Sunday, April 24, 2011

City of Least Resistance pt II

It's Pleasant Here

LA is renowned for sunny pleasant weather.  People claim they really did move here for the weather, with its sparse cloudy days and general sunny disposition.  Here in the San Fernando valley it can get pretty hot in the late summer, but that's really only as unpleasant as your electricity bill.  This means that no matter what else is going on in your life, the weather isn't too bad.  If you have no idea where your life is going, you might as well have no idea where your life is going in a sunny place.

I'm going to confusingly juxtapose this with the concept of entropy to propose what I see as a problem with pleasantness.  Entropy is the hypothesis that any system will, without any external energy, devolve into an average, chaotic state.  For the universe, this means heat death, where the universe's temperate averages out and all energy has dissipated since there's no external energy to be had.  For your bedroom, this means that without any effort, it will get messy because there are far more ways for it to be messy than there are to be clean.

I'm from a place equally renowned for unpleasant weather, steely gray days, long stretches of sub temperate temperatures and above all, rain (though as I frequently tell people the average annual rainfall in Seattle is less than that of New York City.  It's just that the annual number of rainy days is much higher).  As a result, and I kid you not, what's frequently posed as a question here is "aren't there a lot of suicides in Seattle?" and "wow if I had that kind of weather I'd kill myself".  But we don't kill ourselves. In fact the Seattle yearly suicide rate is slightly below average for a major city, and certainly well below sunny Las Vegas.  I can only assume that's because we had to get up everyday and realize that our entropic state sucked.  So to counteract the steely grayness, we had to pump energy back into the system and try a little harder to live our lives.

So what relevance does this have in a pleasant place? If the average state is pleasant, then things will be pleasant without much need for energy to go into the system.  So it's possible to just sit back and let the days run by, where your external circumstances will allow you to live in relative comfort.  It's possible to live in a City of Least Resistance.

Is there anything to this supposition? Who knows.  but I believe a lot of attitudes and complacencies stem from it here.  To be continued!

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