Why Things Break - What Does Entropy Mean - - - - The Real Definition of Entropic Chaos

An alternate title would be:

What Is the Meaning of Entropy in Our Day-to-Day Lives - The Top 10 Ways Entropy Messes with Us

Editor's Note: If you are looking for the scientific or other more arcane definitions of entropy, then go here. If you are looking for a personal philosophy of entropy and how it is an integral part of our day-to-day reality, then you've found it.

Why things break...

Entropy happens.
Entropy happens. | Source

What does entropy mean?

  • Why do things break down? That's entropy.
  • Why do things malfunction? That's entropy.
  • Why are you obstructed in everything you try to do? That's entropy.
  • Why is Murphy's Law so prevalent? That's entropy.
  • Why are there a hundred times more mistakes than accomplishments? That's entropy.
  • Why are there a hundred times more failures than successes? That's entropy.

[Editor's Note: For some readers, this page will be humorous. For other readers, this page will be serious. Both views are correct. And it should be noted there are more than 10 ways scattered around this page. Lucky us.]

Chaos and Entropy

Entropy happens.
Entropy happens. | Source

The Universe - Entropy is the built-in randomness of reality

What does entropy mean to humanity? Whenever a human or humankind in general tries to create order, entropy immediately begins to disassemble it. This is why any man-made object will immediately begin to deteriorate upon its completion. It does not matter if it's a newly manufactured stick of gum or a newly-constructed, 100-story skyscraper; the result is always the same. Entropy immediately begins doing everything in its power to render it useless, broken-down, and of no value.

How Entropy Works and Why Things Break

Disorder and Entropy

Entropy happens.
Entropy happens. | Source

"Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone." - Albert Einstein in The Evolution of Physics



One of entropy's favorite methods. With almost any physical item man creates, entropy will immediately start to change the object's chemical structure. In due course the object's chemical composition becomes such the object's original purpose is no longer viable; plain, ordinary rust being the most well known example.


Another favorite tool of entropy. Quite simply, entropy will keep pulling on each and every object until the object comes crashing down; no matter how long it takes. Entropy never quits.


Another tool of entropy. The more often used term for "friction" is "wear-and-tear". Every time an object is used, it is subjected to wear-and-tear. Sooner or later, the wear-and-tear renders the object no longer usable.


One of entropy's often used tools. This is where entropy uses one class of objects to destroy another class of objects. Probably the top categories of objects entropy uses to destroy other objects and entities are bacteria, viruses, and even plain, ordinary dust.


Otherwise known as an increase in temperature. For every degree increase in temperature, entropy aka decomposition aka deterioration aka destruction aka chaos begins to accelerate. A decrease of temperature to .01 degrees Kelvin is minimum entropy. An increase of temperature to x millions/billions degrees is maximum entropy.


Combining the above is also an entropic standard procedure. Entropy really likes this method because it accelerates the disassembly, usually logarithmically. The best example is where friction generates heat, which causes expansion, which causes more friction, which causes more heat, ad infinitum; the inevitable and sometimes quick result being the destruction of the victim object.


Another often overlooked tool of entropy. Aside from the inherent cross-purposes designed into what we perceive as nature; we tend to forget humans are also a part of the same construct. So much so that humans are at cross-purposes more often than they are at equilibrium. The more disagreement, the more entropy. Taken to extreme, there is much more entropy during war than peace.


Chaos and Entropy

Entropy happens.
Entropy happens. | Source

Entropy's Favorite Tool of All...

Randomness can otherwise be defined as thermodynamics and/or quantum physics. The only difference between the two is the size of the objects entropy uses as its tools.

In the case of thermodynamics, entropy uses atoms and molecules as it's implementer.

In the case of quantum physics, entropy uses subatomic particles.

In both cases, whether they be molecules, atoms, or subatomic particles; the little critters immediately start randomly wandering around and going places where we don't want them to go.


Entropy uses this tool when it just wants to have fun...

Two cars arriving at an intersection at the same time is an example of this.

And then there are the asteroids, very large meteors, etc.... They can and do intersect Earth's orbit every now and again. And, of course, sooner or later Earth is just going to happen to be there...

Probability is really just an attempt to understand the aforementioned category of randomness; with the additional factor of randomness using the much larger objects along with the smaller ones.

Entropy is the Opposite of Order

Entropy is change, invariably for the worse. Entropy is constant. The proverb, "Change is constant", is true. Entropy is the antithesis and enemy of order. Energy and matter are in constant flux. Entropy's favorite concepts, quite simply, are: decomposition, destruction, and chaos.

How does one compensate for and accept entropy? Keeping the following premises in mind will help:

  • Nothing lasts forever.
  • The universe doesn't care.

Entropy takes it all whether you want it to or not, entropy takes it all. Entropy bears it away, and in the end there is only darkness.*

*A paraphrased quote from Stephen King.
*A paraphrased quote from Stephen King.

Have a nice day.

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Comments 24 comments

homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas

Great hub! Great pictures! Entrophy is all around us ... kind of scary!

level up and definitely interesting!

clara kish@yahoo. profile image

clara kish@yahoo. 5 years ago from Mt. Perry. Ohio

Very interesting,I guess given enough time everything can be destroyed. Gives you something to think about ,doesn't it? Thanks for the hub . clara

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba

How long is my comment going to exist before entropy claims it?

paradigmsearch profile image

paradigmsearch 5 years ago from USA Author

Only the HP server knows for sure... lol

Hollie Thomas profile image

Hollie Thomas 4 years ago from United Kingdom

Wow, Paradismsearch, I feel like this hub has really given me something to think about. I think Entropy defined, is the inevitability of death.

GmaGoldie profile image

GmaGoldie 4 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

Never heard of this - you expanded my knowledge base - love new words - thank you! A quantum leap of knowledge!

Kat 4 years ago

It just goes to show that chaos is more prevalent than order, the universe's natural preference but it takes great energy to steer it towards an ordered state! I know this is true in my life right now!

Mr. Smartypants 4 years ago

Entropy's motto: "This, too, shall pass."

WD Curry 111 profile image

WD Curry 111 4 years ago from Space Coast

When I was little, I would fill a bucket with water at the beach. I would swing it around and around as fast as I could. I would gradually change the orbit until I was twirling it directly over my head, parallel to the ground. I was fascinated by the way the water was contained in the bucket. Eventually, I would become exhausted and lose my grip . . . water went flying everywhere.

We are living in time of of exhausting entropy.

Scott P Williams profile image

Scott P Williams 4 years ago from Miami, Florida

love the art/pics

HikeGuy profile image

HikeGuy 4 years ago from Northern California Coast

Now that I know entropy just wants to have fun, I feel so much better. Thanks for this entertaining and informative article -- mesmerizing photos, too.

Michelle Hertz profile image

Michelle Hertz 4 years ago

I think you forgot to mention the one thing not affected by entropy: McDonald's french fries

gaiaVision profile image

gaiaVision 4 years ago from Big Island Hawaii

Awesome hub, it explains a lot in my life right now! Thank you!

Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 4 years ago

Hello ParadigmSearch ~ Voted awesome for the way your organized so neatly the theory of entropy, which can appear so chaotic. Blessings, Debby

cathylynn99 profile image

cathylynn99 4 years ago from northeastern US

my solution for dealing with entropy: give yourself the best possible chance over and over. sooner or later something will go right.

paradigmsearch profile image

paradigmsearch 4 years ago from USA Author


That is excellent advice!

DMKenyon profile image

DMKenyon 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

Entropy is only half of the organizational tendency of nature. It is actually demonstrative of the nature's preference for equalization. We see this in the process of osmosis where a non-rigid structure like water will tend to find even distribution over a specific space. We also see this in the entropic process of thermal transfer as heat tries to invade our air-conditioned living spaces because it is merely moving into spaces where energy is not. This, if you think about it, is actually a very helpful process and suggests that the ultimate organization of the universe is evenness, or unification.

But, the universe loves its opposites and the opposite of entropy is syntropy. Syntropy is the tendency of certain things, usually living things, to organize. Syntropy is the force of nature that has a bacterium want to be a college freshman in 100 million years. Living things, follow the exact opposite tendency of disintegration, which is to say, that they tend to integrate instead of disintegrate.

The ramifications of syntropy are profound especially given that syntropy seems to have a special association with life force and consciousness.

Hence, entropy should never be considered as an isolated phenomenon, but rather needs to be understood in the context of its yang phenomenon, syntropy, in order to describe the flux and flow of the universe in toto. Existence, is after all, a single system, an integrated system, that is set in motion because things fall apart and other things organize to god-like potential.

Best wishes,

D.M. Kenyon

Author of The Lotus Blossom

cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

I took an AP Bio class in high school and we coined a term: "we are all striving towards entropic doom." Hehe. Enthalpy takes so much work. Just ask my coffee table...it doesn't have about 20 library books on it, papers, mail, pens, hairpins, candles, newspapers on it. Nuh uh. Nothing like that. Awesome hub! Glad I found you here on HP! :)

Niteriter profile image

Niteriter 3 years ago from Canada

Ahem... I see entropy (in the sense of "a measure of the loss of information in a transmitted signal or message") is at work in your very first sentence. The noun "breakdown" as employed therein is not performing its customary function.

It is my contention, however, that this anomaly is a literary sleight-of-hand on your part to test the attention with which visitors are viewing your Hubs. That should make it a fine job all around, n'est ce pas?

KUSHAL KONCH 3 years ago

I think you forgot to mention the one thing not affected by entropy: McDonald's french fries

Silva Hayes profile image

Silva Hayes 21 months ago from Spicewood, Texas

I love it! Have a nice day, indeed! Here's to randomness.

NateB11 profile image

NateB11 13 months ago from California, United States of America

I hadn't thought of this before, at least not at this angle. It's very true, true about life. We're going to break down. That is, we are breaking down. And everything's random. Very thought-provoking.

annasmom profile image

annasmom 11 months ago

Great article, love the playfulness in your voice...right?

just_jenni 7 months ago

Thank goodness we have gold and honey...two things I think are indestructible and will never disappear...oh, and then there's my brother-in-law.

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