Marks and Remarks
Food for the Mind and Eye

No. 0118, April 9, 2017


The Mystery of Motion

Copyright 2017 by S. W. Paul Wyszkowski

     Here is how Prickles, our resident scholar and student of the ways of the world, defines motion: "If a thing X which was once observed in location A is now observed in a different location B, we say that X moved (or was moved) from A to B".

     A simple enough statement but one that immediately raises a gaggle of mind-boggling questions. How do we distinguish location B from location A? In other words, how do we know B is a different location from A? (That question points to the theory of relativity.) How do we know that thing X in location B is the same thing X that was observed in location A and not a look-alike? (This one skirts the theory of quantum mechanics and the philosophy of identity.) And, if it is the same thing, how was thing X translocated from A to B? By what path and power and why? (This one entails quantum field theory and theology.)

     And that's just the beginning. Some even more basic questions: what do we mean by a "thing"? What do we mean by "location"? What do we mean by "observation"?

     In actuality, we can only observe change (= motion). Where there is no change (no motion) nothing is observed. Things that seem not to be changing or moving are actually like a wave in water that seems to be the same wave even as the water of which it is made is constantly changing. Things are dynamic, evolving systems made of molecules, atoms. and even smaller stuff, constantly changing while maintaining the large scale "thing" form, for a time. Sometimes for a very long time, on human scale. Nevertheless, all things change and eventually morph into other things.

     This much is clear: being is becoming, a constant change/motion. The world is ever new from moment to moment. Without motion nothing can be experienced/observed, nothing can, in fact, exist. And there are different kinds of motion. There is motion that appears inevitable, there is chaotic, unpredictable motion, and there is motion over which we actually have some control. Curiouser and curiouser. "A most excellent adventure," declares Prickles.

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