The Living Force
obyvatel said:[quote author=whitecoast]
What I find interesting is how to work into this understanding what Gurdjieff taught about how different food, breathing, and impressions nourish our organism in different ways, and can contribute to the growth of an entirely new body.
Applying the traditional thermodynamic concept of entropy to living organisms creates confusion. It is perhaps a case where a computational concept which was found useful to describe certain macroscopic phenomena in well specified boundary conditions is over-extended to an extent where it no longer provides useful insight. Traditional thermodynamic entropy (2nd law) is valid for isolated systems in thermal equilibrium. Living systems at various scales are neither isolated nor generally in thermal equilibrium...
The question about the relationship between information and energy straddles the boundaries between physics and metaphysics. From the "information is physical" perspective, energy and information are closely tied together...
If we come to the metaphysical level, then Gurdjieff's concept of "table of hydrogens" which Bennett elaborated and developed further in the book linked above is one candidate for a framework of explanation. In that framework, "hydrogen" can be treated as a metaphysical structure (in-formation) which is characterized and described by the term energy. No essential separation of information/energy exists in this metaphysical framework as far as I understand at present - which is consistent with Gurdjieff's claim of "materialism".
Now, there are other frameworks where information is treated as primary. The probabilistic (uncertain) nature of reality lends credence to the primacy of information. From the 4th Way perspective, Bennett tackled the uncertainty in his work on "hazard" (discussed here), but I am not aware of a work tying it to information. Quantum computing is a developing field where some scientists support the primacy of information in the bigger scheme of things - but I do not know much about it.
Yeah you kind of end up with the whole universe being the isolated system with entropy inversely proportional to vacuum energy density thus the universe gets thinned out energy density-wise while entropy increases for the whole universe. Living systems being such a small part of the total universe entropy/energy makes entropy not an overly useful concept for living systems as you say.
The physics - metaphysics relationship with information is interesting. This is kind of like looking at one spot in the system and using information theory to say what could be there. It's not an evolving thing like increasing entropy or thinning out energy density. The Enneagram for me gives a nice information theory for the food, air and impressions octaves of the table of hydrogens. The system could be different things: physics; hydrogens; the Enneagram is a modern personality model; densities matching what Laura did with the Tree of Life.
For hydrogens, you kind of have shock and self remembering giving a new spiritual body. For personality/organizational behavior you could get development and consulting giving a new process. For quantum physics, matter and antimatter giving a "new" spacetime. For densities something like evolving and channeling giving a new service orientation. The information theory can give parallels for different systems like: inward self remembering; inward perfecting of process; internal (Kaluza Klein) symmetry space; inward service to self orientation. For different systems, something like inward could seem good, bad, or neutral.
To really show the information theory, you have to show an actual bit structure. In generic metaphysics terms, you could use something like fire-earth and water-air for bits. To get say a personality/organizational behavior model, you could add the fixed-mutable and introversion-extraversion you find for Zodiac descriptions or better yet just use the 8 Jungian MBTI factors. This gives you a Cl(8) Clifford algebra information theory structure. For quantum physics X,Y,Z,T and four more Kaluza-Klein-like internal symmetry factors (basis vectors) can be useful. For densities maybe there's things like: spiritual-physical, linear-nonlinear time, subjective-objective, and fall-ascend for your Cl(8) factors. Again there can be parallels like with linear-nonlinear time and fixed-mutable.