The Entropy Blues Part 2: Overcoming Entropy

"God said, 'Let there be light', and there was light; and God saw that the light was good, and he separated light from darkness."

Genesis 1:3

"Entropy came into existence at the instant of the Big Bang; starting with the creation of the universe, heat, light, and all other forms of energy have been dissipating, spreading out over time as the universe expands. This tendency to spread out, moving energy to less concentrated areas, is entropy."

Deepak Chopra, MD, Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, New York: Harmony Books, 1993.

"At the end of the night of time all things return to my nature; and when the new day of time begins I bring them again into the light. Thus through my nature I bring forth all creation and this rolls around in the circle of time.

Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita

Entropy is a concept in physics about the dissipation of energy. We see entropy in life as the breaking down of systems. The complex becomes more simple. Things break. We age. Compost transforms order into disorder.

This is a great concept for pessimists. If you just focus on entropy everything seems to be headed for destruction and the end is a cold nothingness. But wait. There's another story. There is intelligence in the universe. There is a creative process that overcomes entropy. Life evolves. Things grow. Creation moves from less complex to more complex systems. Wow! That's really good news for us complex organisms. There is reason to hope.

Entropy and creativity are like a wheel going around. A leaf falls from a tree. This marvelous lattice structure of living material breaks down and becomes soil. The soil nourishes the tree and more leaves are born. Something magical is happening. The tree/soil/sun system shows an intelligence. Out of the muck comes life.

It happens this way in human life too. "Bad things" happen and it can look like life is turning to sludge. But we are living beings with creative potential. We have intelligence which can make something new out of the debris of life.

When we actively use our intelligence we overcome entropy. Just as exercising the body opposes the breakdown of the physical system, actively using the mind fosters a more harmonious and creative mental structure.

These processes may be seen as cyclical. Health arises out of the balance between doing and not doing. Give your body rest. Give it exercise. Let your mind be like a wheel, not spinning pointlessly, but turning from doing to not doing to doing afresh. Stimulate your mind by looking and listening. Give your mind space by meditating. Do your work hopefully, knowing that creation comes forth out of a universal intelligence-- and your work is that intelligence in action.

Take Time:
Today and this week give yourself time to calm your mind. Use a meditation technique such as sitting meditation to clear space for creative power.
Nurture your creative intelligence. Let go of negative thinking and direct your attention to those things that are beautiful and those things that fill you with life.
Apply Energy:
Notice how your work creates order out of disorder. Applying energy in an orderly and focussed manner supports life. Remind yourself frequently that you are an agent of the life force.

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© 2002 Tom Barrett