Cycle vs Flow
There are events that occur after a certain period and repeat themselves periodically. Such events are thus cyclical, and they have a cycle that can be explained in terms of events and time. Water cycle on our planet is one such example of how water from our water resources goes back to the atmosphere through evaporation, and then comes back in the form of rainfall. Flow is another word associated with cycles involving liquids, especially water. But whereas cycle repeats itself after a certain time period, flow continues in a particular direction, and its reverse does not take place. This article attempts to highlight the differences between a cycle and flow, for the benefit of those who cannot appreciate flow and cycle.
We all know that energy flows in one direction and cannot be recycled. On the other hand, water cycle tells us how it has been going on and on, repeating itself continuously so that the total amount of water in our planet remains constant. Menstruation in females is a classic example of a cycle that repeats itself in all women of reproductive age and stops only when they become pregnant. On the other hand, flow of the uterine lining, during menstruation is referred to as flow and not cycle.
Cycle is a term that is used for events that repeat themselves after certain period, such as Hailey’s comet, which is seen after every 75 years. However, an eruption of a volcano is not called cycle because there is no certainty behind its eruption and it may take place after irregular time periods, surprising human beings. On the other hand, a baby is born, grows up to be an adult, later an old man, and then dies, which is a certainty and, hence, termed as life cycle.
Flow is a term that signifies uninterrupted continuity. Water flowing in a river reflects this phenomenon unlike still water in a pond or a lake. When the flow of traffic is interrupted, jam is created on road. The word flow also signifies the smoothness or continuity in a performance or the performance of a player or a team when it is in full form. Any interruption or breakage in the flow results in drop in performance level.
What is the difference between Cycle and Flow?
• Flow takes place in a single direction while cycle is circular in nature and repeats itself.
• Cycle reflect changes while flow reflects continuity.
• Cycle repeats itself while flow goes on an on.