[extropy-chat] Space elevator numbers III

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Fri Feb 16 20:20:15 UTC 2007

Keith Henson wrote:
> At 07:22 PM 2/16/2007 +0000, you wrote:
>> On 2/16/07, Jef Allbright wrote:
>>> Keith Henson wrote:
>>>> Anybody who can launch a ton of ball bearings can
>>>> launch a nuke which is much more likely to take it out.
>>>> But *why?
>>> Because such a structure represents a huge gradient of
>>> power, and nature abhors a gradient.
> Could you expand on this?  Perhaps putting it in
> evolutionary psychology terms?

Keith, I would be happy to expand on it, but that would require more
time than I can spend today.  I've already exceeded my self-imposed
quote for spending time on posting here and some other places this

I see that you did grasp the meaning and intent of my comment and seem
to be looking for something more substantial to back it up.  Perhaps
Eugen or another of the big-picture systems thinkers on this list may
want to contribute to this, faster and better than I can.  If so, they
should feel free to do so.

In short, I remember when as a child I first read "Nature abhors a
vacuum" and I thought there was something profound about it, but not
profound enough.  I was trying to generalize to the idea that all action
is a result of difference of potential. Nowadays I tend to generalize
this all the way down to gradients of entropy.

So this can be seen as one of the general operating principles of the
universe, effective at all scales, from the cosmic to the social.  It's
built into our evolved psychology due to its general applicability to
all action and thus behavior, with the result at the cognitive level
that any perceived gradient creates intent to minimize the difference.
Of course, from the unbalanced context of self, that tends toward
actions that overshoot.

With your background in EP, I don't know that it makes sense for me to
develop this further or to dig up supporting examples for you.  Please
let me know your thoughts.

- Jef

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