The Sustainability Principle of Energy

An essential guide to enjoying science in our communication.


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Link here

 for examples of the application of Sustainability Principle. 
(List of symbol uses that promote acceptance/denial of stewardship amidst change.)

Link here
 for deeper discussion of key symbols - including

energy energy efficiency
global warming
warming & cooling



The Compassionate  Curriculum

A Framework for a Sustainable Education System



Key ideas from  Rationale for Compassionate Curriculum

Requisites for 
to exist:



Collegiality openness 
and sharing; 


Honesty and trust; 

Time and reflection 


Science  and creativity:

 The above requisites enable quantum leaps
 in insight.


The power  of symbols:

Symbols convey
 meaning and enable civilisation


Conserving the 
potential of 
our key symbols:

Any failure to
 conserve them 
puts us at greater risk.





Statement of the Principle

2009 Summary of Rationale

2007 Development and Draft Rationale

Sample application of the Principle
 (the global warming symbol)

Statement of the Sustainability Principle

The Sustainability Principle of Energy

“When a symbol use works to deny change it will materially alter the potential of the universe (energy) in a way that results in a reduction in the capacity of the symbol user to mirror reality. When a symbol use works for the acceptance of change it will increase the capacity of the symbol user to mirror reality.”

From the Sustainability Principle we get:

"The more we accept change the greater the harmony we know. The more we deny change the greater the misery we know."

“To the extent we are Mirror Beings (our brains are laced with mirror neuron systems) and have an ability to mirror the world around us, we are stewards of our actions – whether we like it or not.

“Actions speak louder than words because they form symbols that reveal the vast wordless world within in each of us.”

“Symbols are crystallised information and without them there is no civilisation.”

“If we have no symbol for a form of energy then its potential cannot be manifest."

"The more our symbols reflect the great diversity in change the greater the number of uses of energy that we can enjoy. Conversely the less our symbols reflect the great diversity in change the fewer options we have."

"Every time we confuse a form with energy we destroy our capacity to enjoy the potential of the universe(s) and thus know greater misery. This denial of change costs us countless options."


2009 Summary of Rationale

In order to enjoy the Sustainability Principle of Energy it is helpful to appreciate the following key notions.


Information is physical

This last century we rediscovered that what we thought was solid matter is relatively empty space and a trace realisation of a vast quantity of possibilities. We are now rediscovering the converse exists – that what we thought was immaterial such as thoughts, emotions, metaphors, symbols etc are always manifest in some material form.

We are equally stewards of bullets and words.


The power of symbols

Symbols can be understood as crystalised information; quanta or packages of meaning.

The capacity to use symbols is vital for the propagation of all life. All life forms use symbols for survival. The power of symbols is such that our use of them reflects the nature of our most primal being to the cellular level even as the symbols resonate to transform us at every level. Hence our need to be mindful in our use of symbols that we conserve their fullest potential.

We are stewards.

We are each Mirror Beings

Our brains are laced with mirror neuron systems for reflecting the universe(s). These neural networks interface with all cognitive functions and play a powerful role as drivers of behaviour. Thus our actions speak more powerfully than our words. And the truth of our actions is manifest somehow in our words. Our mirror neuron systems provide us with a powerful capacity for empathy. They enable us to sense and reflect the dissonance in other beings caused by discrepancies between their words and deeds. Similarly we can detect and reflect harmony.

We are our example.


The Conservation Principle of Energy

Energy is so bounteous it can be considered a constant (It can be neither created nor destroyed nor conserved for it is, by its very nature, conserved) and it manifest as continual change (It is manifest in myriad forms and these are continually changing from one into the other.)

We are mortal forms and change is our essence.


The Uncertainty Principle of Energy

We cannot simultaneously measure with great accuracy both of certain pairs of physical properties of a microscopic particle, such as its position and velocity. The more we know, for instance, about the velocity the fuzzier our knowledge of the position becomes. And vice versa.

The act of observing and measuring something alters it, transforms it in some way that we cannot be certain about. The observer changes the observed. Whether we like it or not we are inextricably a part of the flux of change.

We are stewards amidst the flux


Our power of acceptance and denial of change/stewardship.

A great thing about the human mind is that it has this fantastic capacity to accept and be in harmony with this experience of change, of universal transformation, of the process of becoming different. It can embrace immense possibilities, enjoy awe and vitality and be of generous spirit.

The human mind also has an equally fantastic capacity to deny this experience of change, of continual transformation. We have the capacity to construct extremely sophisticated rationales to obscure this denial and these often entail confusing energy with one of the myriad forms it can be manifest in. We can even construct belief systems that propagate the notion that humans can create, destroy and save energy. Thus the human mind can also experience a sense of great deprivation, of futility and loss of meaning. It can generate a most mean and miserable spirit.

Note: This is one of the reasons we can have some confidence in the truthfulness of the Conservation Principle of Energy. For millennia on millennia human beings have applied every ounce of ingenuity we are capable of to disproving the Principle. We have invented countless “perpetual motion machines” and “elixors of eternal youth” and all have failed. Every society that confused energy with one of the myriad forms it can take has perished amidst misery. It seems the Conservation Principle of Energy is probably as close to a universal law as we can have.

We ignore its wisdom at our peril.


The Sustainability Principle of Energy.

The Sustainability Principle of Energy

“When a symbol use works to deny change it will materially alter the potential of the universe (energy) in a way that results in a reduction in the capacity of the symbol user to mirror reality. When a symbol use works for the acceptance of change it will increase the capacity of the symbol user to mirror reality.”


From the Sustainability Principle we get:

"The more we  accept change the greater the harmony we know. The more we deny change the greater the misery we know."


The Sustainability Principle of Energy provides us with a tool for transcending our grand capacity for denial of our roles as stewards amidst change. The Principle enables us to better identify symbol uses that manifest this denial of change/stewardship and generate a sense of dissonance with the reality of change. At the same time it enables us to identify symbol uses that promote acceptance of change/stewardship and generate a sense of harmony with the universe(s).

The Sustainability Principle of Energy enables us to predict whether a symbol use puts us at greater or less risk in the longer term.





To the extent that either the Conservation or the Uncertainty Principles do not hold the Sustainability Principle ceases to be helpful.

Principles are not necessarily laws.


*The Sustainability Principle and science in communication: Tom Siegfried in The Bit and the Pendulum. From Quantum Computing to M theory – the New Physics of Information.


“…To me, this is one of the deepest and most important while least appreciated and least understood discoveries of modern science: Information is physical.”


…“The prophet of this point is Rolf Landauer, the IBM computer physicist widely known with the field of condensed-matter physics as one of its most perceptive critical thinkers...

Landauer has done with computers what Sadi Carnot did with steam engines – extracted a new principle of nature from the workings of a machine. And as Carnot’s work eventually led to the science of thermodynamics, Landauer’s work is at the formation of understanding the physics of computation…”


The suggestion, as beautifully described by Tom, that information is physical powerfully supports the Sustainability Principle of Energy. And just as Carnot was looking for a measure of the optimal efficiency of a steam engine and Landauer is looking for a measure of the optimal efficiency of computing machines the Sustainability Principle may give us a measure of the optimal efficiency of symbol (knowledge) use.

It leads to a science of communication in which we are better able to reflect reality – reality being all is change. In this state of science we accept change and stewardship as the same notion i.e. change/stewardship.

In the state of science change and stewardship are experienced as one and we are at one with change/stewardship.


2007:Development and Draft Rationale

The Sustainability Principle of Energy is derived from the Conservation and Uncertainty Principles of Energy. The Sustainability Principle only holds true to the extent both of these principles are true.

I define energy as the potential of the universe(s). Its nature is of a vastness that is beyond the comprehension of any mortal being. We are profoundly intimate with energy in every moment of our existence and yet it remains beyond our faculties to define its scale and know its full power. There is no symbol more vital that the energy symbol. The energy symbol is our vision of existence. That vision enables and determines the form of our culture.

I define power is that rate at which energy or the potential of the universe(s) becomes manifest. There is no symbol more vital than the power symbol. It enables us to measure the rate at which energy is manifest, or if you like, the measure of the rate of flow of energy in any situation. This enables us to, for instance, create constructs of how our society works in terms of its social forces (e.g. who has what power), to create systems of symbols that communicate useful information (e.g. effective language, DNA, computers etc), to measure how our use of a form of energy might work for us (e.g. the wattage of our sun and electrical potentials) and, in general, it enables the wealth of technology we have amassed.

So in the context of this use of the energy symbol it can be seen that the value of the power symbol can be considered effectively boundless.

Note: There are no symbols more vital than the love, God, science, life/death. trace and change symbols. Without any of these symbols there is no science. There is no civilisation. They are near interchangeable.

Be mindful that this use of energy symbol reveals energy as being bounteous to the point of being as near as we can get to a vast constant. In that constant is the potential of all the universe(s). 

The Conservation Principle of Energy states energy cannot be created or destroyed and is subject to constant transformation. This is the reality that the Sustainability Principle mirrors. It is one in which all is constant change and in which all forms exist as trace elements. It is one in which humans are mortal forms.

I draw from the Uncertainty Principle of Energy the belief that I cannot expect to know the bounds of all the potential of the universe(s). I am mirrored in those around me and they are mirrored in me. My act of observation alters how energy is manifest, as does all other acts of observation. 

I cannot alone mirror reality and nor can any other mortal form. However by enjoying compassion for myself and for all that exists I can share a vision which greater reflects reality, which enables the potential of the universe to become most manifest, to make life most meaningful. 

It is compassion that most enables us to communicate and find value in each other, to learn from our perceived errors, to accept our limitations as mortal beings and to better accept reality (change).

Also from the Uncertainly Principle of Energy I draw the belief that knowledge is physical. Communication is matter. We know this in our souls and that is why for thousands of years we have described information or knowledge as “material” (Middle English, consisting of matter, material, from Old French, from Late Latin m teri lis, from Latin m teria, matter; see m ter- in Indo-European roots.)

My definition of a symbol in this context is that it is a unit of crystallised information. It is the crystallised information contained in the knowledge of our DNA that has sustained living cells for two and half billion years that enables you and I to communicate in this moment. It is the crystallised information expressing the insights of the shaman painted or carved into rocks thousands of years ago that sustains humans through millennia. It is the crystallised information of the array of letters of this text that flashes on your screen.

Within each of the above symbols (energy, power, love, God, science, life/death. trace and change) resides wisdom that has sustained humans through millennia of constant change. We abuse these symbols at our peril. For instance, we destroy the matter (ial) that sustains us if we expose the DNA of our cells in an excessive way to solar radiation. Similarly we destroy the matter that sustains us if we expose these great symbols to the corrosive elements of greed and fear, for greed and fear are also physical. 

In other words, our choice of symbols or units of crystallised information materially alters how the potential of the universe (energy) is manifest. With this insight into the power of these symbols comes the potential to enjoy greater harmony with the universe so our beings resonate with awe and hope. Our use of the symbols can enable us to better mirror the majesty of the potential. Every use of these symbols that expresses greater acceptance of change and our mortality materially alters the universe, including ourselves, in ways that release us from misery.

We need also remain mindful of the Conservation and Uncertainty Principles of Energy as symbols. The Conservation Principle reminds us that all energy and all matter are conserved. We can alter the flows and changes of the forms they take even as we are one of those forms. However there is “no free lunch”. We cannot “sustain” or “conserve” energy or “make matter”, as many try to tell us.

The construct of the Conservation Principle of Energy is as near as we have to a natural law. Many have sought in vain to find flaw in it. Always it is conserved. The material of the Principle states humans cannot conserve energy. It is a grand denial that puts humanity at great risk to teach otherwise.

So the idea that information is physical has massive implications for us in all our communications. Even as it allows the potential for much joy to become manifest it also suggests we cannot avoid our roles as stewards. We cannot dismiss our compromising uses of these vital symbols as “mere conveniences” or as “communication shortcuts” or as “just metaphors”. To dismiss them so is to create short cuts to lives of great inconvenience. We are the metaphors we use. To be dismissive of our uses of the symbols is to dismiss our own existence.  We experience this dismissal as dissonance, as pain and suffering. In the extreme it is experienced as self-hatred and loss of hope. It is to experience lives without science, without love, without meaning.

Which all begs the question: how do we become stewards of energy when we cannot expect to know its full potential or when we are manifest as transient form amidst its universe of constant transformations. The answer is we do have wisdom and principles that can guide us. 

We are materially manifest because of the wisdom in our cells. We can trust to that wisdom and know that each cell, from the very primeval first cell, contained within it the power to make a vast number of computations. It requires the computing capacity of millions, if not billions, of our modern computers for a cell form to remain manifest through eons of changes in the flows and forms of our planet.

Already I have talked of the power of sharing. I have mentioned the power of compassion, and it is this capacity that enables us to learn; to be humble and accept what we perceive as errors in our behaviour and insights; and to accept the fallibility of others even as we value them as unique and vital mirrors of all. Sharing enables others to know, evaluate and “peer review” our knowledge.

When all these qualities exist and suffuse our spirit of inquiry then science flourishes and with that art, language, democracy and all that enables civilisation. Without these qualities humanity fails, for our ability to create powerful technology means we can destroy our potential on scale. Technology uses and systems without the requisites for science are psychotic by nature i.e. fail to have contact with reality. 

Our necessary roles as stewards are rooted in our uncertainty and while our symbols may provide us with guides we need review and conserve their value at all times. And this is where the Sustainability Principle of Energy is a valuable tool, based as it is in the Conservation and Uncertainty Principles. 

It is a tool that enables us to maintain the greatest sense of meaning possible, of having optimal contact with reality. It is a means of ensuring our children inherit the optimal number of sustaining options possible. It is a means of evaluating whether the use of a symbol in the form of a strategy or metaphor or policy or other construct will increase or reduce the long-term risks for our children. 

As such the Sustainability Principle is a vital tool for evaluating any communication. In the ultimate it is very simple – it measures the relative degree with which a symbol use promotes or destroys acceptance of change. This said, it is a complex process when applied to any particular situation or symbol use and there needs be constant re-evaluation of how change is being accepted or denied. That is the nature of the human condition, of mortal beings.

The Sustainability Principle can be seen as a measure of the energy efficiency of a symbol use, being mindful that knowledge is as physical as any other element of the universe.

As detailed below, the Sustainability Principle emerged from my explorations of the Education industry in general and the Environmental Education industry in particular. It is possible that it could have emerged from quantum physics but that is unlikely for my knowledge of this discipline is sparse. It could have emerged from my knowledge of neuropsychology and my fascination with what is being revealed at the quantum level of our brain cells. That is the trace interface of mind and matter. However I am not a neuropsychology researcher.

In the event it has emerged from my fascination with the power of our prime symbols and how they are used in the Education industry, especially in what is now known as the Environmental Education industry. I asked what enables men and women who spend much of their lives preaching of the need to change our behaviour so environmental balances are sustained to continue with unsustainable behaviour? How do they rationalise it? How is any dissonance manifest? And I noted the phenomenon whereby they tend to frame wonderful data born of science in complete non-science/nonsense. This observation soon generated this question: Why are their calls for their fellow humans to change couched in great denials of change?

I have viewed this vast Environmental Education industry that encompasses the global PR and formal education industries as a process or machine or organism, just as Carnot looked at the steam engine and Landauer looks at computers. I see them as equally physical processes.

And just as Carnot was looking for a measure of the optimal efficiency of a steam engine and Landauer is looking for a measure of the optimal efficiency of computing machines the Sustainability Principle may give us a measure of the optimal efficiency of symbol (knowledge) use.

The Sustainability Principle is as true as both the great Principles of Energy on which it is founded. As mentioned, there is much evidence supporting both principles, support for the latter being manifest in materials as various as transistors, TVs and nuclear bombs. Despite this there are very few people who fully accept the truth of these principles. We continue to attempt to deny our mortal role (that we will die) and our roles as stewards of our existence. Indeed humans have developed highly sophisticated mechanisms and constructs in our denial: 

  • Think of the extraordinary rationales we create for going to war on each other. 
  • Think of how climate experts can fly around the world making a living from preaching of the dangers of flying. Their rationale might include family, career and the belief that only their personal presence enables communication. 
  • Think of the belief systems in which we create pictures of an afterlife (heaven) in which we are forever young.
  • Think of how science is now symbolised as a body of knowledge out there, rationalised as something separate from us, which only a few elite (“scientists”) can understand.

All these rationales and associated activities are unsustainable and it is our use of symbols that enable them. Reflect on the above examples:    

  • The invasion of Iraq is symbolised as a fight for freedom though even Americans are now realising it is an invasion of a sovereign nation driven by a desire born of great greed to control its oil and Gas reserves.
  • The dissonance “climate experts” experience because of the contradiction between their actions and their words is reflected in their use of symbols that generate greater confusion of the issues in the general population. Its also promotes the dereliction of climate science. Explore their use of symbols and we find they frame information of the impact of our carbon use on atmospheric balances in denial of the impact. And then they wonder why they “have failed to get their message across”, not realising that they have conveyed their total message with great precision with every symbol use as manifest in their word choices, their nuances of posture and their general lifestyle.
  • The belief that humans can stay forever young increases the risk that humans will die young in wars etc. Societies founded in this belief tend to confuse the bounteous nature of energy with the forms it takes. They fail to conserve vital resources and people go to war as the resources become scarce in their society. The survivors tend to immortalise the soldiers who die young in battle but ignore the countless young who die of starvation and disease. 
  • Knowledge without a sense of individual stewardship has resulted in technology uses that threaten our existence on every level. Science is not some disconnected amoral body of knowledge out there. It is an intimate state of being. The moment knowledge is used without a sense of stewardship it ceases to be science.

The above examples of flawed rationales have common drivers. In each of them we find a denial of change and a denial of our roles as stewards. And every one of us has an extraordinary capacity to create such rationales. Our conscious moments are mere trace elements of our total being. 

And this is why the Sustainability Principle of Energy is so powerful. To the extent we are able to apply it with honesty and compassion it enables us to transcend our capacity for denial. It allows us to tap into the wisdom in every cell in our body. The scientist within is revealed.

And the insights it provides might at first shock and dismay us. However to the extent we maintain our science it will release us beyond the initial traumatic impact into a more wondrous world – the magnificent universe(s) that the Conservation and Uncertainty Principles hint of.

The shock might be because our whole world seems suddenly tipped upside down and all that we valued is perceived of as wrong. That is because the Sustainability Principle lays open the possibility each person is their own worst enemy. And even as I write this I wonder how I am being my own worst enemy. Already I smile as I anticipate the ingeniousness of the rationale behind my own denials. That is the smile of compassion.

Remain ever mindful: The Sustainability Principle contains messages of great hope and beauty as long as the spirit remains founded in compassion and every human has the capacity to know compassion and learn. It is also very clear that in as much as the Principles of Energy in which it is founded are true, then those who ignore their wisdom will find nature ruthless and indifferent to the plight they place themselves in.

And what does the Sustainability Principle indicate when it applied to the great issues of our day such as our use and abuse of our carbon potential? 

It indicates it is the Green Movement (Greenpeace, Green Parties, “energy experts”, consumer advocates, Environmental Educators etc) that puts our children at greatest risk. It is not the usual suspects such as the fossil fuel industry or President Bush or jet pilots. This is not to say their activities do not put our children at greater risk. 

It indicates that the draft National Education Curriculum being promoted in New Zealand is a war machine. It promotes a psychopathic vision of science that destroys civilisation with the physical force of an axe smashing the brains of our poets and artists. It also indicates that those who are most honoured as “scientists” and communicators of science may well be our greatest destroyers of the state of science.

The principle indicates that either our “science” and “environmental education” communicators will have to become exemplars of what they teach or their societies will have to replace them if they are to remain sustainable. (Be mindful, if this thought fills you with alarm; be mindful that in accepting the need for change from within the principle speaks of great hope and vigour flourishing.)

New Zealand is renowned as a symbol for 100% Clean and Green. It is legend as a peace-loving nation and as a powerful intermediary because of its historic relationships and because of its status as a small and neutral nation. The Sustainability Principle suggests that New Zealand, probably more than any other nation, poses the greatest risk to the children of the world. This is because our use of our carbon, solar and electrical potential provides a very high-risk model for humanity. The principle suggests, for instance, that our eminent role in facilitating the carbon trading regime into the Kyoto

Protocol means we have disproportionately increased the risk of global warfare and famine. Already New Zealand is paying an enormous price because of our failure to value carbon by instituting carbon taxes and those costs are set to escalate in non-linear ways.

The Sustainability Principle also suggests, for instance, that if the USA, Britain and New Zealand continue with their present activities they will become failed states and great sources of threat and misery for the remainder of humanity. By contrast it predicts that nations like India and China are more likely to prosper and be a source of harmony for humanity. Such is the power of symbols and their use of symbols.

(Note: my study of the global use of key symbols in 2002 is now supported by the recent HSBC survey of 9000 people across four continents. This “climate confidence index” suggested, “60% of Indians were concerned about climate change, compared to just 22% in the UK and 26% in Germany.” The USA rated at similar low levels. HSBC is now diverting funds to areas like India.

The probability of the disproportionate negative impact of contemporary New Zealand is based on the following premise: The Sustainability Principle explores the impact of not only the symbols we use. It also explores how this is amplified by the symbol that the user is. Thus the activities of a jet flying climate expert have far greater negative impact on the sustaining material balances of our world than does the activities of a President who evidences no knowledge or respect of climate processes.

This is not a matter for well-intentioned people to beat themselves up about, for that is to lack self-compassion and to destroy science. No one need have a heart attack or feel a sense of failure. The important thing is that we feel able to learn from perceived errors, to accept that an activity, which was perceived as generating bonusjoules in the last moment, can now be seen to be generating junkjoules in the next moment. 

It is a sign of a failure to comprehend the message of compassion that is implicit in the Sustainability Principle if its insights lead to self-scourging and guilt. While the message of the Principle is that nature is cruel to those who abuse the great principles of energy it also is a message of great hope. It provides the tool for generating harmony and enables our symbol use to work for us, not against us as so often happens at present. 

We are at reduced risk from all manner of misery to the degree we can accept the need to change our uses of symbols as per the wise counsel of the Principle.

So constantly and with kind humour we need review our use of key symbols:

First we evaluate our own net role as a symbol and estimate our own power in society. Then multiply this power by the power of our use of the key symbols. (The more sustainable (true) the symbol use the greater the number on bonusjoules it will generate. The less sustainable (untrue) the symbol use the greater the number of junkjoules it will generate.)

Then multiply this sum by the power of the symbol of the institutions we support and work for. Then multiply this sum by the power of the uses of symbols by the institutions. Be mindful that a construct (text, building, film etc) may contain a large amount of science. However if that information is framed in non-science then the positive value is reduced and even destroyed. There is the distinct risk that the construct will act as a negative force. 

This may seem an impossibly complex calculation. I am not sure if we have a mathematics that can calculate it. My school maths teaches me that a negative multiplied by a negative gives a positive. However does the power of one wrong multiplied by the power of another wrong give the power of a right? Or put more simply: Do two wrongs make a right? 

And it is not just a simple matter of adding the power of each level of symbol use. We know life does not work like that. Interest rates accumulate, technology use expands and the forces that generate weather storms grow at exponential rates. Similarly estimating the impact of the aggregate power of symbol uses is a non-lineal calculation. And the value or power of a symbol alters constantly with the transformations of our universe.

Herein is the beauty of the Sustainability Principle for it suggests that by identifying, valuing and conserving our key symbols then all other symbol uses begin to work to be more sustainable.

Remain mindful of the great principles of energy that I spoke of. Humanity is blessed with them as guides. They provide simple insight into sustainable uses of symbols, though often the social forces around us obscure their simplicity. 

Their simple insight is also obscured by the confusion we experience in the learning process and we adopt new paradigms.  The constant use of the key symbols as per the great Principles of Energy resonates within us and forms new neural patterns over old well-embedded patterns of brain activity. This can result in a sense of being in an incoherent state.  Be strong in the knowledge that it is better to stutter in expressing the truth than to express lies eloquently. And remain mindful that laughter born of a compassionate good humour releases hormones that ease the chemical transition of the brain patterns. 

Remember knowledge is physical as a brick. One does not take an old brick factory down and transform its bricks into a new house without patience, some sweat and exertion and billions of computations as to how best handle the changed energy flows and forms. But trust the energy is there and know the wisdom in your cells that has served us so well for billions of years. You are well able to use symbols with science. Indeed the Sustainability Principle generates the following hypothesis: in Western culture those who enjoy the state of science most fully are those least publicly symbolised as “scientists”.

So being in a state in which all the requisites of science exist let us explore how we might best conserve the potential of our key symbols: 

Link here

 for examples of the application of Sustainability Principle. 
(List of symbol uses that promote acceptance/denial of stewardship amidst change.)



Link here
 for more in-depth applications of the Sustainability Principle to our use of
 key symbols  
- including

energy energy efficiency
global warming
warming & cooling


Sample application of the Sustainability Principle

Below is a sample exploration of the social phenomenon of our use of the warming symbol in non-sustaining ways. For a concise summary simply follow the link in the above box.


Social Phenomenon:

Warming = warming up  = Climate change = Bad = Global warming = warming up of Earth’s surface = unhealthy/bad...  


Key ideas

All matter is subject to warming and cooling i.e. subject to constant change.

Warming= cooling = no temperature change (constant state)

Warming > cooling = warming up = temperature change (change of state)

Warming= warming up = denial of underlying constant change of universe = denial of Conservation Principle of Energy.

We deny change at our peril.

Introduction Statement

Our use of carbon is one of the defining issues of our times. There is a concern that human activities are impacting on the balances of the atmosphere in a way that means we are at risk from increased surface temperatures of Earth’s surface. This concern and associated material is encapsulated in the global warming symbol. 

Here are some of the key changes involved in global warming.


The change involves an extra factor: a change of state. The thermal state changes from a constant state (zero net temperature change) to altered state (net temperature change). In this scenario involving the thermal balances of planet Earth, the temperature alters upwards. Why?

It is helpful to understand the principles of thermodynamics. The universe(s) exist because of the constant flow of thermal energy. We experience thermal energy as the oscillation, vibration and random activity of atoms and their constituent particles or, if you like, as matter, heat, warmth, life…

It is also helpful to know that thermal energy always moves from warmer areas to cooler areas. Every motion of every element of the universe occurs because of this transfer. Also the movement of thermal energy transforms the elements to different states. For instant gas becomes liquid becomes solid and variations of this. By use of combustion (eating and breathing) you and I sustain our human form. 

All that exists is subject to constant warming and cooling. That is the nature of existence.

Simply put: without thermal energy matter ceases to be manifest. 

And to put it simply, for an object to stay in a steady state:

No change of net temperature of object occurs when warming = cooling as in

Incoming thermal energy = outgoing thermal energy

And an object changes its state when there is a change of net temperature of object. This occurs in when

Incoming thermal energy > outgoing thermal energy = a rise in temperature

Or when

Incoming thermal energy < outgoing thermal energy = a drop in temperature.

Planet Earth is one manifestation of a relatively constant state in that it can sustain organisms. A trace balance in the thermal flows is maintained so surface temperatures of the globe remain relatively moderate and average a comfortable temperature of 15ºC.  It is constantly cooling as the planet resides in what amounts to near space or a region of the universes(s) where matter barely exists. The region surrounding the planet is thus extremely cold.

However even as the planet is subject to cooling it is subject to warming. Some of the warming is from within but this is insufficient to sustain life, as we know it. The life sustaining warmth is generated by the impact of solar energy on Earth’s surface. The resultant constant state in which warming equals cooling enables cellular structures such as we human beings to exist.

If our activities affect this warming–cooling balance then we put our existence at risk. For instance if we alter the balances of the atmosphere so that it retains additional thermal energy then temperatures rise. Earth’s surface warms up and the life-sustaining state becomes unstable. Hence the use of the up symbol takes on a critical value. It signifies a new level of change, of enhanced risk.

Failure to employ the up symbol is a denial of change. Indeed the common use of the warming symbol as in the equation warming = warming up generates non-science and puts us all at great risk. It is a denial of the Conservation Principle of Energy and all sustainable uses of our resources. It is a recipe for misery.

Science suggests that if a human-induced thermal build up of the atmosphere is occurring it is best described thus. In that use of symbols resides the qualities of knowledge and stewardship necessary for the truth to resonate and generate sustainable activities.

(b) Cellular knowledge and change

Within each cell of us is the knowledge that has sustained cells through two and a half billion years of change. This knowledge has been sustained on Earth’s surface through eons of changes in solar activity. Each cell has maintained the capacity to perform near countless computations to adapt to the waxing and waning of solar radiation. Our cells know that the daily warming of the planet enables our existence.  


To the extent we value our existence then we know global warming is a good, a healthy state, in the same ways that leaves and flowers acknowledge the movement of the sun.


It is common for climate experts and other “environmentally concerned” leaders suggest global warming = bad, unwelcome, undesirable and to call on us to fight and stop the process. In so doing they are denying the knowledge contained in every cell of every organism on Earth. It is little wonder that people who listen to the wisdom of their cells dismiss these leaders as confused and even as charlatans.

That same cellular wisdom resonates in sympathy and responds in adaptive ways to the risks of changed states as communicated with symbols like the up and down symbols. Our cells know that a Human-induced Thermal Build-up of the atmosphere does not bode well. Whereas warming implies comfort, warming up implies discomfort.

Chemical change. 

Human activity is part of a constant chemical process. Life sustaining temperatures are the product of a complex interplay of molecular balances and flows. Our acts of combustion (eating/breathing, driving a car or burning a forest) alter, for instance the balances and flows of oxygen and carbon atoms in a physical way. It is possible to measure the chemical changes involved and to reveal the patterns inherent in the change. Every change alters the thermal balances of the universe(s) to some degree.  Our ability to survive amidst that change depends on our capacity or vision to reflect the nature of those patterns of change. That vision forms our use of symbols and is formed by our use of symbols. We cannot know the full impact of our activities and constantly must reassess the power of our key symbols. For instance, do our symbols with which we communicate climate processes include the role of oxygen in water and ozone flows and changes as well as carbon exchanges?

Bearing in mind the premise that knowledge is physical, our use of symbols has chemical powers in the same way as does our acts of breathing and chopping down trees. Our vision is manifest in the chemical patterns of our brains, of our technology and of the human species as a whole. 

The physical state of a brain in which neural networks are configured to equate the warming symbol with zero temperature change or constant state of being is different to the physical state of a brain in which neural networks are configured to equate the warming symbol with a temperature change or non-constant state of being. 

Each brain state generates a different manifestation of the universe. Each subtly alters the chemical balances of, for instance, our atmosphere. The “constant state” brain tends to generate a stable chemical (thermal) state while the “non-constant state” tends to generate an unstable state. The first will be experienced as a sense of harmony and the second as a sense of disharmony. That is because our existence in this chemical form depends on a certain balance of chemistry, on a certain level of constancy in the form of moderate and comfortable temperature levels.

The chemistry of symbols is such that those crystallising vast amounts of knowledge have great power. So in the context of this discussion, the decision to not employ a symbol such as the up symbol can have the power to cause humans to look down to fossil fuel in the ground for sustenance rather than up to the sun for sustenance. It can obscure our vision of the atmosphere and make it easy for us to fail to reflect on the impact of our activities on the chemistry of the atmosphere. Our misuse of key symbols as in warming = warming up is as corrosive as any acid on our organism.


Electrical change

We are Electrical Beings, even as we are Carbon Beings, Thermal Beings, Ocean Beings and all other manner of beings. We are the manifestation of the electrical potential of the atoms of our cells, the neural patterns of our brains, the networks that lace our dwellings and the utility grids that splice our communities, the balances of the electrical potential in our atmosphere and, in general, the electrical interchange which is our universe(s). 

All that is physical is electrical.

We are sustained by an atmosphere, which is subject to constant interplay of electrical exchange whether it is between the high power charges from the sun and the charges binding ozone molecules or caused in the friction of cloud masses. Humans have the capacity to alter the balance of that electrical potential, as we have seen from our impact on the distribution of oxygen in the form of ozone molecules.

We know how the absence of ozone molecules can affect the electrical potential of our cells so the information stored in our DNA for billions of years can be deleted. We also know how the electrical phenomena of atmosphere can affect the electrical potential of our brains. For instance those who experience the aural displays near the poles can become subject to confusion, tiredness and headaches – as can occur among those subject to fohn winds.  We see it in the disorientation and disharmony of bees when “electrical storms” are brewing.

The brain of a person in which the warming symbol is wired warming = cooling (stable state) is configured differently to the brain in which the symbol is wired warming = warming up (stable state = unstable state). Their electrical potentials are different and each generates a different potential with the greater electrical potential. 

In the context of reflecting and sustaining a sustainable electrical potential in the atmosphere, the “stable” neural network is an efficient system in which relevant knowledge is transferred with ease. The grid system has resilience and the person experience this as harmony. The system can be characterised as intelligent.

By comparison the “non-stable” neural network is an inefficient system in the grid is constantly stressed. The constant electrical input or knowledge from the universe results in the overloading of existing networks and the burnout of essential nodes. The input potential from the outside universe may be in harmony with the input potential form the inside universe (our cellular potential) but the “non-stable” nature of the neural network interferes in the total potential. The system can be characterised as incoherent (non-intelligent). In the process valuable data is scrambled and the person experiences distress and confusion. Or, if you like, disharmony. This is manifest as activities such as we see with bees in a similar state – people become agitated, hostile and stinging needlessly or they simply lose their way. 

Psychological change.

As mentioned in the general discussion of the Sustainablity Principle, all humans have a considerable capacity to deny we are mortal beings and are stewards. Our conscious being is but a trace element of our total being. It has been suggested that we are only conscious in any moment of a few thousand of the estimated 6 billion computations going on in primal beings, our subconscious. Just as we cannot expect to know the full potential of the universe(s) we cannot expect to know the full potential and impacts of those billions of subconscious computations. It is impossible to know how true our rationalisations are, to know what drives our conscious beliefs and our activities.  Is it maladaptive fears and doubts or wisdom born of the eons?  We can know we are capable of extraordinarily sophisticated rationales to deny our mortality and our roles as stewards. We are confronted constantly with evidence of this as people continue to act in ways contrary to their stated beliefs. Their conscious state is in dissonance with their net primal state. 

The question is what enables them to act against their own wisdom and how do we detect the mechanisms in operation.

Important insights into this phenomenon can be gained from observing symbol use. It is common to observe that the dissonance is manifest in the framing of data with symbols uses that deny its content. The use of the warming symbol as in warming = warming up = non-constant state is a classic case of the rationalisation of the dissonance. Stewardship and acceptance of change is denied by denying change occurs. The fundamental warming-cooling thermodynamic of the universe is replaced by a vision of thermodynamics in which temperature change is seen as the constant state. Atoms are changeless and not subject to constant warming-cooling. Rather constancy in warming up is seen as the norm of the universe.

This justifies the person continuing with activities that cause, for instance, changes to the average temperature of Earth’s surface. Our associations of warming, an effect we know at the cellular level is vital, welcome and good is associated with, in this case, a Human-induced Thermal Build-Up

This is, in effect, a denial of the Conservation Principle and its message of continual transformation. It is interesting to observe that this symbol use (warming =warming up) is associated often with symbol uses, such as renewable energy, sustainable energy, humans can conserve energy, climate change=bad and other denials of the Principle.


If talking about the possibility of a Human-induced Thermal Build-Up of Earth’s surface then employ symbols such as human, warm/thermal, build and up for according to the Sustainability Principle they contain the essence that reflect reality. Or if you like these symbols are crystallised knowledge that materially alters how the universe is manifest in such ways that we enjoy greater harmony. Enjoy the hope and compassion inherent in the Principle and know that though the symbol use may feel strange initially its use will resonate to generate greater meaning within and to your audience.

Link here

 for examples of the application of Sustainability Principle. 
(List of symbol uses that promote acceptance/denial of stewardship amidst change.)


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