on August 24th, 2006 at 02:27 pm
Definitely a life lesson.
There's another one from thermodynamics. For a given system, there are quantities that can change (such as temperature) and those that can't (such as number of atoms, typically). Depending on how it's constructed, there are quantities that may or may not be changeable (such as volume, depending on whether it's a rigid container). One interesting quality of quantities that can changes is that they fluctuate -- temperature is actually an average, as the air around the probe gets minutely hotter and colder with the jiggling of atoms.
In fact, if a quantity doesn't fluctuate, it cannot change, and vice versa. Freedom at the large scale requires freedom at the small, even if this is disagreeable. And freedom at the small scales implies freedom at the large scales.
I've always been struck by this. And have to watch myself from applying this result inappropriately.