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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

On Entropy And Relationships

We're learning some pretty cool stuff in Biochemistry, protein folding. Now, now, you just calm down and get yourself a tissue. How do all those proteins that actually do stuff in your body, like let you see, digest food and feel things through your skin, actually work? One of things that must happen is that the protein must fold into its natural shape. When this doesn't happen, bad things happen like disease and the tendency to vote Republican (ok, I threw that in to see if you were paying attention, lol.) One of the forces that makes proteins do their folding thing is entropy - the natural tendency for objects to be random rather than ordered.

Molecules and stuff have a tendency to want to be uncoupled, not to pair up, to have more freedom to travel. Blame entropy, I'm not making this crap up. But I started thinking, if its natural for objects to want to be random and uncoupled, what does this say about relationships? Clearly this would be everyone's first thought, right? :) If you look at the statistics on marriage they seem to nod heavily in the direction of entropy. Just in recent history my good friend Noeha has gone through a divorce, my aunt in Washington DC, Scott in Las Vegas, Brett in Baton Rouge and several good friends in Houston. Another day another breakup, its almost a numb reaction for me anymore. I can hardly stomach the 'I'm sorry for your loss' platitude that splatters Pavlovian from my lips. I'm not really sorry for the loss, rather the pain that the loss has caused. (I must remember to say exactly that.) But is it a loss or is it just entropy causing a transition to a more natural state?

Its strange for me to think these things since I have my parents as an example of a good relationship. Please note I didnt say easy, they have certainly had their moments squatting in the pissy spectrum of bitchitude. But, they have been (mostly) happily married for 44 years. FOURTY FOUR! Geez, I cant even imagine. When I talked to my mom about this amazing coup over entropy she had this to say -- 'You have to have some common ground and even more not in common, its about independence and the ability to communicate what you don't share in common. I mean, who would want to have a relationship with someone who is an exact replica of yourself? Thats stupid, get a mirror. The rest of it is just the ability to adjust to situations as they come up."

So, is that the entropy trump card? Could this be the final whack over entropy's head, leaving it broken in its hospital bed with a Do Not Resuscitate sticker planted firmly on its chart?

Maybe, but what about the motivation for relationships. Why do we do it? If entropy dictates random motion and a tendency to uncouple, is the searching and wanting of a relationship more about control? When we establish a relationship and are we slamming down the accelerator, swerving our ego-mobile around entropy, middle finger extended out the window, a casually defiant glance in the rear view? "Ha, I win you butthead, I beat you!"

Who knows? I merely pose the question. I also factored in need. I've known some of these need people. They search endlessly for a relationship, constantly disappointed and depressed when the relationship never materilizes or worse, when it exists briefly then disintegrates. Observing this phenomenon routinely, I wonder if need is another force, a force that works in tandem with entropy. Need and entropy, Bonnie and Clyde of the emotional stage, shooting up the relationship before it can fold into its natural state, like so much confetti thrown from a Bon Voyage cruise ship.

Let's not forget insecurity. I know insecurity is a Category 5 force, causing the secure to recoil and evacuate in a concerted effort to avoid the inevitable flood of drama and possibility of live blow-by-blow coverage from Jim Cantore.

And love, the elusive and undefinable love. Is love another force that somehow mitigates the forces of entropy, insecurity and need? I might be on to something here. When I think about it, the relationships that I've known to survive the longest had high love to need+insecurity ratio. So maybe love must exist without much need or insecurity in order to survive the natural tendencies of entropy. I don't know this to be true, its just a theory I'm constructing, maybe we'll cover this today in Biochemistry.

(Hey, I didn't title this blog 'Stream Of Consciousness' for nothing, people :)

2 Comments:

Blogger BRETTCAJUN said...

Very interesting post bud. Yes, relationships are dropping like flies around these parts! ;)

3:55 PM

 
Blogger Jim said...

Thanks Brett. Yes, its all over, maybe its weather induced?

5:46 PM

 

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