Here we go again. Another year and another mighty heave-ho – or perhaps it is a crawl, to my eventual thermodynamic heat death!
Yep it’s my birthday, again.
I always wanted to talk about my birthday in conjunction with the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics!
There are some people out there who believe that as living things – alive, ordered, structured and complex, that we are somehow defying the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.
The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (to remind those that slept through science classes) basically states that the universe and everything in it is tending or moving towards a more disordered state.
Or in geek speak: The universe is going from low entropy to high entropy.
A pile of sand has high entropy. It is disordered. But a sand-castle has low entropy, it is more ordered. The reason the universe always heads from low entropy to high entropy (order to disorder) is pure probability. It is more likely that sand grains will form a disordered pile than form a sand-castle. You can make a sand-castle but you must expend energy to do so. You also need something complex like a human being with a brain and nervous system to build a sand-castle.
But some people say: well if the universe is always moving towards disorder, how is it that life can exist? Life is supremely ordered? Doesn’t life defy the 2nd Law?
No. It doesn’t. The thing is, though I and you, are indeed complex – on the whole though we release a lot of heat from our bodies into the air – and that heat in the end creates more disorder as a net sum. And we also carry out numerous other bodily activities that contribute to increased entropy. Locally there might be order, but when you look at our interactions with the environment, universally disorder always increases.
And that is where we are all headed. From order to disorder!
There is nothing inherently special about us. We obey the same laws of physics as a lump of rock.
What a fitting thought for my birthday. I think I must get out more!
Anyway – it is my birthday today so without further adieu:
Happy birthday to me,
happy birthday to meeee,
Haaaapy birthday to meeee-eeeeee
[Clapping and a round of applause]
Thank you! Thank you! It’s been a pleasure to have been alive for another year. Well…it’s been a pleasure for the most part. Some of it has been rather painful. But you must take the good with the bad. Every one of us thinks we have it hard. You ask someone “how are you” and they will let out a sigh (or a squeak) and they will lower their shoulders and talk about how tough life is. How they are fighting a war with this person, and that thing, and that thing.
It’s true. Life is a struggle. But you must stand back from your struggles of daily life (whoever or whatever they are with) and wonder…at the wonders of life!
Hahaha – Yeah, I’ve been watching the new BBC Brian Cox Documentary series ‘The Wonders of Life’ and I’m rather taken with it. But it’s true!!! – Life is by far the most amazing thing out there in the vastness of the universe. There is nothing to rival it! And we as thinking living beings – who know they are alive – and who can wonder at it all – for us this is a stupendous honor and privilege. We’re only around for a cosmic wink of an eye.
But oh man! Oh man! In that cosmic wink of an eye – the experience we have and are having right now – i.e. being alive and everything that comes with it – is pure magic.
In the words of a favourite Queen song: Life is indeed a kind of magic.