ENERGY. Chapter II from the book energetismo POSTEVOLUCIÓN
D.L. AS-0535-2010
ISBN: 978-84-613-4198-6
LAi Ensayo Publisher | | English Tranlation: MIND REVOLUTION
Copyright: Alfredo González Colunga | | All Rights Reserved



Energy is one of the Physics most used magnitudes and a great part of the present knowledge is based on it. However, when Energy is conceived in this way, it is always the establishment of some relations between phenomena but not the evaluation of a phenomenon “by itself”.

According to David Rose, energy is “an abstract concept invented by physical scientists in the nineteenth century to describe a wide variety of natural phenomena quantitatively”.

Going a bit further in the evaluation of this lack we can remember the famous statement of the American physician Richard Feynman (1918-1988) who, in his book Lectures on Physics, says: “It is important to realize that in physics today, we have no knowledge what energy is. We do not have a picture that energy comes in little blobs of a different amount”.

Further from my intention to solve such an enigma I will try to assess what energy is from the point of view we are dealing with, the formation of living systems, and also to draw some conclusions.



Energy is traditionally defined as the capacity to perform work. We will speak of Energy in a more specific sense, establishing that, for LIVING SYSTEMS, Energy is the good able to perform a certain work: the one that every LIVING SYSTEM needs to keep its structure.

It is time to remember our definition of LIVING SYSTEM:
A structure that will capture and use energy to obtain more energy, which will be used to perform more work. But some problems arise.

The first problem is that the value of energy for a living system while keeping its structure is not only the value of the Energy that has been consumed but that of the energy that will enable it to continue consuming.

From this point of view, the important fact is that the energy that has been consumed by a living system does not have a value in joules or calories only.

Every energetic consumption is important as it will allow the system to continue consuming energy.

Every living system and every energetic consumption of a living system has a cone of future energetic consumptions associated to itself.

A cone because this future energetic consumption will be potentially increasing as, thanks to that energy, the living system will be able to invest more in SENSORS, finding  more energy every time, and also in TOOLS that will capture it. (Being the own system, in the case of SOCIAL LIVING SYSTEMS, or by means of reproduction in biological systems. In this case, every new system will be associated to a cone of future energies that starts from the initial cone).

And the value of that future energy can not be measured, at least initially.



Imagine, for example, a double tank connected by a pipe and filled with gas at different temperatures in each tank. The gas will tend to mix, reaching a final intermediate state where they will mix to uniformity. The initial state is an improbable ordered state. However, the final state is a more probable one, and this isolated matter will tend to it.

This is a classical thermodynamic model, as the second law of thermodynamics says that every energetic process carries in itself a lose of heat

It says that a closed system, isolated from the rest of the matter and energy, will tend to a state of maximum probability, a stationary state. And that in any process we start, a part of that used energy will be lost, which will take all the things to that disordered state.

We will not discuss the truth of this process, but, at least, one doubt appears concerning its interpretation.

We are going to analyze what we have just made. If we read the paragraph again, we see that it starts with the word “IMAGINE”. What does this mean?

It means that we have invested a certain quantity of energy in the effort of “imagine”.

In other words: this theoretical, or performed, model that we call “closed system” has turned into a part of a system formed, at least, by the model itself and the researcher that speculates with it.

With this model, the researcher tries to show or prove something with the hope of obtaining an energetic benefit for himself or for the structure – LIVING SYSTEM - he fits into and that gives financial support to the investigation. In this way, what we call closed system is an investment tool of the researcher. But, at the same time, this person is a theoretical researcher, a SENSOR of the SOCIAL LIVING SYSTEM he belongs to, whether it is a company or a state.
The closed system that has been set as an example should be placed as a TOOL of another wider system.

Any closed system that is the object of analysis, the one analyzed by the researcher or any other the reader imagines, requires an energetic investment - the necessary for the researcher to carry out or just imagine this model, or for the reader to reproduce it in his mind – that the researcher or the reader hope to recover obtaining a knowledge that can be useful, that makes it possible to obtain or save energy in future processes.

The model – in this case “the closed system”- is, like the hammer, the table or any of the objects we saw in the previous chapter, a subsystem of a Living System: it requires and has obtained energy to generate itself, and it will obtain it and repeat itself in the case it is energetically profitable.

Then, if this is not a closed system, is this an open system? Yes, it is. But some clarifications should be made here. For physicians, an open system is a system in which energy goes into and out with a loss of useful energy in the form of heat.
If I were allowed to simplify, physicists consider an open system a variant of a closed system but with just one entrance pipe for the energy to go into and an exit pipe that is used to emit energy in the way of useful work, and a percentage of wasted energy in the form of heat.

However, things are not like that.

“If you remember every word in this book, - Stephen  Hawking (1942) says in A Brief History of Time- your memory will have recorded about two million pieces of information: the order in you brain will have increased by about two million units. However, while you have been reading the book, you will have converted at least one thousand calories of ordered energy, in the form of food, into disordered energy, in the form of heat that you lose to the air around you by convection and sweat. This will increase the disorder of the universe by About twenty million, million million units – or about ten million million million times the increase in order in your brain – and that’s if you remember everything in the book.

In the example, we see that there is an entrance energy – one thousand calories – that produces an order in the brain and a disordered energy in the form of heat.

However, we should say that LIVING SUBSYSTEMS are not characterized by keeping its order degrading energy, which actually happens, but (remember the cone of future energies) because every consumed energy is an opportunity of consuming new energy, for themselves or for the SYSTEM they are integrated. And, what is more, this future energy will be, on average, higher than the consumed energy.

When the reader reads Hawking’s work, or this book, he is making an investment. Maybe because he expects that the reading will allow him to create a better model of his environment – in this case he is investing in MODELIZERS, let’s say just for fun – the book will be a HOMEOESTATIC TOOL that entertains him while he “recharges his batteries” to go back to work.

The one thousand calories (or about two million pieces of information) that, in the opinion of Hawking, takes to read this book are an expense that allows, or will allow, to obtain a future benefit. That is, the system expects to obtain more than one thousand calories with the first one thousand calories.

This is also applicable to machines, which we will consider as TOOL SUBSYSTEMS.  For example, a steam engine. A part of the energy that this machine gets will be turned into work while, necessarily, another part will be lost in the form of heat.

From the Physics point of view, the conclusion is that this machine generates entropy and, in this way, it contributes to lead the universe to disorder. Two steam machines will lead the universe to disorder faster than just one.

But there are no isolated steam engines.


The steam machine has obtained energy and it will continue obtaining it (The energy will be used for repairs, for example, and in this case it will come from the homeostatic investments of the system it belongs to) as long as it gives and carries on giving the system more energy than it consumes, although the energetic accounting could be external to it, as we have already seen. As the rest of the SUBSYSTEMS of that LIVING SYSTEM, it will obtain energy in exchange for a service that will permit to obtain more future energy. In addition, in the same way as the other SUBSYSTEMS, it will exist in competition with other TOOLS – other equivalent procedures, other steam engines - .

In this way, it is correct to draw some energetic conclusions from this steam machine as something isolated, which will turn it into an entropic object. But this is not enough as it is not considered that this entropy, by definition, will always be compensated by a higher energetic profit than the investment. (Should this not be the case, the investment in that machine will stop). And this is due to the fact that a part of the usable energy that has been obtained by the steam engine will be used to find more energy that feeds that machine – more coal – so that the system can, not only continue consuming coal indefinitely, but also have more coal at its disposal to consume. A good example to show this can be the first “atmospheric steam engine” invented by Newcombe, and that performed that mission. They were very big but not very efficient and they were initially installed in coal mines with the purpose of pumping water and permit, in this way, the extraction of coal at a deeper depth. Literally, they consumed coal to obtain more coal than they consumed.

While Physics see the closed system of the example or the steam engine as processes that generate entropy, we see them as TOOLS of a certain LIVING SYSTEM, and we will consider that the energy that it has required – the act of imagining the model, or the coal that the steam engine needs – will be lower than the future energy they will permit to access.

In fact, an evolution in the energetic efficiency of the LIVING SYSTEMS can be established from a coefficient between the energy that is usable for the system and the energy that has been wasted – entropy - in the process, concluding that the tendency of LIVING SYSTEMS by means of increasing processes of the efficiency of their procedures, will be to convert the result of that coefficient in a rising value, this is, the useful energy of the living system will grow faster than the entropy. If we see the universe, as this book pretends to show, as something not only composed of LIVING SYSTEMS but as such a reality that some of these systems will grow up increasing the useful energy in a faster way every time, we will see that the entropy that is associated to this process will tend to be less and less irrelevant in all the energetic equation of the process.


And there is no escape for this. We can devote ourselves to carry out energetically absurd models but we will be able to do it only if we have enough stored energy at our disposal (like amateurs) or if we convert our models, which are not energetically profitable in principle, in profitable models, this is, useful for the society we are integrated (if we professionalize as artists, for example).

There is an objection. The definition of Energy that has been given, “the capacity to perform work to keep the structure that invests in it and, in this way, to continue performing work”, leaves aside an important fact: there will be failed investments. Should we incorporate them to our definition of Energy? Yes, we should do it, taking into account that failed investments of a living system – in any of its activities, from obtaining energy to a no rewarded evolutionary reproduction – will be long term, if this system achieves to keep its structure, inferior with regard to the useful ones.

When we state this we can not look at a specific LIVING SYSTEM. Not even a specific planet.
From the moment that life exists – and we are a part of it – reality will be progressively defined by a group of systems that find other energies and turn them into useful energies to keep its structure. In this book we will argue that this life will be increasingly able to guarantee its own conservation as well as to capture new energies in a more efficient way every time, which defines reality as a process of increasing structuring, increasingly isolated from entropy.



From the expounded perspective, we see that the steam engine or the model of “closed system” that has been shown will have, depending on the person that carries them out or use them, different future energetic values. When a researcher showed this thermodynamic closed system for the first time it had a certain energetic value. As the social system found it useful, it was repeated and taken to schools. As long as every single one of these repetitions is useful for a small group that learns from them, the original experiment has been useful for all of them. In fact, we reward in a different way the person who makes an experiment that proves useful for the first time than to those who repeat it.

It is possible to associate the first experiment, which was carried out by the researcher, to an investment that the social system that feeds this researcher makes on modelizations. However, the repetitions that are made, for example in an Educational Centre, of the same model that is now taken as true (this is, energetically profitable) are used for the formation of – will be an investment in – TOOLS that continue with the process of obtaining energy. The same experiment is made from different SUBSYSTEMS.  The double task of a professor – research and teaching – is an investment of the SOCIAL SYSTEM in different SUBSYTEMS: SENSORS or MODELIZERS and INVESTMENT TOOLS.  As a characteristic, the investment in SENSORS and MODELIZERS is energetically more risky than the investment in Education, in methods of energetic profitability that have already been checked. But, on the other hand, this is the only way for a living system to evolve, finding new energetic niches.



When we talk about Energy as the good that is useful to every LIVING SYSTEM in order to keep its structure, we are saying that there are many types of energy: as many as different types of LIVING SYSTEMS, according to the way we have described them. Then we consider that, in addition to their usual forms, grass for herbivorous, meat for carnivorous and money or oil for humans represent Energy. This is, we are changing our look at the environment to a large extent. With our definition, we are reducing the concept of energy for each one of them – energy will only be that which is useful for the LIVING SYSTEM that finds it  -, but we are also extending it extremely.

We could argue that the herbivorous competes for leaves because they contain certain components and that this energy can be measured. The same can be said about petrol: we compete for it because it has a great energetic value and this value can be measured. However, leaves (until the first herbivorous appeared) or coal (until the first steam engine appeared) were not energy because they had not been considered as that by any living system. But once discovered and combined with others, as for example water and oxygen, they permit certain animal structures to preserve themselves and are able to obtain new energy  when performing a work.
Energy is a value that changes and emerges according to the Living Systems capacity to find it and assimilate it as useful.



The vision that the present science – especially Physics – has of energy remembers of the vision of wealth that Thomas Malthus (1766 – 1834) had two hundred years ago and that had so much influence on Darwin. In his opinion, population grew exponentially but food grew only arithmetically, so that the future was automatically seen obscured and only could bring famines and disasters. But Malthus – or physics now - did not take into account that the available energy could increase, grow, based on new discoveries or new technologies that could redefine the available energy. They did not have into account that energy emerges.


Innovation, one of the engines of evolution, as we have already seen, attacks one of the physics basic pillars: energy, at least when we talk about living systems, can be created.

It can be argued: But even the hydrogen that can be found in the universe is limited. This source of energy will also be used up some day.

This can be answered with an example. Darwin found himself with a problem. His system needed millions of years to work. For example, he estimated that the diversification of mammals required about 300 million years so that it could be explained by natural selection. But an eminent contemporary, the British physician and mathematician Lord Kelvin (1824 – 1907), made some calculations around 1860 on how much time the Sun could last.  For this, he considered that the Sun was made of coal, which was the most energetic product known in those times. He reached the conclusion that the Sun could only have been illuminating the Earth for a few million years. He specifically assured that the Earth could not have more than 25 million years (he also considered the existence of a “gravitational energy” for that).

“Physics argues against evolution”, he said and he was able to plunge Darwin himself into uncertainty, and make him doubt of his own theory (in fact, he removed any reference to the Earth life-span in the last edition of his book) and delay the progress of biology several decades. It was not until some decades later, with the discovery of nuclear energy when the pieces described by Darwin fitted when a new type of energy emerged.

Nuclear energy was discovered and then, the Sun was not seen as a great concentration of coal or a material similar to a mass of hydrogen that fused releasing massive quantities of energy. The new calculations showed that the Sun could have been shining, and could still shine, for many thousand of million years. Many more than the years that the Earth has needed to form. What does this say? It says that the valuation that we make of our resources in every different moment is not made according to the energy known as existing, this is, found by the Sensors! And this is so, not only for the valuation of our resources but also for the valuation of reality.

It is still possible to argue that the energy of the universe has not changed, that the Sun will shine the same even if we did not know. But from the moment that our SENSORS and MODELIZERS have discovered the energy that exists in the atom, this – and this didn’t happen before - HAS BECOME A POTENTIAL ENERGY OF THE SOCIAL HUMAN SYSTEM. Although we are using the same word, we are not talking about the same. In the past, the energy contained in an atom was not useful for any LIVING SYSTEM. Now, it is. And, with its incorporation to the METABOLIC SOCIAL SYSTEM, it will permit this system to perpetuate and evolve, it will be able to perform A NEW WORK. And this, by definition, further than we can imagine, because if we had imagined it it would have already been potential energy of the system.


And this fact prevents us from drawing conclusions, from the Physics point of view, about the future of the Universe (now with capital letters). Emergentism, a concept introduced by the economist John Stuart Mill (1806 – 1873) more than two centuries ago, indicated that some properties of the systems could not be deduced from their parts in isolation. Emergentism tells us that the TOE (The Theories of Everything) pursued from the Physics do not have into account that LIVING SYSTEMS have the capacity to transform reality. As they discover and convert new elements into progressively useful ones for their subsistence, they do not only transform reality: they create it. And they do it, as we have already seen, at a growing rhythm that is faster than the entropic loss. In fact, they do it every time in a faster, conscious and efficient way. And this energetic localization transforms reality, which transforms, progressively, on the side of some LIVING SYSTEMS that are more and more structured and solid.



If we add to this –see following chapters – a growing capacity to model, to obtain more future energy, we are extending this contamination enormously and with that, as we have already seen, we are closing probabilities to that future that is placed not in Physics but in the analysis of Living Systems.






ENERGY. Chapter II from the book energetismo POSTEVOLUCIÓN
D.L. AS-0535-2010
ISBN: 978-84-613-4198-6
Copyright: Alfredo González Colunga | vegap | |
Ed. LAi Ensayo































































































ENERGY. Chapter II from the book energetismo POSTEVOLUCIÓN
D.L. AS-0535-2010
ISBN: 978-84-613-4198-6
Copyright: Alfredo González Colunga | vegap |
Ed. LAi Ensayo

















ENERGY. Chapter II from the book energetismo POSTEVOLUCIÓN
D.L. AS-0535-2010
ISBN: 978-84-613-4198-6
Copyright: Alfredo González Colunga | vegap |
Ed. LAi Ensayo




















ENERGY. Chapter II from the book energetismo POSTEVOLUCIÓN
D.Ll: AS-0535-2010
ISBN: 978-84-613-4198-6
Copyright: Alfredo González Colunga | vegap |
Ed. LAi Ensayo










































ENERGY. Chapter II from the book energetismo POSTEVOLUCIÓN
D.L.: AS-0535-2010
ISBN: 978-84-613-4198-6
Copyright: Alfredo González Colunga | vegap |
Ed. LAi Ensayo



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