Friday, March 7, 2014

Potential Energy (Love Part D of 4)

     The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still knows bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved.

-- Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning

     Energy is a strange concept for me. There are equations to measure and describe all types of energy. Potential, kinetic, work, ohms, watts, volts, and the list goes on. What makes it a strange concept to my non-physics-educated brain is how something which seems intangible can be measured. Someone can probably explain it to me, and I think there was a class in high school that tried, but as it stands, I just scratch my head. Potential energy is a great one! Looking at mass times gravity times height is the basic formula for this. But then we go and add arbitrary zero points and make many assumptions which make me question the reliability of the answer.

     For instance, gravity is a variable in the formula for potential energy yet most physicists agree there is less gravity than there should be: both in general and even in Canada. It's difficult to describe the potential energy something may have when one of the variables used to define it is not readily agreed upon (thanks a bunch, Einstein!). Don't get me wrong, many of the formulas used work well enough for NASA to land a person on the moon and get a little dune buggy on Mars, so that's not bad. I'm just saying, there are times we have to say we don't know, but we do know enough.

     Now I'm beginning to wonder if the same concept of "knowing enough" is applicable to potential within individuals as well? There are many variables regarding the ability of someone to express their potential. If ever there were to be a formula for the existential process of moving from "what could be" to "what is", it would be the formula that defines love.

        Love is the process by which the meaning of an individual ceases to be potential and becomes actual. This means each of us is a necessary holding space whereby others may express love. In isolation we necessarily remain pure potential. Only in relationship may we become actual, real, and fulfilled.

(C) Nathan D. Croy

This is the last entry in a four part series on Love. Please click to read Part A, Part B, & Part C. Thank you, and as always, please leave a comment.