Oct 04, 1999 06:39 AM
In a message dated 10/1/99 3:05:13 PM Central Daylight Time,
> >>As we perceive/live it, time and space are separate - not Einsteinian.
> Well, this may be your perception, but it is not mine.
Oh? So, can you legally drive? What optics does your eyeballs work on?
Surely your perception is not at the c boundary, is it? Traveling at the at
the speed of light?
>Blavataky used motion, which
>implies some mass moving through space, and speed
>or velocity always implies time.
Of course it does, in the simplest formula S= d/t (spedd equals distance over
time). Your point? Meanwhile, I suggest comparison of one not fully
understood system of thought with an even less understood system of thought
leads to a componded confusion of both.
>>>We do not perceive relativity.
>Not as a physical object maybe, but we do as a concept or idea.
Concepts are not seen. What does the concept of the join of two sets look
Concepts are discursive not imagistic. In every tradition there is a
distinction between the awareness part of mind and the conceptualizing,
discursive part of the mind. Concepts are discursive elements of thought and
thought is inner talking. That's what some discover in the early phases of
meditation when they are to get the
inner thought, inner talking and chatter, to be still. Concepts are like
simple theories and theories are groups of propositions interconnected
>> Rather, Einsteinian theory applies to
the universe as we mathematically model it using geometry (space)
to model energetic states (vectors) according to uniform mechanical
motion (clocks - taken as the physical representative of time since
time eludes definition so far). >>
>While what you saying is certianly true, it is not fair to limit
>the theory of relativity to a mathematical plaything. If physics
>is not applicable or relevent to life, then what good is it?
>Math is a language of relationships, and those relationships
>are very real.
I implied no such thing that the theory of relativity is a mere
plaything. But when non-physicist take literally its use of
spatial analogy to mathematically model space-time, they go
off track. The spatial analogy is applied to time not because
time _is_ space but because the mathematical modelling leads
to true predictions. A theory is not a picture. And just to say
the theory is about something real does not mean the real thing
it is about is _like_ the theory. We have several areas where there
are two overlapping theories or mathematical modellings that
are incommensurate with each other yet model the same real
thing. The particle/wave theories in quantum mechanics both
work as models for something that is neither a particle nor a
wave. Likewise we model time as a spatial dimension yet time
is not space. Mathematics is about relations, as you say, but that
leaves a host of issues unanswered.
First, is studying how something interacts with something else
(a relation) a study of the thing itself or only how it appears
in relation? Our science is an experimental one. That means
we just don't go out and observe how nature happens. It means
we intervene and manipulate a natural process to see what we
can make it do under certain conditions we set up and see if it
conforms, as so manipulated, to the predicted parameters set out
by theory. There is a very big debate in physics now about
whether the laws of physics are exactly the same as the laws
of nature because experiment is really an exploratory
manufacturing process (manufacturing processes are
fossilized experiements instutionalized into standardized
technological and productive forces serving social ends).
We don't know if our laws are of nature in and of itself
or whether they are of nature-and-our-control. David
Bohm has recently argued the laws of physics are
about the technology-nature interface and not about
nature by itself. That is the true meaning of the
saying the observer interacts with the observed. Literally
it means the production process produces the product.
Experiment is fundamentally a making-relation.
Second, in light of the first, the phenomena dealt with
in physics is not nature in the raw but natural processes
that can be mathematically modelled so that they
become quantified magnitudes. But there is much that
eludes such measurement and quantifying. One basic
branch of both mathematics and physics is to come
up with new forms of mathematics that may be useful
to quantify previously neglected aspects of natural
process. Two points follow from this second claim.
First, all such modelling is abstract. That is, like
any conceptual grasp, it is simpler than the infinitely
rich reality it models. Ever see a map? Road maps
don't include trees, geological features you find in
a geodesic survey map, nor is a photo of the area
it maps. To be clear, it simplifies and highlights
what is relevant for the purposes at hand while
leaving out much. The turf it maps is not the sole
or exclusive determinant of what the map will be. The
human purpose is also a determinate. Since it has
a different purpose, stratigraghy map looks very
different from a road map. Concepts, theories, maps,
representations, and mathematical models are
simpler than the turf. The menu is not the meal.
The description of an experience is not the
experience itself nor is there such a thing as a
complete description. In all these cases, what
determines the properties of the map is not
exclusively the turf that is mapped
but also the purpose for the map. The same for
physical theories, what determines a theory is not
just the reality it is about but also the purposes we
have in so measuring it the way we do. That is,
the theory models a natural process not just in terms
of itself but in terms of expanding our experimental
control over it. Secondly, all the basic data, as
quantified magnitudes, are measurements.
Measurements are relations but of a special kind.
They are a comparing of the time, length, mass of
some phenomenon in terms of the time, length,
mass of some other phenomenon we have
conventionally chosen to be a measure. So,
we invent a foot or a meter. But it is a physical
length compared to other lengths. Now, time
is more complex. People loosely talk about
Newton believing in absolute time and Einstein
saying time is relative. But both Newton and
Einstein state they are not dealing with time
itself. It is one of those things that still eludes
our comprehension much less our ability to
measure it. What is physical time? It is
like the foot or meter stick. We have taken
one physical motion (not time itself but a
temporal process) as the standard by which
to measure the start, duration, and finish of
other physical motions. In physics, what is
called "time" is just this comparison of two
physical motions where one is arbitrarily set
up as a standard. What kind of physical
motion do we use in these comparisons?
Uniform mechanical motion. A clock is
a uniform mecahnical motion by which we
measure other processes and events. Is
a clock time itself? No. Is the comparison
of two different rates of motion time itself?
No. As Einstein himself put it in his paper
on Special Relativity, he doesn't know what
time is. He is going to accept the "conventional
time" of physics. This is a reference back to
Newton who said he could not find any means
to measure absolute time so he was going
to replace it, as conventional time, the uniform
mecahnical motion of a clock. So, relativity
theory says, really, that uniform mechanical
motions, all motions, all space-time motions,
are relative to the absolute invariant value of
the speed of light. So, yes, the physiological
motions of an astronauts body, in theory,
would slow down - aging would slow down.
But really, not time but temporal and spatial
motions other than light are relativized to
lights speed as an invariant constant in
special relativity. And this brings out again
physics only reflects that aspect of things
that we can quantify using our mathematics
and our technology.
Grigor V. Ananikian
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