Civilization as Anti-Entropy
Walking around my place today I noticed something new, a dark spot on one brick wall. My thoughts went to what happens with buildings unmaintained, and what my place would look like in 20, 30, 50 100 years if no one maintained it. I suppose that wall would be in some state of crumbling, perhaps the entire building. Now my little house (casita, here in central Mexico) is made mostly of stone, so it’s long term prospects are different from hollow-wall homes in the USA. Unmaintained in 100 years, those would so likely be in bad shape. Here, the stone construction has allowed many structures to last – though those without SOME maintenance are, indeed, crumbling.
And my thoughts went to entropy. Crumbling is exactly that – entropy. Gravity erosion, dissolving. At least two of those three are at work, trying to disembody my casita. Literally to disassemble it.
Leave it to nature and all things human-made will some day resolve and dissolve and erode and collapse, in a shambles. Is that too harsh of an accusation put to Mother Nature? I am sure the naturist and naturalists among us would call it harsh.
I am not so sure about that, myself.
Everything in the known universe is slowing down, we are told – coming to a slow grinding stop. Everything is supposed to go to the “lowest potential” – meaning the lowest potential energy level. High things flow down low, from high potential energy to low potential energy. Electrons try to flow to their lowest potential atomic shell, in whatever atom they need to move to, to get to that state. Mountains erode down to flat. Ocean waves crash shores, beating continents into sand or gravel or both, able to be carried by water down, down, down… Planets slow down, fall into their suns, along with their moons and whatever comets and meteors – all are doomed, as are their suns, to burn out and sit dead in space.
We are told that the destiny of all are to be dead in space.
But here on Earth, we have an amazing thing going on. We have humans. We have minds, and we have hands, applied to tools, and tools applied to materials. And from these minds and hands and tools we COUNTER entropy. We build things that entropy has to FIGHT to get it down to the level it was before those dastardly humans got their heinous hands on the material of nature. Iron ore was perfectly at rest, down underground, before we humans determined that that iron ore could be useful to build UP, not down, to FIGHT entropy, to make things the opposite of entropic. Copper ore, petroleum, uranium, bauxite, quartz sands, we dig them out of their repose, to LIFT their potential – to make buildings, wires, plastics, vehicles, home appliances and electronics, and all of it resists the HELL out of entropy. Continue reading