Joule studied the nature of heat which ultimately lead to the first law of thermodynamics. But Joule was interested in conserving energy--getting more from less. In many ways, he was one of the first green scientists. The irony of which is, of course, that many of Joule's contributions ended up fueling industry.
772.55--that's the climacteric measurement found by Joule that represents the mechanical equivalent of heat. Joule discovered it in 1878--eleven years before his death. I think Joule represents a terrific example of applied kinetic energy. He worked his whole life, building on his units of derived energy, to attain the velocity necessary to find a singular measurement. His gravestone has a quote from John 9:4: "I must work the works of him that sent me while it is day; the night cometh, when no man can work."
I live that every day. And I have a feeling that James Prescott Joule had a similar conviction, though we're a century apart.
In the middle of writing this rather terrific entry, I was interrupted. Again. My life has been not much more than a series of interruptions. And every time I suffer an interruption (because that's the result...always), it reminds me of Joule. We can use joules to power our work and move us forward, but sometimes it doesn't matter. You could power a freight train across 3,000 miles on all the joules you may have derived to reach your maximum velocity, but if you're interrupted, that energy just dissipates. It's lost, and so are you.
The bottom line is this, "I must work the works of him that sent me while it is day...," because sometimes, even during daylight, my work is interrupted and time and space converge into night. Then, it is too late. My current velocity has been slowed again, and again, and again, and again, ad infinitum. And it's wearing. The mantle of interruption is a heavy yoke on my neck. A burden I have patiently suffered. And even when I'm not patient, I still must suffer (apparently) so patient or no, I face it with it courage. But I'm tired. I don't want to continue suffering. Yes, Joseph Campbell, we all know life is pain..but when does it stop???
It seems endless to me. And I'm no Hemingway. You'll find no six-toed cats here. I won't stick my head in the oven like Plath. I won't die drunk in a gutter like Poe. I won't even get as lucky as Melville, whose pen earned him freedom once only to have it taken away in his middling life--life for Melville ended working tedium on a shipping dock, penniless and alone. I gave my life--my whole existence--for one thing, and one thing only. This one thing was more important to me than anything else on the planet. And now, my latest interruption has shown me my efforts have been squandered. My whole life. Squandered.
You can't even begin to understand this horrific sin of effort. And it's all mine. Mine own sin. But no matter what, it all comes down to joules.
You don't know if the joules you've stored to power your life will end up squandered. If I get another "pass" this year, maybe I'll be able to start the process over. Maybe. But tonight, in the middle of writing this entry, I now know that every single effort made toward my current velocity only sped my despair.
So think of this as a caveat for your own life's work--you can pile up joules but unless you direct them properly, you'll only add to the velocity of your own sorrows. My ultimate advice isn't really mine, it's Ayn Rand's. Understand the virtue of selfishness. With all I know and all I am, I'm nothing more than a foolish woman. Women, because of brain chemistry, self-sacrifice to our own detriment while nurturing and nourishing others. We are made for use and abuse and then, when that happens, weep for our wasted lives...our wasted joules.
Kinetic energy is funny that way, you think you're going in one direction, and end up somewhere completely different. It's Oedipal, in a literary sort of way. Those applications are used in quantum mechanics, and for good reason. Quantum mechanics takes the relational and seemingly turns it upside down. All those connections I talk about can end up being meaningless in the face of the unpredictability of quantum mechanics...and the string that makes up our expanding universe.
So is it fate or free will? Ah, it doesn't matter anyway. It's all about joules and kinetic energies--and that's governed by the house of Chaos. That's my permanent residence...and yours.
By the way, did you know that kinetic energy drives rollercoasters? ;)
Until next time, dear readers....