The Tragedy of Resonance Forms

When resonance structures can be drawn for a given molecule, it is understood that the actual structure of the molecule is a hybrid, or blend of all the various resonance forms. However, all resonance forms do not necessarily contribute equally to the hybrid. The structure of the hybrid will most closely resemble the resonance form(s) that contributes the most to the hybrid.

These bodies, the bodies you and I are plugged into, are made of molecules. However, each and every one of these molecules is like a shard of glass bearing more than one image. A resonance form with a better Lewis structure will contribute more character to the hybrid. The resonance form with a better Lewis structure is the sharpest image in the shard of glass.

The minor contributors have been decreed to be ghosts, contributing less percentage of their being, only faint glimmers, to the totality of any given molecule. The hybrids that we call molecules are created by the merging of images that each have a different character– so the hybrid might end up with 65% one character, 30% of a second character, and 5% of another character.

Now that you know this, let us mourn for the gifts of wool and sugar masked behind the clouds, let us mourn for the swords unseen in the pens of the brave, let us mourn for the faint mirages that we bear but can never be.

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