HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 27, 2015 – 12:00am
Nothing lasts forever.
When I stare out into space, I am staggered at the thought that all the suns and galaxies out there will one day fade into oblivion with no trace as new ones are born into existence. And they too will die out.
When I look at old pictures of Manila taken during the ‘40s and compare the city then to what I see today, I can hardly find any landmarks that still exist except for very few. The landscape has changed substantially, and will continue to change.
Nothing is static. The old always gives way to the new.
It seems to me that everything in our universe is built to eventually fade as the process of deterioration, disintegration, destruction gives way to new forms and structures. All existing systems will eventually disappear, too. The process is called entropy. As defined in the dictionary, it refers to “the idea that everything in the universe eventually moves from a state of order to disorder,” and entropy is the measurement of that change. The word entropy has its roots in the Greek entropia, which means “a turning toward” or “transformation.”
I reflect on entropy at my age now where I feel my body is not as powerful as it was when I was in my 20s. When I take my vitamins and some other maintenance drugs, I realize that what I am actually doing is trying to counter the force of entropy from
I want to live longer. That is why I also go to the gym and continuously learn new things to keep my body and mind functioning well and together for as long as possible.
I also realize that the whole effort of living is about trying to make do with as little entropy as possibly standing in the way.
But I know that, for sure, the laws of entropy will win in the end. We will all age and die. Our cities will eventually disintegrate. Civilizations, empires and governments have come and gone and the cycle will be repeated continuously. That’s the way of the world.
The struggle of the human race to survive and thrive is all about standing up to entropy. We are always trying to invent new ways to extend life and to make living easier and more pleasurable. We are also trying to preserve what we see as good for the well-being of the many. Ideally, we extol their values and virtues. These virtues are democracy, environmentalism, spirituality, equal rights, etc.
Here is something else to think about.
Could love be the opposite of entropy? Could love be an evolutionary impulse that developed as a response to the natural and gradual destruction and disorder of the world?
If entropy is the way of the world, why do people not naturally and willingly surrender to its force? Instead we do all we can to cushion us from the pain. Why do we fight it? Don’t we do all we can to shield ourselves and our loved ones from destruction and pain?
In one of his books, the author M. Scott Peck posits that the reason why the earth has not been destroyed is because there is a being that is preventing entropy from doing us in.
He suggests that there is a God that holds the world together. He suggests that every day that the earth is not destroyed is a miracle. Just think of how many nuclear warheads there are in the world; don’t you wonder why we have not had an accidental detonation yet?
Every day is a miracle. Someone is holding the forces of entropy at bay and preventing large-scale destruction.
Each time a parent prepares a lunchbox for her kid, she is doing the same thing — exercising the force of love to preserve and enhance the well-being of a loved one.
Each time we do random or planned acts of kindness, and extend or enhance the life of another, it is good for the world.
I often ask myself if the story of the world is really about the deterioration of things or the constant rising from the ashes of new forms. I would like to believe that the impulse to rise and to believe we can make something positive out of any situation is our saving grace as humans. Resistance is love.
The author Brandon Sanderson said it best: “Entropy shakes its angry fist at you for being clever enough to organize the world.”