Re: Extropy and Life (I)

Anders Sandberg (
Tue, 19 Aug 1997 20:29:58 +0200 (MET DST)

On Tue, 19 Aug 1997, Prof. Jose Gomes Filho wrote:

> Organism is organization and not disorder...
> I should even risk to make an afirmation: LIFE JUST APPEARS WHEN THE
> LOCAL PARTIAL DERIVATE dX/dt > 0 (X=Extropy, complementary of
> entropy (S), S+X = ?, cte or not ?)

A lifeform is a complex self-organizing system, which keeps entropy
at bay by moving it out from its body through a continous energy flow
(in our case food and air into wastes, plants do it through
sunlight). But it isn't so simple that life appears when entropy
decreases, there are plenty of entropy decreasing but non-living
processes (like freezing a liquid).

IMHO Extropy is a rather loose term, a bit like "complexity". We have
an intuitive feeling for it, but when studied closely it likely falls
apart into some more elementary (and perhaps different) concepts such
as complexity and -entropy.

> Some of the many questions that should arise are:

I think these are very good questions, moving in the borderland
between thermodynamics and complexity theory. But I think we need a
better definition of what we are talking about before proceeding.

> 1.Which are the fundamental extropic reactions and phenomena and
> which are responsible to life creation (or any extropic phenomena
> could lead to a certain kind of life form?)?

(this seems to be a tie in with the metasystem transitions of the
Principia Cybernetica Project).

> 2. What conditions lead the same particles set to have extropic or
> extropic behaviour?
> 3. What conditions would reverse the extropic/entropic state of a set
> of particles (including aglomerate objects)?
> 4. What were the extropic conditions that have generated life on
> Earth ?

Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension!
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y