For Every Action
By Elizabeth Horner
12th Grade Student of Greenville High
September 19, 2011
is only interesting when I can
see its real life applications. Newton’s claim that “for every action,
an equal and opposite reaction” meant that when I sat on one end of the
teeter-totter, the other side would shoot skyward. Without going into
at age nine, that was some pretty useful stuff and I had to agree with
teachers… this guy was smart!
time, more of his theorems became
very valuable. I have often returned to reflect on a particular one
“An object at rest will remain at rest unless acted upon by an earthly
and an object in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by an
stirred in my mind pictures
of tsunami waves, cyclones that have destroyed homes, great
were too powerful to be stopped by men alone. Of course, that wasn’t
Newton’s purpose. He was describing the motion of an item when it is
by gravity, but I think he would support also the idea of starting
that can’t be stopped.
the downfall of people and
cultures is spread out over a length of time. The changes are sometimes
subtle that everyone pretends not to notice what is amiss. Is it
are afraid that the sound of their own voice, pointing to a sign of
will find other voices, will start a movement, and cause a world that
to be at rest to suddenly leap into action?
reminds me of that old riddle: A
tree falls in a forest with no-one around to hear it. Does it make a
a line of dominos crashed down, but no-one was watching. Does the chain reaction
beings are always inching towards
some goal, some future life that is different from what we have today. And the earth--- even
though it moves too
slowly for our eyes to track--- it is constantly spinning and hurtling
through space. We can spend forever telling ourselves that the dominos
fall unless we push them, but not doing anything acts as a “force” in
itself. It could propel us backwards, rather than forward, and by the
realize this, we are already too far gone in the wrong direction.
for example, WWII. Thousands
more Jews died before we retracted our statement of neutrality. We
have waited longer to get involved, allowing Hitler’s power to grow and
millions might have perished.
grew up learning that “no bad deed
goes unpunished”, but I take it as the pessimist’s view of “for every
there is an equal and opposite reaction”. When people stay quiet
injustice, or choose something easier over something right, then they
adding to the power of the corrupt and the manipulators to move the
Taking a stand for what you believe in has another effect, maybe
the trees or set the course for the dominos, moving things forward.
if I can only make the rest of my
science lessons make as much sense in my life….