The notion of societal entropy is a well established paradigm -- a widely accepted metaphor pretending to be physics. It suggests society struggles to slow and can’t prevent decay. It is used to justify extraction and collateral damage as necessary prices to pay in the battle against inevitable decline.
This framework puts a cap on what is possible. It limits vision and ambition. If you assume decline as a given, than the concept of regeneration - an economy that makes the world better - isn’t possible. In environmentalism, you can see the result of this thinking with interventions that, at their best, help us "lose more slowly.”
The metaphor of inevitable decay and necessary damage is an example of a narrative we are trying to replace with a new, regenerative, vision. Living systems tend to create more complexity, not less. Think of coral reefs or modern cities as examples of entropy in reverse.
James Lovelock, the ‘discoverer’ of Gaia, explains
“Inanimate things tend to end up in equilibrium sooner or later, and that is a state of very high entropy, or low order – whereas something alive, which is infinitely more complex, will have a very low entropy indeed.”
Decline and disorder might be our future, but, we shouldn’t assume them to be! Instead, we can turn our energy <note the little entropy joke there> to creating a regenerative world instead.
We’ve discussed the role of storytelling
in accelerating a movement to a regenerative future. Next issue will explore a distinction between storytelling and narrative. I think “entropy” represents a narrative we want to replace with one of “regeneration”. What say you