Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Considering Life and Entropy

I discovered an interesting little article tonight which philosophizes on the relationship between life force and entropy.

I wanted to comment because my intuition tells me that there is a slight mistake and, though it may seem small, I feel it has significance. I believe it is a dangerous misconception to automatically see death and/or decay as entropy...as a force for destruction. I actually believe that death and/or decay are often actually part of life force itself. This is hard for human consciousness to accept, since death and decay often mean suffering, either to those dying/decaying or to those observing. But on the grand scale of things, individual death and decay often lead to new and more various or complex forms of life.

Entropy is, to me, more associated with a more permanent destruction. The recent struggle by mankind to dominate, exploit, and control each other, and nature itself, seems to be a powerful force of entropy which could very well leave the Planet Earth a Mars-like wasteland. When it comes to human actions, we can be directly (purposely) or indirectly (through ignorance) entropic. Greed and/or hunger for power are strong forces of entropy, for example, for to accumulate personal wealth or great amounts of power generally means the suffering of others.

Now, this is not to say that I completely disagree with the article's author or philosophy. Quite the opposite is true, especially after adding the "tweaks" I have mentioned.

Peace to all.


MoonRaven said...

Interestingly enough, I simply see entropy as a tendency toward disorder. I like Gregory Bateson's definition of entropy in his book, Mind and Nature: "The degree to which relations between the components of any aggregate are mixed up, unsorted, undifferentiated, unpredictable, and random." In the book 'Complexity', scientists begin theorizing that an opposite to entropy would be a tendency toward self-organizing, which can be found in all parts of the universe, but particularly on the part of living things.

I think in another book Bateson described entropy as the reason your room becomes a mess. It takes energy to keep things in order.

SoapBoxTech said...

Yes, the article I refer to spoke along these lines as well. It just doesn't sit totally right with me tho. Perhaps I need a different word or perhaps this is the human interpretation. Or perhaps the more permanently destructive force that I refer to is just concentrated entropy as defined by the article and Moonraven's suggestions.