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Sylvain Poirier: on 1/18/15 at 21:51pm UTC, wrote Hi. I looked at your essay. The only point of agreement I have is the...

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FQXi FORUM
May 25, 2019

CATEGORY: How Should Humanity Steer the Future? Essay Contest (2014) [back]
TOPIC: The Thermodynamics of Freedom by Edwin Eugene Klingman [refresh]
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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Apr. 25, 2014 @ 13:16 GMT
Essay Abstract

History has shown that humanity works best when freedom is maximized. A topic like "How Should Humanity Steer the Future" requires extreme idealization, and something resembling a statistical mechanics approach, leading to a thermo­dynamic model. Thermodynamics does work only when a system has free energy. We link these different concepts of freedom in this essay. Statistical mechanics treats large numbers of elements, N, and total energy, E. The energy of labor, if not completely controlled by force, is controlled by money, so we will measure energy in dollars. This applies generally to the electrical energy one buys from a power company or to physical work one does on a day-to-day basis. "Steer" is a control concept implying a goal, therefore we formulate two idealized goals and analyze their implications. To be relevant to reality, we address two real goals, argued every day in the world, but simplified to allow analysis.

Author Bio

Edwin Eugene Klingman was a NASA Research Physicist (atomic & molecular). His 1979 PhD dissertation (now published as "The Automatic Theory of Physics"), describes how numbers and math derive from physical reality and how a robot would derive a theory of physics based on pattern recognition and entropy. Founder of three Silicon Valley companies, he holds 33 technology patents and has published two university texts, "Microprocessor Systems Design" Vol I and II. He recently non-linearized the weak field equations of relativity and is attempting to apply this technique to explain anomalies.

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Mark Avrum Gubrud wrote on Apr. 26, 2014 @ 09:20 GMT
Okay, you should look at the work of Victor Yakovenko. The distribution of income in market economies is certainly not Gaussian; it appears to be a superposition of two distributions, revealing a two-class structure. This is very well supported by the data.

The labor class is characterized by the maximum-entropy distribution, i.e. exponential (for individuals). This would be the result of random exchange, and suggests that when people are living hand-to-mouth, i.e. not accumulating money, all of their money gets traded and, in each bargain, sometimes they win, sometimes they lose, at random.

The capital class is characterized by a power law distribution, which is typical of preferential attachment or rich-get-richer processes. Money attracts money.

The important issue is how much of the total societal income is going into each class. There has been a huge shift in the fraction going to capital (see Piketty) since ~1970. That is the cause of much malaise and stagnation.

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Peter Jackson replied on Apr. 26, 2014 @ 17:37 GMT
Mark,

I think that's to misunderstand Gauss. If we ask, 'What is the distribution per capita' we'll get a perfect Gaussian bell curve. It just gets shorter and fatter with reduced disparity. That is the 'important thing' you mention; its a bit too tall and thin.

Your point should perhaps be that there are then a thousand different questions showing different distributions and giving different information. i.e the power law you mention, of many qualities ('gammalike' as Edwin's PRL ref?).

Peter

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on Apr. 26, 2014 @ 18:06 GMT
Dear Mark Avrum Gubrud,

Thank you for reading and commenting on my essay. I agree with you that the resultant "real world" distributions are not simply Gaussian. That is why I state above in the abstract that "extreme idealization" is required for a nine page essay, and I also state that it is "simplified to allow analysis". Further, in the essay on page 4, I note that constraints applied by taxation and transfer payments complicate the analysis but do not inherently change the goal of the distribution policy. You are certainly correct that the real world distribution is not so simple. As noted in my essay this is partly because in the real world capitalism has become "crony capitalism" where corporations and unions and governments collude and are corrupt. That leads, as you say, to malaise and stagnation. And we have not even mentioned the Federal Reserve and banking, which, I note, a number of essays here do mention.

But for purposes of this essay, that is not a "two-class structure". That is one class of citizens with a more complex distribution in which some citizens have more money or energy than others. None of these citizens has absolute control over any other citizen. My analysis of "equality" as a policy shows that it leads to true two-class structure, in which one class has total control (totalitarian) of the "mere" citizen, while exempting themselves (the master class, or government) from the laws. That is a real class distinction, not just an unequal distribution of wealth.

Best regards,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Mark Avrum Gubrud replied on Apr. 26, 2014 @ 18:13 GMT
Peter, one of us is very confused.

As you know, the classical Maxwell-Boltzmann-Gibbs distribution of energies in thermal equilibrium is n(E)=aExp(-E/T), which is the exponential distribution, not Gaussian. Quantum mechanics modifies this with the Ferm-Dirac and Bose-Einstein distributions, but this seems unlikely to be relevant to economics, Yakovenko's early suggestion that the capital-income fraction be regarded as a "condensate" notwithstanding.

It is the exponential distribution which is observed for the labor class; for the capital class we observe a power law (also known as Pareto's law), n(E)=be-cE.

See the first group of papers listed at http://physics.umd.edu/~yakovenk/econophysics/

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Peter Jackson wrote on Apr. 26, 2014 @ 17:55 GMT
Edwin,

Nicely original viewpoint, exceptionally well presented and easy to read as usual.I loved; "Humanity is seen as an N-body system, with 10 N ~10^10. each assumed to have position, momentum, energy, and degrees of freedom." I've thought a lot about degrees of freedom recently, we may have more than we realise (a gyro spinning on an axis still has all 3 axes of rotational freedom, while also orbiting something!!)

The concept I struggled a bit with was; "Money and energy are interchangeable." Very novel, for me anyway, but I do like novels! I think you argue very well supporting the cases where they are. Certainly giving money to somebody normally represents an exchange of momentum, and what goes around comes around!

Isn't the Bell curve a cosine curve? I've found it's a ubiquitous part of causal nature.

Excellent stuff. Well done. I'm sure it'll do well. I hope you'll like mine this year too. I think it's seminal.

Best wishes

Peter

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on Apr. 26, 2014 @ 18:27 GMT
Dear Peter,

Thanks for reading. I see you have, as usual, been making waves, and I look forward to reading your essay. As you been focused lately on Bell, I am particularly interested. And your example of "degrees of freedom" is right on.

I decided long ago that money is "abstract energy" and, as you see, this fits easily into a statistical thermodynamics formulation. Of course real-world complexities, including corruption, will drastically skew the shapes of the distribution curves, but my major point is that "equality" as a serious policy, is doomed to fail, and is misleading, even fraudulent.

I hope that this will be studied and understood, and that I'm not simply accused of supporting "things as they are". They are pretty awful right now, but moving toward a totalitarian two-class state will not make them better!

I do very much look forward to study of your essay and further exchanges with you.

Have fun,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on May. 1, 2014 @ 18:15 GMT
Peter,

I have now read your truly masterful essay. A few small problems but you got the major points correct, especially your key points on page 8. As far as I can tell you've worked this out from geometry. I've worked out the same results from the physics of Stern-Gerlach and Gordon Watson has recently worked out the same result from Bell's formulation. We have thus converged to the same...

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Colin Walker wrote on Apr. 26, 2014 @ 21:18 GMT
Hi Edwin,

It is nice to see someone else taking a statistical mechanics approach. Your Eq.(1) is Jaynes dice problem in my essay Democracy of the dice people.

I agree with Mark's criticism about the distribution being exponential, not Gaussian, but to me that is a minor point because our primitive models are the same. What I find really interesting is that we come to a similar conclusion about the ultimate distribution from different viewpoints.

Your approach follows the free energy, while I follow the entropy as a Maxwell demon.

Best regards,

Colin

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on Apr. 27, 2014 @ 01:03 GMT
Dear Colin,

Thanks for reading and commenting. Having now read your fine essay, I note the following: You start off prioritizing the problems, showing, if nothing else, that some people worry about anything--even the "death of the universe". You then focus on current issues such as the mal-distribution of wealth.

Your entropy analysis of hot versus cold economy, and the entropic...

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Colin Walker replied on Apr. 27, 2014 @ 02:42 GMT
Dear Edwin,

Thanks for your kind comments. Jaynes' influence is there with the entropy, but the idea of a Maxwell demon likely comes from recently studying some discarded ideas of Walther Nernst relating to the third law of thermodynamics and cosmology.

It is reassuring that both our approaches converge on the same outcome.

Best regards,

Colin

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John Brodix Merryman wrote on Apr. 27, 2014 @ 22:23 GMT
Edwin,

The premise I would take issue with is that money=energy. This system certainly treats it as such, but the fact is that it is an obligation, a contract, a debt. Yet because it functions within this system as value, we naturally edit out the process by which it gains that value and so think of it as intrinsic, not representative. The result being that we now have a system primarily designed to create notational wealth, often at the expense of real value, as we atomize our culture and burn though all physical resources.

It is the nature of knowledge to make connections, but sometimes we need to keep the differences in mind as well.

Regards,

John M

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on Apr. 28, 2014 @ 01:05 GMT
John,

Thanks for commenting. I think you are mistaken that money can be only interpreted one way. Sort of like saying that I can only interpret you as an FQXi participant. You also train horses, and perform other functions. Any one of your many possible interpretations can be valid in the proper context. I have read a number of your comments here, and I've read (about 5 years ago) "The Creature from Jeckle Island" and felt like I understood the operation of the Fed (to some degree), but the fact is that I can expend energy or I can spend money to achieve the same result, and in that sense, money is just abstract energy, whatever else it might be. And that allows me to treat it as I did using statistical thermodynamics. It is a valid approach, but that does not exclude other interpretations.

I'm looking forward to reading your essay and will probably have more to say when I do.

Best regards,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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John Brodix Merryman replied on Apr. 28, 2014 @ 10:06 GMT
Edwin,

It's not that it doesn't very much function as an effective form of energy in economic transactions, but that when we overlook the basis of its value, a wholistically functioning and prosperous economy and simply collectively think of it as an abstract property which allows us a portion of the wealth being generated, we end up with the situation we have today, where the end function of the economy becomes to create and collect as many of these notational obligations as possible, even to the significant and obvious detriment of the underlaying economy on which they are based. The reason asset values only seem to go up, even though the larger economy seems weak isn't because they are increasing in value, but because the value of investment dollars is effectively decreasing. I can tell you, these horses are not bigger, or faster than they used to be, but their prices seem to keep going up, as with lots of other things, from the stock market to high end real estate. Yes inflation is muted in the general economy, but that's because the 1% and the rest of us live in somewhat separate economies. It just goes to show, those at the top really are not as smart as they think they are.

Regards,

John

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John Brodix Merryman replied on Apr. 28, 2014 @ 11:30 GMT
This issue fits in well with Armin Shirazi's entry. Given the extent to which wrong doing in the financial sector is not punished, regulation is ignored and all problems are solved with more credit. It is somewhat obvious this will only lead to a bigger blow up, but those running the show simply do not have the necessary perspective to do anything more than service their own narrow self interests and so undercut the basis of their power.

Regards,

John

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Anonymous wrote on Apr. 28, 2014 @ 04:32 GMT
Hi, Edwin,

I have read your essay, and, as last year, am not up to the math you use, but think I get the drift philosophically. It seems to me that the issues of humanity steering the future are philosophical, but it is good to see analogies being made from different directions as you do for those who get the math. Your summary in plain ol’ English, with which I am in almost total...

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on Apr. 28, 2014 @ 19:29 GMT
Hi Earle,

I appreciate your comments, and I think you got the message without the math. It's a pretty simplistic analysis, but so is thermodynamics, and it describes reality quite well in many appropriate situations.

The part you are concerned with, the "educational fund" was thrown in as a hint as to how I would try to design a better system. There was no space to really get the...

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F Earle Fox replied on Apr. 29, 2014 @ 00:32 GMT
Thanks for the clarifying of your education idea. I think that could be a very helpful part of the solution. In effect that is what parental “ownership” of education is. They pay for their children to get educated. As you indicate, the money can come from any non-governmental source.

I have a friend in New Hampshire, Alan Schaeffer, who is running an organization called Network for Educational Opportunity (http://www.linkedin.com/pub/alan-schaeffer/9/a84/828 http://www.networkforeducation.org/ ), which receives grants from businesses and other places to be given to students who want to get educated outside the corrupt govt ed system. The gifts to NEO are totally tax deductible, and Supreme Court approved. The opposition is doing every thing it can to scuttle the project. But the NH legislature has bought into it.

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Anonymous wrote on Apr. 28, 2014 @ 04:36 GMT
John, what a master piece! Unfortunately only few souls on Earth can understand you fully. I am one of the few who fully understand the full extend of your idea, because I also embeds thermodynamics as the heart of my KQID( KoGuan Quantum InfoDynamics). Of course at KQID, it is not only about heat/energy flows but also information flows as Shakespearian meme-actorIΨ(CTE)) as the wave function of...

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KoGuan Leo wrote on Apr. 28, 2014 @ 04:38 GMT
John, what a master piece! Unfortunately only few souls on Earth can understand you fully. I am one of the few who fully understand the full extend of your idea, because I also embeds thermodynamics as the heart of my KQID( KoGuan Quantum InfoDynamics). Of course at KQID, it is not only about heat/energy flows but also information flows as Shakespearian meme-actorIΨ(CTE)) as the wave function of...

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KoGuan Leo replied on Apr. 28, 2014 @ 17:13 GMT
Edwin, not John. My apology. Leo

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on Apr. 28, 2014 @ 19:32 GMT
Dear Leo,

Good to see you back this year. I'm so glad you got the basic points and agree with them. You are an example of what I consider the best approach; you have earned enough wealth and are using your own money and your own judgment to contribute to the improvement of society, untarnished by pathological need for power or practical need to buy votes. I commend you. I will study your essay and comment there.

My best regards,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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KoGuan Leo replied on May. 5, 2014 @ 05:53 GMT
Thanks Edwin for your generous remark. I rated your essay a ten (10) because it is unique and in my view there is no other rates are possible. Thanks for participating and sharing your wonderful idea for mankind whatever corny of my statement is the facts are that we are all busy but we take our times to share and participate in life to advance all sentient beings. Thus, the partisans of this contest are well meanings corny individuals, wonderful human beings. We are trying our best, may be the idea is not good enough by itself but collectively will be powerful enough idea, like collecting crumbs of a cheese cake, if enough of them it becomes a delicious cake for all beings. We are what we are. Corny, let it be.

Wishing you the best, Leo KoGuan.

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Member Tommaso Bolognesi wrote on Apr. 28, 2014 @ 16:50 GMT
Dear Edwin,

I find te idea to use the fundamental ideas of thermodynamics to describe humanity and the dynamics of money/energy quite original, and very appropriate for this type of contest. A pleasurable essay.

You end up concentrating on specific US political issues, in the second part of the text, but some of the problems you mention have rather general validity, and, for example, affect also our society and politicians in Italy.

With respect to the case of two unequal classes - fig. p. 5,right, yielding a non null dE - I was wondering whether this always creates a large gap between extreme richness and extreme poverty, or a mitigated variant is possible by which both figures are somewhat acceptable, e.g. more rich vs. slightly less rich. In other words, what are the parameters responsible for the width of the gap between the two values of the peaks?

Given the limited space, you do not expand much about the issue of stability with respect to nonlinear systems [Shultz and Melsa 1967]. Because stability is a requisite, you make it a basic goal. But I tend to support the idea that the instability of the human, non linear system is what makes it creative and unpredictable in its evolution, with emergent phenomena occurring all the time and making our history unique (and hard to steer!).

Do you see these two viewpoints as mutually exclusive?

Thank you and best regards

Tommaso

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on Apr. 28, 2014 @ 19:44 GMT
Dear Tommaso,

Thanks for your comment. I'm glad you found it pleasurable. Yes, I think the thermodynamic analysis applies everywhere, even if my examples were US-based.

As for the case of two unequal classes, you are correct that there is no physical law demanding a large gap between the two classes. Just always seems to work out that way. Armin Shirazi's essay deals with this...

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James Dunn wrote on Apr. 29, 2014 @ 19:19 GMT
I'm not sure there is any such thing as Free Energy. Based upon what I have seen so far, every form of energy is connected throughout the Universe. So all energy has broad consequences to consider; to include tertiary effects.

So too, do Ideologists and Realists have their works providing broadly considered impacts, providing the equivalent of the Butterfly Effect.

I like your concept of modeling social systems with control theory; where constraints of validity are identified.

For any sustainable system of any kind, Entropy involving the kinds of systems modeled, must be overcome to maintain viability. A heat pump of sorts must infuse a continuous transformation of energy to compensate for losses.

For there to be growth, more than just the energy to compensate for Entropy must be provided. In information processing, this may or may not involve energy depending upon the systems considered.

Is this fundamentally in line with your thinking?

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on Apr. 29, 2014 @ 21:14 GMT
Dear James,

Recently I've seen the reality of "heat" questioned, and also the physical reality of "temperature" questioned, so I guess it's fair game to question the reality of "free energy". But I find these thermodynamic concepts to be quite useful for understanding what's going on. Nor do I doubt that there are tertiary effects of energy transfers.

Thanks for your comment about modeling social systems with control theory and identifying constraints.

I agree that entropy is a major factor in particle-based systems, but as humans exhibit anti-entropic tendencies based on both learning and on free will, I'm not quite sure what the best approach to entropy is here. Note that Colin Walker's comments above and his essay uses entropy-based analysis that somewhat parallels my free-energy-based analysis.

I believe your statements are fundamentally aligned with my thinking. As I note several places, the application of thermodynamics to 10^10 humans requires some drastic simplifications, and while I believe the approach I take is valid, it's hard to identify exactly where the limits are and how entropy should be brought into the picture. For example, in your essay you mention "releasing intellectual energy as fire builds around fuel." While this is a meaningful statement in some sense, it is difficult to see how to incorporate this "energy" in a thermodynamic analysis. I like that you also note: "I can tear apart anything that anyone claims..." but the goal should be to see if there's any value to the claims.

Thanks for reading and commenting on my essay,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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James Dunn replied on May. 4, 2014 @ 04:04 GMT
Thermodynamics and Mechanical Stress Models are combined in the same software using finite element analysis. Extending this to a large arbitrary number of characteristics that need to be modeled suggests a dimensional form of thermodynamics types of modeling; due to interactive relationships.

This would be a processing hog even beyond the capability of supercomputers for any small system of constraints.

But this parallel processing can feasibly be handled by quantum computers. I saw at least 3 other essays that similarly deals with broadly considered complex systems of interrelationships.

Perhaps we can group all of the concepts of these similar essays into a common Mind Map.

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John C Hodge wrote on Apr. 29, 2014 @ 19:58 GMT
Particle physicists like to set hbar=c=k=1 that makes everything in terms of energy. It seems you have another such application. But what constant are you setting =1?

RE: the growing extremes of wealth and income between rich and poor:

First “equality” is a term that has been changing definition – which so you mean? Your mentioned Obama so I presume you mean the “equality of...

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on Apr. 29, 2014 @ 21:26 GMT
Hi John,

Since scale factors depend upon the units, it probably makes sense to simply set the unit as one dollar. As for the meaning of "equality" as proposed by progressives, they generally refer to "equality of outcome", while never getting too specific. I attempt to show (what should be obvious) that absolute equality is both impossible, misleading, even fraudulent, and if the claim is...

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Anonymous wrote on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 05:18 GMT
Dear Edwin,

I feel ashamed because I cannot easily pay you back your kind quotations you picked up from my essay. The clear political message of your new essay is certainly appealing in particular in the USA where energy and human values are seemingly measured in Dollars.

Let me merely tell you that your nice analogy caused me to reiterate two questions:

- Aren't energy and money (not debts) in their original meaning always positive?

- Don't notions like equivalence and equivalence classes deserve clarification?

I see the latter question related to set theory.

Kindest regards,

Eckard

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 06:05 GMT
Dear Eckard,

I was not hoping to trade kind quotes. I just enjoyed your essay and hoped that you would read mine and give me feedback. You have done so.

In the sense that you have been pursuing 'positive', I think that is a valid statement, since you have eliminated debt. Money is positive and energy, even when it represents a decrease, is actually a positive flow of energy away from some situation to another one. Binding energy is typically considered negative, but that would depend upon where one defines zero energy I suppose.

A mathematician would probably want to examine some aspects of equivalence or equivalence classes, but a physicist looks more for a working proposition, and my proposition was that I can expend energy to accomplish a goal or I can spend money to accomplish the same goal, and in that sense they are equivalent.

Is the analysis valid? I think it is sufficiently so to justify the conclusion that "equality" is not a real goal, but a smokescreen behind which a two-class society is being setup.

You may think that money is the be-all and end-all of American life, but I think that freedom holds that honor, and money is in someways simply abstract freedom. I have lived through periods of very little money and also had some profitable years, and I felt freer to pursue my goals when I had money. In Silicon Valley the saying was: Money is just a way of keeping score. (Don't take that too seriously.)

There are many ways to moralize, but I tend not to moralize about money. It's a fact of life, just as is energy. Being alive means that one MUST expend energy, and that is often tiring. It is less tiring if one can spend money to achieve the desired results.

Thanks for reading my essay and commenting. I've fallen behind in the number of essays I planned to read, and hopefully will catch up later this week.

My best regards,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Georgina Woodward wrote on May. 1, 2014 @ 03:52 GMT
Hi Edwin,

I think your approach to the essay question is very original and is both relevant and related to physics.A really clever idea.

Slight quibble, you live in a liberal democracy but even there I do not think the role of the government is to maximize freedom. Homosexuality and abortion are two issues where government has not maximized freedom of choice. In Saudi Arabia women are not allowed to drive in other countries there are strict dress codes.In many countries prostitution is outlawed. In NZ sex work is not outlawed and sex workers are tax payers.In many countries drugs are outlawed but not in the Netherlands. It seems to me government is more about making and amending local and national Law than maximizing freedom.

The essay does have a very USA perspective. I like the pay to learn solution. Though it doesn't sound too different from student loans available in the UK and NZ already. Good summary. I really wish I understood more of the arguments you have made. I'm trying to read lots of essays, I really could do with spending more time with it. Nevertheless I like the idea of what you have done here.

Good luck. Georgina

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Georgina Woodward replied on May. 1, 2014 @ 03:59 GMT
I should really have said 'pay for learning', not 'pay to learn' (which is what happens at the moment of course).

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on May. 1, 2014 @ 04:58 GMT
Dear Georgina,

Thank you very much for your comments. I'm glad you appreciated the idea.

Of course you are correct about the actual nature of many of today's governments. Whereas the US formed a government with a Constitution and a purpose, most of today's governments evolved from tribes, Kings, sultans, and revolutions, etc. But even so you note that there many local variations, and comparison between these tells us which work better.

There is no easy way to perfect our governments, but I've tried to show that "equality" is a false goal and thermodynamically impossible.

I did not have room to develop the "pay for learning" idea, but I've spent a lot of time thinking about it and hope to expand on it in the future. As I noted, the key techniques to automate payments and accounting are coming into existence, and I think the other details can be worked through.

I will read your essay and comment. Thanks again.

Best regards,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Denis Frith wrote on May. 1, 2014 @ 05:44 GMT
Humanity uses the goods and services provided by the mechanistic infrastructure of civilization as well as what nature provides. Natural forces control the operation of this infrastructure. Physical energy flow does the work as prescribe by thermodynamics. Humanity can only steer how this temporary infrastructure goes in the future is only they understand this reality as it will then help them to make sound decisions.

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on May. 1, 2014 @ 17:35 GMT
Dear Denis,

I believe we are in agreement. My essay tends to consider the ability to do work as energy, and this would include the use of the mechanistic infrastructure, which is part of our 'wealth'.

Thanks for reading my essay. I will read yours soon.

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Chidi Idika wrote on May. 1, 2014 @ 10:57 GMT
Dear Edwin,

Good to see you around. I was beginning to worry.

You identify neatly the dilemma of all political economies namely: “If no one controls more energy than anyone else, the free energy, used for accomplishing goals, vanishes.” In the reverse case one gets a lords versus serfs kind of system.

Instead of assuming equality let us assume instead that things/humans are inherently unequal: in the sense that they are specialized i.e. they will create inequality out of any initial condition/equality (in the words of Schultz and Melsa, “if we are to know anything about a system, we must first know that it is stable."). This then is like assuming that entropy (the informational or the thermodynamic) is by definition the quantum/constant in operation i.e. the “individual” or “uncertainty” by which inequality is measured.

The value of this approach is that we will get a naturally FRACTAL scale of needs or of work which is at once macro scale valid and YET micros scale valid. This is what I see to be the quantum gravity notion—namely the observer or measuring instrument is essentially the isolated/isolating system i.e. the “universe” or “universal constant” by which and to which its own measurement results and hence any effort at steering is to be applied.

Isn't it in fact how nature works? A single cell in your body probably sees you as some climate or forces of nature; the same way you see the universal gravitation constant, speed of light etc! There is no absolute scale.

Thank you for the thermodynamics angle. I myself take a more involved approach to the thermodynamics model. Your candid comment is most welcome.

wishing you the best.

Chidi

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on May. 1, 2014 @ 17:47 GMT
Dear Chidi,

Thanks for your kind comments. You seem to taken a similar approach, although you note that some resist discussing life or humanity within the physics context. I appreciate your reference to Schroedinger's "What Is Life?", one of the first applications of physical analogies to life, and with startling insight.

You seem to be saying in your discussion of his role as 'constant' that man is the measure of all things. You apply many different concepts, from ideal gas and blackbody radiation to Markov process all of which seem to have some validity.

I very much enjoyed your 'chimps counting' story. You use that punchline well to set up your statement that "perhaps it is time for humanity to count itself in as among the "laws" of nature." And while I have heard the "rules of the game", I was unaware that Snow applied these to thermodynamics.

I believe your discussion of fowl, the 'agric' and the 'native' are analogous to citizens in two-class and one-class states.

Your essay is full of analogies, allegories, and imagination, and is actually as much concerned with philosophy as physics. I agree with you and with some other essayists science and spirituality are more converging then diverging.

I found your essay a joy to read.

My best regards,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Turil Sweden Cronburg wrote on May. 1, 2014 @ 12:38 GMT
Edwin, two points that immediately jumped out at me when I read your paper:

1. Money very much does NOT represent energy in reality, since it is an irrational, subjective, centrally controlled illusion. I think you would have been far better off to use the idea of needs/resources as your second axis, if you wanted to have your ideas apply to reality.

2. In think your graphs are...

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on May. 1, 2014 @ 17:40 GMT
Dear Turil,

Thank you for reading my essay. I have to disagree with your two points. In your essay you use four dimensions, a Pascal triangle, and four basic forms of matter as a way to package your ideas, and it works effectively and somewhat poetically, but has little relation to physics. In contrast using the abstract equivalence of money and energy to achieve similar results produces thermodynamically correct conclusions. So I'm sorry you did not see the effective equivalence that underlies this approach. Also I believe you have misinterpreted the graphs. One must pay attention to the labeling of axes.

You express yourself well in your essay: "in this sorry state, no other planet would ever want to date us." And "the next generation's taste in music" is unpredictable.

Your reference to Abraham Maslow tells me we're not that far apart in our thinking. You seem to agree with my conclusion when you state that evolution/biology has created a situation where our needs are diverse, so it makes no sense for us to fit into the same-size box. So I conclude that somehow you misunderstood my essay and suggest that re-reading it may produce a different understanding. But thank you for reading at the first time.

Best wishes,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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John S Minkowski wrote on May. 2, 2014 @ 23:36 GMT
"The Thermodynamics of Freedom

How Should Humanity Steer the Future? By allowing maximum individual freedom to pursue dreams and expand horizons. History has shown that humanity works best when freedom is maximized; in fact, the purpose of instituting governments is to max- imize individual freedom. Treating a topic this general requires idealization and some- thing resembling a statistical...

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on May. 3, 2014 @ 00:18 GMT
Hi John S Minkowski,

I appreciate your good feedback, and I'm glad you at least applaud my mathematical attempt at analysis, and that you found it interesting.

You note that it is obviously impossible to steer the future. I agree with you. If you reread the essay (I know, no one has time for such!) you'll see that I'm critiquing those who wish to steer towards a two-state future by promulgating a false goal: "equality". I oppose this. If you read closely, you will find that I do NOT propose steering the future, only conserving one class of humanity (although I believe economic policies can be improved.) You and I appear to be in agreement here.

Second, are you sure you don't agree that humanity works best when freedom is maximized? It seems to me that the South works much better under maximum freedom today than the lesser freedom of yesteryear.

And I do believe our (US) government was instituted for the purpose of maximizing individual freedom (speech, religion, self-defense, etc.). Historically governments were 'imposed', not instituted, and that is compatible with the sense of my statement. Your example of rabid political correctness and abolition of privacy or even freedom to speak unpopular thoughts is part and parcel of the progressive path to a two-class control system that I outline.

I don't believe that historical exceptions or contemporary anomalies really argue against my thesis. But I appreciate the chance you've given me to argue with the Devil's advocate! [Please consider my response when scoring.]

I look forward to reading your essay and commenting,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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John S Minkowski replied on May. 3, 2014 @ 01:37 GMT
Thank you Edwin for this very measured reply. In fact, I do hope that all governments will perpetuate individual freedoms, as you correctly suspected, but I am so frustrated with our Citizens United and McCutcheon, and the inevitable asymptotic financializations of the 21rst century. I apologize that I do not plan to submit an essay because it would have been too negative, (and I have grandchildren now!!) JSM

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on May. 3, 2014 @ 02:02 GMT
John,

I thought I had recently seen your name on a joint paper, and assumed it was one of the essays (which I seem to be falling further behind on.) Anyway thanks for reading and commenting. I certainly (as does probably everyone here!) share your frustrations with our current governments. The oligarchy, grabbing all the power and wealth they can hold onto, do not seem very interested in improving much for the rest of us.

My best regards,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Charles Gregory St Pierre wrote on May. 3, 2014 @ 07:00 GMT
Dear Edwin,

Thank you for your essay. The thermodynamic approach to society and its economics is one which does not get enough attention.

I believe the maximization of freedom to be a proper goal. Given a society's rate of consumption of resources(energy), I would consider it to be that which minimized the energy required maintain the system itself. This is indeed a (temperature dependent) thermodynamic distribution. This implies a minimal government, but one large enough to handle any reasonable coalition of opposing forces. The system would otherwise be unstable.

I wish to take issue with the idea that money is interchangeable (equal to?) energy. First, the flow of money is opposite to the flow of resources (forms of energy. I exclude financial churning, etc.) But more importantly, that which contains the most energy is valued, in money, least. If say, gasoline were valued, in money, at its energy content, it would be 5 to 10 times as expensive as it is. It would then be essentially useless as a fuel. It is only because it is 'undervalued' that it is valuable. Similarly, if copper were as expensive as gold, it would be useless as plumbing. It is this undervaluing that drives the economy. The whole approach requires the idea of a 'use value' for things, as opposed to a 'market value,' which is all that modern economics teaches.

This in no way detracts from your using money as a thermodynamic variable, which I believe to be correct, or at least an adequate proxy.

The idea of being paid to learn, as a substitute for welfare, is also excellent. I would expand it to workfare, and guarantee employment. Everyone should have the opportunity to work, to give more than they receive. Though matters of freedom immediately complicate the issue.

Charles Gregory St Pierre

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on May. 3, 2014 @ 22:16 GMT
Dear Charles Gregory St Pierre,

I very much appreciate your comments. I agree with some of your comments on the specifics of money being interchanged with energy. I tend to think of them as the exceptions that prove the rule. Obviously a realistic appreciation of money is not as simple as I treat it for purposes of thermodynamic analysis. I'm also happy that you like the idea of being...

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Armin Nikkhah Shirazi wrote on May. 4, 2014 @ 01:51 GMT
Dear Edwin,

You have certainly applied physics to this topic very imaginatively. I think the idea of the interchangeability of money and energy has much productive value. Apart from the bimodal distributions discussed in your post above, do you think there are consequences to refining the model to account for the fact that there can be large differences between the incomes and therefore the energies associated with individuals?

I found you insights about the essence of the conservative and progressive stance interesting. I wonder, though, whether the concept of equality as presented in your essay is not a little bit of a straw man. Isn't what most people understand by that concept equality of opportunity, rather than equality of status/money/energy? If you reformulate equality in this way, does it still come out as negatively? Also, how do you account for the fact that over time the population size changes?

Overall I think this is a very original contribution and it does put the emphasis appropriately on freedom as one of the most valuable aspects of the system.

Best Wishes,

Armin

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on May. 4, 2014 @ 03:15 GMT
Dear Armin,

Thanks for reading and for commenting and questioning. If you're asking whether I think the model could be pushed further, my answer would be a provisional yes. As I noted in the abstract in the paper I made pretty extreme simplifications to be able to define things clearly and derive clean results. Generally the world is not that clearly defined and the results not that...

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Armin Nikkhah Shirazi replied on May. 5, 2014 @ 18:16 GMT
Dear Edwin,

You said:"Equality of opportunity does not, cannot, and will not produce equality of outcomes. It produces a dynamic society in which one can rise or fall based on one's efforts and accomplishments. This economic mobility is two-way, with citizens rising and citizens falling, and sometimes an individual may rise and fall several times in his life. As long as they do not fall below subsistance level, that seems to be the best system."

Well, I completely agree, so we are on the same page as for the undesirability of equality of outcomes. That is precisely why I used the term "straw man": it seems to me that the notion of equality of outcomes has been so thoroughly discredited through past political experience (especially the Eastern Bloc) that it can be considered hardly more than a fringe view.

Now I believe that one of the great successful contemporary examples of the inculcation of "paralogic" onto the masses (or at least a substantial fraction of the US population) by the Murdochs and Kochs of the world has been to get them to cry "socialism" whenever there is a suggestion of legal or political arrangements which don't solely benefit the top 1%, without any understanding of what the term actually means. At the center of the demagoguery could very well be the conflation of equality of opportunity with the equality of outcomes. I am therefore skeptical of your claim that " much current thought is aimed at equality of outcomes" but I am willing to be persuaded by evidence. Can you give me one or more examples in the US that illustrate that statement?

Thank you,

Armin

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on May. 5, 2014 @ 19:22 GMT
Dear Armin,

Thanks for your considered reply. I'm glad that we agree on the basic issues. As for the degree of seriousness of the current problem (or not), I do not wish to get involved in political arguments on this thread. As I indicated above, equality of opportunity (however imperfectly implemented) has historically been the basis of the American experiment. I don't see the recent push as based on opportunity. You are certainly correct that the history of the last century should have thoroughly discredited communism and other extreme forms of socialism. If you think that this is the case and that only propaganda indicates otherwise, then you should regard my essay as pro forma, a "post-diction" (rather than prediction) of an experiment already performed.

I hope you are correct, but I'm not convinced.

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Joe Fisher wrote on May. 5, 2014 @ 15:14 GMT
Dear Dr. Klingman,

Your abstractions filled essay was quite well written and I do hope that it does well in the competition. I do have a minor quibble about it that I hope you will not mind me mentioning.

Reality is unique, once. Abstract statistics are not unique. Abstract information about thermo-dynamics is not unique.

With my best regards,

Joe Fisher

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on May. 5, 2014 @ 19:19 GMT
Dear Joe Fisher,

I'm glad you read my essay and found it worthwhile. I agree with you that the statistics are not unique. I've several times wondered how you play poker. Each card dealt is unique and each set of hands dealt is unique (the players, the time and place, deck, and dealt hand, etc.). But you are still much more likely to be dealt a pair of deuces than a full house or a royal straight flush. Do you figure the odds when betting, or do you just make unique bets without giving the odds any thought?

Looking forward to your reply. (Depending on your reply I may invite you to my house to play poker.)

Best regards,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Joe Fisher replied on May. 6, 2014 @ 12:30 GMT
Dear Edwin Eugene Klingman,

Alas, I do not play any card games. I have heard that while IBM designed a chess playing program that defeated Kasparov, the world champion, they have been unable to design a poker playing program.

Ruefully,

Joe Fisher

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Thomas Howard Ray replied on May. 8, 2014 @ 11:56 GMT
In a rational 2-player game like chess, the players are playing against the configuration of the board at any particular moment (Godfrey Hardy called chess problems "the hymn tunes of mathematics"), so a mathematical algorithm is suited to the game, and it is unlikely that a rational human player can defeat an expert program like Deep Blue. However, a clever human player may manage to...

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James Lee Hoover wrote on May. 7, 2014 @ 05:42 GMT
Edwin,

An educational fund to replace welfare has been tried in terms of training, but welfare is not always paying one to do nothing, especially when that welfare goes to children, single working parents, the disabled, etc. Education funds cannot replace unemployment benefits. Certainly an education fund is a great idea, considering it is human investment, something we tend to do little of in current society. Our concept of education is undergoing wrongheadedness as it is, believing you can teach to tests, considering competition with other countries, many times competing the poverty-ridden in our society against foreign elite and being disturbed at the results. Privatization is the focus of so-called education reforms, not investment in people.

The stimulus bill you mentioned was 70% politics, therein lies the problem. Politics overrides everything. Consultation with any experts, especially economic experts is unheard of anymore.

We all talk of solutions but wrestling control from those in control and with their own agenda is probably the biggest hurdle.

Jim

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on May. 8, 2014 @ 00:07 GMT
Dear James Lee Hoover,

Thanks for your comments. You are correct that there are some problems with switching to a system driven by "pay to learn". I acknowledge these in the essay and link them under mental illness, but as you point out the issue is broader than that. However due to lack of space I did not have a chance to develop the scope my idea, which may be more radical than you...

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James Lee Hoover replied on May. 26, 2014 @ 22:37 GMT
Edwin,

Time grows short, so I am revisited those I've read to assure I've rated them. I find that I rated yours on 5/13. Hope you enjoyed mine. I know we have had several exchanges.

Jim

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Gbenga Michael Ogungbuyi wrote on May. 7, 2014 @ 08:57 GMT
Dear Edwin,

What a fantastic article is this! It held my opinion through out and pray it will do extremely well in this competition.

Your model of thermodynamics (first law) and Newton concept were my foci point in establishing a balance between technology and ecosystem. I will also want you to read the article STRIKING A BALANCE BETWEEN TECHNOLOGY AND ECOSYSTEM. For easy access considering the enormous entries you can find it on this link http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2020

I will also anticipate your criticism and rating.

Wishing you the best in this competition.

Gbenga

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on May. 8, 2014 @ 00:12 GMT
Dear Gbenga Michael Ogungbuyi,

You suggest that we must "establish a balance between physics and the physical law of existence." You also note that the cosmic earth "is in equilibrium", which seems to support the use of the thermodynamic model, as I do in my essay and as you do in discussing the relationship between ecosystems and thermodynamics. In this analysis we both agree that "any form of dystopia leading to dehumanization, totalitarian government and environmental disaster will be injurious to the (eco-) system."

I also note that you observe "the world literatures and films are saturated with horrific scenes and our minds are being programmed to view the future with gloom and doom." It has apparently taken hold in many minds, even in this essay contest. You note that much of this is "false experience appearing real" (fear).

In summary, I find your message positive and believe that you have a very good perspective on the problems.

I very best regards,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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James Lee Hoover wrote on May. 8, 2014 @ 00:55 GMT
Edwin,

Technically you are right about corporations, but they are not people though given that status by the Supreme Court. There is a lot of blame to go around. We the people are to blame for blithely sitting back and assuming that our so-called representatives will look out for our interests w/o informing ourselves about what they are doing. We should know that any system such as democracy needs our vigilance and our maintenance through responsible and informed voting. Furthermore, we have allowed a conservative movement to distort the checks and balances of government and society by watching the so-called Fourth Estate disintegrate under poor executive and legislative leadership, labor unions dogged into subservience, corporations get huge, demagogic legislators exhibit vitriol but no diligence in representing us, and a Supreme Court get appointed that represents a corporatocracy not the people.

On the corporate side, perhaps we can assume that self-interest and greed will dictate corporate decisions because we as consumers, workers and stockholders allow all of the abuse that corporations have heaped on us – in terms of employee control, pollution, poor consumer services, etc.

The power structure is now so entrenched that it will take a dogged effort to turn things around, and it is somewhat of a global specter.

Jim

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on May. 8, 2014 @ 01:19 GMT
Jim,

Our emphasis is different, but we surely see the same problems. You summarize it in your final sentence.

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Jayakar Johnson Joseph wrote on May. 8, 2014 @ 17:18 GMT
Dear Edwin,

As Humanity is finite whereas the universe is infinite, Humanity may be considered as N-body whereas Universe is a many-body system with infinite integrals. Thus we may assume Humanity as a finite holarchical system, whereas Universe is an infinite holarchical system.

As time is the core for any control system, the nature of time and its emergence to be redefined, in that the emergence of time depends on the dynamics of matter. Thus an optimal control strategy for Humanity on environmental regulations needs Virtual real-time data of the universe to minimise the freedom on asymptote for the change of entropy of Earth by Humanity, that is causal for the accelerating climate change.

With best wishes,

Jayakar

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Ajay Bhatla wrote on May. 16, 2014 @ 05:31 GMT
Edwin,

You had me hooked with "allowing maximum individual freedom to pursue dreams and expand horizons". You kept me interested with the thermodynamic proof of "equality of state is impossible". My interest perked up again with your emphasis on "local control" and especially "local distribution systems, attendant to local problems". And then you lost me in the points on "work is money" and "money is energy" as you make the argument that self-improvement at the individual level is the right goal. If the maximization of individual freedom to pursue dreams aided through self-improvement is your message, then you and I are coming to the same conclusion on how to steer the future.

My essay (here) makes one point: Give science as a tool to the global public so that motivated and self-selecting individuals can improve their worlds in line with their dreams. I invite you to read my essay and let me know what you think of it and how our visions compare.

-- Ajay

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on May. 18, 2014 @ 23:06 GMT
Dear Ajay,

I enjoyed your fascinating essay, with its interesting anecdotes to support your themes. You make an excellent point about the computer revolution as "putting science in the hands of the public." I do agree with you that 'future' is about making life better at the individual level with "better" defined by the individual. Maximum freedom!

I also liked your points about gravity being known for 200,000 years or so before Newton, beginning with babies first steps.

I have one son who has largely avoided computers for a long time but is now hooked on both iPads and 3-D printers. I think that supports your points.

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Ajay Bhatla replied on May. 19, 2014 @ 16:22 GMT
Edwin,

Thank you for your kind comments. I'm glad to learn that we are on the same page.

Your son's experience with the iPad and 3D printing is exactly what I am talking about. He now has the sciences (a bit constrained, I know) that are the underpinning of these two devices in his hands. As he plays with them, he will, I believe, use them as arrows in his quiver to 'fix' what he finds unsatisfactory or worth doing. I'm also sure he will find a way to 'break' the constraints and use the sciences to accomplish with these devices a few things, nobody anticipates him doing - that's the real beauty of the App World and that's the real beauty of putting sciences in the hands of the global public. Thank you for sharing your son's story.

-- Ajay

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Cristinel Stoica wrote on May. 16, 2014 @ 07:17 GMT
Dear Edwin,

Very beautifully written essay, with interesting connections between thermodynamics, control theory, and freedom. I particularly like your closing statement,

> Freedom requires choice, which is why equal opportunity represents freedom, and equal outcomes represent totalitarianism.

Good luck with the contest!

Best regards,

Cristi

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on May. 18, 2014 @ 23:03 GMT
Dear Cristi,

Thanks for your appreciation. As I noted on your page, your Axiom One is built into the American Declaration of Independence. But each generation must learn history anew.

I'm glad to see your paper receiving wide approval!

Best regards,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Don Limuti wrote on May. 17, 2014 @ 04:40 GMT
Hi Edwin,

Our essays are very different. However, our views on education are very similar. I think we were bitten by the same muse. Paying for education could go viral!

Wishing you success in all endeavors,

Don Limuti

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on May. 18, 2014 @ 23:02 GMT
Dear Don,

Thanks for reading. We were both bitten by the same muse. I think our ideas hold the most promise for a workable future for all.

Best regards,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Lorraine Ford wrote on May. 18, 2014 @ 00:47 GMT
Dear Edwin,

It's an interesting idea of yours to compare the thermodynamics of a molecular system to the dynamics of a simplified human society/system. I think the idea works. You say that if the "progressive" goal to steer humanity's future is monetary equality, and if money equates to energy, then thermodynamic modelling suggests that it will produce an unstable system/society, and most people are actually better off in the "natural"/"conservative" system. I agree with you that the natural order is difference (you say "inequality"), and that equal opportunity in a human society represents potential freedom of choice.

You also explain why we should steer the future of humanity with local control. And again I must agree with you about the necessity for strong local control of most things. I think most people don't want e.g. the poisons and pesticides in our environment and foods; the 24/7 advertising rammed down our throats etc. etc. But I also think that in any system, including nature itself, there are always openings that can be exploited or "rorted" - we are never going to devise a perfect system that thereafter requires no effort or work.

Regards,

Lorraine

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on May. 18, 2014 @ 23:00 GMT
Dear Lorraine,

Thanks for your comments. I do agree with you that the correct perspective is "difference", not "inequality". But those who wish to make political hay of differences shout "inequality". I've tried to show that this has not ended well historically, and there are "thermodynamics" reasons why this is so.

I also believe you have identified a very serious problem of toxic influence of physics with its mistaken view of free will.

Live wild and free,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Member Marc Séguin wrote on May. 19, 2014 @ 02:30 GMT
Edwin,

I have responded to the comments you left on my essay in my forum.

I really liked your essay. I agree with you that freedom is what makes a society work optimally, and I found your analogy between economics and thermodynamics very interesting.

In your section "A State of Fear", you give the results of a poll that confirms what I was saying in my essay, that people's generalized mistrust in their governments means that any succesful steering initiative will have to be based on the collective will of the people - hence the need for an educated population, especially towards issues important for the future of humanity. I really like your idea to tie welfare and unemployment benefits to an education fund... as you say, "paying people to educate themselves has to be superior to paying them to secure their vote".

I have looked at all the essays, and read more than half of them from start to finish. Your essay is part of the short list that I hope will make it to the finals, and I have rated it accordingly. Good luck!

Marc

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on May. 28, 2014 @ 21:23 GMT
Mark,

Thanks very much for your comments, which I agree with. I've not had time to read as many as I usually do, but I'm glad I found your essay and hope you continue to rank well in the contest.

Best regards,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Douglas Alexander Singleton wrote on May. 19, 2014 @ 18:50 GMT
Hi Edwin,

I took a look at your essay and there are several points of contact/connection with what I was advocating in my essay. For example you take a statistical mechanics approach to studying the distribution of money/resources which act as the energy for your system (this is given by the proportionality of E with $ at the top of the 2nd page). And I think this is a good analogy. Also the path integral formulation has a very close connection with thermodynamics/statistical mechanics.

I like the idea of paying people to learn rather than the current system we have where students leave the university with crushing debt. Let me say in this regard that even from the inside of the educational system. It makes no logical sense why educational costs have gone up so much. When I first started working in the Cal State system 15 yeas ago the tuition for an undergrad for one semester was $1000 or maybe even less. Now it is $4000 per semester, and in fact students have trouble getting the classes they need (this has been a recent thing -- when I first came it was never a problem for students to get their classes *and* they paid less). Professor salaries have been fairly stagnant during this period *but* administrator salaries have not and every year there is a new administrative office with its attendant requirements for staffing, support, etc. And most of these offices do nothing good (well they do things but mostly get in peoples way).

But anyway I like the aspect of your essay that as far as possible one should de-centralize things, and also the statistical mechanics approach.

Best of luck in the contest,

Doug

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on May. 28, 2014 @ 21:29 GMT
Hi Doug,

I'm very pleased that you liked my approach, as you appear to be the only other author to apply a physics metaphor to the problem.

We do agree on the central point of your essay, which is to 'try all paths' instead of a centralized command and control.

You mentioned that the path integral approach is a very close connection to thermodynamics/statistical mechanics. I have recently re-awakened to the fact that the Wick rotation will convert the partition function into a path integral and vice versa. I've spent some time on this amazing fact, and I plan to spend more.

Perhaps we can continue this discussion offline.

Congratulations on your current well-deserved high ranking in the contest.

By the way I received the 23 May 2014 issue of 'Science' in the mail this morning. It has a whole special section dedicated to "the Science of Inequality". There may be a new field budding.

My best regards

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Laurence Hitterdale wrote on May. 19, 2014 @ 19:01 GMT
Dear Edwin,

The analogy you draw is interesting. There are some illuminating similarities between various statistical distributions in nature and the distribution of money in a developed human society. I agree with you that an equal distribution of money, or of material goods in general, is not possible and would be undesirable. This is so, whether the units to be equalized are taken to...

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on May. 28, 2014 @ 21:33 GMT
Dear Laurence,

Thank you for your close reading and your comments and questions.

I agree with your answer to your first question about freedom and social stability: the goal is to achieve social stability (survival!) while doing the best we can to achieve as much freedom for individuals as possible. You have correctly interpreted the "cost function" statement.

The second question is harder to answer. You indicate that those who successfully market their ideas may succeed in promoting their own inferior ideas above better, less well marketed (or less well-funded) ideas. You identify this as a problem associated with economic freedom, but I find exactly the same problem occurring in academia, where "wealth" is more a matter of "prestige" (and the accompanying funding), but ideas are still marketed unequally.

In general I do not see a solution of this that does not involve gatekeeping by a "master" class, controlling the expression of the beta class. It's a tough problem.

Thanks for participating. I always enjoy our discussions.

Best regards,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Member Daniel Dewey wrote on May. 23, 2014 @ 14:05 GMT
Hi Eugene,

Thanks for writing. I have a question that you might be able to help me clear up:

In your essay, you state that "If no one controls more energy than anyone else, the free energy, used for accomplishing goals, vanishes." I can see that this is true in the physics sense, but can you explain why you think it is true in the societal sense? It doesn't seem to me that equality of resources among citizens would prevent accomplishment of goals by the civilization. This is because humans, unlike idealized particles, share some goals with one another and can coordinate in order to accomplish tasks together. This seems like a huge and relevant difference between your analogy and reality.

Have you considered using economic tools to model human society and distribution of resources? Alternatively, you could try to use your framework to make some predictions, and check them against historical records to see if they reflect reality.

In any case, thanks for provoking some thoughts!

Best,

Daniel Dewey

Crucial Phenomena

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on May. 28, 2014 @ 21:39 GMT
Dear Daniel,

Thanks for your questions.

You note that humans have free will and can pursue common goals without economic incentives. That is surely true, and is a counterargument against a too narrow interpretation of my approach.

I suggest in the essay that there is still "motion" in the case of equality, but the movement resembles "diffusion" more than directed activity. I do think that this aspect of reality (the existence of gradients) intrudes even into human affairs. Very little seems to get accomplished without resources being applied, despite that we can, many of us, agree to pursue a common goal.

I do hope to continue work on the idea. The Science magazine I received in today's mail has a front cover dedicated to "the Science of Inequality". The special section is quite lengthy and I haven't read it yet, but it seems to indicate that these ideas are worth developing.

Thanks again for your response, and congratulations on your current very high ranking.

Best regards,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Anonymous wrote on May. 28, 2014 @ 02:43 GMT
Wonderful job Ed!

I found your essay extremely thought provoking. Of course; I'm left with questions about the role of the middle class, which traditionally has been a source of strength and freedom for society. But you provided unique insights into the extremes of our prevailing value systems that show how we got into the current mess, and put some of our current ideological struggles into perspective.

I am not so certain as you that government of itself breeds inefficiency, because the scaling down of government and the de-regulation of industry has not brought about the economic and social improvements that advocates of that approach have promised. But if it is understood that the way in which government's influence has been curtailed were mainly to benefit the alphas, and to further secure their entrenched positions, the outcomes do make sense.

You leave me with many things to discuss and I gave you a high rating, despite the fact that my agreement is not complete. I definitely agree with your closing comment "Freedom requires choice, which is why equal opportunity represents freedom, and equal outcomes represent totalitarianism."

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on May. 28, 2014 @ 04:15 GMT
Yes it was me, Ed..

I'm sorry the time taken to write was longer than the server's 'timeout' setting. That 'feature' has become a bit annoying.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on May. 28, 2014 @ 21:43 GMT
Jonathan,

The middle class is the center of the (ideal) Gaussian distribution. Of course we do not have an ideal distribution due to collusion between super wealthy and government, but my theory is certainly compatible with a strong middle class.

Based on experience working for government and experience working for industry and experience working for myself, I'm quite sure that government breeds inefficiency. Because some halfhearted attempts at relief from overbearing government regulation have not produced Nirvana does not imply that the nature of centralized control is not inefficiency. It is!

Thanks for your high score. I think some who disagree with my take on government have overridden you. Congratulations on your current position in the contest. Your ideas are easier for all of us to agree with!

Have fun,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Jeffrey Michael Schmitz wrote on May. 28, 2014 @ 23:12 GMT
Edwin Eugene Klingman,

Great essay! You clearly stepped us through your logic and found a way to relate social issues to Physics, which was the goal of the contest. I think whoever thought of the topic was looking for a very different essay, but no one can say you did not match their goals.

I do see some fundamental problems with your set-up. Work, energy and money do not have consistent relationship. An electric bill shows a nice relationship between energy and money, but natural gas is often far lower for the same amount of energy. A bulldozer can move more dirt in five minutes that the strongest man can move in a day with a shovel. A song that might take an hour to write might be worth hundreds of bulldozers (or might not be worth the price of a shovel.

The thermal dynamics you used was for a closed system near equilibrium. Our social is an open system (people are entering and leaving), it might be possible to assume a steady-state system, but even that is far from reality.

Hope you win this instead of some polar bear loving electric car essay (I like polar bears and electric cars, I have just read too many essays with them as subjects),

Jeff

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on May. 29, 2014 @ 00:33 GMT
Dear Jeff,

Thanks for your gracious remarks and your appreciation. I certainly agree with your observations, as it is requires extreme idealization to apply science developed for elementary particles to human beings. Yet there does seem to be some validity to the analysis. And some of the ideas I have applied seem to have relevance to non-equilibrium systems as well.

I've now re-read your essay and (as always) got more out of second reading. I very much appreciate your suggestion that "social intelligence" (for lack of a better term) is at work, and your several examples illustrating your theme, such as urban urban animal adaptation. I live on a ranch and am very tuned to animal intelligence, and have also observed the social phenomena you discuss.

I especially appreciate your comment:

"Our intelligent social system has mostly made good decisions in the past and I see no big mistake it is making at the moment and no way to stop it, if it was making a large mistake."

I think there is a lot of wisdom in your short essay and I will try to kick you higher up the totem pole so more people might see it.

My best regards,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Christian Corda wrote on May. 29, 2014 @ 09:03 GMT
Hi Eugene,

It is a pleasure to re-meet you here in FQXi Contest. I have read your beautiful and original Essay. Here are my comments/questions:

1) Your idea to apply thermodynamics to human society is intriguing.

2) Can you clarify your statement that "mankind is nonlinear"?

3) Your statement that "states where everyone is equal are not stable, or even possible, as most interactions are local, and many are 'nearest neighbor'. If no one controls more energy than anyone else, the free energy, used for accomplishing goals, vanishes" is the thermodynamics negation of ideal communism. On the other hand, I think that the Soviet communism was characterized by the two-class system: master/slave, i.e. oligarchy/citizens.

4) I find fantastic your final sentence that "Freedom requires choice, which is why equal opportunity represents freedom, and equal outcomes represent totalitarianism".

5) Am I correct if I claim that your thermodynamic analysis endorses a sort of "world federalist"?

6) Which is the exact role of entropy in your Essay? Has it something to do with your statement that "Information control in society is too amorphous"?

I had a lot of fun in reading your intriguing work. Thus, I will give you an high score.

I hope you will have the time to read, comment and rate my Essay.

I wish you best luck in the Contest.

Cheers,

Ch.

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on May. 30, 2014 @ 01:07 GMT
Hi Christian,

Thanks for your comments and questions. I'm glad you found my thermodynamic approach intriguing. As for clarifying "mankind is nonlinear", I probably should've said that, although we cannot assume that mankind can be represented by linear relations, the tools of optimal control theory do handle nonlinear problems.

We are in agreement on your statement #3, as to the "ideal" and the "reality" of communism (not just Soviet).

And we both agree with your #4.

I am not quite sure of the definition of "world federalist", but in the sense that a "federation" of states is, in my opinion, to be preferred to one massive state, I would say yes. I prefer many sovereign states to one world government.

And finally, I did not define the exact role of entropy. I decided that nine pages were not enough to tackle that subject, so it is still an open question for me.

I will read and comment and rate your essay.

My best regards,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Christian Corda replied on May. 30, 2014 @ 08:28 GMT
Dear Ed,

Thanks for your kind clarifications. It is a pleasure to see that we agree on various issues. I well understand your point about the role of entropy in your Essay. Maybe it could be the object of a your new Essay in the future.

Thanks a lot for reading, commenting and rating my Essay. I just replied to your interesting comments in my Essay page.

Cheers,

Ch.

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Philip Gibbs wrote on May. 29, 2014 @ 16:31 GMT
Eugene, You have found another good physics analogy to get your points across. This is exactly how an FQXi essay should work. Well done and good luck.

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Ray Luechtefeld wrote on May. 29, 2014 @ 20:03 GMT
Hi Eugene,

As an engineer (first), and an organizational researcher (second), I appreciated your essay. I think that freedom of opportunity is critical to beneficial societal outcomes, and have long seen organizational analogies to physics as well as electrical engineering control systems theory.

I also found that it resonated with my essay on computationally intelligent personal dialogic agents. The prototype was developed as part of a NSF CAREER award on approaches to team training.

Freedom is a key issue for philosophers and organizational researchers. Chris Argyris, one of the management theorists I mention in the essay, advocates three fundamental values for interaction - 1) Valid information, 2) Free and informed choice, and 3) internal commitment to a course of action.

One of my goals as a researcher is to eventually be able to "map" the flows of organizational dynamics and show how they are related to measures like the values above.

I'd appreciate a rating on my essay, if you can do that, since I am a bit short on ratings. I'm also interested in collaborating on the further development of the dialogic web, so if you know anyone who would be interested please feel free to pass on my contact info. My gmail username is my first name, then a period, then my last name.

Thanks,

Ray Luechtefeld, PhD

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on May. 30, 2014 @ 01:04 GMT
Hi Ray,

I found your essay fascinating. In many instances it seemed that you are calling for an enhanced 'political correctness' (which would be horrible in my estimation) but then other statements seem to indicate just the opposite.

For example "little acts of disrespect" impede success, and "their ephemeral nature makes them hard to prove (or even to detect) without skilled observers...". I'm not sure I think it's worthwhile to try to uncover "little acts of disrespect" if it requires skilled observers to do so. There seem to be enough "big acts of disrespect" to go around.

You clearly are aware of the problems with utopias, as you quote Karl Popper: "the attempt to make heaven on earth invariably produces hell." And you mentioned the tensions between freedom and the controls needed to "maximize long-term public good."

I did enjoy your discussion of Kohlberg, Bakhtin, Habermas, and Argyris very much, particularly Habermas' three points. While I am all for the concept, the critics do have a point about effort and time.

The above reflects my confusion on what exactly is being called for. On a technical point, I use 'Dragon' voice recognition software to dictate (such as this comment) and, while it is almost miraculous in its ability to understand the words I speak, I have very strong doubts about the possibility of understanding the *meaning*of my words. Is the technology you propose supposed to understand conversations, or simply look for patterns based on data mining, and the fact that so much of our speech is redundant and habitual?

Thanks for reading my essay and commenting and thanks for your participation in this contest. I will make sure you have the necessary 10 votes needed to qualify for finals.

Best regards,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Michael Allan wrote on May. 31, 2014 @ 11:00 GMT
Hello Edwin, May I post a short, but sincere critique of your essay? I'd ask you to return the favour. Here's my policy on that. - Mike

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on May. 31, 2014 @ 22:45 GMT
Dear Michael Allan,

I've also responded on your page. I'm not sure I would define reason as the supreme value, but it's a good working premise.

We agree on (M2) promoting a maximum of personal freedom compatible with equal freedoms for all.

Your M1 relates to collectives and I have more problems with "collective", which, while really existing, is an abstraction that has...

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Michael Allan replied on Jun. 1, 2014 @ 11:08 GMT
You're welcome, Edwin; thanks in return. I'll reply further in my own forum. Here I wish to speak in defence of formal equality, and to suggest its inclusion in your model.

Your masterful essay pivots unexpectedly in the final pages and hurls itself at the principle of equality. Your abstract and introduction didn't prepare me for this (seeming) attack on a cherished ideal. If only you'd spoken from the beginning of "equal outcomes" instead of just "equality". Not till the last sentence did I learn that you recognize a crucial distinction (which Hodge and Shirazi also comment on) between formal and actual equality: "Freedom requires choice, which is why equal opportunity represents freedom, and equal outcomes represent totalitarianism." (p. 9)

By then, I felt the damage was already done. You couldn't have intended this, as it would undermine your thesis. So please let me respond by saying something strong in defense of formal equality. Here I particularly mean equality before the law; equality of electoral votes, legislative representation and other democratic rights; and equality of freedoms and other human rights. These formal equalities are all products of a progressive, counter-conservative tendency that runs back to the Enlightenment, hand in hand with the on-going development of the capitalist economy. Without them, we'd immediately lose that stable, classless society that your essay rightly holds out as a goal. Wouldn't we?

If you agree, then maybe it's possible to introduce formal equality into your thermodynamic model. Maybe it's in the molecular structure of the gas and the blind operation of physical laws. Or something like that (I feel it must be something basic).

Mike

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on Jun. 1, 2014 @ 17:18 GMT
Hi Mike,

Thanks for your comment, which I find helpful. I assumed that equality of opportunity and equality before the law are a priori assumptions, and a major part of my essay is to show that by setting a goal of equality of outcomes a control class arises that does not provide equality before the law.

You are certainly correct that I did not intend to leave the impression that formal equality is opposed in any way. It is bedrock, and I assumed it went without saying, (often a bad assumption.) So thank you for pointing out this oversight on my part. The FQXi essays are frozen, but if I do anything else with this essay I will act on your suggestion. Part of the value of FQXi is comments such as yours.

From my comments on your essay it is clear that we share the desire to optimize a system that guarantees maximum individual freedom and minimum coercion. I think you made the key point when you said, "in all such instances, the first demand of reason will be the question, Why? From what cause and what purpose would we execute this plan? Or enforce this law?"

Thanks again for the feedback and for your own participation in this project.

My best regards,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Anonymous wrote on Jun. 2, 2014 @ 21:29 GMT
Hello Mr. Klingman,

This is Margarita Iudin.

I just read your essay and I like it even though I do not agree with your choice to apply statistical mechanics (basically, statical mechanics is a branch of applied math; if you remember Ludwig Boltzmann lectured on applied math) and thermodynamics (thermodynamics is a kind of empirical physical science) to development of humanity.

As local control can be anything, the strong definition is required. And if you try to make the definition, you will find yourself in trouble.

I am curious about your usage of the high school and college physics - do you think people understood what they had learned (in school)?

I do not rank you essay (I think it should be 4 or 5) not to bring your current rank down. Still your essay is one of the best I read here. I like Mr. Putnam's (though I do not agree with him as well) and several more.

I have a serious problem to find those contest entrants that would be able to understand my essay (James A Putnam, Wesley Wayne Hansen, ??)..

If you have time, please read my essay Imagining the future humanity

at http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2096

Among other things it is about the analogous imagining and applications of the analogous imagining - in my essay I draw on analogies that you may find interesting.

Good luck,

M Iudin

Actually, I have a working experience in the chip design, writing OS for stand alone processors, in thermodynamics (laboratory analysis of the thermodynamic parameters), and so on. As yourself, I am also a pro-system approach and like statical mechanics and mathematical physics.

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on Jun. 5, 2014 @ 20:56 GMT
Dear Margarita Iudin,

Thanks for your comments. I recently read a popular book on Boltzmann but I did not realize that he had tried to apply such thermodynamic ideas to humanity. Thanks for that information.

Yes, it is difficult to make definitions that apply to all humans.

Thanks for not bringing my score down. I don't know why, if you say it is one of the best you've read here that is only worth a 4 or a 5, but thanks. I also like James Putnam's essay very much and tried to bring his score up as high as possible.

I acknowledge the consciousness of individual cellular life forms [see my 2009 essay] and I agree with you about the futility of trying to control climate.

"Imitation and understanding of a logical design and its physical implementation are possible because of analogous imagining... which transfers meaning from one context to another."

I do not understand exactly what you mean by "nonlocal consciousness" which you claim is a phenomenon common to all living things. I view consciousness as a field phenomena which would make it nonlocal, so if this is what you mean then we are in full agreement.

I do have a theory of "imagining" but it does not fit into a comment. And I do agree that it is possible to "steer the future" of humanity by means of analogical imaging.

My best regards,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Robert de Neufville wrote on Jun. 3, 2014 @ 01:18 GMT
Very thought-provoking, Edwin. I think you're absolutely right about the importance of maximizing humanity's degrees of freedom. And I completely agree that an equal distribution of wealth or of ability isn't possible or desirable. But using statistical mechanics to model the behavior of a complex adaptive system—human society—does seem problematic to me. And I think the distribution of political power probably matters more than the distribution of economic power (although the two are certainly connected). Good luck in the contest!

Best,

Robert

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on Jun. 5, 2014 @ 21:00 GMT
Dear Robert,

Thanks for reading and commenting. While we agree on key points, you note that using statistical mechanics to model the behavior of a complex human system is problematic.

Yes, it is problematic, but that doesn't imply that there no insights to be gained. 10^10 humans is a statistically significant number, and for many purposes can be considered random.

Decades ago I realized/discovered that to accomplish my immediate goal [say to design, debug, document, produce, and market a new product] required a certain amount of time and a certain amount of effort, and there were no shortcuts. In other words, the fact that I was doing uniquely human and creative behavior did not cancel the fact that conservation of energy, momentum and general laws of physics could be bypassed. We live in a physical universe governed by physical laws, of which thermodynamics are some of the most significant. I think the approach I've taken is not entirely inappropriate although it is problematic.

Thanks again for your feedback, and your participation in this contest. Good luck.

My best regards,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Chidi Idika wrote on Jun. 3, 2014 @ 08:32 GMT
Hi Edwin,

Just to say, I will appreciate your voting on my essay whatever that turns out to be. I prefer votes with face to those without so I know exactly what rationale I am dealing with.

Bests

Chidi

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on Jun. 5, 2014 @ 21:34 GMT
Dear Chidi,

I have now voted for your essay. Good luck in the contest. Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Janko Kokosar wrote on Jun. 4, 2014 @ 14:14 GMT
Dear Edwin Eugene Klingman

You presented a very clear comparison of thermodynamics and economy.

I claim that nowadays systematic rejection of publications for amateurs has similar effect as totalitarianism. As the base, your graphs 3 and 4 on page 4 can be respected, that is assigned as "conservative (ideal)" and "conservative (real)". Distribution of knowledge and intelligence of people is similar as graph 3 (ideal). Physical ideas also arise on this way, relatively the largest part of ideas arises on the right side of graph 3, part on the left gives relatively the smallest part of ideas. This is similarly, as that graph 3 is multiplied with some linear curve. Thus, people on the left side of the graph 3 also give correct new physical ideas, only that probability is smaller. Then it happens that arXiv and physical journals accept only ideas from people in universities. Thus it happens something like graph 4 on page 4, only that cut is made only on left and displaced more toward right. This politics slightly reduces number of good ideas, but cumulatively with time it reduces them importantly.

This is similarly as in capitalism, where free market gives products which we need, but very regulated market gives less those products and cumulatively much less of products (socialism). But we have viXra and FQXi, which are like free market and someday it will be better.

It is a frequent remark, that acceptance of all papers in viXra will cause mess. But, computer analyses and system of levels can solve this.

It is also a remark that free capitalism causes unfair products, frauds and ecology problems. Yes, but it can be solved differently, not with totalitarianism.

My essay

Best regards

Janko Kokosar

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Author Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on Jun. 5, 2014 @ 21:05 GMT
Dear Janko Kokosar,

You have a number of interesting points in your essay. I particularly like your statement that "this will contains also inertia." That is a very nice observation that I had not thought of but it's my idea as well.

You also speculate that the universe does not exist without consciousness. As I interpret this statement I agree with you.

Part of your focus is government support for a TOE, but I do not believe a theory of everything will come out of government efforts. Instead a Newton, Maxwell, Einstein, or Schrodinger will find the TOE through his own efforts. It will not require a large hadron collider, only a large brain.

I also like your statement: "It is known that consciousness is unexplained, but this fact is not stressed in books for students." Instead students are led to believe that conscious awareness and will arise from Darwinian evolution, which is unproven and almost certainly false.

I like your analogy of FQXi and viXra to free markets. And I agree with most of the statements expressed in your comment above.

Thanks for reading my essay and commenting on it and thanks for your essay.

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Ross Cevenst wrote on Jun. 6, 2014 @ 11:40 GMT
Hi Edwin,

Thanks for an interesting essay with a very novel central idea. I must admit I'm a little sceptical when I see ventures into social science using metaphors from the hard sciences, because of the 'everything look like a nail' effect. Perhaps my objection here is that money isn't really a good measure of anything other than money (GDP pc only very losely correlates with most normal measures of freedom, strongly suggesting other factors are far more central, for example). On the other hand attempts to find objective language and paradigms to help us better understand social issues is a good thing! Good luck in the contest.

Ross

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Wilhelmus de Wilde de Wilde wrote on Jun. 14, 2014 @ 15:55 GMT
Dear Edwin,

Congratulations with your high community score and the partcipation in the finalists pool.

Since several years I am already in favor of your Consciousness Field and admire your way of communicating your perception of reality.

Now that the dust of rating has fallen down I invite you to read my contribution in the contest : "STEERING THE FUTURE OF CONSCIOUSNESS ?" and maybe it will trigger you to leave a comment on my thread.

I wish you good luck with the "final judgement" and

best regards

Wilhelmus de Wilde

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Sylvain Poirier wrote on Jan. 18, 2015 @ 21:51 GMT
Hi. I looked at your essay. The only point of agreement I have is the general ideals of freedom and decentralized networks.

I consider that money has nothing to do with energy (even as an analogy). It does not even look as if you have a clue of what means free energy in physics. I see no sense for the words "equality" and "stability" in economics, not even as deserving the care to be criticized, as people are diverse and not comparable with each other, and the same with times. Well I do have a concept of market stability but your discussion remains very far from that.

I see no sense in pay-to-learn courses. You write "Systems can be designed to minimize cheating". I don't think so. And it would be much, much too expensive for donors. Of course I agree that there is something deeply wrong with the current teaching system and the big debts it puts on students (that is what happens in US where I never was ; I live in Europe where education is paid by the states, which means by taxpayers, and I don't see it going so well either). So I see more future in MOOCs that would be potentially costless for everybody, even if it may not fit all students. More thoughts about science teaching in my site.

I am generally more interested in concepts of solutions that cost nothing more than initial programming to create and web hosting to maintain with minimal role for web admins, as I see huge possibilities of such.

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