Why 'agape' makes the world go round; lessons in love from modern physics

Source: https://www.abarim-publications.com/DictionaryG/a/a-g-a-p-et.html

Why love (agape) makes the world go round

— Lessons in love from modern physics —

Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary


The familiar noun αγαπη (agape) is commonly translated with "love" but it's not that simple, or perhaps simpler than that. Agape does not describe a feeling, and certainly not a mushy feeling. Instead it describes a natural force that is felt in some way or form by every entity in the universe from atoms up to entire societies. Einstein once quipped that gravity is not responsible for people falling in love, but it appears that it might indeed.

The thermodynamic mind

In the material universe there are four natural forces. Two of these are small scale and operate only within the atomic nucleus, but the other two are large scale and those are the two forces from which all goings on in the universe derive. These two large scale forces are electromagnetism and gravity.

Electromagnetism is carried by photons and when photons are absorbed by a material particle, this particle obtains private motion, or motion relative to (usually away from) neighboring particles. This is where heat comes from. Heat is the same thing as particles going their own way, and the more energy particles privately absorb, the harder they bounce against their neighboring particles. Heating up a liquid like water causes individual water molecules to go wild, until they eventually get so excited that they jump out of the pool and become steam.

Since the universe is a giant fractal and everything complicated derives from something less complicated which is still essentially the same (this is called self-similarity), the mental equivalent of photonic absorption is getting mentally excited. The mind is constituted by what it knows, which in turn determines what it observes, which in turn determines its level of excitement. Excitement doesn't lead to more knowledge, but knowledge leads to observation, which in turn leads to the excitement of what one already knows. Excitement of what one knows sets one on a path that differs from someone who has not the identical knowledge plus excitement.

The gravitational mind

The signature autonomy of all living things comes from the private motion obtained by the absorption and conversion of photonic energy. The amount of photonic energy a particle can absorb is effectively limitless, and so is the degree of private excitement and thus the separation from other individuals. Fortunately for all particles and minds alike: absorbing energy increases one's mass and that in turn increases one's gravity.

Gravity is a force that is inherent to the mass of individual particles, and this force drives particles toward each other. On the individual scale, gravity is truly minute, and when a particle is even the least bit excited, its energy of motion totally overwhelms its gravity. But the magic of gravity is that it works collectively, and is in that regard the polar opposite of electromagnetism, which works individually.

In any widely dissipated cloud of particles, all particles go their own way due to their levels of electromagnetic excitement. But all their tiny bits of gravity work together and form a common center. The particles fly all over the place but the final sum of all their movements is a very small resultant movement toward that center. It's like playing roulette, in which nearly half of the throws end on red numbers (particle moves one way; the player wins) and nearly half of the throws end on black numbers (particle moves the other way and is back to where it started; the player loses and is back to where he or she started). But a very small amount of throws ends on the green zero. The little green zero is why the house always wins, and it's also the reason why a huge cloud of excited particles slowly contracts.

When particles interact, and this is what they do in clouds, they emit photonic energy. This energy gets picked up by particles they bounce with, which is why particles in a cloud end up having the same temperature. At the edge of the cloud this energy of motion gets beamed into space. That means that the cloud as a whole cools off. The more the particles move toward their common center, the more they cool off and the more they cool off the more they move toward their common center. If the cloud is big enough, the gravity at the core can become so incredibly strong that atomic nuclei merge. This creates heavier elements and it also turns the previously glowing cloud into a blazing star. If the star is big enough, it can ultimately become a black hole, and that's a special thing altogether.

The desire of all nations

A black hole is an object in which all energy is concentrated in one point called a singularity (like a pit inside a grape). That means that within a black hole all atomic structures are entirely erased. All forces are gone too, except for gravity, which reigns supreme within a black hole. Time is a tricky thing that has to do with data-retention and the speed of light, but in a black hole space becomes effectively infinite and light can travel all it wants but it will never reach the edge. That means that within a black hole even time comes to a halt. Since outside the black hole the universe evolves like it always has, the whole of its journey through time is projected upon the timeless singularity like a photo that is really all the separate frames of a movie combined.

In short: life relates to inanimate material the way nuclear fusion relates to space, and black holes relate to stars the way mind relates to life (hence the Bible's many references to wine). Life is the ability to convert photonic energy into something else than heat. Mind is the ability to review one's own existence relative to the whole of existence.

Even though most of our lives are dictated by whatever excites or concerns us at any given moment, agape is that force in us that makes us ever so slightly draw to others — not our friends and family (that would be described by the familiar verb φιλεω, phileo) but perfect strangers. This force that the ancients called agape is like a very gentle breeze in the stormy atmosphere of most people's heads and can subsequently not really be detected in any human individual — as said earlier, agape is not a feeling, so if you're feeling something, then that isn't agape. It also hasn't been measured in any scientifically meaningful way, but once we figure out exactly what to look for, we will probably find that the amount of agape people generate is proportional to the width of the electromagnetic spectrum they are able to absorb. Or said simpler: agape relates to the bigness of one's bigger picture. And we'll repeat for clarity sake: agape at a personal level is negligible and the effects are only of any practical meaning collectively. That means that it doesn't matter who generates which part of the whole thing; the only thing that matters is the whole thing. And the whole thing is really quite a thing.

Agape gives a common center to people's private minds. And the more energy people spend out of their private minds, the stronger this common center becomes. Agape is what creates convention in the broadest sense of the word. It's what caused our ancient ancestors to synchronize their vocal utterances, not simply with the members of their tribe but with everybody over vast territories; areas much larger than what people routinely traveled. Because of this, the noun was invented (see our article on ονομα, onoma), which allowed humanity to enter into the vast potential of contemplative and abstract thought.

The noun allowed not only the precise expression of thought, it also allowed the very formation of thought, and the exchange of thought across vast language areas. The noun was really the light bulb of thought and with the noun theology became possible (and we'll emphasize once again that theology has nothing to do with religion but with the study of the whole of everything; the big picture). In fact, the invention of the noun allowed not only a discourse between men but also between men and the Creator. Hence people spoke of calling upon the Name (or Noun) of God (Genesis 4:26), and man's slowly waxing comprehension of this Name became known as the Word of God (Luke 2:52, see Psalm 12:6).

The heavens declare

Mankind's insatiable hunger for convention led him to subsequently develop writing systems, which allowed for the permanent storage of man's thought and a much wider, broader and deeper discourse between people (see our article on the verb γραφω, grapho, to write). It also meant that God could now deposit a written version of his Word into the custody of his people (Exodus 24:12). Ages of writing, reading, studying and corresponding made humanity ready to receive the Word in the flesh (John 1:14). But it also gave humanity music, art and ultimately our modern scientific tradition, the Internet and finally blockchain technology.

Agape relates to what physics calls the second law of thermodynamics. It ensures that in any closed system the entropy always increases — or in the words of Isaiah: that "every valley be lifted up, every mountain and hill be made low, the rough ground become a plain, and the rugged terrain a broad valley" (Isaiah 40:4).

Sound occurs when energy travels through air, and this is accomplished when individual air molecules "do the wave" like spectators at a sport's match. Gravity travels through space in precisely the same way — provided we allow the consistency of space to be likened to the consistency of air. These two media are of course wholly different because air consists of perfectly stable polarizations of energy concentrations whereas the vacuum of space consists of erratic expressions of quantum uncertainty, but without poetry the world consist of grey grumpiness, so hang in there.

As we elaborate exhaustively in our article on the amazing verb φαω (phao), meaning to emit: electromagnetism relates to gravity the way φως (phos), meaning light, relates to φονη (phone), meaning sound. In the Biblical narrative, light, in turn, relates to air, birds and angels (see αγγελος, aggelos), whereas sound relates to water, fish and prophets (see προφητης, prophetes). In his celebrated discourse on agape, Paul explains how the mind processes information, how it forms personal opinions and convictions, but how our ever so gentle desire for convention ultimately negates any detail of any position and arrives at the magnificent conclusion that the Lord is one (1 Corinthians 13:1, Deuteronomy 6:4, John 14:20).

For word nerds

It's formally not known where our noun αγαπη (agape) comes from, which suggests that our modern understanding of it is not on a par with its original meaning. Here at Abarim Publications we don't know either but if we would have to guess we would guess that it has to do with the verb πινω (pino), meaning to drink. In Hebrews 6:7 this verb is used to describe how the earth "drinks" the rain and brings forth plants, and Greek has a word specifically for that; a word that combines the word for earth, namely γη (ge), with the noun ποτος (potos), meaning a drink or that which is drunk. This word is γαποτος (gapotos), and means "that which the earth drinks". Here at Abarim Publications we further guess that the noun αγαπη (agape) relates to a combination of our word γαποτος (gapotos) and the collecting α- (a-) — the same prefix of joining that forms the word αδελφος (adelphos), meaning brother, from the noun δελφυς (delphus), meaning womb.

Ultimately, our verb πινω (pino) comes from the Proto-Indo-European root pet-, meaning to rush or fly, which also gave us the Greek word ποταμος (potamos), meaning river, the Sanskrit pattram, meaning feather or wing, and the Latin noun penna of the same meaning (and thus ultimately our English word "feather"). The related Greek noun ποτη (pote) both means flight and "swig of wine". From the wedding at Cana (John 2:3) to the institution of communion (Matthew 26:29), wine plays a fundamental role in the Bible, and wine of course comes from pressed grapes. Also note that Jesus' celebrated encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well occurs at a place named Sychar, which means Drunk (John 4:5).

Our noun αγαπη (agape) is part of a small derivation tree:

  • The verb αγαπαω (agapao), meaning to do agape: to pursue or bring about convention of any kind, from yielding to social codes of conduct to learning someone's language, singing in a choir or helping to construct a mathematical description of reality — because, no, science is not the pursuit of knowledge, as the myth has it, but rather the pursuit of convention; how to agree with everybody.
    Our verb doesn't emphasize the meeting of two parties but rather their gradual integration, like a zipper that closes or DNA that duplicates. There's no real equivalent of this Greek verb in the English language as verbs like to concur, to convene or to converge lack that essential element of broad synchronization, as well as the emphasis on duration. Our verb αγαπαω (agapao) was also rather common in the Greek language and one's choice of translation should reflect this.
    Translating this verb with "to love" might work on the stressed proviso that it describes not a static enthrallment or passionate fling but a very long and gradual process of approach and merger. The familiar command to "love" the Lord of course says nothing about how we are commanded to feel, but rather our desire to approach, imitate and even replicate our Creator (Deuteronomy 18:13, 1 Kings 8:61, Matthew 5:48, 1 Corinthians 11:1, Ephesians 5:1, Jude 1:24). In essence and effect this Greek verb is highly similar to the familiar Hebrew verb שלם (shalem), meaning to make unbroken. The common Hebrew verb for to love is אהב ('aheb), and a closely similar verb is יהב (yahab), meaning to approach. Our Greek verb is deployed 142 times in the New Testament; see full concordance. From this verb derive:
    • The noun that we described elaborately above, namely αγαπη (agape), meaning convention, or rather a long process of approach and merger. This noun is on a par with the familiar Hebrew noun שלום (shalom), meaning peace or unbrokenness. Modern versions of the Bible mostly speak of "love" and the King James has "charity" but both these translations are inadequate. Our noun describes neither a static position, nor a sentiment nor a willful generosity, but rather the slow and largely involuntary release of one's personal excitation (whilst obviously retaining one's personality itself), and coming toward a common center of collective mental activity; Chaos Theory refers to this common center as an attractor.
      In Jude 1:12 the only plural occurrence of our noun occurs. Some commentators believe this refers to a "love feast," that is to say: an elaborate congregational meal that was conductive of social cohesion. Our noun occurs 116 times; see full concordance.
    • The adjective αγαπητος (agapetos), which describes that with which one has entered into convention: one with whom one is unbroken. In the gospels this word nearly solely occurs in the staggering assertion of the Father that Jesus is his "agapetos" son. For lack of a proper equivalent in English, this word is commonly but widely inadequately translated as "beloved". In the entire New Testament, this word is used 62 times; see full concordance.