Entropy, 2nd law of thermos dynamics.
Just today I was working on a column to be titled Entropy or the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. I chose this topic because I have been finding that everything around me has a way of deteriorating the minute I don’t stay on top of it. The garden without constant attention just morphs into weeds and disorganized rubble. If I don’t feed the chickens or give them water they become obnoxious and ill-behaved. If I don’t exercise my muscles, the ones I have left, just go to sagging and looking foolish. Even my mind if not infused with activity and a flood of information, begins to wander off in space and nonsense. The asphalt driveway will crumble under the push of weeds and ants.
I am not alone it turns out with entropy. The financial markets are subject to it as is our energy supply, our water. Most alarming, entropy also affects this column and that was becoming the issue as I tried to write. I was about to quit and take a month off. But, wait, why should I let entropy get me down? I thought and looked for answers.
So I read this, “Entropy is simply a measure of disorder and affects all aspects of our daily lives. In fact, you can think of it as nature’s tax. Left unchecked, disorder increases over time. Energy disperses, and systems dissolve into chaos. The more disordered something is, the more entropic we consider it.”
Oh great! “Albert Einstein referred to entropy and the second law of thermodynamics as the only insights into the workings of the world that would never be overthrown.”
Even Yeats had it figured out as he wrote, and this is before all those fancy physicists began pontificating.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
Here is a simple illustration to what entropy does and I don’t necessarily like it.
Then it occurred to me that this entropy also might apply to human relations. And, believe it or not, the damn covid thing has played a role in this. It has made it so, in our fear of getting the plague, we have been denied many of our usual human get-togethers. That is, we have not been allowed to gather as groups around our tables and in our homes to blather and raise a glass to the usual friendships. These relationships take energy and effort and if not constantly applied, like the diagram above, things dissipate. ‘The centre cannot hold.’
After all, in thermodynamics it is a LAW. It is like the speed of light at 186,000 miles per sec. That is a damn scientific LAW. It can’t be changed. No court can overturn these laws, so I tell myself to get over it.
Then there is this: “the second law of thermodynamics says that entropy always increases with time.” That is just great. In truth, I ended up writing this column when I had just thought my ambition and creative energy might have dissipated. It may be true entropy is tugging at me, and I really was noticing it today. Tomorrow I believe it is time to pull those dissipating little imaginary balls of the illustration back to a closer, tighter organization and weed the garden, buy beer and invite some folks over to defy entropy—- and even defy Einstein if we have to.