From Project Gutenberg.

 1. Sun Tzu said:  The control of a large force
    is the same principle as the control of a few men: 
    it is merely a question of dividing up their numbers.

 2. Fighting with a large army under your command
    is nowise different from fighting with a small one: 
    it is merely a question of instituting signs and signals.

 3. To ensure that your whole host may withstand
    the brunt of the enemy's attack and remain unshaken--
    this is effected by maneuvers direct and indirect.

 4. That the impact of your army may be like a grindstone
    dashed against an egg--this is effected by the science
    of weak points and strong.

 5. In all fighting, the direct method may be used
    for joining battle, but indirect methods will be needed
    in order to secure victory.

 6. Indirect tactics, efficiently applied, are inexhaustible
    as Heaven and Earth, unending as the flow of rivers and streams;
    like the sun and moon, they end but to begin anew;
    like the four seasons, they pass away to return once more.

 7. There are not more than five musical notes,
    yet the combinations of these five give rise to more
    melodies than can ever be heard.

 8. There are not more than five primary colors
    (blue, yellow, red, white, and black), yet in combination
    they produce more hues than can ever been seen.

 9. There are not more than five cardinal tastes
    (sour, acrid, salt, sweet, bitter), yet combinations
    of them yield more flavors than can ever be tasted.

10. In battle, there are not more than two methods
    of attack--the direct and the indirect; yet these two
    in combination give rise to an endless series of maneuvers.

11. The direct and the indirect lead on to each other in turn. 
    It is like moving in a circle--you never come to an end. 
    Who can exhaust the possibilities of their combination?

12. The onset of troops is like the rush of a torrent
    which will even roll stones along in its course.

13. The quality of decision is like the well-timed
    swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy
    its victim.

14. Therefore the good fighter will be terrible
    in his onset, and prompt in his decision.

15. Energy may be likened to the bending of a crossbow;
    decision, to the releasing of a trigger.

16. Amid the turmoil and tumult of battle, there may
    be seeming disorder and yet no real disorder at all;
    amid confusion and chaos, your array may be without head
    or tail, yet it will be proof against defeat.

17. Simulated disorder postulates perfect discipline,
    simulated fear postulates courage; simulated weakness
    postulates strength.

18. Hiding order beneath the cloak of disorder is
    simply a question of subdivision; concealing courage under
    a show of timidity presupposes a fund of latent energy;
    masking strength with weakness is to be effected
    by tactical dispositions.

19. Thus one who is skillful at keeping the enemy
    on the move maintains deceitful appearances, according to
    which the enemy will act.  He sacrifices something,
    that the enemy may snatch at it.

20. By holding out baits, he keeps him on the march;
    then with a body of picked men he lies in wait for him.

21. The clever combatant looks to the effect of combined
    energy, and does not require too much from individuals. 
    Hence his ability to pick out the right men and utilize
    combined energy.

22. When he utilizes combined energy, his fighting
    men become as it were like unto rolling logs or stones. 
    For it is the nature of a log or stone to remain
    motionless on level ground, and to move when on a slope;
    if four-cornered, to come to a standstill, but if
    round-shaped, to go rolling down.

23. Thus the energy developed by good fighting men
    is as the momentum of a round stone rolled down a mountain
    thousands of feet in height.  So much on the subject
    of energy.

The Art of War by Sun Tzu.

As many saturday morning cartoons, anime and video games led me to believe in my childhood, energy is something mysterious, and the senses perceive it this way:

  • Sight: Usually invisible, but when there's a lot of it, bright light comes out of thin air, usually with a dominating appearance to it. It can only be made by very powerful people. It is seldom misty, usually curvy or jagged-looking.
  • Sound: Really powerful sounding. In retrospect, the sounds I remember were probably made in studio by someone ripping a thick sheet of paper, running the sound through a flanger module, and giving it a thick bass boost.
  • Touch: It depends. If someone flings energy at you, there are definite consequences. This, of course, is dependent on that person's intent. If the intent is of malice, they will probably tense up their muscles, and the energy will inflict pain upon you all over. If the intent is of kindness, the energy might make you feel good, and even heal your wounds.
  • Smell, Taste: Not applicable. No one ever tastes or smells energy. It's just not done.

Energy is not matter. It does take up space, but it has no mass. Where do we witness energy? All around us. Anime characters have some hefty battle auras, and I can tell you those are made of pure energy. Anyone played Unreal? Weapon number 1, the Dispersion Pistol shoots energy shots. They look misty and sound exactly the way I described above.

All throughout my childhood, I asked adults what energy was, and never did I get a straight answer. The definition of energy seemed to escape them. It was not until grade eleven physics that I realized the true nature of energy:

Energy is the capacity to do work.
That made everything so simple, and a light flicked on in my mind at that precise moment, clearing up all the ambiguities and misconceptions that pop culture had taught me. So the next time your child asks you what energy is, there's the answer, plain and simple.

En"er*gy (?), n.; pl. Energies (#). [F. 'energie, LL. energia, fr. Gr., fr. active; in + work. See In, and Work.]


Internal or inherent power; capacity of acting, operating, or producing an effect, whether exerted or not; as, men possessing energies may suffer them to lie inactive.

The great energies of nature are known to us only by their effects. Paley.


Power efficiently and forcibly exerted; vigorous or effectual operation; as, the energy of a magistrate.


Strength of expression; force of utterance; power to impress the mind and arouse the feelings; life; spirit; -- said of speech, language, words, style; as, a style full of energy.

4. Physics

Capacity for performing work.

The kinetic energy of a body is the energy it has in virtue of being in motion. It is measured by one half of the product of the mass of each element of the body multiplied by the square of the velocity of the element, relative to some given body or point. The available kinetic energy of a material system unconnected with any other system is that energy which is due to the motions of the parts of the system relative to its center of mass. The potential energy of a body or system is that energy which is not kinetic; -- energy due to configuration. Kinetic energy is sometimes called actual energy. Kinetic energy is exemplified in the vis viva of moving bodies, in heat, electric currents, etc.; potential energy, in a bent spring, or a body suspended a given distance above the earth and acted on by gravity.

Accumulation, Conservation, Correlation, ∧ Degradation of energy, etc. Physics See under Accumulation, Conservation, Correlation, etc.

Syn. -- Force; power; potency; vigor; strength; spirit; efficiency; resolution.


© Webster 1913.

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