The Thermodynamics of Family
In Thermodynamics, a closed system can exchange heat and work (for example, energy), but not matter, with its surroundings. In contrast, an isolated system cannot exchange any of heat, work, or matter with the surroundings, while an open system can exchange all of heat, work and matter. For a simple system, with only one type of particle (atom or molecule), a closed system amounts to a constant number of particles.
That's what wikipedia says.
And what I say is this.
I used to be the mom in a closed and simple system. We had a constant number of particles (five). We kept things closed, but not isolated, and simple for the sake of strength. Little particles do better when not disturbed by overwhelming matter from their surroundings, and so all our heat and work had limits. Overwhelm was something I was pretty vigilant about.
We even homeschooled our kids - but we rejected the isolated system. This is the "homier than thou" homeschooler type who grinds her own wheat for making her own bread (and buys the wheat from a Good Christian, who probably also homeschools), has all her babies at home, and has church at home too, with all the anachronistically dressed children sitting straight and tall while they participate with a whole heart and a willing spirit. (feel a little ill yet? ... you should ...) We wanted our kids introduced to the wide world - not kept away from it, in a sterilized place where no immune system can develop.
Get the idea? We parented consciously. There are at least as many ways to be a fully conscious parent as there are parents to be conscious, and we did it in our way, and we chose to be a closed but not isolated system while the three particles were developing.
But they are all developed now.
And they've blown apart my system!
I resent this!
I resent the blast of the brightest supernova ever, and I resent the flying particles and heat and light and matter and exchange with so unexpected a set of surroundings, and I resent the apparently endless Are You Kidding Me? moments!!
I liked the closed system, okay?
I liked it.
There is a theory that at the beginning of the universe, the blast of heat and matter spun the solar system into place. This, so goes the theory, is how the earth spun about, like a drop flung from a hot spoon of boiling sugar accidentally dropped off the stove, and in its perfect distance from the heat source of our sun, and after a few little scrap meteors crashed into it and broke up the surface and put the right minerals into the shell, we had a fertile planet.
I hope I put all the things they'll need into the three particles, but in any case, they're on their own now. The spoon has dropped, and the drops are flung, and what they make of themselves is up to them now. But in the meantime, I seem to be living in a permanent meteor shower, and the novelty is wearing off.
Is there hope of a new, closed, stable solar system for spent Big Bangs, I wonder?