Modern science acknowledges a single universal tendency called entropy - which is assumed to explain everything and applies everywhere and eternally (entropy never 'runs out'!); which leads to the problem of why anything exists in the first place. There is also the difficulty of explaining why reality hasn't wound down long ago.
Physics has expended ingenuity on 'explaining' such matters - but the point I am making is that the need for explaining everything in terms of undirected and degrading forces arises only because of the fixed assumption that only such entropic tendencies exist.
Entropy crops-up in biology as natural selection - which is supposed (assumed) to explain everything; despite that it is a negative, destructive, disordering tendency. 'Teleology' - direction, tendencies towards form and function... these are excluded by assumption from modern (post 1950s) biology.
An opposite force is sometimes posited and termed negentropy - and this is hypothesised to explain why there is anything in the first place and why everything hasn't already been destroyed... But in a world dominated by entropy as its prime reality - the assumption is that any countervailing tendency is limited, and will run-out sooner-or-later.
So the most ridiculous thing in physics is to posit a 'perpetual motion' machine - because physicists 'know' (i.e assume) that all positive, form-making, movement-generating, reparative and functionally-innovative tendencies are limited, and will (soon or late) get used-up.
But if entropy is negative then negentropy is a double-negative... so what is the positive thing that negetropy is trying not to name?
The answer is: divine creation.
So, the proper name and concept of negentropy is divine creation.
(Thus we discover why only entropy is allowed by mainstream science. Science is based on the exclusion of the divine from explanations - that is what makes it useful, practical. There is nothing wrong with that assumption - so long as it is remembered that the divine has been excluded by assumption; and not because it is unreal or unimportant. However, that is exactly what scientists have forgotten, and which they now deny! Scientists excluded God by-assumption, forgot what they had done - then claimed that the fact God was not present in science, meant that God did not exist!)
It seems that Mankind was spontaneously capable of supposing divine creation as the primary reality - as an inexhaustible source of form, order, motivation and whatever else was supposed to be characteristic of creation.
The negative forces came after - as the product of evil/ demonic beings - creatures 'gone bad' - or bad in their original natures.
So entropy exists in a world of divine creation. There is ongoing creation - and there is a countervailing entropic tendency that tends towards death, destruction, disorder...
Most important, therefore, is for us to make a very different, opposed, assumption that divine creativity is inexhaustible; and therefore 'perpetual motion' is actually the primary and natural state of things as we know them!
We live, in fact, inside and part-of that perpetual motion 'machine' which is divine creation.
Which brings in the question of soul - does the foetus receive this and at what point? What is soul? Is a divine spark imparted at birth?
@James - According to the metaphysics of Being and Transformation that I have developed, this question does not arise
If you can imagine a spirit human being existing pre-mortally; this spirit then transforms (in a continuous unbroken way) to incarnate. There is no 'point' at which a spirit enters a body, instead the spiritual Being transforms into an incarnated (embodied) Being.
I have always envisaged what you are calling here negentropy, the counter-entropy principle, as a continually gushing forth fountain of golden light that sits in a little clearing in the heart of a sacred grove and through its action imparts life to everything around it. I mediate on this image sometimes.
Just my fancy!
@William - Thats lovely! I don't personally approve of the term negentropy (double negatives again...) but I did find myself reaching for it a few years ago.
Crash course in entropy: entropy is just the log of the number of accessible states of a system -- measured in bits, just like information.
Simple example: If you have 2 coins and are constrained to have exactly one head, there are 2 possible configurations and thus 1 bit of entropy. If there are no constraints on how many coins are heads, there are 4 possible combinations and thus 2 bits of entropy.
One of the causes of entropy increase (possibly THE cause) is the continuous injection of information into the universe in the form of quantum measurements: the number of possible configurations of the universe is increasing as time moves forward.
This isn't intriniscally a negative or destructive thing. Indeed, all manner of exciting and fun things have been made possible by relatively straightforward consequences of the above definition of entropy (statistical mechanics is great.)
When scientists talk about entropy as an "increase in disorder" and "the universe inevitably running down", they fail to take into account all manner of other quantum and cosmological effects: most particularly, the odds of another Big Bang style energy fluctuation occuring are *not zero* (and thus rather likely on a long enough time scale).
-- Robert Brockman
A side note on science and creation: some time ago a nuclear physicist calculated that the fusion of helium into carbon in stars (necessary for the formation of life as we know it) was impossible ... *unless* there was a very specific resonance at a very particular energy. This theorist told the experimentalists to go looking for the resonance, but they were reluctant because his hypothesis seemed so improbable (!) Eventually they did go look for the resonance which they quite naturally found.
This was an interesting example of the use of the Anthropic Principle: "mankind exists, therefore this *very particular* aspect of nuclear physics must have this *precise numerical value*." You would think that this sort of thing would cut down on the atheism in the physics business, but it hasn't (at least so far).
-- Robert Brockman
I first encountered the term Negentropy in the late 70s at a lecture given by Jungian analyst Rix Weaver at the University of Western Australia. She was one of the first Jungian analysts in Australia and founder of Perth Jung Society. Given Jungs interest in physics and work with Pauli she had encountered the idea of negentropy in the work of French physicist Olivier Costa de Beauregard (1911-2007!). Your characterisation of the problematic nature of the term and in particular the wee problem of why anything exists at all are exactly the issues that have been in my mind since that night. Further to your point What happened at that lecture was that she was strongly challenged by a representative of UWA Physics Department who had been obvious sent to discredit her for speaking outside of her field of competence. Being about twice his age and a genuinely wise old woman she politely cut the ground from under his feet. I emphatically agree with you that Negentropy = Divine Creation and find that the image the term evokes in my overactive visual imagination is delightfully similar to William's.
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