On Good and Evil

Open systems are good. Closed systems are evil.

Open systems are good because they allow for the continuation of possibilities. The continuation of possibilities implies the continuation of possibilities for good.

Closed systems are evil because of lack of replenishment and material exhaustion.

We live in a closed system. Unfortunately one man’s good is immediately converted into another man’s evil.

A dictatorship is a tightly closed system. It is a very evil system because it only takes one man to make it evil.

A democracy is a loosely closed system. It is less evil than a dictatorship because it requires a majority of the people to be evil to make the democracy evil.

Religion is a closed system. The fundamentalists, literalists, and the ultra-orthodox believe that after God wrote the book, He closed it so that no one else could add anything to it.

The Earth is a closed system. There is a limit to how many trees we can chop down, how much carbon we can dump into the atmosphere or waste into the sea, how many people we can feed before we can’t live here anymore.

So, what is an open system? If I were to describe it for you, it would probably become a closed system. In spite of that, I’ll try to give a glimpse of a few open systems.

Space, time, infinity, and eternity are open systems, of course. See my blog post on https://uncollectedworks.wordpress.com/2014/06/14/common-sense-about-space-time-and-infinity/.

The distances between stars are open systems, for all practical purposes, unless you happen to be travelling in a spaceship, which is a closed system.

A moment might be an open system depending on what you do with it.

Eric Berne’s game-free personality type is an open system of sorts. See http://www.amazon.com/Games-People-Play-Transactional-Analysis/dp/0345410033/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1406396951&sr=1-1&keywords=eric+berne+games+people+play&dpPl=1.

In Gödelian terms I would suggest that an open system is both inconsistent and incomplete. See http://www.amazon.com/G%C3%B6dels-Proof-ernest-nagel/dp/B0017ID1A0/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1406397023&sr=1-4&keywords=Goedel%27s+Proof.

An evolution is an open system. So is a language, providing there’s no language academy trying to close it. Science is an open system too, as long as it maintains its pragmatism and does not succumb to dogma.

The jury is still out regarding imagination. There are those who say that our imaginations are limited to our worldviews, to what we have been hardwired to conceive to be true. There are others who believe the imagination to be unbounded.

The number of open systems is endless.

Maybe when we develop interstellar travel we will begin to live in an open system. Just to be able to imagine this may give us a sliver of hope in an otherwise dark and loopy dimension.

Mike Stone

Raanana Israel

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Filed under Essays, Dilemmas, & Philosophy, Prose

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