Through a child’s eyes
Today it is not rare to hear about energy security and risk in the media, but when we were children, the risk our parents were most concerned about was not getting electrocuted accidentally. Taking the point that this is an energy biography and as such by essence very personal, I offer the following story – my first encounter with the danger imbedded in energy.
As a young child, my first relationship to energy risk was of course to ignore it. Energy as such was out of my scope of understanding and it existed outside of the boundaries of my reality. After I had grown to appreciate the visible world around me, my curiosity turned toward the world that is not seen, that of taste and smell, and of course that of the mysterious thing called electricity. Due to its mystery, I was curious – what is that strange force coming out of holes in the wall that when plugged in makes things move, vibrate, echo, sing and play? Lead by that curiosity, I spend countless hours poking pencils and other sharp objects into the wall, hoping to catch a glimpse or an understanding of how this mysterious force works. My parents tried explaining the forces of energy, but alas, to a young child, the scientific explanations, no matter how friendly or simply described, sounded more like gibberish than anything else. It was my own inability to comprehend such an abstract topic that hindered my ability to change my behavior and stop my dangerous pursuits caused by my curiosity.
As I was unable to adapt, my parents hatched a plan, a way to make me feel the danger of energy first hand. They placed a rug in front of my preferred electricity plug, and when I proceeded to poke sharp implements in it yet again, my father pulled the rug from under my feet. I fell onto the soft carpet so I was not physically harmed, but the shock was enough for me to feel what I could not comprehend yet with my young mind. The deception quickly persuaded me to change my behaviors and adapt to a much safer approach to energy and electricity. The deception used was for my benefit, which only time and further gained knowledge would allow me to understand. It taught me about the consequences and dangers of energy, and specifically the possibility of an electric shock. Further, with those consequences, I also learned a set of adaptive measures aimed at preventing unnecessary danger. That was the last day I poked the holes in the wall with sharp instruments, but also, the first day of my new found understanding about energy, its hidden powers, its inherent dangers and its underlying risks.
My parents tried explaining the forces of energy, but alas, to a young child, the scientific explanations, no matter how friendly or simply described, sounded more like gibberish than anything else.