By John Karoly
Chicago, IL, USA
The Laws of Thermodynamics collectively are among the fundamental laws of our Universe. They may not apply in other universes, if there are other universes, but they apply everywhere in ours. The First Law of Thermodynamics deals with energy. It states that energy cannot be created or destroyed; the total quantity of energy in the Universe stays the same.
The Second Law states that as energy is transformed or transferred, more and more of it is wasted. The measure of this wasted energy is called entropy. The Second Law
states that each of these processes
results in an increase of entropy. At the “moment” of the Big Bang, the entropy
of the Universe was zero. At the end of the Universe’s existence, the entropy
of the Universe will be infinite.
Entropy is a measure of the internal chaos or disorder of any closed system, whether very small or as large as our Universe. And if you take our world as a closed system defined by every country on Earth, the chaos and disorder today is increasing relentlessly beyond the ordinary, at least so it seems. Thus the entropy increases well above the value it would have without this chaos.
Just observe, almost weekly a new war breaks out in the Middle East. No one knows anymore who is fighting whom and for what reason or who is aligned with whom, for how long or how soon will the alliance change. And this game goes on and on with endless variations. If the disturbance could be measured, it would no doubt add to the entropy of the Middle East. Entropy can only have a positive value; it cannot ever go negative. A disordered, chaotic state can never become spontaneously ordered again, “you cannot unscramble an egg.”
Beyond the Middle East, we have Kim Jong-un in North Korea, the man vying for the title of Number One Lunatic in the World, firing a series of world-peace threatening missiles weekly into the Sea of Japan at no small cost to entropy. He presents an enormous danger to mankind. A World War fought with nuclear weapons is not a distant fear with a crazy man in power who commands plenty of nuclear weapons!
And then there is the ever-present KGB agent, an unpunished murderer, the current and future head of Russia, who wants to re-establish the former glory of the Soviet Union, minimally, or, even better, Czarism with himself, the great Putin, crowned as the Czar of Russia. Putin is on friendly terms with nuclear weapons; he said that he does not mind to use them, damn the consequences.
If you blow up enough nuclear bombs, we will not likely need to be concerned about Global Warming. The price, however, is steep and the entropy balance will shift dramatically toward its maximum.
We too have our own lunatic, our current President. As far as a “personality cult” is concerned, he is up there with the worst dictators of the twentieth century. No one knows, what he is going to do in any given situation or instant. His unpredictability could be very dangerous in times of great stress. He is the nominal head of a party that was unwilling or incapable of doing anything about nominating and electing him. A mentally unstable person, an extreme narcissist, now heads the most powerful country on the planet at a time when worldwide dangers require outstanding leadership. He can contribute plenty to world entropy!
With these three, Kim Jong-un, Putin and Trump, the world is in a dangerous state. The degree of disorder is as high as one can imagine. The two World Wars fought in the last century were basically European wars. The next one will likely be a true World War fought by and for a lot of sick men equipped with nuclear weapons.
The Second Law of Thermodynamics defines the direction of time with its ultimate prediction of when time will cease and how the Universe will come to an end, albeit so far in the future that it has no practical significance to us. This Law nevertheless could be disturbing in times like these. People at the time of its publication, following the discovery of the Second Law, were fearful and talked about an “entropy catastrophe” besetting mankind. In later times, this fear was dismissed as nonsense.
But we cannot reverse entropy. If we could, we could unscramble the egg, Humpty Dumpty would not be so unhappy and we could possibly live in a world free of dictators. We would be getting younger, because time would flow in reverse and we could remember the future.
It is time the leaders on our planet wake up and mind the Second Law before their nuclear weapons destroy us and, we have news for them, they are included as victims in the destruction.