"Changes in natural systems have a universal tendency to move toward a state of equilibrium—a condition of the lowest possible energy. This pattern holds for the landscape, earthquakes, volcanoes, flowing water, and many other geologic phenomena.This governing principle has been clearly established through painstaking experimentation by thousands of scientists working over several centuries.Thus, if we can deduce which of several possible conditions is lowest in energy, we can predict the direction of change in a natural system." (Christiansen, & Hamblin, 2008)
An analogy popped into my head: We, as human beings, tend to "move toward a state of equilibrium." We do everything in our power, at times, to make our lives more easily lived. Ask anyone whether they would rather do chores to clean the house on a Saturday morning or sit on the couch amongst the mess and watch a favorite T.V. show. Which one would YOU rather do? (Be honest here, folks!)
Now read the following paragraph:
"To better understand this idea, think of two boulders on a hillside. One sits high on the side of the hill and has much gravitational potential energy. Another sits on the valley floor and has very little gravitational potential energy.Which boulder is more likely to change its position?
Obviously, only a small perturbation could send the first boulder rolling down the hillside. But any force exerted on the second boulder would cause only a modest and temporary change in position, and it would then roll back to its original position.The second boulder has low gravitational potential energy and is at an equilibrium position."
Imagine you are a boulder. Would you be the one sitting on the hillside, ready for action and "more likely to change [your] position"? Or are you the second boulder, the one making no effort to reach the top of the hill, content to sit in the same spot on the low valley floor?
I thought this was a very thought-invoking analogy, and I am quite proud of myself for coming up with it.
Christiansen, E.H., & Hamblin, W.K. (2008). Earth's dynamic
systems [Web ed. 1.0]. (Adobe Digital Editions version),
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