Creative Entropy

When people think of entropy, they typically think of it as a measure of “disorder” or “chaos”. But entropy is a bitt more elegant than that as Steve Mould may be able to convince you. I like to think of entropy as more of a statistical phenomenon. There are simply more possible states in which energy/ particles/ etc. are spread out in a given system. When you have a high concentration of energy or when you have an energy differential, then you have movement of energy and interesting things can happen (engines turn, phones light up and buzz, flowers bloom)…..until that differential eventually evens outs.

What if we thought of ideas like energy or gaseous particles? In a confined space those idea particles will merely bounce around aimlessly in their container (i.e. your brain) and only interact with other idea particles that exist within that space. However, as new ideas come into our head from the outside (where there is a relatively high concentration of ideas) they have an opportunity to interact/ react with the existing idea particles.

Most of those reactions will produce worthless products, while a select few will produce valuable ones. How can we increase the likelihood of getting a valuable product? Simple, introduce more numerous and more various idea particles. Alternatively (or additionally) you can change other conditions within the system. For example, you can increase the energy of the system, increasing the rate at which those particles interact; after all, some reactions require a lot of energy behind them before anything noticeable happens.

But ideas aren’t finite. Our body can produce ideas. Like the energy we produce, those ideas are just the metabolized form of something we consumed previously. However, unlike energy, laws of conservation don’t apply to ideas. Once we loose an idea upon the world we don’t lose it ourselves. In this way, ideas are an infinite resource and we all can contribute to a limitless creative entropy, but only if we choose to both open our minds to ideas from the outside and free our own ideas from the confines our own minds.


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