314

ANNALS NEW YORK ACADEMY SCIENCES

entropy production, Benard experiment, spontaneous order, selfl-organization
FIGURE 3. Two time slices from the Benard experiment. When the gradient of the potential (the "force") between source (the heated surface below) and the sink (the cooler air at the top) is below a critical threshold (left) a flow of heat is produced by random collision of the molecules (conduction), and the system is in the disordered or Boltzmann regime, where the surface of the system (silicon oil) is smooth, homogeneous, and symmetrical. When the force is above the critical threshold (right), the symmetry of the system is broken and autocatakinetic order spontaneously arises. (From Ref. 19, reproduced by permission of Pergamon Press.)
In contrast, autocatakinetic systems (and the world of which they are productions or manifestations), are inherently developmental. FIGURE 3 shows two time slices from the Benard cell experiment that shows this in a simple physical system. Here, the relationship between the development of autocatakinesis or spontaneous ordering and the instantiation of new levels of space-time is readily seen. Although in the disordered regime the intrinsic space-time dimensions are defined by mean free path distances and relaxation times (the distances and times between collisions) on the order of 10-8 centimeters and 10-15 seconds, in the ordered regime it takes the fluid some seconds to make an autocatakinetic cycle between source and sink, and the distance covered (the size of one cell) is measured in centimeters. The latter is orders of magnitude greater than the former, and does not exist in the disordered regime. The dynamics of autocatakinetic systems includes origins and development as characteristic properties.
WHY THE WORLD IS IN THE ORDER PRODUCTION BUSINESS: RESOLVING THE PROBLEM OF THE TWO RIVERS
Spontaneous ordering and development (the progressive development of space-time) are characteristic properties of autocatakinetic systems. However, this "flowing up" to increasingly more highly ordered dimensions, the "river that flows uphill", was until recently taken to be anomalous with respect to physics. Physics, with the second law of thermodynamics (the entropy law), was thought to dictate a progressive "flowing down" to disorder (the "river that flows downhill"). Evolution and the development of life were seen to negate physics and vice versa. This has had a profound obfuscatory effect on our understanding of living systems, from planetary evolution writ large, to culture theory.) to psychology (clinical and otherwise). This old view, due largely to the work of Boltzmann, is no longer tenable and we now understand spontaneous ordering not to be "infinitely improbable" with respect to universal law, but instead a direct consequence of it.