Finding order in art and life

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  • Published 20040601
  • ISBN: 9780733314339
  • Extent: 268 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

PHYSICISTS, WE ARE often told, dream of formulating a single equation to explain the world. Yet the fundamental law of life has been articulated for more than 150 years and was appreciated intuitively long before then ‑ the second law of thermodynamics which, though it has been expressed in various ways, is probably best understood as, “The entropy (or disorder) of any system is constantly driven towards a maximum”.

Put another way, a garden does not weed and care for itself; nor does my study or my son’s bedroom keep itself tidy. Nothing happens without input, the expenditure of energy. Yet, if few need persuading of the importance of order, this is far more than a banal utilitarianism. We all feel we understand an ordered world better than a chaotic one – accordingly, most of our lives are spent in trying to hold back the tsunami of entropy. If the importance of order is appreciated as a generality in our quotidian existence, it is crucial to health and to art.

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About the author

John Carmody

Dr John Carmody graduated in medicine from the University of Queensland.He retired in 2008 from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of NSW...

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