Chapter 3


We are now deep into the overlap between philosophy and physics, and so it will be necessary to relate some of the things I am saying to what is said in physics.

First, let me make a philosophical definition:

Energy is any activity that is limited quantitatively

Spiritual activity is any activity that is not limited quantitatively.

For now, we are postponing the question of whether there are any (finite) forms of spiritual activity.(1)

But what is to be noted here is that energy means is activity or existence; but the term "energy" will not apply to spiritual existence, because the only acts that can be called "energy" are measurable acts. Energy is like spiritual acts in that both energy and spiritual activity are "energetic"; but it is unlike spiritual activity in that energy is always some form of activity that has a quantity, and so is in principle measurable, whether or not you actually have an instrument that can measure it. Spiritual activity is not "unmeasurable" for practical reasons, but because it doesn't have what measurement measures.

Since energy has a quantity, we can conclude that

Conclusion 6: Energy always is some form of activity.

The reason, of course, is that quantity limits a form of activity, and is not a direct limitation of activity. The "form of activity" is then called the "form of energy"; and thus we have different forms of energy which have such names as heat, light, electricity, magnetism, nuclear (the "strong force"), gravity, etc. These are all different kinds of energy, in that they are all activities and all of them "have what it takes" to be measured. And since they are called "forms of energy," this indicates that the term "energy" itself refers to the existence, not the quantity.

From this, of course, it follows that

Conclusion 7: Energy is an analogous term.

It has the same analogy as "existence" has, of course; and what this amounts to is that the term "energy" means something different each time it is used; but all the different instances of it are in some unknown way similar, both in their being "energetic" and in their being measurable.

Since "energy" is measurable existence, we can also draw the following conclusion:

Conclusion 8: God is not energy, nor is his existence or activity energy.

This, of course, is obviously true; but it needs stressing, because "energy" is such a "good" term (understandably, because it refers to the existence of the measurable), and so we want to apply it to God, who's got everything "good." But in our investigation, God isn't what we would like him to be, but what we know he must be, based on what is necessary to account for finite existence. And energy is by definition finite. To say that God's existence is "infinite energy" would be to say that God's existence has an unlimited limit, which is absurd.

There is obviously no such thing as infinite energy, precisely because quantity is a limit, and "energy" applies to an act only when it has a quantitative limit.(2)

Now then, what is the relation of this definition I gave to energy to the definition in physics, which on the elementary level is "the capacity for doing work," which will do for our purposes? Physics is not simply interested in what energy is, but wants actually to measure it to find out how much of it there is.

It turns out, however, that you can't actually measure how much energy there actually is locked up in a body, because energy is activity, not something static; and so you have to make it actually "do something" until it is used up, after which, of course, you know how much energy there was, because there's now none left.

And that is the relation of energy to "work," which is defined as "force exerted over a distance." The distance, as something static, is measurable, and the force can be measured by the amount of resistance the object "worked on" has to it; and so once you find how much work was done, you find out how much energy there was in the body that was doing the work.

What this amounts to is this: Work (in the sense physics speaks of it) is energy as the effect of some other energy. That is, it is some quantified activity which is in practice measurable, and is "produced" by the activity of some body on the body that has the "work done on it," (the one that has been moved the distance in question). And if this is what work is, then the energy you are trying to measure is the cause of work.

Both of these are actually energy: quantified activity; but only the former is called "energy" in physics, because it is the one you have to use devious means to measure, and it's what you get as the result of your laboratory work. But in point of fact, the two of them are equivalent (in fact, their quantities are defined in such a way that they have to be equivalent); and so they show up on the right-hand side and the left-hand side of an equation such as the following

F . x = mv2/2

Where the left is the work (the product of force and distance) and the right is the energy ("kinetic energy" or the motion itself).

And of course, the force is the causality energy exerts on some body. That is, it is the "instantaneous interaction" between the two bodies: the one with the energy you want indirectly to measure (the causer) and the one that has work done on it (what is affected).

Another way of saying this is that force is causality as quantified, and of course as such it is a quantified relation between the cause and the effect, and also between the causer (the body which is going to be doing the work) and what is affected (the body that is going to be moving).

Mathematically, this relation shows up as what is called a "derivative," and looks like this:

F = mv dv/dx,

where the right-hand side is the being affected of the body, in which we find the derivative expressing the "tendency to move" at this point (which looks like an "infinitesimal momentum" divided by an "infinitesimal distance"). The idea is that if there is a continuous variation in the relationship between momentum and distance, then in this case the fraction 0/0 can have a definite meaning; and that "limit" is what is expressed by the apparent fraction of the derivative.

The "m" in the equation is the amount of the tendency to resist a change of motion, and is called the "mass"; it is not really the "bulk" or "stuffness" of the object, but precisely the degree of this tendency the object has not to change its condition of rest or movement (its "inertia").

But why is the derivative as I stated it in relation to distance and not time, as appears the physics textbooks? This will become clearer in the next section, when we discuss change and time's relation to change; it turns out that the "time" in the equation, which is supposed to be an "independent variable," is not independent at all, but is a ratio which as such doesn't exist and is in fact derived from other variables which are in fact what is observed when you are looking at a clock. And when you eliminate the duplications, it turns out that the derivative is with respect to distance, not time.

This allows me to predict from this philosophical way of looking at energy, force, and work, that if this theory is taken into account by physicists, a theory might emerge that is might give a more accurate description of what is going on "out there." This philosophical theory predicts that mass, length, and time shouldn't be the "fundamental constants" in terms of which everything else is thought of; the fundamentals should be energy, force, and velocity--the last of which can be measured directly, by the way, and needs no "clock."(3) The "fundamental constants" in Newton's physics were based on seventeenth-century philosophy of nature, which in many ways was a faulty description of bodies.

But to give an example of what I am saying, when you separate out the variables in the equation above to get a "differential equation," what you get is this:

F dx = mv dv,

which clearly shows the relation to the work-energy equation above; the left-hand side is now "the tendency to do work," and the right-hand side is "the tendency to move"; the work equation comes from expanding this tendency into a finite distance ("integrating").

Since the different instances of a given form of energy mean that all the energies in that form are analogous among themselves and different from other forms of energy, it would not be surprising that we could come up with the following conclusion:

Conclusion 9: The quantities of one form of energy will not apply to another form of energy in a simple way, but will be only analogous to them.

And this is verified by physics. It turns out that energy of one form can be transformed into energy of a different form, as when you take the electricity in your flashlight's battery and convert it into light, or take heat in your automobile's engine and convert it into motion.

But in this transformation of energy from one form of existence into another--and this is what the conclusion above says--the quantities will not transfer over so that "two" of the first form will turn out to be "two" of the second form.

But what that amounts to is that if you are going to have an equation, in which the quantities on the left-hand side are equal to the quantities on the right-hand side, then you have to keep track of what qualities the quantities belong to, because the numbers themselves are meaningless, since they are not absolute.

To show what I am saying, take the force equation above (only this time, let us give it its traditional form, using time):

F = mv dv/dt

In physics, you have to write its application something like this:

2 dyne = 1 gm x 2 cm/sec x 1 cm/sec x 1/1sec

What are all those funny words? The "dynes" are units of force, the "grams" units of mass, the "centimeters per second" units of velocity, and of course the "seconds" units of time.

And what a physicist now does is multiply out all of the "units," so that the equation looks like:

2 dyne = 2 gm cm2/sec2,

which means that the units of force "convert" into the units of mass, length, and time in that complicated way; and if you don't do "mathematics" with the qualities (the "units"), then the mathematics with the numbers will not come out right. This is why physics teachers become very upset when their students leave the units out of their equations.

When you integrate the force equation, you get this, as we said:

F x = m v2/2

which becomes in units (ignoring any numbers that may be attached to them):

dyne cm = gm cm2/sec2,

and substituting the equivalent units for "dynes" that we discovered above, we get:

gm cm2/sec2 = gm cm2/sec2,

where the square of the cm on the left side is due to the two cm's multiplied together, one of which was "hidden" in the "dyne" equivalent. In any case, the substitution shows that the equation "balances" qualitatively, so to speak; and as long as the numbers that belong with these qualities also "balance," the equation describes the energies "out there" with their quantities.



1. We have, of course, seen (and will formally conclude soon) that God cannot be energy because energy implies (quantitative) limitation, and God is not limited in any way and a fortiori to any degree. But whether there are acts that are forms of activity but unquantified will have to wait until considerably later, when we discuss consciousness. And I am going to argue there that the reason we know that consciousness is spiritual is that you get into a contradiction if you try to apply numbers to the act.

2. Thus, the mathematical symbol , which is usually called "infinity" does not and cannot exist. And mathematicians stress that when you have it, it always has an arrow before it, which means that the quantity in question becomes always larger and larger (or smaller and smaller) "without limit," in the sense of "whatever number it reaches, it always could be greater (or less). And so they say that a given quantity "becomes infinite" rather than that it "approaches infinity." And the reason is, of course, that then "infinity" would be a goal beyond which the quantity could not go; but the quantity in question is so defined that no goal is possible for it.

3. You do it, for instance, when you read the speedometer dial in your car. This does not have a little clock and a little ruler; it is the speed itself that creates the force that moves the needle.