Thursday, July 07, 2005

Today's Word: Hysteresis

Today's Word was requested by Spoketruce, an artist! He's a big fan of orange juice and cheese-toast!

Actually, he suggested three words, and that's ok. I'm only going to do the first one for now, because I only do one word a day, and it's important to maintain structure. I'll probably get around to the other two, because they're very good words!

Hysteresis is a period of's a state of lag between the moment of influence and the actual effect. Sounds complicated but it's not!

Imagine a firework....BAM! That's the cause. Now, imagine your reaction...awe, appreciation, excitement! Does it happen right away? NO! It takes a fraction of a second for your brain to process what's going on! There's a breathless pause of void where your senses are completely overwhelmed...nothing happens because so MUCH is happening. That is a hysteretic moment.

Why is that important? I'll tell you! Hysteresis can allow you to mold and shape experiences. It's a period of pause between cause and effect that gives the astute observer time to work.

When you make soap, you turn a liquid into a solid via the chemical process called saponification. But it doesn't happen right introduce the catalyst and then wait and stir. If it all happened at once, you'd have a giant pot full of hard soap. But since the reaction takes a moment or two to kick in...the soap-maker can pour the liquid into molds and create whatever your heart desires!

Scientists use hysteresis as a measuring-stick. Magnetic fields, chemical reactions...there is always lag between cause and effect, and the amount of lag can be measured and manipulated. In many cases, the absence of effect is just as important and useful as the effect! That's Zen!

Hysteresis is a transition period full of potential. You can ignore it, sure...the wheels of change are already in motion. But if you act with deliberate intent, you can use hysteresis like a tool to refine the raw experiences of life. Not Bad!



Blogger aria said...

I totally enjoy reading your work here. It's a fantastic way to not only learn those interesting words, but to be able to apply them as well. I shall recommend your blog to my students! Great work!
aria =)

2:36 PM  
Blogger . said...


I needed to read about this word today, it has some serious personal significance.

Thank you so much.

5:48 PM  
Blogger Mona said...

I found you through Sproketruce, and so glad I did....what a terrific blog!!!!!

If I think of a word, I'll shoot one at you.

Stasis comes to mind...but perhaps it's too simple.

7:55 PM  
Blogger Mr. Word said...

Hi there Mona!

I'm very glad you found my blog too! There are no simple words! Take that to heart! Stasis is a lovely and complex word with profound implications...but it will have to wait its turn! Your thoughts on Peace are lovely indeed! Welcome!

Spoketruce, I'm happy to have delivered your word in a suitable manner! That's why I do this! And remember, YOU brought the word to me! So thank you so much for allowing me to share it with the world!


8:48 PM  

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