As I was watching a video today about thermodynamics and entropy, I decided to further investigate the issue of what I call the scarcity of meaning in the universe. Be advised that this text is nothing more than digression and will most certainly be filled with some jibber jabber. Now disclaimed, I, thus, dare to begin.

In thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, we usually model the physics of a system with states and transformations. Particularly, on statistical mechanics, we further split these states into microstates and macrostates: for one single macrostate, we may have tons of possible microstates. For instance, if I tell you I have a container at \(100 ºF\) containing \(10^23\) oxygen atoms, there are an enormous amount of microstates (set of positions and velocities) that these atoms could be arranged to that would get me the same degree of temperature (macrostate). There so, we could extrapolate this reality and try to look it with a more abstract approach.

I am going to reassign the idea of macrostate to the concept of meaning, as in the meaning of a word, and the idea of microstate to the concept of configuration. Besides, let’s also extrapolate the concept of a system, so that it does not have to be something physical. With that in mind, let me make an example so that things don’t get out of hand.

Suppose the system to be the universe of possible sounds and a configuration could be a specific sound (I could put some constraints here, but let’s avoid the complexity). Therefore, we could take the meaning to be that of the english word yes. In portuguese, we say sim, german, ja, japanese, はい (hai), and so on. If we are talking about the meaning of yes, we would likely have as many possible sounds as the languages the human species has ever created. On the other hand, we could have an almost infinite amount of sounds.