183 – E=mc2 and Me …

I have never been good at mathematics. I didn’t even try when I was in school. Although I can understand their allure, numbers and equations always seemed not just beyond me, but beyond the capacity to explain what is truly important to me: the emergence of conscious self-reflection in Life. Fortunately, I am good at seeing patterns and their logic, and so I was able to survive my tenure in the financial industry while sifting for meaning through mostly mathematical theories.

My early realization, and total acceptance, of the Facts that I am a universal component and not very good at mathematics, brought me to the conclusion that the only way for me to begin to understand what I am in the scheme of the Universe, was by applying to my own body, to my own life, to my own experience, the philosophic knowledge we already possess of the physical theories; in other words, making myself an experimental tool.

My interest in Relativity started with Einstein’s ideas and the impact they made, and continue to make in the way we understand our Universe. He fascinated me for the immensity of his insight … a mind able to envision a fundamental property of Nature, E=mc2 … and so, without previous education in these matters, I embarked on a quest to try to understand the meaning of the famous equation. Most books on the subject were prominently mathematic, but I persisted, trying to find between the equations the meaning of Einstein’s insight. And after many, many years of study, and guided mainly by his own description of the equation on the paper he published in 1905: “The mass of a body is a measure of its energy content”, I begun to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The mass of a body is a measure of its energy content. And my body was my tool to try to understand this.

I know that at the most basic level my body is made of atoms. I also know that atoms are fundamentally small concentrations of mass and immense reservoirs of energy. Therefore, I fundamentally am a concentration of mass and an immense reservoir of energy.

The mass of my body was easy to figure out: It is what has grown out of two cells into a 5.10” tall, 150 lb. organism; it is what I can touch, what I can weigh, what I can measure, what I can play with; it is what breathes and eats, it is what consumes and dissipates; it is what I direct to sit down or walk; it is what hurts and makes me uncomfortable when I injure myself or get sick.

The energy was more elusive. Where, What was that immense portion of me, the measure of which is equivalent to the content of my mass times the speed of Light squared?

I started comprehending what this immense energy is, when I realized that what I’ve been taught to be subjective, immaterial … mind, thought, ingenuity, curiosity, focus, persistence, imagination … is actually physical energy; energy that I can almost touch, it is so real, so perceptible. I am not only the energy I metabolize and transform into the physical acts of motion, action and reaction; I am also the physical energy of thinking, imagining, focusing, calculating, learning, making decisions that can change the direction of my life, and decisions that sometimes can change the lives of others; I am the physical energy of a mind that is practically boundless, immeasurable, yet endowed with a physical, tangible power to make an impact on my own development and, sometimes, on the development of the world in which I exist.

There is, for me, no clearer example of the power contained in a human mind, than Einstein’s encapsulation of one of the properties of our Universe in e=mc2 . But what the meaning, the true essence of the equation is, I’ll try to explain on my next post.

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