From Infinity to biodiversity
The topic we are dealing with today is not one that is studied in school and often not even in universities; in some ways it is a frontier discipline that will see interesting applications in the coming years, not only from a scientific and application point of view but also from a purely ethical and philosophical one. We will try to understand what is the link between the concept of Infinity and the Universe (from its most microscopic to the most macroscopic manifestations) with its manifestations of Life, through its biodiversity.
Obviously, the journey we are about to undertake has the aim of understanding the meaning of all this and, obviously, we will make use of both assumptions of quantum mechanics and classical physics, using the simplest possible language and easy assimilation categories even for those who do not have a smattering of quantum or traditional mechanics.
Let’s start from the concept of Infinity; obviously I don’t want to prove anything here, much less embark on a philosophical disquisition. We will take this magnitude for what it is also in quantum mechanics and that is the unity of the whole, including in this also those quantities and dimensions that, due to the limits of our being and the consequent observation capacity, escape us.
I immediately make clear that I am not interested here in proving the presence of God or denying it. This I leave to the free determination of each of you. Instead, what interests me is the consequence of this aspect. There is an Infinite Cosmos, which goes far beyond our perceptual capacity and which in my 2017 scientific publication I defined as absolute Reality, and the world of our daily experience, which for simplicity I called Perceivable Reality.
What is more relevant is that there is no separation between these two planes: it is only we who tend to classify things, dividing them into categories, into separate units, making rankings and often losing the true unity of the Cosmos.
Well quantum mechanics tells us that in an infinite and continuous system the concept of time and space lose their sense while they acquire it at a lower level which is that of everyday physical experience where, we are led to reason in terms of time available or space to travel.
Ultimately what is the most striking difference between absolute Reality and perceptible Reality? We said that the first moves on the dimensions of infinity which imply, among others, the lack of time and space, the presence of perpetual motion and the indissolubility of all things. The second moves, albeit in continuity with the first, in the dimensions of time and space, of the presence of an inertial system and the transience of everything.
To act as an apparent divider between the two floors we find that size, which in thermodynamics takes the name of Entropia.
Entropy is a somewhat complex quantity, which requires profound knowledge of quantum and classical mechanics but which, in a nutshell, gives us the degree of disorder of a system. Entropy is a magnitude that in the universe linked to perceptible Reality tends to infinity, thus passing over time from a more orderly universe (as it was in the time of the Big Bang) to an increasingly disordered universe. Not only that but the entropy production is linked to the space-time dimension with what is called the arrow of time.
Entropy, with its manifestation therefore, not only produces the direction of time but also determines its direction. In fact, we go to the future but we cannot go to the past, which prevents us from going to visit our ancestors.
Entropy is a quantity that has a series of scientific, technical, philosophical and ethical repercussions that we do not have time to list here but, in summary, it tells us that every time we do something or something happens we produce an entropy rate and this moves, or rather, produces, with the arrow of time, History.
The question at this point is: can we stop entropy production? Are there systems in nature, that is, in the plane of perceptible Reality, that oppose the creation of this greatness?
Over half a century ago, the Russian chemist Ilya Prigogine answered this question, and he dedicated himself in particular to those living systems capable of self-organizing by decreasing their entropy at the expense of the environment, thus opening a bridge and a connection between physics, chemistry, ecology and social sciences.
Prigogine understood how ecosystems are real dissipative structures which tend to become complex, not only to decrease the production of entropy but which in some cases even manage to produce aliquots of negative entropy which he christened: negentropy. This for example implies that when we are in conditions in which we are in the presence of biodiverse systems (such as a forest) we can perceive that pleasant feeling of peace and serenity and as if time stops all around us.
In a nutshell, biodiversity is the solution that has devised life to oppose not only the transience of matter, to ensure that the history of the world lasts as long as possible, but also to allow a better condition for all living beings, including man.
What does all this mean? In a nutshell, it gives us a further reading key on the value of biodiversity, not only in purely mechanistic terms but also from an ethical and philosophical point of view. The destruction of biodiversity, which man is operating with his socio-economic model, not only creates an ever greater social unease but leads to diminish those positive energies that are in some ways the good fuel of history.
The resulting speculations make us understand how, the safeguard of all living beings, their protection, in any shape and size, will be the foundation of a new historical era, where for example, instead of a world where poisons and pesticides they are on the agenda, another fact of biodiversity promotion takes over in order to decrease entropy and guarantee a real era of Peace of Humanity.