The story of Cain and Abel from the thermodynamic point of view

Denis Sunko

The question is addressed, what produces order in society, and conversely, how to objectively identify the forces of disorder. The equilibrium point is identified with maximum entropy, and empirical evidence is gathered to connect it with maximum disorder in society. The objective criterion for maximum disorder is proposed to be the disappearance of response functions and their replacement by correlation functions. Conversely, ordering forces manifest themselves by the appearance of response functions, whence it is concluded that order is objectively possible only in a society out of equilibrium. The ordering forces are identified with ideas, playing the role of external potentials, which induce macroscopic currents of people and goods. It is argued that the same observations are explicit in the story of Cain and Abel. The world-views epitomized by the two brothers correspond to the dissipative vs. dispersive approaches to dynamical systems, respectively, as applied to human society. At the individual level, they appear as normality vs. originality. A practical application of the proposed criterion is made to a number of well-known events, the operational principle being that both disorder and equilibrium are associated with coarse-graining and a loss of memory.