Thermodynamics of the Mind

Nuclear power plant on the coast. Ecology disaster concept.

The law of conservation of energy states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it can only change forms. This tenet is as valuable in the metaphysical realm as it is in the physical realm. In my view, the psychological and social constructs we encounter may follow these tangible rules more than we realize. If we can harness a perspective that works in physics and apply it toward improving how we manage and heal the mind, we might all realize a more simplified, streamlined and easily-implemented path toward social and psychological wellbeing.
Relational Distribution Theory is founded upon the tried and true laws of thermodynamics. If the mind is an energy system functioning to meet the psychological and physical needs of the organism, then that energy system should, ideally, operate in a fashion similar to any other energy system (nuclear reactor, solar cell, wind turbine, etc.). Let’s assume, a priori, that there is a limited amount of energy available to the mind, that this energy must be partitioned, and it is the quality and habit of this partitioning that determines the outcomes we garner. Take the example of a space heater: the goal is to have radiant heat in the room, however there is some heat that is “lost” or not used as efficiently as possible, so the total amount of energy coming into that space heater does not translate directly into ambient heat released in the room. This brings to light another important rule of thermodynamics: no system is without some kind of entropy–that is true of a wind turbine, a nuclear reactor, and ultimately it is true of your mind and social system as well.
How does your mind create entropy? We partition our focus, behavioral effort and time toward various endeavors during the course of a day. If that “energy” is used toward things that are not need-fulfilling, the result is entropy, or wasted energy. Wasted energy ultimately leads to unmet needs, and unmet needs are the cause of all psychological and social dysfunction. If we accept entropy as unavoidable, the best we can do is be intentional and conscientious to minimize that entropy in whatever ways we can. In other words, take careful stock of the types of needs you have, how those needs can be met using the energy available, and how you utilize your focus and effort toward those endeavors. Do they match up? You might discover that a significant chunk of your time is spent on things that don’t actually meet your needs and if this is the case, you must redistribute your energy toward that which does fulfill your needs.
We employ engineers to constantly work on reducing wasted energy in any thermodynamic system. Imagine yourself having one of those engineers in your mind as well, constantly looking for ways to maximize efficiency and ensure that energy flows where it is used best. I appreciate this approach because it takes the mystery out of the mind and enables a much more scientific and logical perspective to psychological navigation. After all, excessive complexity is ultimately its own form of entropy.

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