Chapter 7: Motion

imagesAh motion! Is any other human experience more sublime! We live to move, in fact it could be argued that, after the quest for mere subsistence, the primary drive of the species is to acquire motion. Think about it. Most of the major industries in the current civilized world are devoted to motion. Automobile manufacturers. The aerospace industry. Sports. Dance. Exercise. All are about motion.

And who could deny the pleasure of sitting behind the wheel of a convertible automobile and hitting the gas periodically while shifting through the gears on a sunny day with the wind blowing through your hair…..?

But that’s really not about motion, is it? It’s about acceleration.

But then there’s cruising at a constant speed. With the wind still flowing through your hair and all…

But it’s the acceleration of the air when it hits your face and hair that you feel, not the motion. The wind is created by your face and hair smacking the non-moving air and causing it to accelerate out of your way and move around you.

The fact is: you cannot feel motion.

Think about this: assume that you are in an elevator and that elevator is slowly accelerated to 200 mph. If the doors are closed, and you have no windows (which most elevators don’t), will you be able to tell that you are moving, and more importantly, in which direction? OK, this is a trick question, because if you were moving in a circle, you could. But neglecting that case, and assuming that you are traveling in a relatively straight line, if you were inside that elevator, you could not tell, by any test, whether you were moving or not.

That is why you can drink an open cup of coffee when you’re in your seat when you’re traveling by jet. Commercial airliners travel at about 560 miles per hour. If motion in and of itself had any effect on the interior space, the coffee would never stay in the cup. You do feel the ‘bumps’ and changes in the plane’s overall velocity, the turbulence, the changes in direction or altitude, the accelerations that they cause; but you do not feel the constant motion.

This is what has baffled humanity for so many ages. Here we are on the Earth, which is traveling, by conservative estimates, at about 60,000 miles per hour with respect to static space (if there is such a thing) and on top of that, our Earth is spinning at a rate of 1500 miles per hour. Can we feel it? N – O, no.

It is this observation that was referenced earlier in the discussion about the Greeks being ‘static earthers’.  They (and we) perceived the earth as being static because we cannot feel its motion…only acceleration, because only acceleration creates force. This is enormously important, and has contributed greatly to the current empty geometry and the lack of understanding that pervades our modern scientific culture.

But it’s even worse than that. We can’t even see motion. I’m probably about to lose you here, but think about this: can you see the blades of a fan when it’s moving? Huh? How about movies? Do you watch movies? Do you realize that movies are created by showing you a still frame for about 1/35th of a second, then quickly replacing it with another still frame that is changed only slightly? Do you see the frame move? Uh-huh. You don’t see the motion. You see a collection of 1/35th of a second stills that your memory strings together to determine the relative motion of the objects in the scene. Your brain interprets this as motion. As to the movement itself, it’s invisible!

This, I am sure, turns your common sense on its head.

But based on these facts, it is somewhat forgivable that our ancestors believed in a static Earth, where everything stayed the in its place, where the Sun revolved around the planet, where the world could be described with points and lines. We do not perceive, or otherwise experience motion. To us, it is purely a construct of static imagery and memory.

It could be a survival advantage; the advantage of image comparison versus concentrating on perceiving movement. It could be that other species, most notably birds, do perceive motion, to the detriment of static perception. But whatever the reason or cause, the fact remains that humans do not directly experience motion (or velocity) and must rely on a combination of memory and the effects of acceleration to interpret motion, and anticipate its consequences.

But we are in motion. Constant, almost indescribable motion. We move through the universe with incredible speed, on a veritable Ferris wheel, broken loose from its moorings and spinning through space. And to describe it, we have this old, tired geometry that is based on static points that can be identified from non-moving axes that are somehow anchored in space.

Uh-huh.

There will be more discussion of this later, when the concept has been fully developed.  But first, we must first discuss ‘extra dimensions’, tread lightly on Quantum Mechanics and further trash the reliance our mathematical system has on the square root of negative one, but next, we should turn our discussion over to one of the most obvious, yet overlooked aspects of modern geometry (drum roll, please) I give you…..

8. Rotation: The Misunderstood Dimension

In the next few chapters, we’ll talk about rotation and why it’s practically impossible to describe a real and complete circle from a Euclidean perspective, and then a little more about how cumbersome that system can be when it comes to calculating off-axis distances.

But one of the main take-aways from this last section is in this last little bit, that not only can we not feel motion, we can’t really even see it, because our minds are locked into a static point of view. This is probably one of the main reasons that we’ve had so much trouble incorporating a moving perspective into our psyche, and why this book is revolutionary, to some degree. We tend to ignore the fact that we’re riding the roller coaster that we call Earth because it’s much easier to assume that we’re static and in control of our overall movements. From a local perspective, this makes some sense, but from a more universal point of view, it’s more quaint than accurate.

So we’ll pause here for now to give some others a chance to catch up and for the rest of you to think about, and try to internalize this fact. Go out and look at a sunrise, or sunset, and try to picture yourself rotating with the planet as the Sun moves past the horizon either up or down. This isn’t just a Transcendental notion, it’s a fact. It would seem that those yogis got some things right.

Until the next section; enjoy, and let yourself feel the planet move.

– O. Penurmind

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