Entropy and the fate of the human race

This is not an upbeat posting, so if you are trying to cheer up go look somewhere else.

It is not that I am depressed or that I am a pessimist, which I don't think I am but lately I have started to think of the very few chances of success humanity has at the moment. With the latest sharp increases in the price of oil and the scarcity of some food supplies, people in the poorest countries, like Haiti, have started to rebel.

Hunger will make that to you. Especially if it is not only you but your children who are hungry.

A consequence of the second law of thermodynamics is the continuous increase in entropy. Entropy could be defined (loosely) as a measure of disorganization, randomness.

You might say that humanity is increasing in entropy. Disorganization is increasing - randomness is sure to follow and with it, lawlessness.

I believe that the root cause of our economic problems is that there are too many people. Humanity has reached a point where it infests the Earth like a cancer or a fungus that will just not quit. Cancer is very successful at reproducing - and then when the host is killed, cancer cells die as well. Humanity's success as a species may very well be its undoing.

I am not saying that humanity is a cancer infesting the earth, just making an analogy. But the problem in reality is the tremendous amount of people. As more and more bodies compete for the available resources, trouble is sure to follow. And resources are definitely limited, as the current crisis is clearly demonstrating.

I was telling a friend that the only logical outcome and the best solution is a little (or a large) simplification. In chess, when you start playing, you have too many pieces on the board and, eventually, if you want to be able to really play your opponent, you have to engage in a little give-and-take, a quid-pro-quo that will move some of the pieces (both your adversary's and yours) off the board, offering a relief from congestion. We, as a species, surely need some relief from congestion. Imagine how much better the world would be if population were half, a third, a tenth of what it is now...

Successful players can limit the give and take and keep it balanced. My only hope is that as humanity engages in this simplification, which I think is inevitable, some of us will manage to remain and show their descendants how to be better men and women that what we are today. Hopefully the survivors will learn from the experience and avoid future disasters.

And that is an optimistic wish.


Mike Sharrow said...

any recommendations as to a means of accomplishing a simplification?

Zarek said...

Actually, I am concerned about how this simplification might take place. In some places famine will take care of it; in others it may be war and civil unrest.

Look at Haiti - they have both of the above... plus natural disasters...