August 2013

* entelechy & entropy


The people at the fringe booths at a trade show, the ones who get rejected from every job they apply to without even being interviewed, the ones who don't earn our trust or our attention--this isn't necessarily because they aren't talented, it's merely because they haven't invested the time or found the guts to cross the chasm to the side of people who are the real deal.

It's fun to make a fish-out-of-water TV show about the outsider who's actually really good at his craft. But in real life, fish out of water don't do very well.

Yes, acting like you are a professional might be even more important than actually being good at what you do. When given the option, do both.
(Seth Godin)


I must admit that my interest in mathematical models has enormously increased since I came across attractors. No one in any other branch of science has been able to think in terms of teleological principles that pull from in front. Ralph Abraham has done more than any mathematician I know to make the essential features of this kind of mathematics accessible. There's not a single equation in your four volumes on visual dynamics. Through diagrams, you give the essence of what dynamic systems are. Normally, mathematical ideas are hidden behind an opaque cloud of symbols that most of us can't penetrate. It's as if our only experience of music was looking at the scores of symphonies with out ever actually hearing the symphonies themselves. These symbols refer to things that for real mathematicians are visual intuitions.

Attractors have really changed our way of thinking about nature because they've made it possible to think about what Aristotle called the entelechy, the end that attracted toward itself that process of change. What I'd like to know is how you think attractors work. No matter how we try to get out of it, they seem to imply a pulling from in front rather than a pushing from behind, something that is more Aristotelian than mechanistic. At the cosmological level, we arrive at what internal link Terence and I were discussing this morning - the idea of an attractor for the entire cosmic evolutionary process."
(Rupert Sheldrake)



"Just because something bears the aspect of the inevitable one should not, therefore, go along willingly with it."
(Phillip K. Dick)

"How can the net amount of entropy of the universe be massively decreased?"
(Isaac Asimov, the Last Question)

"The increase of disorder or entropy is what distinguishes the past from the future, giving a direction to time."
(Steven Hawking)

"Only entropy comes easy."
(Anton Chekhov)

"As entropy increases,
the universe,
and all closed systems in the universe,
tend naturally to deteriorate
and lose their distinctiveness,
to move from the least
to the most probable state,
from a state of organization
and differentiation
in which distinctions and forms exist,
to a state of chaos and sameness."
(Norbert Wiener)

"The end of the world as the completion of an inevitable evolution - that is the twilight of the gods. Thus the doctrine of entropy is the last, irreligious version of the myth."
(Oswald Spengler)

"You should call it entropy,
for two reasons.
In the first place your uncertainty
function has been used in statistical mechanics under that name,
so it already has a name. In the second place, and more important, no one really knows what entropy really is, so in a debate you will always have the advantage."
(Von Neumann)

"No structure, even an artificial one, enjoys the process of entropy. It is the ultimate fate of everything, and everything resists it."
(Phillip K. Dick)

"Heretics are the only bitter remedy against the entropy of human thought."
(Yevgeny Zamyatin)

"I'm a human entropy producer."
(Dean Kamen )


"It is inside of you, like the butterfly is inside of the caterpillar. It is the dynamic purpose that is coded in you."
(Pierre Teilhard de Chardin)

"For Aristotle entelechy was effectively the end within - the potential of living things to become themselves, e.g., what a seed has that makes it become a plant, namely, actuality rather than what might later be fruitfully expressed. In Aristotle's use: "The realization or complete expression of some function; the condition in which a potentiality has become an actuality."

"If one leaves aside the last three hundred years of historical experience as it unfolded in Europe and America, and examines the phenomenon of death and the doctrine of the soul in all its ramifications - Neoplatonic, Christian, dynastic-Egyptian, and so on, one finds repeatedly the idea that there is a light body, an entelechy that is somehow mixed up with the body during life and at death is involved in a crisis in which these two portions separate. One part loses its *raison d'etre* and falls into dissolution; metabolism stops. The other part goes we know not where.

In the leap across those one hundred thousand years, energies are released, religions are shot off like sparks, philosophies evolve and die, science arises, magic arises, all of these concerns that control power with greater and lesser degrees of ethical constancy appear. Ever present is the possibility of aborting the species' transformation into a hyperspatial entelechy. We are now, there can be no doubt, in the final historical seconds of that crisis - a crisis that involves the end of history, our departure from the planet, the triumph over death, and the release of the individual from the body.

The testimony for me is that there is a nearby dimension, teeming with intelligences, that from one of the more conservative perspectives seems like an ecology of souls. Look at the reputation they gave him. Giordano Bruno without the pyre is a whiskey priest laying waste to the maids of Umbria. The fungi became, or is for some mysterious reason still to be discovered, a pipeline into a mind, an entelechy, which we can only image as feminine and can only associate somehow to the environment, to the ecosystem. This is the Gaian mind. This is what the goddess really is. The goddess is a network of connective intelligence that is operating on this planet." (Terence McKenna)

"When you're curious and excited about a field you're going to learn it really well, and I call this a cycle of accelerated returns. They call it, in chemistry, autocatalytic. One bit of success leads to another, and another, and sets into motion a catalytic proccess where the mind suddenly jumps into gear."
(Robert Green)