ScillyMission's profile (edit)
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We are never victims of circumstance. There are only our thoughts and how we choose to respond to them.
All machines, in fact, must eventually break down, and scientists have
confirmed that the law describing this energy exchange in a machine applies
to all energy systems in the universe. This fact of nature is often spoken
of as the law of increasing entropy. Entropy, simply put, is a measure of
the amount of randomness or chaos in a system, and the law of increasing
entropy is an expression of the fact the the universe is irreversibly
moving toward a state of increased disorder and randomness. Left to itself,
with no energy input from the outside, any system will tend to break down
and become increasingly disordered. A car will turn to rust and fall apart,
a mountain will eventually be worn down, and so on. Even the expansion of
the universe itself is a movement in the direction of increasing disorder,
Yet we can plainly see that many things in the universe tend toward
increased order -- the opposite of what is predicted by the second law of
thermodynamics. Life itself has evolved as atoms became molecules, then
amino acids, proteins, cells, multi-cellular life, social systems, and so
on -- definitely a process of increasing order, and obviously against the
flow of increasing entropy. How can this be? This seeming paradox puzzled
scientists for over a hundred years until Prigogine discovered the key:
that order arises not in spite of entropy, but because of it!
Progigine called these open systems that evolve and grow by taking in
energy and matter from their environment and then
dissipating the resulting
entropy into their environment "dissipative structures."
Such structures, in order to maintain their existence, must
interact with their environment, continually maintaining
the flow of energy into and out of the system.
Dissipative structures flourish in unstable, fluctuating
environments by being plastic enough to handle the
variations and changes in such
environments. The more ordered and complex a system
becomes, the more
entropy it must dissipate in order to maintain its existence. Conversely,
each system has an upper limit, due to its level of
complexity, of how much entropy it can dissipate.
This is a key point.
If the fluctuations from the environment increase beyond
that limit, the system, unable to disperse enough entropy
into its environment, begins to become internally more entropic, or chaotic.
If the excessive fluctuations continue, the chaos
eventually becomes so great that the system begins to break
down until finally a point is reached where the slightest
nudge can bring the whole system grinding to a halt.
This point, which Prigogine called a bifurcation point -- bifurcate means
to divide into two branches -- is a decision point, a moment of truth.
Either the system totally breaks down and ceases to exist as an organized
system or it spontaneously reorders itself in an entirely new way.
Incredibly, this reorganization is non-causal and non-linear with what
went before -- it is in no way predictable from prior conditions. Only the
probability of a certain outcome can be determined. The change is a true
quantum leap, a death and re-birth, and the main characteristic of the new
system is that it has the capability to handle the fluctuations, the input
from the environment, that caused the initial overwhelm and eventual
break-down of the old system. In Prigogine's words, the system "escapes
into a higher order."
Out of chaos comes a new order, a more evolved system. This new system has
a new stability and is able to more easily exist in the previously
overwhelming high fluctuation environment. But if fluctuations increase
again to a level beyond the system's new and higher capacity for dispersion
of entropy, the process will repeat, resulting in new internal chaos and
another reorganization at a new and yet more evolved level.
The human brain is a dissipative structure.
The mind and spirit of man advance when he is tried by suffering. The more the ground is ploughed the better the seed will grow, the better the harvest will be. Just as the plough furrows the earth deeply, purifying it of weeds and thistles, so suffering and tribulation free man from the petty affairs of this worldly life until he arrives at a state of complete detachment. His attitude in this world will be that of divine happiness. Man is, so to speak, unripe: the heat of the fire of suffering will mature him. Look back to the times past and you will find that the greatest men have suffered most.
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