Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Equilibrium and disorder

Yesterday’s blog about Time made me aware of the existence of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. The Economist: “The second law of thermodynamics puts into mathematics, the commonplace observation that heat flows from hot things to cold ones, and not the other way around. This mathematical treatment, though, has many consequences. One of the best-known is that any system will become more disordered as time passes. [..] This is because there are many more ways for a system to be disorderly than orderly.”

What is even more interesting than that observation is that Nature – and even our entire Universe – is always striving for an Equilibrium – a balance. It is like the saying “Opposites attract”. Remarkably, there is not even a Wikipedia article on ‘equilibrium‘, just a reference site with links (e.g., books, movies, music). The most interesting link – to me – is the Wikipedia page called List of types of equilibrium which groups the various kinds of equilibrium in the field of biology, chemistry, economics, game theory, physics, and – of course – other.

In my view, the disorderly aspect of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is just a move towards a new equilibrium. The Earth is 4.5 billion years old, the Universe is some 13.8 billion years old (also see my blogs of March 9 and April 11). It is hard to see a permanent state of disorder in both. Disorder is a temporary state while equilibrium is a permanent state (ceteris paribus).

The eternal move towards equilibrium might be the greatest force of Nature – ever. I think and feel that equilibrium is related to sustainability. Only an equilibrium is sustainable. Anything else is not. Compare it with a perpetuum mobile machine: it doesn’t exist. The equilibrium is rest. The mobility part is a temporary state of disorder until the next equilibrium.

Considering the above, I think and feel that even a relationship (e.g., animals, humans) is just another form of an equilibrium. A break-up or divorce is a temporary state of disorder until the next equilibrium comes along. This may even explain why we are always searching for some kind of equilibrium in our life. Yet sometimes I feel like a magnet too: when people come to close to me then an opposite force becomes active too. In the Universe such a force would be called gravity. Yet, this same gravity also seems essential in shaping an equilibrium. Push and pull between men and women ultimately results in a new equilibrium – or a relationship.

The purpose of Life seems to be a state of Equilibrium. The fundamental forces of nature behind it are gravity and electromagnetism. According to Wikipedia there are even two (2) other fundamental forces of nature, being strong nuclear force and weak nuclear force (Wikipedia).

Gravitation and electromagnetism act over a potentially infinite distance across the universe. They mediate macroscopic phenomena every day. The other two fields act over minuscule subatomic distances. The strong interaction is responsible for the binding of atomic nuclei. The weak interaction also acts on the nucleus, mediating radioactive decay (Wikipedia).

In a certain way, mankind – and its inherent mobility – is the disorder within a universal Equilibrium. 


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