Exotropy is neither wave nor particle, nor pure energy, nor supernatural miracle. It is an immaterial flow that is very much like information. Since extoropy is defined as negative entropy—the reversal of disorder—it is, by definition, an increase in order. But what is order? For simple physical systems, the concepts of thermodynamics suffice, but for the real world of cucumbers, brains, books, and self-driving trucks, we don’t have useful metrics for exotropy. The best we can say is that exotropy resembles, but is not equivalent to, information and that it entails self-organization.
—  Kevin Kelly

Erwin Schrödinger. One of the fathers of quantum mechanics, famed for a number of significant contributions to physics. Specifically, the Schrödinger equation, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1933. The philosophical issues raised by “Schrödinger’s cat” (a thought experiment) are still debated today. His book, What is Life?, would make an excellent addition to anyone’s library.

anonymous asked:

Hi, I have just read your post regarding negentropy being an invalid concept where life is concerned. I concur with your comments about the creation of order and increase in entropy in these instances. But disagree that negentropy is an invalid concept in other cases, particularly in a closed system like our Cosmos. The order arising from this balance resides in the genomes and body plans of the organisms, the orbits of starts and planets, even geological stratification. IMHO of course :)

Hello, thank you for the well thought out ask! :D 

While I understand where you’re coming from with your point, I do disagree. The order residing in the things mentioned - genomes, planetary orbits, etc. - is indeed present and is a local decrease in chaos, it isn’t an overall decrease in chaos.

To work with the example of planetary orbits and geological stratification (as those are the ones I’m most familiar with, haha), both can be shown to be local decreases in entropy caused by larger, overall increases. Stellar systems are able to form and settle into orbits as an aftereffect of gas clouds collapsing. The energy dispersal created in such a collapse is orders of magnitude larger than the energy organized in a planetary system. 

The case is similar in geological stratification - the order arises as a result of millions of years of HUGE energy-dispersing activity. Volcanic eruptions, flooding, etc. Each of these things expends a great deal more energy than it ultimately organizes.

So perhaps the original statement was flawed. Negentropy can indeed exist at local levels, but only at the cost of an overall increase of the entropy of the system.


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