When you lift a cup from the table, you usually grab it with one hand and raise it in the air. There would be no need to grab it with two hands, posture your body well and lift it like it is a dumbbell from 25 kilograms. Each day we make thousands of assumptions of the world around us, we expect doors to be strong, glasses to be fragile, and air to be light. With these assumptions in our mind and body we get through every day with out any problems. We apply just the right amount of force to do the things we want to be done. If we slam a door too hard, we feel sorry, but slamming it too soft wouldn’t close it, therefore we close it with just the right amount of force, to get exactly what we want. If you think about that we do this all day long, it’s quite of intriguing. How do we know our environment that well? And how do we transfer energy that efficiently? This article will be exactly about that.
Mental models of exerting forces
We are used to the fact that our physical actions have a direct effect on our environment. When we exert a force on an object around us, we expect that this force is enough to manipulate the object in the way we need it to move. We do exert less force when grabbing a balloon compared to grabbing a hammer. In that way we are very efficient with our movement. You can trick people with this by letting them lift an iron solid balloon or a hollow plastic bowling ball. If we exert too much force, the object wouldn’t move the way we want to, and we exert too little it also wouldn’t move the way we want to. Without almost no conscious thought we just apply the right force for any object. Nevertheless, we do need to make an estimation for every object we try to lift. When you would lift some random rocks, you make an estimation of each of their weight before lifting them. And given the fact that we say sometimes “Well, that …. Was heavier than expected”, implies that we certainly have expectations. We use our past experience as a standard for future expectations, and work with feedback to adapt our actions. I think it that the way we control our body is very amazing. With each step we take we push enough to make our body stand upright, and we open each door without slamming them without any conscious thought.
The continuous flow of energy
Even though it is very obvious, I believe it is interesting that there is a continuous flow of forces across objects. For example, when someone pushes you with a force of 10 N, the impact on your body will be with a weight of 10 N, and this weight will spread across our body. We could also resist the push with a force of 10 N (aka blocking the punch) and stop the movement. But we could also give no resistance at all, letting the forces completely move through us (I guess this is the method of Tai Chi masters). You could compare this Tai-Chi method with making waves through the water, the force you exert will be transferred swiftly through the “individual” particles of water, giving hardly any resistance. The point I want to make is, the fact that energy does never stop and never disappears. It will always move until it is equally spread in some form of an equilibrium, dissipated across the system (stored as potential energy), or in a dynamic equilibrium where it could swirl around. How does our body store energy?
So when it comes to energy transfer, it feels crazy that we as humans are not really creators of energy but just middleman in the continuous flow of energy across the galaxy. We transfer the energy we perceive and initiate movement that transfers energy to other beings and objects around us (but we can also store it for a while). When we transfer energy to static lifeless objects, there is a 100% coherence of their movement with the force we exert. For example, if you throw a rock with a force of 10 N, it will fly with a force of 10 N in that particular direction. The interesting thing is that with living beings, the response is adaptive. Living beings still need to deal with all the forces, but they can channel the energy through different ways through conscious thought. Some people will show coherence with external forces, while others will show resistance. Humans can have several reasons to show adaptive behavior when they perceive forces from other humans. Unlike rocks, we can perceive something I would call chains of energy; we can perceive where the forces came from to a certain time in the past. As we discussed earlier, energy never really stops and it thus flows continuously (as a chain) across space (spacetime). Now imagine that your friend hits you. The reason why your friend hits you, gives you a reason to resist, to store, or to transfer the energy. The further you can look in the past of the chain of energy, the better you can make decisions in regards for the reason of the hit. It is actually quite hard to talk about real reasons with this concept; the reason that your friend hit you might be because you forgot to invite him for a party, but the reason you forgot to invite him might be because you were in a lot of stress, and so on (see picture below). Reasons have reasons and reasons have reasons, that’s why it’s a chain. As you can see, the chain diverges in the past making it a bit fuzzy to comprehend, but not less true.
It is up to you how far you look back in the chain of spacetime and decide what your next actions will be. Knowing more about the past could make it easier to understand, but sometimes more difficult to make decisions. But at the same time, we consider the future chain of spacetime with our current actions. Letting your friend hit you, is depended on the result of that particular hit. Thus, the things we do now, are both based on past events and future (potential) events at the same time. I think that is a crazy thing to consider. The good thing about being living beings is that we are adaptive and energy always flows towards the future. After an action, we can gather more information by asking “why did you hit me?”. So usually one action does not determine the faith of everything, there is usually enough time to recover, adjust, and reframe the things we’ve done. But also when we look at future events, we consider the chain of spacetime in our mind, we try to receive information on all the chains that might affect us in the future. And if possible, we test our hypotheses through gathering feedback before taking action. But gathering feedback is also an action on itself, so actions are also linked to the chain of spacetime; actions become reasons over time.
into chains of spacetime
Another funny thing is that you can zoom in and out of the (temporal) chain of spacetime. For example, when you push the gas pedal of your car, your car will start to drive. This is a causal chain of spacetime that is true when it happens. However, there are multiple (if not infinite) actions between two actions of spacetime. Between hitting the gas pedal and the turning of the wheels, the engine does many things that even a car mechanic can hardly describe. The same thing holds for the fact that the big bang caused you to exist here today, true, but there were trillions of steps in between.
scales of chains
You can describe a chain of spacetime from different scales. For example, you can look at the chain of a human travelling through space and time, or you could just look at the movement of a single particle. You can zoom in and out on different scales and follow these things moving through space. Nevertheless, the path of a single particle is more accurate (less dissipating than the path of a human) especially when you want to talk about long-term events. Particles are clustered together in our universe, giving us the ability to specifically describe the things around us, like galaxies, suns, humans or single cells.
synchronous and interdependent chains
But each particle and/or human is not flowing through space randomly. Within our body there are millions of particles flowing in a (relative) synchronous manner through spacetime. The forces that are exerted on the particles in our body are not enough to make them disperse completely, until after we die. You can see the same with our own behavior, we don’t move randomly across space, but we sync our patterns (to a relative extent with other human beings) and don’t disperse. I won’t go into the question what the cause for this is, but I believe it mostly feedback guided by the laws of physics.
Describing ourselves as complex “dots” connected in a chain of energy, transferring energy across space until complete dispersion/unity, could sound a bit depressing but also quite wonderful. On the one hand this questions our free-will and our unique place in the universe. On the other hand, it is a wonderful thought connecting us all, considering our common Big bang and our interdependent path. For me, it gives also pathways to the infinite on multiple levels, where complexity is relative to the scale. While for some, these concepts might be frightful, for me they are very close to pure beauty.