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The universe seeks equilibriums; it prefers to disperse energy, disrupt organization, and maximize chaos. Life is designed to combat these forces. We slow down reactions, concentrate matter, and organize chemicals into compartments; we sort laundry on Wednesdays. "It sometimes seems as if curbing entropy is our quixotic purpose in the universe," James Gleick wrote. We live in the loopholes of natural laws, seeking extensions, exceptions and excuses. The laws of nature still mark the outer boundaries of permissibility - but life, in all its idiosyncratic, mad weirdness, flourishes by reading between the lines.


Siddhartha Mukherjee

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