Coevolving Innovations

… in Business Organizations and Information Technologies

Sustainable Technology and the Entropy Argument | Mohammed Badrah, Kelly Okamura, David Hawk | Systems Thinking Ontario 2023-09-11

In a return to original Systems Thinking Ontario format, we reviewed an (old) systems thinking paper from 1998. Mohammed Badrah served as reviewer. Kelly Okamura was the discussant. The author, David Hawk, was available during the discussion period for extended knowledge.

As compared to prior Systems Thinking Ontario sessions with the word “entropy” in the title, the discussion was not on the scientific interpretations of the second law of thermodynamics, but instead on behaviours of human beings related to their social environments.

This recording of the session is available on Youtube, as well as on the Internet Archive .

Video H.264 MP4
September 11
(1h34m)
[20230911_ST-ON SustainableTechEntropyArgument Badrah_Okamura_Hawk 1920×1030.m4v]
(FHD 1920×1080 1162kbps 876MB)
[on the Internet Archive]

A standalone audio was also created during the meeting.

Audio
September 11
(1h34m)
[20230911_ST-ON SustainableTechEntropyArgument Badrah_Okamura_Hawk.m4a]
(87 MB)
[on the Internet Archive]

Here is the original abstract sent in advance.


— begin abstract —

Humans beings have significant problems in being human. The difficulties are manifest in many ways but generally begin with the way in which humans relate to their environment. The potentials for improvements in these relations are great but so too are the difficulties. This is in part because of serious shortcomings in how the resources essential to human existence are conceptualized and managed. These shortcomings are similar to those raised by General Systems Theorists fifty years ago. Noteworthy successes were limited, therefore the problems continue.

Herein it will be argued that the problems in humans relating to their environment lies more in their attitude about resources than their methods for managing them. The key evidence for this thesis is the manner in which we chose to interpret the entropy construct.

Alternative interpretations of entropy are available, and should be experimented with. They would support radically different ideas on relationships between using resources and realizing human potentiality. It is argued that how a nation, group or individual chooses to interpret entropy is a clue to how well they will manage relations between humans and their environments. A dominant attitude is that it doesn’t matter, and where it matters the consequence can be recycled. This attitude stems from an interpretation of entropy that derives from the historical ideas set by James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879) and Ludwig Boltzmann (1844-1906). Each, in their own way, felt that entropic processes might be reversible through the input of human intellect.

This humanistic scenario is consistent with the principles used since for design and construction of systems that separate humans from the reality of their surroundings, including other people. This attitude towards entropy is overtly optimistic, tends towards arrogance and is generally ignorant of processes of change, decay, time, reversibility, environmental order, and other realities of the entropic process.

Systems theorists have a brief opportunity to experiment with alternative “attitudes” towards entropy, especially those coming from a more holistic vision. This allows access to a deeper interpretation of problems with how humans relate to their environment than those currently labeled under the topic of “sustainability.”

— end abstract  —

Suggested pre-reading:

David Hawk, “Sustainable Technology as a Revisitation of the Entropy Argument & Related Dreams of Reason” Proceedings of the 42th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the System Sciences, Janet K. Allen and Jennifer Wilby, editors, at Atlanta, Georgia, July 18-25, 1998.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • RSS qoto.org/@daviding (Mastodon)

    • daviding: “Diachrony (or diachronic shifts) resurrects a word from 1857…” April 10, 2024
      Diachrony (or diachronic shifts) resurrects a word from 1857, better expressing *changes through time*. A social practice publication in 1998 contrasts synchronic with diachronic. https://ingbrief.wordpress.com/2024/04/10/diachronic-diachrony/
    • daviding: “Web video introduction of 15 minutes for 1-hour Lunch and Le…” March 22, 2024
      Web video introduction of 15 minutes for 1-hour Lunch and Learn #CentreForSocialInnovationToronto on "Systems Changes Dialogues for Social Innovation" invites practitioners for upcoming monthly meetings. Evocative animated images, details deferred to conversations with mentors. https://coevolving.com/blogs/index.php/archive/systems-changes-dialogues-csi/#SystemsThinking
    • daviding: “Web video of slides from "From Unfreezing-Refreezing, to Sys…” March 21, 2024
      Web video of slides from "From Unfreezing-Refreezing, to Systems Changes Learning" for Dialogic Drinks of #EQLab represents only 1/5 of the time compared to peer-led discussions. Concise hosting called for brevity, and richer presentations. https://coevolving.com/blogs/index.php/archive/from-unfreezing-refreezing-eq-lab/ #SystemsThinking
    • daviding: “Hosting multiple Dialogic Drinks on "From Unfreezing-Refreez…” March 8, 2024
      Hosting multiple Dialogic Drinks on "From Unfreezing-Refreezing, to Systems Changes Learning" online, March 12 (Europe), March 14 (Americas), March 15 (Australia). #Leadership meets #SystemsThinking . Short presentations, longer discussions https://www.eqlab.co/from-unfreezing-refreezing-to-systems-changes-learning-david-ing
    • daviding: “"Climate change has no map that we know of. Each time a new…” February 15, 2024
      "Climate change has no map that we know of. Each time a new scientific study returns something we studied before, it's always going to arrive faster and be worse than we thought before". Episode 5, #DavidLHawk "What to do When It's too Late" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPruvIsDRDk #SystemsThinking "Instead of cause-effect thinking, effects coming from prior effects, not […]
  • RSS on IngBrief

    • The Nature and Application of the Daodejing | Ames and Hall (2003)
      Ames and Hall (2003) provide some tips for those studyng the DaoDeJing.
    • Diachronic, diachrony
      Finding proper words to express system(s) change(s) can be a challenge. One alternative could be diachrony. The Oxford English dictionary provides two definitions for diachronic, the first one most generally related to time. (The second is linguistic method) diachronic ADJECTIVE Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. “diachronic (adj.), sense 1,” July 2023, https://doi.org/10.1093/OED/3691792233. For completeness, prochronic relates “to […]
    • Introduction, “Systems Thinking: Selected Readings, volume 2”, edited by F. E. Emery (1981)
      The selection of readings in the “Introduction” to Systems Thinking: Selected Readings, volume 2, Penguin (1981), edited by Fred E. Emery, reflects a turn from 1969 when a general systems theory was more fully entertained, towards an urgency towards changes in the world that were present in 1981. Systems thinking was again emphasized in contrast […]
    • Introduction, “Systems Thinking: Selected Readings”, edited by F. E. Emery (1969)
      In reviewing the original introduction for Systems Thinking: Selected Readings in the 1969 Penguin paperback, there’s a few threads that I only recognize, many years later. The tables of contents (disambiguating various editions) were previously listed as 1969, 1981 Emery, System Thinking: Selected Readings. — begin paste — Introduction In the selection of papers for this […]
    • Concerns with the way systems thinking is used in evaluation | Michael C. Jackson, OBE | 2023-02-27
      In a recording of the debate between Michael Quinn Patton and Michael C. Jackson on “Systems Concepts in Evaluation”, Patton referenced four concepts published in the “Principles for effective use of systems thinking in evaluation” (2018) by the Systems in Evaluation Topical Interest Group (SETIG) of the American Evaluation Society. The four concepts are: (i) […]
    • Quality Criteria for Action Research | Herr, Anderson (2015)
      How might the quality of an action research initiative be evaluated? — begin paste — We have linked our five validity criteria (outcome, process, democratic, catalytic, and dialogic) to the goals of action research. Most traditions of action research agree on the following goals: (a) the generation of new knowledge, (b) the achievement of action-oriented […]
  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • RSS on daviding.com

    • 2024/03 Moments March 2024
      More work than play for first part of month, in anticipation of trip to Vancouver to visit family.
    • 2024/02 Moments February 2024
      Chinese New Year celebrations, both public and family, extended over two weekends, due to busy social schedules.
    • 2024/01 Moments January 2024
      Hibernated with work for most of January, with more activity towards the end of month with warmer termperatures.
    • 2023/12 Moments December 2023
      A month of birthdays and family holiday events, with seasonal events at attractuions around town.
    • 2023/11 Moments November 2023
      Dayliight hours getting shorter encouraged more indoor events, unanticipated cracked furnace block led to replacement of air conditioner with heat pump, too.
    • 2023/10 Moments October 2023
      Left Seoul for 8 days in Ho Chi Minh City, and then 7 days in Taipei. Extended family time with sightseeing, almost completely offline from work.
  • RSS on Media Queue

    • What to Do When It’s Too Late | David L. Hawk | 2024
      David L. Hawk (American management theorist, architect, and systems scientist) has been hosting a weekly television show broadcast on Bold Brave Tv from the New York area on Wednesdays 6pm ET, remotely from his home in Iowa. Live, callers can join…Read more ›
    • 2021/06/17 Keekok Lee | Philosophy of Chinese Medicine 2
      Following the first day lecture on Philosophy of Chinese Medicine 1 for the Global University for Sustainability, Keekok Lee continued on a second day on some topics: * Anatomy as structure; physiology as function (and process); * Process ontology, and thing ontology; * Qi ju as qi-in-concentrating mode, and qi san as qi-in-dissipsating mode; and […]
    • 2021/06/16 Keekok Lee | Philosophy of Chinese Medicine 1
      The philosophy of science underlying Classical Chinese Medicine, in this lecture by Keekok Lee, provides insights into ways in which systems change may be approached, in a process ontology in contrast to the thing ontology underlying Western BioMedicine. Read more ›
    • 2021/02/02 To Understand This Era, You Need to Think in Systems | Zeynep Tufekci with Ezra Klein | New York Times
      In conversation, @zeynep with @ezraklein reveal authentic #SystemsThinking in (i) appreciating that “science” is constructed by human collectives, (ii) the west orients towards individual outcomes rather than population levels; and (iii) there’s an over-emphasis on problems of the moment, and…Read more ›
    • 2019/04/09 Art as a discipline of inquiry | Tim Ingold (web video)
      In the question-answer period after the lecture, #TimIngold proposes art as a discipline of inquiry, rather than ethnography. This refers to his thinking On Human Correspondence. — begin paste — [75m26s question] I am curious to know what art, or…Read more ›
    • 2019/10/16 | “Bubbles, Golden Ages, and Tech Revolutions” | Carlota Perez
      How might our society show value for the long term, over the short term? Could we think about taxation over time, asks @carlotaprzperez in an interview: 92% for 1 day; 80% within 1 month; 50%-60% tax for 1 year; zero tax for 10 years.Read more ›
  • Meta

  • Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
    Theme modified from DevDmBootstrap4 by Danny Machal