The Thermodynamics Of The Creative Process

Viewed this way, life is one gigantic “fuck you” to the universe’s craving for chaos!

It was Schrödinger, when he wasn’t trying to stuff his cat into a box, who explained how life can exist in the face of Entropy. He described life as negative-entropy, or Negentropy.

Well, it seems to me that there is one other Negentropic exception in the universe: ART.

A musician takes the random chaos of white noise, the infinite spectrum of sound waves, and organises them into a limited selection of notes in a precise order to create melodies which move our hearts: music is organised sound!

Art is wonderful Negentropic complexity built out of chaos and disorder.

Maybe that’s why we humans are so attracted to art, as we ourselves are creations in opposition to the fundamental laws of the universe.



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Adam Westbrook

Adam Westbrook


Video artist working at The New York Times. I write a weekly newsletter about visual storytelling and creativity.