Use Your Thousands Of Relationships To Understand Nuclear Structure
The screen you are looking at, the eyes you are looking with, and the satellites, cables, wires, glass, silicon, and metal bits, as well as everything else are all made of atoms. That’s pretty basic.
The relationships formed through these connections, your operation of a computer, sharing of thoughts online, social media, the people maintaining the building you are in, these are relationships. There is underlying structure everywhere. Nature is useful not only in identifying structure and pattern, but also in helping us form concepts to continually learn and know them.
We are all the center of our own cosmos.
But, of course, we are non-existent without the material presence and moving energy of all the systems, networks, organisms, and people who support us. Think of yourself as the nucleus.
Think of all the supportive life-forms around you as the orbiting electrons. Think of the center — that which is individually you — as the collection of protons and neutrons.
For example, the air you breathe is composed largely of oxygen. That is eight protons and eight electrons. If it helps your memory, think of the pro in proton as a plus sign (+), and remember that a neutron is without an electric charge. It is neutral, as in neutron.
Also in your oxygen atoms are the charged particles, electrons. These are whirling about outside the nucleus, as mentioned, and providing the energy that drives everything. For memory purposes, an electron ends with the letter “N”, just as there is an “N” in the word minus (-), but not in the word plus.
When we memorize ourselves, as nebulous and non-solid as we actually are, it helps us to make a mental model of how the whole universe, as well as our place within it, works. With a sense of yourself at the center, we can realize how crucial, binding and ‘real’ our relationships and networks actually are.
Breathe in a lungful of air and you are breathing in 6.3 × 1022 molecules of oxygen. Or, put more simply, the amount of oxygen molecules in one human breath is a significant portion of life-giving gas that keeps you, and all breathing organisms alive.
It is a popular — and fun fact — that all that air we breathe and circulate from birth to death has been breathed before by dinosaurs, Jesus, Cleopatra, those ants you killed last week, all the Kennedys and, of course, Beyoncé.*
Our respiration, literally, is shared by every villain, hero, cockroach, and nobel laureate there has ever been. That connection has meaning.
This breath and factual summary of the entire history of the living world can help us not only feel how completely connected we all are, but offers a sense of time and place. We are related.
We are even anciently, descended creatures dependent upon the same air that has been circulated since the first plants created it. From the deepest realms of the ocean, to the highest desert, we are set in cycles of atomic structures, complex natural systems, shared DNA , and mineral make-up, chemistry, and of course, the newly added complexity of human technology.
We are all we, plus energy
Add in the closed system that the air, water, and soil networks use that allow you to breathe in that liter of air, and you begin to feel not just connection, but profound appreciation. Our utter dependence upon the closed system — some say organism that is Earth — also directs us to look beyond the earth, to the swirling, orbiting, reeling and energy packed space beyond.
We are also related to all of that material and energy too. But, it is humbling to realize more than anything else there is space: Space between particles of atoms, space between the neurons firing in your brain right now, space in the vast distances between solar systems and galaxies.
Your relationships are myriad and multi-structured, just as atomic combinations are. With them, we are all given different levels of bonds and connections. Atomic bonds are strong, just as human relationships are the strongest glue any social species has.
Since science fiction has always called out to me with the siren song of fantastic possibilities, about a decade ago I began to muse metaphorically.
What if the four bonds that the whole universe is based upon are not limited to four? What if human consciousness (and animal consciousness before it) evolved with a fifth force?That force could be thought of as complexly woven itself, but at its base is love.
Living organisms became more and more complex over time because the bonds developed for survival were intricately tied to the development of reproduction. Reproduction requires reciprocal feelings. Hormones developed to drive emotions. These were soon implicated in most animals’ ability to help each other, feed each other, and mate with each other.
Selene allures — the attractions that draw all life to live
Nature, or the Creation/Creator invented love. That love is further expanded and utilized as Selene allures, or those attractions that allow the moon to pull the tides, influence animal reproduction, describe the need of the flower for rain, the drive of the bees for honey, or perhaps the longing of the shore for the tide that balances shoreline ecosystems.
The attractions of this fifth force, often as strong in its own way as the first four, strong and weak nuclear, electromagnetic and gravitational, cannot be denied to exist. Even though they may not be measurable as yet, in the formulas with which we use to understand the first four forces, they are crucial, obviously, to survival.
For myself, an avid ecopsychologist*, Selene allures, the elements of the fifth force, offer hope. They tell me that earthly evolution is a strange anomaly among the otherwise ever-unraveling of entropy that steers the stars.
For humanity, when we look deeply into atomic structure, we can see organization, patternicity, a sort of ‘plan’ that defies our human comprehension. We can see consciousness as something that not only binds us together as one self-sustaining planet, but more than that.
Linked in, for life
We can see that the planet is alive with attractions-webstrings, Selene allures, threads of DNA, systems of linked elements of air, water, earth and fire. These shaped and influenced all that multiplied life for billions of years before us.
That is a humbling thought. It reminds us that we are not necessary for life, but that life is necessary, as the ultimate attraction, for us. The strings of life, the once fragile threads of DNA, the invisible hoops and circles of atomic structure — all somehow grew into consciousness.
Perhaps our consciousness is without purpose, too. But then one could say the same thing about the limitless worlds out there, all the abundance, all the life, all the energy, all the diversity, all the wondrous “Is” that there is.
- Beyonce, how much air do you share with Beyoncé? https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/12/beyonce-breath_n_6290956.htmle.
- Ecopsychology, https://medium.com/@christylrivers/how-ecopsychology-can-change-your-so-called-life-i