How are plaque buildup and entropy related? Should we splurge financially to protect ourselves physically?
Some obsess over it, others let their bodies, minds, and homes fall into states of ruin and disrepair. Most fall into the middle, brushing their teeth ~twice a day, doing dishes daily, working out once or twice a week, etc.
Hygiene is the real world Sisyphus, the pushing of a rock up the face of a mountain just to have it fall to the base again the next morning.
The base of the mountain of hygiene is natural, albeit undesirable.
This state is entropy.
Entropy is the natural phenomenon of the universe to tend towards chaos.
But not everything trends towards entropy at the same rate.
Entropy, Fast and Slow
An example of slow entropy is the formation of the Grand Canyon.
Millions of years of water running against the face of rock to create beautiful vistas, but very little visible change during one human lifespan.
On the other hand, fast entropy can be compared to a dinner at a fancy restaurant.
At the start all the plates are beautiful, the people are sitting with their backs upright having polite conversation, the napkins are folded into any variety of geometric shape. Forty five minutes later, a brief survey of the state of the table would leave one to believe a tornado had gone through the restaurant.
N.B: Of course, this is under the assumption that the audience reading this post experiences human time, and not light-speed time, in which case all entropy is super slow.
Tools Against Entropy
The greatest tool against entropy is…entropy.
The thing is, chaos isn’t linear.
Different items in the universe have different definitions of “stable”.
For example, the sun’s version of stable is fusing hundreds of millions of tons of hydrogen into helium every second.
Water’s version of stable is spreading out as far as evenly possible.
Financial stability is saving more than one spends.
Automation is the process of being lazy, and finding these cheat codes. Letting the universe’s natural tendencies work for you instead of against you.
All tools offer some sort of leverage. Finding this leverage is rooted in observation and applying creativity.
Need to lift something heavy? Use something to redistribute its weight. Need to make something go faster? Decrease its friction coefficient.
The motor in the electric toothbrush wants to vibrate to release stored energy. Its vibrating action is the entropy.
But the human hand does not share the same definition of stable. To the hand, stability is not vibrating.
By using an electric toothbrush, we leverage the entropic nature of an electric toothbrush to reach our ultimate goal of maintaining cleaner and healthier mouths for less effort.
When you are maintaining or doing something repetitive, seek out tools that “want” (in terms of like a magnet attracting a fork, not like human desire) to do the thing you want done.
This process of automation will help both you escape entropy while the tool trends towards it, and make the drudgery of daily hygiene easier.