Leave Feedback

Atom and Steve

Matt Morgan • May 29, 2014 at 3:00 PM

How your sphere of influence reacts to fulfill or empower countless unknown others'.


You don't have to be a chemist to understand the comparisons we're going to make - but it doesn't hurt! Fear not, everything will be explained as it goes along. Chemistry and sociology may seem like an odd pair, but by the end we'll be able to answer "yes" to the eternal question of: "Will it blend?".


Atoms are much like people in that they seek stability, a completeness so to speak. Both atoms and humans exist in various stages of that feeling of fulfillment. Those few fortunate atoms who have the magic number of electrons to make them stable (noble gasses such as helium and neon) seem to be the envy of the vast majority of other atoms who don't share that level of automatic completeness. However, the incomplete "commoner" atoms found a way to be just as happy as the nobles: covalent bonds.


In very simple terms a covalent bond is a sharing of electrons between two or more atoms so that each are "full". One such substance that shares a bond is hydrofluoric acid  (caution readers, this hyperlink will talk about actual uses of hydrofluoric acid but may contain some spoilers for...), more recently made famous in the AMC show "Breaking Bad." Hydrogen has one electron but really needs two to feel comfortable. Fluoride has seven (in its outer shell), but to feel like it has done something with its life it should really have eight. So, hydrogen and fluoride meet up and share an electron with each other. It's a marriage made in science that has each element helping each other out and becoming something completely different than each were before singly.


We as a species are very much like atoms. We are made of the darn things! We exist in many states and each have different needs and properties no matter how similar we are to our neighbors. So too do we each offer different contributions to the world around us and in different amounts. Never forget that you as a single element always have something to offer!


If it wasn't for the bond shared between Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, Apple would never have been created. These men found fulfillment through their shared differences in order to complete their vision and fulfillment in life and society. But don't think it is a mere single bond that satisfies everything. As things are, many exceptions exist and some people and atoms feel more comfortable around a group. Dihydrogen monoxide for example, is quite the polyamorous set of atoms. Oxygen, having six electrons in its outer shell, needs two more to really feel satisfied. Each hydrogen needs one. When the three share, oxygen gets its eight and while the hydrogen atoms don't bond directly, it is through their mutual love of oxygen that they each get two electrons circling them. Everyone wins including we humans who happen to enjoy...water.


Gathering a group of others and pooling each other's differences and experiences can offer so much utility and opportunity to reach out to others in unknown ways. Water doesn't specifically know if it is cooking your pasta, sinking your boat, or reviving a person from the brink of dehydration. If Steve Martin didn't share a bond with Chevy Chase and Martin Short, we never would have had the "¡Three Amigos!" to make us laugh (and do that funny little hand/hip gesture). "The Big Lebowski" wouldn't be the same quotable cult movie if Jeff Bridges and John Goodman weren't connected through Steve Buscemi to make us laugh, think, and even mourn...man.


By sharing with each other, we each then go on to do unknown, untold other things! Don't feel incomplete a day longer than you must. There exists something or someone(s) out there who need what you have to offer. Your skill, your wit, your insight. Your education, experience, or level-headedness can all be what is needed to stabilize a situation; improve a life, even your own. There is natural precedent to cosmically find balance. Waste not another minute pining like phosphorus does about argon. Do something about it. Find some chlorine, get together, and bond.


Neat and tidy? There's always something else though isn't there? Sometimes bonds may not form, but a significant impact is still made on a personal/atomic level. Has there ever been a source with which you may not share a bond but who has encouraged you to think differently? To inspire you to possibly become something you weren't before? Maybe Steve McQueen instilled some youthful rebellion or "cool factor" in you? Could Steve Irwin's passion for animals have set you on a path of conservation or zoology? Perhaps the business success of Steve Wynn ignited your entrepreneurial spark?


What an impact that had on you! Atomically such an impact is what occurs in nuclear fission. Ok that is a very condensed way of putting it, but let's stick to it. When an isotope of uranium (or plutonium) is hit with a stray neutron, it briefly becomes super excited then splits releasing among other things more neutrons. Those neutrons then go on to hit more fuel and so on as the reaction continues. If there was ever a Steve that could represent this it would be Steve Chen as a co-founder of YouTube and the viral culture it has spawned.


Whether you see yourself as finding peace and success through the bonds you share or become motivated and invigorated by the meaningful impact of someone else, you are still a part of something bigger, grander. The universe is vast and so too are your opportunities to interact with it and its inhabitants. Answers to your questions lie in wait for the right circumstances to arise. An action you take today could set off a chain reaction in someone else's life that will change it forever. Empower yourself with the help of others and remember that even if you are already a stable, noble gas, there is always room for enlightenment.

Recommended for You