Friday, December 23

...Must keep posting...

Physics tells us that there is no such thing as wasted energy. According to various laws, energy will always being converted from one form such as light, sound, into other forms such as heat or motion. In any given system, be it a swingset, a plant, a waterwheel, whatever, when energy is put into it at any point, that energy will be converted into another form. Understanding and harnessing this energy conversion has been the aim of scientists and inventors since forever. Edison had a winner with the lightbulb when he converted energy in the form of electricity to energy in the form of light. Moreover, the only difference between a lightbulb and a stove, as far as I know, is that the materials used in the element of a stove convert electricity to heat more readily than to light.

I want to suggest that if we change the word "energy" to "effort", the same thing applies. Effort is what humans and other animals use to change their surroundings or their selves, and we believe that when we put effort toward bringing about some change and that change does not occur, then the effort is wasted.

more later...


At 10:00 AM, Blogger Zosja said...

okay so you are saying that what we believe is wrong and that no effort is wasted, no matter how difficult it is to see the change? I totally agree with that. every step we make bring about some effect. it may be felt by others more readily than us. I recently started hearing a lot about this law (and most recently ran into its reference again here:,1518,392319-2,00.html

"The idea that all the possibilities are played out and if the time is infinite and matter is infinite then every permutation will be tried, not once, but a trillion times". (Nietzsche)

I am very into this one right now.

At 10:04 AM, Blogger Zosja said...

oh and check this one out, it's tremendous:

(read his hall of fame posts first)

At 7:47 PM, Blogger Sam said...

Yes exactly. If we put effort into something, that effort is going to be reflected somehow in our environment. I believe this applies to all situations. I also think that the "kind" of energy (good, bad) you put into something shows up in the environment, but that's another story. Or rather, another post.

I'd like to expand on this idea. If I spend an hour of effort into shelving books here at the bookstore, not only am I moving books around, but I'm also putting energy into the books, the shelves, and the store itself. The shelves I restocked have something more than just new books on them. I've noticed on several occasions that after I've cleaned up a section - straightened the books, added new ones, taken ratty ones off - the books there will be purchased much more often than they usually are. Of course, there is probably some unconscious attraction to the cleaned up shelf in the mind of the customer, but I wonder if there is not something more going on. I'd like to do a test: measure how often books are purchased from a certain section, separating first time customers from regulars, then clean that section up, then take the same measurement afterward. Would the first time customer rate of purchase increase?

...I'm not sure I really agree with either of the speakers in that interview article. Many Eastern religions are focussed around the self and the relation of the self to the world, and "perfection" of that relationship leads to the ultimate spiritual experience. I've come to see Western religions as downplaying the role of the self, often to extremes. It was just this morning that I picked up a Christian pamphlet on the bus. The first lines were: "God is good, and God is the only good. This means none of you are good." This attitude revolts me. It is insulting, first of all, but it also leaves no room for improvement: not only am I "not good", but I will never be good, no matter how hard I try.
Unlike the speakers in the article, I think religion still has a valid place in the world. I don't need religion to explain things I don't understand, or to impose strict moral guidelines, or to provide a way to measure people and experiences, but I need religion to show me that if I direct my life toward a certain way, I can be happier and more compassionate. Religion is like applied philosophy.

Alfred North Whitehead has some choice things to say on the differences between Buddhism and Christianity. I'll post 'em when I have the opportunity.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home