This Day’s Positive Energy

The First Law of Thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created or destroyed; the total amount of energy in the universe is—has always been, and will always be—constant. Energy simply is converted from one form to another; it does not cease to exist. The various forms of energy, e.g., heat, light, electrical energy, chemical energy, etc. dance together in unison to fulfill the “purpose” of energy, which is to carry out its ability to bring about change; to do work. At least that’s what physicists and their accomplices would like us to believe. And, because I have no reason to believe otherwise, I’ll buy it. Considering the assertion of the Law, that energy is conserved, I find myself wondering what form my energy takes following the conversion process. Where does all my energy go when it seems to just vanish?

I’ve got it. It is converted to stealth energy, also known as potential energy. Also known as padding or, the use the crudest term, fat. But, wait. It’s not “my” energy that gets converted to fat. It’s the energy stored in bacon and porridge and bottled beer and mounds of mashed potatoes and pretzels and beef jerky and so on that gets converted. What about “my” energy? Where is it now that it seems to have vacated my human form?

The more I contemplate this matter, the clearer the answer becomes: the earlier form of my energy, youth, is converted to geezerhood, also known as “spent energy.” While energy cannot be destroyed, it can be spent, like money. So, I reason in my early morning fog, the conversion of energy is transactional, like the exchange of currency for a new shirt or a diamond watch or a liter of distilled spirits or a box of coffee pods to satisfy a thirsty Keurig coffee maker. Energy conversion adjusts itself to evolutionary and revolutionary change, too. For example, transactional conversion now willingly accepts the promise that a debit card or credit card conceals sufficient invisible value to convert money into a chocolate bar or a motorcycle. I realize, of course, my words here seem to confuse energy with economics; that’s yet another aspect of the transformation of the First Law of Thermodynamics into the Principle of Incessant Greed, or PIG. My earlier mention of energy stored in bacon was simply a hint. I hope it’s clearer now: energy is equivalent to power and, with enough money, power can be accumulated and stored. Greed is simply part of the thermodynamic equation. Greed is as natural as petrochemical processing plants and crypto-currency.


Irrational behavior can become rational. Or, like a car without headlights driven at high speed on a narrow mountain road at night, it can become deadly. The difference between rational and irrational is that one is endowed with the faculty of reason and one is not. An otherwise intelligent person can find himself in the midst of irrational thoughts and emotions simply by discarding his sense of reason in favor of the ecstasy of thrill. Yet irrational thoughts and emotions are not, in and of themselves, dangerous. It’s what one does with them; the risks one takes in service to nurturing and feeding an alluring chaos. Chaos can be channeled into positive, powerful experiences, if monitored and maneuvered carefully. Chaos can burst into beautiful fireworks, with care. But left untended or tended recklessly, it can explode into firestorms capable of leaving nothing but acrid smoke and ash.


The sensation of feeling wanted and loved is, perhaps, the most comforting of all experiences. It delivers warmth and contentment; a sense of well-being that transcends physical experience but that melds with it. Yet feeling wanted and loved is not enough to yield happiness; those feelings must pair with a reciprocal set of matched feelings of wanting and loving. Pairings that fit together like a precision-cut jigsaw puzzle are the stuff of love stories that survive a hundred generations and more.


The clothes dryer has signaled me that I have ample clean and dry clothes, so it’s time to take my shower and get on with the day. And the day will be another extraordinary one, laced with happiness, joy, and experiences that will etch their way into everlasting memory. How’s that for a positive attitude? I can feel it coming.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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3 Responses to This Day’s Positive Energy

  1. David and Warren, thanks very much for your comments. David, I am glad you share my sense of humor! Warren, that’s an interesting take on my posts. I’ll have to examine them and think about it!

  2. warrens1or2 says:

    It seems to me that your blogs, one way or another, express a Jewish sentiment: “Jews begin their day with two words – modeh ani – I acknowledge and thank You God for having given me the gift of life once more as I awake to the new day. A general attitude of gratitude and thanks makes living life easier and simpler, even in the face of obstacles, problems and severe difficulties.”
    Keep writing John,

  3. davidlegan says:

    It is WONDERFUL to see your sense of humor returning. PIG…that’s good.

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