The world is a dangerous place for life to survive in, and if we look beyond the localized dangers of our planet, a cosmic force stands ever ready to destroy life. It is called entropy, the universal tendency for order to break down into disorder.
Entropy came into existence at the instant of the Big Bang; starting with the creation of the universe, heat, light, and all other forms of energy have dissipating, spreading out over time as the universe expands. This tendency to spread out, moving energy to less concentrated areas, is entropy. Entropy is a one-way arrow. An aged body doesn’t automatically turn young again.
Whenever matter and energy collect into orderly patterns, entropy is defined, The breakdown of orderliness is inherent in the physical makeup of the universe, and it is at the core of the reason why our bodies deteriorate and age over time. If we want to defeat aging, we must first learn how to defeat entropy.
In purely material terms, physics doesn’t describe a force working against entropy. Yet it is obvious that the universe hasn’t just expanded after the Big Bang; it has evolved. Evolution, or growth, creates more complex structures from less complex ones. The growth of one cell into two, two into four, four into eight, and so forth, is evolution in action. There is nothing random about it.
Yet, the human body exists in utter defiance of entropy, since it is incredibly orderly and capable of adding to its order with even more complexity. Why, then, are we alive to begin with? What force works against chaos to assert higher and higher complexities of order?
Adapted from Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, by Deepak Chopra (Three Rivers Press, 1998).