All energy spent on conscious work is an investment; that spent mechanically is lost forever.G.I Gurdjieff
Words are funny things, they can mean anything.
An un-ending amount of things can be said about and for energy. It drives our cars and runs our homes, appliances, computers, phones. Sometimes we have energy sometimes we don’t have much energy at all and just drag ourselves through the day.
Energy takes many different forms. There’s fuel for cars, electricity for electronics, there’s sunlight for plants. There’s energy that’s just waiting to do something, resting behind dams are millions of tons of water.
Often, we think of energy as something physical like oil, coal, nuclear reactors, but energy can take the forms of things that are much more subtle, things that actually don’t even exist. What we think of as money and the monetary system is an amazing example of converting our energy into something that can be saved and used later. We exert energy doing one thing or another and someone pays us for that. By using that money, we can exchange our energy in potential for something from someone that would not have needed our particular energy.
The monetary system has a life unto its own, a field of energy so to speak. It’s life is created by the intentions of all the people exchanging their money for various things. This exchange, this life we breathe into this idea of money, gives it life like characteristics. The financial sectors have become so specialized that any sector trying to operate alone would collapse and take the others with it. It requires the constant exchange of potential energy in the form of money, to keep the economy alive.
All of the different cells in our body exchange energy as well. They are so specialized so integrated with one another the cells in our body lack some abilities to obtain the things they need. Everything about us on the inside, is about this exchange rate. The chemicals and the communication with one another are the key aspect for any individual cell to stay alive. Some cells bring oxygen some cells bring sugars some carry away waste, some send messages, some only receive messages, white blood cells are famous for protecting other cells. They are the police cells that guard the borders and stop foreign Invaders from attacking these other specialized cells that have evolved in such a way that they’ve lost their ability to defend themselves from cells that are not within their own system. The whole circulatory system supplies energy to much more specialized cells that need to function in a very different ways and cannot waste their time obtaining energy. This specialization allows individual cells to spend an incredible amount of energy specializing themselves into tissues organs and nerves. We have a short supply of this energy on hand, just stop eating drinking or breathing and one will be reminded quickly, how fast the reserve of energy is depleted.
Scientists and doctors that study the brain have a saying, “a person’s wired the way they are fired.” They are referring to the fact that when we think a certain way over and over it forges neural pathways that create patterns of thought. The more energy, the more input, the more likely it will be remembered, the larger of an impact it has. At this point because the neural knot has been created. Thinking upon the particular matter it was initially created during, becomes easier. Soon, if enough energy is added we may even notice this new neural connection as a reoccurring thought or habit. This is no small feat and has a gigantic impact on us.
Everything around us can be boiled down to some sort of exchange for energy. In our modern world life is almost completely centered around obtaining money. Staying alive in modern society is literally a game of creating a homeostatic state of economics. When we look at it this way money looses some of the “money is evil” connotations, and it begins to look like evolution still at work. In 10,000 years, what will money have become to us?
Most of us work to maintain a state where we make just a little more money than we spend so that we’re always in this sweet spot. Just like a simple single cell organism that always eats a little more than it needs so that it has energy to search out for its next meal. People spend their entire lives planning out a way to attain this state of existence. Some people will spend years going to college or building their career so that this one simple thing is taken care of. When this balance is maintained, this is called homeostasis, or success.
This homeostatic economy that we strive for in the outside world, takes place on the inside world as well. Antonio DiMasio wrote a great book about homeostasis a while back, that describes this process of how the flows within a culture mimic the flows that are taking place inside of us. Anyone that has time should read it, it was called The Strange order of Things -Life, Feeling and the Making of Cultures by Antonio Damasio.
Interestingly data represents energy as well. In the obvious sense that every printed word requires a printer to set the letters, and energy to run the presses, energy to make the paper and the money it requires for buying the books. All of these things are energy consuming processes. The act of serving data on the computer requires an incredible amount of energy to read and write it. This process consumes so much energy and puts off so much waste heat it’s a huge conversation point for environmentalism. The same thing takes place inside of us when we remember something it takes energy to create a neural knot, a neural map, a mental image, that represents that memory and all of its aspects. Then it takes more energy to recall it, it takes energy to create the mental image that we review.
When we are going about our day, encountering the world, sensing things in the world around us, experiencing an emotion, feeling that emotion, thinking about that feeling or observing the feeling connected to that emotion. The thinking about things we are doing is a myriad of processes of transferring data around within ourselves. And just like in the real world, transferring data is expensive. Our brain uses 20% of the energy that our body has at its disposal, while the brain itself is about 5% of our body. Compared to the other parts of the body the brain is a power-hungry monster.
Everybody has homeostatic mechanisms within them to prevent their brain from obtaining too much energy. So we are truly very limited in how we can use that energy for our own reasons, seeing as how a great deal of our brains activity is set aside for maintaining our physiology. Due to these circumstances this is why mental fatigue sets in so quickly when we are exhausted or doing something that is extremely mentally engaging. We have literally used up all the excess energy reserves set aside for the brain… One can really run themselves into the ground exceeding this level. Some people get tired just from reading a book that’s making them think.
Thinking of energy in this way gives energy a much broader foundation. When we look at a tarot card that we have assigned a meaning to. It represents an idea or image in our mind. It represents something that took energy to create, it represents something that takes energy to recall, it represents something that requires energy to be added to. When we use a tarot card to meditate or focus on something we are using that card to focus our energy onto a single image and make that image in our image instead of allowing it to be automatically compiled by the systems within us.
Since there is a limited amount of this energy available, lets remain aware of what we choose to ponder. it would be a shame to feel great conviction over the destruction of natural resources while we waste the energy that is closest to us, focusing on worthless pursuits, worries and anger about things we are powerless over, daydreams, etc. It is no wonder we are tired as a society, sometimes it seems as if just reading the news when one wakes is enough to burn up all the days energy