I hear it a lot, usually when I’m at a social gathering and someone learns I’m a plastic surgeon (which I don’t always like to disclose); “I’m happy with just growing old gracefully, Doc”. I nod my head and smile (mostly because I agree with them). But as I think about it during the encounters, observing their hair styling, their makeup, their clothing, etc., I ask myself what they believe that means, which is why I always think back to the greatest beauty expert ever, Albert Einstein and the second law of thermodynamics…..Wha???????
While many physicists are responsible for honing the law (Karnot, Clausius, Kelvin, Plank…), Einstein seemed to always make these laws more applicable to daily life.
Simply, the law assumes (and, to all the rocket scientists, physicists, sci-fi lovers, etc., out there, please give me some latitude here): “The Second Law of Thermodynamics is commonly known as the Law of Increased Entropy. While quantity remains the same (First Law), the quality of matter/energy deteriorates gradually over time. How so? Usable energy is inevitably used for productivity, growth and repair. In the process, usable energy is converted into unusable energy. Thus, usable energy is irretrievably lost in the form of unusable energy.
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So, a system (in our case, a person) will deteriorate gradually over time (age, break down). UNLESS additional energy is put into the system, to reverse the process.
Take for instance, a beautiful new house:
It’s beautiful, charming, unique. With intricate detail, smooth bright appearance and presentation. Its own persona, making it different from every other house. Inhabited by a person or family who enjoys its amenities and cherishes the memories created there.
So, let’s apply the second law of thermodynamics. We won’t repair holes in the roof from inclimate weather. We won’t apply new paint to the clapboards. The porch boards? Well, let’s leave them alone too and not reinforce or replace them over time. You know, let it grow old naturally and gracefully.
The simple fact is, we put energy into the things that are important to us: Our houses, exercise, diet, relationships, our personal spiritual beliefs… These all take effort and energy to maintain. Heck, even meditation where you just sit in a relaxed position takes effort to establish the “now”.
So why is it we shudder or feel petty when we want to maintain our skin, our beauty, our appearance? Truth be told, we shouldn’t. We should use the tools and techniques at our disposal to continue to “grow old gracefully”.
At Oklahoma Plastic Surgeons, we offer a range of opportunities from the simplest of skin care regiments to the most advance laser and surgical interventions in order to “grow old gracefully”. For a full description of our services and view some of the results from our clients, visit our website at www.clintonwebstermd.com. Or you can call for and appointment.
Don’t let the second law of thermodynamics drag you into disorder. Put some energy into it! Einstein would agree.
Dr. Webster is a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon living and working in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA. He welcomes your constructive feedback.