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Chaos

The Meaning of Life, Ruin Style

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Okay. So I'm not doing any of the work I'm supposed to be doing, but I was reading an article about the meaning of life. (This does have a segue to Mistborn, really) Not a philosophical paper, mind you, so science warning here! Anyway, one expert said, “Ah, that’s easy. The purpose of life is to hydrogenate carbon dioxide.”

Ha.

Basically, the idea was, hey, there's a lot of free energy in carbon dioxide, but there isn't an easy chemical reaction to release it. You need to build something up a little before it can get released. "The reason for the complexity of life, which is low entropy considered all by itself, is that it helps the bigger picture increase in entropy."

Because as we all know, Ruin can build something up if it knocks two things down later ;) So there you have it.

Link: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/2010/03/10/free-energy-and-the-meaning-of-life/

Other interesting things in the article include a little reference to energy conservation not applying in General Relativity, as well as a small reference to Bozeman, Montana.

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Anyway, one expert said, “Ah, that’s easy. The purpose of life is to hydrogenate carbon dioxide.”

Ha.

Basically, the idea was, hey, there's a lot of free energy in carbon dioxide, but there isn't an easy chemical reaction to release it. You need to build something up a little before it can get released. "The reason for the complexity of life, which is low entropy considered all by itself, is that it helps the bigger picture increase in entropy."

Amusing.

Was that "argument" said in jest, or was that expert being serious?

Link: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/2010/03/10/free-energy-and-the-meaning-of-life/

Other interesting things in the article include a little reference to energy conservation not applying in General Relativity, as well as a small reference to Bozeman, Montana.

Hmm. That bit about energy conservation might be relevant to the Effects of Iron Feruchemy thread.

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The guy was both being serious and funny, from what I can tell.

From my additional research on relativity (admittedly little), it seems that energy-momentum is conserved, with certain caveats. You just need to factor in the energy of the gravitational field and... other stuff. It gets pretty mathy at that point.

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Wow :blink: So far out of my understanding. I have some serious studying to do. What kind of classes does one take in college in order to go further in this and related subjects?

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I would imagine chemistry and thermodynamics. A lot of the thermodynamics is covered in an introductory sequence of physics (at least mine did, and we learned about free energy and entropy). I couldn't tell you what chemistry classes you'd need, but I just have introductory chemistry knowledge and could basically understand the crux of the idea.

For the general relativity, you'd need to be working on a graduate degree in physics. That is not for the faint-hearted or the people who hate math.

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So I guess the Cosmere has real world significance too.

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I would imagine chemistry and thermodynamics. A lot of the thermodynamics is covered in an introductory sequence of physics (at least mine did, and we learned about free energy and entropy). I couldn't tell you what chemistry classes you'd need, but I just have introductory chemistry knowledge and could basically understand the crux of the idea.

For the general relativity, you'd need to be working on a graduate degree in physics. That is not for the faint-hearted or the people who hate math.

Thermodynamics and chemistry is all you really need to understand the first part.

As for that being the purpose of life, well, from the rigid empirical, scientific viewpoint, he is totally joking. In such an approach, the universe and any of its artifacts has no purpose. The second law of Thermodynamics (which is what he is referring to) is more of a really good suggestion than an actual law (although it is such a very good suggestion that we can normally treat it as a law), and there is no known fundamental constraint which says that the universe has to reach the highest entropy state before other factors (such as the expansion of the universe) make it all moot.

If he isn't joking, then that takes us into a really, really philosophical discussion that I don't think we want to hold here.

As for General Relativity, I'll just say that the only people who understand General Relativity well enough to understand it are people who get PhDs in physics with an emphasis on General Relativity or cosomology or some field that actually uses General Relativity. I got my PhD in physics, but because I focused on Quantum and Wave phenomena, I never saw anything more about it than the rest of you. I learned Thermodynamics and Newton's Laws, and Special Relativity, and Quantum Mechanics, and several other subfields as part of my general background, but not General Relativity. It's its own beast.

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LOVE it.

So, linking to what Happyman has said...

It might be that, if we are talking about us, and the reality we live in, there is no reason there has to be some kind of attempt to reach the highest level of entropy in itself.

But there is, indeed, a tendence for all the universe to achieve higher levels of entropy (at least, given what we know as of today). So, if we took every life form and we somehow could isolate it and everything that is affected by its existence and consider it from a thermodinamical point of view (in which there is no "time" to speak of), probably we would get an increase of entropy in the system that wouldn't be there if there had not been metabolic processes catalyzed by the fact there was a living being there.

Now, here is where we can make the paralellism with the Cosmere I believe Chaos was speaking about. Ruin is, in itself, a being who tries to get the world into chaos. That is, he would be the reason behind that always-increasing entropy tendence. So, now, why would he accept creating life, something that is, in itself, highly organized and not chaotic at all? Because he sees the higher picture. He sees that, as a whole, that is working towards his goal, not Preservation's.

(Oh, gosh, I don't know if I made sense... I just couldn't find the exact words in English sometimes, sorry)

Edited by Alliare
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LOVE it.

So, linking to what Happyman has said...

It might be that, if we are talking about us, and the reality we live in, there is no reason there has to be some kind of attempt to reach the highest level of entropy in itself.

But there is, indeed, a tendence for all the universe to achieve higher levels of entropy (at least, given what we know as of today). So, if we took every life form and we somehow could isolate it and everything that is affected by its existence and consider it from a thermodinamical point of view (in which there is no "time" to speak of), probably we would get an increase of entropy in the system that wouldn't be there if there had not been metabolic processes catalyzed by the fact there was a living being there.

Now, here is where we can make the paralellism with the Cosmere I believe Chaos was speaking about. Ruin is, in itself, a being who tries to get the world into chaos. That is, he would be the reason behind that always-increasing entropy tendence. So, now, why would he accept creating life, something that is, in itself, highly organized and not chaotic at all? Because he sees the higher picture. He sees that, as a whole, that is working towards his goal, not Preservation's.

(Oh, gosh, I don't know if I made sense... I just couldn't find the exact words in English sometimes, sorry)

I'll agree, in terms of the Cosmere, this actually does make sense. Life destroys more efficiently than unlife? At some level, this is true. Ruin probably espoused that philosophy, by the end.

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