Decreasing Social Entropy

In Science the Second Law of Thermodynamics basically states that left to natural change, things are more likely to become disordered. Entropy is the scientific word used basically “interpreted as the degree of disorder or randomness in the system”

I look and think how incredible that this specialized scientific terminology usually used in physics can be applied to our understanding of social interactions. It seems evident to me that misunderstandings and conflicts can be attributed to nature’s tendency to increase entropy. Simply put, there are many, many more ways to misunderstand someone than to understand them.

Could it be that entropy, the Laws of Thermodynamics is at work, when one tries to explain something to another person, or one’s action or ideas are interpreted by others. I propose that this is not only the case, but the reason for many of the contradictions, disagreements, and conflicts that arise between people, institutions and societies, and thus has the potential to increase disorder.

Sometimes, listening to people argue about different issues, I’m bewildered at how they choose to focus on disagreements (a high entropy state) which is very easy, when a more valuable common ground can be found (a low entropy state) if sufficient effort is applied by them (in science that would be energy).

It follows from the above that the less “energy” or effort people put in trying to understand each other, the more disagreements arise. These disagreements manifest themselves in diminishing family relationships, communities, institutions, and society as a whole, creating disorder rather than harmony. This becomes more astonishing when most, I believe, want peace, harmony and order, in this world.

It would not be the first time that one proposes resolving conflicts by starting with what people agree on first, but it’s quite uncanny how this fits with the natural scientifically proven law of entropy. The ego, I believe is the natural human state that induces conflict (high entropy). To conclude I would suggest not be too happy to disprove someone wrong. It is probably because you didn’t put enough energy to understand them and vice-versa, when with more effort, and less ego you’ll find that you actually agree.

More info: Constraints of Language

2 responses to “Decreasing Social Entropy

  1. This is a very interesting post!!

    Ego arises from a supposed difference.

    If one believes that all is nothing, then the ego disappears, because there is no difference between himself and others. This is echoed in Madhyamaka Buddhism’s doctrine of emptiness.

    Similarly, if one believes that he is everything then again the ego disappears because there is no difference. Shankara, one of the main proponents of Advaita Vedanta stated that “Thou art Brahman” with Brahman being the Absolute or the divine. This method of annihilating the ego works on that principle – it destroys the difference.

    Great stuff. Thanks for sharing!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very interesting. The second law of thermodynamics also requires a closed system where no external energy is introduced. This energy could equate to an open mind or for allowing a different train of thought; maybe even a third party who moderates a conflict or argument. This allows for a unique application to social dilemmas. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

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