Chapter 2 – Time is Not on Your Side: Energy and Order Let’s talk about energy a little further. There are two forms of energy:
- Potential Energy
Potential energy is energy stored within matter. It is also called “latent energy.” In this universe, this stored energy is quite unstable. Like the example of the edge of a waterfall, it is like a ball before it falls off a height or a balloon before it pops. Potential energy is the energy required for particles to be held together in an ordered state.
- Kinetic Energy
When energy is dissipated, the particles spread apart, putting the object into a disordered state. This energy in motion is called “kinetic energy.” Kinetic energy is formed when the water falls off the cliff, the ball falls off down from a height, or a balloon pops. An ordered state is like a snowman. A group of children form the snowman. This act of building a snowman adds potential energy to the figure. The heat of the sun quickly dissipates the potential energy that holds Mr. Frosty in shape. We see through the melting process that the energy used to hold the snowman together (potential energy) is lost and converted to kinetic energy. “Letting ourselves go” and getting “over the hill” are the precise metaphors that describe someone who is getting old by implying loss of potential energy—that is, order turning to disorder. Staying young and fit and looking good are like maintaining an ordered state. It takes energy to keep even ourselves there. This energy is the effort you will take to make the changes. The good news is that the more energy you put into it, the more successful you will become, because everything will get easier to do. Since we get more and more disordered with time, it is better to start making the changes as soon as we possibly can.
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