Original inspiration for 'extropy'?

Mon, 16 Dec 1996 16:02:06 -0500

Sean Hastings asks whether Robert A. Wilson provided the inspiration for my
coining of "extropy". No. Nor was I inspired by J. Neil Schulman's
excellent sci-fi novel, The Rainbow Cadenza (1983), which defines the term
"extropic" as "The ascending color scale in lasegraphic usage . . . ." I was
unaware of Schulman's invention until after I'd independently coined
"extropy". I believe that another party also independently used the word in
an information-theoretic context, though the exact details of that instance
escape me. It's a pretty obvious derivation from "entropy", I'll admit.

At any rate, I drew my inspiration directly from the physics, information
theory, and philosophy. As 1987 drew to a close, I'd been reading Spinoza
and working on the ideas that I would later set forth in "Wisdomism", 2
(Winter 1988-89) (soon to appear on my web page in edited form). On Jan. 10,
1988, I was playing around in my Journal by substituting bits for grams in
standard physics equations, wondering about the parallels. I hypothesized,
for example, that

resolution = bits/m^3 as density = g/m^3,

and so forth. By Jan. 11 (I was on a long writing jag) I'd eventually worked
my way through the basics up to entropy. The rest, as they say . . . .

T.0. Morrow