It’s always a bad idea when I spurn Susan Lapin’s advice. No good has ever come of it. In fact, I must confess to more than one painful memory of the consequences of doing so. Nonetheless, here goes. Susan says, “Go light on science topics; it won’t interest women as much as it interests men.”
I had three responses to her today. First, I may inadvertently be escalating arrogance to new levels of obnoxiousness, but I think I can write about science engagingly for everyone. Second, worst case scenario, I have a male friend in North Carolina, who’ll just love this! Third, I have to speak science if I wish to teach this aspect of ancient Jewish wisdom.
So here goes and please be gentle with your comments. I don’t want to be subjected to a self-envisaged burden of, “I told you so!”
Imagine a shiny silvery sphere about the size of a ping pong ball. Based on its size and upon your life experience, you expect to pick it up easily with your thumb and forefinger. To your astonishment, you need your entire hand to lift it as it actually weighs well over a pound. Turns out, it is not a hollow Christmas ornament. It’s a ball of uranium and is surprisingly heavy and dense. (For this thought experiment, we’re using a type of uranium called Uranium 235)
Now imagine a uranium sphere the size of a bowling ball; it weighs well over one hundred pounds. More importantly, it is enough uranium to constitute what is called critical mass. Whereas the ping pong ball of uranium is almost inert and does nothing, the bowling ball of uranium contains enough of the radioactive material to start a spontaneous nuclear reaction, getting hotter and hotter. (Don’t try this at home!)
The heat from that ball of uranium can boil water into steam which can drive a turbine and push an aircraft carrier across the Pacific Ocean. The smaller ping pong ball of uranium produces no heat at all.
One of the truly fascinating permanent principles of ancient Jewish wisdom is that for every single physical law governing material phenomena, God set up a parallel spiritual law.
What is the matching spiritual equivalent to the idea of physical critical mass that we just discussed? Have you ever noticed how the first few people at a party drift around aimlessly? Nobody is having much fun until…yes, you’ve got it. The party takes off when enough people have arrived for it to hit critical mass.
Here’s another example: If one or two people stop on a busy sidewalk and peer upwards, nothing much is likely to happen. However, if ten or eleven people stop on that same sidewalk and gaze upwards, you can be sure others will join in.
Ladies, can we look at one more example or is Susan right when she says, “You’re pushing your luck!”?
In the 17th century, a deeply religious and Bible-believing English scientist, Isaac Newton, identified three laws of motion. The third one states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. For instance, when one fires a gun, the action is that a bullet goes flying out the barrel towards its target. The reaction is that the gun recoils and pushes back against your hand or shoulder. Another example is that if a billiard ball rolls across the velvet and strikes a second ball, both are affected by the impact. The action is that the second ball starts moving. The reaction is that the first ball bounces away in a new direction as a result of the impact.
The spiritual equivalent to Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion is that if you push another person away from you, you also start feeling distant. In marriage, sometimes without even meaning to do so, a wife might rebuff her husband. Naturally he feels banished and hurt. However, what we now understand is that often without even knowing why, she too feels more alienated from him. The action is her pushing him away. The reaction is that she feels just as much pushed away in the opposite direction.
The same principle is often found in business relationships and works for positive as well as negative. For instance, if a merchant does something really nice for a customer, the action is that the customer feels good towards the merchant. The reaction is that the merchant starts feeling newfound sensations of appreciation towards his customer.
I know I spurned Susan’s advice in writing this Thought Tool on a scientific topic, but Newton’s First Law of Motion explains that without any outside force acting upon it, a body remains at rest. This means that if you don’t engage the gear and press down on the accelerator, your car will remain stationary.
The spiritual equivalent of this law is that we humans tend towards lethargy unless stimulated to action. Do you think it possible that with full knowledge of this spiritual law, my smart wife knew that in discouraging me from writing a scientific Thought Tool, she’d actually be goading me towards doing so? That would be scary.
Ladies, now is your chance to support me by obtaining your own copy of The Gathering Storm: Decoding the Secrets of Noah. This audio CD starts with another example of a physical and spiritual law and goes on to cover abortion, child raising, affluence and so much more. It even explains why the boring ‘begat’ sections of Scripture aren’t boring! Please get it (on sale) right now.
What was Susan thinking? I’ll probably find out when I read the comments.