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What is Energy?

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What is energy? When we ask that question we start out on an amazing journey of discovery. It begins a story as epic and dramatic as we can ever imagine. So lets start again with this thought in mind. 

What is energy? We know it exists as surely as we each exist.  We sense it in every movement we make and wherever we look. We sense it in every smell, in every sound and every touch. We know energy suffuses, fills, permeates our bodies, our minds. We know it is vibrant. We know it is vital. We know it is essential.  

We know this because all our senses constantly remind us that without energy then things cease to work, cease to play.  

We all know that some days we enjoy a greater sense of energy than others. On those days we experience a greater sense of vibrancy and clarity, of purpose and meaning, of potential and action. 

Contrast this to those days when we experience a sense of a lack of energy. Then we tend to experience lethargy and dullness, of aimlessness and weakness, of hopelessness and inaction. If a friend asks how you are you might reply, “ Help, I’m lacking energy today” 

Of course you know you are still experiencing energy on some levels because there you are – still hearing, still talking and your heart is still beating and the atoms of your body still retain your essential form. However on other levels you sense that today the forces of gravity seem to overwhelm the forces of your body. And somehow the mind has been affected. The mind is concluding, “Help, the world is lacking vitality today. I’m lacking energy today” 

And so you and your friend talk about your shared interests and enthusiasms until suddenly it occurs to you, “Hey my spirits have lifted. I am feeling much better now.  – I feel more lively, more engaged, more full of energy… the world has more sparkle.” 

What has changed? Your friend? Not much. Your surroundings? Not much. Your body? Not really though it is more alert and poised now. The big change, the sudden switch to a new dimension of experience, is the capacity of your mind to experience energy. 

This is of interest because it reminds us that the mind and energy are intimately related. One minute our mind could experience relatively little energy. The next minute our mind could experience a lot of energy. What has changed? Our minds or the amount of energy? All the evidence suggests the amount of energy remains unchanged and it is our capacity to experience energy that has changed. 

What does this tell us? It does not tell us what energy is but it does indicate a few things. One is that energy, whatever it is, is central to our existence and our experience of it shapes our world-view. Another is that our minds affect our experience of energy. It seems safe to conclude this stuff that we symbolise as “energy” is very important and meaningful.  

This mind-energy relationship is actually very hard to think about and indeed even as I am thinking about it my brain is feeling ever more numb, my body is almost painfully tired and heavy and my eye lids are drooping so I can barely see the screen to write. I am feeling quite drowsy seated here in front of my computer waiting for the words to come so we can communicate about the nature of energy. 

Maybe you are feeling the same? Well let us hit the pause button on this video. Let’s see what happens if we both stand up and have a bit of a stretch. Indeed I think I will get outside and mow my lawn for a few minutes. Ah feel the wind on my skin. Taste the salt in the air. Feel my body working, pushing the mower. Ah I am waking up again. I have a renewed sense of energy. I hope you had a good stretch too and you will be aware now that thinking about energy is not the same as experiencing a sense of energy.  

In fact sometimes thinking can inhibit our experience of energy. The ancient yogis and Buddhas understood this well. That is why they developed extremely sophisticated yet simple techniques to aid us to clear our minds of thoughts so we can better experience a sense of energy, of life, of compassion. Anyone who has attempted to practice these techniques will know two things. One is that in the moments in which the mind is most fully focused and aware of energy there is a sense of great vitality and meaning. The other is that mind has a fantastic ability to generate thoughts that destroy this focus and suppress the experience of energy. 

I suspect if you have experienced this capacity of the mind then you will appreciate how difficult it is to communicate the nature of energy by just thinking and talking about it as we are. Answering the question “What is energy” is as challenging as answering the questions “What is love?” and “What is life?” and “What is science?”

We are talking about states of being that are universal and yet each person has their unique experience of them.  

Yes, you guessed. The answer to the question “What is energy?” involves the ultimate paradox; something logical thought is not capable of resolving and accepting. 

So why should you and I continue with this communication? Surely these are just thoughts. This is true. However we are also engaged in sharing symbols - and symbols have great power. Indeed our capacity to use symbols in sophisticated ways enables civilisation to exist. Symbols enable us to crystallize information, share meaning and transcend time. Some even enable us to transcend paradox.  

This is because our use of symbols reflects every element of our beings. They enable us to engage each other at both the conscious level of our thoughts and at the subconscious level of emotions of our emotions. Most vitally we can use them to generate active responses at the primal level in each other, at the deep level where at any moment billions of decisions are being made that control the flows of our breath, our blood and our general sensibilities. 

Here’s a small experiment to remind you of our primal beings, our primal responses. Experience this. First hold the hand in a symbol of peace, of blessing. Then clench them into an aggressive fist display. Notice how these simple motions instantly generate extreme responses at the gut level ranging from a state of peace and well-being to a state of fear and aggression. Maybe you notice your lips tighten and your face contort down as your fist tightens? Now relax the hand again in a symbol of peace, of blessing. Feel the difference. 

Symbols are extremely potent. In fact without symbols there is probably not much life at all. All sentient creatures use symbols in the great dance of survival and procreation. 

If this is true then it is reasonable to assume, as I have, that our capacity to use symbols underpins civilisation. This suggests we are wise to ensure we take great care to conserve the fullest potential of our key symbols.

If we abuse our most vital symbols and fail to use them in a state of science then we put civilisation at risk.

If in our use of our key symbols they lose their meaning, if they lose their vitality, then we lose our capacity to participate in the dance of survival, our children never get to procreate. The prospects for the Homo sapiens species become dismal. 

Let us assume the energy symbol is such a key symbol. 

So “What is energy?” What is the greatest meaning possible inherent in the energy symbol?  Wiki suggests that “in science” (quote-unquote) energy is the capacity of something to do work. This evokes the obvious question, “What on Earth is energy in non-science?” Think about it for a moment. Is there, are there universes based in non-science? Or, if you like, non-sense. How could they possibly work?  This video is being made in the spirit of science and these questions are just an alert to non-sense, non-science. They form an aside. They are not central to this discussion. 

The Wiki article states 

“Energy broadly means the capacity of something, a person, an animal or a physical system to do work and produce change.” 

Well, that is very broad indeed because the universe we know of can be considered a physical system, albeit a system so vast it boggles our imagination. And there is the possibility it is only one of a multitude of universes. That suggests that energy is so bounteous that for all intents and proposes we can consider it a constant. Human beings cannot create it or destroy it. What ever we do the total amount of energy basically remains unchanged. 

What can and does change is the forms that energy is manifest in. And the nature of energy is such that all forms are subject to constant change. To the extent the universe is working, is playing, there is continual universal transformation. 

Which ever way you look – on through and on through the stars and galaxies and beyond or on through and on through the molecules and atoms and beyond – which ever way we look we become filled with awe at how tiny and simple we are and yet how huge and complex we are. We filled with paradoxical feelings. 

Similarly we feel paradoxical feelings whenever we reflect on the nature of change. We are humbled by our awareness of the brief, the trace existence we know in the human form as we observe billions of years of change of the universe(s). At the same time we are exalted as we learn of the astonishing range of trace balances in the enormous flux that enable our planet to exist and life to exist on the Earth. In such moments it is easy to feel great awe and gratitude that from such a vast range of possibilities in the great potential we are manifest, we exist. 

Humans have searched for symbols since time immemorial that crystallise these feelings about energy, that can act as guides so we can enjoy greater harmony amidst the mighty flux of change. Perhaps the greatest symbol of the nature of energy that we have found so far is the Conservation Principle of Energy.

This states: Energy can not be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another or transferred from one body to another, but the total amount of energy remains constant (the same). 

This is about as close to a law of the universe as we have. For millennia humans have applied every ounce of ingenuity that we are capable of to finding a flaw, some loophole in the principle. We have explored, tested and experimented with the Conservation Principle with unparalleled ferocity. The simple reason behind this often obsessive pursuit is that the Conservation Principle forms a constant reminder that we are mortal and that we need be stewards of our world. Try as we humans have to circumvent the Principle over millennia, no matter what we do, the truth of the Conservation Principle remains resolute, inviolate. Whether we accept it or not, the fact remains that every human being arises and passes within about a century. The fact remains that societies that fail to be respect the Conservation Principle of Energy perish sooner rather than later. 

Now this is where our story gets really interesting…. 

Now as you know we describe ourselves as Homo sapiens, which is Latin: homo (man) plus sapien (wise)– the wise/rational man. We each have a supposedly wise hominoid brain with a capacity at least 1400cc. You would think that every human being would wish to enjoy and share something that is so vital and bounteous as energy.  

But, no. Many of us squabble, fight and even slaughter our fellow beings over this stuff called energy. Indeed many of us live impoverished lives, made desperate because of a perceived lack of energy. We lurch from one “energy crisis” to the next “energy crisis”, fearful that energy will be cease to be. Many of us live in a state of quiet terror, surrounded by billboards and headlines shouting at us that “energy is running out”. 

So let us have a look at this stuff called energy that causes us so much misery. Again lets ask the question, “What is energy?”  

I don’t know much about this guy called William Blake but many people now recognise him as a great poet and visionary. I understand he never travelled more than about thirty miles distance from his home in London and so probably had a pretty small carbon footprint/. And apparently he died at a ripe age singing songs of joy. So maybe he knew a thing or two. I can only ever recall a couple of lines of poetry and both are attributed to William Blake.  

One says, “Energy is Bliss”.  

The other says,

“To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.”

Wow! That lifts me every time I hear it quoted. This guy must have had a pretty generous spirit and must have been onto something. Let us compare that statement with our modern literature on the nature of energy as found in  that Wiki article. 

“Energy is a word with more than one meaning.

Energy broadly means the capacity of something, a person, an animal or a physical system to do work and produce change.

*It can refer to the ability for someone to act or speak in a lively and vigorous way.

*It is used in science to describe how much potential a physical system has to change.

*It may also be used in economics to describe the part of the market where energy itself is harnessed and sold to consumers.” 

Whoop! Whoop! Stop.Think about that first statement, “Energy is a word with more than one meaning.”  Let us assume one meaning is the meaning inherent in the Conservation Principle of Energy which describes our universe(s). What on Earth could the other meaning be? What could this other energy possibly be?  

Now if you ask me the first two definitions are just restatements of the broad statement: Energy is the capacity or potential of something to effect change. So both of these are consistent with the Conservation Principle. But the third meaning, the meaning given by economists – this does not make sense. It does not make sense at all. The plot deepens. Suddenly things get murky, ominous… 

However before we venture into the realms of the economists, let us ensure our sensibilities remain firmly rooted in the meaning of energy implicit in the Conservation Principle. The broad statement speaks of the “potential of something to affect change”.  That “something” could be this word that I speak/write or it could be a grain of sand in your hand or it could be the universe(s).  

Let us briefly reflect on the potential in a drop of water. Maybe you are already familiar with these thoughts. Perhaps already something cynical in your mind is singing, “Boring, boring, boring. I know what a drop of water is”. Do not be deterred by your apparent familiarity. To hold a drop of water and meditate mindfully on it for a moment is always refreshing, an awakening act.  

Observe how the energy in the water is visible in its vibrations. This is a reflection of the energy manifest in each of the droplet’s atoms. Hold it in the sunlight. See how it reflects myriad glittering suns. See it flash with the colours of the rainbow. It is a reminder of the  scale and variety of our universe(s). 

Feel your mind touch and engage with the fuller potential of the droplet.There are universe(s) of possibilities in the droplet. You could drink it so its molecules pass through your bodies cells and out again, some on your breath, some through your skin and other might end up in the sewer system. Or you might just hold the droplet until it evaporates directly into the atmosphere where some of its atoms might travel as water vapour around the planet in a few days ,perhaps to fall as rain that enables grass to grow or as snowflakes that reflect solar radiation. Or you could directly drop it high in a mountain stream that fills a lake that drives a huge electrical turbine that has the potential to make motors run in factories and stoves to warm in homes and computer screens to glow so you can watch and read this… 

The droplet can remind us that energy is what was, what is and what ever could be. And that our mind is intimately involved with the manifestation of that potential. 

Perhaps you are now reminded and are filled with a sense of the universe of potential in a rain drop. And if not I bet your mind is still trying to say “OK I know all this – get on with it you boring old fart”. If you are one of the latter folk then you may well at this point dismiss the following definition of energy as meaningless.  

In short: “What is energy? Answer: energy is the potential of the universe(s).”  

And while we are appreciating the power and knowledge crystallised in the “energy” symbol I will make brief reference to another equally vital symbol – the “power” symbol. The question “What is power?” begins another amazing story of equally immense drama. I will restrict myself to suggesting that the perhaps the most helpful answer to this great question is that power is the rate that the potential of the universe(s) is manifest. Hear the story of the “power” symbol some other time and decide if you agree. 

Now is the story of the “energy” symbol and now is the point at which the high drama begins. We are about to go deeper into our pscyhes and explore the interface of our mind and energy. This will require great strength, integrity and perserverance. So before we embark on this next stage in our journey in search of the nature of energy perhaps we had reflect for one more moment on where we have been this far. 

Stop. Give a moment. Stand under the heavens at night and gaze out into the galaxies of stars and feel their spaces fill your spirit. Or lie in the grass and reflect on the continual change and near eternal variety of forms of the clouds in the sky. Or become as one with the effervescent dance of the sunlight on the oceans. Or listen to song on the winds and waters flowing by. Or reflect on the mountains, raindrops and stardust in a grain of sand held in the hand.  

All this is the potential of the universe manifest. This is energy. Bounteous. Everchanging. Transforming. Fresh. Mysterious. Wonderful.  

And our experience of this now exists because your mind accepted the invitation of my mind to give a moment, to still our thoughts and to share the experience of the fuller potential of our existence. Now charged with awe and mindful of this vast potential I trust we are ready to journey to the interface of mind and energy. 

As we enter the mind we find the above experience is alive . The mind is alive with the sense of immense power and variety as manifest in the far reaches of galaxies of stars, the waves glittering to the horizon, the flow of song within song within song, the universe in each grain of sand…there is a sense of immenseness and much reason to feel grateful.  

So how is it our minds become filled with fear, with a sense of deprivation and we become cramped with desperation? How is it we experience “energy crises”, “energy failures”,  “energy collapses”, “energy outs” “energy crashes” “energy threats” “energy fears” etc? 

Observe how even as I use these symbols our body form is transformed and reflects a sudden shock weight of worry and doubt. That is the power of symbols. In my use of them in this paragraph we are becoming reminded in fear, hopelessness, disempowerment, a sense of loss…  

So how is it that the energy symbol loses its power to remind us of the wonder and immensity of creation?   

Here we see a pristine lake framed by glorious snowclad mountains. Feel the expansiveness, the agelessnes, the vitality, the energy of this.  Now step back so that we can examine it more closely. What is this?

“Only Meridian Energy has certified carbon neutral electricity.

Keeping New Zealand New Meridian Energy.”


What is this stuff called Meridian Energy? Is it the apex of energy? The peak of energy? The pinacle of energy? The highest point of power, splendour wealth? The climax of energy? Just what is Meridian Energy?   

Move back one further step and we find this glorious vision is simply an advertisement at the airport of New Zealand’s Capital City, Wellington. It is actually part of a sophisticated PR Spin, a promotion of the use of these vastly inefficient and polluting devices called jets, machines designed to destroy our remaining mineral oil reserves on scale. Listen to/feel this bone-shaking roar and smell the pollution. Each of these devices uses the equivalent of a multi megawatt electrical generation plant going full blast just to lift a few people off the ground for a few hours. Its like there are nearly half a million men labouring non stop for an hour to keep these devices in the air for that hour.  

The reality is Meridian Energy is simply an industrial corporation that generates and retails Bulk-electrical products. It is no more energy and no less energy than any other element of the universe(s). What we are seeing here is a concerted attempt to destroy our vision of the glorious nature of energy by a bunch of misery mongers in the form of the small and powerful group of merchant bankers who fund these corporations.  

Now I employ the misery symbol advisedly – these merchant bankers generate great misery as we will see.  

This advertisement at the airport of our Capital City in New Zealand is actually designed to serve the miserable interests of these merchant bankers on a number of levels. They are attempting to obscure the fact that jets are polluting, highly destructive devices. They are attempting to re-engineer all our associations of the energy symbol with vitality and the  bounteousness of the universe(s) with the products they trade – in particular Bulk generated electricity and fossil fuels. 

And in this they have been remarkably successful. Look what else they have done to our minds. They have filled our minds with a great clutter of what I call Energy Gobbledygook.  Energy Gobbledygook is all the text ,the talk, the pictures, the cartoons and other symbol uses that work to generate images in us associating the energy symbol with Bulk-generated electricity and fossil fuels. This is summed up in the two equations:

Energy = Bulk-gen electricity;

Energy = fossil fuels.  

You don’t believe me? Then lets check out again that very strange, very peculiar wiki definition of energy:  

“It may also be used in economics to describe the part of the market where energy itself is harnessed and sold to consumers.” 

What is this reality? Turn on the radio or television, search on the Internet, open your local broadsheet and out gushes “energy experts” and “energy journalists” and “energy ministers” and “energy spokespeople” all babbling about “the energy economy” and “the energy sector” and “energy stocks” and “energy markets” and “energy trades” and “energy futures” and “energy rises” and “energy falls” and what are they talking about – a couple of energy forms that the merchant bankers make their main trades on. And almost invariably those forms are limited to two products: Bulk-generated electricity and fossil fuels. And in general the first product is generated from the latter. 


Typical business page, this "market data" sample from Bloomberg TV

Typical Government statistics framing of energy.

Maybe acceptance of this ethos is so embedded in the structure of your brain wiring now that you are saying. “So what, this is how it has always been and anyway what does it matter?” 

Well, for a start, it has not always been like this. Sure humans have dreamed of somehow circumventing the Conservation Principle of Energy since we first realised we are mortal. We all know of the amazing and ingenious attempts to create perpetual motion machines and elixors of eternal youth. The trades in these products have been as vast as the failures of these products. We laugh at the stupidity of other people that allows them to get fooled into buying them. 

Well, dear friends, prepare to laugh at our own stupidity. We are part of an even greater con. As yourself, “What is my response when someone says mineral oil and gasoline are energy?”  Do I just accept this as true without thought or reflection? Or do I say, “That idea is the work of a pscyotic mind, of a psychopathic mind, of a dangerous loon”. 

Don’t beat yourself up if you suddenly realise your brain has been wired up to accept without question the equations “Energy = mineral oil/gas” or Energy = gasoline/petrol” or for that matter “energy = fossil fuels”. You were born into a culture that is now founded on these equations. It is a culture two or three generations old now, even five or six generations if you are from Europe and the USA. It is a belief system that has enabled the human population to grow exponentially from one billion to nearly seven billion in that short time. 

And if you do a search of your local legislation, as I have of New Zealand’s Parliament you will find that this abuse of the energy symbol only became imbedded in the statute books in the last two generations and lo, we suddenly had Ministries of Energy, Ministers of Energy, National Energy Conservation Strategies etc. And you don’t have to dig far to find this is that never-never land of Economists’ Energy, in this case Energy = fossil fuels/Bulk-generated electricity. 

May I with all humility suggest you should be very, very concerned to rewire your brain, challenging work as it may be, because the continuing acceptance of these flawed equations means impending disaster, the iminent implosion of our credit systems, the explosion of inflation and the general collapse of our civic structures amidst war and disease. These flawed equations contain the potential to generate a catastrophic and sudden collapse of civilisation in which billions of human beings perish. So be concerned. And know the rewards of reconfiguring your neural networks are greater than you can imagine.   

Here are pristine blue skies and what pure light clouds drifting by. 


And here is a young tree. 

See it grow. Hear the birds start singing

See the ferns sprout. See the forest grow. What beautiful butterflies begin to flit through this lush landscape. Are we witnessing the birth of life? 

  Step back so we can see more closely and we find we are at Genesis Energy. Genesis Energy? Ah, you exclaim, so this is the fount from which all energy comes ? The beginning of all? 

Well actually no. Again the miserable reality is that Genesis Energy is simply just another industrial corporation that generates and retails Bulk-electrical products. It is no more the beginning or end of energy than any other element of the universe(s). Again what we are seeing here is another attempt to destroy our vision of the glorious nature of energy by that bunch of misery mongers in the form of the small and powerful group of merchant bankers who fund these corporations. 

Here is another glimpse of their vision of the world, of energy. This is what they would have our children believe. This is an “education module” the same misery mongers at Genesis Energy inflicted on us for several years. I suspect they would still be destroying science in our communities if people like myself had not exposed their dangerous lies.  

As you can see it is an interactive model of a large coal burning device for making Bulk-generated electricity. It so happens the Genesis Energy corporation has the largest coal burning plant in New Zealand. This education resource is supposed to teach our children how it works. The more coal the children add, the greater the fire in the furnace and the faster the turbine spins, thus speeding the flow of electrical charges and the brighter the light bulb shines …What do you notice about it? That’s right. There is no chimney. The furnace is airless. This device burns without air! 

After I complained to our New Zealand Royal Society, one of the architects of this impossible device, you can see a chimney stack and a tiny air inlet was added in this model but only the fainted whiffs of pollution are illustrated. There is no hint of the massive thermal impacts of the device. 

I ask you: what sort of energy enables coal to burn in a furnace like this without the atmosphere? Aha, yes, my dear fellow explorer.  I think we have found an example of this very peculiar energy our economists believe in. This is their fabled “commercial energy”.  

I trust it is obvious to you now why it is dangerous to believe in this economist/banker energy. Yes, it is makes nonsense of the Conservation Principle of Energy. And history shows that such behaviour is psychotic and deeply destructive. 

The Genesis Energy corporation is saying the combustion equation is:

 Coal = useful form of energy. 

In the real world the combustion equation for this plant is:

Coal plus air = useful form of energy. 

Or to get even more real

Coal plus air in combustion = useful form of energy plus pollution. 

PR experts and some teachers dismiss this denial of the Conservation Principle. They smile and say that Genesis Energy is simply engaged in a bit of pre-emptive damage control so the corporation can remain competitive, can turn a profit. They and economists say, “Its just The (Electricity) Market at work.” 

Sorry. There is no way this is minor. The Genesis Energy corporation is seriously delusional and they put us all at serious risk. They are encouraging our children to deny their roles as stewards of the balances and flows of our atmosphere that sustain us. Human beings have the capacity to pollute and poison our species out of existence and if everyone adopts the Genesis Energy psychosis then we will only know pain and misery. 

Of course Genesis Energy is not the only corporation that is psychotic like this. Our media happily propagates the lie at every level. New Zealand’s dominant coal mining corporation calls itself Solid Energy with the full support of its nominal owners – New Zealand’s parliament.   

And look at this education module of how a hydro-electric plant supposedly works. Here Genesis Energy provides us with a superb example of the  psychotic behaviour that is now endemic, especially in countries like New Zealand, the USA, the UK …This is a perfect example of our ever expansionist, consumption-based economies. It reflects with exquisite accuracy the delusion we harbour that credit systems can expand for ever because mineral oil/gas are boundless.   

Check out how Genesis Energy teaches our children about energy. In this interactive activity we can wind the gate of the dam up and down – see the higher the gate, the faster the flow of water spinning the turbine and the brighter the bulb glows (yes, an notice how it is a highly wasteful incandesdcent bulb).  What is amazing is that you can open the gate as high as the sky and leave it open for as long as eternity and no cloud scuds by in the sky and the water level never drops.  This is a world without silt or droughts or floods, a universe without change. This is the perpetual motion machine humans have always dreamed of. And of course it does not exist in our universe(s). Again I believe I think we have discovered this very peculiar energy that economists believe in. The more refined of the economists call it “renewable energy” and “sustainable energy”, which of course is also a gross denial of the Conservation Principle because as we know, energy is sustained, energy is renewed, energy is.  

And the Genesis Energy management.. and our media …and our politicians …and our teachers … all call this corporation, Genesis Energy,  an “energy company”. The fact is the corporation is simply only a Bulk-gen electricity generator and retailer. That’s all.  

The tragedy is that when we confuse energy with one of the forms it can take, whether it be Bulk-generated electricity or mineral oil/gas, we allow ourselves to be conned into believing these very finite resources are as bounteous as energy, as though they contain all the potential of the universe(s). We persist in using them without regard for the great principles, the wise guides – the Conservation Principle of Energy, the Uncertainty Principle of Energy.  

Of course this behaviour is a recipe for misery and we suddenly find the lakes and the oil lakes run dry. If we survive those events, if we survive at all, we learn this lesson a very hard way.   

Perhaps it is timely to stop for a moment and remind ourselves. The forms that energy can be manifest in are very, very finite. They are extremely transient. However energy is unimaginably bounteous. So you can see when people confuse a form, a resource, with energy we make a grievous error. We act in most maladaptive  and addictive ways. We forgo a vast range of sustainable options. We lose our sense of science, of compassion, of bounty, of generosity. 

Let us now continue our journey of exploration in a spirit of science knowing energy is bounteous. Here we have Contact Energy, in fact it is more than that. It is Contact Positive Energy. Now I don’t fully understand what “positive energy” is. All I know is that the symbol may enable and express valuable insights into the fuller nature of energy. In wiki we find:

“In general relativity, the positive energy theorem states that, assuming the dominant energy condition, the mass of an asymptotically flat spacetime is non-negative; furthermore, the mass is zero only for Minkowski spacetime.”

But such expansion of our vision, such enhancement of our spirit is not what Contact Positive Energy is about. No, yet again it is another one of these pschopathic corporations whose only interest is making a quick buck for the merchant banker owners. Again we find Contact Positive Energy is simply another ruthless Bulk-gen electricity generator and retailer. 

Here we see a perfect example of how this psycopathy works. Already we have seen how these corporations equate energy with the forms, the resources they control and retail. We have seen how they encourage us to use them as though they are as bounteous as energy. 

Well there comes times when this squanderous use can negatively impact on their short term profits, for instance when the lakes run dry or the supply of fossil fuels is reduced for some reason. So what do they do with the energy symbol? They associate it with scarcity, with deprivation, with fear. 

Now you and I know energy is bounteous. We know resources are finite. We know that it does not matter how much energy we use. What matters is that we use resources in ways the result in humans remaining in harmony with the flows and balances of energy that sustain us.  A simple example is we can design our house to maximise its solar potential and thus use far more energy without a net negative impact on the flows and balances. This is energy efficiency. 

What vision of energy does Contact Positive Energy corporation imbue in our children? 

For a start note its clever use of cuddly cartoon creatures to communicate its message. Does this mean this corporation cares, enjoys science? Sadly no. Contact Positive Energy is exploiting our affection for our fellow creatures so it can push its miserable, self-serving vision of energy. 

See  here how it invites our children, our communities to become involved in what it calls “the energy debate”, “to provide energy solutions”, to “save the planet”, “our energy options”. Read this:

Home > Residential > Save the planet > The energy debate > Create your own solution


“This interactive tool has been developed by Contact to help people to get a feel for New Zealand’s various energy choices.”

“Please join the debate and try your hand at balancing our energy needs to help determine our energy future - it's all about positive energy.”

 Read the small print and immediately we step outside our universe(s) into the arcane world of the economists. Yes, sure enough, energy is defined as Bulk-gen electricity and fossil fuels. 

Here’s the nasty bit. See how Contact Positive Energy defines energy efficiency as a cost. Not as a benefit. Not as an investment. No, energy efficiency is associated with costs, with deprivation, with loss. Why would a corporation such as this make this association? Simple. They make their best profits out of stressing our national electrical grids at times when we use energy most inefficiently!   

See how they frame the energy debate as “Security of supply versus the price of their product versus environment costs”.

 They don’t encourage us, for instance, to check out our local solar potential, improve our local building code and install a window so we don’t need their products. 

Worse. See how they invite us to “create our own solutions” to what they call our “energy shortfall” and our “energy gap”. So even as they associate their product (Bulk-gen electricity) with  a sense of vast bounty here we find them saying associating energy with serious limits, as extremely finite. 

What is going on here? Simple. To sum up: 

The people, the Spin Doctors, the Money Merchants at Contact Positive Energy know the “energy” symbol is extremely potent in our lives. These education modules are designed to make us associate the symbol with their product. In general they want us to consume lots of their product without much consideration of the more efficient uses of energy. However they also want to be able to manipulate our consumption rates at times when they are short of product. At times like that it is mighty convenient for them to say this is not their problem or a problem with their product. No, they say energy is a problem, they say we have an “energy problem”, we have an “energy crises”. They offset the blame onto energy. 

This evocation of the “energy crises” symbol triggers subliminal alarm bells in their customers and the wider community. People become filled with a sense of urgency, of impending dread, of threat. This overwhelms their finer judgements and so they deprive themselves of Contact Energy’s products without questioning their loyalty to the corporation. 

From a Spin Doctors point of view, this is a beautiful triple whammy. Behaviour has been manipulated to maximise corporation profits while the “energy efficiency” symbol becomes associated with loss, deprivation, negative emotions. Most important from their point of view, this use of the “energy symbol” works to abort any political movement to question how a nation can best use its electrical potential. 

This abuse of this precious symbol by Contact Postive Energy might be vaguely sustainable if no one else adopted this pernicious behaviour. Unfortunately the Contact culture is part of a widespread syndrome, is part of a pervasive culture. Nearly all our corporations express a similar hostility to science and work to undermine its foundations in our schools and communities. It is no mistake that New Zealanders, on average, consume the resources of our planet at a rate that it would require several planet Earth’s to sustain our behaviour. 

Here we have a Government education resource in our schools, purportedly a “climate change education programme” booklet. Let us check out its world view. Hmmm. The atmosphere is a greenhouse. Global warming is bad. Something very consistently weird is going on here. But check this out: here it tells our children that energy efficiency is about using less energy. And where do the teachers who wrote this book get this idea from?  A Government agency called the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority. 

What on Earth is this institution? Well its most prominent architects are the New Zealand Green Party and when I have asked them if the Conservation Principle of Energy holds they say yes, but add the caveat that its OK to say humans can conserve energy because that is just a phrase, just a way of communicating. And then the same Green Party folk wonder why they cannot get their message across that we need conserve precious resources. They fail to understand that we don’t need to conserve resources if we can conserve energy itself as they say. 

I have asked the Ministers of Energy responsible for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority what they think it is teaching our children. They have no coherent response. Indeed recently when I recently asked the Minister of Energy the question “What is energy?” his office went to extraordinary lengths not to provide a definition. I doubt the Minister has ever thought about what his grand title really means and simply adopts the economist’s definition by default. It is very revealing that he refused to provide an answer and referred the question to the Ministry for Economic Development.  

The truth is the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority is the manifestation of a major denial of the  Conservation Principle. It promotes a miserable view of the world and everything unravels from that central flaw, that critical denial. It destroys science and becomes just a conduit serving the myopic, short-term interests of the miserable merchant banker folk. 

For instance everytime our big corporations want people to go without their electrical products for a period suddenly our media starts hitting the “energy crisis” siren. The Government hastely injects a few million dollars into the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority  to give it extra PR Spin power and it is used to run nation-wide so called “energy efficiency” campaigns that stop the moment it suits the principle stakeholders of the coporations ie the merchant bankers. Each time the genuine energy efficiency work performed by the Authority is negated. Each time the state of science in our communities has been destroyed on scale. 

Now I am not really picking on the NZ Green Party, or the Authority for that matter – go to the website and read the materials of almost every well-meaning and caring agency – Government or NGO and you will find the same non-science. You name it– Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, World Wildlife fund, Forest and Bird Protection Society,  Consumer NZ, Citizens Advice Bureaux, The Royal Society …  

“the Royal Society?” I hear you ask aghast, “Surely the Royal Society is all about promoting excellence in science, as they claim?” 

Sorry, the truth is the Royal Society is riddled with Energy Gobbledygook. Its like all the other agencies mentioned – its just a  respository of economist speak, a conduit for commerical non-science. Its miserable vision of energy reflects the unsustainable lifestyles of its members, as does its use of the “science” symbol. Ah yes, their abuse of the “science” symbol – that is another epic story for another time.   

As is this exploration letter I have from the brightest and the best that our education system produces - New Zealand Broadcasting Standards Authority. They claim in this letter that our great energy, power and electricity symbols can be used interchangeably. They are saying they are all the same. That is another mini epic journey for another time too.

For now this is the story about energy, that stuff we all are so intimate with and yet struggle to comprehend. I guess there are two things we should know and I reiterate. One is that the “energy” symbol is incredibly vital to our existence. We abuse it at our peril.  The people going on and on and on at the moment about the “current credit crisis”  are really missing the point. What we are witnessing is really the collapse of a global society because it confuses energy with one of the forms it can be manifest in – namely mineral oil/gas. As we destroy the resource we find that this stuff called “economist’s energy” does not exist at all, it has no potential. Hence our economies are imploding amidst inflation as mineral oil/gas reserves are depleted. 

The second is that energy did not begin with our species and will not end with our species. This story of energy does not end with this video. It continues in every moment in our lives. It continues in every element of the universe(s).  

If we continue to experience a miserable vision of the nature of energy then our lives are filled with misery, with bitterness, with loss. Our institutions and corporations tend to become psychopathic monsters. 

If we open our beings to the fuller potential of the universe(s), if we embrace more of its myriad options, then we are better able to enjoy a greater sense of connection and harmony with the flows and balances of energy in our universe(s), a greater sense of bounty and gratitude. Our institutions become more founded in science/ democracy/compassion. 

Such is the power of the energy symbol. Such is the power of the mind.  Which “energy future” would you prefer to bequeath on your children?  

Note this is one of a series of videos exploring the potential of our key symbols. The next one will explore the power symbol and the following one will explore the electricity symbol. The full script is at  

There you can read suggestions of how you can conserve the amazing potential of these most glorious of symbols. You do not be have great academic qualifications to conserve them. All you need is love. The rules of care are simple. Here are a few of them:

v     Live in acceptance of the Principle of the Conservation of Energy, which advises us that energy can be considered so bouteous that it cannot be created or destroyed. Embrace that bounty.
(Refrain from speaking of and do not trust those who speak of “energy failures”,  “energy shortages”, “energy losses” and “energy collapses” etc)

v     Live in acceptance of the Principle of the Conservation of Energy, which advises us that energy can be considered so bouteous that it cannot be created or destroyed. Know that energy, by its very nature is conserved, is constant. Some resources are more renewable than others.
(Refrain from speaking of and do not trust those who speak of “renewable energy”, “sustainable energy”, "zero energy" and say humans can “conserve energy” for they deny the Conservation Principle)

v     Live in acceptance of the Principle of the Conservation of Energy, which advises us that energy is subject to constant transformation. Avoid confusing energy with any of the myriad forms it can take, for we are finite as they are finite. Give each form its own name.
(Refrain from speaking of and do not trust those who speak of resources such as fossil fuels and Bulk-generated electricity as energy.)

v     Live in acceptance of our roles as stewards amidst this continual change – know the critical issue is that it is not how much energy we use but rather whether our use of resources, of energy forms, conserves the balances and flows that sustain humanity.
(Refrain from speaking of and do not trust those who speak of energy efficiency as the practice of using less energy, who associate energy with deprivation.)

v     Live in acceptance of our roles as stewards amidst this continual change – accept responsibility with compassion for our perceived misuses of the universal potential.
(Refrain from blaming energy for our woes and do not trust those who speak of “energy crises”, “energy problems” and “energy failures” as the cause of our problem.

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Source -jet fuel consumption 471 Gallons per hour