Nature Future Conditional

The story behind the story: The First Fragmented Church of Entropy

This week, Futures welcomes Steven Fischer with his story The First Fragmented Church of Entropy. An unusual piece about a religion almost destined to fail. Here, Steven reveals where the idea for his tale came from — as ever, it pays to read the story first.

Writing The First Fragmented Church of Entropy

I’m lucky enough to have some very smart friends. The kind of friends who routinely make me feel incompetent (in a way that also manages to make me smile). The kind of friends who think that backpacking trips and campfires are better paired with discussions of thermodynamics and philosophy than marshmallows.

On just one such recent trip, a friend of mine posed the question, what if there was a religion that worshipped entropy? (He’d just finished reading Into the Cool — a fascinating book about the myriad ways entropy shapes our world, our economy and our lives — and was bordering on entropy worship himself.) Weeks later, long after we returned home, that question became stuck in my mind. This piece was an attempt to get it out.

The story began as something serious and dark (and not at all similar to what ended up on the page), but as I began writing, I became more and more convinced that the idea itself was ridiculous. That perhaps entropy is something which by its definition defies worship. As my answer to my friend’s question changed, so did the story, becoming more and more absurd as it grew.

In the end, I settled on the only version of a Church of Entropy I think could ever exist — something silly and inherently hypocritical that, at the end of the day, acknowledges even it is subject to the force it claims to serve.

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