Thu, 01 Apr 2010 16:31:00 GMT

Breaking Newton's Third Law of Motion

Newton's third law is a wonderfully simplistic rule that has overwhelming implications. In a single sentence it describes the interactions between all the objects in the universe.

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.


Humans even follow this rule to a certain extent. If a person hits you, you'll get angry. Getting angry is an equal and opposite automated reaction. These kind of responses can be useful. For example, touching something hot will cause you to pull your finger back. However, these reactions aren't always useful. Consider a person who skips an interview with a prestigious company because they're nervous. In this case, the automated reaction to avoid stress worked against the person.

The difference between a human and an inanimate object is the ability to turn off these automated responses. Our actions don't need to be equal or opposite. Between the forces acting on us and the actions we perform is a choice. You are the sole owner of that choice. We have no control over external actions that happen to us, but we do have control over the resulting actions. That choice makes every person infinitely powerful.

However, what happens when we rely on our automated reactions? We forfeit the power we have to the initiator of our automated response. We become very similar to inanimate objects. We are bound to the rules of determinism. If instead we choose our action we cause indeterminism because the universe isn't choosing how we behave anymore. We start our own chain of actions which the universe must react to.

With this kind of power you can never be defeated. You could be bound, shackled, and locked in a dungeon and still have power. Those are just external predicaments that prevent your external action. However, your power does not reside in your hands; It rests in your ability to make a choice. As long as you never forfeit that, the universe has no control over you.