Sinking into Chaos

The world no longer appears as an ideal place in which what happens or what is rational must happen. It does not guarantee on all the victory of the forces of good, of an ideal natural and moral order. On the contrary, the general tendency of the universe is to entropy and chaos.

time We swim upstream against a great torrent of disorganization that tends to reduce everything in balance and uniformity, to the thermal death described by the second law of thermodynamics. What Maxwell, Boltzmann and Gibbs understand through thermal death in physics has a correspondent in the Kirkegaard’s ethics, who showed that we live in a chaotic moral universe.

In this chaotic universe, our primary duty is to introduce arbitrary order and system enclaves. These enclaves won’t remain here indefinitely after we established them, just like the Red Queen from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass book. In the country led by Red Queen the earth turns so fast that just running at the same speed in the opposite direction you can stand still.

We cannot stay where we are unless we run as fast as we can. We are not fighting for a definitive victory in an undefined future. The greatest possible victory is to be, to continue to be and to have been.

No defeat can deprive us of the success of having existed at some point in time in a universe we are indifferent to. This attitude doesn’t mean defeatism, but rather the sense of tragedy that dominates the world, a world where necessity is represented by the inevitable disappearance of differentiation.

from Norbert Wiener, I Am a Mathematician

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