For most of Earth's existence, 4.5 billion or more years, life has proceeded at a tranquil pace. It's only in the last 2 million or 3 million years that Homo sapiens shows up. Taking the long view, something is happening on Earth. Something counter to entropy. Novelty is being conserved. Every life form that is created, is saved at least in the DNA inherited by other living things. The scientific/rational view of this is that evolution is simply random mutation and natural selection. Entropy takes care of what's left. In other words everything falls apart. The idea of entropy runs counter to the idea that novelty is conserved. So which is true?
Perhaps both are true. Certainly one can observe entropy when we consider the decomposition of a dead organism. On the other hand, is that really a falling apart? The building blocks of that former organism will become something else. They have only temporarily fallen apart.
This brings up an idea from the philosopher Heraclitus. He said that everything exists in the presence of its opposite. The Coincidentia oppositorum. We have entropy at some level and the conservation of novelty at another, both occurring in the same universe. Consider childbirth. The appearance of new life occurs amidst the threat of death and certainly a lot of blood, pain and anguish.
I think the Earth is a special place, but why would entropy continue across the universe but reverse direction here on our Earthly system? Something bigger is going on in the universe. Something that looks a lot like gestation and birth. Perhaps entropy is not the end point as predicted by science.
In order to hope, you have to dump the scientific view of the universe. I don't mean discard all of the technology or cease believing what scientists say. I'm talking about philosophy. Philosophy is something that science has little to say about. Our techno society has, however, elevated science to the level of a philosophy. Science, despite its great achievements, is really just a technical art. The great thinkers, writers and philosophers all worked on a level that was not technical at all.
You have a choice. You can think about our existence on Earth in one of two ways. Either you believe Macbeth ("'Life is a tale told by an idiot") or you believe that there is something afoot in the universe. It's not random. It's moving in a particular direction. Entropy is not the final outcome.
While I can't say where life is going, it is going somewhere, and that gives me hope. Despite all of the horrible news and obvious stupidity that passes for business as usual, life always finds a way, I'm convinced that life is moving toward something positive in the long run. Nobody really knows where we're headed so why not go with the more hopeful something. Stay tuned.
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