I like the contribution of Yves Bajard from the National Centre for
Sustainability (well spellt, too) when he says:
" Although I heard and will hear loud cries of disagreement with me on the
subject, I do not agree at all with the qualification of biology as
negentropic. Life, however long it has existed on Earth, and however
diversified it has become with time, is absolutely not a challenge to the
second law of thermodynamics. This law is correct and applies everywhere to
closed systems. Living forms have operated as open systems as long as they
did not hit limits to their expansion. They have operated as open systems
within the closed system which is the Earth by feeding their growth and
development on other species, minerals, water, air, etc.., and at the
expense of their integrity. This is quite normal. By compressing the limits
of the domain within which the sources of its existence operated, life has
reduced their lifespan, and precipitated the growth of their entropy. Now
that life, and in particular one species, Homo sapiens, has reached its
limits, it has to function in a closed system, back to a steady gain in
entropy, because it cannot replenish any longer its energy and re-order it
at the expense of external supplies."
I am not sure we have yet reached the end of our ability to utilise energy
from 'outside' -- who knows what future technology will enable us to do (use
cosmic gravity waves?) but I agree that in practice we are approaching
closed system limits as we pollute our way through the earth's resources.
On what do we depend?
1. We depend, as all organisms do, on an environment/context/ecosphere
that has the right blend of sufficient 'quantities'
(gravity/oxygen/minerals/temperature/ etc) for our physical organic systems
to achieve a working equilibrium within and with it.
2. As a special category of the above: we depend on regular energy input,
whether we are discussing electromagnetic radiation from the Sun or a
delicious apple. (or even a McDonalds creation). This also requires an
effective recipient means of utilising this energy form.
3. We depend, of course, on each other. Ein Mensch ist kein Mensch.
Our sense of community is almost always more limited than it needs to be and
constant conscious attempts to widen our perceptions and appreciations are
necessary to avoid mental and emotional ruts.
4. We depend on stimulus and feedback at every level of our perceptions.
What is not used, atrophies. I lack stereoscopic vision because eye-brain
coordination did not get established during its crucial window-of-opportunity.
5. As sentient beings, I believe we need some sense of direction/purpose
that will itself be a blend of awareness of our own unfolding intrinsic
nature and a response to the various contexts in which we exist.
6. We need, perhaps most of all as sentient beings, a large dose of
humility because of our inherent limitations. Reality is so much
richer/deeper than we can apprehend and we have to take actions whose
consequences can't be fully foreseen. DDT did, after all, save many human
lives as intended, but.....
Is there a difference between a prayerful approach to the world and
approaching everything in the world as sacred? The recognition of the
reality of ugliness/bad/falsehood etc in the former approach may be more
goal oriented than in the latter approach. Is this a Bad Thing or a Good Thing?