Human Thermodynamics / The Disorder Spectrum

Read more:

Super-sized graves to be installed in cemetery for fat people amid fears of growing ‘obesity crisis’ (and plots will be close to the road so undertakers don’t have far to carry corpses)

  • Plans for super-sized plots have been drawn up for Lincolnshire cemetery
  • The 30 plots will be near the road so workers don’t have far to carry bodies
  • Undertakers have been ‘struggling to lift heavy coffins far distances’
  • Plans submitted amid worries over growing ‘obesity crisis’ in UK

Why am I starting a post about “organizational behavior” with this article? It’s simply to point out that behind human behavior is a “physical necessity” that arises from a simple fact: the nature of Nature. (Order-Disorder and Energy-Entropy)

This video explains order-disorder entropy-energy in OPEN SYSTEMS (That’s Us.) If you are phobic about physics, just skip.

For a fascinating read / Institute of Human Thermodynamics.

SUMMARY: This URL details the history and development of human thermodynamics as a science as cataloged, arranged and sequenced by Institute of Human Thermodynamics, as contributed to by accredited researchers, scientist, and writers in this field; see: HT History Tree

In this direction, as it is generally agreed that both life and non-life obey the laws of thermodynamics, there has been a push in recent years to explain the energetics behind chemical evolution of life.  This line of research defines thermodynamic evolution.  The two major points of debate, as to a thermodynamic explanation of evolution, in this direction have to do with the question as to which equilibrium type and which system type best model the finite details of the evolutionary process.  In thermodynamics, there are various types of equilibrium systems, as non-equilibrium or punctuated, etc., (see: definitions of equilibrium), and various types of systems, as open, closed, or isolated (see: thermodynamic systems).

Much more on equilibrium and non-equilibrium models of thermodynamics and evolution.


Okay – my part of the discussion:

Two topics of interest can be examined using the simple principle that “things must be organized” (ORDER must exist)

  1. How is the “Autism Spectrum of human behavioral disorder” and related “mental illness” organized?
  2. Can specific “disorders” of human behavior be explained as responses on the part of individuals to the “entropy / disorder-order” challenge?

As an example, the challenge to cemetery design above is this question of “order disrupted” Bodies to be buried are much bigger than they were previously; an existing equilibrium point of allotted space, energy-work needed, etc. is challenged; work must be done to move toward a new equilibrium point. Entropy denies a “permanent” solution. Human behavior follows this “thermodynamic” pattern.

We can see this “challenge” driving human behavior in evolutionary terms: in culture,  governance. invention of technologies; indeed in adaptations of all sorts, including “psychological” patterns and adjustments in groups and individuals.

Example: Patterns judged to be “Pathogical” – that is deviating from an assumed “normal equilibrium state.” This “absolute, permanent goal of “final equilibrium” is not realistic to begin with: (it’s a fantasy, an illusion) Note how much “work” must be expended in order to “fight” the natural tendency toward disorder! Most of “social” behavior is “wasted” as extremely costly work that attempts to defy the 2nd Law of thermodynamics. This “effort” can only be temporary.

What about specific patterns of behavior? “Life” is an increase in order – which must be maintained by an input of energy (open system) I see that many “human behavior” researchers – social scientists make a “typical” mistake: life is an OPEN SYSTEM. Psychologists especially believe that it’s an ISOLATED system.

Right: How psychologists “see” human life as an isolated and strictly “social system”. In fact, life cannot exist in an isolated system.  

Life is in fact an open system: That’s us!

So the “organism” must “gain energy” to exist. Two factors are vital; how “stable” is the environment (surroundings)? Picture a person walking a tight rope. Continual adjustments in body position, which require energy input, must be made to maintain balance. Forces such as gravity, wind, rain, visibility are always “challenging” the second-to-second equilibrium of the “system” which means that the person’s behavior must respond to maintain the system around the ‘equilibrium’ constraints.  (Conservation of energy) This is, I think a good image of “life” – a tight rope walk between order and disorder and the energy needed to reach and maintain equilibrium – balance.

Example: “Hoarding” behavior is characterized by extreme measures to establish “permanent” equilibrium within the person (an impossible goal – this would be a dead system or isolated system). We can see a pattern of extreme disruption in many of these people’s lives, often during childhood when the “still forming, adapting and developing” organism is learning to “cope with” the order-disorder-energy-entropy challenge. The function of “caretaking” adults is to teach the skills necessary to this “act of balancing the system” which, like tight-roping walking must be learned, practiced, and mastered – if that is, the “caretakers” have mastered these skills themselves; a tall order and seldom “perfect”.

Extreme disruption (disorder) such as; the family structure is “out of balance” to begin with, or is “broken” by divorce, death, disappearance of a mother or father, constant change, unpredictable environment (food source, violence, war, etc) or lack of emotional or financial “energy input” – the system may collapse. The individual must “restore” the system. If loss of “order” is the “trauma” then “increase in order” is the response. This require a lot of energy. The undifferentiated accumulation of “objects” points to an emergency response; like that of people caught in an earthquake or a tornado, or who are continually threatened by predators. The behavior is: find shelter (survive immediate danger), build-rebuild, stock up on supplies.

Isn’t this what the “hoarder” is doing? The consequence is that energy input must be increased in order to create the increased order” demanded by the “internal disorder” intolerable to the hoarder. This stockpiling “stores energy” against future disaster; but energy to maintain the system often comes from “enablers” whose energy is “sucked dry” in order to support the untenable “life under siege” that feels like “safety” to the hoarder. This “organization of life” around impossible stasis is evident everywhere in human behavior: hyper control (an attempt at creating an isolated system).

There are many strategies that “life” comes up with (we call these strategies species) to “balance an open system”.

Here are some tactics that humans share with other life. 

In terms of the “thermodynamics” this array of tools is “efficient”: a small amount of energy put in to ordering the tools, and maintaining the order, is FAR LESS energy- consuming than allowing “disorder” to increase (tools scattered randomly) and having to “spend energy” in repeatedly searching for the needed tool. There are people for whom “efficiency” is a basic psychological principle, providing an edge in solving the thermodynamic challenge”.

The “pantry” as a similar bid for efficiency: effective if it holds “stuff” one actually uses, but storage can be “decorative” and require, as in this green themed version, an expenditure of energy in acquiring “green things” – which may not have any function other than “being green” and indeed a “more things to store – requires more order” feedback cycle may occur, because one finds so many “unneeded but wanted” pretty green things to add to the theme. More input of energy is required to compensate for this escalating demand for order. The psychological principle might be, “Look at how capable I am: I can afford to put a lot of energy into creating and maintaining control of order vs. disorder) In thermodynamic terms: I’m gaming the system, by “getting all that energy from somewhere” but! This of course means a decrease in energy somewhere else. (Like a credit card, the kid’s college fund, more hours at work, or even lower quality of life for people in third world countries. It’s the Law! In fact, one can think of credit as the illusion that one can disobey the 1st law of Thermodynamics. One might call this the Martha Stewart Strategy.

More later. As an Asperger, I have to add energy to my system before the energy loss I’m experiencing leads to a “disorder tipping point” and I fall off the tight rope. Word consciousness requires tremendous energy when it’s not your “natural” language.






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