The Rate of Acceleration


Some things I learned in school seem to have stuck with me pretty well. As much as people like to brag that they “went another day without using Algebra,” I have to say that the opportunity for Algebra to come in handy comes up pretty regularly in my life– Geometry and Physics too. I made a 98 in Geometry in Summer School while I was in High School, which seems an unpredictably high grade since my teacher, Frankie Underwood (God rest her soul) often accused me (as she did several of the other students) of being a “lost ball in high weeds.” Still, due to her diligent efforts to teach us and my hunger to learn, I’ll regularly whip out the Pythagorean Theorem to properly lay out lines for a backyard football game or to hang a picture straight. One of the Physics principles that seems indelibly etched on my brain is the Rate of Acceleration Due to Gravity. If not acted on by other forces (such as wind resistance) objects will fall toward Earth at an accelerating rate and the rate at which they accelerate is 9.8m/s2. That number is buried in there with a bunch of old phone numbers that are no longer accurate, stubbornly holding their place which might better be used for the names of new friends. Instead, it’s as if someone presses the mute button when a new acquaintance utters what their parents decided to call them. You could ask me the instant they’ve said it and I’m just as likely to say “205 686 7122” as I am Joe or Betty or Sue. But the Rate of Acceleration is in there, apparently for good.
I’ve been thinking about this law a lot lately because I’ve come to believe that there are correlative spiritual (or if you prefer, emotional and/or psychological) laws that relate to the laws that govern matter and energy. Perhaps the line between these “types” of laws is arbitrary and will one day be ignored by rational people.

I once had a man who’d asked me to help him stay sober but he was very worried at the idea that he supposedly would have to believe in God for him to have any hope of doing so. He is an avowed Atheist. I assured him that as long as he didn’t think he was the most powerful force in the universe that I thought we could work something out. Incidentally, I told him if he had any delusions that he was the most powerful force in the universe, that he should get up at 5:30 the next morning (it was Winter in New York) and command the sun not to rise. I think he valued his sleep more than any desire to go through with the silly experiment and he conceded to listen to what I had to say. We’d meet regularly at The Museum of Natural History, his “temple” of scientific knowledge and discuss “spiritual” matters and how he was going to stay sober. We’d lie back in our reclining seats in the planetarium and consider things like Newton’s Third Law: “for every action there is an opposite and opposing reaction” and ponder how there may be possible correlatives in the realm of human behavior. It’s not hard to figure out the connection. Go out and perform some acts of kindness and it’s almost magical how they come bouncing back in kind, and not always from the same source. Conversely, if the actions are unkind, you can pretty much guess what’s headed back your way. I like playing around with ideas like these. It’s what I think of instead of wanting to murder people who brag that “God saved little Johnny from leukemia” while the kid in the next room died even though those who love that kid prayed just as hard. I never have believed and will never believe in such and asinine concept of a deity. If that God exists, he’s an asshole.

But back to the Law of Acceleration– I’ve been thinking of it in terms of gratitude. I used to think the more grateful I was, the more good things showed up in my life– but I now think that’s only the start of it. I’ve now come to believe that if I simply let myself “fall” into the force of gratitude, that it not only brings a predictable result but that those results come at an increasing rate. I’m not sure that it’s exactly 9.8m/s2, but I can tell you that the good things are coming faster now and that they are pretty much what I try to focus on all the time. Do I mean to say that life doesn’t continue to present little challenges? Hell no. But just as there’s the negative correlative to the spiritual version of Newton’s Third Law, I believe the same holds true here and if I started focusing on all that goes wrong in my life, that’s what seems to accelerate.

Take it for what it’s worth. If it’s useful to you, you’re welcome to it– if not then let it go.

It’s sure nice to be back in the guest bedroom where I’ve spent many happy nights here at my friends’ place in the Hollywood Hills. Mulholland seems especially quiet and peaceful tonight but I’ve spent enough nights here to know that the possibility of a 3:00 am Maserati vs. Lamborghini drag race is real and might interrupt my dreams of Down Under. That’s okay, hopefully I’ll wake up enough to remember that I don’t need a half million dollar car to tell me who I am. And then I’ll go back to boxing kangaroos or jousting koalas in the mystical world of my slumber to, once and for all, win the favor of my true love. Hey, somebody’s gotta do it.

Speaking of which, there’s my call from Australia.

See y’all tomorrow.

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