“In short, we can define entropy as a measure of the disorder of the universe, on both a macro and a microscopic level. The Greek root of the word translates to “a turning towards transformation” — with that transformation being chaos.
As you read this article, entropy is all around you. Cells within your body are dying and degrading, an employee or coworker is making a mistake, the floor is getting dusty, and the heat from your coffee is spreading out. Zoom out a little, and businesses are failing, crimes and revolutions are occurring, and relationships are ending. Zoom out a lot further and we see the entire universe marching towards a collapse.”
– Shane Parrish
A couple nights ago, I read a great article called Battling Entropy: Making Order of the Chaos in our lives. Writer and thinker Shane Parrish writes on what that means and the full ramifications of it in our world.
I find myself revisiting it today as a morning exercise of sorts and applying it to some current situations in my life.
- Taking this mental rule and understanding that everything in their natural order falls apart, not together, and that I must understand that absolutely:
- Understanding that really does give one peace and direction.
It’s not being pessimistic, it’s being pragmatic. When you search and connect with the reality of how the world really works you are also better prepared and expecting.
At age 26 and as an entrepreneur, I’m still worrying about how I will be financially independent in the sustainable sense for the long game. Do I keep doing what my heart tells me to do, or do I one day make the decision to choose a stable job that affords me compound savings at an office job?
I am saving pennies on the dollar now, and I can be saving dollars and mucho moola on the dollar if I worked in something else.
I understand that without considerably added effort as an entrepreneur and with good fortune, this will only lead to entropy (in financial resources, in personal and time capital, etc.), so I need to set firm guidelines for myself, for how long I am taking this passion project for the ride and what milestones or goals I will set it against in order to validate sustaining my efforts in it.
At age 26, I have osteoporosis. That has resulted in me getting foot pain or fractures regularly, and I’ve also had to retire from many sports and activities that I never expected to have retired from at this age.
It’s frustrating, but I understand it’s just an early realization for me on my part that this body will only continue to degenerate as you age. There will be arthritis, there will be osteoporosis, there might be some disease, and you will most certainly start losing collagen & elasticity and develop fine lines on your forehead in your twenties. However, this does not mean I should just rest. Resting only encourages more entropy. To keep the body sharp is to keep the mind sharp is to keep the life sharp.
Sharp as a well made kitchen knife. Mhm.
Whatever effort humans put into regenerating the body is an effort of pure science, bullish effort, and going against nature. It’s quite impressive, thinking of all of it actually.
From age 18 to my early 20s, I had the tendency to not want to create deep, personal relationships. For me, what I had was enough, and the immense effort required to sustain human relationships with often very irrational people just seemed like such a high cost for me, and I didn’t want to put the effort in. It was better I thought to invest in my work, my passions, and myself. Engage with others, but keep a distance. Don’t get too close. At least introspection with the self was certain to result in some kind of fruit. This was a shortsight, as I realize now that forming and working really hard to maintain authentic relationships with people are one of the greatest investments I can make in my life. Human relationships counteract all forms of entropy: mental, emotional, professional, etc.
For those having trouble with developing relationships, or with little interest in developing any: Yes, people can disappoint you, yes they might not be the most intellectually stimulating people in the world, yes, they can be unreliable, but so am I, and so are you. And I’d still like to say I’m worth the effort and worth getting to know. There are fruits to be seen and revealed, through me, by you or some other person who enters my life. So I guess I’d apply the same for you.
“The energy of the universe is constant. The entropy of the universe tends to a maximum.”
I’ve experienced entropy at its max in this category. I’ve grown up out of a very troubled home, and what was considered “family” was breaking down at a Nitro rollercoaster steep rate from my middle school years. I saw what happens when there is no effort put in, or when the only effort put into the family unit encourages further dissolution and entropy.
However, through this experience, I’ve also seen what incredible things can happen in the re-building if you seek to counteract entropy. It requires double, no triple, the effort.
So why not make the effort in the first place.
My experience has brought my current family closer and we are more vigilant as a family in some ways. We are exceedingly careful to not say or do some things that would harm our relationship with the other. There is a foundational, rigid, understanding of what we must not do or entertain in our current romantic relationships and for our future relationships. And we’re aggressive with building, building, building. Building new ways and systems to affirm one another, to show we appreciate one another, to show we love one another.
“Truly understanding entropy leads to a radical change in the way we see the world. Ignorance of it is responsible for many of our biggest mistakes and failures. We cannot expect anything to stay the way we leave it. To maintain our health, relationships, careers, skills, knowledge, societies, and possessions requires never-ending effort and vigilance. Disorder is not a mistake; it is our default. Order is always artificial and temporary.”
With my romantic relationships I tend to take a one man stance. Considering 1. my subscription to this idea of chaos and disorder naturally developing (emphasis on natural order) as time goes on in every aspect of our lives and our world and 2. all I know about myself and my emotional and physical capacity as a human-woman, I just don’t think I can go on living life attaching myself to and emotionally engaging with more than one romantic interest at a given time. If the aim is to build and not to break-down, the effort involved in romantic relationships cannot be optional, but required. I believe this effort should begin at earlier stages of getting to know someone, not when there is a “are we…” talk. Getting to know someone at my convenience only, or not showing I care when I don’t really care at the early stage of a relationship is possible– my every right– and also comfortable, but in the end what does that lead to? What can all that lead to? There’s the chance that you might fall in love and I have seen many friends who are in wonderful, wholesome relationships which resulted from a start of the more casual or poly- sort. But it entertains a whole lot more chance. And I guess this all goes down to who I am as a person again. I don’t care for welcoming chance.