In popular parlance, entropy refers to the ever-increasing disorder in the universe. In Philip K. Dick's 1968 novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? [1], Rick Deckard realized that he was "part of the form-destroying process of entropy." There also, J. R. Isidore "lived alone in this deteriorating, blind building of a thousand uninhabited apartments, which like all its counterparts, fell, day by day, into greater entropic ruin."

In the novel, entropy is often referred to as kipple, the detritus that accumulates over time. In the novel's post-apocalyptic world, the majority of earth's population has fled to avoid the radioactive dust that has accumulated. Those left live among the dust and debris left behind.

J. R. Isidore generalized the idea of kipple as entropy, to include this accumulated junk:

Kipple is useless objects, like junk mail or match folders after you use the last match or gum wrappers … When nobody’s around, kipple reproduces itself. For instance, if you go to bed leaving any kipple around your apartment, when you wake up the next morning there’s twice as much of it. It always gets more and more. … There’s the First Law of Kipple, … 'Kipple drives out nonkipple.' … We can roll the kipple-factor back; … But – … We can’t win. … No one can win against kipple, … except temporarily and maybe in one spot, like in my apartment I’ve sort of created a stasis between the pressure of kipple and nonkipple, for the time being. But eventually I’ll die or go away, and then the kipple will again take over. It’s a universal principle operating throughout the universe; the entire universe is moving toward a final state of total, absolute kippleization. [1]

But the radioactive dust is itself a source of further disorder, for the radiation it generates is the cause of degeneration of the genes and brains of the humans that stay behind on Earth. Thus, all are urged to "Emigrate or degenerate! The choice is yours!" In J. R. Isidore's case, however, this statement is ironic, since his genes and brains have already degenerated to the point where he is prohibited, by law, from emigrating. Thus, he himself is forced, not only by the "First Law of Kipple", but even more quickly by the law of man, toward "total, absolute kippleization.”

  1. 1.0 1.1 Dick, Philip K. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. New York: Ballantine, 1996.

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