I'll come back to the young man, but for now, I have to explain a bit of science - namely, the Second Law of Thermodynamics. According to this (Scientific) "Law", and quoting from Wikipedia  :
"The second law of thermodynamics states that the entropy of an isolated system never decreases, because isolated systems spontaneously evolve toward thermodynamic equilibrium—the state of maximum entropy."
and (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy):
"Entropy is a measure of the number of specific ways in which a system may be arranged, often taken to be a measure of disorder, or a measure of progressing towards thermodynamic equilibrium. The entropy of an isolated system never decreases, because isolated systems spontaneously evolve towards thermodynamic equilibrium, which is the state of maximum entropy."
So, in an "isolated system, things tend towards an evenly spread chaos (my words), or - as my science teacher at high school, last millennia, put it: "things tend towards the lowest energy state".
This principle of science has proven itself to be quite invaluable in engineering and, I understand, in science, but what if we look at human life. Could there be any evidence of the Second Law of Thermodynamics there?
Well, maybe. if we interpret the Second Law of Thermodynamics as suggesting things will tend towards chaos or uniformity, people - particularly doomsayers!  - will find evidence of increasing "chaos" and disorganisation all over the place. As an example, "the young" and their alleged lack of manners have been a source of concern all the way back to the times of Aristotle (my views on this, written about here, are that this perception is tied up with the fact that, as gatherer-hunters, children who reached puberty were basically old enough to start making significant contributions to the tribe, and thus could consider themselves as adults, whereas our insanely more complex and complicated world now denies adulthood until a time after a new, biologically artificial period called "the teenage years" [longer, the case of the USA] ... although I still hold to my views about SPIRITUAL maturity, which, even in the old gatherer-hunter days, was something that not everyone reached ... ).
There have been views about the decline of civilisation over time, back to and beyond Gibbons' work on "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" (I have a copy of this, and it really is - to my modern sensibilities :) - a disorganised, overly detailed, laborious and unclear tome) - I've even read people commenting that the early pyramids in Egypt were better built that later ones, which was in a book arguing that the initial pyramids and civilisation of Egypt were brought in by aliens as a leavening of the human species as it then was (which is a view I have come across in a range of sources, of varying credibility - some quite good credibility, actually).
If I look at my life, this fear of social decay could be exemplified by an ex's son, who was a parent of, in my view, dubious parenting "skills" (and his first partner was worse) but, nevertheless, eventually with six kids (fortunately, just before I left that relationship, he wound up with a partner who was straightening him - and his literally screaming horde - out). Other people have commented (in my life - may be some online comments to this effect on line as well, but I haven't looked for them) on how the people who care about kids and plan how to be parent and do their best tend to have far fewer kids than those who are carless, inattentive, erratic "parents".
In fact, from the point of view of society as a whole, even democracy, where everyone has a say, rather than the simpler feudal systems of king, lords and then us lot, is more chaotic and disorganised.
Oops - that's a benefit from chaos. How did that slip in there? :)
Well, that's a good point to start dragging this back towards a point of balance.
Yes, there are trends towards chaos and low energy states. The "smirky young popinjay" triggered some thoughts on that, which I'll eventually get to, but life is an insanely complex, complicated, chaotic and CONNECTED system. It is connected - important point: back there shortly, but first ... the chaos is, to some extent, due to "Life" trying out different options, and seeing what works best for the current, changing circumstances (Goddess, I feel like this post was brought to you by the letter "C") - in other words, evolution.
That's easy enough to see when we consider physical evolution, but I consider something similar happens around emotional, mental, social and spiritual evolution.
Let's consider ... social evolution. Democracy is widely accepted to be fairer than other systems of governance, but it also has the strength that it is more easily adapted to changing circumstances. A monarchy may be able to impose a response from the top down on to society - let's say, a particular economic philosophy in response to an such as the Great Depression; or the smaller, more recent "GFC", but it may not be the correct solution. If it isn't, it may have to wait until a change of leader for a change of policy. Democracy, on the other hand, when it throws up a mistake, generally corrects itself within a couple of election cycles - maybe two decades at most. And, how many decades did it take for the totalitarianism of the Soviet Empire to finally fall? How many years and lives before some of Chairman Mao's experiments (see here and here) were realised to be deadly failures and action taken to address this?
There's still mistakes along the way in democracy, and things I will disagree with, but the point - in the context of this post - is that the chaos of democracy allows a better, workable option to eventually be found and more readily adopted.
Life itself is like that.
If I look at each of us as an individual organism, the Second law of Thermodynamics implies that we should just fall into a pile of molecules with no unity. We're not, though - we're a complex, highly organised, well adapted and adaptable organism - a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.
In the same way, this whole small physical portion of reality should tend towards chaos, according to that "law" - and yet, at the moment, we have stars, planets and life ... My argument is that it is the influence of the nonphysical levels of reality that lead to that organisation - we're not the isolated system that the Second Law of Thermodynamics states it applies to.
Even on the level of a single organism, some of Lyall Watson's writing includes evidence (through, for example, the Kirlian photographs of leaves cut in half, which still have the Kirlian energy of a complete leaf) that the physical organism may well be modelled on a nonphysical component (in the system many people know, I consider the etheric is that level of a model for the physical organism). This theory is also used to explain phantom pain after amputation, for instance.
If we look at the human organism, we can see systems within the whole that act to impose order - we have an immune system that fights infection, a nervous system that allows us to move and tells us when part or all of the organism is in danger (e.g. a hand about to be burned, or the whole about to be eaten by a predator ... like a tiger or a shark or an aggressive boss).
So some parts act as agents to enable the whole to be led.
That also, I consider, happens socially and spiritually.
If we consider spiritual life, what tends to happen is that we have very evolved souls who inject something that is so appropriate and inspirational and useful into a particular culture, at a particular place and time, that it leads to something useful - major religions or philosophies, for instance. (Note the qualifications I placed on this - they may no longer be appropriate or useful or inspirational after a few centuries or millennia, or they may have been changed - in much the way that Christianity became neo-Christianity, for instance, and simple momentum may keep them going until that momentum is worn away by the chaos of change - and maybe an Enlightenment or an Industrial Revolution or three.)
What if that injection or leavening is missed in the chaos of life?
It happens again.
Spirit is not easily deterred, nor does Spirit easily give up.
And we do have a need for such injections or leavenings, in my opinion.
If I go back to the man crossing the road, he has perhaps chosen to take advantage of this time in history, one of the few times where so many people, probably almost two thirds, do not have to worry about survival, to explore hedonism.
Now, two thirds? Yes - let's consider something such as the so-called "Golden Age" of Greece, a time of great philosophical and scientific achievement ... by a few men, who relied on the work of slaves, the servitude of women and the protection of an army to be able to indulge themselves in their pursuits. OK, so many of those pursuits were later beneficial to most of humanity, but it is important, I consider, to keep in mind the fact that they were done by a small portion of society: if you were to be magically transported back to that era, the highest odds are that you would have an unpleasant, dangerous, short life.
These days, the First World and an increasing portion of the Third World don't have to worry about things like famines (many do - and also about lack of clean water, lack of shelter, war, etc, etc, etc - so my estimate of two thirds of the world's population is actually likely to be an over-estimate ... and yet that may be the best we've done since "civilisation" was invented), and many of those people have leisure time. In the 1800s when the struggle for the 8 hour day was fought, the argument was for 8 hours work, 8 hours rest (sleep) and 8 hours relaxation. That latter included family time and self-care, but, in those days before Internet, TV, radio, cinema, etc, there was also a strong interest in people trying to "better" themselves. Things like Mechanics' Institutes existed, so the leisure time didn't just go on entertainment or preening oneself, as the "smirky popinjay" had done.
I actually consider this sort of lifestyle to be an abuse of past achievements by the human race, but it does very well illustrate our potential for laziness and self indulgence - and there are times when exactly those are what are required (e.g. as part of a healing process). In fact, laziness can lead to great efficiency (not the sort of efficiency you see in certain joke emails, the sort of efficiency where clear thinkers actually consume less energy than those who are confused or unclear in their thinking processes, and genuinely better ways of doing things).
If, on the other hand, the behaviour is a problem, then I suspect the chaos part of life will lead to something that will throw a spanner in the works. In modern times, for the well-off portion of the world's population, such spanners probably arrive in the form of wars or economic crises (such as the aforementioned Great Depression and the GFC, or the Oil Crisis of the 70s) - or even personal crises, which can range from missing a rent or bill payment to life changing events such as illness  . If nothing else, enough social and personal misery will lead to some change - as illustrated by some of the "back to Nature" and "Simplify Life" movements of now and the past.
This is also where far sighted and motivated individuals have a role to play. Those who are despairing of the current spiritual state of the world should take heart from past examples, such as Buddha and Christ (the latter before the neo-Christianity thing got going). Even in the darkest of times, change is possible. It just may take some time and effort.
On that, the abolition of slavery is a good example. This is something that had been with us for millennia, and it took centuries to reduce slavery to the current level of occurrence (it isn't gone yet). Centuries? Yes. Although some may know of the work of the Quakers < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quakers > in England in the late 17th Century, which is where many anti-slavery movements seem to trace their precedents to, the first anti-slavery law was actually in Spain in 1542.
If we look at the move to get women voting rights (never mind equal rights to stand for election, protection against discrimination, etc - and noting that not all women have this basic right, and even in Europe this struggle continued to 1990), many people know about the suffragettes, but perhaps fewer know of the earlier work, such as (quoting from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_suffrage):
"A movement for women's suffrage originated in France in the 1780s and 1790s, where Antoine Condorcet and Olympe de Gouges advocated women's suffrage in national elections."
As a personal example, I have had people congratulate the lobby organisation i was part of for our successes in late 90s, not realising that our efforts were built on several decades of work by other, sadly unacknowledged people.
If I look at these people in the context of the chaos that is humanity, the aim now is to provide education (I love the 60s and 70s consciousness raising, and think it is still needed - which is where things like "Blue eyes, Brown Eyes" comes in) as much as inspiration, and get a groundswell of people to change their ways. The environment is probably a clear example of that, where, in the decades since Rachel Carson's pivotal work in the 60s, green movements have slowly developed, grown, adjusted, and now have even been elected to form Governments. It's a terrible, terrible tragedy that we've gone backwards on this in Australia at the last Commonwealth election, but that is partly a combination of the Greens still being at a relatively early stage, the Labor party being such a complete shambles, and the legacy of John Howard's nurturing of fear.
So ... overall, life seems to be two steps forward, one back, two forward, slip to the side, and so on. There are influences that can be described as entropic, in my view, but I actually consider much that seems to be entry to actually be simple human failings such as laziness, lack of vision, lack of self discipline, distraction, and so on.
Into this mix, however, come a few brave souls who struggle against the massive mix of fault and entropy, and strive to lift us all - and they thereby serve both Life and Spirit, and prevent this world being "an isolated system".
 I had planned on including some commentary about the alleged decay of humans from the days of “the Noble Savage”, although I was intending to refer back to gatherer-hunter societies (e.g. the proliferation of sugar, and the notion that laying on a beach can be a holiday), but it got too complicated to fit this in - and it can be argued in several ways, which is what happens when comparing the chaos of the Cro-Magnon times with the chaos of modern humanity … although the times in-between have often been much worse than both. As an example of that, an article by Steven Pinker in the June/July 2013 edition of “Cosmos” which points out that the first decline in violence happened during the transition from “the anarchy of hunter-gatherer societies” (sic) to “the first agricultural civilisations with cities and governments, which began to emerge around 5,000 years ago”. Forensic archaeology indicates that, at that time, death rates from violence declined from 15% to 3%. Furthermore, the article states “From the late Middle Ages to the 20th century, European countries experienced a 10- to 50-fold decline in homicide rates”, and a side bar states “the Women’s Rights movement helped reduce the rate of rape in the U.S. by 80% since 1973”. There are things that are worse about our sedentary, indoors-focused lifestyle, but there are things that are better, as well. See “The Better Angels of Our Nature : Why Violence Has Declined“.
Have a look also at:
 Actually, a speculation I've had is that, now we're "civilised", environmentalists and (good  ) economists are doing one of the jobs that Nature used to do, which is teach us humility. I shudder every time I hear someone refer to "conquering Nature", or proofing against drought or flood or something else. We haven't seen the worst that Nature can do yet, not by long shot, and we should remember that. Failing that, being reminded, for instance, that we (a) can't afford to build a dam so big that it does truly drought proof us, and (b) that the size of the dam would make for significant environmental and water quality problems anyway, is a good thing.
 I consider Andrew Leigh to be a good economist: he is focused on access to and use of resources in a way that is human (e.g., inclusion of social capital). The old economic rationalists of the 90s were the worst of economists - they destroyed society's fabric, and completed the tearing of humanity out of governance that had started a few decades earlier.
 BPF = Balanced Positive (spiritual) Forces. See here and here for more on this.
 Please see here and my post "The Death of Wikipedia" for the reasons I now recommend caution when using Wikipedia. I'm also exploring use of h2g2, although that doesn't appear to be as extensive (h2g2 is intended - rather engagingly - to be the Earth edition of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy").
Love, light, hugs and blessings
(pronounced "new-MYTH-ear"; ... aka Bellatrix Lux?)
My "blogiography" (list of all posts - currently not up to date) is here.
I started this blog to cover karmic regression-rescue (see here and here), and it grew ... See here for my group mind project, here and here for my "pagans for peace" project (and join me at 9 PM on Sunday, wherever you are, to meditate for peace), and here for my bindrune kit-bag.
- One size does NOT fit all.
- May the world of commerce and business be recognised to be a servant, not a master, of the lives of people.
- Ban the dream interpretation industry!
- A home is for living in, not feeling, becoming or being rich or a “better” class than others.
- The secret to being (financially) rich is not to have lots of money: it is to have an income above the poverty line, and then make whatever sacrifices are necessary in order to live within 90% of your means.
- Like fire to the physical, emotions to the soul make a good servant, and a bad master.
- "Following the crowd" is not "going with the flow".
- Armageddon is alive and well and happening right now: it is a battle between the indolence of "I only ..." and/or "I just ..." and/or "Everyone knows ... " and what Bruce Schneier  calls "security theatre" on one side, and perspicacity and the understanding that the means shape the end on the other.
- The means shape the end.
- Sometimes you just can't argue with a biped that is armed with a sharp stick, a thick head and not too much in the way of grunts.
- As words can kill, the right to freedom of speech comes with a DUTY to be as well-informed, objective and balanced as you can be.
- Spiritual love is far more than just an emotion - it is a concept, thoughts, actions and a way of living.
- One of the basics of serious spiritual / psychic work is that the greatest work is that which we do on ourself, which seems trivial to many. Our own Innermost Essence, which is our Higher Self / Soul / Spirit, has the power to do so much, and is actively participating in the creation and sustenance of this physical reality. Some mote of our conscious or unconscious knows that, which is why we seem inclined to be dismissive of Self Mastery - which is a bit like the child who sees an adult spending money to buy toys, and fails to recognise the daily grind of work which has led to having the money.
- My favourite action movie of all time is "Gandhi". However, I loathe the stereotypical action movie - and, for similar reasons, I loathe many dramas, which are often emotionally violent, more so in some cases than many war films.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good [people] to do nothing. (based on writing by) EDMUND BURKE
Your children are not your children. ... They come through you but ... they belong not to you ... for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow KAHLIL GIBRAN
We didn't inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we only borrowed it from our children ANTOINE DE SAINT-EXUPÉRY
Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
Those whom we cannot stand are usually those who we cannot understand P.K.SHAW
Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, and the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change." SENATOR ROBERT F. KENNEDY (US Attorney General 1966 Speech)
First published: Laugardagr, 28th September, 2013
Last edited: Saturday, 28th September, 2013