Saturday, December 26, 2020


            Just like time, entropy isn’t a real thing but rather a measurement of change. Informational entropy is a description of the forces that degrade informational transfer. This can be further divided over time or iterations of transfer or geographical transfer. Entropy can be visualized best as a fist gripping a ball of mud, and the fist is gradually closing no matter what you do, deforming the shape of the mud. Some of the mud even detaches from the increasingly deformed ball of mud, but that mud does not disappear, it simply moves onto the hand or falls to the ground.

            I suspect, but am not sure, that entropy has to do with a lot of the personification of deities and spirits that can be found in ancient and fairly recent history. The Greeks and Romans had gods and temples to gods, so did the Native Americans, and so have a bunch of other groups. If I had to guess, priests and shamans as well as parents found it easiest to pass on knowledge and wisdom by wrapping them up in characters that could be concrete. It’s hard to abstract values and their benefits for normal people or children, so as a sort of “sugar coating” you personify these things into characters that can be understood and described quite easily.

This choosing the easy way of passing down values is a form of informational entropy, because even if the person who you are telling a slightly false story to knows that the story is made slightly false, there is a non-zero chance they will not communicate that fact properly to whoever they pass the information onto. If they don’t mess up, then maybe the people they tell will mess up, or perhaps the people after them, and so on. Eventually, what was a clear myth becomes a historical claim, and the historical claim eventually becomes disputed by some and believed by others. In this disagreement, the actual message of the information being passed is gradually lost, and you end up with Marvel movies and comic books and disgusting looking creatures being “fans” of Odin, Loki, or any other mythological figure as a bizarre personal identity.

No comments:

Post a Comment