My Proverbs 7
The Tides of Life
The Wednesday morning Civil Defense update was brief: “This is an eruption and lava flow update. This morning’s assessment shows the flow front has remained stalled with very little activity and has not advanced over the last five days. The flow pad continues to show signs of inflation which could result in break-outs and more activity.”
The recent lava flow in Hawaii has captured our attention and awe. Discussion was held by authorities on whether or not they could divert the flow from the village of Pahoa. Some natives, however, disagreed with that action. The volcano is considered the sacred home of the goddess Pele. The natives believe Pele protect those who revere and respect the land. The lava is considered a blessing, a visit from Pele. Any efforts to stop or control the lava flow would be disrespectful and encourage the goddess’s wrath.
Adrian Bejan, a professor of mechanical engineering and leading authority in thermodynamics, applied physics, and natural design feels the basic constructs of nature and its evolutionary path can be summed up in something called Constructal Law. The way nature, both plants and animals are designed and then evolved, follow a pattern which, claims Bejan, “defines what life means … To be alive is to be a flow system that’s free to change its configuration over time.”
Variety may be the spice of life but it apparently is also the key to staying alive. The author of twenty-five books, the Romanian born, MIT-educated professor explains: “The similarities among animals that are on the surface very different are no coincidence. In fact, animal locomotion is no different than other flows, animate and inanimate they all develop in space and in time such that they optimize the flow of material.”
Can we apply this theory to ourselves? If so, then it is no accident various cultures have differing genetic differences. Then the differences we have on the surface would simply be the way the people of those ethnicities learned to develop so as to optimize living in their homeland environments. After all, human locomotion is simply one flow, just as it is with the animals Bejan references. What some see as indicative of potential is simply adaptation and one example of the flows that nature takes. Constructal Law attempts to unite all of nature – the animate and the inanimate. It is based upon three constructs. The first is that life is flow and all flow systems are live systems, animate and inanimate. Secondly, that generational design and evolution is an event of physics. Lastly, Bejan upholds that all designs have a universal inclination to evolve in a particular direction over time.
What about the flow of our lives? Does Constructal Law apply to the individual choices a person makes? Let’s see. First, are we living systems? Yes. Do we evolve with those designs that assist us in survival? Ah, that’s where it gets a bit sticky. That’s where our lifestyle choices come into play. Constructal Law says all things evolve toward that which supports their life. A tree will grow slanted or even curved to access the sunlight it needs and roots will go out to obtain necessary moisture in the soil. Constructal Law says that things remain imperfect as they seek to become better. It should be noted that nothing ever becomes perfect. Man certainly complies with that! But what about that universal inclination to a particular direction of evolution?
Evolution is ongoing, a never-ending exercise in living. That is the” flow” which Constructal Law espouses. Imperfections are not made perfect but distributed to better serve nature. A short sailor has an easy life aboard a submarine while the taller sailor does better with the sails and masts of the old sailing vessels. According to Bejan, the definition of life in physics means “flow” and the subsequent generations of design. If that flow is stopped, then the system dies because there is no further evolution.
How does Constructal law, a scientific definition of nature and the world we know, compare to religion? The Trinity is also composed of three parts. The first is the Godhead from which all life or live systems originate. The second is the Supreme Prophet, also known as Jesus to some, Buddha to others, or Mohammed to others or One who has yet to Come by many. No matter the name, and there are many more to list, the teachings of this Prophet provide us with ways to evolve to enhance and ensure our survival. Then there is the third construct, the direction of evolution. Most religions have an end destination or purpose. How we live, where we flow, determines where we go.
Currently the lava flow is experiencing low resistivity and thus poses no greater threat than that which has already evolved. However, life must continue. People will adapt to the waves and ebbs of the flow just as they evolve with other occurrences. Daily living is a system of ebbs and flows and how we react determines how we evolve. The seductions we face and our responses affect our live systems, our life. The seasons of our lives are lessons for living and when we learn, then we construct a live worth living.
My Proverb 7
The secret to living is not to live well but to live wisely.