372. A world of entropy?
Could we see the world as one big buzz, on may levels, of loops going around between high and low entropy? Let me try this out, in a list of phenomena of humanity and society. Here I distinguish between the two dimensions of entropy: the number of possible states or alternatives, and diversity, the distinctions between them.
alternatives diversity entropy
life many high low many forms, each unique
death many low high undifferentiated mass
monopoly few low low few but homogeneous products
competition many low high many of similar products
innovation few high low unique product
nationalism many high low many different unique nations
authoritarian few low low no or a single party
democracy many high low different political parties
capitalism many/low high/low low uniqueness in entrepreneurial and
monopoly in concentrated capitalism
communism few low high one size fits all
integration few low low many similar things brought into one
disintegration many low high falling apart in autonomous units
dense network many high many connections between many nodes
high centrality net. few high a few nodes have many connections
war/revolutionn many high high breakdown of order into factions
peace few low high preservation of order
the face (Levinas) few high low the unique other
justice few low high equality under the law for many
destruction many low high loss of order
excitement few high low peak
boredom many low high no clear preference, nothing salient
poetry few high low irregular meaning
bureaucracy few low high equalization
art few high low unique, diversity of interpretation
spectacle many low high shared entertainment
The assignment depends on the relative weight one puts on the two dimensions of number of alternatives and the distinction between them. In some cases the assignment of values is uncertain. Is boredom due to having too may alternatives or too few of them?
I was inclined to look positively on low entropy, since that is a sign of life, but if my assignment in the table is right, some less attractive things also are assigned low entropy: monopoly, authoritarionism and nationalism.
But instead of assigning approbation to high or to low entropy, the point probably is that most phenomena are combinations of them, alternating in time, cycling between one and the other as in life and death, and between stability and change, in interaction between objects and their environments, as shown in the previous item in this blog.
Perhaps war is needed to appreciate peace, autoritarianism to appreciate democracy, monopoly to appreciate competition, order to appreciate disorder, and vice versa.