89 – Self-reflection and E=mc2 …

Although Science has still to recognize it, Einstein’s greatest achievement was to capture in a simple equation, E=mc2, the universality of Self-reflective Equilibrium in Nature.

The physical aspect of the equation has been thoroughly proven through methodological scientific experimentation, but its self-reflective aspect has yet to be explored.

In Einstein’s own words: “The mass of a body is a measure of its energy content”. * In other words: Notwithstanding size, nor level of complexity, nor environmental fluctuations, for a body to be viable, the contents of its fundamental complements (mass and energy) must be in relatively sustained equilibrium – one a measure of the other – throughout the extent of its existence. Without this sustained equilibrium, the body dies.

The essence of e=mc2 lies not on the quantity of the fundamental complements of the body (system), but on the sustained equilibrium of its contents. This sustained equilibrium is the significance of the symbol = in the equation.

When a ‘body’ enters an existential arrangement in which the success of its development is totally dependent on a sustained equilibrium between the contents of its two fundamental complements, there’s got to be, whether instinctive or self-determined, a degree of Self-reflection: if mass is reduced so is energy, if energy is increased so is mass.

As every naturally evolving system in Nature, we know this from personal experience. We fuel our development by consuming energy sources from the environment (foods, oxygen, water), we then convert them into the mass of our bodies (weight, volume, density), and release the stored energy in equivalent measure as motion, action, ‘waste’. What is released is a measure, a reflection, of what has been stored; we cannot exist without this mostly instinctive self-reflective equilibrium.

In this degree of self-reflective equilibrium rests the essence of Einstein’s insight. Self-reflective Equilibrium is the foundation of Self-organization; it is what fuels the evolutionary process that generates the phenomenon of Progressive Continuity in Nature. This is how immensely complex systems like galaxies, planetary systems, us,    self-organize, self-generate, and develop.

E=mc2 is one of the most beautiful insights into the nature of our Universe, but because we continue to perceive ourselves as separate from Nature we fail to see the beauty of the equation in us. Our self-determined capacity to self-reflect is obvious to us when we, for instance, go on a diet to lose weight, or when we want to build muscle, or when we get sick and ‘lack’ energy; but it is not obvious in the instinctive self-reflection of our bodies when we increase our consumption and dissipation of energy sources as we grow, change and develop.

As all naturally evolving systems in Nature, our bodies must sustain equilibrium between the energy we consume and the energy we dissipate to stay alive. So does humankind. But as a species, we have reached a point where we are consuming and releasing more energy sources than the Earth can produce and absorb. We are out of equilibrium, and we don’t want to reflect on the consequences.

* Highlight mine.

Revised August 2019

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One Response to “89 – Self-reflection and E=mc2 …”

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