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“It is the weight, not numbers of experience that is to be regarded.” — Isaac Newton

In the opening paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson derived the right to revolution from the God-given or inalienable rights of the social atom, man, and his derivation seems to parallel the one in which Isaac Newton, a century earlier, had derived the mechanism of nature from the God-given or innate properties of the individual physical atom.
The system of checks and balances — still taught in civics classes, but not found to be effective in Newton’s real world today — was incorporated in the Constitution of the United States, and was intended to give the new American society the same sort of stability in the presence of disruptive forces that the exact compensation of inertial forces and gravitational attraction had given to the Newtonian solar system.
Well, well, well. We see a hell on earth now that neither Jefferson nor Newton could have imagined. Reinforced to the nth degree, no matter who wins the presidential election. [I’m certain, by the way, as per Julian Assange’s recent reasoning, and the Irish bookies I’ve consulted that it’ll be Clinton.]
I’m talking about the climate change issues which the top three candidates (I’m including the libertarian here) and all of their supporters* have given up on, if they ever took them seriously. Seriously, how can any of those voters — today’s atoms! — travel as they do around their tiny universes, which tell them that either there’s nothing to worry about, or that their candidate will make a positive difference on our collective catastrophe in motion? Don’t know. But I do know that if one’s going to be as observant as Newton had to be in establishing his mechanistic view, we must include a huge percentage of those who will be boycotting elections in 2016 too in our nihilistic demographic.
*I am aware that some supporters fully intend to fight the good fight, and will. But they are too few to consider here.
Anyone care to guesstimate what proportion of the American population we’ve covered here? As you calculate, don’t forget to throw in large numbers that represent those too young to vote, and being brought up to be consumers of oil-based products in good standing.
It is the vast majority! But the good news is that the revolution Jefferson alluded to wouldn’t require a majority, wouldn’t even require a third of the population, the percentage that was involved in proactively pulling off the American Revolution. Not a lot, but a lot more than the figures marginalized Jill Stein is pulling in.
The operative word above is revolution. But nobody’s really talking about that. Or, rather, I should say… if they are, they’re — pretty much to a one — only talking. Or making or watching faux revolutionary cinema like Mr. Robot. And, then, perhaps, writing reviews, or texting their thoughts out into Newton’s authentic world, where they’re unworthy of securing an atomic number.
Most folks are — in greater and greater numbers daily — drifting into atomized lives that would have shocked Newton and confounded Jefferson to no end. Most Americans are — it’s universally acknowledged now — locked into little survival and/or self-centered pleasure corners, precluding meaningful movement in solidarity. Solidarity and protest having been relegated to the realm of “likes” on Facebook and the like.
The 18th-century’s determination to derive the characteristics of a good society from the innate characteristics of the individual man seems to have been fostered in part by the corpuscularism of the 17th-century. In 18th- and 19th-century thought the individual appears again and again as the atom from which the mechanism, society, is fabricated.
Well, the atom which is you — that great source of energy that is being begged for in the 21st-century — needs to be discovered, along with the means to make yourself heavier, more weighty (by blending, in solidarity) for what’s coming.
By you.

Rachel Olivia O’Connor is a freelance journalist, and a former professor of Astronomy. She can be reached at

One Comment

  1. K SHESHU BABU says:

    The humane philosophy of Walt Whitman and Robert Frost have gone into oblivion. The guidance of Paine and Jefferson have been replaced by email scandals of Hilary Clinton or obscene thoughts of trump. The earlier morale physiology has been replaced by ‘ morass’ philosophy.