The statement I’ll be making today is simple… very simple. Nonetheless, I think it’s of tremendous importance. It’s the type of thing that, if kept sufficiently in mind, can revise your mental universe.
It’s the type of thing that makes me want to write, “Meditate on this at least once per day for several years.” This concept can not only revamp you, but could revamp humanity.
So, here are those three words:
Life reverses entropy.
If that sounds too simple or not entirely clear, no problem; I’ll continue. (You can find lengthier discourses in our subscription letters.)
Entropy Versus Life
Entropy (a physics term) is the nature of all inanimate things: rocks, water, air, and so on. These all wind down and wear out eventually. Given enough millennia, the winds and rains will wear down the mountains. Given a few billion years, the sun itself will wear out and collapse, ending our winds and rains with it.
Entropy breaks up concentrations of energy and things; it spreads them out till they are all dispersed and everything is a huge, neutral, homogeneous mass… a useless mass.
All inanimate things eventually wind down and wear out. By themselves, they remain tied to entropy.
Living things, on the other hand, reverse entropy.
A fruit tree, for example, takes in gasses from our atmosphere, light from the sun, minerals and water from the ground. Then it organizes, concentrates, and harmonizes them… and produces oranges, apples, and so on.
The same can be said for all living things. All of them take material from the entropic, inanimate world and concentrate it, making it useful. This is what life does. And more so than the “characteristics of life” we were forced to memorize and repeat in school, this is the nature of life. Truth be told, I think it should be taught as the central observation of life:
Life is recognized by its reversal of entropy.
Mere matter does not organize itself. Life, on the other hand, continues itself by concentrating, organizing, and productively using mere matter.
(There are certain crystals that seem to grow. Properly, however, they accrete rather than grow.)
Plants and animals reverse entropy very effectively. Each, however, is able to reverse entropy in certain ways, but not others. Mankind is the great exception; we can reverse entropy willfully. We choose how we will reverse entropy, and we can choose more and newer ways, seemingly without end… or we can evade such choices.
In this way the old idea of mankind being superior to the beasts is entirely correct; there is nothing on this planet that is remotely like us. We really are “the crown of creation.”
Back to the Three Words
If all of this is true or even just substantially true, there are huge implications:
- If life is the thing that lies at the center of usefulness and survival (entropy would eventually erase all usefulness and survival), then the function, growth, and positive evolution of life, especially of human life, is a cardinal value… the cardinal value.
- And if this is so, the restraint of life must be considered a cardinal offense.
- The subjugation of life and its actions to man-made rules – whether sold as “the wisdom of the ancients,” “the voice of the people,” or whatever – becomes a mass transgression against the functions of life, and thus a transgression against both survival and thriving.
If the three words are true – or anywhere close to true – a great many things are opened to being questioned, and thus to being improved.
And so again, I think this is a concept worth holding in your mind and examining over protracted periods of time.
4 thoughts on “Just Three Words”
Outstanding article Paul. It clarifies some things for me. Keep fighting the good fight.
Thanks, Carl. I shall. 🙂
Life reverses entropy temporarily. I have no doubt, however, that in 100 years, the atoms that currently make up my body will be scattered to the winds.
Similarly, the earth which supports all known life will apparently be swallowed by the dying sun in a few billion years.
But while we’re here, yes, our actions have a reverse entropy character to them. We must, of course, adhere to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states that (except at absolute zero) energy must be expended to reverse the tendency of things to get more random. Luckily, for the time being, we have the sun to help us along with that task.
Don’t throw your arms around defeat, my friend. New life is birthed into the world every day, and we’ve not yet emerged from our dark ages. We have no clue how much better we can become.
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