What is Energy?

What is Energy?

The oxford dictionary defines energy as “a body’s power of doing work by virtue of its motion ” or a “body’s power of doing work by virtue of stresses resulting from its relation to other bodies”.

We are living in a world where energy is becoming a primary concern. Its use, efficiency, and conservation, is causing an ever increasing financial burden on global economics. With a continuing increasing world population, the demand of energy is also increasing. The demand of combustible fuels for the purpose of transportation, production of heat and electricity is forever setting new record highs. The fine balance of the electrical supply and demand is in many countries teetering on the brink of failure. We are as a global system struggling to maintain a continuous and sustainable supply. Energy is becoming a primary focus in they day to day life of almost every individual on the planet. We can see the effects of energy, feel the heat from combustion, watch vehicles of transportation move, and feel the metabolism of food into energy after we eat. There are many effects and forms that can be observed from the motion of energy, but can we actually see it? 

As controversial as the definition of energy, so is its source. Where does it come from? There are immense linked chains of transformations from one energy system to another, before energy becomes known to us in a usable form. If we follow these processes that energy takes back towards it source we seem to end up at a cosmic (very large system) or a sub atomic level (very small). For example, in the production of food much of the energy transformed by plants comes from the sun and is converted in a usable form for the consumption of humans and animals. How did this energy originate and then form into the sun? Without expanding on controversial systems of energy transformation throughout the universe, one fact still remains, we ultimately do not know the source of our energy and it will forever remain one of mankind’s greatest mysteries. 

Sir William Grove (1811-1896) stated “… that day is fast approaching when it will be confessed that the ‘forces’ we know of are but the phenomenal manifestations of realities we know nothing about, but which were known to the ancients and – by them worshipped.” It is often overlooked that the worlds indigenous peoples have spent hundreds of years in the past observing and being part of nature. Their connectivity with their surroundings and of natures energies and her spirits allowed these peoples to have a very close relationship to all life. The indigenous peoples realized that there was in no way the unraveling of this great mystery but simply accepted what was so obviously there before them. It has only been science so intent on quantifying every aspect of their observations and to place laws were no absolutes are that the understanding that certain answers may never be known has no place in the scientific community.