So I know that things in the Universe tend to move toward a state of least potential energy. This is why forces point in the direction of decreasing potential energy, as everything is trying to minimize its potential energy. So my main question is: does Gibb's free energy basically just describe this? Is the change in Gibbs energy negative, and therefore the process spontaneous, when the Universe/System minimizes its total potential energy? Main reason I was confused was that when there is a negative change in enthalpy, that means some form of potential energy was converted into heat. However, even when the enthalpy change is positive (and some subsequent gain in potential energy) , there can still be a change in entropy that makes the total Gibb's free energy negative. I know that systems always want to increase their entropy, but systems also want to decrease their potential energy. So is Gibb's free energy basically a battle between these two "desires" of the universe? Or is there somehow an associated potential energy decrease with an increase an entropy which makes the single "desire" of the universe to decrease its potential energy? Side question: Second Law of thermo states isolated system will always increase, or keep constant, its entropy over time. However there are spontaneous processes that decrease entropy while having a large decrease in enthalpy which makes total Gibbs free energy change negative and therefore the isolated system will have this process occur and entropy will increase. How is this explained in context of the "LAW"? I'm assuming this would all be a lot clearer if I look at a derivation of what Gibb's free energy actually represents right?