**Syntropy (negentropy)

Chapter thirty two 32



In 1989, while I was attending graduate school to obtain my art therapy degree, I encountered a “paradigm” surrounding the concept of entropy vs. negentropy.  I mapped out a quadrant image with entropy on the bottom of a perpendicular line and negentropy at the top.  As I explored the image and the words related to it, I found that “fix” was at one end of a horizontal line crossing this first one, and with “use” at the other end.  I have held onto that image for these past 17 years.

Tonight online I found the word “syntropy.”  Neither it nor negentropy are in my dictionary.

TROPISM (1899)


1 a: involuntary orientation by an organism or one of its parts that involves turning or curving by movement or by differential growth and is a positive or negative response to a source of stimulation  b: a reflex reaction involving a tropism

2: an innate tendency to react in a definite manner to stimuli;  broadly:  a natural inclination:  PROPENSITY


[ISV fr. Gk tropos]

1: turn: turning: change

2: tropism

ENTROPY (1875)

[ISV en– + Gk trope change, literally turn, fr. trepein to turn]

1: a measure of the unavailable energy in a closed thermodynamic system that is also usually considered to be a measure of the system’s disorder, that is a property of the system’s state, and that varies directly with any reversible change in heat in the system and inversely with the temperature of the system; broadly: the degree of disorder or uncertainty in a system

2 a: the degradation of the matter and energy in the universe to an ultimate state of inert uniformity  b: a process of degradation or running down or a trend to disorder


SYN- or SYM-

Prefix  [NL, fr. Gk, fr. syn with, together with]

1: with: along with: together

2: at the same time

SYNTROPY is considered to be a turning toward life – future causes an effect in the present toward organization– while ENTROPY is a turning toward death – past causes an effect in the present toward disorganization.

Because, so far, I understand Siegel to be saying that an infant’s mind is in chaos and as the brain grows through its interactions with its caregivers toward organization, this issue is of significance.  With infant abuse, chaos of trauma reigns supreme.  Whatever organization a brain-mind obtains in peritraumatic infant environments is either a result then of chance only, or there is a governing force toward order that makes an effort in the worst of scenarios to create order and some kind of organization to allow for life to continue for that infant, from chaos within chaos.


Let’s start with the basic and simple:

ORGAN (bef. 12c)

[ME, partly fr. OE organa, fr. L organum, fr. Gk organon, literally, tool, instrument; partly fr. AF organe, fr. L organum; akin to Gk ergon work – more at WORK]

1 a archaic: any of various musical instruments; especially:  WIND INSTRUMENT  b (1): a keyboard instrument in which sets of pipes are sounded by compressed air and produce a variety of timbres…..

2 a: a differentiated structure (as a heart, kidney, leaf, or stem) consisting of cells and tissues and performing some specific function in an organism  b: bodily parts performing a function or cooperating in an activity

3: a subordinate group or organization that performs specialized functions


1: to cause to develop an organic structure

2: to form into a coherent unity or functioning whole:  INTEGRATE

3 a: to set up an administrative structure for  b: to persuade to associate in an organization; especially: UNIONIZE

4: to arrange by systematic planning and united effort


1: to undergo physical or organic organization

2: to arrange elements into a whole of interdependent parts

syn see ORDER


1:  one that organizes

2:  a region of a developing embryo or a substance produced by such a region that is capable of inducing a specific type of development in undifferentiated tissue – called also inductor


[F desorganizer, fr. desdis– + organizer to organize]

: to destroy or interrupt the orderly structure or function of


: lacking coherence, system, or central guiding agency:  not organized

(refer to AGENT as root (just following to LEAD)  in both AGONY and SYNAGOG which I just noted in TIME NOTES as am going to look at SYN- there, too)


Are traumatizing caregivers disorganizing an already disorganized structure?  The problem is that the infant’s “disorganized structure” has the potential of a new life within it that requires “organized structuring” be made available to it by the “services” of its caregivers.  That is the responsibility of bringing an infant into this world.  If the parent does the reverse!?!?  We know that if a caregiver is disorganized, they will pass this onto their offspring – except in “earned attachments.”  (borrowed – letting the infant show the way – which seems somehow to be possible, unless the caregiver is allowing “life” or the power of syntropy to show the way)

What is the AGENT and what does the LEADING when the parent can’t?  What did that for my mind, and for mother’s, as far as she got to go?


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