Order And Its Essence
Order is not just an attribute of existence, like redness or hardness or coldness. Order is the stuff of existence. By "order" I do not mean anything esoteric or difficult to understand. I am using order as it is defined in the dictionary (quoting Webster's Unabridged:)
"1. an authoritative direction or instruction; command; mandate....4. the disposition of things following one after another, as in space, time, etc....5. a condition in which each thing is properly disposed with reference to other things and to its purpose; methodical or harmonious arrangement....25. conformity or obedience to law or established authority...." Order is derived from the Latin ordo, meaning "row, rank, regular arrangement."
It is interesting that, implicit in the meaning of the word order, is the idea that the regular arrangements we encounter are the result of a command or instruction. We humans instinctively seem to perceive that order is not accidental, that the greater the degree of apparent order, the more likely that order was purposively caused by someone or something.
The Universality Of Order
The fact that there is so much order in nature, independent of our minds, is one of the most profound aspects of all existence. The predictable motions of the planets which include the earth’s rotation creating a 24-hour day; the laws of physics and other sciences; the benefits of electricity and electromagnetism that undergird our modern civilization; the behavior of plants and animals in the various seasons of the year; the miracle of life and of creating new life through reproduction – everything that makes our world what it is, is a manifestation of order.
We human beings can also create certain types of order. We can arrange things in alphabetical order. We can count and multiply and divide. We can command troops and armies. We have connected every corner of the world with telephone and other communications equipment. We elect the leaders of our government, who work with the leaders of other nations in pursuit of world order. We use police to protect the public order. We play sports, watch television, drive cars, work and relax all by some form of order. Our entire existence, every aspect of it, depends on order.
Of course order is real. We all act as if we assume, consciously or unconsciously, that order is real. It’s just that, up till now, order has been viewed by most people as a characteristic of other things – how neatly they are arranged, how predictably they occur – and not as an actual component of ultimate reality, on a level with energy.
To take another approach, think about the chair you're sitting in or the floor you’re standing on or the bed you're lying on right now. What if it suddenly gave way, and you fell down through the floor, down into the earth, and kept falling till you reached the earth's core? Your chair and the earth are almost entirely empty space – so there’s bound to be plenty of room for you to fall through them.
Or imagine coming home at the end of the day and finding your house gone. Vanished. Not even an empty lot. No space between what used to be your neighbors' houses on the right or left. Or suppose you are riding down the highway at a high rate of speed with no median between the opposing lanes of traffic, and all of a sudden all the cars go out of control and crash into each other.
Sound like nightmares or crazy thoughts? Only because the world is so incredibly orderly that things like that don’t happen in reality. The universe is very orderly.
The Cumulative Nature Of Order
In the system of Ordergonics, order has some special aspects, in addition to its ultimate reality. One of these is the cumulative nature of order, and this is the solution to what is one of the oldest puzzles of philosophy.
The essence of the puzzle is this: If all physical things are composed of electrons, protons, neutrons and other subatomic particles, how is intelligence possible?
Here we encounter the inquiring human mind observing itself at the subatomic level and asking, "Where in this whirling profusion of particles is my ability to think? Where am I? What am I made of?" Again, there are only a few possible answers to this:
1. Human beings are nothing but a large mass of subatomic particles; nothing else is real.
2. Human beings are composed of subatomic particles which contain a non-measurable ingredient (variously considered to be information, knowledge or intelligence).
3. Human beings are composed of subatomic particles plus an additional reality that enables all other higher levels of existence (this additional reality is what I call order).
The reason option 3 is more inclusive of all observed reality and experience is that it allows plausibly for the constitution of many other things besides knowledge, intelligence or information.
The answer to the puzzle, and support for the concept of order, was developed earlier in this century by gestalt theory. Gestalt, German for shape or form, refers to physical, biological, or psychological phenomena structured in such a way that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, or conversely, that the parts taken individually do not adequately equal the whole. A simple example is a married couple. It is composed of a husband and a wife, two separate human beings who have an invisible bond that enables them to function and to be recognized as a couple, a small family. Of course somewhere there is a marriage license that makes that bond legal, but when you see them out in public, they don’t carry the license on their sleeves. What is this extra invisible something that makes the whole greater than the sum of the parts?
Or take a much more minute example. On the left we have two atoms of hydrogen, each with an extra neutron, constituting "heavy hydrogen" or deuterium. On the right we have one atom of helium. The helium atom has exactly the same number of subatomic particles, but it is inert – it will not burn. The hydrogen, by contrast, is extremely flammable. Furthermore, the deuterium is the stuff of hydrogen bombs and the raging "fires" of the sun, the most intensely explosive force ever created. Why can’t helium do that? Now, technically of course, when two atoms of deuterium are combined under great pressure to form one atom of helium, a certain amount of energy is released, and that energy has mass. But why do the atoms of deuterium and helium behave so differently? Why indeed do all the elements, which are made of "nothing but" the same subatomic particles, behave so differently?
In the system of Ordergonics, the answer is that difference results from the combination of order and energy, not merely from the combination of matter and energy. Order is the differentiator, energy is the stuff or substance which gets differentiated. Thus:
Subatomic particles plus order equal atoms.
Atoms plus order equal molecules.
Molecules plus order equal molecular chains.
Molecular chains plus order equal cells.
Cells plus order equal organisms and tissue.
Tissue plus order equal plants and animals.
The highest-ordered animals are humans.
Humans plus order are families and tribes.
Families and tribes plus order are communities.
Communities plus order are states or districts.
States or districts plus order are nations.
Nations plus order are world civilization.
Worlds ordered around a star are a solar system.
Stars and solar systems plus order make galaxies.
Galaxies plus order make the universe.
The universe and God plus order are everything that exists.
This is what I mean by the cumulative nature of order: As order accumulates along with accumulating matter/energy, higher levels of existence are achieved or created. It is not the mere accumulation of matter/energy that makes things different or that allows for ever-higher levels of structure or existence. Work the hierarchy of existence backward and you can see why I believe order is as real and necessary as energy.
Law And Order
As we saw in Chapter 3, a clear understanding of the so-called laws of nature or laws of physics and other sciences requires an acceptance of the reality of order. A key component of the system of Ordergonics is the claim that all laws of nature, that is, the aspects of the universe which are independent of human beings, are real and are manifestations of order. But not all order is expressed as laws. Order is a multi-faceted umbrella concept very much like energy.
Natural order, the order which scientists study, is independent of human existence. It really exists "out there" in nature, in the universe. If it did not, there would be no order where there were no human minds to perceive it or conceive it. The laws of mechanical motion existed in nature long before Isaac Newton discovered them. The formula E=mc2 and e=hf existed as aspects of order long before Albert Einstein and Max Planck discovered them. Every day scientists around the world are discovering new aspects of natural order. They are not making it up. The order they are discovering is real and independent of human existence.
Even the brilliant Stephen Hawking, as we noted earlier, said of God and the universe, "it appears that he chose to make it evolve in a very regular way according to certain laws. It therefore seems equally reasonable to suppose that there are also laws governing the initial state" of the universe. Hawking and other physicists believe that even in the first nanoseconds in which the universe was formed, laws were at work determining the "evolution" of the entire universe.
These laws were not "in the matter" or "in the energy" or "in the space" at the dawn of creation. Laws are not properties of physical substances or empty space. Laws are properties of order. Order has controlled the development of the universe since the dawn of time. Order is the instrument of God’s on-going creation.
Order And The Birth Of The Universe
Let’s go back in our minds to the first few moments at the birth of the universe. As best we can understand, there was a great explosion called the "Big Bang" and all the matter and energy in the universe exploded out from a central point. Ignoring for a moment how such an explosion could have spontaneously occurred, scientists believe that in the beginning there were subatomic particles and intense energy. Gradually these subatomic particles began to form atoms.
Now wait a minute. Why would these particles form atoms? Why would electrons blasting out of the center of the Big Bang alongside protons and neutrons begin circling protons and neutrons? Why would protons and neutrons, moving apart at unthinkable speeds, clump together and form atomic nuclei? When you have everything moving apart at tremendous force, why should they bond together? All on their own, because of chance or "evolution"? That strains credibility.
Something had to cause atoms to form. In fact, surely it is more reasonable to believe that in the beginning there was nothing but order and energy. Order caused the atomic particles – electrons, protons, neutrons and all the others – to form. Not just in random sizes, remember, but precisely, in Planck’s Constant intervals.
Order And Space
Most of us were taught in school that the universe is composed of matter and energy in space and time. Just as the question, "What are laws?" needs to be answered, so also does the question, "What are space and time?"
We take both for granted so much that it is difficult to think objectively about them. We think of space as the distance between things, measured in miles and kilometers, for instance. We also think of what is called "outer space," the vast distances between planets and stars. Distances in outer space are so great that they are often calculated in light-years. Light travels 100 trillion miles or 160 trillion kilometers in a year.
Science also teaches that the atom is composed mostly of empty space, with the nucleus relatively a great distance away from the orbiting electrons. So what is space? Again, we have a limited number of possibilities:
(1) Space is space, a distinct component of reality.
(2) Space is composed of energy
(3) Space is composed of order.
(4) Space is composed of order and energy.
(5) Space is not real.
If space were composed entirely of energy, the energy of space would certainly interfere with the energy of matter and electromagnetic radiation. It would also have mass and thus be detectable by instruments, but this is not the case.
Scientists used to think that space contained an "ether" which was an invisible medium for the propagation of light and other electromagnetic radiation. Their reasoning was, if light is a wave, it must have something to wave in, like waves in water. Again it was Albert Einstein who demonstrated that the ether concept was totally superfluous – light waves move through empty space, period.
From one point of view, we might say that there really is no such thing as empty space. In the black "emptiness" of outer space, there is always some starlight or cosmic dust or something that has mass, moving through. Space may get very sparse, but it is never completely "empty." We speak of total vacuums inside vacuum tubes, but it is impossible to prove (because of the Uncertainty Principle) and highly unlikely that man-made vacuum tubes do not have a single atom of matter or a single wave of energy in them.
Given the five options listed above, the most plausible one is that space is composed of or an aspect of universal order. After all, order means "regular arrangement" and what could be more "arranged" than space? We speak of space being three-dimensional, which is highly orderly. Some physicists have calculated that space may have more than a dozen dimensions. Space is where things are arranged. The fact that they stay where they are, and don’t come crashing in on each other (unless pulled by gravity), indicates a very high level of order in space. The same order that makes laws what they are makes space what it is.
Order And Time
It should not be too difficult for you by now to think of time as a function of order. Many books have been written about time, and it is a subject which is endlessly intriguing. Sometimes time seems to rush at us from the future, stay with us for a fraction of a second in the present, and then disappear into the past, gone forever. At other times, time seems to move ever so slowly, second by second, especially when we are waiting for something and are keenly aware of the waiting.
Yet for all its subjective variation, time is incredibly consistent. Although wound-up clocks may not keep accurate time, most electric ones do, and we now take for granted the superb accuracy of inexpensive digital watches whose intricate electronics would have been inconceivable just a few decades ago.
Once again, our old friend Albert Einstein demonstrated that time is relative, not absolute. According to this theories, the closer an object’s speed approaches the speed of light, the more slowly its internal time progresses. For example, if you and a friend synchronized your watches, and your friend left for a long journey at near-light speed, when he returned this watch would be much behind yours and he would have aged less as well.
As with space, it is pointless to speak of time as some reality made of something besides energy or order. Time, stripped to its bare essentials, is the uniform order of motion. Clocks move the same and the planets spin dependably in their orbits and lights moves at a constant speed all because of the orderliness of motion in our universe. If everything stopped, time would stop. We may speak of the energy aspect of time in that all motion involves some energy. But ultimately it is order that makes motion uniform and thus makes time consistent — except at speeds near the speed of light, in which case the alterations of time are also consistent according to precise mathematics.
Order and Difference
Even if you are following this line of thought, these few paragraphs are probably not sufficient to convince you to perceive time, space and other dimensions of reality differently. Understandings of reality are not easily changed. Throughout this whole book you will see at every level of existence, from the simple quark to world civilization, that the relationship between order and energy is key to understanding everything we encounter in life and the universe.
Energy is the stuff or substance of existence, order is the medium of differentiation, and God creates the differences. This reflects one of the oldest philosophical issues. Plato believed that there were Ideal Forms that caused everything to be what it is. He suggested that these Forms function like shapes which, illuminated by the light of Truth, cast imperfect shadow patterns in our everyday world, like shadows on the wall of a cave cast by flickering firelight.
Aristotle believed in multiple causes, such as formal causes, efficient causes, and end cause or entelechy—that make things what they are.
The problem is, if everything is made of just one thing, there can be no difference. A single substance cannot differentiate itself. There must be clay, hands and wheels that shape the clay, and God, the "potter" of us all. And the simplest solution to this problem is to have everything made of just two things, the substance and the shaping force, energy and order, with a Creator
making everything what it is. That is the simplicity of Ordergonics.
The Laws Of Order
Through studying order in many different ramifications, I have developed what I call the Laws Of Order, which are really quite simple, as follows:
Law No. 1: The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. This is because the whole contains a higher degree of order, which is real, than the parts contain. (The reader is referred to gestalt theory, discussed earlier.)
Law No. 2: The whole cannot be reduced to its parts without destroying it. This is the converse of Law No 1, and acknowledges that even though the divided parts may have the same amount of physical substance as the whole, if you destroy the whole you destroy its order, and the parts when separated are not the same as the whole.
Law No. 3: An increase in order results in a higher level of reality. We find not only bigger things but more complex things, capable of very different behavior or characteristics than the simpler things. DNA can reproduce life forms, which are much more complex than atoms. A married couple is a much greater reality than two people who are physically near each other, and a family is a much greater reality than three people randomly assembled.
Order and Being
One of the more interesting applications of these laws concerns the concept of the self, what it means to be a human being. Who are you? Are you nothing but a collection of molecules or atoms, subatomic particles, matter and energy, mostly empty space? Where does the youness of you reside? Where is your being? Is it inside your brain, where biochemical reactions flow through neurons and ganglia? Is that all there is to you?
From the standpoint of Ordergonics, you are the sum total of all the order and energy within your body. That order and energy exist as an organismic structure, an organization of organs, bones and tissue with a central nervous system and a brain, and all the memories and capacities represented by all the connections of all the millions of neural ganglia within your brain and body. Order respects the vast complexity of human life. A human being is the highest order of individual life, capable not only of moving about and reproducing itself, but also of imagination, love, integrity, literature, art, self-sacrifice, mathematical computation, athletic feats, the construction of skyscrapers, placing a man on the moon. . . and ever so much more.
The concept of order in Ordergonics rescues the dignity of human being from the sterile reductionism of scientific materialism. Scientific materialism says, "Nothing but." Ordergonics says, "Everything and more."
I once heard a famous biologist explain mankind as an advanced vessel for reproduction, and I will never forget his statement, "The purpose of life is the reproduction of the genome," which is a set of genes. Granted, the human body is a magnificent vehicle for reproducing genomes. But this biologist committed the "nothing but" fallacy that ignores the greater reality and order of the higher whole. From the standpoint of physics, we could say that a human being is nothing but matter and energy in space and time. Chemists could call a human a living vessel of biochemical reactions. If you only look at things through narrow perspectives, you see only narrow slices of reality, not the whole.
Ordergonics looks at everything from the broadest possible perspective. The cumulative nature of order allows for life at its richest complexity, life in all its fullness. Don’t settle for anything less.
Order and Chaos
It is commonly thought that the opposite of order is chaos. But chaos is the appearance of a lack of order. It is not real—it is a misperception. Take the example of chaos exhibited by a child’s room after he or she has taken everything out of its container or place, broken a few things along the way, dumped over the trash can, torn up the bed, and in general turned everything upside down. The child’s parent, upon entering the room, may exclaim, "This room is total chaos!"
But it isn’t. Everything is exactly as the child left it. The room actually has a high degree of complex order, the result of the child’s high level of activity (applied energy). If the room were really in chaos, we would have a scene like the one in the movie "Poltergeist." The bed would be spinning in mid-air. Objects would be flying around randomly. Lights would flash on and off. Things would break apart and go back together again. Parents and children would be sucked into the vortex. And so on. That would be chaos. It does not exist outside of the movies.
Another instance often called chaos occurs during an intense military battle. Guns are going off everywhere. People are shooting each other. Dense smoke covers the battlefield. Voices shout and scream. Officers have lost command of their troops. No one can tell friend from foe. Total fear is mirrored on the combatants’ faces. It is a horrible spectacle. But it is not chaos. Bullets and other moving objects follow the laws of physics. People are not suddenly elevated off the ground unless explosives burst under them. Guns still fire. Wounds still bleed. Injuries still hurt. Again, there is a very high level of complex order. Not chaos.
James Gleick in his popular book, "Chaos: Making A New Science," reports how scientists are discovering order beneath and within many phenomena once thought chaotic. These include the weather, wildlife populations, the motion of blood, turbulence in fluids, patterns in nature which appear beautiful and bizarre, and much more. Chaos is an illusion due to the limits of human perception, the inability to perceive complex order.
Order and Probability
Real order is not always fixed. This is the mechanical fallacy which is the legacy of Newton and his followers. Real order is based on probability. Laws may represent close to 100 percent probability. But many other phenomena do not.
Order appears to be distributed according to a bell-shaped curve of random distribution. The vertical axis against which this curve is plotted represents predictability. The horizontal axis represents structural complexity. At low levels of complexity, where subatomic particles exist, predictability is low. Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle is in effect. Uncertainty remains low as we progress upwards through atoms and molecules, gasses and liquids.
When we reach solids, predictability zooms upward. Newton’s mechanical principles are in effect. Gravity plays a major role. Heavy objects fall predictably. When solid objects like billiard balls collide, they bounce off each other according to Newton’s laws. When an object like a car crashes into a retaining wall, the car is crushed by its own momentum impacting the inertia of the wall.
When solids shift into living organisms, however, predictability starts to fall again. It’s nearly impossible to predict where a single-cell paramecium will swim over time. Move up to animals and human beings, and you have higher unpredictability. Continue to whole populations of people and nations, and you have very high unpredictability. Economics and political science are inherently difficult (if not dismal) due to the unpredictability of their subject matter.
But through all of this there is order — not mechanical order, but the order of probability.
Order and Patterns
One of the simplest and most interesting forms of order is the pattern. A pattern is typically a recurrence of a phenomenon where some core aspects are repeated and others are not. A china pattern, for example, is a design repeated on each plate, cup, saucer, bowl or other implement — each one different, but with the continuity of the pattern. The word pattern is derived from the Latin pater, meaning father, suggesting that the father-pattern is repeated in the offspring.
Snowflakes all have a basic hexagonal pattern but each one is different The human face usually has two eyes, a nose and a mouth, but it is incredible how many variations there are in this simple pattern. Indeed patterns are abundant throughout nature, from markings on insects to the leaves on trees, from beautiful sunsets to stormy clouds — nature is a symphony of patterns.
Patterns are the primary means by which order is perceptible. Again, this does not mean that patterns exist solely in the mind — they really are "out there" in nature, independent of us, waiting to be discovered. The first clue that a scientist is on to a new discovery of order is a pattern in nature which is perceived. Detectives sifting through the evidence of crimes are looking for patterns that will indicate what human behavior has occurred. Spoken words, music and many achievements of the human mind and of civilization are all patterns. Patterns are extremely significant in understanding order, and we will come back to them again and again as we move through this book.
Order And Things
The greatest misperception of reality prevalent throughout our world is the belief that "things" are real but order is not real. Order is like the invisible glue that holds everything together. The belief that only material things, that is, things made of matter (or energy), are real, results in a materialistic worldview that does not appreciate the reality of order. People who succumb to materialism (and this includes our society’s practice of business and government) tend to view other people as objects, not to appreciate the unique and awesome order which every human being represents.
Order is very precious. The natural order which exists independently of us is an order to be cherished and protected, not destroyed. Much of the order which we create is also precious — music, art, information, worldwide communication systems, advanced medicine, space shuttles, the United Nations. But not all human order is good. Hitler’s Third Reich comes to mind as an example of evil order, manmade order gone wrong. This was the result of a highly materialistic and distorted worldview which treated millions of human beings as objects to be eradicated in gas chambers and ovens.
There is so much rich, complex and abundant order in the world and the universe that it strongly indicates the existence of a creator of order, more specifically, of natural order. Many of the world’s religions and cultures believe in a creator God, the topic of our next chapter.
GO TO CHAPTER: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19