Monday, February 19, 2007

The Paradox of Inertia

Inertia: The tendency of an object to resist a change in its motion. An object in motion tends to stay in motion, an object at rest tends to stay at rest, unless acted on by an outside force.
Newton's 1st Law, words to live by.

People, humans, are born wanders. The 1st humans lived near modern day Ethiopia, the cradle of human life. How beautiful it must have been there. Lush flat lands, spotted with trees, maybe a mountain jungle to forage in, an warm ocean to swim and fish in. There were predators, to be sure, but that was life.

What gave them the desire to move from there? Was the land used up and they simply wanted food? Were they driven off by another group of animals? Did they just want to see what was on the other side of that river? Why North on to another continent?

If Newton is right (and I say he is), then what was the outside force that made them move? Or was it an outside force? Maybe an inner force? What made them overcome their inertia? There are times in our history that humans faced extinction. Our numbers were so low, the end seemed near. Yet, still we moved outwards, to very cold, inhospitable environs. Instead of staying near others where there was a chance of furthering our species, we forged on in small groups. Think about the expansion of our country.

We persevered, though, and here we are in all our modern glory. But we still want to explore, whether it's inward or to the stars. Imagine what life would be like (or not like) if those 1st humans hadn't moved on. Would we have antibiotics? A Space Race? An Arms Race? Amish People? Kings and Presidents?

Is Wander lust the polar opposite of Inertia?

Which brings me to my point- procrastination. Before Christmas Break I decided to clean out my closet in the foyer and my bedroom. I finally got around to doing it today.

If i follow Newton's Law, some outside force must have acted on me to get me moving? The smell of those shoes mildewing, maybe? The fact that we can't get in there anymore? I really needed that attachment to the vacuum that was probably on the floor?

I would much rather play a game, read a book, watch a movie, then clean closets. But my desire to have a clean, organized closet overcame my inertia and got my ass off the couch.

There was definitely a bit of courage needed to clean out Hubs side of the closet, to explore the depths of that cave. I went spelunking in the dark recesses and found some interesting artifacts. A picture his aunt drew of us 15 years ago, computer parts that are so old you can see where the wheel the rat ran on attached to it as a power source, a single black shoe that had an impressive colony of mold. Evidence of a mouse (where's that damn cat?), pants he wore 12 years ago (like those will ever be in fashion again).

My side was a bit easier- old gift bags that I re-use, but got torn up, kids clothes that will fit "someday", clothes of mine that will never fit but I can't get rid of because of that "someday" thing, and luggage.

So now that I've overcome my inertia, and the kids are at a friend's house, I think I'll snuggle up on the couch and watch a movie, my work here is done.

2 comments:

Richard said...

My pants are always in fashion and I probably need those parts for something I might repair in some future endeavor.

joanbeat said...

Well said. Unfortunately, my whole house feels like your closet!