a : the degradation of the matter and energy in the universe to an ultimate state of inert uniformity
I heard a part of a program on NPR this past week talking about order and disorder in the universe. The professor (I'm sorry I didn't catch his name) on the program was talking about why it is so difficult to keep order in our lives. It seems that five minutes after you clear a desk, its surface is again covered in papers. Given that the tendency of the universe is towards entropy, why even bother?
His comments matched my mood well. Why bother?
But then he continued. Why bother? Because life is the universe's way of bringing order into the equation. Life depends on the orderliness of the cells within those who live. Death comes when disorder among those cells (think, cancer) tips the balance towards entropy.
I've been pondering his words all week. I like them. They make sense at a deep level. The clothes get dirty, I wash them. The house gets dirty, I clean it. The papers cover the dining room table, after a while I can't stand it, and I sort them and get them where they belong. I take satisfaction in having restored order to my space, even though I know it won't last. (I'm pretty sure the papers breed on the table at night after I go to bed...) It's my way of affirming life.
I even took time this week to clean my desk at work. (see photo) It had been so long since I'd done it that one of the teachers came in, looked at the bare surface with surprise, and asked if I'd gotten a new desk. I'm obviously going to have to work harder at that one...