Is world peace an attainable ideal? The scientific perspective

As a science major, this question interests me on many aspects: Is world peace possible? A question that has riddled many people both optimistic and not, the idea of world peace has always been a pleasant one.

A world where conflict does not reside and everyone gets along is one that every sentient being wants. However, exactly how attainable is world peace, really? In order to answer this question we must define the word peace.

If peace is defined as order, then from a physical sci


ence perspective, peace is not attainable. The universe prefers entropy. The second law of thermodynamics states that the entropy of the universe is constantly increasing. Entropy is defined as the measure of disorder in a system. This means the universe is inclined to become more and more chaotic as time passes.

Peace can be defined as resolution. This would mean mutual concurrence throughout the world (i.e. no competition). As biology defines it, natural selection is the “survival of the fittest.”

There will always be competition because not all species are

 equal. Much the same way, not all people have equal opportunity (e.g. some are born wealthy, some are born with defects, etc). Competition arises when there are variations within a group, whether it is for resources, shelter or security. By this principle world peace would also not be attainable.

If peace is defined as harmony then it too cannot be achieved. In order for there to be harmony, there must be no disagreement, no conflict, no entropy. To assume no disagreement is to say that there is a definitive right and wrong way of thinking.

If a society seems to have the same mindset displayed in every member then it is likely that the ones that differ in mindset are merely being suppressed. The entropy in the system is hidden and will eventually explode forward. There is no way to get every person to think the same way about everything.

Even identical twins (who are genetically identical) cannot think the same way. If all members seem to agree, it is not peace, but rather oppression, which, as history shows, has lead often to war.

War is primarily defined as the opposite of peace. During war, death and destruction, the total entropy of the system, is acclimating exponentially. However, not all that comes out of waris bad. Many scientific discoveries, technological advancements and social breakthroughs have been coaxed out of wartime.

For example, during World War I, women were taking over jobs that their husbands formerly worked at. When the war ended women were granted the right to vote; one of the main arguments was that they helped keep the country’s economy running during the war. Additionally, when the men returned, they had “shell-shock,” which was soon discovered to be PTSD. If peace and war are opposites, then during peace, a society would not make progress.

For example, if a student that attended every class and was attentive and studious, ended up getting the same score as a student that never showed up to class, the hard-working individual would not be inclined to put in the effort anymore. Peace by definition is a utopian ideal, one that can not ideally be achieved.

Despite humanity craving and wanting peace, it is not backed scientifically or logically. There is always going to be competition because there will always be someone that has something better. There will always be chaos in the world because it is not possible to make people agree on things.

However unattainable peace may seem, it does not mean we should stop trying. Making world peace may be an impossible task, but making it a better place isn’t. One small change at a time certainly wouldn’t hurt anyone. Go out there and be kind to someone today. Add a little positive chaos to the entropy of this chaotic world.