The Constructal Law

Bejan, Adrian, and Zane Peter.  Design in Nature.  First.  New York:  Doubleday, 2012.  Print.

This book is one of those books that will completely change and add to the perceivement of our world and universe at large.  Books like these reinforces the motivation for me to expand my knowledge and read, as the enlightenment that it can bring not only comforts me with the less uncertainties of life, but allows me to be more prepared to tackle large issues of our time.  It is one of those books that makes me feel somewhat more intuned with the world around me compared to the majority of people that have not read this book.  It makes me feel empowered; it puts me in awe with the world around me.

The book talk about a new law of physics that was recently discovered by the primary author of the book.  It is termed The Constructal Law.  The law itself is very simple to understand, but the implications of this law is very profound.  The evidence of this law is all around us because it is a law of reality.  Mathematical details of this law was discussed as well as different observations of flow systems themselves — the primary instance of The Constructal Law.

Put simply, The Constructal Law states that the universe consists of various flow systems.  These systems will evolve structure and design to further facilitate its flow.  Facilitates means that the efficiency of the flow systems and speed will increase due to the designs that naturally are implemented.  “Flow” is another term for the general concept of energy.  Movement of energy will continually evolve to further facilitate the flow of energy.  Therefore, flow systems can be about the flow of electricity, light, money, knowledge, education, ideas, water, air, food, and basically anything that you can think of that flows through the world around us.  And, you will find out that that can encompass almost anything, because the inanimate and animate world is a vast collection of flow systems.

The architecture of these flow systems distribute flow from a point to volume or volume to point configuration.  So let us examine a tree for example.  The root system takes moisture from the volume of the soil, and absorbed it to the point of the trunk.  The roots construct themselves so the flow of water is further facilitated, or in other words, the flow system becomes more efficient as the design is created.  Everything in nature evolves to move the most mass of their flow with the smallest unit of energy.  Then, the the leaves of the tree is responsible for absorbing carbon dioxide and photons in order to create nutrients for the tree which results in the discharge of oxygen and water because water is a catalyst for the reaction.  To take light from the volume of space around the tree to create nutrients that is pumped throughout the tree (sustaining the root system that provides water that is possible for photosynthesis to occur) another volume to point flow system is created to distribute the nutrients throughout the tree.  Also, an overall flow system of volume to point to volume is established to distribute water from the ground to the dry air.  (Energy goes from high to low due to the first law of thermodynamics)  The tree is a flow system of water and nutrients, and this configuration of vasculerization (volume to point or point to volume) is found everywhere in nature to maximize efficiency of flow systems.  Look at the structure of lightning, the structure of arteries and veins, the design of our respiratory system, rivers, cities and their streets, neurons, electricity, to the trajectory of air planes flying across the planet.  This weblike design is the result of further facilitating flow; which means more flow moves with the least amount of energy.

The implications of this is so profound.  The book first talks about how this affects the notion of intelligent design.  Many scholars and scientists observed that nature seemed to have a common design with a whole plathora of structures.  Many assumed this was evidence of some divine creator — the result of his divine engineering project of our universe.  But this law of physics shows that the overall design is due to a tendency of nature itself, which means that the divine did not have to design each system individually.  However, I must note that it does not disprove that existence of a creator.  It is very possible, that the creator enacted a reality that followed laws which had huge implications to the overall system.  In essence it is very possible that this universe was created, flipping the on switch so to speak.  The system evolved itself.  All the creator has to do is sit back and watch — influencing the system directly is a whole other debate.

In my view this reinforces the Platonian view of reality, or his metaphysical statements.  Plato believed that everything shared a life force, ranging to humans to rocks.  Of course this was questioned later in history.  Rocks don’t have organs, they don’t breathe and have blood.  So how could they be living?  But the constructal law shows that the different forms of energy flow from the big bang, to stars, to the earth, to the wind and rain, to lava flows, everything else.  Because of the laws of thermodynamics, high energy will always tend to transfer to systems of lower energy, equalizing the overall energy.  Energy tends to be released into a state of more disorder.  Eventually the energy of the big bang will cease to move; it will equalize and everything will cool.  There is an inevitable end to everything however long it maybe.  Life is movement.  The world around us is filled with various interlacing flow systems that produce The Earth around us.  This flow of energy is in everything, it is the life force that Plato was talking about.  Without the flow of the inanimate world, the flow of the animate world would decrease, meaning less energy would be moved; there would be lots of death.  Therefore, life is apart of nature as nature is a part of life.  They are not mutually exclusive.  (This is concept is strengthened by The Gaia Hypothesis which I will be reading next)  We have to respect nature, or else the flow of life will have increased resistance.  The slower flow of life will eventually evolve in a patter that will further facilitate the movement of energy — or life.  This will result in the overall movement of inanimate systems to increase.  Things would restabilize, however lots of living things would die initially.

Therefore, it is not in humanities best interest to disregard Earth.  Not only is that a obvious statement without knowing this law, but through understanding this LAW of physics, it can easily be predicted that hindering the flow of energy would affect the flow of energy in other places.

It is in my view that God created energy at the start.  Laws were put into place.  From this pure energy matter and anti matter were created.  The matter and anti-matter annihilated creating more energy, which was a feedback process.  This matter eventually created stars, which eventually created more elements.  This changed matter eventually forms planet and solar systems.  Stars created galaxies.  Elements from super novae would react with themselves forming compounds.  This matter would collect into planets having various chemical compositions.  Asteroids, or smaller collection of matter, would ram into these planets bringing various resources, most notably water.  When a planet ends up in a circular orbit inside a habitable zone liquid water is created.  “Life” is the further facilimate of energy.  It is eventually created because this further transfers energy.  More organisms evolve because mutations allow for the further movement of mass with the least amount of energy.  Humans are eventually created.  Through further facilitating movement and energy, knowledge and technology are developed.  The agricultural revolution mixed with the domestication of mammals led to the conditions to produce city states, a more efficient means to transfer energy or various forms.  Technology and knowledge advance.  And eventually we end up to our world today.

As the suns pours down more energy to Earth, this energy will drive life and the movement of the Earth’s systems.  But there is a catch.  Resistances, or imperfections are a requirement for this law to be true.  Otherwise flow segments would flow so quickly it would hinder the flow of other components, making the overall flow structure less efficient.  Therefore, resistances to energy actually make the flow of energy more efficient.  There is a limit to how much energy can be transferred at one time, especially if the initial energy pumped into the system is constant.  I am not saying evolution is done.  I am not saying that everything is the most efficient that it can be.  However, I am saying that there is a limit.  There is a limit to how efficient these flow systems can become because that is the very nature of flow systems themselves.

Using this law, designs of engineering can become vastly more efficient that the author mentions airports and transportation systems to name a few.  He goes into great detail of the mathematics of it all, to show the characteristics of these flow systems and their predictability.  This concept can be applied to the overall flow of money.  If more and more money is being removed from the flow of the system, eventually the system will change in a way to improve efficiency.  Either people will revolt or regulations would be put into place.  I will note, that people would make more money if the flow system would increase in the rate at which money is circulated as well as the amount.  If more and more rich people are hording money, this is a resistance to the flow structure of money.  Of course, there is always resistance.  But using this law, it can be predicted that if this money is circulated through the flow of the economy, improving on the transfer of flow to everyone, more money would be returned back to the people hording money.  If this is taken to an extreme, people that have no money, or too much resistance to the flow structure, will do actions to increase flow.  Am I making sense?  How we go about increasing that flow is a whole other debate.  It could be higher taxes, to higher incentives to spend money.  I would rather go with the latter.

As you can see, this is a read that has changed my life.  It was a very spiritual experience.  So much so, I am going to go to a park and pray for the first time in months.  Reality is beautiful and elegant, and quite simple.  From this simplicity, a plathora of complexity is created to facilitate flow.  Humanity has been studying the complexity, but refuse to step back and see the macro relationships to it all.  Until now.  I can not wait to read The Gaia Hypothesis because I am going to use this concept in my reading to see Truth.  It is a feeling that I can not describe, but one I will use to motivate me to learn more.  This is why I love reading.  And it is apparent to me that we have so much to learn.

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3 Comments

  1. May 21, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    […] and eventually harbors life.  That to me is perfection.  Iso’s are us.  As a result of the flow of energy becoming more efficient, life was systematically created.  We are the result of […]

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  2. August 15, 2015 at 11:18 pm

    […] habitable for life.  Since the inanimate tends to transfer energy more efficiently over time (The Constructal Law), life is eventually created as the further facilitate of energy.  These primitive life forms, […]

    Like

  3. September 6, 2016 at 2:13 am

    […] would change.  Why?  Because the rock is becoming more efficient at transferring its flow.  (The Constructal Law)  Look at water.  The movement of water, either by potential energy or by direct energy through […]

    Like


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