Swans Commentary » swans.com August 25, 2008  



Expediency Creates Entropy Within The Human Environment


by Carol Warner Christen





(Swans - August 25, 2008)   First, we need to define expediency. It is "advantageous, suitable, as do whatever is expedient...; politic rather than just; (n.) contrivance, device." (1) The underlined part of the definition is the operative statement: politic rather than just. Politic means, besides judicious and expedient, scheming and crafty. (2) Webster's does add "...of selfish use or advantage..." (3)

Second, we need to define entropy. Entropy is a scientific term in physics, rarely used as I intend to do in this essay. Entropy means "the measure of the unavailability of a system's thermal energy for conversion to mechanical work." It means "transformation" in Greek. (4) The term entropy does not appear in my 1879 encyclopedias. I prefer to use the older books for definitions because they are often more precise. This essay leans heavily upon "work" and "transformation" in those meanings.

In the past decades, when we lost our citizenship to consumption, we have purchased an amazing amount of "stuff" that we "must" have. It is filling our homes and garages to the point of bursting. Even if we do not overbuy, the items begin to slowly add up to clutter and finally chaos, which is worse. Chaos could be another word for entropy in the household or living spaces.

Expediency is the choice of putting an item here or there or maybe under this and that. Over time, we begin to forget where things are as they pile up in drawers and bins, cupboards and closets, attics and basements, garages and rental storage spots. Most people do not list the expedient choice to store an item. It simply goes, in the beginning, into the place where another item like it went, sort of, that is. Finally, one day, the dust piles high, the dirt collects low, and items are forgotten below or among the newer items.

At that point, cleaning and sorting occur until interrupted by a phone call, by a lack of time, by something of more importance for life is lived moment by moment, regardless of any current chaos. In this system, those who can afford the services of maids, cleaning people, butlers, etc. always appear to have perfect order within and without the home.

Many, if not most, of those people gravitate to politics or corporate work, either owning or managing something larger than a home and grounds. This is the point during the past thirty or forty years that our country changed. Career positions prior to that were honored and the work was well-performed. The population was smaller as was the government. Integrity mattered in the workplace from top to bottom with few exceptions.

The infrastructure was newer and built safely and well. The country's governing bodies were peopled by those who wanted to create the best country in the world with freedoms unknown everywhere else. The founders put together an entity that functioned for around two hundred years. The elected honored the purposes and citizens were respected even when hauled before courts for wrongdoing and sentenced. Then something changed.

That something was the invention of the atomic bomb. The power such a device gave those in government to control anyone and everyone overwhelmed the basic decency of humankind. We badly wanted to fight in World War II and made expedient moves to have the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor. Of course, they took the bait and we had our chance. I was six and one-half years old when that occurred; I read it myself in the headlines. The horror of what I read stays with me to this day.

We wanted into that war for political reasons and expedited our chance. The result: we dropped two atomic bombs on two absolutely defenseless cities in Japan. The entropy created was a horrible mess, a disaster in every way. It was political expediency. On August 6th, 1945, humanity changed for the worse. Integrity in high places disappeared for good; although, there were some human exceptions. Japan withdrew into industry. The United States grew into the richest country on the planet.

We built thousands of those bombs, too, with which to threaten others. Again, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We began to want and need war. We tested bigger bombs -- hydrogen bombs. We destroyed Pacific islands to test them, too. The people who used to live there fared badly. Then, the French lost their Vietnam War and we took it over. The poisons and weapons we poured into Vietnam are still another crime against humanity and more entropy on the planet.

In fact, in the 233 years the United States has been a country, 145 years have been war years with a mere 88 years of actual peace, or 38%. That means war, a form of expediency leading to entropy for many peoples, has triumphed 62% of the time. (5)

During such almost continuous wars, our politicians have learned little wisdom but a great deal of expediencies to take whatever wherever they wish. A few other timely matters converged with this accumulation of power: in 1896 corporations became eternal Persons who can live forever with all the rights and privileges of a mere human person; the treasury of the United States was transferred to a private bank, the Federal Reserve Bank in 1913; and several groups gathered huge amounts of power over governmental decisions, such as the secretive Bilderberg Group based in Europe, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Trilateral Commission. They propose agendas for We, the People; then, they vote to implement them; they report them to the newspapers; and, we never know much, if anything about the transactions whether good, bad, or indifferent. They have learned the back doors to power that leads to clutter of the body politic because we do not know where or what or why they are putting ideas into our government without our oversight.

Personally, I would fine everyone guilty of such expedient use of the People's branches of government for which we pay by taxes. Our servants have become the servants to the high and mighty who do not care about the rest of us. If these persons are indeed 18% ponerologists, then the 82% of us who are normal rather than psychopathic are outnumbered in our own government. The bureaus in the executive branch are hiring ever more and more of them to twist and turn the government to corporate or power-based groups, rather than us. In fact, the government is so cluttered with these persons that actual scientists once hired are quitting in droves in response to the oversight these uneducated persons have over their sciences now. The religious, too, are packing the government with their belief systems, not any of which the rest of us agree upon. The laws are being passed without being read, hundreds of pages worth of what? No one knows but it will be expedient and it has already led to governmental entropy on a huge scale.

Congress no longer seems interested in its own work. They let the executive branch decide and choose what is solely the duty of the Congress. The Court is half independent, half not. Its decisions do not bode well for us. We have lost all of our ancient rights even to habeas corpus. Detention camps have been built but remain empty. No one seems curious in the least. Just more expensive clutter in the landscapes as we think someone must know what the new litter is about. We bought and stored them; now, we ignore them. Are they for us?

The states still have much dignity as to governance because each state's people have their own laws written over time that have not been degraded as national law has of late. In other words, the national scene has degraded, but the local has not so far.

I read somewhere that very few, if any, countries managed to exist beyond 200 years intact. Empires, especially, do not last. Yet, here we are once the land of the free pursuing a world empire underwritten by a handful of individuals in the groups mentioned above. They want a world with one order only -- theirs. The world is the most diverse set of organisms on any planet we understand and love. Yet, we look for others as we overlook our own.

Of course, the planet is degraded now to the point where its functions are failing, just like an old vacuum, or an ancient building. The infrastructure always degrades without regular and faithful upkeep. We haven't had a generation interested in infrastructure since 1924, when the last civic was born. The youngest generation now will rebuild when they are ready; but, the oldest is barely 30 right now. Can we wait to help our planet or will it sink into entropy before our eyes and lungs and stomachs?

How many will die? The One World Order persons have decided for us that one in every 130,000 people alive today must go and soon so that the 500,000,000 left will have a good life. Did we vote on this "Order?" This is a belief system worthy of those in power; but, it is not sufficient if we all do not have a voice. We have lost our voices, our rights, our country, and, soon, our only livable planet. There is no guarantee that, by killing off most of us, that the rest will survive at all. They have no work skills, just money-making skills and bossy skills. I'd bet that the Papuans would do better than any of the self-selected elites. Those humans with ties closest to the earth might do better than anyone.

Our voices have been ignored; we are at the bottom of the pile now. War and weapons of war, hydrogen bombs, and depleted uranium (fat chance!) bomblets, seem to be the choices to remove people as soon as possible to the dump if starvation and prisons don't do the job.

Do you think some of us who are out of this special loop will be given lottery tickets to choose if we live or die? Will the oxygen deplete before all the ideas reach fruition? How much methane as the ocean ice melts and how much carbon dioxide will overwhelm our lungs? Or, how much ethanol do they intend to make to deplete the food supply of humans and animals? Soon, on our farm, our goats will live solely on forage, if the costs rise and supply disappears.

Do you ever think that some idiot is running this planetary household? Will anyone stop the idiocy? Of course, as I've said before, the children are locked into electronic light devices. They'll never notice their passing, will they? Who will clean up the rotting mess of six billion dead people? Who will dig all those graves? Maybe we'll just burn the corpses and further reduce the atmosphere for any of them who are hiding.

All of this is expediency. It leads to entropy because there will be no chance to convert the energy from death into anything useful if each person has to dispose of 130,000 others. How long would it take? Would anyone bother? What if the deaths and their stench are everywhere?

I have also noticed that more and more advertisements to order magazines and to fund various charities are using so much paper and ink to solicit monies from me that I have shredded a huge number of these unwanted mailings. I have bags full. Does a tree have to die for this all the time? What about the plastic overkill on the planet? I don't want all the things I buy wrapped in endless layers of more plastic. I bring cloth bags to the store and go home with too much plastic anyway. Why? I know all the common answers to protect me; but, is there no alternative? I keep thinking of the plastic island in the Pacific Ocean.

The worst thing is that no one cares about the "mess" I make with stuff. We keep just barely enough order to make our messes invisible. My husband and I on our farm have just about everything, even if it's old, to redo and reproduce all types of stuff. We rarely bother using it. It is for the future we worry about.

The farm is 114 years old and the barn is deteriorating since it was built in 1944 and is now 18 inches below grade as the soil and water from across a highway 600 feet away has piled up on one side of it masquerading as a yard for our other barn, which is also 114 years old, a hops barn converted to WWI apartments, then to a home for three generations of a family, and now just the two of us. We have restored it to a single house with new siding, windows, foundation, roof, etc. We have a shop for building stuff and it is, right now, in desperate need of order as it is now entropic with 14 years of use. That's my next task when the weather cools off. I've cleared all but the attic of clutter and accumulation. It is almost too much to keep the land cleared of the blackberries.

We are almost always guilty of expedient decisions about where to put what. Entropy wins when time is at a premium. We have no help. It's our entire fault. The best part is that we are not in debt despite the surfeit of stuff we've saved, rather than always bought. We might just get this stuff to do work again. This is your fault, too. Who elected those people? The debt they stuck us with by war is unpayable by any human effort.




1.  Concise Oxford Dictionary, New Ed., 1929, Oxford, Clarendon Press, pp 397-8.  (back)

2.  Ibid, p. 885.  (back)

3.  Webster's New World Dictionary, 1970, World Publishing Co., p. 493.  (back)

4.  Concise Oxford Dictionary, New Edition 1929, Oxford, Clarendon Press, p.379.  (back)

5.  http://en.wijipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wars_involving_the_United_States.  (back)


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About the Author

Carol Warner Christen on Swans (with bio)... Woman born 1939, twice married, five children, 7 grandchildren; own a goat farm, rural Oregon after years in Chicago area and Ohio; Associate of Arts, Chicago Art Institute (1 year); artist, editor, mechanical design drafting supervisor; owned two computer companies before anyone had a computer; activist; antiwar; human.



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Published August 25, 2008