Scientist Land and educator Jarman (co-authors Breakpoint and Beyond, Mastering the Future—Today, 1993) examine the more disturbing implications of the law of entropy.
Entropy, second in the laws of thermodynamics, may invite feelings of existential angst when applied to all aspects of life. “All processes in the universe manifest a tendency toward decay and disintegration, with a net increase in what is called the entropy, or state of randomness or disorder, of the system,” the authors write. In other words, they say, “the whole lot of the universe is designed to break down and fall apart.” A chance encounter with a morose former seminarian in an Irish pub introduced the authors to this rather bleak concept, and their efforts to make sense of it resulted in this work. Land and Jarman begin by thoroughly defining entropy in the words of top-notch scientists, which should be recognizable and understandable to even the least scientifically educated. They then move on to the introduction of syntropy, a term attributedto Albert Szent-Gyorgyi that relates to a re-ordering of the universe—“becoming more ordered, more interdependently connected with the environment.” Finally, Land and Jarman show how “Creative Connecting” provides the link between chaos and order, making entropy not a source of despair but rather the necessary precursor to all that is beautiful in the universe. While Land and Jarman fulfill their promise of presenting their theories in an approachable manner, they include too many explanations of entropy. Their pointed comments on how “our inborn capability for creativity”is suppressed rather than nurtured through the American educational system seem particularly relevant and timely due to the current debate over the Common Core curriculum. Despite the authors’ best intentions and deft writing, their work still may not appeal to general readers, although the tone of the second half approximates a self-help book: “We can successfully overcome the great, often thought to be insurmountable, challenges of our modern world. Creativity, resources and will are all we need.”
A coherent treatise on entropy, syntropy and the creative connection that shows how the universe’s disorder ultimately leads to order and personal completion.