The Great Energy Debate

Today I got to thinking about energy.
What does that even mean, energy?
  1. 1.
    the strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental activity.
    “changes in the levels of vitamins can affect energy and well-being”
  2. 2.
    power derived from the utilization of physical or chemical resources, especially to provide light and heat or to work machines.

Soooo, energy is strength? like, muscular strength? that’s not energy then.. that’s muscular strength. Vitality.. what’s vitality?

  1. the state of being strong and active; energy.
    “changes that will give renewed vitality to our democracy”
    synonyms: liveliness, life, energy, spirit, vivacity, exuberance, buoyancy, bounce, elan, verve, vim, pep, brio, zest, sparkle, dynamism, passion, fire, vigor, drive, punch;

    “the bright weather has revived my vitality”
    • the power giving continuance of life, present in all living things.

Okay… so I need energy to live. Got it.

A quick “energy” search on Pinterest  supports this: a plethora of nutrition-related items fill my feed: raw vegan power balls, peanut butter banana smoothies, and high-protein lunches. Okay – so the predominant buzz around biological  ‘energy’ is that it’s the fuel my body needs to live. Okay… so then what’s electrical energy?

My husby spent nearly a decade working in corporate finance for an electrical utilities company. I figured he should know.
“You mean, the stuff that powers televisions and things?”
– but I didn’t asked him what electrical energy does… I asked him what it is.
I went to Wikipedia…
Electrical energy is the energy newly derived from electric potential energy or kinetic energy. When loosely used to describe energy absorbed or delivered by an electrical circuit (for example, one provided by an electric power utility) “electrical energy” talks about energy which has been converted from electric potential energy.
– but I didn’t asked where electrical energy came from…. I want to know what it is. 
Should this actually be so difficult to answer? Am I just searching wrong?
I go back to the original definition of energy – liveliness, life – okay… so energy is the act of being alive? and the more alive you are then theoretically the more energy you have?
“Spirit.”  huh. okay. I’ll come back to that one.

I moved further down into the definition of energy and in its synonyms pep, zest, sparkle…. what the EFF does that even mean? Like, nothing I consume / digest / excrete can translate to my degree of spiritedness or effervescence – can it? What does THAT even mean?

Clearly either I’m searching totally incorrectly, or there’s a really weak handle on what energy actually is… I seem to only be able to find 1. where it comes from and 2. what it does. Interesting.

So then, for fun, I search “spiritual” + “energy” together. Gone are the vegan balls and casseroles, replaced instead with bluish/purple/pinky psychedelic looking backgrounds adorned with hamsas, chakras, and crystals. There’s a quote from Nikola Tesla,


Tesla, hey? Wasn’t he the guy with the electrical current discovery? So I’m back to the great unknown that’s electrical energy. Sooo, Tesla…. the genius inventor/physicist engineer futurist thinker to whom we accredit so much of what we know to be true in modern day living.  Alright, so as far as this quote is concerned,clearly he’s talking about electrical energy? right? Like, the highly scientific, highly measurable, replicable electrical energy? So – I plug my phone into the wall and it charges. Bam. Easy.

But what’s actually charging my phone?? This mysterious thing called energy is coming from electric potential, interacting with the electronics in my phone, charging my battery – and BAM, I  have access to Instagram. Still doesn’t answer my question.

So, I’m trying to understand what energy is – maybe I need to dissect Tesla’s quote (like, the guy obviously knows a thing or two about the stuff).

  1. 1.
    the rate at which a vibration occurs that constitutes a wave, either in a material (as in sound waves), or in an electromagnetic field (as in radio waves and light), usually measured per second.

Noted. Soooo, energy can happen in larger amounts (higher frequencies = more vibration = more energy) or smaller amounts (lower frequencies = less vibration = less energy). Seems to check out.

What’s a vibration, then?

  1. an instance of vibrating.
    “powerful vibrations from an earthquake”
    synonyms: tremor, shaking, quivering, quaking, shuddering, throb, throbbing, pulsation; More
      an oscillation of the parts of a fluid or an elastic solid whose equilibrium has been disturbed, or of an electromagnetic wave.
    • informal
      a person’s emotional state, the atmosphere of a place, or the associations of an object, as communicated to and felt by others.

    Okay.. so vibration is movement…. of… something…. that makes sense.

    But, wait….

    “Vibration” refers to a person’s emotional state? atmosphere of a place? associations of an object as communicated to and felt by others? What does THAT mean? And wouldn’t those vibrations be HIGHLY subjective? Like, in terms of the atmosphere of a place…. isn’t that up for interpretation by the person in said place? So what’s being interpreted?


    You elusive minx.

    Okay…. so it’s clear that a definition for what energy is (not where it comes from, not what it does) is a little difficult to decipher. It’s just a thing… and we don’t deny its existence when it comes to Tesla’s genius contributions: like, I know that if I plug my power cord into the wall something happens and my laptop turns on…. awesome. And I know that I eat things and I get nutrients from them and the nutrients turn into an ability for my muscles to lift things….

    What’s mental energy? I mean, aside from food metabolized down to glucose that feeds my neurotransmitters… and the sodium and potassium and ion channels whose activity triggers action potential in other nearby neurotransmitters…. but what causes those quantum biomechanics to function? Aaaand I’m right back to mysterious conundrum of electrical energy. URGH.

    neurotransmitter energy.jpeg


Alright. It’s obvious that my entire biological existence is controlled by my brain telling my body what to do – using electrical signals…. and yet I still can’t figure out what energy is?!?

I keep scrolling through my energy Pinterest results and this is the next little nugget:

Energy is consciousness.jpg


I can’t even fall down that rabbit hole yet….

But energy?

This is something I need to chew on for a bit.


{{ to be continued… }}


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