There was a time, long before equations were created, when
humans could not make fire. Civilization has
brought us a long way. It is still possible to imagine
how difficult it was for the first humans to survive, because
that instinct is alive today. Since then we have competed
for dominance, which implies command of humans, other animals,
and natural resources. It means the ability to compel or impede
action, requiring the exertion of force. And force requires
energy. Our competitors
for dominance have a physical advantage, being able to direct
their energy through large teeth and claws. Humans have
managed to survive and dominate through our ability to
direct energy using our minds.
The human competitive advantage has increased with our
accumulation of knowledge, which is transmitted through both
oral and written records. Along the way, we have
developed not just history, facts and procedures, but the
ability to make abstracts from observations, and the
ability to improve these with reasoning. We can think about
thinking. We can test whether our abstract reasoning is
valid. These improvements in our mental processes, often
expressed in symbols which become equations, greatly magnify
the power of our knowledge and extend the range of its
(Authors who write for publications aimed at the widest
possible audience are advised to avoid equations, but I have
included some. I have also included verbal explanations.
They have in common the story of how we use mental energy,
amplified by knowledge, to release and direct the forms of
energy that do work.)
THE VICTORIOUS EQUATIONS
Let's begin with Einstein's well known equation: E=MC².
speed of light.
This says that matter, for instance a rock that contains uranium,
is Energy. It doesn't take much matter to provide lots of
Energy. How much? Multiply its Mass by the speed of
light (C) that is multiplied by itself
(C²). The speed of light: 186,282 miles (or 299 792
458 meters) per second!
Not only is this equation a victory of mind over matter, it led
to victory in the war with Japan.
Scientists who needed proof for this theory found it when the
atomic bomb worked. It shows how knowledge, like a
Samurai sword, cuts in any direction.
If the radiance of a
Were to burst at once into the sky
That would be like the splendor of the Mighty one...
I am become Death,
The Destroyer of Worlds.
For turning a profit, consider: M->C->(M+XM),
where M= Money
X= rate of increase
This says that money makes money. How much? The
original amount (M) plus the profit on it (XM). The
original amount is increased by a percentage (X) called the
rate of increase, yielding the profit (XM). The whole
thing begins and ends with money, and the commodity (C) doesn't
really matter; it's just something that can be manipulated to
increase its exchange value, which comes out to be (M+XM).
Once again, it's mind over matter. It has led to
accumulations of capital unimaginable at the dawn of Money,
when C->M->C prevailed. This shows how a simple
change in emphasis changed the power of money. When
commodities are traded for commodities, with money as the
intermediary, they emerge from the transaction unchanged.
After a transaction for profit, with a commodity as
intermediary, money emerges with an incremental increase in its
original amount. The emphasis has changed from exchanging
commodities to making money increase itself.
Getting a profit or a working atomic bomb requires both money
and expertise. Results vary. When the bomb
explodes, everything disappears. When a profit is
realized, the commodity survives and the money moves on to the
next transaction, increasing itself with each
In both cases the experts are rewarded by
the rest of us. Is that
reasonable, given the results?
“What do I care about the law. Ain’t I got the power?”
The equations shown above have become almost hidden
assumptions, the most powerful kind because we're hardly aware
of them. Of course we're aware of their effects, and we argue
about these: nuclear power vs. nuclear weapons, or
nuclear waste vs. fossil fuel waste; the excesses of capitalism
vs. the material and technological benefits it has created.
Elsewhere I have written about the dangers of unchecked
capitalism, summarizing: Our system of greed-benefits-all
requires the reinvestment of ever larger capital sums in order
to produce further profits to satisfy investors to keep it all
going. This results in ever larger projects which subsume
more and more of our natural resources. Even a pig is
intelligent enough to foresee that this process will meet a
natural end when no more resources are available.
The greatest danger in the assumptions now taken for granted is
that they are self-perpetuating. They are embedded not
only in our minds but in our machines. And what is the purpose of
money that increases itself? What about power for the
sake of power? The Victorious Equations are like bankers
without borders, taking no notice of nations, governments,
leaders or followers, distance or time. Our instinct for
survival is arguing with itself, having launched a process
which ends in its own destruction. Will it be a futile
argument, like the one over the causes for climate change? Perhaps an asteroid will end
Or will we end up like the sorcerer’s