Brian

Physics and Wealth

Recommended Posts

"It puts the onus on citizens, schools, businesses, and government to speed the process of creating designs to better serve society‚ÄĒmore effectively and with much greater confidence"

 

I like this idea (it seems to align with my own idea that it is education and change of tradition, rather than just continually creating new laws to force companies to change, that will bring the best and most lasting change).

 

However if this Constructal Law is a pattern that permeates throughout creation as they say, is it plausible that we mere humans can change it even among ourselves?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"It puts the onus on citizens, schools, businesses, and government to speed the process of creating designs to better serve society‚ÄĒmore effectively and with much greater confidence"

 

I like this idea (it seems to align with my own idea that it is education and change of tradition, rather than just continually creating new laws to force companies to change, that will bring the best and most lasting change).

 

However if this Constructal Law is a pattern that permeates throughout creation as they say, is it plausible that we mere humans can change it even among ourselves?

This is a really good question, and one I asked myself. The idea of "government" engineering humanity is fraught with peril and with a history of disastrous unintended consequences but the idea of citizens affecting the shape of their future society by the way they raise their own children seems entirely natural. The questions of how far and how fast that change can or should be pursued are intriguing -- I tend to follow the golden rule of forecasting in these areas (heck! in most areas...)

 

EDIT: Provided a better link...

Edited by Brian
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Brian, I appreciate both the original post and the "better" link to the "Golden Rule" paper, as it saves me the trouble of searching for it myself and I did want to investigate it.

 

The OP is very interesting and brings together a lot of ideas that I read about or had as my own insight over the years, and there are many interesting ways in which this thread could develop while exploring them, for now though I am going to read the paper on forecasting because the abstract suggested to me one of the applications of the Confucian method of Zhongyong, which I like to translate as "concentrating on the center", and was oddly enough a principle which I worked out in late adolescence, long before I ever read anything on Confucianism.  Though, now that I think about it, there are also ways in which the OP could be viewed as related to Zhongyong.  It's a weird world, isn't it?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Golden Rule of Forecasting is used in the original yarrow stalk method of I Ching divination, though not in the simplified coins method.  Which is why it is advisable to use the coins only for immediate rapidly changing situations of little consequence in the grand scheme of things, but for situations with long-term consequences and for any serious inquiry, it is not suited.  The built-in inequality of yin vs. yang outcomes with the yarrow stalk method reflects the conservative nature of reality itself (or to put it in taoist terms, the heng, long-lasting, "conservative" nature of tao herself.)  There's a preponderance of yin outcomes in reality, i.e. things tend to not change more than they tend to change -- at least fundamental things, no matter how much and how fast the superficial (yang) things can change or be changed.

 

  As for the original article, I don't think it is a good idea to apply physics to processes that are biophysical, because biophysics works very differently from physics -- e.g. in that the second law of thermodynamics does not apply, life is anti-entropic in its nature and moves toward greater rather than lesser order, lesser rather than greater chaos.  Another objection to the author's thinking -- he calls "hierarchical" processes that are fractal rather than hierarchical, and here's another discipline waiting to be applied to social sciences -- not physics but fractals, self-similarity (tao fa ziran!), an infinitely more all-encompassing principle than "hierarchy" which is always only a local, disconnected-from-whole phenomenon.  This book (read before taoism but dovetailing nicely) comes to mind:

 

836084.jpg

 

   

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Golden Rule of Forecasting is used in the original yarrow stalk method of I Ching divination, though not in the simplified coins method.  Which is why it is advisable to use the coins only for immediate rapidly changing situations of little consequence in the grand scheme of things, but for situations with long-term consequences and for any serious inquiry, it is not suited.  The built-in inequality of yin vs. yang outcomes with the yarrow stalk method reflects the conservative nature of reality itself (or to put it in taoist terms, the heng, long-lasting, "conservative" nature of tao herself.)  There's a preponderance of yin outcomes in reality, i.e. things tend to not change more than they tend to change -- at least fundamental things, no matter how much and how fast the superficial (yang) things can change or be changed.

 

  As for the original article, I don't think it is a good idea to apply physics to processes that are biophysical, because biophysics works very differently from physics -- e.g. in that the second law of thermodynamics does not apply, life is anti-entropic in its nature and moves toward greater rather than lesser order, lesser rather than greater chaos.  Another objection to the author's thinking -- he calls "hierarchical" processes that are fractal rather than hierarchical, and here's another discipline waiting to be applied to social sciences -- not physics but fractals, self-similarity (tao fa ziran!), an infinitely more all-encompassing principle than "hierarchy" which is always only a local, disconnected-from-whole phenomenon.  This book (read before taoism but dovetailing nicely) comes to mind:

 

836084.jpg

I agree -- physical models (that is to say "models stemming from physics") can be very helpful in modelling systems but it is important (as always) to be careful about unrecognized assumptions. "Life" (as in "things which are alive" -- whatever that means) is not unbiased, and life tends to act irrationally even when intending to act selfishly.

 

I was struck, as a child, by Azimov's Foundation series and particularly by the character "The Mule."

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Brian, I appreciate both the original post and the "better" link to the "Golden Rule" paper, as it saves me the trouble of searching for it myself and I did want to investigate it.

 

The OP is very interesting and brings together a lot of ideas that I read about or had as my own insight over the years, and there are many interesting ways in which this thread could develop while exploring them, for now though I am going to read the paper on forecasting because the abstract suggested to me one of the applications of the Confucian method of Zhongyong, which I like to translate as "concentrating on the center", and was oddly enough a principle which I worked out in late adolescence, long before I ever read anything on Confucianism.  Though, now that I think about it, there are also ways in which the OP could be viewed as related to Zhongyong.  It's a weird world, isn't it?

I started my "career" in IT (stumbled into it, really) shortly after earning my undergraduate degree in applied physics by joining a furniture company. (Where else would you except to find a physicist?!?)

 

I had been intrigued by the way concepts crossed disciplines and how, for instance, a contraption made of springs and dashpots and such might be used to model both an electrical circuit or a hydraulic system. The principles underlying the mathematical construct of the simple harmonic oscillator, in particular, resonated with me (pun intended) because I was suddenly seeing analogs everywhere!

 

One of the things I was tasked with early on was helping with a massive, companywide process reengineering effort (which really saved the company during a particularly tough time for the US furniture industry and allowed it to remain one of the few family-owned companies in that space to survive intact). Something I kept hearing over and over was along this theme: "That may work for <insert_some_other_industry_here> but we work with wood and wood is different!"

 

:)

 

Since then, I have been involved in process reengineering efforts in a number of very different industries and I am constantly amused, but no longer surprised, to hear that same refrain.

 

First principles seem surprisingly universal and durable.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First principles seem surprisingly universal and durable.

 

I guess that's why they're called "First Principles".

 

Which is a very Platonic principle by the way.  In late Platonism, i.e. "Neoplatonism", the rule is that the most fundamental property is the most powerful ontological reality.  Since every existent thing has the property of "unity", being a whole made of parts, "unity", and thus "the One", as the source of "unity", is the most powerful ontological reality, and from there, pun very much intended, "it is all downhill".  All of this is ultimately derived from the logical analysis of the One and the Many in Plato's dialogue Parmenides.

 

Also my preliminary skim of "The Golden Rule of Forecasting" makes is look very valuable indeed, since it is not merely an abstract discussion, but an outline of the recommended procedures which someone could easily extrapolate in their own practice.

 

Taomeow's response is interesting and deserves a longer response, but as a start I think that she is neglecting Prigogine's Dissipative Systems and the relationship between entropy and information, of which living systems are a prime example, both as information, structure and energy dissipation.  Human beings for example, having, albeit unwillingly, mastered the art of dissipation, in several senses of the word.  That said, one needs to avoid reductionism, because the emergent levels of complexity invariabley have properties that are unexpected from point of view of the more primitive levels from which they originate, and so I am in agreement with Taomeow's overall point.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"That may work for <insert_some_other_industry_here> but we work with wood and wood is different!"

 

The local pine mill/lumberyard,recently installed a fully computerised system,that calculates every possible useable cut of timber,out of each new log.

Working with wood is maybe not so different,anymore.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"That may work for <insert_some_other_industry_here> but we work with wood and wood is different!"

 

The local pine mill/lumberyard,recently installed a fully computerised system,that calculates every possible useable cut of timber,out of each new log.

Working with wood is maybe not so different,anymore.

It wasn't then, either! :)
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Taomeow's response is interesting and deserves a longer response, but as a start I think that she is neglecting Prigogine's Dissipative Systems and the relationship between entropy and information, of which living systems are a prime example, both as information, structure and energy dissipation.  Human beings for example, having, albeit unwillingly, mastered the art of dissipation, in several senses of the word.  That said, one needs to avoid reductionism, because the emergent levels of complexity invariabley have properties that are unexpected from point of view of the more primitive levels from which they originate, and so I am in agreement with Taomeow's overall point.

 

Prigogine is sitting on my shelf waiting his turn (I have to confess I forgetfully bought his book twice, perhaps as an unconscious incentive for me to finally make the time to read it...  didn't work yet, but it will).  But he is also not a biophysicist.

 

I was thinking Gilbert Ning Ling when I said that the way to understand human (or any live) dynamics is to go into biophysics rather than "only" physics or "only" biology.  (An education in biophysics is something no other philosopher of science ever had, to my knowledge.)  He introduced the Association Induction hypothesis which claims to be (and in my opinion is quite likely to be) the unifying general theory of the living cell.  (Which of course flies in the face of the currently accepted, albeit fully speculative, membrane and steady-state membrane pump theories), and the Polarized-Oriented Multilayer theory of cell water.

 

  If we are going to extrapolate processes devised by nature onto dynamics devised by governments (that's what our economic situation is, not in the least the outcome of any "natural" processes, the latter having been unfolding quite differently for 4 billion years on earth and for at least 1 million years for humans till a monkey wrench was thrown in very recently), I do believe we need to look at how life itself goes about balancing accumulation and dissipation.  I've a hunch we're doing it differently.  We are doing it by concentrating and dissipating resources by brute force or implied threat of brute force that will be used in response to non-compliance.  Otherwise coffee, e.g., would still be served to the public by little mom and pop coffee shops, not by Starbucks...           

 

You're right about the staggering complexity of the subject.  I'm very biased toward the before-all-that-jazz solution, but since the introduction of cities, city-states, countries, empires, and now the accumulation of power a stone's throw away from a one world government, its chances to recover from the monkey wrench and rejoin the natural processes ("Conception, Growth, Fruition, Consummation, followed by Conception, Growth, Fruition, Consummation, followed by..." as our friendly taoist classics put it) have been steadily dwindling. 

 

I do think theories that justify the status quo and the current dynamics will keep cropping up from all manner of sources...  worth looking at how they think and how they want us to think, absolutely...  but I don't think so.  :) 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a bit of additional food for thought...

 

We are now discovering at an increasing rate examples of macro-level chemical & biological processes which are clearly quantum-mechanical in nature.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a bit of additional food for thought...

 

We are now discovering at an increasing rate examples of macro-level chemical & biological processes which are clearly quantum-mechanical in nature.

 

Which ones?

 

If you pardon what might be a tangent, what comes to mind off the top of my head is a sci-fi novel by my favorite authors, the Strugatsky brothers (who chose a very unfortunate moment to be great Russian authors, hence lack of international acclaim which they would otherwise deserve more than most who did have it), A Billion Years Till The End Of The World (in the English translation, Definitely Maybe), written in the early 1970's and offering a possibility of quantum-mechanical events on the macro level which may be the outcome of fully natural self-regulating processes in the universe, but may also be the outcome of interventions by a highly advanced alien presence bent on stifling human scientific progress for reasons best known to themselves.  The intriguing possibility being that one does not preclude the other, and the very existence of a highly advanced civilization whose actions are indistinguishable from self-regulating processes in the universe, including quantum processes on the macro level, is also considered.    

 

By profession, one of the authors was an astronomer/astrophysicist, and the other, a translator of Japanese literature well versed in Asian history and culture.  They consistently kept blowing my mind in my teens and twenties...  and on occasion I still feel the aftershocks.  :)     

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Which ones?

 

If you pardon what might be a tangent, what comes to mind off the top of my head is a sci-fi novel by my favorite authors, the Strugatsky brothers (who chose a very unfortunate moment to be great Russian authors, hence lack of international acclaim which they would otherwise deserve more than most who did have it), A Billion Years Till The End Of The World (in the English translation, Definitely Maybe), written in the early 1970's and offering a possibility of quantum-mechanical events on the macro level which may be the outcome of fully natural self-regulating processes in the universe, but may also be the outcome of interventions by a highly advanced alien presence bent on stifling human scientific progress for reasons best known to themselves. The intriguing possibility being that one does not preclude the other, and the very existence of a highly advanced civilization whose actions are indistinguishable from self-regulating processes in the universe, including quantum processes on the macro level, is also considered.

 

By profession, one of the authors was an astronomer/astrophysicist, and the other, a translator of Japanese literature well versed in Asian history and culture. They consistently kept blowing my mind in my teens and twenties... and on occasion I still feel the aftershocks. :)

Very interesting! A decent English translation?

 

I think this one might interest you as a starting point:

 

https://arstechnica.com/science/2011/12/more-evidence-found-for-quantum-physics-in-photosynthesis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm all about tangents... Heck! I'm all about orthogonal departures, for that matter! :)

 

I find that the most fascinating patterns are often uncovered by gently pulling a loose thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm all about tangents... Heck! I'm all about orthogonal departures, for that matter! :)

 

So is differential calculus, and as we all know little tangents can make big differentials.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yea, I don't understand how he is shoehorning Marxist economics into constructural flow?

 

I mean, first the article correlates wealth with fuel use:

physicscanpr.jpg

Captioning this association with, "More economic activity means more fuel consumption, not less."

 

As if greater production would normally require...less fuel?  Huh...WTF? :blink:

 

And then he tries slapping on some Marxist rhetoric about hierarchical inequality of wealth distribution...without explaining exactly how so?

 

I mean, the model is similar to old hub-and-spoke distribution theory - which was designed to maximize efficiency, not  "hierarchical inequality of wealth distribution." 

 

Well predictably, it's all just a long pseudoscientific setup for...you guessed it:

It's a complex design that involves the evolution of the rule of law. In other words: government and other organizations stepping in, which historically has happened," Bejan said.

So, after a few paragraphs of nonsensical dry humping...thar's the money shot!  We need mo' gubernment intervention to better simulate (or counteract?) a natural pattern that occurs naturally without any intervention on its own in Nature.

friartoon_thar-she-blows.jpg

Now, I CAN actually see how constructural flow applies to finance - but it has nothing to do with the ways he asserts...

Edited by gendao
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A question for Brian or anyone else:

Is it possible that the "particle/wave" situation could actually be "particle/string"?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Apeiron&Peiron said:

With regards to a formal representation of things....sure, why not?

With regards to an actual ontical state of things---the world may never know.

I think that might have helped but I'm not sure.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, Marblehead said:

I think that might have helped but I'm not sure.

 

This probably won't help either but...

We can demonstrate fairly easily that both matter and energy (which are really the same thing) behave just like a particle, or that they/it behave just like a wave.  Recently, we have found (and have actually captured images of) it behaving as both a particle and a wave at the same time.  Obviously, none of this "makes sense" but the models work extremely nicely so, for all practical purposes, "particle and/or wave" works -- BUT -- the underlying "whatever" is probably neither.  Whatever the "whatever" is is probably something completely different that is consistent with both particle and wave, depending on how you look at it (which model you overlay on it).

Take that same paragraph and use "particle" and "string" and it seems to be a pretty good fit, too.

Thing is, there seem likely to be some fundamental limits beyond which we may never be able to "see" -- scales smaller than which we may be stuck with theorizing based on observations one level larger.  We'll keep fine-tuning the models, and replacing the foundations with better models which retain consistency with "what we know" on larger scales but provide better insight into the smaller scales, but we may never "know it all" because it may not be discoverable.

 

Here's one to bend your brain a little...

Recent work with the familiar double-slit experiment but using "enormous & massive" helium atoms instead of photons or electrons (well, enormous & massive compared to photons & electrons) pretty much proves that the state of matter at one instant can depend on its state in the future.  Yes, I said that right -- the future influences the present and the present influences the past, on a physical & material level.

 

 

 

Edited by Brian
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for responding Brian.  The reason I asked the question is because on a documentary last night the discussion caused me to link particle and string together.   People talked about time travel too.  I'm now too old to travel anywhere in time or space.

But I'm still energy manifested.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Brian said:

This probably won't help either but...

We can demonstrate fairly easily that both matter and energy (which are really the same thing) behave just like a particle, or that they/it behave just like a wave.  Recently, we have found (and have actually captured images of) it behaving as both a particle and a wave at the same time.  Obviously, none of this "makes sense" but the models work extremely nicely so, for all practical purposes, "particle and/or wave" works -- BUT -- the underlying "whatever" is probably neither.  Whatever the "whatever" is is probably something completely different that is consistent with both particle and wave, depending on how you look at it (which model you overlay on it).

Take that same paragraph and use "particle" and "string" and it seems to be a pretty good fit, too.

Thing is, there seem likely to be some fundamental limits beyond which we may never be able to "see" -- scales smaller than which we may be stuck with theorizing based on observations one level larger.  We'll keep fine-tuning the models, and replacing the foundations with better models which retain consistency with "what we know" on larger scales but provide better insight into the smaller scales, but we may never "know it all" because it may not be discoverable.

 

Here's one to bend your brain a little...

Recent work with the familiar double-slit experiment but using "enormous & massive" helium atoms instead of photons or electrons (well, enormous & massive compared to photons & electrons) pretty much proves that the state of matter at one instant can depend on its state in the future.  Yes, I said that right -- the future influences the present and the present influences the past, on a physical & material level.

 

 

 

Adding a link to a relevant article:

https://phys.org/news/2015-03-particle.html

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Brian said:

 

Here's one to bend your brain a little...

Recent work with the familiar double-slit experiment but using "enormous & massive" helium atoms instead of photons or electrons (well, enormous & massive compared to photons & electrons) pretty much proves that the state of matter at one instant can depend on its state in the future.  Yes, I said that right -- the future influences the present and the present influences the past, on a physical & material level.

The past is never dead. ¬†It¬īs not even past.

William Faulkner

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites