Equilibrium

Trouve-t-on un équilibre ? ou L’a-t-on déjà ?

Principe de Le Chatelier :
Lorsque les modifications extérieures apportées à un système physico-chimique en équilibre provoquent une évolution vers un nouvel état d’équilibre, l’évolution s’oppose aux perturbations qui l’ont engendrée et en modère l’effet.

If we were to view the world on a mathematical basis, to quantify everything, and to give everything an equation, how perfectly logical and structured this world would be, yet predicatably fascinating. Imagine if our movements were perfectly parabolic, or perfectly straight. Fascinating stuff we’ve got here. Many of us have tried to model everything into equations, to explain the many things that we once considered magical or bewitched depending on which time period you came from. And that is the beauty of mathematics, that is encompasses the laws of both the natural and the physical world, creating a magical formula out of it.

Equation : the process of equating one thing with another.

When we come up with an equation, we are putting two groups of things together, and then making them the same thing.

ΔG = ΔH – TΔS

Gibb’s Free Energy is the greatest amount of mechanical work which can be obtained from a given quantity of a certain substance in a given initial state, without increasing its total volume or allowing heat to pass to or from external bodies, except such as at the close of the processes are left in their initial condition.

How spontaneous can we get ?

Entropy (S), (J mol-1 K-1), is the measure of the disorder of a system, reflected by the number of ways that the energy of a system can be distributed through the motion of its particles

Disorder. You hear the commandant say it. You hear your bunk master say it. There must be order. Life is chaos, gentlemenn. And what we represent is an ordering to that chaos. Even down to the genes. We are ordering the evolution of the species. Winnowing out the inferior, the unruly, the chaff. This is the great project of the Reich, the greatest project human beings have ever embarked upon.

The entropy of a closer system never decreases. Every process must by law decay.

— Dr Hauptmann, All The Light We Cannot See

Just a simple equation like this is sufficient to discuss humanity. Maybe this is an equation that can universally describe humanity — but then again, there are many, and they all approach aspects of our lives differently, yet ever so similarly. And yes, we are still searching for that equation to describe all, that Theory of Everything.

Equilibrium ?

Equilibrium kahaan hai ? Partout.

There must always be a balance in everything : our diet, work, beliefs.

Diet, is something I shouldn’t talk about but I believe that my diet is right, or at least, whoever that follows it since young has benefited greatly from it.

I feel that there needs to be some sort of balance in diet, where you don’t shun away from “junk food” but accept that it is present, and you should enjoy it. Furthermore, other things like fats, cholesterol-inducing foods, those are great too. The thing is, most people around me, perfectly normal people, people who are on a diet of the standard “heathy” foods like non-fatty meat, at least 2 servings of vegetables, and at least 2 servings of fruits, taking note of calories and stuff like that, maybe succumbing to fast food once in two months or something, and most importantly they do exercise, they somehow or rather get some form illness that is highly unexpected. Genetically inherited, nope.

Here’s what I think : all of us have eaten fast food before, and we all know that it is tempting to even want to eat it, but many of us control ourselves, and even when we do go and eat it, we restrain ourselves. But what for ? You enter a fast food restaurant, thinking : OK today I want to eat healthy, but hey I’m at a fast food restaurant, surely there must be a way to eat healthy. OH RIGHT lemme order that fried chicken and not eat the skin. Or maybe I should get salad from here. These people are missing the point about fast food — ok not really the point, but — if you went to such a place to satisfy your cravings, you should go all out, since you don’t eat it on a daily basis. It is this stress that you impose on yourself, it is this psychological need that never found closure, it is this that runs around in your mind.

Next, people who shun away from fats and cholesterol. I think that we should all have some and include them in our diet. Most people I know who suffer from cholesterol-based illness controlled their diet ‘cos they heard all these atherosclerosis, early death and so they don’t eat much. Like they literally don’t. But why then do they have such diseases ? Personally I think it’s ‘cos the cholesterol and fat hydrolysis mechanism in their body never really developed since there wasn’t an actual necessity. And almost everything contains some fat, and some cholesterol, if the hydrolysis mechanism isn’t as matured, then of course they would accumulate !

People going for medical check ups and suddenly changing their diet. People falling sick and suddenly changing their diet. I think these are not correct. If you have been eating a certain thing your entire life, this is what your body is used to, and governed by. If you go for a medical check up and suddenly change your diet to one that is “extremely healthy”, of course the results would looks presque perfect, and you would never really know what your problems are. And a drastic change in diet due to a disease. Yet a change is needed, but it should be gradual integration, and not a sudden change. If your body has been used to you eating fish, and suddenly ‘cos they say it’s fatty and all and not clean then you shouldn’t eat it, I think this would greatly upset your body. And smoking, this is highly controversial but, if someone has been smoking their whole lives, only to suddenly give up on it, it’ll bring a great stress to the body. Like maybe a gradual reduction is necessary, but never a complete removal. That’s why don’t even start smoking, unlike fats, smoke doesn’t help you in any way.

And personally I think we need to stop this “healthy” self-validation, and self-comfort mindset. Most of the health things like low-fat, organic (tout bio) are but marketing techniques to lure these “health fanatics” by charging them at a higher price. — yes organic foods are not any healthier and actually more harmful to the environment if you were wondering.

Work, work-life balance as we all claim to have — ok maybe we don’t.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All play and no work make Jack a dumb boy.

And honestly, studying 24/7 isn’t really a good thing either. And if there are distractions in place, or things that you really want to do, like watch that episode of your favourite drama, or play that video game. I think you should succumb to it, en modération, so it doesn’t keep hanging in the back of your head like “HEY YOU WANNA PLAY” or “THE NEW EPISODE IS OUT EVERYONE IS WATCHING IT BUT YOU HAVEN’T”. I think these are OK to succumb to, and actually helps you to concentrate on your work AFTER you’ve done these, ‘cos you’ve already satisfied this mental besoin.

And consistency is key. Throwing a pile of work in front of you and suddenly expecting yourself ot be able to do it is not impossible, but tiring and probably not as effective. Take mathematics for example. It takes constant practise for you to internalise the concepts and be able to see a problem and know what to do. It isn’t a “ok I will read the notes and concepts 3 days before the exam, and I can do the mock papers with ease”, NO because Mathematics is not really a theory based thing, but more of a application based thing. You can’t tell yourself the formula to Integration by Parts is uv’ dx = uv – ∫u’v dx and I will keep remembering this, but you never really actually know what u, v, x are and what their relationship is. Constant practice helps you see this, so the formula is no longer necessary. And yes, understanding the magic behind it makes it even easier, ‘cos you don’t need to memorise the formula.

Beliefs, and faiths.

Religion is a difficult thing to talk about, simply because for some strange reason people get utterly defensive about their religion, and will not hesitate to point fingers at another and say “your religion is wrong”, or the recent “how can you enter another place of worship if you are _____”, or “how can you read another scripture when you’re ______” (see this famous viral piece that is rather stuperd in my opinion). I see nothing wrong in trying to understand another religion, even if you have one. Religion helps to answer questions that science and logic cannot, and it’s something that some people turn to, to look for answers, and to look for a form of emotional validation / comfort. It is not right to fault a religion simply because it has not fulfilled your claim, nor to completely rely on religion for something. To make things work, you work. Some people pray to Confucius (孔子) during exam periods so that they can do well and pass with flying colours – but if you didn’t pray would you still have done well ? Well we never know, by logic yes, but well sometimes it isn’t bad to believe, if it can help, why not ? People pray to Ganesha, the Hindu God of Beginnings, to hope for successes in business or generally anything at the start so that it goes well throughout. We can’t say for sure the credibility in any of such worship, but out of respect, do not criticise another religion simply because you are not committed to it.

And I think Religion should be a personal choice, that should be logically discussed with people, as to why you are committing to a religion, and whether you are willing to come up with the time and effort to commit without neglecting the things that you have to do. It should be a choice that it made out of experiences, reading, and understanding of different beliefs and faiths, and seeing if you resonate more with one. Imposing a religion is just not really respecting the child ‘cos as a child, borne into this world innocent and blissfully ignorant, s/he doesn’t know what is happening but you have already labelled upon him a religion. If your religion is really as almighty and omnipresent as you believe it to be, help the child see that it is, and really if it is, then you shouldn’t fear rejection. Have confidence in yourself, isn’t that what most things teach you ?

And well, here’s where the equilibrium kicks in: in a world where we are increasingly interested in proof and evidence, ironically more and more of us are turning to religion. Is there something that is driving this, or is this simply the natural/physical-spiritual equilibrium that is kicking in ?

The Human-Machine Equilibrium

Humans are becoming more machine-like,
and Machines are becoming more human-like.

I’ll just leave that there for you to ponder about.

The Arts-Science Equilibrium

As with religion, in a world where the sciences are thriving, the arts, expected to decline into the depths of Tartarus, has risen like a phoenix, burning bright from ashes. The arts scene is more visible, not only here, but everywhere else. I reckon it’s because we see it as a luxury. That science gives us physical things, explanations, gets things done when we lay out a report full of the facts and figures to prove the feasibility of a reaction proposal.

The arts is something that we want to have, but something we didn’t succumb to simply because it was seen as impractical, that the arts cannot provide us with material substance. That poetry cannot pay bills. The arts scene is thriving, there are more programmes to promote the arts, it is popping up everywhere, but whether people are receptive is a different case, and also are the arts really that unimportant ? We hold on to the arts and practise it in our daily lives, but we refuse to accept it. Why why is this so ?

Homeostasis

The tendency towards a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, especially as maintained by physiological processes.

Negative feedback promotes increasing stability in a system so that any deviation from set point activates control systems to return conditions back to the steady state condition.

Positive feedback is rare in biological systems as it promotes instability, where a disturbance within the system leads to events which increase the disturbance even further, having an amplifier effect.

With a form of equilibrium present, homeostasis kicks in as our innate nature.
It is what keeps the world moving, preventing it from going out of shape,
yet it is what stresses us to conform, keeping us in shape.