Monday, 20 February 2012

For the Want of a Better Phrase Part 2- Energy

So my second foray into the murky world of eytomology refers to energy, what do we mean when we say energy? Energy in the literal sense is something measurable that emits from an entity e.g. heat, light, sound, radioactivity, kinetics. In that case the last time I felt the energy of a stone it was being hurled at me when I was at school, I felt the force of the kinetic energy by the throw & heard the sound waves as it hit me. But in magical terms this is not what people mean, when I was Stonehenge doing a clean up, I was asked whether I could feel the energy of the stones, no was my response, then they said they could see the energy of the stones as they seemed to have a strange almost shiver to them. At that point I had to turn away & try my hardest not to laugh, I could see what she meant but what she saw was the evaporation of the dew, but being captured by the awe of place the first time she'd been there I suppose it is only natural to get carried away & in a way she did see the energy of the stones just the thermal not the spiritual that she thought.

So now you are getting the gist of the post, spiritual energy, is it energy? In a physical definable way, no. So what is 'energy' in this sense? I propose a notion that instead of the word energy we use a different word. So what to use? We could purloin a word from a different language such as Qi (Chi) from the Chinese, Prana from Vedic or Mana from Hawaiian but these translate as life force and are OK for living entities but not for stones, plus it means life force, again force is measurable so brings us to another dead end if speak to people who wish to be pedantic about what we are talking about, which also means we can't go all Star Wars and just call it The Force, plus I don't think I'm geek enough yet to even contemplate it as an option. The closest word we have to the notions of Qi & the like in our everyday language is vitality which again would not be useful to describe a non living thing. Its not just beings & things that have an 'energy', but places too. Do graveyards creep you out? Why are they so eerie & uncomfortable, it isn't as if we live the world of Buffy or Being Human so we shouldn't expect something to just suddenly rise out of the ground at any minute to eat us. So is it an echo of what goes on there? The only echoes I hear there are what is going on their at the time which is generally birdsong or people visiting graves. So echoes are a bounce back & now I have got the thought of bouncy skeletons out of my head I shall go onto something a little more constructive.

So what words could be a useful alternative? You could say essence, like vanilla essence which usually does not contain vanilla you still get the vanilla taste, they have kept the essence of the vanilla, but does that strike you as it doesn't have the genuine feel about it, I must admit although to me it feels a more correct phrase than energy, it still doesn't quite seem right. So how about spirit? For me this works in the fact that it is something that is not tangible but we can feel even if it we can't measure it, you can get the spirit of a place, you can feel the spirit of someone in a good mood or a bad mood, but then we come back to stones again they don't live & unless they have been extricated by force out of the ground, probably by dangerous means by exploited workers 7 by which point wouldn't the spirit of those stones be almost be rotten to the core? So perhaps we should say spirit for those things that have lived or have been lived in & essence for sticks & stones? Or should we just throw stones out of the window on that one? (just make sure they don't hit anyone in process)

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