Wednesday, June 07, 2006
MEDITATION: "The 15-billion-year-old Man"
I've always been fascinated by the something I learned back in high school chemistry -- the law of the conservation of matter and energy. The law states that matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed, but can change its form, and that the total quantity of matter and energy available in the universe is a fixed amount, never any more or less. I find this intriguing because it means that no new matter or energy was created when I was conceived 64 years ago, and no new matter or energy has been created in my body during my entire life. Astonishingly, the matter and energy that make up my body, as it sits here in my classroom on a rainy Wednesday morning, was created approximately 15 billion years ago! The substance of the universe has definitely changed form countless times since then, but it's still the basic stuff that was created at the time of the "big bang". This has amazing implications, not the least of which is that I am actually something like 15 billion years old! The oxygen and hydrogen atoms that make up most of my body were created immeasurable eons ago, and they're still going strong as I go about my daily business in 2006. I am as ancient as the oldest mountains and seas, as long-lived as the farthest and most primordial stars. The law also suggests that I don't have to go about "getting" or "making" energy each day. I've heard people say, "I need to get more energy", but that's a mistaken notion, because all the energy the universe (including us) will ever have has been in existence for 15 billion years. We don't have to get or make energy; all we have to do is tap into the energy that's always been there. It's as easy as turning on a faucet, but in this case it's 15 billion-year-old Hamilton Salsich turning on the 15 billion-year-old faucet of the universe.