Over the weekend I watched Mr. Nobody with Jared Leto. The more time I have had to digest the movie, it is becoming one of my favorites. I had never heard of the movie before until I was searching through Netflix and it popped up in my “you may also like section.” Sometimes technology can be cool but at the same time it is scary that it suggested that movie as one I may like. Anyways…
When you are watching this movie it is unlike any other film I have ever seen before. At first it is almost a mix between a documentary and a movie, so you are really wondering what is going on. Slowly the plot starts to develop and you can kind of figure out what is going on. When you get to the end it all becomes more clear, at least a little.
The reason I am talking about this movie is because there is one decision in Nemo Nobody’s life where he can trace everything back to. After that decision is where his life branches off into at least four different worlds. The movie is a journey through each of these lives. I have often found myself looking back on my life wondering if there was one point where if I had chosen something different that my life would be drastically different. But I have talked about similar ideas in so many other posts so let’s talk about something else.
During the movie there are a lot of physics terms thrown around, because one of Nemo’s jobs, depending on which decision he makes, is a narrator for a company much like the Science channel. In one segment he talks about entropy, which is in fact has a lot to do with the second law of thermodynamics. It sounds really fancy but it is actually quite simple, and you will sound smart if you throw that out next time you are drinking with your friends. The law states that in a closed system, much like our universe (or so we believe that our universe is a closed system, meaning that nothing on the outside can influence it), things always proceed from a highly ordered state to a disordered state. In layman’s terms entropy means chaos, so things go form less chaotic to more chaotic. If you take a look around you, through every day reality we know this to be true. We never see a broken plate (which is in a chaotic state, it is in many pieces and those pieces are in various different places) start to piece itself back together and gently place itself back on the table from which it fell. There are countless examples of this, an ice cube melting, even out bodies slowly break down over time and become more chaotic as our lives go one.
The first time I came across this term was in The fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene. It took me a while to wrap my head around what he was saying. Once I understood it, the theory made sense. In terms of our universe this also holds to be true, well for the most part. After the big bang, stars and planets began to form in our universe. slowly over time they would burn out or supernova and spread their remains all across the universe, slowly increasing entropy in the universe. Eventually humans came along and we are highly ordered beings, with low entropy. So if the second law of thermodynamics is true, and almost all scientist believe it is, then it is hard to understand how we exist at all. As I stated we are highly ordered beings, so how is it that after so many billions of years do highly ordered beings emerge from a universe that obeys the second law of thermodynamics?
What a brain buster right? Well not so much, reread above when I said that entropy increases in a closed system. The earth and its biosphere is not a closed system. It is constantly being bombarded with energy from the sun, therefore it is not a closed system, There are various other things that could also have an effect on the planet but we will not get into those.
Entropy also has a lot to do with time’s arrow. I mentioned the plate above, and how we have never seen a plate put itself back together after broken. As far as we know time only flows one way. One of the key points of the observation of time is change. We know one moment is different from the previous because something changes. The clouds move, the sun moves, wind blows the grass, people move around, all these things tell us that one particular moment is different from the next. Eventually there will be so much chaos in the universe, all the starts will be burned out, all the molecules and atoms will be so spread out that it will be impossible to tell one moment from the next. Basically it will be the end of time, as our universe will be completely void of heat and any movement from particles. So there will be no way to tell if time is still moving, even at the subatomic level, as there will be no change. Each moment would be the exact same as the one before, as nothing would change, no movement from particles or anything. That is a pretty interesting. I have always wondered if a human was still alive during this period of our universe if they would still age? Something to think about…