"What is Energy?" Part Two
A brief introduction to the  video  "The Potential, which is Energy"



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Background to the Youtube video "The Potential, which is Energy"


This video is one of a series planned on our use of the key symbols used to express our relationship with the universe(s). It continues the exploration of our current use of the “energy” symbol.  

The video "What is Energy?" Part One is based on the premise that Google both forms and reflects our Anglo-American societies now and thus provides useful insight into our culture.  The video contains a snapshot taken on one day (5 August 2009) and explores what the Google search page on “energy” reveals of the New Zealand culture. I use the Sustainability Principle of Energy as a tool for psychoanalysing the data and conclude the New Zealand culture is characterised by powerful elements of psychosis and psychopathy.

I suggest the Wiki page reflects the confused vision of the nature of energy propagated in our schools and media and offer my alternative definition of energy:

Energy = the potential of the universe(s).  

This video explores the nature and scale of this potential, which is energy. It reiterates the belief that the Conservation Principle of Energy provides us with a valuable guide to understanding the nature of energy and we ignore its wisdom at our peril. 

“Energy is bounteous, conserved (it cannot be created or destroyed) and it is continually transforms.”  

The video reiterates the implications of the Conservation Principle of Energy thus:

In other words, it is 100% DENIAL of the Conservation Principle i.e. denial of reality to say energy is a form or group of forms or to say energy can be generated, created, sustained, saved, consumed, conserved, destroyed, wasted or lost.. to speak thus is 100% DENIAL.  

The video associates this denial with a commonly used danger symbol for a very good reason. The denial expresses a fundamental disconnection with reality. In this state of psychosis the activities of humans tend to put us all at risk of misery in the form of war, famine and disease.

The confusion of perspectives or types of energy with the potential, which is energy, is a similar denial and the video illustrates how we can avoid this state of being. It shows the enormous potential in even the most mundane of our decisions/actions. It then hints at the vast potential hinted at in Quantum Theory using statements from the movie "What the Bleep!? Down the Rabbit Hole." 

The video concludes with a plea that we each conserve the wonderful potential of the "energy symbol".

These two videos are part of a planned series looking at our use of a range of key symbols (incl. power, electricity, energy efficiency, carbon, global warming, trace, greenhouse and science), how they have been colonised by vested interests and how flawed uses of these vital symbols puts humanity at serious risk.  

It is helpful to be mindful that all information is physical and symbols enable civilisation. A word in any form is no less or more physical than a seed or a brick. Thus it is helpful to conserve the fullest potential of a word just as we care for seeds and craft bricks.

As with "What is Energy?" Part One the video was made with difficulty. The challenges generated by my lack of skills and resources were amplified by the fact that the narrative operation on my Windows Movie Maker continually crashes and according to Dick Smiths, Hewlett Packard and Service Plus this failure cannot be remedied.

The objective is to provide students with an appreciation of the wisdom and hope inherent in the Conservation Principle of Energy; the tools to evaluate the sustainability of their school libraries, lesson activities and media; and the capacity to psychoanalyse their teachers and parents with compassion. Thus students will be able to provide all those in denial of the Conservation Principle, especially their teachers and parents working in corporations, with inspiring glimpses of the wondrous nature of energy.  

Note – see the original 5 August 2009 Google page on energy at bottom, as is preamble to Wiki definition of the "energy" symbol.

What is energy? Part Two – the potential, which is energy.


I begin this video as I ended the first video on our energy symbol – actively breathing, feeling and dancing with energy. In it I defined energy thus:


Energy = the potential of the universe(s).

 I suggested

everyone experiences energy but no one knows what energy is,

and that we have a great guide to the nature of energy in the Conservation Principle, which I symbolise thus:

Energy is bounteous, conserved (it cannot be created or destroyed) and it is continually transformed. 

In other words….  

energy is not any form or group of forms or to say energy cannot be generated, sustained, consumed, saved, conserved, destroyed, wasted or lost..  

Thus those who say humans can conserve, consume, save energy etc are in 100% DENIAL of the Conservation Principle, the nearest we have to a natural law. They put us all at greater risk. Humans can only work to conserve energy forms. 

The first video is based on a google snapshot of New Zealand. It reveals how Anglo American nations exhibit profound

denial of the Conservation Principle and reject its wisdom. In my planned video on the Sustainability Principle of Energy I will explain why we deny it and why our denial is such a source of great misery. For now let us be mindful that energy is bounteous as the universe(s) and exists in myriad, myriad continually changing forms.  

We can usefully observe any one of those forms from a number of perspectives. Here is an analogy…we can usefully observe the human body from a range of points of view…

......Each point of view offers valuable insights and each is complementary and insufficient.


You probably know the wonderful tale of the six blind men who each felt a different part of an elephant…a tree a fan a snake a rope a wall a spear..

Similarly we can usefully observe an object from a number of perspectives, including its thermal, gravitational, electromagnetic, chemical, nuclear, radiant, dark and other properties. We know that the ear or the tail are of the elephant and are not the elephant. Likewise energy can be seen to have these properties but none are energy.

However see how our schools to teach there is a basket of stuff called Thermal Energy, Kinetic Energy, Potential energy Electrical Energy  etc. And see how very often they teach that there are just two forms of energy – potential (stored) and kinetic (movement).


They confuse energy forms with the properties of energy.

They obscure the fact that energy is the potential of the universe(s).  

It is more helpful to, for instance, talk of exploring energy from an electrical perspective or a thermal perspective.

It is more helpful to speak of actual potential and non-actual potential. Or if you like, realised potential and non-realised potential.

And what does the “ potential” mean? 

Potential = anything that may be possible; having possibility, capability, or power

(from Latin “potēns”  - to be able.)

 In other words, it is anything that is and anything that could be.  

When we talk of the potential, which is energy, we are really speaking of ginormous, vast, immense, colossal, possibly immeasurable potential. What we experience in any moment is just a trace, trace, trace aspect of the total potential, a whisper of the energy possible in the form of sound, a twinkling of the energy possible in the form of light, a faintest whiff of the energy possible in the form of perfume, a merest movement of the energy possible in the form of kinetics, a briefest sparking of energy possible in electrical forms ... 

Let us briefly explore the potential in a drop of water. It is manifest so we can see, taste and feel it. It is neither frozen nor vapour so we know it has a temperature between 0-100 Centrigrade. Using gadgets such as electron microscopes we can detect the presence of potent electrical charges and great movement in the atoms with their electrons travelling at well over hundred thousand miles an hour. 

We know the droplet is a most fleeting phenomenon. Its form is changing even as we observe it. Its constituent water molecules may have arrived on our planet this year or they may have been here billions of years. If you drank the drop you may be sharing a atoms in the water that passed through Aristotle and Jesus and King Asoka. 

And its potential varies with its position in the universe(s).  Imagine it is suspended on a leaf high up on a mountain. It may evaporate into water vapour and later condense into clouds. It may fall and become part of a river that washes a mountain away or fertilises a field or carries the seed of a giant tree or cools a nuclear reactor so it can generate electrical products for driving all manner of our devices.  

We are each of the amazing potential of the universe(s), which is energy. We are each energy manifest, realised, actualised. We have the capacity to use energy, to transform…we eat, drink and breathe.. thus we are sustained and enabled….

Thus, for instance I have the potential to be a school janitor and who knows what potential I may have in that capacity. 

Take this pen I find lying on the floor. I can enable a great range of possibilities from the universal potential.  

I am the potential which throws the pen into the waste bin and thus sends it to the city dump for the rest of its existence in the form of a pen. 

I can leave it on the floor where someone may trip on it, fall over and be transformed into a cripple. 

I can use energy to lift the pen up onto the desk. It now has the altered potential to: 

Fall down on the floor again..

Record on paper a great mathematical equation that sets dancing great questions in the mind of a student... 

Copy a Tesla drawing that inspires in the student a vast new array of technology.... 

Draw positive space out of negative space so the student is able to understand paradox and physics with all their being, not just their intellect...  

Record the notes to a tune that sets millions of people dancing and smiling...

Be balanced on a finger so the student feels the trace balances that enable life to exist..

Or stood on end like this and inspire types of new rockets or weapons or become a source of meditation and stillness and peace…

You can see how the potential of the universe(s) is manifest in great possibilities even this simple pen.

And if that is not enough potential then here is a mind expanding thought… our intellect is but a trace, trace element of our being. There are powerful elements of our psyche that are capable of transcending thought and embracing paradox. The frontiers of our spirit are also its centre and we can realise the enormous potential that exists when our minds and matter, which is energy, become as one. It could be, for instance, that in the instant of observation the atom is realised in a certain form from a vast range of possibilities.

 Our act of reflection is an act of active participation in the universe(s). 

Finally one more odd and wonderful thing about energy. Even though we each have a different notion of what energy is we do have agreed ways of measuring energy. The most common unit of energy is the joule in our Anglo-American world

For instance you are releasing about a joule of energy in the form of heat every hundredth of a second as you sit there viewing this video. Your brain is using about a joule of energy every tenth of second. I probably used about a tenth of joule picking the pen up and putting it on the desk… and who knows how that changed its ultimate potential. 

Most of the potential of the universe(s) is unmeasurable because we mere mortals cannot imagine it. However this still leaves an enormous range of energy manifestations that we can measure. And a bounteous array of options we can enjoy.

Enjoy the compassionate spirit required to realise the wonderful potential, which is energy. 

In summary remain mindful of the great Conservation Principle of Energy

Energy is the potential of the universe(s). It is bounteous and takes myriad forms. It is conserved and sustained ie cannot be created or destroyed. It continually transforms and is manifest as constant change.  

Do not be a misery monger of the wonderful “energy” symbol. Embrace the great guide we have in the Conservation Principle of Energy and live in acceptance of change/stewardship.

Give each energy form its own symbol so it can be talked of by its own name.

Do this and our children too can better know the bounteous nature of energy and enjoy the vitality of its transformations.

Thanks to all Internet contributers

Visit www.bonusjoules.co.nz and enjoy compassion.



Wiki definition

In physics, energy (from the Greek ἐνέργεια - energeia, "activity, operation", from ἐνεργός - energos, "active, working"[1]) is a scalar physical quantity that describes the amount of work that can be performed by a force, an attribute of objects and systems that is subject to a conservation law. Different forms of energy include kinetic, potential, thermal, gravitational, sound, light, elastic, and electromagnetic energy. The forms of energy are often named after a related force.

Any form of energy can be transformed into another form, but the total energy always remains the same. This principle, the conservation of energy, was first postulated in the early 19th century, and applies to any isolated system. According to Noether's theorem, the conservation of energy is a consequence of the fact that the laws of physics do not change over time.[2]

Although the total energy of a system does not change with time, its value may depend on the frame of reference. For example, a seated passenger in a moving airplane has zero kinetic energy relative to the airplane, but non-zero kinetic energy relative to the Earth.

Snapshot of New Zealand culture 5 August 2009



Footnote: For more joy, see the Compassionate Education Curriculum Framework.

Link here

 for examples of the application of Sustainability Principle. 
(Inventory of symbol uses that promote acceptance/denial of stewardship amidst change.)



Youtube Video "What is Energy?" Part One

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