All of the negentropy or complexity exists because of a successful transformation of Gibbs free energy acquired from energy gradients. The energy feeds the emergence and evolution of the complex tools and structures which, in the end, release degraded energy as heat into the environment. If energy ever stops flowing through the conduits or dissipative structures, they will disintegrate and slowly or quickly return to equilibrium with the environment.
The “flowering” of civilization is the development of complexity or negentropy in the forms of external information (outside the brain), humans behaving as RNA and evolution of tools and infrastructure capable of attacking massive gradients of stored energy. Humans often celebrate the diversity of ways they have found to channel the energy to the environment as waste heat. They never really seem to understand the “meaning of life” although they perform it mindlessly. The human behavioral repertoire reveals their true nature as dissipative structures, especially their greed and egotistical self-interest.
Running in circles, the elite’s favorite pastime.
Driving in circles, the common man’s favorite pastime.
I am fairly convinced that the typical human brain, having arisen in the service of thermodynamics and energy dissipation, cannot for long resist natural tendencies to acquire energy and degrade it while perhaps reproducing along the way. Most humans are interested in getting rich by owning various features of the infrastructure, unaware that the seemingly perpetual flow of energy will come to an end in our linear exercises in gradient reduction.
There has always been an assumption, especially amongst economists, that the gradient reduction would provide the energy to support further engineering and development of tools to open new gradients as with fusion in a never ending progression of growth and complexity. This view naturally paralleled the natural greed of the bankers and “businessmen” whose main aim is to maximize profits by maximizing the number of technological cells, distribution of energy and resources and expedient removal and sequestration of wastes.
Here are some interesting links to papers written by Robert U. Ayres on industrial metabolism, self-organizing systems and related concepts.
“The concept of industrial metabolism is equally applicable to another kind of self-organizing entity, a manufacturing enterprise or firm. A firm is the economic analogue of a living organism in biology.” – Robert U. Ayres.
This is basically correct in that a technological firm may be single-celled or multi-celled (organism).
I’ve only read these two papers by Ayres. I’m not sure if he or anyone else studying “industrial metabolism” have defined the analogs in the technological and organic cells (humans acting as RNA).
This knowledge seems to have had little effect, satisfying intellectual curiosity but powerless in hindering the chain-reaction of destruction that is civilization.
Sometimes ego and too much energy can get you in trouble. I don’t think the windows open on those tall buildings, I mean, if the A/C were to go out or something.
Dubai has a tropical desert climate, köppen classification Bwh, because of its location within the Northern desert belt. Summers are extremely hot and humid, with an average high around 41 °C (106 °F) and overnight lows around 30 °C (86 °F). The highest recorded temperature in Dubai is 55 °C (131 °F) in 2002.[2 – Wikipedia
“This is where it all began…..” I like this ad because it’s so symbolic. They’ve always liked building big things for big egos in the desert, but the camel’s waiting for them when it’s over. Meanwhile, dopamine man is sucking on a nicotine stick and admiring his imagined self while genetic damage gradually accumulates.