It seems that most everything in the universe and we could say the universe itself is about achieving equilibrium or the lowest energy state possible. The universe may be a perturbation in what existed prior to its inflation. In other words, something stirred the ether and created an unsettled condition and it’s now running back towards its equilibrium state. This could be considered entropy or the dissipation of energy. What does a universe that reaches equilibrium look like? It probably doesn’t look like anything as it wouldn’t exist. The things you see in the cosmos, including space, are manifestations of a disruption in equilibrium. All structures and features extant in the universe would be resolved back into a most basic submicroscopic equilibrium or state of rest.
Even this quantum foam model shows features coming into existence and then disappearing seemingly into nothingness. Something probably upset the equilibrium apple cart and this is what happened.
On earth, all matter seems to be trying to achieve the lowest energy state in its local environment, although turbulence from solar insolation keeps things well stirred in the atmosphere and hydrosphere. Gravity and electromagnetic attraction seem to be pulling towards the lowest energy states.
Life is composed of dissipative structures and is powered by the overall entropic flow. Certain wavelengths (mostly around 450 and 650nm) of the sun’s rays interact with Chlorophyll A and Chlorophyll B and other pigments and through a chain of electrochemical reactions produce the sugar glucose. Glucose is taken in by mitochondria in both plants and animals to produce ATP. ATP is the equivalent of gasoline for cars and provides the energy for catalytic reactions and muscle fibers sliding past each other resulting in movement. The plants are eaten and those that eat the plants are eaten as each species becomes a source of energy for others. All throughout its movement in seeking energy and mates, the human will be dumping low energy infrared heat into the environment as electromagnetic waves mostly at around 12,000nm. The energy loss in the step down from 450nm to 12,000nm is enough to grow plant tissues, herbivore tissues and movement, and carnivore movements like hunting for more food to keep all of the molecular balls in the air. The human and other life must eat in order to counteract the constant tendency for the body to achieve its lowest energy state in which molecules become more stable but less able to maintain the structure of the dissipative. Damaged DNA, cross-linked proteins and other damages must be constantly repaired and waste must be removed to maintain the dissipative capacity of the organism.
Can anyone be surprised at the human preoccupation with accumulating wealth (energy) and mating behaviors? Maintaining existence requires a steady flow of energy. Even upon death, many people will attempt to prevent the remains from achieving their lowest energy state through various interventions like preservatives and metal burial boxes. Some will have their name inscribed on the more resilient granite slab so as to avoid disappearing completely. Even religions are an effort to avoid equilibrium. But rest assured, if the structure is not at its lowest energy level, it will be sent there over time by gravity and various chemical reactions. I am quite sure that the wood furniture I possess will eventually be degraded by fire or termites, which will convert energy trapped in atomic bonds into their own structures and waste heat, or I may have to throw the furniture on the fire to stay warm this winter. Whatever the case, it has a ways to go before reaching an equilibrium in the local environment.
Even the structures of the fossil fuel burning, technological civilization will eventually find their final resting places as gravity and the elements work against them.
Someone should save those slate shingles, they’re quite resilient. Without them, this structure would likely have already done a face plant in the yard.
Settled ether can be disturbed by things like generators with magnets creating a temporary disturbance that immediately runs towards equilibrium along the path of least resistance, usually a copper wire. Lightning too is a manifestation of the return to equilibrium when potential becomes to great.
In the end, it’s quite a fight just to keep your atoms from achieving a relatively motionless, sedimentary rest. Humans always lose the fight, but their cells often live on and take new forms like children. Have you hugged your dissipative today?