The Second Law

Finding ourselves, as we do, bound by the necessity and immediacy of diffusion and disorder in our lives, we quite naturally come to interpret the inevitability of decay as an intrinsic property of reality. While it is also overwhelmingly likely that this deintegration into chaos is a native property of the world we inhabit as much as of our experience of it, there exists a second barrier to our knowledge and understanding of this life.

The role of thermodynamic entropy in the (generally) slow drift into dissolution and forgetting is unquestioned as a function of overwhelming statistical fact. What is somewhat less obvious and that remains significantly under-considered or questioned is that the systems of symbolic communication we use to understand the material properties of disassembling chaos are themselves both subject to and products of this self-same entropy.

This remains hardly surprising as we, our brains and the integrated history of cultural communications systems are components within whatever this complex Universe actually consists of. The second level of entropy and uncertainty here lies in the fact that what we and our collaborative languages can understand of entropy is much more a function of the language and logic of observation than it is of entropy itself.

What this means is that we find ourselves attempting to understand dissipative chaos (of – among other things – conflict, suffering, death) as objective facts from within the leaning tower of tautological caveats that language embodies. We are, in effect, alienated from our attempts to constructively engage with the world by the very means through which we would hope to do so.

Language is in this sense much less of a failure than it is a simple mirror of the same bundled aggregate of material as biological uncertainty that gives birth to it, even as it endlessly replicates as effectively self-referential mirror of itself. Statements we can make about the world and – subsequently – the kinds of problems and issues with which we might most fruitfully engage are deeply inflected by the means and methods with which we might say it.

We are for this reason quite intimately and profoundly separated from the most serious problems we need to solve because the language we use to do so only really ever speaks about itself. You do not need to know this to continue to exist in the world but to understand the problem is to inhabit the realistic if not pragmatic probability that there exist a vast number of things we can never resolve.

Statements made in language may refer to things beyond language but can only ever indirectly or inadvertently address or effect them. Language as our primary tool of understanding and communication in the end achieves neither.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.