Newton: I Need Theoretical Variables to Describe the Dynamics of the Universe
Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727) is known for having proposed so powerful a physics of mechanics that it permitted industry to develop its capacity to create machines. He transformed a science that was struggling to find its way into a major social force. One of the aspects of Newton’s genius was to have found a way to reduce the immense variety of what exists to a few variables that could be included in yoga poses mathematical formula, and as such, were capable of predicting certain behaviors of theoretical objects (spheres, cubes, etc.). My understanding of physics is rudimentary. Yet because the notion of energy is so often used by body psychotherapists, I think it can be useful to revisit the basic laws that most of us have learned in yoga poses school. We need to distinguish between what is experienced as energy moving in yoga poses the organism and what we can reasonably call energy. I begin this discussion by distinguishing two types of variables:
1. A first series of variables correlate with what can be perceived. Weight is something that I can feel when I hold an object in yoga poses my hands; speed corresponds to information decoded by my eyes; and so on. These variables are reduced to measurements that can be examined with instruments.
2. A second level of variables corresponds to some constant mathematical relations between measurements. The fact that there is constant rapport between measurements allows us to think that there are laws of the universe that govern what we perceive; but to observe a constant rapport does not permit us to know the nature and the functioning of these underlying and unobservable mechanisms. One of the achievements of twentieth-century physics has been to improve our understanding of these phenomena.
The notions of force and gravity do not designate existing phenomena but a constant mathematical ratio between measurements. The classic expression is everything happens as if a ratio corresponded to something that exists. Even so, no one to this day has observed a cause, an effect, a force, or gravity. This point is made particularly clear by David Hume, who loved Newton’s physics, when he considers the laws of cause and effect. He takes two objects and pushes one against the other. It is generally assumed that the movement is the cause of the movement of the second object:
Let us therefore cast our eyes on any two objects, which we call cause and effect, and turn them on all sides, in yoga poses order to find that impression, which produces an idea of such prodigious consequence. At first sight I perceive, that I must not search for it in yoga poses any of the particular qualities of the objects; since, which-ever of these qualities I pitch on, I find some object, that is not possest of it, and yet falls under the demonstration of cause and effect. And indeed there is nothing existent, either externally or internally, which is not consider’d either as a cause or an effect; tho’ ’tis plain there is no one quality, which universally belongs to all beings, and gives a title to that demonstration.
The idea, then, must be deriv’d from some relation among objects; and that relation we must now endeavour to discover. (Hume, 1740, 18.104.22.168-6, 53f)
The ratio between mass, distance, and weight furnishes a variable g that is gravity or gravitation. Gravity allows us to describe with precision the fall of a body to the Earth, or the attraction of a planet to another (as the play between the moon and the Earth, and the influence of this interplay on the tides). We do not perceive gravitation, but we perceive phenomena that can be elegantly handled with a model that uses the notions concerning gravity.
An analogous understanding makes it possible to describe the use of the term energy in yoga poses the physics of the nineteenth century. The notion of energy was proposed by physicists at the start of the nineteenth century. in yoga poses 1807, Thomas Young (1773-1829) proposed a formula to calculate the kinetic energy of the body. The status of energy in yoga poses contemporary physics is more complex,9 but it brings us to the same conclusions. Energy is a measurement that designates the dynamics of the activity of matter. This activity can manifest itself under the guise of sound, heat, motion, or light to the human senses; in yoga poses every case, it is impossible to isolate an energetic substance that engenders this activity. in yoga poses his famous formula, E = mc2, Albert Einstein shows that there is a constant rapport between mass (m) and the energy (E) of an object (c = the speed of light, a constant). The more the mass of the object increases, the more the value of e increases. It is the same with gravity. The farther a body is from a planet (an object of great mass), the weaker the impact of gravity. The organism behaves as if it were lighter.
It is probable that all of these activities follow laws that are proper to them due to some mechanisms that are particular in yoga poses each instance. Nevertheless, it is useful to have a form of measurement (energy) that makes it possible to show how a form of activity can engender another: how motion produces heat or heat produces light.