Creativity in the LO LO12843

Mnr AM de Lange (
Mon, 10 Mar 1997 16:52:16 GMT+2

Leon Conrad wrote in LO12805

> At, I love your messages - they make me THINK.

Dear organlearners,

Leon, thank you very much for your kind words. My messages are indeed
intended to let you think and learn - the how and not so much the what. I
can never expect your emergences to be the same as mine for the simple
fact that we are different persons. But I can expect you to change - if I
only can find the correct lever. And I think I have. You are a voice
consultant. You once wrote a very interesting about the manner in which we
have to communicate. You laid heavy emphasis on the stance of the
communicator. When I soon will be speaking about the 'manifestation' of
entropy rpoduction, think about 'stance'!

You wrote.
> I'd like to take a step back and ask, 'What is learning?' and
> Let's call this 'making connections'. I think making connections is
> fundamental to learning and is at the heart of creativity.
> and later on
> What is creativity? dunno - but I think it is to do with making
> connections. That's how I understand it.
> after having explained how you understand it.

Leon, I have enjoyed your explanation. It reminds me very much of a most
wonderful book which I have read by Arthur Koestler (1962?) "The Act of
Creation". Koestler also considers 'connection' to be at the heart of
creativity. He created a special word for it: bijectivity!

I have mentioned before that I have discovered the seven essentialities of
creativity. One of these seven essentialities is EXACTLY this effective
connection which you wrote about. In other words, you are right,
connection is essential to creativity! However, I now have a question for
you: Is there any reason to make connection which is one of the seven
essentialities, more important than the other six essentialities?

> I don't understand where you're coming from in terms of
> physics, but I did look up 'entropy' in the dictionary and
> found out that it's the 'measure of the unavailability of a
> system's thermal energy for conversion into mechanical
> work.' I'm not sure whether that means the system's worn out,
> and dead, with no energy left to do anything - or alive and
> kicking, with all the available energy being translated into
> work (i.e. reaching its full potential).

I have obtained an MSc in Physics with specialisation in nuclear physics.
The 'definition' which you have cited, is the one which I had to learn by
parrotry myself. It is the 'definition' which all of you will find in
almost all books saying something about entropy. But hopefully this
situation will change in the future.

After many pains and frustrations for not wanting to let go of this
'definition' and trying to search for something better, I was finaaly
forced to do it. I discovered empirically that the Second Law operates
also in the abstract world of the mind. My book will document this
discovery carefully. This discovery took me completely by surprise.

Now what does the Second Law says? The Second Law says that the entropy of
the universe has to increase for anything to happen. Or to put it in other

When Rose Wentz asked how a person could accompany another person who has
to deal with a massive change, I felt much pain for her. She was more
than up to her head in complexity. I began creating my contribution
'Creativity in the LO' rather than answering her directly. My direct
answer to her would have been the message: help the person to become more
creative. But how would I do that without introducing the role of entropy.
I could do it in terms of how creativity is understood without my own
discoveries, but that would not help her much. I could also do it in terms
of ny own discoveries, but this would not do, because TWO immense changes
are too much to handle.

I knew that somewhere in future I would be able TO CONNECT my contribution
with Rose's problem in order to make the issue of entropy much more real.
Her problem has led to the topics "Mopping Up" and "Organizational Change
Model" to which a number of people have contributed, for example Lon
Badget, David Underwood, Frank Totino, Suzannae Deakinds, Rol Fessenden,
Andrew Wong, John Zavacki, Mark Fullop, Kevin Murphy, Tony Barret, Ian
Saunders and Ed Brenegar. I have enjoyed their sincere contributions.

However, none of their contributions pointed out the primordial cause for
change as I have done above in capital letters. By knowing this primordial
cause, one possible solution is to prevent immense changes to happen.
(Unfortunately, this solution does not apply to Rose's problem because her
problems concerns what to do after an immense change has happened.) Simply
decrease the rate by which entropy is created. This means that we have to
make the changes less irreversible and thus more reversible. (The more
entropy becomes created, the less revesible processes become.)

Did you know that the 'definition' which Leon looked up, was already
formulated in the previous century. Did you know that there was no change
(refinement, replacement, or ....) of that 'definition' until Ilya
Prigogine began his work on the consequences of entropy production for
which he recieved the Nobel prize in 1977.

Luckily, this 'defintion' is not the real one for entropy. The real
definition for entropy, also given by its dicoverer Clausius, is very
simple AND operational. It says that whenever heat is transfered, entropy
is CHANGED by an amount equal to the quantity of heat devided by the
absolute temperature. This operational definition lead to the discovery of
the Second Law, namely that the entropy of the universe has to increase.

The original (Clausius) definition does not say how entropy is created. It
was the genius of Prigogine to have discovered how it happens. But the
original definition begged for an interpretation of entropy! Why? None of
the other laws of physics discovered since the days of Newton even hinted
at entropy and the Second Law. The Second Law was thus completely
mysterious because it did not fit in with the rest of physics. Clausius
himself also gave an INTERPRETATION of entropy apart from his definition,
almost like the one which Leon looked up. Entropy has to be thought of as
a measure of chaos. Physicists and engineers added to it: the more chaos
in a system, the less the ability of the system to transfer enery in an
organised manner, i.e. to do useful work. Does it not have sensible ring
to it?

Then the physicists did a very strange thing. They decided that it is not
good physics to study irreversible processes. The only good physics which
they allowed was the physics of conservative systems, i.e. systems in
which the creation of entropy is not allowed. Please, do not take my word
for it. Rather read Prigogine's account of it in, for exmaple, the book
Order out of Chaos, together with co-author Stengers. I rather want to
tell you all about my own experiences.

During my MSc studies, I had the audacity to ask my good professors what
the physics of nonconservative systems is and when will I study it. Boy,
did that question caused me trouble! One professor said that I must never
ask this foolish question again. The other professor said that he has
learnt that good physics is not about irreversible phenomena. One lecturer
said that if I keep on asking this question, I will not make my doctorate.
How right he was.

I kept on asking this question. The first professor wrote me off, trying
to destroy me with his satire. The second one found me a research position
in soil science so that I was ensured of an income for some time. I then
discovered how much the creation of entropy is responsible for the
properties of soils and how little of conservative physics was useful in
soils. The ehkpful professor was not impressed in the least with my
dicoveries. I also became aware of an urgent calling - to find out how
much of learning was irreversible. That was in 1971. It was then when even
the second professor wrote me off. Irreversibility made me crazy, he
probably thought.

During 1982-3, I made my first astonishing discovery, namely that the
Second Law also opeartes in the abstract world. This discovery forced me
to shift my paradigm immensely. It caused much pain. But many disocoveries
also followed from it, giving me great joy. One of them was to discover
that not only is entropy production the cause of all change, but also of
creativity in general. In other words, creativity is the result of entropy

Using the latter sentence as a definition for creativity, has a very
important bearing on this contribution: The less a person allows the
production of entropy, the more inferior that person's creativity becomes.
Now, remember what the physicists were doing. They decided that good
physics cannot happen by allowing irreversibility into the laws of
physics. In other words, when they think about the laws of physics, they
do not allow the creation of entropy. This means that they slowly diminish
their creativity with respect to the laws of physics. What is the position
today at the univeristy where I have studied, after thirty years? Physics
is almost dead.

My initial discovery brought me deeply under the impression that all our
interpretations, even that of entropy, is subjected to the Second Law (my
very discovery). I began to understand that it is better to try and
observe the MANIFESTATIONS of the Second Law in the universe. Our
interpretations were merely one of these manifestations. Thereafter, I
began to understand that just as the Second Law causes complexification in
the material world (Prigogine's discovery), it also causes complexity in
the abstract world (one of my discoveries). I also realised that my
understanding of entropy had to become much more complex than that which
was accepted by traditional physicists or even the recent Brussel's school
of thought lead by Prigogine.

Finally, I had acquired enough potential energy to tackel this
complexification of the concept entropy. Were it not for one of my earlier
discoveries, namely the seven essentialities, I would not have made a
breakthrough. What emerged? In Prigogine emerged the understanding that
entropy should not be interpreted in terms of only chaos, but also in
terms of order with the loss of certainty. In me the understanding emerged
that the creation of entropy is manifested, firstly, as chaos of becoming
and only then as order of being. The chaos happens automatically, but the
order happens contingently. (Leon, for your eyes only. The second law says
that not only has entropy to be created, but also that it has to have a
stance, namely its two manifetstations!)

Note how my emergence differed from that of Prigogine. He thinks in terms
of 'chaos' and 'order' whereas I think in terms of 'chaos of becoming' and
'order of being'. I have the advantage that I have discovered
becoming-being as one of the seven essentialities. But, although he was
before me, he was not far behind me (??/!!). His second book has the title
"From Being to Becoming"! In that book he reveals how sensitive he has
become to being-becoming, almost as you have revelaed how sensitive you,
leon. has become to connectivity.

Prigogine thinks in terms of uncertainty as characterestic of the jump
from chaos to order. I think in terms of the jump as contingent and not
automatic. Two things favoured the emergence of my thought. Firstly, I
have discovered the essentialities of creativity all together. I realised
that if I would know less than all seven essentialities, I would certainly
have percieved the jump from chaos to order as an uncertain phenomenon.
Secondly, I spent much of my time to discover a logic for cammands rather
than statements. Thus I became very sensitive to the distiction between
consistency and contingency.

Consequently, dear organlearners, between what Leon has looked up in the
books about entropy and what I have discovered through my own emergent
learning, is one big slice of complexity. My forthcoming book will go into
much more detail.

However, I have the same worry as Jean-Paul Satre. My book is a being and
not a becoming. When you work through it, trying to discover the 'what' or
'being' of my discoveries, it will not have by far the value as when you
also try to discover the 'how' or 'becoming' of it. The 'what' of my
discoveries depend on the 'how' of my discoveries.

Thus I now wish to stress explicitly that your own understanding will not
be in terms of what you will look up in my forthcoming book or any other
book for that matter, but in terms of your own emergent learning! It is
not what I say what is important, but that you first walk (create) and
then talk (report).

> As I understand it, an LO is such a system (by either interpretation of
> the definition - presumably) - an organisation with masses of potential
> but really grinding slowly to a halt, or an organisation that is working
> to its full potential, realising its full potential and manifesting it in
> its work ... and presumably there are all the shades between.

Leon, it does seem that even LOs do grind to a halt. But a few of them
actually prepares themself for initiating their own next cataclysm needed.
This means that each one of them needs a flooding or inundating of newly
created entropy. They will do this themselves if it does not happen
irrespective of them. Thus, through them the new orders will arise, come
hell or high water. Those longing for the old orders will call them the
crazy disturbers. Unfortunately, much time has to pass before it will
generally be understood that they are not the disturbers of all order -
only of old orders almost ready to die.

> In this interpretation, perhaps creativity would be the thing that sparks
> the LO off into the 'lively' part of the picture and away from the 'deadly
> dull' part. You mention complexity - maybe success in an LO can be
> determined by the quantity and quality of the connections made. (I like
> this idea ... I'm interested to see whether you get as fired up about it
> as I am!!!!)

Yes. I am extremely excited. The systems thinker Stafford Beer says that
variety is a measure of complexity. Variety is an essentiality of
creativity. You say that the number of conncetions measure complexity.
Connection is an essentiality. There are seven essentialities. All of them
measure complexity. Do you now realise how complex creativity is, or how
creative we need to be to handle complexity?

> What is creativity? dunno - but I think it is to do with making
> connections. That's how I understand it. I also make connections between
> my work and my hobbies - all of which are creative (reading, fibercrafts,
> music, arts) and try as much as I can to integrate them - what I learn
> from doing one thing, I apply to another. I do so so much, that it creates
> problems - I am constantly emerging, learning, moving on, seemingly never
> standing still for any length of time - where I find satisfaction and
> fulfillment is in the times of learning between the times of motion!

You gave us a wonderful recollection of the dynamics of creativity.

> The image of a nuclear bomb vs. a nuclear reactor is a powerful one - and
> a fitting one to describe the incredible creative power within the
> universe - which has lead me on to an amazing thought ... but this message
> is too long already.

Just as mine is also already far too long for too many. If you have
struggled through it up to this point, check on the following statement.
It is not the 'what' or 'being' which made this controbution so long, but
the 'how' or 'becoming'. The 'what' can be formulated in one sentence:
creativity is the result of entropy production. The 'what' about the 'how'
can also be formulated in one sentence: to create is to emerge from chaos
into order and then to allow that order to create new chaos. But it is the
'how' about the 'how' which takes so long.

Best wishes
-- -

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


"Mnr AM de Lange" <>

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