The Sound of the Second Law of Thermodynamics


2013-12-29 – I can hear the second law of thermodynamics.

You didn’t think it made a sound, did you? You thought that entropy is silent, didn’t you? Well it’s not.

It is a shaky high-pitched note that is played by all things. Like a perpetual laugh track. Like the sound of air slowly escaping from a balloon. Like the fart from that balloon when you release it and it flies around the room then falls. Like the sound of a slipping fan belt. Like a vacuum cleaner straining to clean dog hair and dry pine needles. Like the keening wind of a blizzard. Like the cry of the child in seat 19E.

Like the sound of tinnitus, which is not a malady but a sensitivity to the sound of decay. It’s the sound of that tax on existence that sucks the life of us and all things around us into some heaven or some other dimension.

Can’t you hear it?

The second law of thermodynamics is that law of nature that says that there is no perpetual motion machine. All things must run down, living and nonliving. There is always a loss. Nothing is 100 percent. Entropy rules.

There are those who point to living things as an exception to the rule. But living things merely transform energy. They don’t impede the decay. They are like the turbine that takes some of the energy from a waterfall and converts it to electricity. The turbine doesn’t stop the fall of the water. The electricity is used up in lights and appliances across the land. Living things die.

There are those who say that losses in life come to teach us a lesson, to kick us in the pants, to get us moving. Okay. Learn a lesson. Get moving. All is not lost . . . yet.

And listen to the sound ZZZZZzzzzzzzz….. . .  .   .

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