CHAPTER 10: THE BATHMISODYNAMIC UNIVERSE
In this Chapter, I will develop a unified concept for understanding the existence and evolution of our universe. Please remember that this is only a single point of view and cannot be accepted as gospel truth.
I will begin the discussion with the concept of hierarchy and its importance for understanding the progressive evolution of order.
The Concept of Hierarchy
Related though distinct from scale is the notion of hierarchy. A hierarchy is an arrangement of objects by rank, power, complexity or quality of expression (i.e., the angelic hierarchy of Dionysus the Areopagite, the twelve levels of energy discussed in Chapter 3). A hierarchy differs from a scale in that it represents more than a simple arrangement of objects in proportion to size or magnitude. For example, a living cell is of higher hierarchical rank than the Milky Way galaxy because it displays not only the property of requiring the presence of simpler elements within itself for its existence, but also the the property of life; even though in scale the cell is smaller and could not exist without the galaxy.
Hierarchies exist because of the tendency for complex, dynamical systems to arrange themselves spontaneously into rank order, independent of the nature of their fundamental units, i.e., biological, sociological, physical, chemical or artificial. This quality of spontaneous creation of ‘new’ systems with properties not explicitly residing in the individual elements themselves, but arising solely through a specific arrangements and interactions of these elements, is an example of ‘emergent’ properties. Emergent properties are properties of expression which cannot be exactly explained through static examination of system elements. For example, life cannot be completely explained by chemistry. Man could not exist or become self-conscious without the universe being as immense as it is.4
The ‘hierarchical ordering principle’ is readily observed throughout Creation, even though it’s nature, method of manifestation and source cannot be easily defined or mathematically expressed exactly. The hierarchical ordering principle, HOP, is seen in the operation of the Second Law of thermodynamics and its operation in the evolution of far-from-equilibrium systems. The HOP is responsible for the evolution of advancing consciousness in the material universe.
In order to better appreciate the HOP, it is useful to digress into and immerse ourselves within the field of thermodynamics.
As noted previously, thermodynamics is the science describing how real systems evolve in the macroscopic world of day-to-day things. Thermodynamic principles determine the ‘arrow of time–the direction of change’, i.e., heat only flows from hot to cold resevoirs, living creatures are born, mature and die, dynamical systems move or are attracted towards specific states of stability , avoiding other less fortunate states.
The simplest place to begin is by discussing the thermodynamic concepts of system and surroundings. In thermodynamics, the universe is divided into at least two mathematical spaces by a boundary separating one space from the other. Within thermodynamic space, the system is defined as the non-infinite space enclosed within the boundary; the surroundings are defined as the space (finite or infinite) enclosing the system. All thermodynamic relations are concerned with how the system changes either because of inherent instability of its initial state or as the result of energy-matter exchanges with the surroundings.
Systems can be defined as isolated, closed or open depending upon the nature of their interaction with the surroundings. An isolated system is one for which the system cannot exchange energy or matter with the surroundings.