Well, maybe we don't need to choose just one definition. Could we mix
them? Could we let Electricity be an "elastic term?" Suppose we ignore
all these contradictions and instead pretend that all of the above
definitions are true. Below is the "clear" and "simple" description of
electricity which results:
Electricity is quite simple: "electricity" is just the flowing motion
of electricity! Electricity is a mysterious incomprehensible entity
which is invisible and visible, both at the same time. Also,
electricity is both a form of energy and a type of matter. Both.
Electricity is a kind of low-frequency radio wave which is made of
protons. It's a mysterious force which cannot be seen, and yet it looks
like blue-white fire that arcs across the clouds. It moves forward at the
speed of light... yet it sits and vibrates inside your AC cord without
flowing forwards at all. It's totally weightless, yet it has a small
weight. When electricity flows through a light bulb's filament, it gets
changed entirely into light. Yet not one bit of electricity is ever used
up by the light bulb, and all the electricity flows out of the filament
and back down the other wire. College textbooks are full of electricity,
yet they have no electric charge! Electricity is like sound waves, no no,
it's just like wind, no, the electricity is like the air molecules.
Electricity is like cars on a highway, no, the electricity is the speed of
the cars, no, electricity is just like "traffic waves." Electricity is a
class of phenomena ...a class of phenomena which can be stored in
batteries! If you want to measure a quantity of electricity, what units
should you use? Why Volts of electricity, of course. And also Coulombs of
electricity. And Amperes of electricity. Watts of electricity and
Joules, all at the same time. Yet "electricity" is definitely a class of
phenomena; merely a type of event. Since we can't have an amount of
an event, we can't really measure the quantity of electricity at all...
Heh heh. Does my description above sound stupid and impossible? You're right. It is. The word "electricity" has contradictory meanings, and I'm trying to show what happens when we accept more than one meaning. Electricity is not both slow and fast at the same time. It is not both visible and invisible. And electricity isn't the flowing motion ...of electricity.
Instead, approximately ten separate things have the name "electricity." There's no single stuff called "electricity." electricity does not exist. Franklin, Edison, Thompson, and millions of science teachers should've had a long talk with Mrs. McCave before they decided to give one single name to a large variety of independent science concepts.
Mrs. McCave was invented by Dr. Seuss. She had twenty three sons. She named them all "Dave."
Whenever we ask " What Is Electricity, " that's just like asking Mrs. McCave " who is dave? " How can she describe her son? There can be no answer since the question itself is wrong. It's wrong to ask "who is Dave?" because we're silently assuming that there's only one Dave, when actually there are many different people. They all just happen to be named Dave. Who is Dave? Mrs. McCave cannot answer us until she first corrects our misunderstanding. Dave doesn't exist. She wishes she'd given them all separate names.
For the same reason, we'll never find a simple answer to the question "what is electricity?" because the question itself is wrong. First we must realize that "electricity" does not exist. There is no single thing named "electricity." We must accept the fact that, while several different things do exist inside wires, people wrongly call all of them by a single name.
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