The Sustainability Principle
 of Energy


Home   First draft Aug  2010

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  Online Etymology Dictionary


The Power of Symbols

What is a Prime Symbol?

Variations on the Wisdom Of Confucius

How to Conserve
the Potential

The Human Condition

General Theory

Practical Application

Index of Denial/Acceptance

The Joys in 
Are you vulnerable to denial?
Review Call
Evaluate your
teachers /media
The Compassionate Curriculum
Defining some Prime Symbols


Energy Efficiency









Climate Change





Peak Oil
Principle of Energy





















Definition the potential symbol 


When conserved, the potential symbol reflects all. In reflecting all, the symbol contains the profound paradox inherent in existence and this is seen in the conflicting definitions associated with the symbol. It is variously defined as “having possibility, capability or power” and “capable of being, but not yet in existence” or “possible – as opposed to actual".

The conflict occurs because human thought and words cannot fully countenance paradox. The question arises: how can we transcend this limitation and conserve the potential symbol? 

The answer resides in our experience of compassion. Compassion enables us to enjoy the humility required for our acceptance of our limitations as mortal beings. It also provides us with a spirit most open to possibilities. That spirit probably flourishes most in the ancient Indo-European poti symbol, from which comes Greek posse symbol – “to be able”. 

Thus the potential symbol means all that could possibly be, which includes all that is. The potential includes all that is actual (realised) and all that non-actual (non-realised). In any moment only a trace element of the total potential is realised. In this spirit of inclusiveness we are most able to realise the potential. 

It is interesting to observe that the potential symbol became divorced from “the actual” in late 14-15C in Europe. This enables the adoption of the Descartian notion “I think, therefore I am”, as against “I act, therefore I am”. This in turn enabled the modern use of the science symbol in which science is defined as a way of thinking, divorced from a state of being. 

It is now common, for instance, for self-described “science educators” to teach that there exists multiple forms of energy – including thermal energy, kinetic energy, gravitational energy and potential energy. This is evidence of a gross denial of our roles as stewards amidst the universal change inherent in the potential symbol.


Conserve the potential of the potential symbol so our children can know hope (possibility) and be more at one with all. 

Etymology potential, potent

[Middle English potencial, from Old French potenciel, from Late Latin potenti lis, powerful, from Latin potentia, power, from pot ns, potent-, present participle of posse, to be able; see potent.] 

potential: late 14c., "possible" (as opposed to actual), from L.L. potentialis "potential," from L. potentia "power" (see potent). The noun, meaning "that which is possible," is first attested 1817, from the adj.

potentially: early 15c., “in possibility,” opposed to actually; from potentially + ly. Meaning “powerfully” is recorded from 1540s.

potent:  [Middle English, from Latin pot ns, potent-, present participle of posse, to be able; see poti- in Indo-European roots.]


Enjoy the rewards of being a conservator of the potential of our greatest symbols.


Page last  updated: Aug 2010