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A Lot To Make A Little

A Lot To Make A Little

Hello and good day!

Did you ever stop to think about how little space a single human body takes up?

If you stand still, you really only take up a couple of square feet.It's not much space at all at any given time.

Of course, humans tend to roam. We don't just stand still. We drive and move around.

However, if you were to freeze time at random, each of us would occupy nothing more than a minuscule portion of the entirety of earth's surface.

Here is a mind-bending stat that seems impossible but is actually true.

I did the math back when I read it, and it checked out.

Everybody on earth can fit in Texas.

All of us.

All the Chinese, all the Indians, all the Africans, Scandinavians, all the South Americans, Iceland, Fiji, everybody from every state here in the US, everybody in the world from everywhere.

Bring us all over, line us up standing still, and we'd all fit right there in the Lone Star State.

There is a rub though. We'd all die of starvation.

A human body itself may take up very little space, but the food and energy needed to sustain a human life requires a lot of land.

Depending on who you ask, a properly fed and healthy adult human needs somewhere between 1 and 3 acres of land to produce all the food they'll eat in a year. 1 acre seems to be the bare minimum.

And this is just for food, which is a primitive measurement.

None of us survives on just food anymore.

Those days ended long ago.

We want a stable place to live.

We want clothes and vehicles and accessories.

All of this requires manufacturing, which means factories.

The raw materials for every single physical good in this world can be traced back to the ground.

The phone or computer that you are using to read this article is made up of metal and plastic components. Metal has to be mined.

Plastic is made from materials that have to be mined or drilled.

Wood to build a house is grown in the earth's soil.

Before we got into chocolate, we sold equipment to what was at the time the world's biggest gold mine. The mine is called Minera Yanacocha, and it is located outside the city of Cajamarca in the northern Peruvian Andes.

When you think about gold mining, you might imagine a forty niner with a sieve and a pickax, down on the river panning, finding gold nuggets, and filling up a cloth pouch with gold dust.

But that is not how industrial mining works.

It takes 3 tons of ore, which is a fancy name for dirt and rock, to produce 1 ounce of gold.

3 tons of ore equals 96,000 ounces. 96,000 ounces of dirt is needed for 1 ounce of usable material.

Huge trucks drive around the mountain side scooping up dirt which they dump into gigantic manmade lakes filled with mercury.

Mercury binds to specs of gold scattered throughout the ore and the gold sinks down through a drainage system into the smelting operation.

Specs are smelted together into bricks and exported for use in jewelry and industrial application.

The lovely gold or silver earrings and bracelets which fit nicely into the miniature drawers of a small jewelry chest take up a lot more space than you think.

Same with a gold tooth or a gold computer chip.

This arrangement, whereby large quantities of space and energy are needed to produce pretty small quantities of usable material, pervades the universe.

You may remember this old formula E = mc2 (I don't know how to format the 2 correctly. It is supposed to be squared).

My dad had a very wise accountant many years ago. We became friends and he loved to talk philosophy. He had a wonderful voluminous library of poetry and scientific treatises in a spare room in his office.

After signing my tax return, he would bend my ear on the nature of reality.

His name was Dudley by the way.

One day he explained Einstein's formula to me.

"Adam, you have no idea how much creative energy it takes to create even the merest spec of matter."

I still remember him saying that to me. Good old Dudley.

E is energy.

M is mass.

C is the speed of light. The speed of light is 186,000 miles/sec.

186,000 squared is 34,596,000,000.

For every unit of mass, you need 34,596,000,000 units of energy.

"We are awash in energy," Dudley used to tell me.

And then he'd sit back in his desk chair, smiling, and stare out into space with a look of great satisfaction on his face.

Tiny things are made up of unimaginable amounts of energy.

It takes 8 months, 10,000 miles, plus the weight of the chocolate multiplied by 34,596,000,000 units of energy, for us to make a bite of chocolate for you.

To raise a child from a baby to 18 years old takes 567,648,000 seconds.

Some of the seconds stretch out and feel like they'll never end.

Most go by without you even noticing them.

Many you wish you could get back.

A human life exists almost entirely in the past.

Isn't that strange?

You can only live in the present, but your present is an agglomeration of everything that came before it.

Your entire life has led up to the moment that you are living right now.

What you will do and how you will react is conditioned by an already existing superstructure inside of you.

The superstructure is both your body and your brain.

As soon as you live a moment, it becomes a part of the superstructure, influencing the next moment, and this goes on and on until you have a vast accumulation of moments, and the moments are you.

And you only take up two square feet of space.

But in that two square feet of space lives everything that has ever happened to you, your fears, your fortitude, your victories, your defeats, you most cherished memories, and the memories you wish you could forget.

All packed in to that tiny plot of earth.

So, what does it all mean?

This is all just mental gymnastics if we can't take something away from it.

Here is how I think this can be applied.

There is permanence in what we do.

The way we live creates who we are.

Our actions shape the world around us.

It takes a lot of effort and energy just to produce something small.

But something small and good is better than something big and bad.

We are all in the superstructure business.

We are building up icebergs, almost all of which are underwater and can't be seen, just so that a tiny summit can stick out of the water.

Even a little goodness takes its fair share of work.

If we can pile up the moments such that our goodness can be clearly seen, even just a little bit, we've done a lot.

Thank you so much for time today.

I hope that you have a truly blessed day!


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