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Driving force of the universe?

  1. Jul 6, 2007 #1

    I'm working on a one-woman show and need some simple answers to what are probably complex questions. I'd do the research myself but I fear it would lead me down a rabbit hole and I'm under strict time constraints.

    I wonder if one could say that the certain natural laws demonstrate driving forces of the universe. Like homeostasis, for example--from what I understand, the body is always striving for perfect balance. There is also a natural urge to procreate.

    Is there any natural law that might explain a person's compulsion to express herself, say, through writing, dancing, composing, acting, etc.? There are many examples throughout history of people who, despite tremendous hardships, were driven to pursue their "calling". Of course, you could apply this to those who are driven to medicine, astronomy, etc., but here I am restricting it to artistic endeavors.

    Many thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 6, 2007 #2
    I think neuroscientists are still trying to figure this out. I am pretty sure it all comes down to cellular automata, simple rules that generate complex systems like consciousness. Sorry I could not be of more help.. :confused:
  4. Jul 6, 2007 #3


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    I'm moving this to General Discussion for now. It's sounding more like Philosophy than General Physics.
  5. Jul 6, 2007 #4


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    "Evolution" generally explains such things. Ask "how did this help my ancestors succeed in passing on their genes to me while so many others failed?". OH! Look! They have all expressed themselves here as you, and you are the proof. :tongue2:
  6. Jul 6, 2007 #5
    I'd also agree that its mostly behavior influence from early childhood through teenage years. You don't see too many 6 year olds feel the artist calling. But what you do see is a desire among those who were "oppressed" in some sort of way as a child look for an outlet with which they can express their emotions. On the same hand though you also have people who were encouraged to express their emotions through writing and art as children.
    From those simple examples I'd say that two "naturally instinctual" methods of feeling a strive for artistry are:

    1. Oppression. The fact that we can't have something makes us want it more for some reason, especially if we know we're being oppressed. If as a child you were not provided, or even denied, an outlet for creative expression, and you witness others with this privelige, you yearn that much more to do it. I feel this method goes hand in hand with complex emotions. Most people on a basic level need/want sympathy. When people make emotional art they generally wish to share it with others to get feedback/understanding that is basically sympathy.

    2. Encouragement. When you start something early as a child usually you develop a talent for it. People like to do things they're good at. With it comes praise and prestige for actions that require minimal work.

    I'm sure there's more, and I'm being overly general.

    One thing I'd like to point out is that I do not believe that people are intrinsically artistic. People I consider TRUE artists are those that don't just create something new, they create a NEW WAY of creating something new.
    Sculpture, Paint/Drawing, Music, Writing, and Physical Expression (like a wordless play) seem to be the only methods anyone uses anymore. Its all just modifications of the same thing (which can be creative).
    But find me someone who invented a new method of creating art, and he is the true artist.
  7. Jul 6, 2007 #6
    Sting reckoned love was the seventh wave, I always meant to ask him what the other six were and what were the particles called? Lovons?

    Also how much more powerful than say gravity is love? In orders of magnitude?

    1)photonic waves,light,x-rays etc
    2)water waves
    3)sound waves
    4)Mexican waves?

    I can't think of six?

    I think your question is a difficult one to answer to be honest, I don't think anyone knows enough about the human mind to really answer it in depth.
  8. Jul 6, 2007 #7

    Chi Meson

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    I think that the concept of entropy might be interesting for you to pursue.

    There are no "driving forces" in the universe, there are forces, but it is energy that is behind the application of these forces. Whenever a useful form of energy is used to cause any sort of change, the amount of available "useful" energy in the universe becomes less.

    The growing amount of "energy unavailable for work" (or "useless energy") is known as "entropy" (that is not exactly correct, but close enough for the layperson), and the fact that entropy is always increasing in the universe is what's known as "The Second Law of Thermodynamics."

    This law also stipulates that all systems will spontaneously move from a state of order to a state of chaos. But small localities ( for example, the Earth) can actually appear to move from a state of disorder to a state of higher order (for example, evolution of the species). This is possible due to a large input of energy from outside (the sun, specifically). But as the Earth increases in order, the sun (and universe) is increasing in entropy.

    Making something out of nothing, making order out of chaos, is a human endeavor. It is like a fight against entropy. But in creating a local little pocket of order, somewhere (usually spread throughout the sky in the form of slightly warmer air) (no this is not global warming!) we have caused entropy to increase.
  9. Jul 6, 2007 #8
    It's probably no coincidence (ok, I'm admittedly more of a spiritualist than a scientist:smile:) that in my brief search I came across entropy. With your urging I will pursue it further.

    I find it interesting that you were the only person who responded by pointing me in this direction. I have a strong background in psychology and philosophy, but I wasn't looking for human theories of why things work the way they do. I was looking for--and I apologize if I didn't ask the question correctly--a possible explanation of human behavior as a direct or indirect result of a physical law of the universe.

    If there is one governing law of the universe that connects all things in it--and I believe that's true although I cannot tell you why, blame it on Jung's theory of the collective unconscious--then if gravity controls the direction that rivers flow, and plants grows in the direction of the sun's rays, wouldn't it follow that the behavior of human beings would also be controlled or at least heavily influenced by these same physical laws?

    Perhaps because man can provide sufficent opposing action to entropy he's driven to accomplish many things that seem illogical or impractical. Maybe the endeavors that make the least sense to most people are actually the most effective weapons against entropy while at the same time the least understandable, which is perhaps why the geniuses of any given age are so highly misunderstood, unappreciated, maligned, marginalized, and only after they are gone, recognized for their brilliance.
  10. Jul 6, 2007 #9

    Chi Meson

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    You won't find a single law of Physics that explains human behavior. Each part of the human brain and nervous system operates according to all of the laws of physics, and therefore any action we take could be (somehow) described as a huge, impossibly complex equation. But there is no "driving force."
    These are gross oversimplifications. The fluid dynamics of a river, especially of a large river and over many centuries of flowing, is enormously complicated. The behavior of plants growing toward the sun's rays is not a force, but an evolutionary reaction to grow in a manner that maximizes the plants intake of the light energy necessary to survive.

    Please keep in mind that you are taking the concepts of physics out of the realm of physics and putting them into philosophy where they tend to get bent out of shape. Sometimes interpreted for interesting literary purposes (as in the book "The Tao of Physics") and sometimes horribly mutilated in an irresponsible fashion (as in the movie "What the bleep do we know").

    I like entropy and the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, since it has many variations and lends itself to poetic and philosophic interpretations. But be careful, there is no "weapon" against entropy. Any apparent reversal of entropy in a small locality means that entropy has increased even more so throughout the universe.

    Entropy is the way that energy flows, and here it is exemplified as water flowing downhill. At some point in the future, all the energy will be at the bottom of the hill, but while it was flowing, we humans used the flow to create, even though our creations made the energy flow downhill faster.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2007
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