First of all I would like to wish all my readers a Happy New Year! Hopefully, we’ll be meeting more frequently, seeing that one of my several new year resolutions this year is to be more regular in my writings. Don’t get your hopes too high though, since like every New year resolution the probability of failure is very high.
Speaking about this article, I’m pretty sure the excerpt scared you. Don’t worry! I’m not taking a chemistry lecture here!
Relieved?… Me too! ‘Cuz I’m no chemist or physicist! We all know what I specialise in, right?… Rambling my own thoughts!
What I’m going to do is that I’m gonna take a page (a literal page, yes) out of our old, dusty Physical science textbooks and use it as a backdrop, so you’ll have to bear with it just… you know… Here and there…
To begin with, following are a couple of statements to resolve your apprehension..
- I swear! It’s just a FEW laws and definitions, that’s all.
- Are they necessary? Kind of… You’ll get it once I elaborate.
Okay. So here goes nothing….
1. Energy can neither be created nor be destroyed. It can only be transferred or changed from one form to another.
Simple, wasn’t it? One of the few things that can be classified as ‘simple’ in this particular ‘area’.
We are all aware that the above statement is the first law of thermodynamics, which is also known as ‘The Law of conservation of energy.’
(I’m of course assuming that all of us did pay attention in our lectures and didn’t sleep or doodle. But I’m pretty sure that I could be wrong by a long stretch. Anyways… Never hurts to be optimistic, does it?)
Basically, what I’m trying to say is that if the entire universe follows this fundamental law, then there must be atleast some application of this law for us inconsequential mortals, right?
Those who have read my previous blog post might have a knowing smile on their faces because this is where we begin our brainstorming.
A little heads up here :- I’m not talking about physical mass or energy. Because if you are thinking along those lines, then you may think that the rest of the article is going to be an advisory on how to reduce weight or something. No! This isn’t some gym/ nutrition thingy. I mean yeah sure the law does work that way. If you’ll consume less than what you burn, you would of course become slimmer. But that’s not the point. (Overweight people… Cheers! You can relax and continue reading peacefully!)
The energy in question here isn’t that ‘quantifiable’ energy we deal with in physical science. Rather it’s that qualitative hidden energy that cannot be measured on a scale, yet we can make observations of it based upon the effects it produces.
Seems like jargon? Don’t worry, I’ll elaborate.
What I’m talking about is a philosophical concept. It’s something which psychology breaks down into several components such as a person’s mood, affect, conduct/morality etc. When I say ‘energy’ I refer to that driving force that’s present inside every human being. The one which makes him/her behave in a certain manner, motivates him/her to perform certain actions. In short, it’s that emotional/spiritual component that sets the course of a person’s life. It’s something that determines who ‘he’ or ‘she’ is. May be just for that particular moment, the next few minutes, days or maybe even for years to come. That’s determined by the intensity of the reaction that led to acquisition of the energy in the first place.
Let’s get crackin’!
Just like the ‘physical’ energy, this energy is also not something which is actually created. We are simply responsible for it’s circulation. Huh? What I mean is that this energy is something that we get from our surroundings. Be they inanimate, creatures or humans.
To understand further, let’s start from the basics.
The fundamental presumption here is that we are an atom (or a molecule, whatever…). I’m sure you guys know that atoms by default have a certain amount of energy in them. So do we. Next comes the influence of the external environment, the source of energy for us. So now, how do we acquire this energy?
Remember there was something called as ‘reactions’ in chemistry?
(I’m really sorry guys, but the definition is essential for us to proceed further. Boredom caused is deeply regretted.)
2. Reaction is defined as a chemical process in which substances act mutually on each other and are changed into different substances or one substance changes into other substances.
Seeing that we are talking about people here, the substances acting mutually are basically us and the people or the situation to which we are exposed. For now, forget the part dealing with the ‘change’. We’ll come back to it later.
Crudely speaking, every interaction is a ‘reaction’. Be it with the environment or with someone whom you barely know or someone with whom you are deeply attached. There’s always some amount of exchange of this energy, the amount of which depends upon the subject matter at hand and the efficacy of this exchange is directly proportional to your attachment to the person/people/object in question.
Find yourself at sea?….
It’s chemistry, guys! Ever heard of chemical bonds and how energy released in those reactions depends on the strength of the bond?
(Yeah, I’m practically taking a lecture now.)
Same thing happens in our lives. We meet several different people during our daily routine, interact with a few of them and at the end of the day, there’s hardly anything to remember the day by. Why? Because most of the times these interactions are too trivial and hence that ‘energy’ too less to cause any significant change. Rarely however, these interactions can cause ‘explosions’. A release of energy massive enough to finally bring about a noticeable difference.
(An important point to be noted here is that when we interact, we share our ideation, memories and beliefs and more often than not it’s a bilateral phenomenon. Meaning that while one acquires energy, the other is venting his own. So what’s acquisition for one person ends up being harnessing for the other and that’s how the cycle works.)
B. Disposal:- Now that we have acquired this energy, what do we do with it?
Here, three things can happen:-
- The energy dissipates with time or is counteracted upon by another equal and opposite contradicting source.
- The energy accumulates, to be utilised later.
- The energy gets harnessed.
This is yet another inevitable fact. You must have heard that there’s no chemical reaction which is 100% efficacious. There’s always some unavoidable loss. This holds true here as well. We lose the energy in the following ways:-
1. Interaction:- All of us might have heard of the quote:-
‘Shared joy is a double joy, shared sorrow is half sorrow.’
It may also have rung true for many of us. Ever wondered why?
Okay…. Now this is getting a little out of hand, but I’m going to need the help of Thermodynamics again.
Yeah, you can kill me later.
Ever heard of ‘exothermic’ and ‘endothermic’ reactions? No? Remember one of those several lectures you spent gazing out of the window? Ahh. Now you’ve got it!
Basically, exothermic reaction is a reaction in which a substance releases energy into the environment and gets converted from a higher state to lower. The reverse holds true for endothermic reactions.
How is this related again?
An exothermic ‘interaction’ happens when you are distressed, or perhaps a little too happy. In such cases as you share, you tend to release that ‘energy’ and hence you usually feel better after relaying something which causes you pain. And you get converted into a lower state of energy.
What happens with the person in front of you is an endothermic reaction. When you ‘release’ this energy, they acquire it. But, just like any chemical reaction, the efficacy of acquiring is NEVER 100%. No matter whosever is in front of you, some amount of energy always ‘dissipates’. Fortunately, sorrow has a very poor efficacy, meaning that the person in front of you is usually not that affected. Hence you lessen your sorrows by sharing, while retaining your happiness.
(The point to be noted here is that most of the times these reactions are way too mild for us to actually appreciate a difference.)
2. Analysis:- This is actually the most common method by which our energy dissipates and it often ends up to be the most wasteful.
Let’s say that you have to go somewhere by your car. After latching your seatbelt et cetera, what do you do?
Looking at the map to see where you want to go and choosing the best way to get there.
(It’s just an example, alright? I’m pretty sure the actual answers vary widely.)
This is what comprises the ‘analysis’ component of dissipation of our energy. Now, imagine what would happen if you chose to just start the engine and look at the map, spending hours deciding which way to go.
Waste of time and energy.
But what would happen if you chose NOT to do it?
Getting lost or worse, crashing headlong into a barrier.
The point being that analysis is indeed essential. But it shouldn’t exceed a certain limit beyond which it ceases to be useful and becomes merely a pastime. Overanalyzing. Somehow that ends up being worse than not analysing at all. Because when you don’t analyse, atleast you can’t opine. But when you overanalyze, you tend to make disastrous conclusions. And where that leads to…. Well that’s a seperate story altogether and has been discussed in my previous post, 99 Luftballons.
To summarize, both analysis and interaction constitute what is called as the ‘necessary evil’. They are positive in moderation but in excess, are wasteful.
Many a times what happens is that we experience something and we choose to neither interact nor analyse. Nor do we exactly forget about it. Then what happens to such ‘energy’?
It stays there somewhere, waiting for you to re-discover it.
But there’s a snag here.
‘Time heals all wounds’….
Sounds familiar? Well, I’m not here to debate as to whether it actually does, but my point here is that the accumulated energy slowly dissipates on it’s own.
Hence the image of a battery. You may charge a battery and then choose not to use it. However the battery will lose it’s charge slowly and surely and after a certain amount of time it would have lost all it’s charge without getting used at all. Isn’t this the most wasteful way of consuming energy?
Yes. Indeed it is. That’s why it’s never advisable to have pent up feelings. Because you tend to waste them. If not, you may end up doing something much worse…
Like a wound up toy, you may release all of your pent up energy performing something absolutely fruitless. You might need just a little push to set you off. To let you make a mountain out of a molehill. It’ll not only make you vulnerable, but also make you look foolish and lose respect of those in your vicinity.
After the loss of energy in the first two phenomenona, what remains is finally utilised in doing the right thing. Harnessing the energy.
Taking an initiative….
What is an initiative? It is an ability to assess and initiate things independently. Now that we have done the assessment priorly, it’s time we made a decision.
If’s often said that action speaks louder than words. And that’s true, isn’t it? Many a times we see people making a decision, a resolution but end up doing nothing in practice. Why?
Remember that ‘change’ I had mentioned that we would discuss later? Now is the time. This ‘action’ was the change I was talking about.
If you remember, (If not, then pray scroll back because I’m definitely not going to re-type.) I had mentioned that change requires a genuinely powerful source of energy, as only then one overcomes the inertia (The unwillingness to change). That initial blast of energy is what psychologists like to call as ‘motivation’. One simply has to find out what acts as a motivation for them to bring about the desired change. It need not be a planned occurrence. Well… rather, it mostly isn’t planned anyways.
An important reason behind this is that performing an action is by far the most expensive way to utilize/harness energy. It requires true dedication and perseverance. Well, atleast until it comes to fruition and acts as a source by itself.
A source. How? Didn’t I just say that energy can’t be created?
Remember again. How do we acquire energy? Our interactions with the environment. So, when the change inside you becomes noticeable, the environment reacts to it’s presence. It always does. That’s an unwritten rule. The change might be anything. It could be words of encouragement or praise, looks of surprise, or even ignorance (if the person in question dislikes you…) and if the change is quantifiable even the inanimate objects respond to your change. All this ‘positive’ reinforcement is nothing but that same energy you invested, coming back in bits and pieces.
And when that happens, one finally understands why action is a long term investment of energy that has limitless scope of exploration. It’s a renewable resource once one finally figures how to get it right.
In today’s world, we are always looking for easier and faster ways to achieve a certain goal. So, in our scenario, is there anything that makes things faster for us?
Yeah, definitely. There’s a thing called as a ‘catalyst’.
Unfortunately, it does seem that chemistry is never going to leave our backs, huh?Well… we’d better embrace it. Atleast until we are done for today.
3. A catalyst is a substance which increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change
In chemistry, catalyst is something which decreases the energy required for a reaction, thus making the reaction easier. So, what’s a catalyst in our chemistry, really?
A catalyst could be anything. It could be a person, an incident that happens with you or someone else. It’s something which triggers/ sets things in action. What’s important to note here is that a catalyst is not enough by itself. An incident/a person can act as a catalyst only if there’s ‘awareness’ (The required energy) and also a positive strength of association between you and that particular incident/person.
A catalyst could be vicious if we don’t use it properly. Why?
Here’s why:- When we were discussing all this, we never mentioned the most important elements in a philosophical discussion, did we?
The right and the wrong. The black and the white. The good and the bad.
So now, how do we do that in chemistry, seeing that we have been using it to guide us all along?
I guess that’s something that deserves some suspense, don’t you think?
Or, it could just be an excuse for me to take your leave….
Anyways, I’ll be revealing the answer in the sequel to this blog. A part 2 if you will call it that. See you until then! I’ll try to be back soon. (Try, I said. Mind you that.)
And like always I’ll be looking forward to your feedback!
(To be continued….)
(I’ve always wanted to do that! For some reason, it has always sounded spooky to me)