I love looking for lessons which are hidden in plain sight. Mother Nature places them all around us, just waiting to be discovered and interpreted in new ways.
Atomic energy is one of the defining aspects of the last century. Importantly, it showed us - in devastatingly real terms - just how much energy is inside the everyday matter around us.
These nuclear reactions offer a fascinating parallel to the energy reactions between individuals as well. Nuclear fission reactions, like the early atomic bombs and nuclear reactors, split atoms to release huge amounts of energy. Fusion reactions, like in stars, H-bombs and power plants of the future, fuse two atoms together to form a new one.
Do you know an amazing difference between fission and fusion? Fusion releases roughly four times more energy!
There's a pearl of wisdom here for us inside modern physics... Divide things, and you can create quite a bang. Combine them, and you'll get far more!
Isn't this true of all interactions? Division can be powerful. It can destroy relationships, teams, even entire societies. Its generative power is short lived though, usually leaving behind radioactive waste which might pollute for thousands of years. In contrast, fusion is a clean process, free from toxic byproducts and far more powerful.
What's more, the fission process of splitting atoms becomes a chain reaction. It can get out of control; that's exactly what happens in a meltdown. If not contained, division will inevitably cause destruction. Fusion offers an alternative once again: it doesn't create a runaway chain reaction. It happens to be really hard to get started; it'll also simply stop if the conditions for it aren't sustained. But when things are just right, it will shine.
In other words, fusion takes a delicate balance to yield its benefits; fission destroys in runaway fashion. Getting a group - or even just ourselves sometimes - on the same page takes time and care. It's an investment to get going and it takes work to keep going. But there's simply no comparison between the power of division and the power of combination.
Let's model fusion when we think about using energy, within and with others!