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The Dissonance Theory

 
MARTIN_UK
 
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MARTIN_UK
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16 April 2013 14:08
 
Mencar - 15 April 2013 09:57 PM

..And a little word of advice, you DON’T want to fuck with me, I can assure you!

Strong words…. but no coconut.

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bardoXV
 
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16 April 2013 14:53
 
Mencar - 15 April 2013 09:57 PM

And a little word of advice, you DON’T want to fuck with me, I can assure you!

Doesn’t seem to be a very good way to start, I would think that attitude would wear out your welcome pretty quick.

 
 
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eudemonia
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16 April 2013 15:08
 

‘And a little word of advice, you DON’T want to fuck with me, I can assure you! ‘

Why don’t you tell us exactly why that is. Please impress us.

 
 
LadyJane
 
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16 April 2013 18:22
 

It seems as though the dissonance theory doesn’t quite resonate.

 
 
Mencar
 
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Mencar
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16 April 2013 22:59
 

Hi Saralynn,

saralynn - 16 April 2013 10:18 AM

My husband believes in an entropy tax.  He wants to tax things that cause a lot of entropy.  Thus, a Ferrari would have a huge tax, but growing an apple tree would have none. My recollection is vague because this used to be a theory he’d espouse when he had too much to drink, and he’s been living an austere life for the last few months, but it sounds like he is thinking along the same lines you are.  If you like, I can load him up on a few martinis and he can dictate a response to you.

The second law of thermodynamics states that in general the total entropy of any system will not decrease other than by increasing the entropy of some other system {http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy#Entropy_of_a_system}
Many people including me find the entropy involved in the production of arguably unnecessary goods objectionable.  Not just the luxury cars, but so much of what is fed to the consumer society. And pricing does not take into account the amount of natural destruction caused in the production and disposal. Nevertheless, there is nothing that can decrease entropy. Every construction of anything (car, house, sandwich… anything you can think of) produces a greater amount of destruction or dispersal than the construct, which itself is temporary and subject to decay - further entropy increase. The cited reference on wikipedia presents the physical principle. The point your husband makes about ‘growing an apple tree’ is interesting as organic growth appears to violate this principle.
In a popular 1982 textbook, Principles of Biochemistry by noted American biochemist Albert Lehninger, it is argued that the order produced within cells as they grow and divide is more than compensated for by the disorder they create in their surroundings in the course of growth and division. In short, according to Lehninger, “living organisms preserve their internal order by taking from their surroundings free energy, in the form of nutrients or sunlight, and returning to their surroundings an equal amount of energy as heat and entropy {http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy_and_life#Gibbs_free_energy_and_biological_evolution}.

From a different angle, one could perceive the very growth form of an apple tree as the organic representation of entropy, that is the constant division and dispersal of source. When looking at the branching structure going from one solid trunk into many fine branches, the divisions and subdivisions are typical of entropy, and the similarity to the arterial network on a leaf and of a watercourses are impressive.

saralynn - 16 April 2013 10:18 AM

I’ve been trying to live in the eternal moment rather than in the chronological moment. I don’t do this all the time, of course, because I might start chewing with my mouth open or picking my ass as I walk, but it is an interesting exercise.  If you do it, you must avoid mirrors. Actually, it works best if you close your eyes.

In a strange way, what I hear you saying here seems actually very similar to what your husband is expressing. That is, you would prefer entropy (the passing of time with its destructive nature) not to happen, you’d rather retain the moment as is. Very understandable and I believe an intrinsic human need that comes with the search for security. Paying attention to the moment is most beneficial, as extensive literature on mindfulness and wisdom regarding meditation attests. My argument however is that, whether we like to embrace it or not, time is still passing and entropy is continuing. If we make conscious effort to stop change from taking place, we are building a damn to hold back the river of time. When it finally breaks, which it must if the increase of entropy is a natural law, the damage of sudden change can be disastrous. What I suggest is therefore, to be careful not to attempt to hold back change but rather ensure that it flows freely, despite the level of discomfort this generates at an individual and social level.

Carlos Castaneda (60s author) has reported about a ‘man of knowledge’ called Don Juan Matus in his books. He spoke of ‘stopping time’ and ‘eternity in the moment’, which may be of interest to you.{http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlos_Castaneda}

 
bardoXV
 
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bardoXV
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17 April 2013 00:05
 
Mencar - 16 April 2013 08:59 PM

Carlos Castaneda (60s author) has reported about a ‘man of knowledge’ called Don Juan Matus in his books. He spoke of ‘stopping time’ and ‘eternity in the moment’, which may be of interest to you.{http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlos_Castaneda}

I had a copy of this, ‘Journey to Ixtlan: The Lessons of Don Juan’, a long time ago, but now I can’t remember how much, if any, of it I read.

 
 
saralynn
 
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17 April 2013 11:06
 
Mencar - 16 April 2013 08:59 PM

Hi Saralynn,

saralynn - 16 April 2013 10:18 AM

My husband believes in an entropy tax.  He wants to tax things that cause a lot of entropy.  Thus, a Ferrari would have a huge tax, but growing an apple tree would have none. My recollection is vague because this used to be a theory he’d espouse when he had too much to drink, and he’s been living an austere life for the last few months, but it sounds like he is thinking along the same lines you are.  If you like, I can load him up on a few martinis and he can dictate a response to you.

The second law of thermodynamics states that in general the total entropy of any system will not decrease other than by increasing the entropy of some other system {http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy#Entropy_of_a_system}
Many people including me find the entropy involved in the production of arguably unnecessary goods objectionable.  Not just the luxury cars, but so much of what is fed to the consumer society. And pricing does not take into account the amount of natural destruction caused in the production and disposal. Nevertheless, there is nothing that can decrease entropy. Every construction of anything (car, house, sandwich… anything you can think of) produces a greater amount of destruction or dispersal than the construct, which itself is temporary and subject to decay - further entropy increase. The cited reference on wikipedia presents the physical principle. The point your husband makes about ‘growing an apple tree’ is interesting as organic growth appears to violate this principle.
In a popular 1982 textbook, Principles of Biochemistry by noted American biochemist Albert Lehninger, it is argued that the order produced within cells as they grow and divide is more than compensated for by the disorder they create in their surroundings in the course of growth and division. In short, according to Lehninger, “living organisms preserve their internal order by taking from their surroundings free energy, in the form of nutrients or sunlight, and returning to their surroundings an equal amount of energy as heat and entropy {http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy_and_life#Gibbs_free_energy_and_biological_evolution}.

From a different angle, one could perceive the very growth form of an apple tree as the organic representation of entropy, that is the constant division and dispersal of source. When looking at the branching structure going from one solid trunk into many fine branches, the divisions and subdivisions are typical of entropy, and the similarity to the arterial network on a leaf and of a watercourses are impressive.

saralynn - 16 April 2013 10:18 AM

I’ve been trying to live in the eternal moment rather than in the chronological moment. I don’t do this all the time, of course, because I might start chewing with my mouth open or picking my ass as I walk, but it is an interesting exercise.  If you do it, you must avoid mirrors. Actually, it works best if you close your eyes.

In a strange way, what I hear you saying here seems actually very similar to what your husband is expressing. That is, you would prefer entropy (the passing of time with its destructive nature) not to happen, you’d rather retain the moment as is. Very understandable and I believe an intrinsic human need that comes with the search for security. Paying attention to the moment is most beneficial, as extensive literature on mindfulness and wisdom regarding meditation attests. My argument however is that, whether we like to embrace it or not, time is still passing and entropy is continuing. If we make conscious effort to stop change from taking place, we are building a damn to hold back the river of time. When it finally breaks, which it must if the increase of entropy is a natural law, the damage of sudden change can be disastrous. What I suggest is therefore, to be careful not to attempt to hold back change but rather ensure that it flows freely, despite the level of discomfort this generates at an individual and social level.

Carlos Castaneda (60s author) has reported about a ‘man of knowledge’ called Don Juan Matus in his books. He spoke of ‘stopping time’ and ‘eternity in the moment’, which may be of interest to you.{http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlos_Castaneda}

I was a huge fan of Carlos Castaneda in my youth.  Even if Don Juan is a complete fabrication, he is a great character. 

My efforts to “stop time” are only sporadically successful, so I don’t have to worry about the river of time breaking through the dam and drowning me.

The “eternal now” is where most art takes place. In a way, that’s what art is all about, isn’t it? Freezing the moment in time or, in your words, a denunciation of entropy.

 
Mencar
 
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Mencar
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18 April 2013 23:31
 

There are many stories of people, who say that they only began to live after having been diagnosed with potentially terminal illnesses. Before diagnosis they were like everybody else. And now, they don’t even consider that state of being worthy to be called living!

1. How come nobody beliefs them? Because if you belief these stories would you not have to seriously question your own life?
2. If you actually realize that maybe, just maybe, there can be states of mind that are beyond your own range of experience, then do you have to wait for a terminal illness to go beyond your own limitations?

The answer to 1. lies in our mind’s ability to maintain the illusion that we are in full control. The more intelligent one is, the better it works at maintaining the ‘status quo’, also referred to as ‘conservation bias’ in psychology. Overcoming that is virtually impossible by yourself, you need others to throw you out of balance. That means you have to listen to those, who dare to disagree, who send you into a spin. Inducing dissonance, your mind has to branch out, encompass opposing arguments and notions, and that, enriches you. Given enough small steps, enough doubt maybe created, to achieve the effect of a single life altering experience in smaller steps.

The capacity of the mind to simply reject all that is unknown to it, is boundless.

 
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