Monday, May 13, 2019

Velocity is not distance divided by time

Velocity is not distance divided by time

Rudolf Steiner:

Earlier ages spoke from a different point of view of the close relation between their Mystery knowledge and physical health and healing. This is a truth that must now begin once more to find its way into human consciousness. All striving for knowledge must give rise to the thought: I am doing something to promote the further evolution of the whole of mankind. We shall obviously never come to this consciousness as long as we do not pay attention to the actual process that goes on around us in the way I have described. For until we recognise this, we are bound to regard everything we feel and will and do as our personal affair. We shall have no idea that it is something which takes its course outside us, as well as within.
It will be necessary also for the more exact branches of human knowledge to come to meet this extension of our thought and understanding of the world. And here allow me to refer to something that may perhaps not be fully intelligible to everyone.
The more exact domains of knowledge are by no means yet at their zenith — far from it! For example, you can find today in the exact sciences the most impossible ideas. I will select just one, which may perhaps be generally intelligible. People have usually the following trivial picture: out there somewhere is the sun, and from the sun light goes out in all directions, just as from any other source of light. And you will find that wherever people follow this diffusion of light with mathematical ideas, they will say: You see, the light spreads out and out into the infinite, and then — why then it somehow or other disappears; it gradually weakens and is lost. But this is not so. Everything that spreads out or is diffused in this way reaches a boundary, and from this boundary it swings back again; it returns to its source in a changed form. The sunlight does not go out into the infinite, but swings back on itself — not indeed as light, but as something else. None the less, it does return.
So it is in reality with every form of light. And so it is with every kind of activity. All activities and influences are subject to the law of elasticity. The elasticity in them always has its boundary or limit. And yet ideas such as I have described above are current in our so-called exact sciences; you will find them presented there today. If you were physicists, I would draw your attention to how people reckon with distance traversed and time. They call the velocity, usually denoted by ‘v’, a function of distance and time, and they arrive at the following equation: v = d/t
But, my dear friends, that is absolutely false. The velocity is not a resultant; the velocity is an elementary principle or quality that something, be it material or spiritual, bears within it. And this velocity we analyse; we split it up into distance and time. We abstract the two things out of it — space and time. Space and time, however, are not real things in themselves. Velocities, varying velocities, are real.
This observation I make for the benefit of physicists. They will understand me when I say that their theoretical knowledge of time rests in very shaky foundations. These theories would indeed not hold water if we were in a position to grasp the spiritual in its actuality.



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