Equal and Opposite Reactions

I was about to begin this entry by saying “I am continually fascinated by…” and then I started to wonder how many times I’ve used that phrase on this blog. A quick Google search reveals at least four. I am considering changing the name of this site to “Continual Fascinations.”

Anyway, I dig Newton’s Third Law, “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” It seems to cross over from physics to areas of social interaction, politics and technology in the form of my new favorite axiom, “for everything you gain, you lose something.” Consider a man in a room full of women, wishing to express to a particular woman that she is singularly beautiful. If he does so, the other women would assume by implication that they were not singularly beautiful, and they would despise him for it. Most probably, what he might gain in affection from the one, he would lose from the others.

The same is true for most religions. The statement of “I believe in my particular God” also carries with it the implication that everyone else who does not share your God is thoroughly wrong. Or even nationalistic sentiments, especially “God bless the USA,” which implies that God would not be blessing any of the other countries in the world any time soon.

I suppose this is the nature of praise. To single something out is to separate it from that which it is not. To define is to delineate. As soon as something is somewhere, it is not elsewhere. Which brings us back to physics I suppose.

2 thoughts on “Equal and Opposite Reactions”

  1. Again, my Christian Ethics prof Stanley Hauerwas is famous for reminding everyone that the logical corolary to “God Bless the USA” is “God Damn XYZ”.

  2. I’m also reminded of another one of my seminary professors, the Rev. Dr. Michael Battle’s remark that “any definition of heaven that necessitates someone else being in hell is inherently deficient.”

Comments are closed.