Abstract: The universe resembles a heat engine. It does work while cooling and expanding. The work performed is to create differentiable objects and structures, starting with elementary particles, then atoms, molecules, bacteria, plants and animals, humans, social organisms and scientific papers. The differentiation mechanism is called “symmetry-breaking. The selection mechanism – survival of the fittest, is familiar.
The evolutionary process before humans can be regarded as an accumulation of natural wealth. Humans have learned to exploit (and destroy) natural wealth in order to create “new” wealth. Can the new wealth, based on knowledge, compensate for the wealth destruction in order to ensure long term survival? Or are we on a suicidal path?