Conservation of Energy Principle

Sustaining principle of energy:
True hope resides in symbol use that embraces the reality of continuous, universal change and personal stewardship.
Delusive hope (misery) resides in symbol use that denies this reality.

Welcome to Unspeakable Wisdom

Person who chases two rabbits catches neither- Confucius? So it is with thought and paradox.

Words and graphics fail to express the grandeur and wisdom of this great principle of physics. The Conservation of Energy Principle is almost certainly the most sustaining word-symbol of existence in known history. People of very culture since time immemorial have reflected on and attempted to communicate its sustaining messages to their peers and future generations. They have employed myriad modes because words fail to express its full meaning. These include dance, mime, music and, above all, the actions of their daily lives. These modes are better able to express and transcend paradox, which is the essence of existence.

Ovid (Died 17 AD ) “All things change; nothing perishes.”

Principles v Laws

This Wiki statement is typical of discussion of the Conservation of Energy  in our culture.

“In physics, the law of conservation of energy states that the total energy of an isolated system in a given frame of reference remains constant — it is said to be conserved over time.[1] In other words, this law means that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; rather, it can only be transformed from one form to another.”

It is almost certainly more helpful to speak of a principle rather than a law of energy. See Online Etymology:

The “law” symbol arises from “lag” – literally “something laid down, that which is fixed or set”. A law is a rule that is inviolable -the rule has to be. It may or may not have moral underpinnings

The “principle” symbol arises from “origin, source, beginning; rule of conduct; axiom, basic assumption; elemental aspect of a craft or discipline…” It involves value and evaluation. It involves a basic assumption or concept that is a guide for behaviour and evaluation. It involves moral considerations.

Note the changed  use of the “principle” symbol:  “Scientific sense of “general law of nature” is recorded from 1802.” This conflation of principle and law is symptomatic of the profound denial of our role as stewards amidst the universal flux that became prevalent in English during the early period of the Combustion Revolution.

“One cannot step into the same river twice.”Heraclitus
Everything changes, nothing remains without change. Gautama Buddha

The Conservation Principle reminds us all is continual transformation and we human beings are finite forms of energy. Existence involves paradox- in this case the paradox of information: we mortal beings are forms of the universal information even as we are not that information. Conflation of principle and law denies the truth of this paradox , which is that nothing is absolute and certain for us finite beings.

The Uncertainty of the Conservation of Energy Principle

‘Conservation’ (the conservation law) means this … that there is a number, which you can calculate, at one moment-and as nature undergoes its multitude of changes, this number doesn’t change. That is, if you calculate again, this quantity, it’ll be the same as it was before. An example is the conservation of energy: there’s a quantity that you can calculate according to a certain rule, and it comes out the same answer after, no matter what happens, happens. Richard Feynman



It is probable that no symbol of existence has been subject to such intensive and ingenious scrutiny over many millennia as has “The Conservation of Energy Principle”.
No one has created a perpetual motion machine, an elixor of youth or avoided dying or discovered any other exception to the principle. The advent of modern mathematics, telescopes, microscopes and particle accelerators provided extended means to test its validity.
So far such technology only confirms the wisdom of the Conservation Principle.
Such sophisticated confirmation does not prove it is a law of physics. However it is potent evidence that the Conservation Principle is a profound guide to how we can use sustainable language and live sustainable lives.

The Ego and Laws

A common saying is “Laws are made to be broken”. Inherent is the gut recognition that laws are just fallible human constructs, subject to the whims of the ego and no human concept is the absolute truth. It is an approximation of reality.
By contrast, the notion of “principle” reminds us there exists possibilities we cannot know. We cannot prove the Conservation of Energy. However we have much reason to believe it is a truthful reflection of reality and we ignore its wisdom at our peril.
The ego or the ”I“ in our psyche denies reality -the continuous universal transformation – in most ingenious and incredible ways. The conflation of “laws” and “principles” conveniently obscures our roles as stewards. This is because symbolizing the Conservation of Energy as a law denies our essential morality.

Teaching the Conservation of Energy Principle

The Education Curriculum in the Anglosphere typically frame learning areas as English, Languages, Science, Social Sciences, Mathematics, The Arts and Physical Health. Science is defined as an amoral way of thinking and body of knowledge, the domain of an elite called “scientists”. Science is subdivided into physics, chemistry, biology and so on. This demeans the “physics” symbol to such an extent that the whole curriculum unravels in unsustainable ways.

This is particularly true of the communication of the Conservation of Energy Principle. Students are briefly introduced to it by science (physics) teachers who define energy as “the ability to do work”. No attempt is made to reveal the wise insights of the principle into the ways of existence and the interconnection of the human psyche with all. Most students graduate in the beliefs they are “non-scientists” and the principle is irrelevant to their daily lives.

A Sustainable Education Curriculum

The Conservation Principle is central to all learning areas in a sustainable curriculum.
In languages, including English, it advises us how we can transcend the trickery of the ego and ensure our language better reflect reality.
In history and “physical health” it advises how the fate of societies rests in their ability to embrace the principle.
In geography it advises the continuous reformation of our lands and oceans.
In biology it advises the arising and passing of all manner of flora and fauna.
In literature it advises the universal reality and how most stories and legends are fundamentally about the misery and alienation we experience in our denial of our morals and mortality.

The reality of the Conservation Principle of Energy.

Energy is the vast universal potential, all of which is active.
Cartoon – to be created
Energy is the continuous universal transformation
Cartoon -Change
Energy is so bounteous it can usefully be described as a constant – we cannot create or destroy it.
Cartoon– Bounteous
Energy is conserved – it is the ultimate resource. However we can conserve forms and flows of energy.
Cartoon – to be created
Energy is manifest in countless forms, all of which are finite. (We are mortal beings.) All forms are of energy; no form is energy.
Cartoon – Forms
Energy is transformation even as it is a constant. We cannot alter the constant (generate, create or destroy energy.) However we can change one form of energy into another.
Cartoon – to be created
Any form can be understood from myriad perspectives e.g. electrical, thermal, chemical, gravitational, psychological, etc.
Cartoon – Perspectives
Every form is unique and integral to all -the universal potential is most manifest when we give each form a name expressing its unique character.
Cartoon – to be created
Energy is. There is no alternative or non-alternative energy. However we have choice and can make alternative uses of energy.
Cartoon – Alternatives
Energy, the universal potential,  is all qualities even as it is no quality. It is neither good or bad, clean or dirty etc. However we can make sustaining or non-sustaining uses of energy.
Cartoon – Clean&Dirty
All forms are  unique, transient balances of the energy flows in the universal flux.  Any form ceases to be when its unique state of balance  changes, as with warming-up and cooling-down.
Cartoon –Warming Cooling
The practice of “Energy Efficiency” involves the continuous evaluation of our actions so they sustain the flows and balances of energy that sustain humankind long term.
Cartoon – to be created

Marcus Aurelius


“The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it.”

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, IV,


This said, we can transcend the trickery of the ego and the limitations of thought by ensuring our language embraces the Conservation Principle of Energy.

Sustaining principle of energy:
True hope resides in symbol use that embraces the reality of continuous, universal change and personal stewardship.
Delusive hope (misery) resides in symbol use that denies this reality.