Monday, December 26, 2005


In his book, Into the Cool, Eric Schneider discusses (along with co-writer Dorion Sagan) existence of life, both single and multi-cellular, from the perspective of the forces of nature needing a way to use up excess energy and create more entropy.
Working from the precept that "nature abhors a gradient," Into the Cool details how complex systems emerge, enlarge and reproduce in a world tending toward disorder.

Complex systems are both living and non-living; both obey the second law of thermodynamics.
This second law refers to energy's inevitable tendency to change from being concentrated in one place to becoming spread out over time. Although the second law is usually and correctly associated with molecular chaos - and thus with aging, loss and death - Schneider and Sagan show that it is also vital to life and complexity; it is behind evolution, ecology, economics and even life's origin.

There is a story behind the book's inception: Eric Schneider simply perceived that marine ecosystems needed deeper examination than what the current science culture was providing.

I feel the same way about the human organism, the fact that I also am one, quite aside for a moment: Is it not just another sort of ecosystem? Really? Does it not deserve the same sort of synthetic perspective, the same sort of respectful study and placement into the grander scheme of things?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hi Diane,

the life and cellular things made me think of carl sagan. than i saw on wikipedia that dorion is his son. thanks to made me aware of this author. i just love his father! Contact is my favorite movie ever!!