The Ergod
There is absolutely nothing supernatural about the cosmic creation process, but it is the source of support for human life. Many theologically-minded thinkers have long assumed that life and mind were given to humanity by a divine providence.

The main product of the cosmic creation process is all the negative entropy in the universe. While thermodynamics calls it "negative," information philosophy sees it as the ultimate positive and deserving of a better name. So we call it the Ergo, which etymologically suggests a fundamental kind of energy ("erg" zero), e.g., the "Gibbs free energy," G0, that is available to do work because it has low entropy.

We co-opted the technical term "ergodic" from statistical mechanics as a replacement for anti-entropic, and because it contained "ergod."

Entropy was coined in 1865 by the Rudolf Clausius, from the Greek words έν-, "in", and τροπη, "a trope or turning", in analogy with energy. Energy came from ancient Greek ἐνέργεια (enérgeia, “action, act, work”), itself from έργον (ergon: "work"). Ludwig Boltzmann coined the term "ergodic" (the path followed by energy) from the ancient Greek words έργον (ergon: "work") and οδός (hodos: "path" or "way").

In statistical mechanics, Boltzmann's idea of ergodicity amounts to the assumption that particles explore in time all the possible paths in phase space (the product of ordinary coordinate space and momentum space) as uniformly as possible. Each location has an equal possibility of being occupied as any other, although the likelihood of the higher energy momentum states is reduced by the “Boltzmann principle” that the probability of states with energy E is reduced by the exponential “Boltzmann factor,” f(E) ~ e-E/kT. This corresponds in quantum mechanics to the equal probability for all the smallest possible volumes or "microstates" allowed according to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, h3 = (Δp Δx)3.

We must admit the name Ergo was chosen in the early days of information philosophy (1960's), when we called it "ergodic philosophy." Our two major problems then were freedom and values, the interdependent pair, each diminished without the other. We had studied western analytic language philosophy and continental existentialism and found them both wanting. We prepared a chiasmos figure of speech that captured the dilemma.

Freedom without values is absurd (as continental existentialists like Jean-Paul Sartre thought). Values without freedom are worthless (as British utilitarians and later positivists thought).

We think that the first modern philosopher, René Descartes, was right when he made the mind immaterial and the locus of freedom. If there is any freedom for humans, it is especially freedom of thought, although this freedom has to be exercised very cautiously in religious societies where "unbelievers" may be killed for their ideas.

So we named our two-stage model for free will the Cogito. And we named our postulate that negative entropy might be considered a basis for objective values the Ergo.

We wondered for many years what significance we might find in the third term in our triad, the Sum, but it worked out wonderfully as the abstract and immaterial subset of the Ergo that is the sum of human knowledge.

Caveat emptor. Theomorphisms are dangerous and the source of many evils in the world. Pretenders claim they have special access to a god and exploit those seeking the "truth" and deep "beliefs," by promising deliverance of unrealizable goods.

An "afterlife" is perhaps the most deceitful and historically the most successful marketing scheme of all time. It costs nothing to produce and no customer will ever claim to be unsatisfied. Despite the absurd and conflicting claims of different "brands," its diverse promoters have amassed untold power over the people, both financial and political.

An anthropomorphization (or theomorphization) of the process that creates all the energy with low entropy that we call Ergo has a number of beneficial consequences. Most all human cultures look for the source of their existence in something "higher" than their mundane existence. This intuition of a cosmic force, a providence that deserves reverence, is validated in part by the discovery of what we can provocatively call "Ergod," as the ultimate source of life.

Such an Ergod has the power to resist the terrible and universal Second Law of Thermodynamics, which commands the increase of chaos and entropy (disorder). The great mathematician and inventor of Cybernetics, Norbert Wiener, saw Entropy as the Devil incarnate, a most apt theological metaphor.

Without violating that inviolable Second Law overall, the Ergod reduces the entropy locally, creating pockets of cosmos and negative entropy (order and information-rich structures). All human life, and any possible extraterrestrial life, lives in one of these pockets.

Note that the opposition of Ergod and Entropy, of Ergodic processes and Entropic processes, coincides with the ancient Zarathustrian image of a battle between the forces of light (Ahura Mazda) and darkness (Angra Manyu), of good and evil, of heaven and hell. Many religions have variations on this dualist theme, and the three major Western religions all share the same Biblical source, probably incorporated into Judaism during the Babylonian exile.

The Ergod is "present" and we can say enthusiastically is "in us." The Ergod's work is to create new information, so when we create and share information we are doing the Ergod's work.

Finally, note that as the primary and primeval creator of information, the Ergod's realm straddles our three worlds, the material, the biological, and the ideal worlds. Neither matter nor energy, information is the modern spirit, the soul, the ghost in the machine.

For Teachers
For Scholars

 Chapter 3.6 - The Cosmology of Value Chapter 4.1 - The Problem of Freedom Part Two - Knowledge Part Four - Freedom
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