(or) The Thermodynamics of Prayer
I am not a physicist, but Jim Parsons plays one on TV, so what the hey. I really wish that I were a Heinlein, but I shall have to muddle through.
It has become chic for unbelievers, or Those Fallen Away, or New Agey folk to encroach into territory once maintained for the Practising Believer, that of Praying. It has been normal for persons with need to ask fellow believers (or people they know to be believers whether the needy is one or no) to pray for this or that situation, problem, or crisis. "Please pray for me.", then is a tacit, if last-ditch recognition that there may be a Source of help yet unplumbed, and that prayer is a way to access that help. However, often on facebook, when prayers are solicited, some responders will offer "good vibes" or "good thoughts" to the supplicant, sometimes with the caveat "Well, you know I don't pray, but...." When asked for a tool, they offer a Crackerjack sticker.
"Well, Mr. Aardvark, you are certainly being critical of other people's spirituality."
When I ask for roadside assistance because my engine has blown, giving me a bottle of homebrew oil additive ain't-a-gonna help.
Your Aardvark was an Environmental Studies major, and his favorite prof was G. Tyler Miller, who summed up the three laws of thermodynamics thusly:
1) There is no "away".
2) You cannot get something for nothing
3) You can't even break even.
I would like to concentrate on the third law. There is always loss in a system. Some of the water in my glass evaporates; I cannot drink that amount. When I run current through a wire some of the electricity is lost to resistance and becomes waste heat. Even using superconductors, there is still measurable loss. I pump in x, I get out less than x.
Thinking at one another on our Silent Planet is subject to the third law. Only by plugging into what is outside the system can we surmount our entropic sin-ridden lives, and bring true help where there is need.