It's Entropy Day in my literature classes. The American Lit Survey discussed A.R. Ammons's poem "Garbage," which suggests that the universe is made of garbage and to garbage it will return, and this afternoon the Concepts of Nature class will discuss the section of Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep that introduces the concept of "kipple," all the miscellaneous stuff that accumulates on the edges of our lives and that we are always fighting to keep under control. Ultimately, says Dick, everything in the universe decays into kipple, little scraps of stuff assuming greater and greater sameness as time goes on.
Somehow I don't find either of these visions of the universe particularly depressing. Ammons, in fact, seems delighted by the ubiquity of garbage, energized by the idea that all we have are scraps and fragments so we may as well make something of them, something playful and powerful like a poem. Dick's vision is more bleak and unforgiving, but its obviously fictional nature makes it easy to distance ourselves from his world: Yes, perhaps in his fictional universe everything turns to kipple, but in my world kipple is kept carefully confined to the edges where I can pretend it's invisible. Kipple may rule in the end, but just for today, it's under control.
Except on my desk, which looks as if a strong Entropy front has been hovering for quite some time. If I can just keep my kipple confined to that one spot, maybe the entropy of my little universe will, just for a moment, tend toward a minimum.