management and largely science.
The third law of thermodynamics (described by Walter Hermann Nernst in 1906) based on the idea of a temperature of absolute zero first articulated by Baron Kelvin in 1848), also known as the Law of Absolute Zero, tells us that all molecular movement stops at a temperature called absolute zero, or 0 Kelvin (-273 degC). Since temperature is a measure of molecular movement eh temperature of absolute zero can be approached, but it can never be reached.
Kurzweil, R. (1999). The Age of the Spiritual Machines: How we will live, work and think in the new age of intelligent machines. Phoenix, Phoenix. 404-405.
A fourth law? This article maintains that the second law is a special case of a closed system and that in an open system when certain conditions are met disorder can reduce. [Please see the section ‘Is there a fourth law of thermodynamics’]
Appendix B Various terms for neg-entropy and their meaning
Advances in technology (including "social technologies" of knowledge management, learning, and decision-making) are starting to enable us to change human nature itself inc. we socialise and innovate, in our physical, emotional, and intellectual, and collective aspects.
There have been many
proactive non-reactive names proposed for the generative force in the universe. Such as Neg-Entropy, Extropy, Fractropy and Synergy. These are all valid. The point is however that it is more important to grasp the underlying concepts and ideas and power for change and transformation than to bicker about a particular word. That is 80% of meaning is under water ie the tip of the ice berg is not the main game.
The most commonly accepted term is by far neg-entropy and this is used in this paper. The term of personal choice for me is syntropy. Extropy has more the human systems application of syntropy in it. While fractropy seems to be more about the underlying logic of the system.
Various terms for Neg-Entropy
Probably the best known term for the generative force of the universe. Sometimes not accepted easily as it is reactively defined ie. by not being entropy. Nevertheless it is the term most commonly in use and thus is used in this paper. In my opinion Syntropy comes closest to it. Whereas Extropy tends to be more sociological and transhumanist and is in a sense a sub set or outworking of Syntropy.
A Transhumanist Declaration
by Max More www.extropy.org/faq/index.html
President, Extropy Institute email@example.com
Extropy -- the extent of a system's intelligence, information, order, vitality, and capacity for improvement.
Extropians -- those who seek to increase extropy, and/or support the evolving transhumanist philosophy of extropy.
Extropy is a transhumanist philosophy. The Extropian Principles define a specific version or "brand" of transhumanist thinking. Like humanists, transhumanists favor reason, progress, and values centered on our well being rather than on an external religious authority. Transhumanists take humanism further by challenging human limits by means of science and technology combined with critical and creative thinking. We challenge the inevitability of aging and death, and we seek continuing enhancements to our intellectual abilities, our physical capacities, and our emotional development.
We see humanity as a transitory stage in the evolutionary development of intelligence. We advocate using science to accelerate our move from human to a transhuman or posthuman condition. As physicist Freeman Dyson has said: "Humanity looks to me like a magnificent beginning but not the final word."
These Principles are not presented as absolute truths or universal values. The Principles codify and express those attitudes and approaches affirmed by those who describe themselves as "Extropian". Extropian thinking offers a basic framework for thinking about the human condition. This document deliberately does not specify particular beliefs, technologies, or conclusions. These Principles merely define an evolving framework for approaching life in a rational, effective manner unencumbered by dogmas that cannot survive scientific or philosophical criticism.
Like humanists we affirm an empowering, rational view of life, yet seek to avoid dogmatic beliefs of any kind. The Extropian philosophy embodies an inspiring and uplifting view of life while remaining open to revision according to science, reason, and the boundless search for improvement.
Perpetual Progress -- Seeking more intelligence, wisdom, and effectiveness, an indefinite lifespan, and the removal of political, cultural, biological, and psychological limits to self-actualization and self-realization. Perpetually overcoming constraints on our progress and possibilities. Expanding into the universe and advancing without end.
Self-Transformation -- Affirming continual moral, intellectual, and physical self-improvement, through critical and creative thinking, personal responsibility, and experimentation. Seeking biological and neurological augmentation along with emotional and psychological refinement.
Practical Optimism -- Fueling action with positive expectations. Adopting a rational, action-based optimism, in place of both blind faith and stagnant pessimism.
Intelligent Technology -- Applying science and technology creatively to transcend "natural" limits imposed by our biological heritage, culture, and environment. Seeing technology not as an end in itself but as an effective means towards the improvement of life.
Open Society -- Supporting social orders that foster freedom of speech, freedom of action, and experimentation. Opposing authoritarian social control and favoring the rule of law and decentralization of power. Preferring bargaining over battling, and exchange over compulsion. Openness to improvement rather than a static utopia.
Self-Direction -- Seeking independent thinking, individual freedom, personal responsibility, self-direction, self-esteem, and respect for others.
Rational Thinking -- Favoring reason over blind faith and questioning over dogma. Remaining open to challenges to our beliefs and practices in pursuit of perpetual improvement. Welcoming criticism of our existing beliefs while being open to new ideas.
These Principles are not intended as rules to be imposed on anyone. They are not endorsements of particular technologies. They are not final, unalterable statements. They are not offered as absolute truths. They do express the values and attitudes common to Extropians as we determinedly but playfully pursue our personal goals.
This conceptualisation of neg-entropy is based on the new logic of fractals. Such a logic is definitely indefinite. It is about spaces within spaces within places. It is about fuzzy logic and intuition. It is about being roughly right today rather than precisely right tomorrow.
Aspects of fractopy include recursiveness, self-organisation.
Fractopy is the ‘opy’ or mathematics of life systems and is thus linked to the other two meanings of neg-entropy.
'Syntropy is an omnipresent evolutionary tendency which propels all mind, consciousness and matter towards organization, wholeness and unity.' Guy Dauncey 92003)
Szent-Gyorgyi a Hungarian scientist borne in 1893, postulated in the 1920’s that there exists what he calls the "principle" of syntropy or "negative entropy." Realising that entropy is a universal "force" which causes organised forms to gradually disintegrate into lower and lower levels of organisation, he pictures the world as, in essence, a great machine running down and wearing out. The concept of syntropy postulates the existence of the opposite force, a force which causes living things to reach "higher and higher levels of organisation, order and dynamic harmony." (Vargiu, 1977, p. 14). The basic problem as stated by Szent-Gyorgyi is "that there is some basic difference between the living and the non-living ... as scientists we cannot believe the laws of the universe could lose their validity at the surface of our skin," pointing out that the law of entropy, for some reason, seems not to prevail in living systems.
Syntropy clearly helps to account for a number of realities the evolutionary hypothesis cannot explain but, as noted above, there are a number of serious questions which mitigate against the theory. At present the concept of syntropy is primarily metaphysical, similar to Freud's ego, id and super-ego constructs. Importantly, though, the need to develop a concept such as syntropy clearly illustrates that scientists realise that there are serious problems with the theory of evolution, problems which are often ignored. The recognised need for the syntropy concept illustrates that the difficulties which have been stressed by teleological evolutionists or ‘creationists’ for some time are increasingly being recognised by evolutionists in the various evolutionary schools of thought. And once a serious examination of these problems is undertaken, scientists may begin to search for concepts which fit the facts much more adequately than conventional neg-entropic evolutionary hypotheses.
He was awarded two Nobel Prizes for his scientific research (1937 and 1955)
Szent-Gyorgyi, Albert. 1977. "Drive in Living Matter to Perfect Itself," Synthesis 1, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 14-26.
Szent-Gyorgyi, Albert. 1972. The Living State: With Remarks on Cancer, New York: Academic Press.
Appendix C – About the Author
About: Dr. Paul Wildman
Paul has an extensive track record in the areas of, Futures Studies, Personal and Organisational Development and Work Futures. Presently he works in Kids and Adult Learning, through his family company KALGROVE Pty Ltd which specialises in Child Care, and Adult Learning Development areas in the private sector. He also runs a niche publishing business Prosperity Press – publishing in futures related areas. From 1889-2001 he worked in the Vocational Training area concentrating in Apprenticeships and Traineeships, from 1994-97 as lecturer at Southern Cross University (SCU) where he developed, and lectured in, Futures Studies (FS) then the only on line Masters specialisation in Futures Studies in Australia. Previously 1990-94 he was Deputy Commissioner for Training, and Director Employment in Queensland for TAFE Here he developing and implementing employment and training policy inc. access and community initiatives for State Government policy with indigenous Australians. He also undertakes research into youth and work futures. From 1997-2001 he was node co-chair of the UN Universities Millennium Project for the South Pacific. He has published four CD-ROMs, contributed 7 chapters and 10 articles in the areas of Organisational, Youth, and Work Futures. Presently he works in the private sector in Adult Education as well as undertaking strategic, and catchment analyses in KALGROVE’s business niche.
Overseas experience in management development and futures includes Tonga, India, Malaysia, Africa and Singapore and Papua New Guinea. His personal interests include ‘non-denominational’ spirituality, bike riding, Economic Futures, Men's Issues, writing and publishing.
2001 Cert IV in Workplace Assessment and Training, Doctorate in Management (Applying Adult Learning to Community Economic Management Development)– 1997, Masters Social Admin (Social Planning)- 1985, BA Econ (Hons – Regional Economics) - 1975,
firstname.lastname@example.org 10/03 PO 208 Wavell Heights 4012 Brisbane Q Australia