Negentropy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Negentropy is reverse entropy. It means things becoming more in order.

Time in science is defined as the direction of entropy. This makes it very hard to talk about ideas of time that would apply to negentropy or its effects.

Life is considered to be negentropic because it takes things in less order, like dead food, and turns it into things in more order, like cells in the body, tissues, and organs. In doing so, it gives off heat. The outside or skin of an organism is always at maximum entropy because it is removing heat.

Based on several different ideas of entropy, negentropy also would mean several different things. Cliff Joslyn proposed a list of ways to find entropy in ways other than measuring heat as given off by a body. Since it is living things looking for these ways, however, and since they create models that are in more order than the measurements they combine, thinking and science are also negentropic – just a part of life.

The idea that living things order the universe is called the anthropic principle. It has a strong form which says that we are needed to do this. And a weak or obvious form which says if we were not here asking, it would not matter. Cosmology is concerned with this and other issues of where life fits into models of our universe.

Negentropy is not the only idea about life and how it affects our view of time. Most of engineering relies on linear time for risk analysis, economics on cyclic time like the business cycle, and biology explores rhythmic time especially in systems of animal communication. Probably all of these ideas are useful for something, like the many ideas of entropy, and the many ideas of life.