Information and Entropy

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These are two features of physics that I don’t really understand, but might be related:

Entropy I take to be the result of action on a system. Without it there is no arrow of time. Einstein’s theories of relativity, or quantum mechanics work as well backwards in time as forwards. But if we say  that action is caused by a force, it gives it a direction. Gravity, for example causes the cup to fall to the ground and break. It moves to a more disordered state, from it’s complete form; from a cup to bits. The process of the universe is the slow descent from order to disorder … so claimed Newton, and framed it as the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. Oh yes he did.

Might we call information the ordered version? Can we say that as a ‘cup’ it is informed? … Someone has kneaded the clay, fired and glazed it; that is, invested energy to make a drinking vessel. The extra force of gravity smashes it to the ground. The arrow of time records the event, from digging the clay from the river bank, forming it to shape, firing and glazing it … then the humans who use it to drink from, until in a careless moment it is brushed from the table to fall and break on the floor. But surely it is us humans who impose order on the clay? Another intelligence, say an alien or a dog, for whom a nice cuppa has no meaning, observes the clay being extracted by electro-magnetic force (muscular or chemical effort) from the river bank, going through various transformations before being dashed to pieces (by gravity) on the ground. To a shuffling slug looking for a home, the resultant shards of pottery may be the end purpose, for all we know.  So as God rolls his dice, from the super high temperatures of the big bang, the universe slowly cools, and undergoes many strange transformations in the process, from galaxies and exploding stars, to planets and potters. So the physicist must mean something else by ‘information’.  Us humans play amongst the dust, and make pretty patterns as it settles … but that can’t be the information they mean!  All the biological action that entails the evolution of life on this planet, no but a heart beat in the grand cooling, and our efforts, from sonnets to history, football to pottery, less than the blink of an eye. Wow.

Does every transformation involve this movement towards chaos? Like shuffling slugs we prefer a certain sort of chaos … is that all? But the act of choosing in itself involves energy. As we teeter along the precipice, trying to keep the cup from falling, we do so by exertion. To prevent it becoming prey to a greater force (here, gravity) we push the cup to a safe position.