12.1 The Household Set First Level
— The Atom —
First Level: The Atom
The complexity of nature commences with the first Household instance: the atom. The nucleus of an atom contains all information to determine the properties of the atom, and that information is nothing but the number of nucleons that make up the nucleus. Hydrogen is the simplest atom. It consists of one single proton and one electron in orbit around it. A single free proton is still a hydrogen nucleus, but an electron at large is just a free electron. That is because electrons sometimes simply escape the atom, altering the condition of the atom but not the constitution.
- Loosely connected smears; earth's atmosphere or clouds of interstellar dust.
- Tightly knitted forms; stars, planets, double-deckers.
- Living Cells.
Natrium for instance comes from a nucleus of eleven protons and eleven neutrons, which creates room for eleven electrons to zip around the nucleus spread out over three rings. But often the eleventh electron takes off, leaving the total atom a charge of one proton, hence making a natrium ion. If somehow instead of an electron a proton would escape the nucleus, the entire atom would change essence as the nucleus would be left to contain ten protons, which constitutes neon. Natrium is a white, shiny metal. Neon is a gas. That's how much a tiny difference matters.
The atoms of noble gases remain solitary but pretty much all other atoms form molecules. These molecules may vary from tiny ones such as H 2 O to humongous and almost unfathomable structures such as the various DNA molecules. And all those material particles and structures they make celebrate the vast expanse of the universe in an incredible energetic economy. From close to frozen hydrogen atoms adrift in space to roaring stars of incredible vigor or even black holes that are so powerful that all forces except gravity vanish, along with any recognizable structure such as that of atoms and molecules. They dance, share energy, create waves that combine to a whisper that travels the universe with the speed of light. The more we learn about the universe the more we should realize of what a magnificent wilderness we are a part.
Electrons are known to appear in nature in clouds or clusters, even when they don't have a nucleus to guide them. This way electrical potentials may travel and cause reactions. In a way, the Household Image is preceded by an era in complexity that could be characterized as a body without a nucleus. Before nuclei existed, electrons were, and after nuclei were formed it took a long time until electrons connected themselves to them.
Molecules make objects. From the tiniest kernels of sand to single celestial objects perhaps as large as our entire solar system. But some molecules huddle up in such a way that the original atomic image from which they all sprang emerges from their ranks. Those compositions are the Household Images of the next floor, yet to the inhabitants of ground floor level these structures do not differ in the slightest way from all other objects molecules make. To a flint of a kernel of sand, a small single-cellular creature is just another flint of matter. It takes life to recognize life. The dwellers of the Household Set may look down and recognize lower levels but they cannot look up. All higher floors are projected on the ceilings of the lower, and not noticed by the indigenous to be any different.