Order vs Chaos

The principle of organization is built into nature. Chaos itself is self-organizing. Out of primordial disorder, stars find their orbits; rivers make their way to the sea.

The War of Art

A term I learned in physics years ago was entropy.

Entropy is defined as:

a thermodynamic quantity representing the unavailability of a system’s thermal energy for conversion into mechanical work, often interpreted as the degree of disorder or randomness in the system.

In ELI5 terms Entropy, is the randomness, chaos, and disorder that exists when “work” is happening.

Work can be defined as change of state in temperature, pressure, or volume.

Work can also be defined as… well work. The work we do every day. Our lives. Our lives are work. Keeping our lives in order takes work.

So what’s the punch line? Entropy is always increasing

“The law that entropy always increases holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of Nature.”

Arthur Eddington

This means that the universe or nature or our lives will naturally skew towards disorder. They will always become more chaotic.

However, what I find fascinating about this concept and what I find somewhat paradoxical is that in this chaos, in this disorder, in this randomness… there actually is order.

A river always finds its way to sea. No matter how windy the path. No matter how many rocks block its way. It always finds its way to sea.

So how do I reconcile the seemingly conflicting ideas that:

  • Entropy is always increasing -> More Chaos, Less Organization
  • Chaos itself is self-organizing -> Less Chaos, More Organization

I don’t.

What I mean by that is instead of avoiding chaos or entropy, I should essentially fully immerse myself in it. Hell maybe even try to create more entropy! And once I am fully drowning in that chaos, I will see the light flickering above that will tell me which direction to swim in to make it to the surface.

In other words the conclusion I have reached is: don’t avoid chaos, instead embrace it, create more of it if I have to, and doing so will better help me find order

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