In chemistry a few months ago we were taught the resonant structure of benzene, that states the double bonds upon the six carbon atoms flicker back and forth between the two possible states it can be in:
This seemed incredibly distressing to me at the time, for it seemed that if the energy required to break a double bond was exactly equal to the energy gained by forming a double bond, that the benzene was a perfect engine that lost none of it's energy to the environment, and perfectly converted it's energy from one form to another. At the time, it seemed as if this was a clear violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and I sure was glad when it turned out that all the bonds were actually a continuous pi bond.
Upon introspection this morning however, I wondered whether the resonant theory truly was a violation of the second law of thermodynamics. Because benzene is simply six carbons, if the resonant theory were true and the bonds truly did flicker back and forth, I don't know where energy could possibly be lost, thus making it an imperfect system. The common energy losses that I know of, such as heat and sound energy, are all macroscopic, and I don't think they pertain to energy losses at atomic levels. On another level, I don't even know if the Second Law of Thermodynamics really even pertains to benzene, because it isn't exactly a thermal engine, and also because I've read that the Second Law of Thermodynamics is a probabilistic law for large scales and can be broken at small scales.
My question then is whether a resonant benzene can exist without violating the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and if it really cannot physically exist, than an explanation on the real reason why.