Musings on Bicycling and Buddhism

Friday, May 25, 2012

Perpetual Motion Machine: Perpetuum Mobile

So back in the day, before the math and the physics were as subtle as they get nowadays, fine gentlemen scientists thought perpetual motion machines would be a great idea.  All you need is one singular burst of activation energy and then you get a machine that keeps running itself, indefinitely.

Now with friction and all those other pesky ways energy is lost over time, we know that this will not be the case, eventually the power source is exhausted, or the parts wear out, or a whole mess of other variables kick in (talk to a math or physics person for all the elegant formulae please).  The Deutsches Museum in Munich has an entire exhibit hall devoted to quite the collection of these contraptions and the vision of them has stayed with me in the years since I've been there.

Now enter Charlie....

Charlie doesn't coast, can't coast, the pedals go round and round, always.  Charlie is a fixie, one must even pedal to stop.  Even when coming to a halt we're advancing.

Charlie is my perpetual motion machine.  (Or the closest I'm going to get).

Life can look this way sometimes too.

There's a goal and you go all out for the goal, and once it is achieved you think, "Well - okay, I've achieved this, so now I can rest.  I'll try hard again later when it suits my purposes." (I was thinking like this lately and realized how ridiculous it was.) Or, "Ok, I've put in the activation energy, now I'm here! It'll keep moving of its own accord."

But living, really living, doesn't work like that.  It's a dynamic succession of determining, striving, failing, getting back up - and even once you've achieved the goal, moving forward, growing, changing, challenging the next horizon.

Because really, why would you want to coast when there's so much adventure in the challenge?

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Tour de What You Will by Jessie Calkins is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License