Chapter Six


last updated 1.9.23

In the interest of coming up with the simplest and most universal approach towards life, I reduced everything down to basic physics. The resulting definition was: Life is the management and exchange of energy. If a person from any background, even a blue collar boy like myself, looks at the world through this basic lense, they will quickly realize that everything they do can be evaluated by one simple criteria. Am I giving or taking? We can apply this question to everything we do because without exchanging energy we do not exist. Like the formula for life which deals primarily with the physical exchange of energy, we as human beings experience far more than just the physical, but this criteria still applies. The management and exchange of energy in all its forms can be seen in everything from mechanics to human relations to national economies. There are literally countless types of energy such as fossil fuels, nuclear energy, solar energy, wind energy, horse power, human power, food, water, fire, etc.

Energy is so simple and versatile of a concept that it can be applied to any situation a person finds themself in, even social situations. I quickly realized that every time I open my mouth, I'm either giving, taking, offering or asking for energy. It may be easier for people to see this in non-human examples, at first. In order for any type of energy to be exchanged, it needs to begin at a source and arrive at a destination. For example, in a car, the fuel tank holds the source of energy which is usually gasoline, or sometimes diesel fuel. The engine where this fuel is used is the destination. Without a fuel line, this energy, gasoline, cannot travel from the tank to the engine. The fuel line is the path this particular type of energy must travel in order to be used in the intended way. Without a path the potential fuel would just sit in the tank unable to be accessed by the engine which needs it to run. All energy needs a source, destination and path to be exchanged.

A ripe apple hanging from the branch of a tree holds energy that a human being can use called food. All a person has to do is pluck the apple and eat it. The apple is the source. The person's stomach is the destination. The path is created when the person reaches out their arm, takes the apple in their hand and brings it to their mouth. When I plug my cell phone wall charger into an electrical socket, the socket is the source of the energy, electricity, and the battery located in my phone is the destination. The cord connecting them is the path. We could take it a step further and consider where the electricity is coming from which would be the original source of the energy. There are many examples of how energy is exchanged in both the natural world and the human-made world as well as combinations of the two. Regarding electricity, the energy would be coming from a power plant of some type, nuclear, hydro-electric, oil, coal, natural gas, solar panels, wind turbines, etc. In the example of solar energy, electricity is created when sunlight shines on photovoltaic panels. The original source of energy is the sun and the solar panels mounted on the roof of a house, or in a field, convert sunlight into electricity which is connected, with wires, to batteries in the basement of the house, or to a municipal power grid, so when we plug our phone charger into the wall we're actually using the sun to charge our phone in this example which is pretty cool. The original solar panels are leaves on a tree. They capture the suns energy which then feeds the tree through the process of photosynthesis. The sun is the source, the tree is the destination and the path is the sunlight traveling 91 million miles through outer space.

In human interaction, if I ask someone a question like "Do you know where the library is?", I am requesting energy from this person. I am asking them to give me some information. It's not much, but it's still a small amount of energy because the person has to stop what they're doing for a moment and retrieve the information in their mind then give it to me by speaking. All this takes a few seconds and a small amount of effort so most people don't mind giving a perfect stranger this much energy. The exact opposite scenario is, also, a good example of giving energy. If someone sincerely asks you "How are you doing?", this is, also, a question, but they're actually offering you energy not asking for it. When we care for someone, we're giving them energy. It's not the words. It's the intention that determines whether we are giving or taking, but in every interaction energy is being exchanged. Applying this simple fact, one can easily identify the takers and the givers in life regardless of what they are saying.

When we give someone a compliment that is exactly what we're doing, giving them energy. On the opposite hand, when one person insults another person they're trying to take energy from them. When people argue, they're competing for energy. By telling a person that they're "wrong", one person is trying to win the energy from the other. If the person that they're trying to take energy from is a very happy person, i.e. has plenty of energy, they may simply give this energy to the other person regardless of who is right or wrong because they have so much to spare. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. There's nothing more pathetic than two unhappy people bickering over who is right or wrong because what they're really doing is fighting over a crumb of energy when there is so much readily available to all of us everywhere. Both of them are so low that neither of them are willing to walk away and provide themself with a better source. The truth is they're bickering has got nothing to do with whatever it is they're fighting over and everything to do with the fact that they're low on energy and they don't know how to replenish themselves so they're trying to take it from one another, whether it's road rage or divorce court.

When people tap into a source of energy greater than their individual selves, i.e. their minds, they would much rather give energy than take it. This is what our hearts were designed to do. Giving is much more rewarding than taking, but some people will never experience this because they've never accumulated enough energy by their own means to have it abundantly overflowing out of them. Not experiencing what this is like a person is missing out on what life is truly about. The more we build our lives to be dependent on the artificial human-made world, the more our efforts are focused on taking energy without giving any. The more we build our lives to be interdependent on the natural world, the more our efforts are focused on giving energy naturally and thus receiving it in a form we can use in return.