Brendan's Ramblings

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Thoughts and reflections on hope.


Word of warning, this post features some maths, enjoy!

About a year and a half ago my friend took his own life.
At the time I had no idea how much it effected me. I had completed one of the hardest semesters in the course and did quite well. The following semester was one of the easiest, but my stride was gone.

It was only after I had met and had talked to his mother that I got a glimpse of his background, how at times he felt insignificant, unimportant and that no-one would miss him when he was gone. These were only at times and one a side that few knew about, a side that most of us – myself included- never knew existed. What we saw was one of the top students in the class, charismatic and involved in a lot of different social groups. When he left us it left a lot of questions, mostly revolving around “Why?”.

I thought about that myself a fair bit, eventually it morphed into “Why not?”, not in being flippant about it but rather what would be one danm good reason to stay. That same question has been on me for quite a long time, and I only reached an answer because I was cleaning my room and came across my old Log Tables, a small booklet that has almost all the formulas for second level. I came across a basic yet elegant formula:

\[F = G {m1 m2 \over r^2}\]

The Newtonian Gravitational equation. This formula gives one of the best understandings of gravity, yet is simple enough that it is taught for Second Level Physics across the world. It describes the relationship between Force, Mass and Distance of any two bodies. Now let’s cut it down to the essentials:

\[F \propto {1 \over r^2}\]

For any two objects the Force is proportional to the multiplication of the masses divided by the inverse of the distance squared.
What this means is that gravity works over an infinite distance for any mass. This means that our tiny bodies have an effect on the entire Universe. Just by getting up out of bed in the morning means that you have changed things millions of lightyears away. If that is what you can do by just getting up in the morning imagine how much you could do if you stood up, dressed, ate and left the house.

We may be small but we are not insignificant, changing the universe comes easily to us yet we still underestimate ourselves. Our lives may be brief compared to the age of the stars yet we can outshine them. Being human may be at times a curse but it brings many more blessings. Life may seem so common that it’s worthless but it our greatest treasure.