Questions of principle

The principles of Newtonian physics are based, as can be expected, in the circularity of its definitions of vector and scalar magnitudes like force and mass; the Lagrangian mechanics and the gauge fields, that «extend» it, demand a fixing to regulate the redundant degrees of freedom. Weber’s law already allowed to appreciate in Kepler’s problem the constituent elements of the gauge fields even if it dispensed completely with the very idea of fields —what changes here is the very status of the fundamental definitions, which are blurred. The retarded potentials allow to account for the essential aspects of modern physics, including the so-called relativistic effects.

The known and the unknown are easily confused with each other. On an immediate level, for us a force is, on the one hand, what induces motion, and on the other hand, what produces deformations in other bodies. But the «force» of gravity does not deform bodies when it forces them to move, and instead produce deformation when it does not force them —when it remains as a potential. Newton said that the whirling of the water buck spinning was due to centrifugal «fictitious forces» in absolute space, but Empedocles had shown two thousand years before that that same buck spinning above our heads counteracts the force of gravity.

How can one wield the axis of the Pole? The Pole, which balances the extremes of reality, is not something to be wielded. However the Taijitu invites us to look from its perspective. As for the spirit, Newton’s three principles are tacitly summarized in the phrase «nothing moves unless it is moved» (by something else), that is, nothing moves without an external force —and neither relativity, quantum mechanics, nor modern cosmology have ever claimed otherwise. Everything is dead, except for the push given to it by something external. Now, all this prodigious development of modern science understood as mechanism is nothing but the unfolding of the consequences of the principle of inertia, and the ironic twist is that all the predictions of modern physics, and many others, can be made without the need of this principle at all.

The equivalence principle tells us that gravitational mass and inert mass are equal or indiscernible, and therefore the general theory of relativity states that there is no difference between the gravitational «force» and the fictitious forces. This is an attempt to walk in the direction of relational physics, but after terrible detours, and after arbitrating different versions —weakest, weak, middle-strong and strong- of such a principle, one ends up returning to the starting point, which is what it was all about.

The starting point is the principle of inertia, which no one wants to drop. The principle of inertia, often seen as purely redundant, bears the whole intentionality and disposition of the parts in physics. In other words, to do physics without the principle of inertia is equivalent to suspending its intention, which brings all operations back to the usual circular logic, with the help of the other two principles.

The principle of inertia, illustrated by the ball rolling for eternity in empty space, has been judged to be perfectly ideal. But it is not a perfect ideal, but a contradictory one: the motion of the ball must be related to axes of coordinates external to that system, and thus we have an isolated system that has the property of not being isolated. In reality there cannot be inertially isolated systems.

It is possible, and even necessary, as André Assis does, to propose a completely relational mechanics without using the concept of inertia, introducing instead the principle of dynamic equilibrium, so that «the sum of all forces of any nature acting on any body is always zero in all reference systems». This frees physics from the concepts of inertia, inert mass, absolute space, and the scholastic distinctions between frames of reference [22].

Something diametrically opposed to that implicit in the laws of mechanics also allows a description consistent with what we know. Thus, for example, Alejandro Torassa shows a dynamics valid for all observers in which «the motion of bodies is not determined by the forces acting on them, but the bodies themselves determine their motion» balancing the forces acting on them. «The natural state of a body in the absence of external forces is not only the state of rest or of uniform rectilinear motion, the natural state of movement of a body is any possible state of motion» [23].

If the sum of all forces is zero in any state, only differences and force ratios can be measured; introducing constants with dimensions here would be out of place. Another way of stating this principle would be to say that «the zero sum of all forces includes the observable motion,» something that a certain mental inertia makes difficult to accept. Perhaps we can understand this better if we say that «observable motion balances the rest of the forces,» that is, it balances out those that are not observable either. The balance of forces is not confused with their absence; but what we observe is motion and velocities, not forces.

There are of course other ways of representing this fundamental equilibrium without direct dependence on motion. For example, we can take from René Guenon the idea of an initially homogeneous medium, in which each compression at one point must correspond to an equal expansion at another point, so that their densities are reciprocal and their product equals always unity, even though the forces associated with them may be opposite, attractive or repulsive [24]. If in the originally homogeneous medium we imagine the correlative appearance of a fuller and an emptier portion, both could not simply arise without a torsion or helicity connecting them —and that torsion would be by itself a change in density. The characterization of equilibrium as a product is what we have considered here as reciprocity in the more intrinsic sense.

The cosmology of modern physics may argue that aspects such as general equilibrium are not matters of principle but of observation. What actually happens is that, if all that is observed is motion, and one starts from the principle of inertia, everything has to refer to causes external to what is observed —hence the hand of God to define the innate motion of the planets in Newton, or the notion of an event at the beginning of time that draws all energy from nothing. Thus, for example, and contrary to the endlessly publicized history, the first and most accurate predictions of microwave background radiation were not those of Gamow or other creationists, but those of physicists who assumed a universe in dynamic equilibrium [25].

This is the best example of the basic assumption being imposed on everything else, which instead tries to fit the assumption. It does not matter if this implies the most grandiose violation of the principle of energy conservation, as long as it is thrown out of bounds.

For modern physics, and not only physics, imbalance is the father of all things, and equilibrium is synonymous with death and disorganization. But the same observations and data have always allowed us to say that dynamic equilibrium is the father and mother of all things and that entropy does not lead to thermal death but to increased organization.

The true relevance of this dynamic equilibrium will be duly appreciated when mechanics and thermodynamics are united in a single discipline such as a thermomechanics of the type proposed by Pinheiro or other equivalents and more developed. And since his system of two equations is an alternative to the Lagrangian, it still fits better the Noskov equations, since the longitudinal vibrations of the bodies —which are congruent with Planck’s formula- are equivalent to the input of free energy available in the medium.

Pinheiro’s thermomechanics is conceived for open systems or systems out of equilibrium, and relational mechanics, even if the properties of the medium are not considered, as it lacks dimensional constants, depends implicitly on the environment.

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