Of Entropy and Relationships and Conflict

Entropy: that things move from order to chaos.


Entropy is not a concept or an idea.  It is a law of thermodynamics that we see everywhere around us.  As we change the season up in the northern hemisphere it will become apparent to most of us.  The bright green of leaves will change to the vibrant colors of autumn.  This will soon lead to the dull brown of winter.

Entropy stands for a simple concept: things rot.  Tree leaves, which took so much energy to build, die and become decaying matter on the forest floor.  The 2006 Ford is still working, but we know that it has a limited life.  We can, indeed, extend the useful lifetime of a motor vehicle. But this is the result of time and energy being put into it.  New spark plugs.  Oil changes.  And paint to protect the steel body panels from the inevitable rust.  We take care to avoid driving the car in a high performance manner, as this type of operation comes at the cost of lifespan of the components.

Things decay.  People decay. We devote resources to the maintenance of youth and youthful appearance. We devote time and money to the coloring of grey hair.  We seek the services of dermatologists and plastic surgeon to present the image of youth and vigor.  Indeed, we find ourselves looking for some form of the fountain of youth.

Consider the female body.  So vibrant in her twenties, a woman is filled with estrogenic hormones.  As time moves on entropy occurs and the body slows the production of estrogen.  This results in the appearance of aging, lack of vigor and other such changes.  Women seeking to maintain what they had may take estrogen.  Yet this comes at a price.  Studies have shown a link between estrogen and some forms of cancer.  Chaos will prevail in one form or another.

Relationships are themselves subject to the same concept.  A new friendship or love is easy.  The energy is there from the start.  As time drags on the novelty wears off and decay sets in.  The orderly life that was previously established can become disorderly. In fact, consider the term “disorder” – a state of chaos.  Even the mental makeup of a person is subject to these laws.

What is required to fight it?  Energy.  Relationships take work.  Relationships may seem new and easy, but they still take energy.  A person determines whether the benefit is worth the outlay of energy and builds the relationship, much like a roadway or a bridge.  However, like a road, a relationship can become bumpy.  Work is usually required to maintain that relationship.  Often times, people seek to maintain a relationship because so much energy has been invested already.  Another law – that of diminishing returns – is also a consideration.

We often cling to relationships as relevant now as they were before.  Entropy says that things change. And they do.  But maintenance of relationships takes energy.  It is a give and take.  Time spent with a spouse is time lost on exercise.  Time spent on exercise is time lost on a spouse.  At times we find ourselves in an illusion – that what we are chasing is real.  Other times we find ourselves thinking that what we have this instant will be what we have in a decade.  In a month.  Tomorrow.

It isn’t like that.  Because our energy is finite.  But chaos is infinite.  We ourselves must choose to what we wish to devote our energy.  Some things must fall by the wayside.

This includes relationships.  Be they friendships, alliances, businesses or even familial, we individually choose what is most important to us.  Our choices of what is important may betray those with whom we are in relationships.  Those choices are ours to face.  And to cope with the chaos that our own choices bring.

We have all experienced it. Every one of us.  The breaks are all due conflict.  Conflict can often only be resolved by a clean break.  When the conflict with others is sated, the conflict within us remains.

Understand it.  Feel it.  For a choice has been made.  One that is best for you.

In the end, we ultimately hope to stave off the ultimate chaos.  How we manage that chaos until then can define how we proceed.  We miss the green and the shade of those leaves.

But looked at in the a certain way, Autumn is really beautiful.  A chance to rebuild.

And perhaps not to fix something old, but to build something new.


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