Women want money, men want sex.

Humans behavior comes in many flavors. While some preach love and forgiveness, others wage war. On the surface people want respect, cooperation and compassion, but live ruthless competition and deception. Some say we have lost our connection to nature and our behavior today is a sick outgrowth of capitalism. Others say God has a plan and it has to be that way. To me, these are unsatisfactory explanations to why these opposites exist. So, which force shapes our thoughts, our feelings, our actions, our morals, our societies? What is the smallest, common denominator? “


  • What is life about?
  • What motivates people?
  • What unites all people?

Answer – in a nutshell:

Whether plants or animals, everything revolves around reproduction. This is not different for humans. To reproduce we need to have sex, which makes sex the “purpose of life”. To ensure survival and reproduction, an individual has to influence other people, for which there are endless strategies. This can also be called “power”. So life is really just about two things: sex and power. 

Fictional American president Frank Underwood puts it this way:

 “[…] everything is about sex. Except sex. Sex is about power.”

People only want one thing, really

Everybody wants to take advantage of the group

If you want to win in the long run, you have to survive and to adapt to changing environmental conditions. (also read the article Winners write history, losers pay the bill). In animate nature this feat is accomplished by sexual reproduction. The urge to survive and thrive also formed the entire human behavior.

Human kind has organized itself in groups for millions of years. This offers us security and efficiency through division of labor. Because mankind spends its entire lifetime in the context of groups, its behavior is optimized for survival within groups. The group is the stage on which the drama of our lives takes place.

In every man’s chest two hearts are beating. The egoist, who cares only about one’s own well-being and the selfless one who cares about the well-being of the group. The group can only survive when group members bring enough selfishness to fight for their survival and reproduction. On the other hand, group members have to subdue their individual interests to the group’s interest, because a destruction of the group would mean the downfall of each individual. So the group needs a balance of egoism and selflessness.

Creating offspring requires resources. The more resources you have, the more likely your kids will survive to have kids on their own. Therefore, we all play a fun game, which is called “black peter” or “who pays the bill?”. Each group member tries to prevent other players from collecting resources and to encourage them to share resources. Each human being is simultaneously programmed to reward other people for selfless behavior and to punish overly selfish behavior. Corresponding social norms can be found worldwide and are reflected in our language and social norms. Selfishness is openly condemned and simultaneously concealed by the individual, while selflessness is loudly advertised. Those who skillfully channel resources to themselves and their offspring, without being punished, win the game.

Within the group, humans form subgroups, i.e. dyadic relations. These include friendships, sexual relationships and enemies. Today, in the majority of human societies, the nuclear family – parents and direct offspring – is the center of life, flanked by uncles / aunts, grandparents, in-laws. In the wider environment we find friends, work colleagues and other groups. Much of the interaction remains hidden from others because it takes place in the private environment of the dyadic relationship. The “who pays the bill” game thus takes place publicly, in the many groups we live, and within the “private” subgroups.

Men compete for status

In most human societies, men compete to form a relatively stable hierarchy. Hierarchies have been around as an organizational form in the animal kingdom for billions of years. At the top is the so-called Alpha man, followed by the Beta men. A hierarchy enables smooth cooperation. Decisions can be made quickly. Commands are executed quickly. There is no friction through voting or discussing. The Alpha man benefits from being able to divert more resources for himself. The Beta men benefits from the protection of the Alpha man and at the same time can participate in the jointly secured resources. The higher a man stands within the hierarchy; the more influence he has on resource distribution.

Social psychologists distinguish two different, but complementary, strategies with which men can climb the hierarchy. In everyday life, both strategies are combined. 

Dominance and aggression

Social rank is fought out in duels. First, men use threatening gestures and showing one’s own strengths (boasting) but if necessary also real violence. But also oral disputes, arguments and rhetoric battles serve that purpose. Once established, these ranks are stable for some time. The man with the most “punishing power” takes the highest rank. There are also visual cues that convey strength and automatically lead to a higher rank. After all, a fight can have serious health consequences, which is why we attribute high status to big, muscular men. A man will be rewarded for his strength, as long as he does not become too aggressive.

Prestige and skills

We are opportunists: we like to stay where the table is richly set, or where we feel safe. Men can move up within the group through public contribution and sharing of resources (knowledge, skills, food, building materials, etc.). These men become more valuable for other group members because there is something to collect from them. After all, it makes sense to be friends with a patron. Therefore, men will reward other generous men with submission and loyalty.

In nature, strength is indicated by abundance. A group can increase its overall “wealth” without violence, when rewarding the introduction of resources into the group with status, while individuals profit from increased influence. win / win. This strategy is also what most companies pursue with their clients and what most people do in their families and friendships. They create value for others to gain social recognition. Therefore, in a peaceful environment, the prestige strategy is of particular importance to the group.

In summary, men are trying to increase their status within the group so they have access to more resources.

Women minimize risk

Women take all the risk in reproduction, because they contribute the majority of resources to the development of the offspring; They nurture the child inside, they might be hurt at birth or die. They have to (breast)feed the offspring. To a woman any reduction of physical fitness is a risk to her reproductive success. Therefore, women seek to reduce the risks associated with reproduction.

For a woman, her own body is the only vehicle for reproduction. Men, on the other hand, could continue to father children without their legs and arms as long as they have access to women. Therefore, it is worthwhile for men to take risks, i.e. to accept injuries, in order to rise in status. In contrary, every woman has to birth all her own offspring herself. In consequence they tend to be more self-protective, e.g. visit the doctor more often. They have to protect their bodies vehemently.

No food, no offspring. Women need more food during pregnancy and lactation to provide for their offspring. In short, they have to eat more. However, many women are less mobile and agile during pregnancy and lactation. Thus, they are more vulnerable to attacks and more susceptible to shortage of food. The more help a woman can foster during this time, the lower her risk of losing the child or being injured. Ensuring sufficient resources is a top priority for women.

 A woman secures resources through different ways:

  • collecting resources herself
  • securing resources in competition with other women and men – “Who gets more of the spoils?”
  • “Sex for safety” deal: A man gets exclusive sex in return for resources and assistance in raising the offspring.

Competition is the foundation of evolution, and women are not excluded. Women compete with other women for resources and men. On the other hand, women need other women as allies to defend themselves against unpleasant males, to gather resources, to support each other during pregnancy, childbirth, breast-feeding and raising the offspring. (Also in other primates “midwives” were described). Therefore, women form hierarchies that are, however, flatter and more unstable.

In a group of women, there is always a leader, the Alpha woman. Research shows, that alpha men and women share some characteristics, e.g. high dominance, but women still maintain a subtler leadership style. A group of women is usually governed by the principle of equality and the avoidance of open conflicts. Anyone who tries to excel at the expense of others will be punished immediately. These penalties consist primarily of attacks on reputation (such as “slut shaming”) and exclusion. At the same time, women use care, empathy and help as a positive instrument of power to make themselves useful to their friends. In women, too, physical violence occurs when rich and rare spoils are fought over. These battles are rare, but also more bitter than in the male world. The female hierarchy is not so much about results, rather more about participation and cooperation. Who is in? Who is out? So even women fight for dominance, only by other means.

The best genes win

Every living being aims to collect the best available genes to give its offspring a head start. Women instinctively try to get the man with the highest status available to them. He can provide her resources and protect her with his strength and alliances. This increases her chances of survival, and that of their offspring. In addition, a man’s richness is also an indicator of good genes. Only a physically and / or mentally fit man can occupy a high position within the group. A high status male is a good gene donor. Men court for women by showing off their “goods”.

Which women are attractive to men? As described above, the woman’s body is crucial to her reproductive success. That is why men choose women who look healthy and fit: pure, good skin, long, shiny hair, not too thin or too fat. In addition, a woman should be physically made for a smooth birth and rearing of the offspring. A “hip to waist ratio” of 7:10 and a full, big bosom indicate high fecundity (on average). Women are therefore trying to highlight their physical appearance to court men. 

Arms race of the sexes – “play the hand you’re dealt”

Men and women have different parameters to maximize their reproductive success. Moreover, from an evolutionary point of view, it does not matter how the partner is doing, as long as he or she is still able to increase the reproductive success. It makes economic sense for each gender to “exploit” the partner. Therefore, different, sometimes conflicting, strategies emerged, how man or woman gets more children for less resources. There is an ongoing arms race of the sexes.

Men – the more, the better

With a man’s low investment in pregnancy, it makes sense for him to impregnate as many women as possible, as long as he does not jeopardize his standing within the group or an important, stable relationship. Men can increase the number of viable offspring through different strategies:

  1.  Multiple wives and many children – Only possible with many resources and illegal in many societies.
  2. Maintain a nuclear family, and impregnate other women
  3. Maintain a nuclear family
  4. Many children with many women without becoming active as a father – no influence on the chance of survival and education

 Men usually try to have other women in addition to their main wife, while they want to suppress the promiscuity of their own wife, demanding sexual exclusivity. “I’m allowed to have an affair, but nobody else.

Women – sex as commodity

Because women took great risks by having casual sex, before the anti-baby pill was available, they are more likely to pursue a mix of short and long term mating strategies. The main goal is to have enough resources and assistance for raising the offspring. Basically, women control access to sex and thus the value sex has to men. They are the gatekeepers of the reproduction.

The woman’s dilemma:

  1.  A high-ranking man offers good genes and many resources. But other women also compete for him. It’s harder to get him to commit. A woman therefore runs the risk of being left alone or having to share the man with other women.
  2. low-ranking man offers inferior genetic material, but is potentially willing to invest in raising the offspring because he has less chance of having sex with other women. He appreciates the chance for exclusive sex. Maybe he will work his way up and can offer more resources in the future. (Then problem 1 kicks in)
  3. The “laws” of the women’s group complicate the competition for men. Approaching a man without the consensus of the other women in the group can have serious consequences – loss of status or exclusion.
  4. Being a single mother gives a woman independence from men, but carries great economical risk, because she cannot offset illness or financial setbacks.

How do women solve this situation? They differentiate between short-term relationships (sex) and long-term relationships (potential for resources).

  1. She forms a nuclear family with a man and tries to control or inhibit his sexuality. He should become a provider and channel all resources to her offspring.
  2. Within certain groups a peer pressure is maintained that punishes women for sexually promiscuous behavior (slut shaming). This, economically speaking, preserves the value sex has to men. The “sex for safety” deal remains attractive for men. When sex is hard to access for man, women can trade it for resources. This is especially useful for the high-ranking women or women in a committed relationship. Prostitutes undermine this dynamic, but have to live with the corresponding social sanctions (low reputation). Women inhibit the sexuality of other women in order to keep the price of sex high and to eliminate rivals.
  3. Being married and becoming pregnant from another man, preferably high status. This strategy has the upside, that a woman can harness the good genes from a high ranking man, while having another man contributing resources. However, these maneuvers are also risky. If the infidelity comes to light, she must fear an act of revenge on the part of the husband, which can even lead to death (30% of homicides in America are women killed by their jealous men). In addition, she could lose her social rank within her group by being outlawed as a “slut”. That could lead to the new man stepping back to uphold his reputation. Prior to the pill, sexual promiscuity bore great risk for women.

The ying and yang, eternally

All the maneuvers described are just part of the continuous arms race of the sexes. While fluctuating around an equilibrium this arms race will temporarily result in the superiority of one sex. The basic pattern is as follows: women defend, men persist.

  1. Men persist more successfully than women resist – even weaker men can mate- the male population is “watered down”, i.e. becomes weaker, and women can defend themselves more effectively.
  2. Women defend themselves more successfully than men persist – only the strongest men mate – the male population becomes “stronger” and more men persist.
  3. Repeat …

Any external event can upset this balance. World war II e.g. had a huge effect on the balance of the sexes within the participating parties.

What else do men and women do, to gain an advantage in the game?

  • Men try to seduce women into sexual adventures, e.g. with gifts, faking feelings, promising longterm relationships
  • Women subject men to a long “test phase”
  • Women intentionally become pregnant to bind the man.
  • Men rape women
  • Women allege men of rape
  • Women use their man’s resources to rise in social rank. That in turn increases access to better mates.
  • Men deny women resources to inhibit social advancement and access to better mates.
  • Men sanction affairs by force (or murder).
  • Society sanctions force
  • Women inhibit male sexuality by “baiting and blocking” – (offering sex, then blocking, offering, blocking, etc.)
  • Social ostracism of certain sexual behavior (promiscuity, sexual violence, homosexuality (?) …)
  • People in powerful positions influence laws and social norms to empower themselves and their offspring.

The sexual arm race is influenced by innumerable factors and the effects on our society are manifold. Which maneuvers are “profitable” for men and women and which reactions they entail, depends on many environmental variables. e.g .:

  • Are there many resources freely available (reduces the value of men)
  • Are there many enemies / aggressors / unstable environment (increases the value of men)
  • Is the pregnancy and lactation short (reduces the value of the men).
  • Are there many women (reduces the value of sex).
  • Acceptance or even promotion of liberal sex (reduces women’s market power – makes sex more accessible to men)
  • Do women have access to help and resources without men (reduces the value of men as a resource provider)
  • Can women control their conception (increases their control, but leads to higher availability of sex)
  • Can men use their physical strength (increases their persistence, lowers the value of sex)
  • Suppression of promiscuous sex (increases market power of high-status women and men – disadvantage especially for low-ranking men)
  • ???

Depending on the composition of these, and an infinite number of other factors, a group-specific sex/power dynamic emerges for each local and national group. For example: In a teenage girl clique other rules apply than in a male dominated motorcycle gang. But the underlying mechanisms of how these rules emerge are based on the quest for status and sex. I go even further: the emergence of all social norms and laws are driven, directly or indirectly, by the pursuit of power and sex.

Maybe not even intentionally

In the text above, I often use expressions that convey a conscious intention of people. This is for the sake of readability. Of course, the dynamics described above are driven by feelings such as love, jealousy, anger, aggression, lust, curiosity, fear, envy, etc. and the conscious mind. The latter modifies the behavior induced by feelings because it allows the consideration of norms and rules. Add to this the individual genetic and psychological characteristics. But regardless of whether we do it consciously or not, our behavior is driven by the pursuit of power and sex.

Is it as rigid and strict as described above? Today, more than ever, we are experiencing a greater fluidity of gender roles, changing social sexual norms and thus a higher complexity of “the game”. Of course, men use damage to the other’s reputation, and women use overt dominance. Also today we see more women as “alpha animals” in groups – one of the best known examples would be Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany. So, no, it is not that strict, and we witness an expansion of the repertoire of available power moves. Both sexes have all tactics available.

Whether plants or animals, everything revolves around reproduction. This is not different for humans. Men compete with men, women with women and the sexes try to make the other pay the bill for the offspring. Men increase their reproductive success over the number of children or by caring for them. Women achieve better reproductive success by the preservation of their bodies and the intensive care for their offspring. In both cases, success depends largely on how much man or woman can influence other humans, and this game is played within groups. There are endless strategies for this. Some obvious and violent, others subtle and hidden. In the end, whoever controls the resource flow most effectively, wins. It’s all about power. For what? Sex.

Wie setze ich das Fluss Prinzip um?

Ok, schön und gut. Einige werden meinen Überlegungen folgen und zustimmen. Ziemlich hochtrabendes Gerede. Aber wie sieht die Umsetzung aus?

Umsetzung des Fluss Prinzips:

  1. Suche täglich deine wichtigsten Einflusskreise nach Mängeln und Überfluss ab. Das sind von Dir ausgehend folgende:
    1. Eigener Körper – Geist
    2. Partner
    3. Kinder
    4. Eltern
    5. Geschwister
    6. Freunde
    7. Gruppen (Vereine, Parteien etc.)
    8. Kollegen
    9. Vorgesetzte
    10. Abteilung
    11. Firma
    12. Industrie
    13. Global

Je nach Umständen bewegst Du Dich zwischen (1) und (12) hin und her. Eben abhängig davon, wo der größte Mangel herrscht. Über die genaue Priorisierung muss jeder für sich entscheiden, aber es ist sinnvoll den eigenen Körper und Geist immer zuerst zu betrachten. Das sind schließlich die elementaren Werkzeuge, um alle anderen Sphären des Einflusses zu erreichen.

2. Woran kann es mangeln? Grob gesagt, an Energie, Wissen, Fähigkeiten, Rohstoffen, Waren, Geld (Dank)

3. Mangel entdeckst Du meist durch Schmerz – angezeigt durch Verzweiflung oder durch eine hohe Bereitschaft auf andere Dinge zu verzichten (hoher Geldpreis)

4. Frage Dich:

  • woher kommt der Mangel?
  • Was fehlt wirklich?
  • Wo fließt es ab?
  • Ist es ein Kapazitäts-, Abfluss- oder Zuflußproblem?
  • Woher könnte es zufließen?

5. Baue Kanäle

  • Muss ich irgendwo ein Hindernis einreißen um einen Abfluss zu ermöglichen?
  • Muss ich irgendwo ein Hindernis aufbauen um einen Fluss umzuleiten?
  • Kann ich geschickt Überfluss und Mangel in meinem Umfeld kombinieren?
  • Wie kann ich ein System bauen, dass den Mangel automatisch beseitigt, ohne dass ich weiterhin selber aktiv werden muss?

Baue Kanäle – den Rest deines Lebens

Was ist das Fluss Prinzip?

Unsere Welt besteht aus Energiefluss

Als Kind habe ich mir das Ziel gesetzt irgendwann mal alles zu wissen. Dieses Ziel habe ich schon verworfen. Aber es ist das Ziel geblieben die Welt um mich herum zu verstehen. Auch wenn ich weiß, dass mein Verstand eingeschränkt fähig ist alles zu erfassen. Nachdem ich verworfen hatte alle Details in allen Aspekten zu kennen, bin ich dazu über gegangen nach Prinzipien und Mustern zu suchen. Dabei habe ich mich wie in einer Pyramide immer weiter hochgearbeitet und bin einer Frage gefolgt: Welches Prinzip steht darüber? Welches Prinzip vereint zwei anscheinend unabhängige Sachverhalte? Irgendwann gelangte ich zum Prinzip des Flusses und bisher konnte ich kein höheres Prinzip mehr finden.

Welches Prinzip vereint nun alle Phänomene, die wir um uns herum beobachten? Ich glaube es ist das Prinzip des Flusses. Aber erstmal einen Schritt zurück. Als Biochemiker habe ich im Physikkurs einige elementare Dinge gelernt. Das wohl Wichtigste Gesetz für einen Chemiker ist der 2. Grundsatz der Thermodynamik. Er besagt, vereinfacht, dass eine chemische Reaktion nur geschehen kann, wenn dadurch das Universum etwas chaotischer wird. (Für nerds, hier mehr dazu). Letztlich besagt dieses physikalische Gesetz, dass ALLES was geschieht, Energie umwandelt. Egal was passiert, es kostet Energie (für nerds, hier mehr dazu was Energie wohl ist).

Was hat jetzt die Physik mit einem Lebensprinzip zu tun? Alles! Denn wir können etwas Grundlegendes über unsere Welt jeden Tag beobachten. Nämlich, dass Dinge nur spontan passieren, wenn sie „bergab“ fließen. Ein Ball rollt niemals von allein bergauf. Wasser fließt auch nicht bergauf. Ein zerbrochenes Ei heilt sich nicht spontan. Eine heiße Kartoffel wird spontan kalt, aber niemals wird eine kalte Kartoffel spontan warm. „Ja und? Ist doch klar!“. Ja, es ist so normal, dass wir es nicht mehr wahrnehmen. Wir können aber festhalten, dass in der Natur um uns herum, ja im ganzen Universum, alles “bergab” fließt. Immer nur von heiß zu kalt, von viel zu wenig. Von viel Energie zu wenig Energie.

Das Wort Energie ist sehr abstrakt. Und auch wenn es dafür physikalische Definitionen gibt, hat es auch einen esoterischen Hauch. Was Energie ist, können wir nicht richtig fassen. Aber es ist nicht falsch zu sagen, dass Energie eine Kraft ist, die Materie bewegt. Materie nenne ich alles was wir anfassen können; alles was unser tägliches Leben zu einem großen Teil ausmacht. Also Steine, Wasser, Pflanzen, Erde, Äpfel, Bierflaschen, Autos, Computer, Smartphones etc. Wenn wir uns in einer Stadt auf den Marktplatz setzen und beobachten was geschieht, dann werden wir sehen, dass ständig Materie bewegt wird. Da laufen Menschen hin und her, Tische werden verschoben und Autos fahren. Eiskugeln werden in Waffeln gesteckt und verschwinden in Mündern, dieses Eis wandert durch die Menschen und kommt irgendwann wieder ans Tageslicht. Das Gleiche sehen wir in einem Geschäft. Ware kommt rein, wird aufgeschichtet, wird gekauft, mitgenommen und zu Hause ausgepackt und verbraucht. Dinge bleiben für einen Zeitraum liegen, sammeln sich an und fließen wieder ab. Egal wo wir hinschauen, Materie sammelt sich an, fließt ab und sammelt sich woanders – endlos.

Ich bemühe die Physik nochmal, um einen weiteren Punkt zu illustrieren. In der Thermodynamik gibt es ein weiteres wichtiges Gesetz. Dieses besagt, dass im Universum die Menge an Energie konstant ist. Immer gleich. Sie wird nicht zerstört oder hergestellt. Sie wird allerhöchstens umgewandelt. Wenn auf einer Waage links 50 weiße und rechts 50 schwarze Murmeln liegen, dann kann ich alle weißen nach rechts bringen. Aber nur, wenn ich dafür alle schwarzen nach links bringe. Niemals kann ich eine Murmel aus dem Gleichgewicht entfernen. Und so ist es auch im Alltag, natürlich viel komplexer. Damit die Menschen über den Marktplatz laufen können, müssen Sie essen und dieses in ihrem Körper verbrennen. Damit der Kunde die Banane mitnehmen kann, muss er sie bezahlen. Damit er sie bezahlen kann, tauscht er Geld gegen Zeit. Egal wo wir hinschauen, jede Bewegung von Materie wird durch einen ausgleichenden Gegenfluss begleitet.

Wir können also ständig einen Fluss an Materie beobachten. Und anscheinend wird diese Bewegung dadurch angetrieben, dass Energie umgesetzt wird. Manche Dinge fahren auch bergauf, so wie eine Seilbahn. Aber das geht eben nur, weil dafür woanders wieder Energie umgesetzt wird, nämlich im Kraftwerk. Egal wie wir es drehen und wenden, wenn etwas auf dieser Welt passiert, wird dabei Energie verwendet.

Warum rede ich ständig über Energie und Physik, wenn ich doch eigentlich über eine Lebenseinstellung schreiben will? Weil ich für mich entdeckt habe, dass es miteinander zusammenhängt. Lassen wir uns nochmal den 2. Grundsatz der Thermodynamik auf der Zunge zergehen: Eine chemische Reaktion, kann nur spontan ablaufen, wenn dadurch das Universum etwas chaotischer wird. Wenn wir das weiterdenken, läuft es darauf hinaus, dass irgendwann alles was jetzt ist, im Chaos untergeht. Es läuft darauf hinaus, dass alle Ordnung zerstört wird. Wir sehen dieses Kraft auch im Alltag. Unordnung entsteht von allein! Ordnung halten kostet Energie. Banal und doch sehr wichtig. ALLES vergeht –  früher oder später wird alles zerstört.

Wir können also festhalten, dass unsere Welt angetrieben wird durch das Streben zum Chaos. Dabei wird Energie umgesetzt, die Materie bewegt. Wir sehen das täglich, ja wir SIND diese Materie, die bewegt wird. Dabei fließt alles von hoch zu niedrig, und es wird dabei auch ein Gegenstrom in Bewegung gesetzt. Unsere Welt besteht nur aus Flüssen.

Leben nutzt Sonnenenergie im Kampf gegen das Chaos

Sieht so aus, als wäre unsere Welt ein recht unherzlicher Ort. Wie kann sich das Leben dort eigentlich behaupten? Irgendwie scheint es das sehr gut hinzubekommen, denn, wenn ich mich umschaue, sehe ich Leben überall. Die Bäume und Sträucher sind ja nicht zu übersehen. Die Vögel höre und sehe ich ständig. Überall wimmelt es nur so von Tieren und Pflanzen. Und sie besetzen viele verschiedene Nischen an allen möglichen Orten der Erde. Vom der Tiefsee, neben unterirdischen Vulkanen bis zur Antarktis. Nur eines haben alle Lebewesen gemein: Sie sind in der Lage zur Autopoiesis: die Fähigkeit, sich selbst zu erhalten und zu reproduzieren. Und was brauchen Sie dazu? Richtig, Energie. Alles Leben wendet Energie auf, um sich selbst zu erhalten und zu reproduzieren.

Wir Menschen essen zu diesem Zweck und da sind wir gar nicht so wählerisch. Wir essen Pflanzen und andere Tiere, welche es uns wiederum gleichtun. Unter den Pflanzen sieht es ähnlich aus – manche Pflanzen essen Tiere, oder saugen andere Pflanzen aus. Aber der Großteil der Pflanzen bezieht Energie von der Sonne. Pflanzen, und einige Bakterien, sind die einzigen Lebewesen die Sonnenenergie direkt nutzen können. Pflanzen nutzen das Sonnenlicht um aus „niederenergetischen“ Verbindungen, CO2 und Wasser“, „höherenergetische“ Verbindungen herzustellen. Nämlich Zucker. Diesen Zucker verbrennen sie wiederum selbst um all die anderen Prozesse anzutreiben. Und wir wiederum, essen Pflanzen und nutzen also indirekt auch nur Sonnenlicht. Jedes Lebewesen auf dem Planeten lebt, direkt oder indirekt, von der Sonne.

Wir können also von einem Fluss der Energie sprechen, von der Sonne über die Pflanzen und Tiere bis hin zu Bakterien. Weizen bindet Sonnenenergie und nutzt sie zur Vermehrung, der Mensch ißt Weizen in Form von Brot und scheidet den Rest aus. Dieser Rest enthält immer noch viel Energie, den Würmer und Fliegen verwerten. Und danach bleibt auch für Bakterien noch etwas übrig. Jedes Tier zweigt etwas vom Fluss der Sonnenenergie ab.

Wofür nutzen Lebewesen nun diese Energie? Um sich dem Chaos entgegen zu stellen, zumindest für einen Augenblick. Diese Energie wird genutzt um Materie zu bewegen und umzuwandeln. Also konkret, ein Mensch wird aus vielen Äpfeln, Broten, Fleisch und Wasser über 13-15 Jahre hinweg geformt. Dazu müssen Moleküle bewegt werden, zerbrochen und wiederaufgebaut werden. Chemische Reaktionen müssen in Gang gebracht oder beendet werden. Zellen, Gewebe und Organe müssen aufgebaut und aufrechterhalten werden. Das ist viel Arbeit und sie muss gegen die Einflüsse des „Chaos“ verrichtet werden, dass ja kontinuierlich versucht Unordnung zu stiften. Weil sich wiederholt Fehler einschleichen und eine Reparatur irgendwann nicht mehr wirtschaftlich ist, reproduziert sich das Leben. Es erstellt einen Abkömmling, frisch und ohne Fehler, der wieder von vorne anfängt. Und so nutzt das Leben Sonnenenergie um sich immerwährend gegen das Chaos zu stellen.

Das gute Leben entsteht durch Fluss

Das Leben ist ein dynamisches Gleichgewicht

Das Leben ist ständig in Bewegung, weil die Welt ständig in Bewegung ist. Jeden Augenblick strahlt Sonnenenergie auf die Erdoberfläche (Referenz). Dadurch wird Materie bewegt und chemische Reaktionen angetrieben. Ohne Pause, aber auch nicht gleichmäßig. Mal ist die Sonne heißer, mal etwas kühler. Die Sonne folgt dem Muster der Welle, und dieses Muster sehen wir überall. Die Welle liegt allen Phänomenen zu Grunde (hier mehr dazu). Die Welle, oder das Pendel, wechseln immer wieder von einem Zustand zum anderen und zurück. Hoch und runter. Auch das sehen wir in unserer Welt überall. Hunger – satt – Hunger- satt etc…. Aus diesem Wechsel folgt zwangsläufig, dass alles zwischen viel und wenig schwankt, zwischen Mangel und Überfluss.

Wir können unsere Welt stark vereinfacht betrachten; dann besteht sie eigentlich nur aus Behältern und den Verbindungen dazwischen. Ein See ist ein Behältnis. Der Tank eines Autos. Eine Flasche Wasser. Oder dass Fett an unserem Bauch. Jedes Behältnis hat einen Zufluss, der es auffüllt und einen Ablauf, der es leert. Je nachdem, ob Zulauf oder Ablauf dominieren, füllt oder leert sich das Behältnis. Wenn Ablauf und Zulauf gleich sind, ändert sich auch die Befüllung des Behältnisses nicht.

Ab wann wir von einem Mangel oder einem Überfluss reden, lässt sich nicht absolut bestimmen. Wenn ich das Fett an meinem Bauch betrachte, weiß ich noch nicht ob es zu viel oder zu wenig ist. Erst wenn ich den Rest meines Körpers, oder mein Leben, dazu in Beziehung setze, kann ich sagen, ob ich einen Überschuss habe, oder einen Mangel. Wenn ich mich unbeweglich fühle oder meine Blutwerte schlecht sind, könnte es ein Überfluss sein. (momentan definitiv der Fall). Wenn es gerade nichts zu essen gibt, könnte es ev. sogar genau richtig sein. Aber wenn ich meine Rippen sehe und ich mich schwach fühle, könnte es eventuell auf einen Mangel hindeuten. Wir, als Menschen, können nur subjektiv Mangel und Überfluss bestimmen – je nach Zielstellung und Umgebung.

Allen Dingen liegt die Welle zu Grunde und die Welt besteht quasi aus Behältern. Das heißt, dass jeden Tag, jede Stunde, jede Minute Mängel und Überflüsse entstehen. Der Wasserstand eines Sees schwankt, je nachdem ob es regnet oder heiß ist. Je nachdem ob wir viel essen und uns wenig bewegen oder hungern und uns anstrengen, schwangt unser Bauchfett. Das ist klar. Aber das gilt für alles, jeden Moment. Wir müssen uns mit dem Gedanken anfreunden, dass nichts permanent ist. Jeden Tag kann sich der Füllstand eines Behälters ändern. Das Leben ist ein Pendel zwischen Mangel und Überfluss. Gleichgewicht ist immer nur partiell und sehr kurz.

Kurz gesagt, ist das Leben ein Fluss an Energie und Materie zwischen unendlichen Behältern. Der Füllstand schwankt zwischen Mangel und Überfluss. Selbst wenn ein Behältnis stabil gefüllt erscheint, kann es starken Zu- und Abfluss geben. Mangel und Überfluss entstehen jeden Tag. Das Leben ist ein dynamisches Gleichgewicht.

Flüsse kann man umlenken, vergrößern und nutzen

Wir Menschen können Flüsse umlenken und davon profitieren. Wortwörtlich war die Erfindung der Wasserkanäle ein Durchbruch für die Landwirtschaft und damit ging eine Explosion der Erträge einher. Simpel und doch genial. Wir zapften ein Reservoir, zB einen See an (Überfluss) und lenkten das Wasser zu unseren Feldern, wo die Pflanzen dringend Wasser brauchten (Mangel). Und Wasser ist nicht das einzige was wir umlenken können. Wir können auch einen Fluss an Steinen „anzapfen“, indem wir uns Menschen oder Maschinen bedienen, die diese Steine im Bruch abbauen (Überfluss) und zur Baustelle transportieren (Mangel). Oder wir zapfen die Fähigkeiten eines Kochs an (Überfluss), indem wir ihn einladen einen Workshop abzuhalten, damit wir auch endlich die leckeren Gerichte alleine kochen können (Mangel). Wir Menschen können zwischen Überfluss und Mangel einen Kanal bauen, Ausgleich herstellen und somit Dinge für unseren Zweck nutzen.

Alles also ganz einfach. Überfluss anzapfen und zum Mangel leiten. Eigentlich. Denn das „anzapfen“ bedeutet, im Falle der Wasserkanäle, dass wir erstmal Kanäle graben müssen. Wir müssen sie so tief graben, dass das Wasser auch von alleine zu unseren Feldern fließt. Das bedeutet also Arbeit. Wollen wir Steine abbauen, müssen wir erst Menschen bezahlen oder Maschinen kaufen. Ebenso müssen wir den Koch bezahlen, der uns kochen beibringt. Um also einen Fluss entstehen zu lassen, müssen wir erst Energie aufwenden (Investieren).

Wenn wir Arbeit verrichten, um einen neuen Fluss zu etablieren, dann brauchen wir Energie. Im Alltag ist unsere einfachste Energiequelle unsere Nahrung. Also auch wieder ein Fluss. Das heißt, wir nutzen Flüsse um neue Flüsse zu etablieren. Wir essen wilde Beeren und jagen Kleintiere, damit wir Energie haben um Kanäle zu graben. Mit dem Wasser aus dem See, dass wir mit den Kanälen zu unseren Feldern leiten, lassen wir mehr Nahrung wachsen. Wir haben mehr Energie, um größere Felder zu bestellen und auch noch Steine abzubauen. Eine Aufwärtsspirale entsteht. Wenn wir also geschickt Flüsse erstellen, können wir mit der Zeit immer mehr Reservoire anzapfen und damit unsere Möglichkeiten immer weiter vergrößern.

Denken wir nochmal kurz an das Beispiel mit der Waage und den Murmeln aus dem Abschnitt „Unsere Welt besteht aus Energiefluss“. Wir können keine Murmel von der Waage nehmen, wir können nur ihre Farbe ändern. Legten wir eine Murmel von links nach rechts, so wanderte automatisch zum Ausgleich eine von rechts nach links. Ähnlich im Beispiel des Sees. Das Wasser aus dem See fließt auf unsere Felder, wird durch die Pflanzen aufgenommen und verwertet. Ein Teil geht in die Früchte ein, ein Teil verdunstet. Und regnet als Wasser wieder in den See herab. Und genau das passiert überall und ständig in unserer Umwelt. Zu jedem Fluss, gibt es einen Gegenfluss.

Durch Flüsse entsteht Reichtum

Was hat das nun mit unserem alltäglichen Leben zu tun? Alles! Jeden Tag mangelt es Menschen an Ressourcen, damit sie sich gut fühlen. Damit sie satt werden, damit sie sich eine Behausung bauen können, damit sie sich gesund halten können oder damit sie sich sicher fühlen. Auf sozialer Ebene fehlt es Menschen an Ressourcen sich um ihre Kinder und Familien zu kümmern, ihren Freunden zu helfen, ihren Kollegen oder ihren Gemeinden. Gleichzeitig erfahren alle Menschen täglich Überfluss. In der westlichen Welt einen Überfluss an Kalorien, oder einen Überfluss an Aufgaben, an Stress. Manche haben auch einen Überfluss an Geld oder materiellen Dingen. Dieser Mangel bzw. Überfluss kann darauf beruhen, dass man zu wenig erhält oder zu viel abfließt, bzw. umgekehrt. Jeden Tag muss jeder Mensch sich erneut darum kümmern Überfluss zu Mangel zu kanalisieren, und sei es nur Hunger zu stillen. Jedes Problem eines Menschen beruht auf einem Mangel oder Überfluss oder einer Kombination beider

Was wiegt denn nun schwerer? Ein Überfluss oder ein Mangel? Sowohl ein Zuviel an etwas, zB. Tödliche Bakterien im Körper, kann gefährlich sein, also auch ein Mangel, zB zu wenig weiße Blutzellen. Die Antwort könnte der „negativity bias“ oder Negativitätseffekt sein. Für uns wiegen negative Gefühle und Verlust 3-6x schwerer als positive Gefühle oder Gewinn. Ein Mangel an Nährstoffen führt zwangsläufig irgendwann zum Tod während ein Überfluss ab einem gewissen Grad keinen Nutzen mehr bringt. Mangel wiegt schwerer als Überfluss.

Der Mensch hat zwei große Stärken. Seinen Daumen, der ihm ermöglichte filigrane Werkzeuge herzustellen und seine Fähigkeit zur Kooperation. Der einzelne Mensch ist wehrlos und verloren, aber in der Gruppe sind wir unschlagbar. Wir haben einen Mechanismus einprogrammiert, der uns förmlich zwingt auf Kooperation mit Kooperation zu antworten. Das Fachwort ist Reziprozität. Der Volksmund kennt zahlreiche Sprichworte, die dieses Prinzip verbalisieren. „Eine Hand wäscht die Andere“ „Es ist ein Geben und Nehmen“ etc.. Die Anfänge sind sicherlich in unserer Vergangenheit als Kleingruppentiere zu suchen. Wer Ressourcen in die Gruppe beisteuert, wird dafür mit Status, also Zugang zu Ressourcen und Sexualpartnern, belohnt. Das Gleiche gilt heute immer noch. Wer anderen etwas gibt, wird dafür belohnt. Und wofür erhalten wir die größte „Belohnung“? Ganz einfach – je größer der Mangel ist, den wir für einen anderen Menschen ausgleichen können, desto großer wird der Dank sein, der uns entgegengebracht wird. Oder allgemein: Wer Menschen näher an ein nächstes Gleichgewicht führt, erfährt Dank.

Es ist also sehr einfach: Wenn ich in meinem Umfeld nach dem größten Mangel suche, habe ich die Chance das Leben eines anderen Menschen deutlich besser zu machen und dafür Dank zu erhalten. In diesem Zusammenhang kann man Dank auch Schuld nennen. Wir alle kennen das Gefühl, dass wir jemandem, der uns geholfen hat, ohne direkt etwas dafür zu verlangen, „etwas schuldig“ sind. Durch das Ausgleichen von Mängeln kann man Dank und Schuld erhalten, was sich direkt in das Erhalten von Ressourcen übersetzt. Aber nicht nur materielle Ressourcen, heutzutage auch Geld. Denn Geld ist nichts Anderes als Dank oder Schuld. Somit ermöglicht der Ausgleich von Mangel mittelbar den Zugriff auf mehr Ressourcen. Dank und Schuld ermöglichen Zugriff auf mehr Fluss.

Zusammengefasst behaupte ich, dass der Ausgleich von Mängeln anderer Menschen den Zugriff auf mehr und größere Reservoirs und somit mehr Möglichkeiten bedeutet Fluss zwischen Überfluss und Mangel herzustellen. Wenn ich einen Fluss herstelle, kann ich eventuell selber direkt von diesem Fluss profitieren, zB indem ich etwas Wasser für mich abzweige und gleichzeitig am Gegenfluss teilhaben, zB. durch Dank oder Geld. Somit trete ich irgendwann in eine positive Aufwärtsspirale ein, denn je mehr Fluss ich kontrolliere, desto mehr Fluss kann ich herstellen. Keiner von uns kann etwas mit ins Grab nehmen. Deshalb ist wahrer “Reichtum” eigentlich der Zugriff auf viele Reservoirs, um Mängel verschiedenster Art zu füllen. Wer die Mängel der Menschen ausgleicht, baut Reichtum auf.

Doch der wahre Gewinn am Ausgleichen ist nicht Reichtum, sondern das Gefühl der Wirksamkeit. Wir können einen Beitrag zum Glück anderer Menschen leisten und erfahren, dass wir in der Lage sind die Welt zu verändern. Obendrauf erfahren wir (meist) Dankbarkeit, Respekt und steigen im Ansehen der anderen. Nicht immer. Aber die Chancen dafür steigen beträchtlich. Ausgleichen fühlt sich einfach gut an.

Ausgleichen ist immer das Richtige

Aus den obigen Ausführungen folgt für mich, dass Ausgleichen immer das richtige ist, wenn man das eigene Leben besser machen will. Wir können einfach annehmen, dass alle Menschen Egoisten sind, und nur Dinge tun, von denen sie glauben, dass sie davon profitieren. Das ist ok. Aber dank Reziprozität gibt es ein schönes Paradoxon – Wer sein eigenes Leben immer besser machen will, gleicht Mängel bei anderen Menschen aus. Das ist das Einzige worum es im Leben geht. Und wenn ich bei mir selber in einem Moment keinen Mangel erkenne, dann gleiche ich einfach in meinem direktem Umfeld Mängel aus, was mir Zugriff auf mehr Ressourcen ermöglicht. Und wenn ich bei mir einen großen Mangel entdecke, muss ich mich natürlich um diesen zuerst kümmern. Um dann wieder in mein Umfeld zu gehen. Man macht das eigene Leben, und das vieler anderer besser. Wer Ausgleichend wirkt und immer und überall Mängel behebt, tut immer das Richtige.

A world of laws

When we look at the stars, we are amazed. The more we learn about the universe, the more predictive it becomes. We have learned how our solar system works and what forces keep it going. We are better at predicting physical systems, because we have learned the laws that govern the movement of stars and galaxies. We learned about gravity, space-time, properties of energy and we keep on learning. In addition, we assume that those laws are valid through most parts of the universe. There is nothing, which is NOT subject to those universal rules. Most probably, those rules apply to every living creature on this planet. And, of course, to humans. We are all subject to the same rules that cannot be bend or broken.

The observation of the universe shows us, that it works like a clockwork. An infinite large, infinite complex clockwork, where one event leads to another since the beginning of time until the end of it. There does not seem to be an intervening hand that rescues suns from exploding or that stops asteroids from crashing into planets. All the parts are obedient to the rules. The universe is like a machine.

Somehow, we have gotten used to the thought, that life is special. We could not find it elsewhere in the universe, so it is a miracle. Earth is a special place that is exempt from what is happening in the rest of universe. An oasis in which humans are the princes and princesses defying the universal rules. Possible? Most probably not! What if we looked at life, i.e. all the living things on earth, just as something that happens because the laws of the universe allow it to happen. If the universe works like a machine, without feelings, then nature is the same, since nature is a part of the universe.

“We can allow satellites, planets, suns, [the] universe, nay whole systems of universes, to be governed by laws, but the smallest insect, we wish to be created at once by a special act. -Charles Darwin.

The laws of the universe might not always be easily detectable for us. The effects of several laws can overlay into an observation that does not seem to follow any law. That is just an illusion. All waveforms, no matter what you scribble or observe in the universe, are actually just the sum of simple sinusoids of different frequencies. The Fourrier transformation is a method to break complex waveforms into simple one. Eternal, universal laws guide everything – we just might not be able to detect them, yet.

If we understand the rules of the game, we can align our thinking with it. We can accept what happens, we can anticipate what will happen and we can maximize our effectiveness in life because we know what the rules allow – and what not.

What are the laws of the universe? I do not claim that the following, few pages contain everything in detail or are exhaustive. This is just a working base to refer to. There are some fundamentals, which we should know at a basic level.

It’s all about energy

In physics, energy is the quantitative property that must be transferred to an object in order to perform work on an object or heat it. Roasting coffee beans to change their aroma – energy is used for chemical reactions. Cooking coffee – energy is used to heat the water. Lifting a cup of coffee to take a sip – energy is used to move matter.

Energy can be stored within an object and be released. When it is stored, we speak of potential energy, when it is transformed into some sort of movement, we speak of kinetic energy. Depending on the specifics, we speak of different forms of energy. The elastic energy stored by stretching solid objects, the chemical energy released when fuel burns, the radiant energy carried by light, and the thermal energy due to an object’s temperature.
It is hardly conceivable for us in everyday life, but mass and energy are interchangeable. Imagine you had a super-sensitive scale; you could actually measure how a piece of metal becomes heavier as it heats up. Mass can also be converted to energy and that is what happens when a nuclear bomb explodes. Matter is converted into energy in a huge blast.

Every phenomenon, everything we observe in our lives is dealing with energy. From making coffee, to doing sports, to talking with a friend, to driving a car, to the movement of a single person or to migration of peoples. The drifting of continents, the movement of the moon around the earth, the movement of planets in our solar system, the movement of our galaxy…from tiny to infinitesimally large, it is all about energy. Energy is the universal currency

The law of energy preservation

The scientific discipline of thermodynamics deals with the flow of energy. There are four laws of which we will address the first and the second .The first law of thermodynamics states that, in a closed system, energy can be changed from one form to another, but it cannot be created or destroyed. The total amount of energy and matter in the Universe remains constant, merely changing from one form to another. We can assume that the universe is a closed system and that the energy in the universe is constant. Also, the amount of matter is constant.
When we look at plant earth, this is of course not true. Matter on planet earth is relatively constant – we shoot some matter out into space, and we gather matter when hit by asteroids, but the changes are not big. However, we have a constant flow of energy onto earth from the sun. We cannot destroy energy, or create it. We can only transform it.

The law of destruction and decay

Why do things happen only in one direction? Why does coal burn and release light and heat, but never do we see the spontaneous creation of coal. Why does a ball roll downwards but never upwards? There seems to be a directionality to the way things happen in the world. Some things happen spontaneously, some do not. Some events seem reversible while others are irreversible.

Since approximately 1650, scientists and engineers were setting out to increase the efficiency of early steam engines. In particular, the French physicist Nicolas Léonard Sadi Carnot had great influence. He formulated a process by which work could be performed through the heating and cooling of gas (The carnot cycle). By investigating the mechanisms behind the flows of heat and gas, the branch of physics called thermodynamics came into existence. It deals with heat and temperature, and their relation to energy, work, radiation, and properties of matter. This section is about the second law of thermodynamics.

However, we do not have to work on steam engines to realize a very basic observation: Nothing heats up spontaneously. A steak on a plate won’t grill spontaneously. This is a fundamental law of the world. Heat, i.e. energy, will only flow from hot to cold, from concentrated to diluted, from tight to wide.

Physicists have found a way to explain this phenomenon using the concept of “chaos”. The term physicists use to talk about chaos is called entropy (the official SI symbol is “S”). According to the second law of thermodynamics, an exchange of energy can only occur if the chaos in the universe INCREASES.

That’s right. A chemical reaction can only happen, when chaos increases in the process. The same goes for a ball rolling down a hill.

What does chaos mean? We can use the word disorder synonymously to chaos, which means that there is no energy available to do work. We could picture it like three hills with each a toy-car on top. That is three cars capable of rolling downhill and thereby able to do work, i.e. transporting a puppet. This is an ordered state. A salt crystal, a stone, a tree and a human body, a sun, a galaxy are ordered structures. If one car rolls downhill, the chaos has increased, less work is possible. Yet, there are two more left, some order remains. If all cars have rolled downhill, the system has reached maximal chaos. If no energy is left in “high energetic states”, i.e. on top of a hill, no energy is left to do work. We have reached maximal disorder.

Potentielle Energie und Unordnung

Whenever a process occurs, some energy is converted to heat. Although some heat can again be transferred into movement, a portion of it will be trapped in the lowest energetic state, from which it cannot be transferred to other states. Therefore, whenever a process occurs, e.g. a chemical reaction, a ball rolling down a hill or a bird flying from tree to tree, some energy is lost in form of heat forever to further usage.

As the universe evolves in time, more and more of its energy becomes trapped in irreversible states (i.e., as heat or other kinds of increases in disorder). This is referred to as the inevitable thermodynamic heat death of the universe. In this heat death, the energy of the universe does not change in amount, but the fraction of available energy available to do work has become zero and entropy/chaos/disorder is at its maximum.

In consequence, this law states, that a transaction (a chemical reaction or a movement) can only occur if the chaos in the universe increases.

“Hold on”, you might exclaim, “but why do structured, orderly things exist? If everything strives to increase chaos, shouldn’t there be chaos everywhere?” The theory goes, that order can exist locally and temporally as long as chaos increases globally, i.e. universally. How could that work?

First, the universe began in a more orderly state than were we are now. Although no stars or galaxies existed yet, at the time of the big bang, everything was crammed into the size of a soccer ball. This was the state of highest energy. The top of the mountain. From there on energy flowed downhill ever since.

The mountain of potential energy

Secondly, the apparent order we observe is never permanent. It is just a transition phase. We might not see it, but every object decays continuously. In the figure the ball rolls down onto the plane and nearly stops moving. It rolls super slow, but keeps rolling – looks stable but is not. Maybe it is blocked by a small bump and cannot roll further without further energetic input. This is also called a metastable state. In any case, the ball is now at a state of lower energy, i.e. universally higher chaos. Once it reaches the next downhill slope, it will progress to the next lower state of energy. This is how we could imagine inanimate things like a stone. Its formation used up energy (rolling down the first slope). Where it is right now, it looks stable (the plane). However, there is still energy stored in it, which is released when it reaches the next slope. Even a stone will eventually disappear.

Rolling ball on its endless journey towards total equilibrium

Last but not least, living things also undergo decay. Once we die, we dissolve quickly. Yet somehow, while alive, we can uphold order. How? By burning energy. Imagine a solar powered robotic arm. Continuously little bits of metal fall of. The robotic arm uses energy to pick up the pieces to repair itself. This is exactly what happens in nature. Plants capture sun light to form glucose. Plants use the glucose to fight chaos and keep order. Herbivores eat plants and use the available energy to move and reproduce. Carnivores eat herbivores and use the energy stored in their muscles to move and reproduce. In the end all living things are depending on solar energy to transform high state energy into low state energy (heat), increasing chaos in the universe Living means keeping order.

If physicists are right, this is the most important law of all. Everything is wasting and decaying. Being alive means burning energy to fight chaos so we can uphold order.
A fight we will eventually lose. We are heading to total chaos; any order is only temporary.

“Change is the only constant in life” – Heraklit

The law of irreversibility

Let’s come back to the ball rolling downhill. I said it is an irreversible transaction. You might object that you can easily roll the ball upwards, put it on the exact same spot, and it is as if nothing happened. It looks like a reversible process. Of course, that is not true, because you used the energy stored in your body to move the ball uphill. A part of that energy, again, is lost to do work forever.
Whatever we do, whatever happens in the world, even if it seems to be reversible, like waving an arm from left to right or lifting a glass of water to your mouth, is irreversible. You can only reverse it by spending more energy.

This also means, that time has a direction. We can’t undo what happened without spending MORE energy, which means we are “trapped” in the present and ultimately drawn to the future. This fundamental paradigm is verbalized as the “arrow of time”. Time has a direction and it points to disorder. Every trans-action is irreversible.

Time’s arrow – from order to disorder

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” ― Heraclitus

The law of gravity

Everybody on earth experiences this law every second of his or her life. If I hold an apple in my hand and let it go, it will fall down. This natural phenomenon is known as gravity (from Latin gravitas, meaning ‘weight’), or gravitation. All things with mass or energy, including planets, stars, galaxies, and even light, move toward (i.e. gravitate) one another. It is gravity that gives weight to physical objects. In the beginning of the universe, it was the gravitational attraction of the original gaseous matter, which caused atoms to aggregate and therefore culminating in the formation of stars, planets and galaxies. Gravity is responsible for many of the large-scale structures in the universe. Importantly gravity has an infinite range, although its effects become increasingly weaker as objects get further away.

Gravity is most accurately described by the general theory of relativity (proposed by Albert Einstein in 1915) which describes gravity not as a force, but as a consequence of the curvature of space-time caused by the uneven (see Asymmetries) distribution of mass. However, for most applications, gravity is well approximated by Newton’s law of universal gravitation. It describes gravity as a force causing any two bodies to be attracted to each other. The larger the mass of an object, the larger the pull on other objects. The earth pulls on us, and we pull on earth.

Physicist differentiate four fundamental interactions, with gravity being the weakest of all.  The strongest is called the “strong interaction”, which holds together the building blocks of atoms (protons, neutrons). The next force in line is “electromagnetic interaction”, which causes magnets stick and electrically charged particles to come together. Thirdly, the weak interaction is the force holding together the building blocks of atoms – quarks. Last in line is gravity. However, gravity is the dominant interaction at the macroscopic scale, and is the cause of the formation, shape and trajectory (orbit) of astronomical bodies. It is also the major force affecting our day-to-day life.
So what’s it all to do with power? Simple. Whatever you want to do, you have to overcome the pull of gravity. As trivial as this sounds, it is significant!

The laws of moving masses – Newton’s laws

Our lives are a lot about moving things from A to B. This is true for our bodies, which move food from the stomach to the muscles and the brain. And it’s true for us, when we build our houses. Stones and wood need to be moved from the source to our construction site.
The Mathematician, physicist, astronomer and theologian Sir Isaac Newton formulated the three laws of motion, which laid the foundation for classical mechanics. His laws are useful for us to understand how energy and mass interact – relationships we observe and witness every day in our personal lives

Law 1

If a soccer ball was flying in an imaginary space where nothing influences it, then I could kick it, and it would fly forever. However, if I did not kick it, it would stay there forever. Therefore, the learning is quite simple: Nothing moves without energy, and a movement can only be stopped by exerting additional energy. A bullet flies because of the force of gunpowder. In space, it would continue flying until it hits an obstacle. It could fly forever. On earth, it slows down because of the friction of air, a force acting on the bullet. The first Newton law states that “In an inertial frame of reference, an object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by a force.” Moving objects requires energy

Law 2

Everyone, who has ever ridden a bike or driven a car can relate to the following law. The faster you want to go, the harder you have to push. Or, the harder you have to put the pedal to the metal. Riding a bike fast is more exhausting than cruising along at a comfortable pace. We need more energy accelerating and keeping the speed than in a normal pace. A car guzzles up much more fuel when accelerating or when driving very fast. Additionally, the heavier the car, the more fuel we need. This is so intuitive, that we hardly ever think about it. Yet, it has profound consequences for everyday life. The second Newton law states, that “In an inertial frame of reference, the vector sum of the forces “F” on an object is equal to the mass “m” of that object multiplied by the acceleration “a” of the object: F = ma. (It is assumed here that the mass m is constant)” The heavier an object and the faster we want to accelerate it, the more energy is necessary to do so.

Law 3

We sometimes refer to this law loosely as action-reaction, where the force exerted is the action and the force experienced, is the reaction. If I jump up into the air, I push into earth. Earth directly pushes back, propelling me into the air. Since Earth is very heavy, the energy I used for my jump is too little to move earth in any direction, but the energy is enough to lift my weight. This law represents a certain symmetry in nature: forces always occur in pairs, and one body cannot exert a force on another without experiencing a force itself.
The third law states, that “When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body.” You can’t act on an object, without the object acting back on you. Every action causes a re-action.

The law of asymmetry

Matter and energy are not equally distributed in the universe. There are vast stretches of universe with no visible matter and then there spots where matter aggregated – galaxies, suns and planets. The same applies to earth. There is water and there are patches of solid land. Some areas have more gold, and iron, some have silver and aluminum. Some experience everlasting cold, some everlasting heat.

We have learned in the section about gravity, that matter attracts more matter. It is a reinforcing feedback loop. Matter aggregates and increases its force on surrounding matter and becomes even bigger. Therefore, it can attract even more matter etc. This dynamic is evident in any network or system in our world. We call it “cumulative advantage” or “Matthew effect” (The apostle Matthew talks about it in the bible – Link).
If I win a sports competition, which grants me money, and thereby increases my chances of winning the next one, then eventually I will dominate every sports competition.

When we conduct a thought experiment and imagine a universe with an equal distribution of atoms, no flaws, then no chemical reaction could take place. Nothing would happen. However, now imagine one atom randomly jumps out of place and hits another atom, sticking together. The both of them would then attract more atoms in the vicinity. This initiates a DOMINO effect. Let this continue for billions of years and you end up with MASSIV asymmetries. One infinite small asymmetry will lead to huge ones over time. So asymmetries persist, because of accumulative advantage and chance.

Every-thing in existence is an accumulation of matter and therefore an asymmetry. Our bodies. Our houses. Our cities. Our societies. If we were able to remove all asymmetries and install perfect equality, then we would reach total equilibrium: the end of all existence.

However, every asymmetry represents a state of order/potential energy. As we have learned in the law of decay, the universe only tolerates order, if it helps to create more chaos, somewhere. In consequence, when asymmetries grow, the pull of the force of chaos on it grows, too. The potential energy stored in the ordered state increases and at some stage, it grows fragile – and collapses. If you build a tower from toy building blocks, a small tower usually does not shake. The higher you build it, the more instable it becomes, and collapses.

This happens ad infinitum: asymmetries build up and collapse, just to give way to other asymmetries. Even if we don’t like it in our social life, the world is asymmetrical. Unfair. Unequal.

There is a certain pattern to it, too. The wave.

The wave

It’s not a law, but it is the most important pattern in the universe. The wave.
As we have learned in Newton’s law of Motion #3, for every power there is a counterpart. This means, that nothing can grow infinitely without the counterforce acting on it and dragging it back to the mean. In statistics, this is called “regression to the mean”.

Whatever we look at, we will find a wave. Even if the pattern looks like a crazy zick-zack – it’s just many waves superimposed. Due to interference we cannot recognized them as they are. If we look at the world, we see the wave everywhere. Energy fluctuation in a photon, our heartbeat or the rise and fall of populations.

The wave is characterized by a slow start, strong increase, reaching of a infinitesimally short turning point, the rapid decline and then a slowing down to reach the next infinitesimally short turning point.

The fabric of our world – the wave

To me, that’s what the taijitu symbol, the yin and yang, represents.
Every high will eventually come down. Every low will eventually rise.
The wave is at the heart of every process in the world.

The law of evolution

Most of us have come across the term evolution in connection with biology. The evolutionary theory can explain how, in a world only governed by “blind” physical laws, such a plethora of complex, animate things can develop. The famous evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins coined the term “the blind watchmaker”. How can incredibly complex, highly adapted and functional systems develop without a conscious watchmaker? Evolutionary theory is the answer.

At the most fundamental level, Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution states that organisms evolve and adapt to their environment by an iterative process. We can understand it as an algorithm searching the space of possible forms by trial and error (the fitness landscape) for the ones that are best adapted.

The theory is not only applicable to biology, but to any recognizable pattern, phenomenon, or system. Examples of patterns that undergo variation and selection, and thus adaptation, are genes, ideas (memes), theories, technologies, neurons and their connections, words, computer programs, firms, antibodies, institutions, law and judicial systems, quantum states and even whole universes.

Evolution is substrate-neutral, meaning that evolution not only works with genes, but with any entity that can form patterns: molecules or even invisible things like information.

In the next section, I will speak about patterns. A human body is a composition of many patterns. Human society follows patterns. The simplest replicating system are crystals, and they build patterns. Evolution is about patterns. Let’s explore what the fundamental principles of evolution are.

Information: The internal physical properties of the pattern’s components give rise to the pattern’s shape and structure. Alternatively, as is the case for living things, some part of the pattern, the DNA, encodes for the characteristics of the whole pattern.

Survival: The pattern can survive in the given environment. That means it can utilize energy sufficiently effective and efficient to withstand the forces of destruction by maintaining its structure.

Reproduction: The pattern has minimally viable units that can act as seed for new growths of this pattern. This means that the pattern can spread and occupy new territory. Humans exploring new lands or crystals covering the bottom of a river. This is important. As long as something keeps the ability to reproduce, it stays in the game. If it dies too early to reproduce…it’s gone forever.

Variation: The pattern’s internal information can change and these changes modify the pattern’s properties. The composition of genes within an organism changes, genes themselves change through mutations, crystals incorporate different atoms. This is usually (but not necessarily) considered to be blind or random.

Negative selection: This is commonly referred to as “competition”. If a pattern is too weak to withstand the external forces (other patterns, gravity, electromagnetic forces etc.) it will cease to exist. Only systems that can muster enough energy to sustain its structure are survive the current environment. It is important to stress that it is NEGATIVE selection. Patterns that survive, no matter whether barely or greatly, have the possibility to reign the universe one day – given that the conditions disfavor the other patterns. A pattern that is highly effective in transforming energy in a given environment will of course leave other patterns with less available energy. Hence, put pressure on other systems. This has massive implications for our day-to-day life and it shaped the behavior of many animals. There is a continuous filtering of instable patterns (ineffective energy converters). Survival is top priority.

Let’s look at an example: The peppered moth once had white color. This was encoded in their DNA. However, in industrial London with soot-covered buildings it was easily spotted by predators. Hence purely white moths died easily. If a moth had, by chance, offspring with slightly darker color, encoded in their DNA, it was harder to spot and therefore survived longer. That led gradually to the development of dark moths and the disappearance of white moths. More examples can be found here.

Evolution – negative selection of individual nodes

Any pattern, anything in existence today can be viewed as an accumulation of information, and hence adaptations, over time. The more stable the environment the more complex patterns can grow, while a volatile environment favors simple, small patterns. Evolution seems to be the process by which all complex things come into existence.

The law of maximal energy transformation

From the law of decay and the law of evolution follows an interesting consequence. We have learned that the universe “wants” to transform energy to reach maximal chaos. We have also learned evolution leads to patterns/systems, which adapt to the environment in a way to ensure survival. This means ensuring the transformation of energy to maintain order. Taken together, this led Howard Odum, based on works by A. Lotka, to the idea that evolution of systems always leads to the maximal energy transformation in a given environment. “systems organize and structure themselves naturally to maximize power“ (Gilliland 1978, pp. 101–102)

Imagine two strains of bacteria swimming in the same pond – the law of decay will favor the one strain that is best adapted to the environment. What does that mean? Well let’s assume it can swim 5% faster and digest a greater variety of molecules for energy. What will happen? It will reproduce much more effective than the other strains, and soon the other strains have disappeared. Now, this strain experiences a mutation and a second strain evolves, which, again, is 5% faster. The story repeats; however with the grave consequence that in total we will see a rising population of bacteria burning more energy than at the beginning of our thought experiment. The bacteria will continue to increase energy throughput until the pond is depleted of nutrients and there is no space left for bacteria to swim.

The story doesn’t end here. Because by evolutionary mechanisms small bugs developed, who left the pond and went crawling around on land. A new territory beaming with resources. Again, we will observe that the space will be taken and an arms race takes place to outcompete the other species.

Nature only saves energy, if it leads to an advantage in spreading life and burning MORE energy overall. When we think about it, what does nature do? What do all the plants, bacteria, fish, birds, mammals etc. do? Bottom line: they transform energy. They increase chaos. And the universe likes that. So the universe favors energy churning systems, that help to reach the final destiny. Chaos.

Laws, So what?!

Ok, now that’s all fine and good. We have formulated certain laws to make sense of the world. We can observe these laws and test their validity. Some experimentally, some only theoretically. In general we can say that life is about transforming energy. Nature produces infinite lifeforms, which do just that. Nature is not an active agent but the forces of the universe drive everything we see. How does that help in everyday life? It helps to understand why the world is made of flows.