The Secret to a Great Life – the Second Law of Thermodynamics

2899cc8654288b892dac93e4e3ccf8b58727e71fI have the ability to connect one thing to another and explore that connection. Most things that I connect, seem to be of little to no importance to others, which is why I decide to keep them to myself. But, sometimes I connect things that I believe are transformative, extremely obvious, and equally camouflaged.

The universe we live in has a very straightforward law that I am very fascinated by, called the second law of thermodynamics (also called the law of entropy). It states that the entropy of an isolated system can never decrease over time, it can only increase or stay constant.

The first question is, what is entropy? There are a lot of definitions that no one would understand, so put simply, entropy is a measure of the degree of randomness. With time the randomness or disorder in a system can either stay constant or increase. Living organisms have the ability to organize matter and hence manage entropy. That’s what separates rocks from a virus, bug, or human. We can organize matter inside our body and outside our body. (Irrelevant to the primary focus of this blog, it makes me think about whether some celestial objects like the Milky Way Galaxy, Sun, and Earth are living – since they definitely do a fantastic job at managing entropy – and we could be likened to really smart – or maybe stupid (relative to the grand cosmic intelligence) – bacteria living on the Earth’s epidermis.)

I have noticed that every second of our lives we make decisions.

Most decisions are subconscious – governed by system 1, which is a hypothetical mechanism of our brain that responds near instantly and is automated – while the others that require deeper thinking are made by system 2 – which is the hypothetical mechanism of our brain that involves more conscious thinking. (More information in Daniel Kahneman’s book: Thinking fast and slow)

We might be tricked by system 1 into thinking that our miniscule – seemingly unimportant –  decisions have no impact on our lives over the long term. However, every second you decide to either do the easy thing or the hard thing. That’s the most fundamental categorization of decision making I can think of.  (Detailed information in the book “predictably irrational.”)

You might think, well professionals like doctors would never make decisions based on ease. I am here to tell you, that there have been countless studies on professionals ranging from top engineers to top surgeons to common people that prove that we tend to do the easiest thing. Surely you don’t do that right? But, the studies prove that we do. We tend to pick the easy way out much more often than not, simply because it is easier for our brain to do that. The simple act of picking up a pen or getting up requires your brain to send millions of commands in an organized manner and requires it to do an unbelievable amount of mathematical operations in a very short period of time. At least 20% of all food that converts to energy is used to power those computations. Hence, the brain would always try to do the easiest thing, or else you would not function well. It is simply not our fault that we are wired this way. This very fact camouflages the most fundamental truth in our life.

I believe every one of us has a cost to pay, simply because of the law of entropy. Your body and environment are systems. I agree that they aren’t isolated systems, others can affect them, however, you control a significant part of them. Systems tend to get disorganized over time and it is the living being’s responsibility to organize it. By doing so, the being pays the cost of being a living being. If you really think about it, that is a tremendous cost. What are you getting in exchange for this cost? You get to be alive, you get to experience life, you get to make your own decisions, you get to be conscious, and henceforth, you get to shape your destiny (to some extent, not 100%, which I believe is due to a number of factors that I’ll talk about in another blog. I do believe it is definitely possible to control 100% of your destiny if you can learn to control 100% of your mind, 100% of your body, and 100% of your life energies, but, eventually, everyone dies, because eventually even nature will die with the heat death of the universe), something a rock cannot do.

Some people are extremely happy most of the time and others are extremely sad most of the time. I think it all comes down to paying the cost of entropy. You might think, I don’t have to manage any entropy, I am the master of my world, I don’t have to pay any costs.

I will explain using an example. Every day we have an option of cleaning our dishes, organizing our room, doing our due work, investing and organizing our money instead of spending it … but a rich man or women can pay someone to do all this. However, the internal entropy of the body still needs to be organized by the being, itself. What food you eat, how much do you exercise, how hard you push your mind and body, how many hours of sleep you get, how much food you ate, all these are just attempts at managing entropy, or in other words paying the cost of being alive.

We all make the decision of paying the cost or not paying the cost every moment of our life. Those that decide to pay the cost get rewarded with “gifts.” If you invest the money, you’ll most probably get more one day sooner or later and that day would be awesome. If you are stupid with your credit card, you’ll get a notice to pay the overdue bill sooner or later and that day would be anything but awesome. If you invest in your body and what food you eat, sooner or later you’ll have a body that makes you feel amazing, superhuman, you’ll see a mountain and want to run up it, endorphins will flood your system. If you eat trash and don’t work out, you’ll feel like trash. If you clean your house and dishes you’ll always come home to a beautiful, clean house. If you don’t, you’ll get sick more often, and will hate your home sooner or later. The list is endless.

We get to choose if we want to suffer now and create a gift for tomorrow, or suffer later and create a curse for tomorrow.

Living is suffering. Living is paying the cost. Living is attempting to manage entropy of the systems you are a part of.

Pay the cost, accept the truth, and instead of curses every day, you’ll get gifts every day. Who wouldn’t call Christmas every day for the rest of their life “happily ever after?”





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