Source of Life and Energy in the Industrial World


Charles Mercieca, Ph.D. – TRANSCEND Media Service

The New Webster Concise Dictionary of the English Language describes source as “the spring or fountainhead from which a stream of water proceeds; that which originates or gives rise to anything; first cause; origin.” Hence, source may refer to something without which anything that depends on it cannot exist. In other words, when it comes to the solution of a problem, we must try to get first to the source that originates it. Otherwise, it may keep on repeating itself.

Power of Electricity

In the industrial world in particular, the source of life and energy could be traced to electricity. Ascetical writers tell us that those who lose their eyesight realize quickly how valuable this element was for them. Through it they were enabled to do so many things in life. Likewise, those who live in the industrial world will begin to appreciate the indispensability of electricity only after they lose it. In the latter part of April of 2011, a tornado hit a major electric plant in North Alabama.

All those living within this area found themselves without electricity. Initially, this was not much of a big deal since there were times before when these same people lost their electric power which might have lasted only for two or three hours at the most. However, this time things were entirely different. The electricity was gone for quite a number of days. For the first time in their lives, people began to see clearly and with conviction that electricity was truly the life and energy of their community.

All the food they had in the refrigerator or freezer had to be consumed fast or simply be thrown away. All groceries, shopping areas and gasoline stations were closed, since they all depended on electricity. There was no place where they could go and buy their usual food. In cities like Huntsville, Alabama, where public transportation is conspicuously absent, people had to rely merely on their car to move around. Even here, since many of them have had their car’s tank almost empty, they could not fill it up with gas. They were fully stranded.

Besides, most of those who had their car in an automatic garage during the tornado that hit this involved electric plant could not get out. They found themselves like they were without any car at all for all practical purposes. Even if they had their car available at their disposal, they could not go to work. This was due to the fact that nothing could operate without electricity. Moreover, since the vast majority of people had cell phones, they could not recharge their cell phones’ battery without electricity.

Looking at the Bright Side

In this regard, such mentioned popular conveniences became fully worthless for all practical purposes. In view of this, we may conclude that there seems to be no better element that could paralyze fully an entire city and bring everything to a stalemate than electricity or, better still, the lack of it. Without electricity an entire industrial region becomes literally lifeless. Under the circumstances, the only thing that people could do is to take care of their yard, like trimming bushes, raking leaves and cutting dead branches from trees. They can also read books or write articles about any topic they wish.

In the midst of this electric crisis, the people in North Alabama could still luckily have access to telephone and water at their respective homes. Even here, many felt so discouraged that they were afraid they might even lose these two elements unexpectedly as well. Because of this electricity problem, people who developed the habit of going to church could not participate in their usual religious services since all churches were closed. This applied also to all schools and places of entertainment, which were equally closed.

The inconveniences that this lack of electricity has caused to the people in North Alabama made many reflect on what many people in some of the poorest countries on earth go through on a daily basis all the year round. In quite a number of instances, cases of deprivation like those experienced by people in North Alabama, forces us to think and reflect how quite often we take so many things for granted. In cases like this, many tend to try to uplift their spirit by turning to prayer and meditation, which often brings serenity and tranquility.

When things go wrong in life that are beyond our control there is not much we can do except to wait for the better with patience and perseverance. In the midst of any adversity, we can always try to seek for some brighter side. In spite of the tremendous inconveniences because of the loss of electricity, which lasted for quite a number of days, there were still many blessings that need to be recognized in both the spiritual and physical sphere. In going through a dark cloud, there is always the bright sun waiting for us in the horizon.


Charles Mercieca, Ph.D. – President, International Association of Educators for World Peace, Dedicated to United Nations Goals of Peace Education, Environmental Protection, Human Rights & Disarmament.

-Professor Emeritus, Alabama A&M University.

-Hon President & Professor, SBS Swiss Business School, Zurich.

-Member, TRANSCEND-A Network for Peace, Development and Environment.


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 2 May 2011.

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