Why Chaos is Our Greatest Love
There’s this fascinating class I am currently taking that focuses predominantly on statistical thermodynamics. Essentially, it is viewing chemistry through a macro lens in order to seek reasoning behind the why in molecular reactions, entropy, etc.
Personally, I find chemistry a rather bland and meticulous subject and don’t particularly enjoy moving a bunch of dots around with drawn arrows. But what irks me the most about this subject are the constant explanations that something happens in chemistry “because it just does” or “that’s just the way it works”.
So when I took this class and within the first two weeks I had already learned the “why” behind nearly half the concepts I’ve previously ever learned in chemistry, I was mindblown.
Instead of remembering that gases expand, we questioned why particles move into larger regions of volume rather than remaining clustered in a single corner.
Instead of recalling that two substances or two different types of particles mix, we investigated why an incorporated medium resulted over separation of categories on either sides of a permeable barrier.
Instead of memorizing that rubber or a polymer consisting of beads along a string return to a middle ground position of retraction after being stretched, we listed out all the possible arrangements ranging along these states of position.
By reducing a convoluted question down into its most basic case, elimination of extraneous and obscuring information suddenly became possible. Visualization was the key to unlocking the door chained with complexity.
It was no longer a room full of thousands of particles but rather an extendable box that could only hold up to 5 particles. It was no longer an infinite strand of DNA but merely a sequence of a few letters. Polymers became strings of beads and numerous energy levels were downsized into only two.
The questions became straightforward, simple answers emerged, and the why was no longer obscured.
Calculations and numbers became evidence that led to confirmation behind a series of conclusions.
We were left face to face with the fundamentals of science.
So after all these examples and calculations, this undeniable trend began to emerge. The theme that threaded all these cases together was the inherent tendency of any system to proceed towards a position of maximum multiplicities. The more types of arrangements of a particular composition that was possible, the more that composition was favored.
Simply, it reinforced the renown Second Law of Thermodynamics that the movement towards entropy, or colloquially, disorder, was inevitable.
We can make this dramatic conclusion that chaos is all encompassing because apparently science says so.
Taylor Swift is becoming a bad girl, Trump is now president, and James Damore is trying to pioneer some movement within the tech industry. We don’t need Lagrange multipliers or base cases to prove chaos is a reigning power within this world.
Taylor Swift’s new single is already evidence of this.
So, then why is chaos, it being such an unavoidable concept anyway, so significant for discussion?
This significance lies in disorder’s invisible power to make everything seem overwhelming.
The feeling of not being in control is deceptively inhibitive and one of the greatest nemesis towards execution of desired goals. Progressive deterioration of a collective mental state is the unanticipated result of an untamed chaos.
The overpowering sensitivity towards a stacked ToDo list is capable of robbing of us any motivation to actually take action on anything on that list. Dumbfounded by the sheer number of things needed to accomplish, we are slow to complete any.
Or when swamped within the hurricane of an uncleaned room, we ask ourselves why it is even necessary to clean it if it’s going to eventually return to this state anyway. Unmade beds are justified by the logic that the next morning will destroy all efforts of presentation.
As a student, I seem to always have a never ending list of work. A week passes, another page in an agenda is turned, and new assignments, labs, and projects compete for space on the next page. Peace of mind seems to be a goal that is currently unattainable.
Like rubber, our lives when stretched will always retract back into a position of uncertainty.
So, should we fight against this chaos and reach for greater order? But if, as scientifically proven, we inevitably return back to disorder, are all attempts to supersede considered futile and energy expending?
I think tranquility of mind comes with loving the chaos rather than trying to discover an order within it. Acceptance of pandemonium silences the voice demanding the necessity for a strict discipline.
Embracing that there will never be an end to a ToDo list creates harmony with the realization that one may not be found. Accepting the fact that a bed will no doubt return into a mountain of crumpled blankets will allow us to sleep better at night. Taking the president for all that he is enables us to react and prepare rather than being left at a standstill when he moves first. And acknowledging James Damore’s ten page memo grants us the opportunity to finally examine the balance of politics within industry.
The new Taylor Swift is welcomed because maintenance of a “good girl” image is unsustainable in this chaos riddled world.
So if chaos can be analogized to discomfort, then this unavoidable scientific principle is a hack into productivity. Without growing pain, there is no measure of progression.
Thus, a life without turmoil is a life not lived fully.
Let us be that molecule that pushes against the walls to seek foreign territory beyond its container.
Let us be that particle that crosses the barrier to the other side.
Let us become the definition of entropy.
Let chaos become our greatest love.