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 power symbol 


Energy is the potential of the universe(s) and is manifest in myriad forms. Power is the rate at which energy is manifest. In other words, power is the measure and energy is the measured. It is commonly symbolized thus:

Power = Work/Time  

Note: it is common practice in Anglo-American countries to confuse power (the measure) with energy (the measured). For instance Bulk-generated products are commonly symbolized as power*


Examples from the thousands of symbol uses  on the  Internet equating Bulk-generated electrical products with power.

This is the most fatal error we can make and puts humanity at peril. It evidences a profound denial of stewardship/change and this tends to be reflected in unsustainable individual behaviour and societal systems.

In as much as energy is manifest in every aspect of existence then every aspect of existence has power i.e. has a measurable manifestation. Thus to symbolize a form as power denies the existence of all other forms and the transient nature of all forms.

Lord Kelvin said, “To measure is to know”. He also said, "If you can not measure it, you can not improve it." When we confuse our measure with the measured we destroy our capacity to know how the universe(s) work and to experience the state of science. Instead we live in ignorance of all the sustaining options and opportunities available. This is especially true when we symbolize energy, power and electricity as the same. This is a guaranteed recipe for ignorance, waste, pollution, war and civic collapse.

So understand that no form or aspect of existence can be called power, for power is a measure of the rate of change. However there are as many measures as there are forms or aspects of existence. Give each measure its own symbol reflecting the unique properties of each form. For instance, common measures are:

* Manpower (7.46 Watts), 
(33 foot-pounds per minute, 75 kilogram-meter per second etc, 750 Watts) 
* Solar power (BTUs or amount of heat required to raise one pound of water one degree 1ºF or Watts or calories, etc)  
* Social power (the relative capacity to affect social change), 
* Electrical power (watts or joules/second or volt amperes or 1/746 horsepower)

An indication of the range of ways of measuring the rate of change can be seen at the conversion sites.  As our power to measure grows so too the rate at which we learn and accumulate knowledge increases.  

In summary

Know power is no thing and is the rate of change. It is the capacity of something to change over time. It is the rate at which the universal potential is manifest.

Give a symbol to every manifestation of power (horse power, ant power, elephant power, human power, electrical power, cloud power, solar power, redwood power, wheat power etc, air power, thermal power etc) and our children will enjoy greater harmony with the changing balances and flows of our universe(s). They will better understand, for instance, the resources being destroyed when they drive a 200 horsepower or 2000 human power car

* Footnote: Re the symbolization of power as Bulk-generated electrical products.

The power symbol was probably first associated with an electrical product in the 1880s as researchers discovered how to reticulate electrical currents through wires and to measure the potential change of the current. Very rich merchant bankers, such as J P Morgan, immediately saw the potential of this resource as a means of gaining control over global resources. Initially the warfare for control was between Alternating Currents (AC) and Direct Currents (DC) in what is known as the Battle of the Currents.

The electric chair was invented as part of the 
ruthless battle to control our electrical potential

AC systems dominated after it was shown they could transfer Bulk-generated electrical products over long distances more effectively that DC. The systems involving the Bulk-generation of products offer the merchant-bankers unprecedented ways of controlling the flow of capital and directing it out of communities for their personal gain. They gain from being able to provide the large blocks of capital required for the construction of large generating plant; controlling many of the reticulation systems and thus how dwellings and appliances are designed and used; and the Bulk-generation plant enables them to maximize their short-term profits from their control of fossil fuel resources.

Thus the 20th Century and this century is characterized by constant warfare as these merchant bankers wage war on all alternative uses of our electrical potential that might compete with their products. Their methods of warfare include bribery of politicians, purchase of major media systems, negotiating massive systems of subsidies for their industrial structures and the re-engineering of our language. In particular they have successfully ingrained in our legislation, media, education and other institutions the equation: energy = power = electricity = Bulk-generated electrical products.

The result is economic structures that are imploding because the centralized systems have generated phenomenally wasteful uses of resources and the destruction of sustaining ???

Here is a simple association test that illustrates the overwhelming success of the merchant bankers' re-engineering of the power symbol. What is the first thing you now associate the following symbols with?

Power sector
Power summit
Power company
Power generator
Power retailer
Power consumer
Power bill/account
Power price
Power shop
Power station
Power plant
Power station
Power flow
Power grid
Power pylon
Power pole
Power wire
Power board
Power meter
Power man
Power switch
Power plug/socket/point
Power extension
Power tool
Power crisis
Power surge
Power outage
Power failure

It is instructive to now attempt to see if you can imagine alternative associations with these symbols e.g.
Power company = farmer (a business transforming solar energy into food)
Power surge = growth spurt in child
Power station = railway station
Power generator = the sun, a plant, you…

Etymology  power  

[Middle English, from Old French pooir, to be able, power, from Vulgar Latin *pot re, to be able, from Latin potis, able, powerful; see poti- in Indo-European roots.]

Page last  updated: July 2010