How Universal are our Energy Laws?
Energy is the life blood of our physical existence. In the conventional view of our world energy is bound by two long established and important laws of physics. These are the first and second laws of thermodynamics and can be summarised as follows:
- Energy can neither be created nor destroyed but is transformed from one form to another, so that the total quantity of energy remains the same.
- Energy flows from a more useful or orderly to a less useful / orderly state. Disorder or uselessness is measured by a quantity called entropy. Energy and physical processes generally flow in the direction of increasing entropy or disorder, so that the total entropy of the ‘universe’ increases over time.
The first of these laws is the principle of conservation of energy. It states that in physical processes the total energy output is the same as the total input, but not necessarily in the same form. For example when we boil a kettle of water we convert ‘x’ units of electrical energy into ‘x’ units of heat energy in the water and steam. When we burn coal we convert ‘y’ units of chemical energy into ‘y’ units of heat, which in turn can be used to generate a combination of electrical energy and waste heat to a total of exactly ‘y’ units and so on. Effectively no energy is created or destroyed in such processes. It is simply transformed from one kind to another.
In a more general sense energy and matter are convertible to each other, e.g. in nuclear processes. So a more general and refined statement of this conservation principle is that matter-energy is preserved so that the total quantity of matter-energy remains the same.
This effectively is the law of a closed universe. It is simply recycling the fixed quantity of energy & matter confined within the universe. It doesn’t allow for the creative inflow and outflow of a more natural open universe.
The first law relates to quantities of energy. However, this energy has varying degrees of usefulness. The second law addresses the usefulness or quality of energy. It describes how energy flows from more useful to less useful states so that the proportion of useful energy is diminishing over time. It is interesting in that it describes usefulness in terms of order and disorder and quantifies it in terms of a quantity called entropy. Entropy effectively is a measure of randomness or chaos. It is a well defined and measurable quantity.
Take a jig-saw puzzle for example. If the pieces are scattered randomly in the puzzle box the entropy, disorder or chaos is high. If the puzzle is fully assembled, i.e. structured, the entropy correspondingly is low, effectively at it’s lowest value. Now if we shake the box the pieces will tend to fall out of alignment into ever more scattered or random states, i.e. the entropy increases. In shaking the box we don’t expect the puzzle to assemble itself, i.e. move towards lower entropy. The direction is towards greater disorder / entropy. Now we could shake the box in a certain way to ‘help’ the puzzle to assemble. But in doing so we would be bringing order in from outside and creating more disorder somewhere else.
This tendency towards increasing disorder is very significant in our universe as it stands. It means that energy will flow from a more orderly to a less orderly state, but only with difficulty in the reverse direction. For example, electrical energy is more orderly, chemical and mechanical energy somewhat less orderly, while heat energy would be least orderly. Electrical energy therefore is more useful, as it can be converted into the other forms quite readily. Heat energy is the least useful.
In converting heat energy into mechanical energy in an engine or into electrical energy in a power station, for example, there is a price to be paid. A certain portion of the heat energy has to be sacrificed, as waste heat, so that a fraction can be upgraded to a more useful form. This ensures that although some of the energy is upgraded to a more orderly form we still have a net increase in disorder, via the waste heat.
It’s as if the various forms of energy were arranged in a hierarchy on a hill. Energy will flow easily down the hill from a ‘higher’ to a lower form. But there’s a price to be paid to get it to flow ‘uphill’. Heat energy is less valuable – so it takes more of it to do a certain job.
This means that there are inefficiencies built into energy conversion processes. In generating electricity for example only about 40% of the heat energy of the fuel can be converted to electricity. The remaining 60% is sacrificed mostly as waste heat. Likewise in an engine only about 25 – 30% of the fuel’s energy is available to propel the vehicle. When we push or propel something to move it, e.g. bounce a ball, there are friction or resistance forces that dissipate the energy and bring it back to rest. When we pluck a guitar string the energy initially propagates as sound but ultimately disperses as heat and so on.
So not only do we have no creation of energy in our ‘universe’ but the existing stock of energy is degrading progressively. The universal stock of energy is winding down into low grade heat. When this all reaches a uniform temperature (equilibrium) there will be no more useful energy in the system. There will still be the full amount of energy in terms of quantity, but none of it will be useful. It will effectively be dead. Such is the fate decreed by the second law of thermodynamics. This would be quite a depressing state of affairs.
While the first law indicates a closed system, the second graphically describes a falling or dying system. It spells out in the clearest possible terms the progression towards dissolution and ‘stardust return’ in a falling system.
It also begs the question – if the universe is rolling down hill into a more chaotic state, how did it get into such an orderly state in the first place? How did the universe get so far up the hill, in terms of order and structure, in order to be able to roll down it? There is no answer to this question in conventional terms. Conventional science confines itself to the closed universe it finds itself in and does not countenance anything beyond this. It describes the evidence of creation it sees and does so quite well but lacks the tools and conceptual framework to go beyond this. It focuses on a closed and limited system and thereby becomes a closed and limiting system itself. It cannot completely describe creation in these terms, as creation is a fundamentally open process. The best it can come up with is that order and such structure as exists arose spontaneously within the system through various processes of random mutation, evolutionary selection and the survival of the fittest.
The simple answer is that the universe we find ourselves in didn’t start out this way. Creation is inherently open. How can a closed system create itself? The local universe we find ourselves in derives from an open creation and resides in a much bigger structure and creation dynamic than we conventionally ‘see’. We cannot truly understand creation and our place in it until we come to terms with this.
If our universe is part of a bigger system then this raises the possibility of interaction with a larger creation. Our physical universe may not be quite so closed after all. This raises the further possibility of ‘commerce’ with this bigger system in terms of energy exchanges, etc. The ‘fixed’ amount of energy in our system must have been created at some stage. Time is a product of creation. Creation transcends time and therefore must have a fundamentally equal relation with all time (otherwise it would be conditioned by time). This means that creation is as fundamentally active in the present as in the past. It isn’t just something that happened in the ‘past’ and is over and done with. This then allows for the ‘creation’ of energy and a counterpart dissolution in the present. It allows for a ‘vertical’ flow in addition to the normal ‘horizontal’ flows we are familiar with. This effectively means that the first law above isn’t watertight / truly universal. It only applies to a closed system. Any degree of openness breaches it.
This is where we get into the realms of ‘free energy’, ‘over zero’ systems, etc. There can be processes where energy manifests, such that more energy appears than went into the system physically (over zero) or where energy appears for free. This takes us into new territory and common sense mandates that we proceed with caution. For example, with such free energy systems we don’t necessarily know where the energy is coming from. Normally the easiest connections would probably be with our parallel universe, insofar as any such connections may still be viable. This fact alone should temper excitement and stimulate caution, given the state of our parallel universe and some of the connections coming into our own universe.
It is probably worthwhile to try to figure some guiding principles. The following are some thoughts / suggestions as a start:
- Start from as high a position of integrity and Source connection as possible. It all starts and ends with Source. Seek advice and guidance from those who know more and see a bigger picture.
- Know where any ‘new’ energies are coming from as far as possible. If in doubt don’t chance it. Conventional energies may not be perfect, but at least they are a known and predictable quantity. Like the old medical adage – ‘do no harm’.
- Any ‘new’ energies brought in must be able to return / flow back equally well. It is obviously undesirable to bring energies in and have them trapped here. That upsets the commerce of creation and will likely create problems down the line.
- It is not about energy per se, in the sense of harvesting / accumulating quantities of energy, but more about flow – facilitating freer and more balanced flow in creation. Creation gives freely and what is given must return freely. As we allow freer return flows in creation there is less need for ‘friction’, resistance and so on to do the job.
- Creation isn’t a fixed reality imposed on us – it isn’t something that was ‘done’ to us. We choose our realities with the thoughts we think, decisions we make, where we focus our attention and so on. ‘Our’ creation is only limited by our vision. It behoves us to create wisely and thereby make life easier for ourselves and for everyone else as well!