17th World Congress of the International Association of Gerontology, Vancouver, Canada, 2001
Gerontology 2001; 47:124
Suffering, Satisfaction and Entropy
B.Z. Aminoff, MD, PhD
Geriatric Department and Memory Clinic, The Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel
Life, from the moment of ovulation to the development of the fetus, from birth throughout adulthood, is a gigantic step in the organization of material in the most orderly, advanced manner, ultimately expressed in terms of beauty, power, intelligence and a desire to conquer the world. In sum it is a process of depression of entropy. With the first smile of a baby and with every subsequent achievement and progress, whether physical or intellectual, establishing a family or a career, all contribute to the satisfaction, happiness, joy, pride and other positive emotions. The secret of life lies in the constant motivation of a living creature to advance, improve, acquire and conquer the world without any limitations, so as to reduce the level of entropy and, consequently, experience pleasure. The incentive to acquire positive emotions is the engine of all progress and creativity in science, art, economics, sport or other fields. Alternatively, loss of power, beauty, knowledge or property in the present, past or in the future, causes a lowing of entropy depression, and is the source of negative emotions and suffering. Thus, with aging, entropy depression becomes shallower and disease and death become more likely. Entropy is a measure of disorder. As disorder increases, so does entropy. At the end of a patient’s life any medical, functional, cognitive and social deterioration is the result of an increased level of disorder and entropy that generates an increased level of suffering.