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(Enhancing and Conserving the potential of our most vital symbols.))

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 Definitions atmosphere

energy  efficiency
warming & cooling

global warming

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exponential functions

Peak Oil 


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What is Energy?





Tzu Lu said: "The ruler of Wei wants you to become a member of his government. What will you work on first?" Confucius said: "The correction of language use [rectification of names]." Tzu Lu said: "You don't mean it! Why should that be your first priority?" Confucius said: "If language is not used correctly, then what is said won't be understood. If what is said is not understood, then the work of the state cannot be carried out successfully. If the work of the state cannot be carried out successfully, then the rules of propriety will not be observed and music [that is, culture] will not develop. If propriety does not prevail, and if music [that is, culture] does not develop, then criminal punishments will not be imposed in accordance with justice. If criminal punishments are unjust, then the people will be disoriented in their actions. Therefore, the Chun-Tzu must see to it that language is used correctly and that what he says is carried out in practice." 



Definition The energy symbol

Energy is the potential of the universe(s). Humans are mortal forms and cannot know the full potential. However indications are we are intimately involved with how that potential is manifest (The Uncertainty Principle of Energy). Also this far no human in recorded history has ever in any practical way found flaws in the Conservation Principal of Energy which states that energy is so bounteous it can be considered a constant and that it is subject to constant transformations. Energy is manifest in every aspect of existence and no aspect or form of existence can be called energy. They may be categorized as forms or sources or manifestations or types of energy with each having its own symbol.

Give each its own symbol so it can be talked of by its own name. Do this and our children can better know the bounteous nature of energy and enjoy the vitality of its transformations. 

Definition The power symbol

Power is the rate at which energy is manifest. In as much as energy is manifest in every aspect of existence then every aspect of existence is powered. No form or aspect of existence can be called power but power can be categorized in terms of forms or sources or manifestations. For instance we can talk of:

* Manpower (7.46 Watts), 
* Horsepower
(33 foot-pounds per minute, 75 kilogram-meter per second etc)
* Solar power (BTUs or amount of heat required to raise one pound of water one degree 1ºF or Watts or calories, etc)  
* Social power (the relative capacity to affect social change), 
* Electrical power (watts or joules/second or volt amperes or 1/746 horsepower)

An indication of the range of ways of measuring power can be seen at the conversion sites

Give a symbol to every manifestation of power and our children will enjoy greater harmony with the changing balances and flows of our universe(s).

 Definition The love symbol

Love is a state of being. It is associated with compassion and the unconditional acceptance of oneself, of other human beings and of all other life. In this state of acceptance of one and all we experience connection with the universal. This connection promotes a sense of bounteousnous, strength and fearlessness. 

The bounteousness enhances our sense of awe, gratitude and our ability to know energy. 

The strength enables us to confront and accept our aloneness and limitations, our mortality and roles as stewards. 

The fearlessness enables us to learn from our perceived errors. 

In this state we know truth without fear.

Love is associated with warmth and ease and a sense of freedom. The warmth reminds us of the energy of the universe(s). 

The ease enhances all our senses so we are more receptive of the universe(s) and can better reflect the totality of change and live with greater harmony. 

The sense of freedom opens us to giving so that all may come to us and the spirit of inquiry thrives in us. Knowledge is enhanced in the spirit of sharing and science thrives, thus enabling language, art, meaning, civics and all that we know as civilisation

Anything less than this is not love. Just as energy is, love is. Just as there is no such thing as “renewable/sustainable energy” or “dirty/clean energy” there is not such thing as “bad/good love” or “tough/soft love” or “cheap/expensive love”. These are states or ways that lack love or what love is not and as such each has its own symbol. 

So know the love symbol expresses the universal in us and thus our children will be more able to enjoy greater meaning and harmony.

  • Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself. Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto love. 

Khalil Gibran, The Prophet


Definition The science symbol 

Science is a state of being founded in compassion that enables us to better reflect and enjoy harmony with our constantly changing universe. Compassion provides the requisites (inclusiveness, collegiality openness and sharing; inquiry; honesty and trust; time and reflection) for science to exist. 

When all these requisites exist in our use of symbols, knowledge and technology then civilisation tends to thrive. In the absence of compassion there is no science. 

Thus science is more than a way of thinking or a body of knowledge. It is a state of being that transcends thinking and knowledge and is a state that all conscious humans are born into. We are all scientists to some degree and so it is non-science to call a select group of some people scientists or to talk of a scientific community. 

Know this and our children will enjoy the fuller potential of the science within them and art, language, civics and all that enables civilisation will thrive.


 Definition The energy efficiency symbol

The universe is subject to constant transformation and its flows and balances are continually changing. Energy efficiency is the wise use of resources so that the balances that sustain us are conserved as fully as possible. Because we live in a flux of change the efficiency of every act we make alters with the moment. What can be considered a wise use of resources in one moment can be considered unwise in the next as our general environment changes, new technology evolves and our awareness of the impact of our activities changes. Energy efficiency is a state of being in which we are mindful of our every act.

Most definitions of energy efficiency define it as the use of less energy without reducing the end-use benefits. This is a denial of the fundamental nature of energy and it promotes the politics of deprivation and fear. It obscures the fact that energy is as bounteous as the universe(s) and comes in many forms. 
Some banking groups, such as those who control the Bulk-generated electricity and fossil fuel sectors, attempt to equate the energy symbol with their products as energy. The equation of the energy efficiency symbol with energy reduction serves their short-term interests as it associates any reduction in the use of their products with an energy-deprived state.

It is possible to increase the amount of energy we use and become more energy efficient in the process. For instance by designing our dwellings to optimize their solar potential and thus reducing demand for Bulk-generated electricity we can use more energy while being in greater harmony with the balances and flows that sustain us. Similarly we might increase the food available without negatively impacting on balances by employing the unused potential of our backyards.

Energy efficiency is about reflecting and being in harmony with reality i.e. the constant transformation, which is our universe(s).

Click here for more discussion of sustainable uses of the energy efficiency symbol.

Definition The atmosphere symbol

Atmosphere is a layer of gases that may surround a body of sufficient mass.”

Planet Earth has an atmosphere with bounteous potential in that it enables a wide range of life forms to exist here. When using the atmosphere symbol it is helpful that we remain mindful of the fullest potential so that we can understand its impacts are manifest. We can apply general uses of the atmospheric symbol to Earth thus:

The atmospheric thermal effect (the capacity of the atmosphere to retain thermal energy) 

The atmospheric convective effect (Air molecules move relatively freely. Hence our atmosphere is characterized by a large capacity for thermal convection and thus works to moderate temperature extremes around the planet.)

The atmospheric insulating effect (Air has a relatively low capacity to conduct thermal energy and thus can be used as a thermal insulator if convection is suppressed.)

The atmospheric ozone effect (Ozone molecules in the stratosphere interact with harmful solar waves (ultraviolet rays), transforming them into waves that are less harmful to life on Earth. The ozone molecules are destroyed in the process and are constantly replaced by the atmosphere.

Atmospheric pressure (This is a measure of Earth’s gravitational force in combination with the total mass of a column of air above a location.

Atmospheric weather (The set of all extant phenomena in our atmosphere at a given time. We are most familiar with weather in the troposphere where almost all the Earth’s water vapour resides. We experience it as wind cloud rain snow, fog and dust storms.

Conserve the atmosphere symbol thus and our children will know the fuller potential of their Atmospheric Beings and so enjoy greater harmony with and be sustained by the dynamic system, which is Earth’s atmosphere.  

Definition The greenhouse symbol

A greenhouse is a closed structure designed to suppress air convection while remaining transparent to natural sources of light so that plants within can do photosynthesis. Traditionally the cladding was glass (hence glasshouse) but transparent plastic is now often used. The suppression of air convection means heat from the sun and internal furnaces can be better retained, thus enabling plants to be grown out of season and in hostile colder regions. 

Greenhouses exploit the fact that air has a great capacity for thermal convection - the movement of masses of warmer molecules to cooler regions. It has a small capacity for thermal conduction – the direct movement of heat between atoms. Hence stilled air is a good thermal insulator.

In the 1820s  Joseph Fourier used the greenhouse symbol to describe how Earth’s atmosphere enhances and moderates surface temperatures of our planet. Already at that time greenhouses were a symbol of great social and industrial power. 

The Great Exhibition of 1851 which housed examples of Britain’s industrial might in a huge greenhouse (The Crystal Palace), was designed reinforce the image of humans (Britons) fulfilling ancient Biblical and other incantations that Man is ordained by God to live in dominion over all other creatures on Earth.

The greenhouse symbol soon became the ultimate expression of the religions that enabled the Industrial Revolution with its fundamental belief that humans can engineer all elements of our planet at will. Thus it is now very common for climate experts, teachers and the media to evoke images of Earth encased in a greenhouse and preach of greenhouse gases and effects in a greenhouse world.

This, of course is a great denial of change. Our atmosphere is very dynamic and organic structure, characterized by a powerful capacity to transfer thermal energy by convection. Greenhouses are inorganic structures, characterized by a suppressed capacity for thermal convection.

It is also a great denial of stewardship for it replaces the image of humans as part of a dynamic structure with an image of humans transcending atmospheric processes and being able to control them. 

If the Sustainability Principle of Energy holds, then these denials put humanity at great risk.

Using the greenhouse symbol to evoke images of humans living in harmony with atmospheric balances better conserves the potential of the symbol.

By using it to communicate how humans can employ all manner of materials to create thermal transformers and to suppress air convection, then our children will be be able to use buildings, clothing, appliances etc as insulators and thus minimise their negative impact on the resources and balances that sustain us.


Definition  The carbon symbol.

Carbon is the 4th most abundant element in the universe by mass after hydrogen, helium and oxygen. It is ubiquitous in all known lifeforms, and in the human body it is the second most abundant element by mass (about 18.5%) after oxygen.[5] Carbon is the sixth most abundant element by weight in the Earth's crust. This abundance, together with the unique diversity of organic compounds and their unusual polymer-forming ability at the temperatures commonly encountered on Earth, make this element the chemical basis of all known life.”

We can be seen as Carbon Beings as carbon molecules flow through us constantly and we need live in balance with the greater flow of carbon atoms on our planet and beyond. The carbon nitrogen cycle provides some of the energy produced by the Sun and other stars.

Thus there can be no such thing as carbon neutrality. Our every use of carbon alters the balance and flow of carbon and we cannot trade away or offset our impacts. Such beliefs are a denial of change/stewardship. For instance, our action of extracting and burning a fossil fuel can never be considered neutral as the carbon options and impacts our children experience are altered so they can never use that resource again.

Similarly the concept of the Post Carbon Age is unhelpful. Certainly we may not be able to burn fossil fuels as we have this last thirty years. However there are countless ways we need carbon and can use it sustainably. 

Talk of all carbon forms and our children can know the fuller potential of their Carbon Beings.  



Definition The electricity symbol

It is impossible to define electricity if we are to retain its fullest potential. That is because the wide range of electrical phenomena that we know of exhibits such a differing and contradictory qualities. We are Electrical Beings and we live in electrical universe(s). Electrical charges are found throughout the universe(s), even in the vast regions previously thought to be empty space. In fact 99% of the universe(s) is electrical plasma.

Electricity reflects the paradoxical state of existence and is at once visible and invisible; slow to near stationary and fast as the speed of light; totally weightless and has a small weight; a class of phenomena and thus cannot be measured and we can measure it; and it is unchanged even as it is changed.

To conserve the maximal potential of the electricity symbol it is helpful to treat it as we do the energy and power symbols: know it is manifest as a multitude of phenomena and take care not to call any of those phenomena “electricity”. Instead give each phenomena its own symbol, for instance, speak of electric charges, electrical energy, electrons, electric currents, imbalances of charge, electric fields, voltage, electric power, electromagnetism, electrical science or studies and electrical phenomena etc. 

Similarly talk of bioelectricity, piezoelectricity, tribolectricity, thermoelectricity atmospheric electricity etc.

Similarly avoid becoming a pawn in the malicious play of greedy bankers etc who callously exploit the electricity, energy and power symbols and define them as their product, Bulk-generated electricity.  
Take care to talk of, for instance, Bulk-generated electricity (large scale industrial), Micro-generated-electricity (under one megaWatt –small scale industrial), dwelling-generated electricity (kilowatts), appliance-generated electricity (watts) and nano-generated electricity.

Do this and our children can enjoy the fuller potential of their Electrical Beings and, especially in this time of high risk to humanity for we exist the Cheap Oil/Gas Age, they will be better able to thrive.

With special thanks to William J Beatty re understanding the nature of electricity.

Definition The warming & cooling symbol(s)

The existence of the universe(s) is associated with the constant flow of thermal energy.

It is not easy to define the thermal energy symbol, as it is associated with wonderfully complex phenomena. For instance, it can be seen as the sum of kinetic and potential energies of the molecules. 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 is associated with this transfer. The movement of thermal energy is also associated with the transformation of the elements from one state to another. For instant gas becomes liquid becomes solid and variations of this.

By use of combustion (eating and breathing) you and I moderate the flow of thermal energy through us so our temperature remains relatively constant at about 98.2ºF (37ºC). Thus we sustain our human form.

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

To put it simply, for an object to remain in a steady state in which there is no net change of temperature then warming = cooling, as in

Incoming thermal energy = outgoing thermal energy

When warming does not equal cooling then there is a change of net temperature of object and the object tends to change its state.

It can warm up, as in

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

Or it can cool down, as in

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

Simply put: without thermal energy matter ceases to be manifest. We are each Thermal Beings. As such, we are part of the universal flux of thermal energy and we are sustained in this human form by the vast flows and exquisite balances of the thermal movement.

Conserve the awesome potential of our warming & cooling symbols so our children can sense the vitality of their Thermal Beings and enjoy greater harmony with the universe.

Definition The global warming & global cooling symbol(s)

Before reading this definition please read how to conserve the potential of our warming & cooling symbols.

As with any other element of the universe(s), planet Earth is subject to constant warming and cooling. The planet is a manifestation of a relatively constant state in that its surface temperature remains relatively constant 15ºC, thus enabling the existence of organisms.

Earth 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 gravitational forces within the planet 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 global warming equals global cooling, enables cellular structures such as we human beings to exist.

We are sustained by global warming equally as we are sustained by global cooling.

Conserve the global warming-global cooling symbols thus for they communicate the vitality of Earth’s existence to our children.

Note it is common for our media (including internet search engines), teachers and climate scientists to make contrary uses of these symbols of temperature constancy and associate them with temperature changes. For instance they describe a warming-up of Earth’s surface as Global Warming rather than a Global Warming-Up or Thermal Build-up. The inability to use the up symbol is part of a wider syndrome.

In order to understand this contrary behaviour it is helpful to acknowledge that all humans have a capacity to deny the nature of change (our mortality) and our roles as stewards.

The up and down symbols are very potent and when used in conjunction with the warming and cooling they form a powerful reminder of the trace nature of our existence. They work to remind us that we are Trace Beings and that our existence depends on brief thermal balances amidst the greater flow of thermal energy.
The up and down symbols resonate in us with warnings that the thermal balances that sustain us as mortal beings are ceasing to exist.

We may find it difficult to face the inconvenient truth that this change is happening – especially if the distinct possibly exists that our own activities are generating the change and putting us at increased risk.

As part of our capacity for denial of change and our roles as stewards we attempt to associate the global warming symbol with the change of state/temperature change, for we know at our cellular (primal) level that global warming/cooling is a welcome and sustaining process. This flawed use of the global warming symbol is an attempt to resolve the dissonance created by our desire to continue with behaviour that we know is unsustainable i.e. the dissonance created by our innate knowledge that our walk is contrary to our talk.

The denial of change and stewardship generates and reflects profound confusion for even as we attempt to convince ourselves at a primal level that the risky global temperature change is OK (i.e. a sustaining/healthy process) we articulate an association of malevolence with the Global Warming symbol as in Global Warming = Bad (i.e. the life sustaining thermal balance at Earth’s surface is malevolent).

Worse, the equation of the warming and warming up symbols (i.e. warming= warming up) reveals an active rejection of life itself. It represents a denial of the underlying thermal balances and flows that enable any form to be manifest. We each have a capacity for hatred, self-destruction and denial of our mortality. The association of global warming with malevolence is a manifestation of this capacity and this use of the symbol is part of a wider phenomenon in which many of our most vital and sustaining symbols are associated with evil in our current culture. In short the equation warming = warming up is a recipe for misery.

Know we are our actions and know that Global Warming is not Global Warming-Up. Similarly Global Cooling is not Global Cooling Down.
It requires an active decision to conserve the global warming & cooling symbol(s) and ensure any personal dissonance we experience is not projected onto our children. Let them embrace and celebrate with the unique thermal balance, which is our planet. Let them enjoy harmony with global warming/cooling.

Definition The Biofuels symbol


The biofuels symbol is a new symbol and does not exist in dictionaries before the 1970s. Its genesis lay, in part, in the need to distinguish between fossil fuels (mineral oil, gas and coal) and (bio)fuels derived from biological matter or biomass (plants, animals, fish, microbes, etc).

While our remaining fossil fuels resource has great power potential at the moment it is limited in that it cannot be replaced because it took eons to form. The biofuels resource of our planet has much less power potential at any time than our current fossil fuel resource. However biomass is constantly renewed and if used wisely it can form a relatively renewable resource.

Bio is from Greek bios which means life. Fuel is from Old French  fouaille < Latin focalier < focus which means hearth.

Every symbol use reflects the ethos of the user. Once the hearth was central in people’s awareness. Cars and jets are central to rich people’s awareness now and current use of the biofuels symbol is dominated by the automobile and air travel industry supporters. Hence numerous dictionary and legislative definitions revolve around this central assumption:

" Biofuels -- Liquid fuels and blending components produced from biomass (plant) feedstocks, used primarily for transportation"

This reveals a denial of change and stewardship in that biomass provides the fundamental fuel used to sustain all human bodies and billions of people rely on fuel from biomass for heating – especially for heating food stocks to make them digestible. The symbol use works to deny the fact that it is often food stocks that are fuel for cars and jets.

This use of the biofuels symbol also denies other vital elements of the flux which is Earth’s carbon system. Forests play an essential role cleansing water and moderating its flows, retaining soil, acting as a food reservoir and providing shelter for humans. The symbol use works to deny the fact that it is often forests that are fuel for cars and jets.

Biofuels are sometimes called bioenergy. This reveals a denial of change and stewardship in that, in general, the fuels are only transformed into useful forms with combustion. It is a denial of the essential role that the atmosphere plays in the energy equation: Combustion = fuel plus atmosphere.

Conserve the potential of the biofuels symbol by ensuring your use of the symbol remains inclusive of our need for forests, food, shelter and heating. Be mindful that a symbol use is the message and the fuel use is the infrastructure. If a biofuel use involves transforming food stocks into car fuel then call it “Food stock for cars/jets”. If a biofuel use involves transforming forests in plantations for car fuel then call it “forests for cars/jets”. This acceptance of stewardship enhances the possibility that all our children can enjoy the fuller potential of biofuels.


Note: A separate page is devoted to the exponential function symbol

Other key symbols to be discussed include


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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.”


Without symbols there is no civilisation.


Symbols enable us to communicate and reflect reality.


By maximising the potential of symbols we can enjoy the greatest harmony with all.


Failure to conserve symbols and  the flawed  uses of symbols destroys civilisations.


Symbol use born of compassion works to sustain humanity.