The Flow

The flow is significant… Stagnant waters stale!

During a random internet surfing session about science and engineering projects, I came across Panama Canal and Lake Gatun. Lake Gatun is 85 feet above the sea level, and with a simple but beautifully designed gated segments, connects North and South America seas. It works on the principle of difference of water levels. The video link of crossing of ships from one side to the other is attached below.

It is the principle of potential difference which is applied in this engineering design. Considering general scientific principle, it is not only water that flows from higher to lower heights; winds blow from higher pressure regions to lower pressures; heat flows from higher to lower temperatures by conduction and convection phenomena. Considering only the flow part, we see that the time is continuously on the flow with a uniform physical speed; though intensity with which every moment affects us depends upon our mental and emotional states both internal and external at personal, family and community level.

All the natural flow processes are based on scientific theories gradually discovered and developed into solid mathematical models. These are then applied in many man-made scientific and engineering systems. In almost all the chemical process industries the principles and operations of smooth, unobstructed flow of fluids is desired to get the expected results. We all know that in our conventional car engines fluid flow is needed in engine cooling system, the lubrications system, and brake systems. I remember carrying out bleeding of the brake fluid to purge air out of the system so that desired transfer of fluid force towards the mechanical braking system of the car could be achieved. The blockage or entrapping of air in the brake fluid lining incapacitates the braking system.

Even in the working of human body, the uninterrupted internal flows are extremely essential. We all know how important is the smooth flow of blood with desired pressures from arteries to all systems, and how fatal it can become when there is blockage. In the exploration of archaeological sites the researchers discovered human skulls with more than one holes in them, probably belonging to kings and other nobles of the society. The physicians and other medical experts later established that the holes in the skulls were surgically induced to relieve internal gas pressures, a medical practice in medieval times.

This is almost an everyday phenomenon that we develop sneezing when we expose our self to sudden changes of temperatures, e.g., going to colder outside from a warm room. This is an automatic reaction of the body systems to compensate for sudden changes of temperatures or pressures. A quick intake of cold drinks also causes sudden choking and encapsulation of gases, and one is relieved from it through burps. All this and the sneezing etc., is needed to purge the entrapped air from the human system.

The same analogy of the flow of entities both tangible and intangible can be applied to all kind of systems; even to our social, political and financial systems. When we maintain a desired smooth flow in these, harmony is acquired and maintained in the society. When these flows are blocked or interrupted irrationally, the systems collapse.

The most important flow in the man-made systems is the flow of wealth which is to be maintained for many understandable economic and social reasons. Hoarding of money, goods and products cripples the economies and social systems.

The free flow of knowledge, from all sources including individuals, teachers, religious scholars and institutions of learning, to those who need it, is to be maintained for the regular and continuous human progress. Whenever the free flow of knowledge is blocked, the societies degenerate. Stagnant waters stale. These days many good universities of the world, as a social responsibility, have given free access to their research and knowledge archives to everyone through their websites.

Even the movement of people from one region to another, though for multiple other reasons, plays a role in the healthy transfer of cultures and traditions, which is the human social, cultural and religious requirement. Thus, the unblocked smooth flows of all kinds are healthy signs for the maintenance of life and world activities.

Dr Akhtar Nawaz Malik

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