119 –The Profound Meaning of the Greatest Insight …

Since postulated in 1905, we have been rightly mesmerized by the mathematical prowess of Einstein’s E=mc2. With this seemingly simple equation, Einstein quantified the universal equilibrium between the complements, energy and mass, of the fundamental substance of naturally evolving systems in our Universe, successfully opening the doors to technological advances and a greater understanding of the physical world. But the profound meaning of this greatest of insights has been outshined by its success.

The mass of a body is a measure of its energy content”. * These were Einstein’s own words on explaining E=mc2. But if we could look at the equation with a focus not at the contents of energy and mass, but at the body, the physical system that, amidst development and change, continuously measures the contents of its energy and mass so they are always in relative equilibrium and the system can attain a degree of stability, we would then realize that we are looking at the primal act of self-reflection in Nature.

The capacity to self-reflect, although mostly instinctive, is tangible to us when the mass of our bodies (bones, muscles, blood, neurons, nerve connections, etc.) increases and decreases as we develop, change and age, the energy required to keep us in action and motion also increases or decreases in equivalent measure (more mass = more energy, less energy = less mass). We do this mostly instinctively, without thinking; our bodies inherently know how to do this balancing act on their own, but the big difference with us as highly evolved beings is that we can not only affect this ongoing balancing act within us, but that we can also affect it in the natural world in which we exist.

I have always wondered if Einstein himself knew the profound meaning of his insight. With E=mc2 he discovered the universal property of self-reflection in Nature, which not only unifies everything but encourages the onward movement towards complexity and order so evident in Nature. But since he did not see self-reflection as an essential factor in his equation, I don’t think he fully realized the true enormity of what he had discovered.

The innate capacity of any physical system or body to self-reflect upon its own contents and keep them in relative equilibrium is the key to Existence. Although outshined by its mathematical prowess, this is the profound meaning of one of the greatest insights of the human mind.

*Highlights mine

Revised April 2020   

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