I’ve got a bone to pick with physics. It’s 100% out to get me.
Specifically, my problem is with the second law of thermodynamics, which has to do with this thing called entropy. Entropy measures the degree of disorder in a system and is, without question, the root of all evil in my life.
Basically, entropy says that systems naturally incline towards disorder. It’s just the way the world works. No matter how fucked up things seem right now, they’re destined to get way more fucked up.
Got that everyone? It’s all downhill from here. You can fight it, you can try to put things back in order, but ultimately you’re not gonna win. The universe says otherwise, and the universe is way bigger and stronger than you are.
The laws of physics clearly say that fuckedupedness is where we are headed, and it STRESSES. ME. OUT.
I am fighting entropy so hard, and I am losing so hard, and I’m so exhausted. I just want order. In my life and in my mind.
And, if that’s not bad enough, Stephen Hawking, in A Brief History of Time, treats us to this exciting characteristic of entropy:
“the entropy of an isolated system always increases, and that when two systems are joined together, the entropy of the combined system is greater than the sum of the entropies of the individual systems.”
Well that’s just freaking great.
Currently there are five human beings in my household, plus a dog and four chickens. You do the math. No wonder it’s a shit show over here.
The truth is, I’m generally up for the fight when it comes to keeping stuff in order. Stuff can drive you nuts, but at the end of the day, it’s just stuff. It can be dealt with, even if it is stressful and exhausting.
I’ll tackle that dirty kitchen and I might even gain a certain level of satisfaction in the process. I’ll freely admit that when I finish mowing the lawn or snow-blowing the driveway, I’ll often stare at the yard from the upstairs window and admire my work. The feeling of having created order makes me feel really good. It’s very satisfying.
Here’s what I can’t handle: The entropy of my mind.
My mind is a closed system that seems to perfectly obey the second law of thermodynamics, always veering towards chaos and disarray, and I don’t know how to stop it. I don’t know how to clean up my mind. I have not figured out how to put all the pieces in order. I don’t even expect them to stay in order all the time. I just want them in order temporarily, so that I can stand in the upstairs window of my brain and admire my work now and then.
Stephen Hawking goes on to explain that since systems naturally incline towards disorder, statistically speaking, there is a chance, however infinitesimally small that chance might be, that the system will momentarily find itself completely in order.
If we were to drop 100 pennies on the ground over and over again, the laws of statistics say that eventually each and every penny will land heads up.
Sometimes we put a lot of work into making things orderly. We clean up our house. We keep our files in order. We go to our shrink. We take our meds. We rake the leaves. We wash the car.
And sometimes we just wait, we just hope, for the universe to momentarily shine its statistical countenance upon us.