the fundamental importance of energy

Energy is fundamental. This is an important clarification to make because many speakers of the English language organize their attention around matter, rather than around energy. This can lead to tremendous confusion, such as the idea that matter can change in to energy. That idea is entirely false.
Instead, energy can temporarily take the form of matter. Imagine a small amount of fuel such as a match. When the match is “lit,” then the energy of the match can combine with another form of energy called oxygen to produce a process called oxidation (as in burning).

Burning means the the radiating of energy in all directions. Burning radiates as visible light energy waves, as audible sound energy waves, and as another form of vibratory wave or field called heat. (Note that the energy of the earth pushes the flame away from the earth, similar to a wind pushing the flame in a particular direction, except that the earth is an energetic field that is constantly and steadily pushing the flame away from the earth.)
So, burning is an energetic process. Burning is the transformation of stable concentrations of energy in to radiating forms of energy.
Where does the energy of the burning match come from? The energy of the light and sound and heat is the same energy that was previously in the form of the match. Because the energy of the match is only moderately stable (so also moderately unstable), it is reasonably easy to trigger a conversion of the stabilized energy of the match in to the radiating energy of heat, sound, and light.
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How do you convert a match in to radiation? In the presence of another kind of energetic fuel called oxygen, the match can be dragged across a very stable form of energy, producing friction that causes a small electromagnetic strike (like lightning) that triggers a new relationship between the energy of the surrounding oxygen (in the air) and the stored energy of the match.
It is not that energy is stored in the match. It is that the match is stored energy. The match was always just a form of energy and nothing but a temporary formation or configuration of energy.
A match is a form of energy that is reactive with another form of energy called oxygen. However, there are also other factors that can complicate the relationship between the match and the oxygen, such as if the match has been soaked in the form of energy called water.

So, when we talk about a particular clump of matter (stabilized energy), we distinguish between various kinds of matter (of energy) by referencing the contrasting energetic properties. For instance, when we talk about an ice cube or boiling steam, we know that the chemical composition of ice and steam are basically identical (H2O), but that the energetic properties are very different. One is hot and expansive (steam) and the other is cold and contracted (ice).

Further, if we categorize elements like hydrogen, carbon, and copper, we categorize them by their distinct energetic properties. Hydrogen is the most energetically reactive element in chemistry, easily forming energetic bonds and easily breaking the energetic bond. Carbon is one of the most stable elements in chemistry, which is because carbon is an accumulation of energy with a very stable outer layer of energy.

In other words, hydrogen and carbon are not just two different forms of matter. They are two different patterns of energy in material form.
There also also forms of energy that combine some of the stability of carbon with some of reactivity of hydrogen. One form of energy that is famous for it’s ability to maintain a stable form while transmitting energy across it is called copper.
Why would copper be so useful for transmitting energy? It is because there is a core of stable energy (totaling 29 protons and 28 electrons plus however many neutrons) surrounded by a single layer of very reactive energy (a single electron).
It is that outer layer that is so active in transmitting energy. However, because of the stable core, a copper wire tends to last quite a long time unless heated to the point of melting (unless exposed to an extremely reactive concentration of energy).
So, what would happen if energy in the form of copper were heated so much that the copper would melt? Would it still be copper?
When we melt water in the form of frozen ice, it is still water. However, solid forms of energy cannot mix with other forms of energy as well as liquid forms of energy.
So, we can melt copper and mix it with zinc and lead to make brass. The liquid alloy of brass can cool down to be stabilized or solidified energy.
In fact, because copper is both extremely stable and extremely reactive (at least in regard to the outer layer of energy in the 29th electron), copper can be made in to over 400 alloys. All of these alloys will be similar to pure copper in terms of being moderately stable yet moderately reactive (in terms of things like electromagnetic conductivity). One very famous alloy of copper, called bronze, is famous for being more stable (harder) than pure copper.
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Because some people presume that elements are fundamentally material (rather than energy), they have false presumptions about the behavior of energy (matter). For instance, in the 20th century, it was conclusively demonstrated that the form of energy called nitrogen could convert in to the form of energy called carbon. In prior centuries, this might have been dismissed as “impossible alchemy” because “everyone knows that one element cannot simply change in to another element.” Note that science has a long history of disproving popular superstitions.
The reverse is also true. Carbon could transform in to nitrogen.
Further, this transition could set off a very powerful chain reaction of explosive energy. Nuclear energy was used for devices such as nuclear power plants. Why? Because carbon and nitrogen are not fundamentally material. They are fundamentally energy.
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