The inverse of entropy

Complexity As a former and recovering physicist, I have been indoctrinated in the 2nd law of thermodynamics, namely that there is always an increase in disorder over time. Your physicist friends will tell you (what do you mean you haven’t got any?) that Entropy is a measure of the degree of randomness or chaos in a system (such as a box/room/universe). This has all kinds of fascinating philosophical implications that I won’t go in to, such as giving us our sense of time. Anyway, whilst I appreciate the mathematics and experiments that clearly back this up this law, I have always found this a rather pessimistic world view.

And yet the more recent trend towards emergence (more on that in my next post) talks of order arising from complexity in nature, in cities, in the brain and on the web. However this directly contradicts this famous 2nd law. In this case entropy or randomness decreases over time as order or patterns arise from complexity. In fact, John Maeda (all round good guy and graphic designer, visual artist, and computer scientist at MIT Media Lab) has been taking part in a debate hosted by the Economist about whether technology will complicate or simplify our life. He argues that currently most technology is infantile and therefore a complicating influence in our lives, however ultimately technology will unite with design and the arts in unprecedented harmony such that not only will our lives be simplified, but more importantly satisfying. I love the optimism of this argument even if can’t quite bring myself to share it fully. Whose side are you on?

PS. Thanks to Ewan for pointing our John Maeda’s TED talk (here)


  1. Here’s a thought. If there was a point in time at which a quantum singularity existed, and it was the source of our current expanding universe, and of all the matter in existence, and the laws of gravity, of entropy, of kinetic and potential energy are “real”, then wouldn’t it make sense that the singularity will reappear at some point in the future? Does it not follow that at some time in the future the expanding universe will begin to contract? Does it not also make sense that once all of the kinetic energy of the initial “Big Bang” is expended, that the universe will contract inward on itself and reform the quantum singularity?
    This is just a theory. I call it the universal inverse entropy law. It essentially states that a body existing in a vacuum, and with no outside forces acting on it, will contract inward on itself to the point where its mass overcomes its gravitational force. Once this occurs the singularity “explodes” and all of its mass is flung outwards until it reaches the point at which all of its excess kinetic energy has been expended. This is the point at which an objects outward motion and its inward motion match (Equilibrium) and it has a relatively stable set of motions and actions which can be calculated based on the laws of physics.
    Ultimately the objects equilibrium is upset as its kinetic energy is expended. Once the object reaches this point it begins the journey home. In other words it returns to the singularity and adds its mass to the core. As the singularity builds mass it attracts even more mass until it has attracted all of the mass available. Essentially, it is an object in a vacuum. Absent any other mass it contracts in on itself until it reaches the point of self-annihilation.
    This is the point at which the “Inverse Entropy Law” kicks in. That is instead of tending toward more and more disorder, an object in a vacuum that has expended all of its kinetic energy is returned to its origin by its potential energy, which now acts to accelerate the object back to its point of origin (what goes up must come down). It now tends toward more and more order. When an object reaches the singularity it is drawn inward by gravity and is compressed to the point where it looses all individuality. It becomes “one” with the singularity. Potential energy in the singularity increases exponentially with each unit of added mass (f=ma, where a=gravity, m=mass and neither is a constant over time) while at the same time decreasing in size due to compression.
    It then follows that as the mass of the singularity approaches infinity, its inward acting force would approach infinity, but at an exponentially faster rate. The energy contained in the singularity would logically exceed the ability of its gravitational force to hold it together and it would explode. This would simply be big bang two. My theory simply states that this will happen again and again in fact it will never stop. I also believe that our big bang could not have been the first big bang. Why? Because of the chicken and the egg.
    Which came first? The big bang could only have occurred if a singularity existed, a singularity could only exist in our past if in its past there were a contracting universe that coalesced to form it in the nothingness of space. A contracting universe could only exist if in its past there were an expanded universe that was out of the energy required to keep it expanding. This expanded universe could only have existed if in its past it had expanded, i.0.e it had started from some central point of origin. We could call that point a singularity. So how long has this been going on?
    I would postulate that to the singularity time is meaningless. It has only two laws and all others are functions of these two laws. One: Inverse Entropy, two: conservation of mass/energy.
    Will the next big bang create a universe just like this one? Maybe not. Take into account the statistical probability of an entirely random set of events occurring during a bomb blast and the chance of an exact repeat approaches one over infinity. But if you consider the law of large numbers in statistics, then the chance of a recurrence becomes certain as the number of trials approaches infinity.
    So if the big bang did occur, it will again, and it had to have happened before. If it happens again, then it will do so forever and it has done so an infinite number of times in the past. It will continue an infinite number of times in the future. Because it is certain that the universe exists today, the law of large numbers makes it a certainty that the universe existed exactly as it is some time in the past and will again sometime in the future (provided there ever was a singularity). Logic then dictates that certain beliefs like destiny, Deja vous, etc., may not be all wrong.
    Just a thought.

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