See, Believe and Do™

Elements Series

Order and Entropy, The Basic Components Of A Unified Theory Of Everything?
by Gregory A. Piccionelli (
In recent years cosmologists have been forced to confront new challenges to our understanding of the cosmos. These include the recent discovery that the universe appears to be mostly made up of an invisible type of matter dubbed “dark matter” regarding which relatively little is known other than evidence of its existence. Another discovery, that the expansion of universe is accelerating contrary to previous expectations has led to speculation of the existence of a mysterious form of energy currently being called “dark energy.” These discoveries have demonstrated that much more than minor adjustments to existing theories will be required to account for these recent findings. It is therefore not unreasonable to state that an understanding of the nature of reality may require a fundamental paradigm shift.

In this article I present a simple question with the hope of provoking further useful discussion leading to testable hypotheses. The question: Can a unified theory of physics be derived from a hypothetical relationship of just order and disorder? If such a relationship exists, and if the concepts of infinite order and entropy are realistically meaningful, this article concludes with a formulation to describe the logical origin of the cosmos.

Order, Entropy and The Four Fundamental Forces of Nature.

The physical world is characterized by four fundamental forces: gravity, the strong and weak nuclear forces and the electromagnetic force. Science’s longtime search for a fundamental relationship that unites the four forces of nature as manifestations of a single, quintessential principal might also be aided by recasting the problem as one involving the interaction of a unitary state of infinite order and elemental and conceptually unitary state of infinite disorder. While any interaction of these proposed primordial components could be characterized as a cosmic version of the immoveable object meeting the irresistible force, I believe that nature may have provided some hints that such a seemingly impossible situation is actually the genesis of the cosmos.

One such hint might be distilled from an examination of the forces of nature from an order/entropy perspective. Three of the four fundamental forces of nature have been shown through computer models and mathematical relationships to be descendants of a more primordial force. No model has been proposed which effectively unites the other force, gravity, with this primordial force, or with its progeny forces (the strong and weak nuclear forces and the electromagnetic force) in the four dimensional space-time of our world. However, it is intriguing to view these two forces, the primordial force and gravity, and the progeny forces as displaying residual components of a hypothetical preceding state in which there was nothing but conceptual order and entropy.

For example, the fundamental primordial force from which the strong and weak nuclear forces and the electromagnetic force are presumed to have originated, might be viewed as the elemental force carrying most of the residual entropy from the earlier order/entropy state. The splitting of this “unitary force” into three might, itself be viewed as a result of a kind of entropy-induced “diffusion” of the order component of the non-gravity primordial force.

It might also be the case that the resulting three forces produced from the non-gravity primordial force themselves form a hierarchy of forces on the basis of the amount of disorder or entropy components manifested. For example, the weak nuclear force may be seen as a mostly disordering or entropic force in that the weak force mediates the decay of nuclear particles, each particle being viewed as a localized packet of order. The strong nuclear force on the other hand seems to carry the greatest order component as the force mediates the powerful and orderly binding of quarks in protons and neutrons. The strong nuclear force might even be analogized in a very broad way to be a kind of nuclear gravitational force.

The electromagnetic force might be viewed as occupying a place in the residual order/entropy characteristics hierarchy by displaying a mix of both order and disorder characteristics. For example, heat and other molecular motion inducing components of the electromagnetic force increase the entropy in a system, yet magnetic component of the electromagnetic force can be both attractive (ordering) and repulsive (disordering).
The electromagnetic force can also be carried by finite particles (somewhat more characteristic of a singularity) and waves of infinitely distortable waveforms (disorder). Further, energy transmitted by the electromagnetic force can transform a packet of order (a particle occupying a very tiny space) into a less condensed (and less singularity-like) wave, which can be transmitted over a theoretically infinite amount of space.

The other primordial force, which might be seen as carrying most of the order effect, is gravity. Gravity seems to be a singular and undivided force. This should not be surprising if gravity is the principal carrier of an ordering force as singular-ness and undivided-ness are quintessential descriptors of order. In fact, gravity seems to be the very embodiment of an ordering principal, and this too is not surprising, if the principal ordering force displays its characteristics in a singular manner. Consider gravity’s ability to collapse matter and energy into a black hole, which, oddly enough seems to be a rough approximation of the initial order state of the universe. If one were to anthropomorphically characterize gravity, if would seem that the force of gravity seeks to restore the initial state of infinite order present at the beginning of the universe by seeking to collapse everything into a point.

It is also interesting in and of itself, I believe, that the three forces that I have characterized as the “entropy-carrying” forces, have been shown to be mathematically unified. Gravity is still, so to speak, the “odd man out,” and he is still single and unattached, in that he’s not part of an order/entropy coupled force. Perhaps this is because gravity is somehow an “ordering” cosmic counter-balance to the forces with greater entropy characteristics.

Recent observations that have led to the speculation of the existence of repulsive gravity as a possible explanation of the source of dark energy that is speeding up the expansion of the universe. This might seem at odds with the concept that gravity is a more or less still pure ordering force. But if one views the expansion of the universe to be due to the disordering effect of entropy itself, perhaps conceptualized as a kind of forced dilution of nothingness with the somethingness of the stuff of the universe due to entropy, a force of gravity, specifically repulsive gravity, may not be the ultimate engine diffusing the matter in the cosmos.

Perhaps another hint that order and entropy are the prime movers of everything can be found in another odd man out characterization of gravity. M-theory characterizes the strings that produce gravitons, the gravitational force carrying particles, as looped in contrast to the linear string characterizations of the other force carrying particles. While not entirely intuitive, the structure of a circle or a loop-structured string offers fewer degrees of freedom and combinational opportunities in multi-dimensional space than a line-structured string and hence can be characterized as displaying a greater degree of order, or less entropy.

If the cosmos is indeed ultimately a manifestation of the “collision” or mixing of infinite order and infinite entropy then one might be able to conceptualize an initial state or beginning of the cosmos, or as I will show below, more accurately, that the cosmos needed no initial state. This is because a state of infinite order can be characterized as either of the following two states: (i) a singularity state or (ii) a state of absolutely nothing at all. Both states are absolutely unitary, absolutely pure, and each contains infinite order and zero disorder. They are therefore equally ordered, each possessing infinite order. As two things equal to the same thing are equal to each other, and here both states (i) and (ii) are equal to infinite order, the state of the singularity and the state of nothing are equivalent states. Either could provide the infinite order component for collision or mixing with the infinite entropy component.

The infinite entropy component is provided automatically by the system itself by providing two alternatives to supply infinite order. That little bit of disorder, two possible states for infinite order, is, for the system as infinite an amount of as could be conceptually generated. Another way of looking at it that there is an infinite amount of potential disorder in a system where existence and nonexistence are truly equal to one another.

And so the beginning (if you could call it that) sequence of the cosmos is infinite order arising equally from existence in the form of a singularity or nothing immediately colliding with localized infinite disorder resulting from the existence of two equal but conceptually exclusive embodiments of infinite order, nothing and something (a singularity).

Other ideas flow from the concept that everything has a common origin of the intersection or collision of purely conceptual order and purely conceptual entropy. For example, a multiverse might be favored over a single universe because multiple universes might be viewed as a natural consequence of the disordering effect of entropy. The concept that everything that could possibly be, is, in a multiverse, might be at its core the action of infinite dilution of order with infinite entropy and vice versa. Also, areas or “pockets” of higher order in our universe and in the multiverse as a whole might be the ultimate genesis for conditions that lead to the highly ordered matter we call life. These and other concepts are the subjects of some of my other articles which I invite you to explore.
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