Negentropy

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Negentropy is reverse entropy. It means things becoming more in order. By 'order' is meant organisation, structure and function: the opposite of randomness or chaos. One example of negentropy is a star system such as the Solar System. Another example is life.

As a general rule, everything in the universe tends towards entropy. Star systems eventually become dead. All energy has gone, and everything in the system is at the temperature of the surrounding space. The opposite of entropy is negentropy. It is a temporary condition in which certain things are hotter and more highly organised than the surrounding space. This is the second law of thermodynamics:

The second law of thermodynamics states that the total entropy of an isolated system always increases over time.[1]

Life is considered to be negentropic because it takes things in which have less order, like dead food, and turns it into things with more order, like cells in the body, tissues, and organs. In doing so, it gives off heat. Another example of negentropic things are societies, or social systems, because they take disorderly things such as communications, and make them into order which is useful to people.

Notes[change | change source]

  1. It remains constant in ideal cases where the system is in a steady state or undergoing a reversible process. The increase in entropy accounts for the irreversibility of natural processes, and the asymmetry between future and past.