MUSIC AND THE 2nd LAW OF THERMODYNAMICS
EPISODE 14 MUSIC IN PHASE SPACE
All quantum physics is based on the vibrations inherent in any and all elementary particles. You could say that music is a system of organized vibrations or pitches caused by the interactions of these particles by themselves and as they associate with each other. The connection is harmonic what is called now sympathetic vibrations. Because of these sympathetic vibration initiating wrestling games at a distance there can be not truly isolated thing in the universe. Everything is connected — it’s all one.
This series is an attempt at restoring the environmental and cultural foundations of the Music Industry what it actually takes for the non-zero sum and positive sum interaction models to start to take hold in a strategic environment:
Study of physics is applicable to music and vice versa. It’s becoming a common opinion that the greatest area get to be explored in physics is this music connection through the existence of vibration and the modes of interaction that are defined by the same laws that the game sound on vibration which is to say — music.
Music is a powerful force in so many positive ways. From improving work production, uniting people. Music is an effective display of intelligence and/or strength that can be used to strengthen sovereignty. Music enhances personal creativity because it encourages the mind to begin thinking in abstract ways. It refines the way that people work. This is especially true when it comes to our fine motor skills and our ability to determine audio frequency differences. It improves a person’s visual attention enhancing the visual focus on a singular or object in front of us. Music help us maintain energy levels. People who listen to music feel like they have more energy left over compared to those who do not. Music limits the focus on the negative because the mind is stimulated.
Work chants are used with sailors, field workers and soldiers to increase their productivity while unifying them in a team effort. Musical rhythms create patterns of organization and controlled movement — for activities like rowing a boat. Music creates unity and cooperation amongst workers. The musical rhythm sets the pace. It also helps people focus on something other than the arduous work that is required of them.
Volume, pitch and frequency! Frequency, or the vibrating of sound waves, clearly shows us that sound is a form of energy. … Musical and natural sounds, such as a bird song, affect our emotions, influencing us to be happy or sad, worried or relaxed.
WHAT IS THE MUSIC INDUSTRY
As the music industry has become more complex the physics embodying its behavior on organization has also become more nuanced. From the streets of Music Row to New York City or Los Angeles the music industry is all about the companies and individuals that earn money by creating new songs and pieces and selling live concerts and shows, audio and video recordings, compositions and sheet music, and the organizations and associations that aid and represent music creators.
Like a rational corporation described by Scott, they are
1) deliberately constructed around 2) the coordination of tasks, performed by 3) the cooperation of people, under 4) specied guidelines and formal arrangements, in order to 5) achieve specied goals. such as assembly line manufacturing,
The “machine” is the appropriate metaphor for the rational(closed) Corporation. It sees people as an extension of the machine. It sees the environment as a resource for raw materials and relies on fairly straight-forward engineering to achieve success. Good engineering guarantees a greater market share — the purpose for which the rational(closed) Corporation exists.
Once you get up high enough, however, your physics-colored glasses lets you see music industry in a whole new way. Instead of just basic interactions we have the songwriters and composers who create new songs and musical pieces; the singers, musicians, conductors and bandleaders who perform the music; the companies and professionals who create and sell recorded music and/or sheet music (e.g., music publishers, music producers, recording studios, engineers, record labels, retail and online music stores, performance rights organizations); and those that help organize and present live music performances (sound engineers, booking agents, promoters, music venues, road crew) all of them have become part of what we call natural organizations/corporations
The natural Corporation who embeds and automats the rational corporation. Still closed, this corporations are now centered on 1) collectivities of people who 2) pursue multiple interests, 3) operate under informal relations, and are 4) guided by generalized values, in order to 5) perpetuate the Corporation.
Instead of just basic machines, the music industry becomes a vast interconnected system designed for turning energy into work. Seen through that lens, the music industry is really a giant heat engine, and that makes it a creature subject to one of the most profound principles in all of physics: the omnipresent Second Law of Thermodynamics.
People, not the environment, are seen as the main resource of this new type of Corporation. The appropriate metaphor here is Corporation as organism, and as an organism, it has a strong interior-exterior boundary, i.e. it is closed by Scott’s definition. Just like an organism, this Corporation is designed to grow, learn, develop. As a consequence of its ideology of survival, the environment begins to be seen as a threat against which the organism must adapt to survive.
THE FIRST LAW
Before we hit the second law, it would be good to remember the first law. — The first law of thermodynamics, also called conservation of energy, states that the total amount of energy in the universe is constant. This means that all of the energy has to end up somewhere, either in the original form or in a different from. We can use this knowledge to determine the amount of energy in a system, the amount lost as waste heat, and the efficiency of the system. Climb a flight of stairs and the chemical energy in your morning’s breakfast is turned into your muscles’ energy of motion. The breakfast’s chemical energy originates, of course, in sunlight via photons streaming across space. Energy is neither gained or lost. It is only transformed from one form to another.
Energy runs through wires and transform into movement including a range of professionals who assist singers and musicians with their music careers (talent managers, artists and repertoire managers, business managers, entertainment lawyers); those who broadcast audio or video music content (satellite, Internet radio stations, broadcast radio and TV stations); music journalists and music critics; DJs; music educators and teachers; musical instrument manufacturers; as well as many others. The first law is relatively easy to understand, and it makes a kind of innate sense to us.
THE SECOND LAW
The second law is something else entirely. It speaks to the consequences of those energy transformations mandated by the first law. There are rules for how energy is transformed — rules and limits. Most important the second law tells us that anytime energy is used to do useful work — like lift an I-beam to the top of a new building — then some of that energy must end up as waste, garbage, pollution or just plain crap.
This is the domain of The Fifth Discipline — a notion described by Peter Senge and the title of his seminal book. Senge introduces the necessity of perpetual learning, systems thinking. He talks about planning as a balancing process that is meant to “achieve homeostasis” in order to maintain condition for survival in complex environments.
Still, these natural Corporations, like the rational Corporations that preceded them, remain closed in several key ways:
1. There is a strong sense of boundary between the Corporation and the society “at large”
2. It is expensive to maintain that boundary
3. Society becomes seen as a threat to the internal Corporation
4. The Corporation adopts policies designed to defend itself against the society it otherwise exists to serve
5. Corporate benets are monopolized 6. Corporate costs are externalized
7. Behaviors that are seen as unethical “outside” the Corporation are sanction on the “inside”
8. The Corporation ‘supervenes’ on the individual and group level
9. The Corporation strives to maintain strong power asymmetry between itself and social actors (clients, customers, citizens)
10. The Corporation relies on articial scarcity of information (intellectual property)
Useful work creates unusable waste, always and forever. That is the law, the second law. That universal link between energy, work and waste and is what makes the second law such a profound, universal principle.
Use a load of coal to drive a steam-powered locomotive and some of the coal’s energy ends up heating the locomotive itself, leading to wear, tear and eventual decay. Physicists call this waste entropy, but what it really means is disorder.
The second law is a kind of warning to civilization. No matter how clever we are, there will always be disorder, waste and pollution following in the wake of our work organizing the array of human relationships into the music industry. There is another way of putting the second law that states the entropy of the universe always increases. So the work we do to create and maintain music industry means we are introducing into the environment substances or thing that has harmful or poisonous effects at a cultural level also raising the level of disorder, waste and pollution for the planet as a whole.
The second law tells us that doing work always leads to unintended consequences. That is what we have seen happen with our relentless pursue of profit.
In the beginning the rule might be something like “do the right thing.” Then the second rule might be something like “make as much profit as you can,” but what ends up happening is that somebody who plays by that rule compared to somebody who, say, plays by the rule of “make as much profit as you can and also do the right thing” … All right, so that minor shift of orientation means that the person who plays by the second rule is going to actually make more money, and, by virtue of doing that, is more likely to be able to, say, get more access, more power. They’ll go up the ladder. They’ll have more choice making and, of course, they’ll have more money with which to make more investments, but it’s not a very long step from “make as much profit as you can and try to do the right thing” to “make as much profit as you can and, say, do it as legal.”
Then, you’ve got something along the lines of “do it as arguably legal.” Then, it’s not too far to say, “Well, do what you can get away with.” Then, maybe “do what you … where getting caught is less expensive than not getting caught” or more than the profits you make by virtue of doing what you’re doing, and then even to the point of where the costs of bribery, corruption, greenwashing, manipulation, et cetera, is less expensive than the benefits of playing the other way. It is in fact a race to the bottom, a downward slope.
What else is global warming but the unintended consequence of burning fossil fuels to power the highly organized culture we have created?
We don’t yet know if such a mode can be made sustainable for more than a century or two. Coming to grips with that question can only mean coming to understand — the physics of thermodynamics and its ever-present second law.
The purpose of any organism (and the music industry is one) is to disperse energy and, in doing so, transition from high quality low quality forms. As stated by ecologist Eric Schneider, “ nature abhors gradient” where gradient is simply a difference over a distance. They do so not by burning brightly and disappearing, like a fire torching a forest, but through stable metabolic cycles that store chemical energy and continually reduce the solar gradient.
Similarly, the tendency for life to become more complex who is no due simply natural selection, as most evolutionists and economists still argue, but also to nature’s effort to grab more of the sun’s flow. The slow burn that characterizes the repackaging of vibrations enables the creation of distinct ecologies, that persist over deep time, changing in response to external and internal perturbations.
As we have already said, a system left to its own devices will lose its capacity to transform energy into work, eventually reaching a state of equilibrium/stasis. It seems that the goal of this ecosystems is to stay near but not at a equilibrium buy important energy into themselves and then being smart about how much energy do they use to stay in a stable state. Expend too much and they will not be able to sustain themselves over their lifetime; used to little and stasis wins, bringing the whole structure crashing down; create too much waste and you dumbass the sources of energy you need to keep going.
Management theories modeled human groups as if they were complex systems, with speciable boundaries and complex internal relations. Eventually managers took these models literally, and came to think of human groups as systems that could be controlled from the outside, and steered into preferred directions. In other words, when seen as members of a team from the “inside,” people were understood to be free agents who exercised choice in their actions; but from the perspective of the mind of the manager, who considered himself in a privileged position on the “outside,” these same people were seen as de-animated parts of a system that could be manipulated and controlled from the outside. People were self-determined at one level, and simultaneously determined by the system at the level of the “whole.” When realized, this whole organism was construed to function with a mind of its own, a larger and higher intelligence which exercised downward causation — an intelligence that organized the minds, intentions, beliefs and values of its member-parts.
People didn’t question the models that managers made of them, and as a consequence, a kind of group think embedded in strong belonging needs, came to permeate Corporational life. Entire teams developed a kind of “learned incompetence” that persists throughout our Corporations today and represents a major obstacle to creating new workplace dynamics.
The current collapse of the music industry hilights this is the very last point. We could make the analogy appropriate and an economic system is to increasing entropy a thermodynamic system.
You don’t have to scientifically educated to realize that the music industry is subject to the second law of thermodynamics, just as the rest of reality that can be in described in energetic terms, such as natural selection for the fittest species, organization of cellular metabolism, or an ecosystem’s food web.
This tendency to disperse the maximum amount of energy (that is, to consume free energy in the least time) is what allows the different ecosystems to organize themselves in hierarchical systems within systems to improve on energy dispersal and to access new sources of energy. For instance, the music industry is comprised of different sectors so that global resources are produced and consumed most effectively in terms of energy dispersal.
From this thermodynamic perspective, decision making is ultimately about choosing the action that causes energy to flow along the most steeply descending energy gradient. For example, when faced with two identical products where one is cheaper than the other, a consumer will likely choose the cheaper product.
When investing on the cheaper, more energy is left to be dispersed by buying other goods. The second law encourages activities that consume free energy as soon as possible. Therefore, there is the quest to increase productivity and throughput and to find new sources of energy. Moreover, the second law reveals that it is impossible to predict in detail the optimal course of energy utilization because the chosen course itself affects the choice for future actions.
Profit’s function as entropy and therefore as pollution signals us to understand that we must recycle profit into value, and not leverage profit to make more profit. Our instinctual love of profit is like a death instinct.
You’ve got the gap between the thing itself, the value, and the indicator, the sign of the value. If I can counterfeit a bunch of money, I have generated lots and lots and lots of the sign, but I haven’t generated the value. I think, in many ways, what ends up happening is that financial services ends up showing up a whole lot like counterfeiting. They produce lots and lots of things that generate lots of valid signs, lots of money, but in fact little or no value, in spite of the protestations of the economic profession.
another thing that happens with money is that, and money is an allocation of the kinds of choice making that we’re investing in, in our economy, which is to say that every dollar you have is, in many ways, a vote in what the economy does, all right? If I really, really want to have nothing but red Ferraris, and you really want to have nothing but, say, corn, and I have all the money, then the economy is going to produce red Ferraris and not corn. What ends up happening is that the way that finance allocates money also shows up as a way that our society allocates choice making, at least in the economic domain, and different …
As of 2018 it is clear that the assumption that profit now equals profit later has proven to be one of the greatest falsehoods of the early 21st Century. The Northeastern cod fishing fleet destroyed itself by harvesting its stock far too quickly. Bear Stearns went from being one of the most successful banks on Wall Street to effectively bankrupt in largely by relying on short-term financing and aggressive pursuit of quick wins.
In each of these cases their decision to maximize profit now let to the eventual downfall of the company. What is the social responsibility of a company? Is it to maximize profit? Or is it to maximize the long-term value of the company.
I have a feeling that the music industry has been run through the lens of What makes the most money right now? and not what will allow us to make the most money both today and tomorrow. The trade-off between profit now and profit tomorrow never happened.
It may have been the case, that by deferring profit in the early 90s, more profit could have been realized in the future. Therefore the social responsibility of the music industry shouldn’t have not been simply to make money but to create long-term value for everyone. Such an approach would have gone a long way towards creating a more sustainable and socially responsible industry.
Instead entropy is taking over. The wrong music can create a lot of distractions. It is important to select the right music for sovereignty purposes to minimize distractions.
Our minds have become too stimulated but under served at the same time. Although creative centers are stimulated through the forced abstract thinking that music causes, the mind can actually become too stimulated in this way. Some forms of information must be absorbed through a conventional method of understanding, such as geometric proofs. Being too stimulated will cause the information to be ignored instead of retained.
This may create memory gaps.You might forget where you are in the project or complete the entire task at hand without remembering what you did. When this happens, it is difficult to maintain quality control because there is no recollection of what just happened.
If you read Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins, and are wondering why the gene has got to be “selfish”. Its simple, when there is a gradient, nature detests it and finds a way of removing the gradient in most efficient way.
I got a feeling that Second law of thermodynamics replaces “God”.
If we look at this through the lense of open systems thinking we see that all corporations and parts of the music industry are incomplete and depend on exchanges with other systems. The notion of “environment/gradient as threat” could be replaced by the act of becoming fully aware that environmental features are conditions that are needed for their survival
By being interdependent and performed by shifting coalition of participants by way of linking actors, resources and institutions, we could then look at how to solve problems in complex environments.
New information technologies must be adopted to update the way information propagates through the system. But a couple of other things need to change,
1) the ways people organize to sense and make sense together,
2) their thresholds for action.
It is clear that Corporations have been quick to adopt ready-made information technologies, but on the structural front, coming to a new understanding is thwarted by hierarchical systems, traditional roles, stand alone functions, and vertical integration in which the supply chain of a company is owned by that company. Usually each member of the supply chain produces a different product or (market-specific) service, and the products combine to satisfy a common need.. On the action side, change is stymied by centralized administration, bureaucratic inertia, policy-driven decision making, and an obstinate aversion to risk.
As soon as we can assemble comparable computing power in our own homes, or garages, a social experiment could be underway. Can it be possible for a small group of purpose-driven people to compete with companies whose employees had comparable skills, and much larger resources? Of course, we now know that not only could the people compete — they completely out-performed the establishment.
As complexity of a task rises above a certain threshold, we will need to deconstruct the complexity in the Corporation in order to tackle it. Think of this as taming the problem situation.
When it comes to the second law of thermodynamics and open systems, however, we may need to take it slow and work in reverse direction trying to explain the continued use of a product or practice based on historical preference or use. This holds true even if newer, more efficient products or practices are available due to the previous commitment made. We need to subtract from the existing complicated path dependencies, even if it is often easier or more cost effective to simply continue along an already set path than to create an entirely new one.
We need to analyze our internal hidden assumptions and make our way into a new way of thinking. Back to first principles, to create powerful protocols for action.