Archives for category: Laws of Motion

Benjamin Lee Whorf seems to have been the first person to point out how much English, and other European languages, are ‘thing-languages’, ‘object-languages’. By far the most important part of speech is the noun and though it is now accepted that not all sentences are of the subject-predicate form, once regarded as universal, quite a lot are. We have a person or thing, the grammatical subject, and the rest of the sentence tells us something about this thing, for example localizes it (‘The cat was sitting on the mat’), or enumerates some property possessed by the ‘thing’ in question (‘The cover of the book is red’). And if we have an active verb, we normally have an agent doing the acting, a person or thing.
There’s nothing ‘wrong’ with such a linguistic structure, of course, but we are so used to it we tend to assume it’s perfectly  reasonable and irreplaceable by any other basic structure. However, as Whorf points out, it is not just applied to sentences of the type ‘A is such-and-such’, where it is appropriate, but also to sentences where it makes little sense. “We are constantly reading into nature fictional acting entities, simply because our verbs must have substantives. We have to say “It flashed” or “A light flashed”, setting up an actor to perform what we call an action, “to flash”. Yet the flashing and the light are one and the same!” (from Whorf, Language, Thought and Reality p. 242, M.I.T. edition).
The quantum physicist and philosopher, David Bohm,  seemingly unaware of Whorf’s prior work, makes exactly the same point.  “Consider the sentence ‘It is raining.’ Where is the ‘It’ that would, according to the sentence, be ‘the rainer that is doing the raining’? Clearly, it is more accurate to say: ‘Rain is going on’ (from Bohm, Wholeness and the Inplicate Order p. 29 ).
Whorf and Bohm clearly have a point here and the general hostility of the academic world to Whorf’s ‘Theory of Linguistic Relativity’ is doubtless in part due to their irritation at an outsider ─ Whorf trained as a chemical engineer ─ pointing out the obvious. Moreover, one would expect the syntax and vocabulary of languages to tell you something about the general conceptions, day to day concerns and modes of thought of the people whose language it is. After all, people talk about what interests them, and languages typically evolve to make communication about common interests more efficient (Note 1).

Even if this is granted for the sake of argument, one might still object that the subject-predicate structure and the role of nouns in English simply reflects ‘how things are’ ─ and there is only ‘one way for things to be’. Since ‘reality’ consists essentially of ‘things’, and relations between these things, isn’t it inevitable that nouns should have pride of place? Well, maybe, but maybe not. And Whorf, one of the very first ‘Westerners’ to actually speak various American Indian languages, was in a good position to question what practically everyone else had so far taken for granted. Amerindian native languages certainly are very different from any European or even Indo-European language. For a start, “Nearly all American Indian languages are either distinctly ‘polysynthetic’ or have a tendency to be so. At the risk of oversimplification, polysynthetic languages can be thought of as consisting of words that in European languages would occupy whole sentences” (from Lord, Comparative Linguistics). Out and out literal  translations from other European languages into English may sound clunky but are perfectly comprehensible, but literal translations from Shawnee or Nitinat sound, not just awkward, but half crazy. Whorf writes, “We might ape such a compound sentence in English thus: ‘There is one who is a man who is yonder who does running which traverses-it which is a street which elongates’ …... the proper translation [being] ‘A man yonder is running down the long street’.” Whorf adds, “Of such a polysynthetic tongue it is sometimes said that all the words are verbs, or again that all the words are nouns with verb-forming elements added. Actually the terms verb and noun in such a language [as Nitinat] are meaningless.”

Secondly, approaching things from the physical/conceptual side, there can be no doubt that native American tribal societies, untouched as they were by Christianity or Newtonian physics, really did have very different conceptions about the world from those of the incoming European settlers, which is one reason why this meeting of the cultures was so catastrophic. Sapir (Whorf’s first teacher) and Whorf believed that this double dissimilarity was not an accident and that the structure of native American languages indeed reflected a very different ‘view of the world’.
So what, in a nutshell, were these linguistic and ‘metaphysical’ differences? According to Whorf, most Amerindian languages are ‘verb-based’ rather than ‘noun-based’ ─ “Most metaphysical words in Hopi are verbs, not nouns as in European languages”. Worse still, “When we come to Nootka, the sentence without subject or predicate is the only type….Nootka has no parts of speech”. Why were they ‘verb-based’, or at any rate not ‘noun-based’? Because, Whorf argues, the Amerindian world-view was not ‘thing-based’ or ‘object-based’ but ‘event-based’. “The SAE (Standard Average European) microcosm has analysed reality largely in terms of what it calls ‘things’ (bodies and quasibodies) plus modes of extensional but formless existence that it calls ’substances’ or ‘matter’. The Hopi microcosm seems to have analysed reality largely in terms of EVENTS” (Whorf, op. cit. p. 147).

         Again, there seems little to quarrel with in Whorf’s claim that the SAE world-view, which we can trace right back to Greek atomism for its physics, really was ‘thing-based’ ─ “Nothing exists except atoms and void” as Democritus put it. The subsequent, more sophisticated Newtonian world-view nonetheless reduces to a world consisting of ‘hard, massy’, indestructible atoms colliding with each other and influencing each other from afar through universal attraction. Whether, the world of native American Indians really was ‘event-based’ in the way Whorf imagined it to be, few of us today are qualified to say ─ since hardly anyone speaks Hopi any more and even the most remote Amerindian tribes have long since ceased to be independent cultural entities. In any case, the complex metaphysics/physics of the Hopi as interpreted by Whorf is in itself interesting and original enough to be well worth investigating further.

To return to language. Assuming for the moment there is some truth in the Sapir-Whorf theory that language structure reflects underlying physical and metaphysical preconceptions,  what sort of structures would one expect an ‘event-language’ to have?  Bohm asked himself this but sensibly concluded  that “to invent a whole new language  implying a radically different structure of thought is….not practicable”. I asked myself a similar question when,  in my unfinished SF novel The Web of Aoullnnia,  I tried to rough out the principles underlying ‘Lenwhil Katylin’, a future language invented by the Sarlang, the first of the  Parthenogenic types that dominate Sarwhirlia (the future Earth).
For his part, Bohm proposes to introduce, “provisionally and experimentally”, a new mode into English that he calls the rheomode (‘rheo’ comes from the Greek ‘to flow’). This mode is meant to signal and reflect the “movement of growth, development and evolution of living things” in accordance with Bohm’s ‘holistic’ philosophy. Whorf, for his part, finds most of what Bohm is looking for already present in the Hopi language which typically emphasizes ‘process’ and continuity rather than focusing on specific objects and/or moments of time. Although both these thinkers were looking for  a ‘verb-based’ language, they were also firm believers in continuity and the ‘field’ concept in physics (as opposed to the particle concept). My preferences, or prejudices if you like, take me in the opposite direction, towards a physics and a language that reflect and represent  a ‘universe’ made up of staccato events that never last long enough to become ‘things’ and never overlap enough with their successor events to become bona fide processes.

Thus, in Lenwhil Katylin, a language deliberately concocted to reflect the Sarlang world-view, the verb (for want of a better term) is the pivot of every communication and refers to an event of some kind. In many cases there is no need for  a grammatical subject at all: events simply happen, or rather ‘become occurrent’, like the ‘lightning flash’ mentioned by Whorf ─ in the Sarlang world-view, all events are, at bottom,  ‘lightning flashes’. The rest of a typical LK sentence provides the ‘environment’ or ‘localization’ of the central event, e.g. for a ‘lightning-flash’ the equivalent of our ‘sky’, and also gives the causal origin of the event (if one exists). We have thus a basic structure Event/Localization/Origin ─ although in many cases the ‘localization’ and ‘origin’ might well be what for us is one and the same entity.
As to the central events themselves, the Katylin language applies an  inflection to show whether the event is ‘occurrent’ or, alternatively, ‘non-occurrent’. One might compare the inflection with Bohm’s ‘is going on’ in his formulation “Rain is going on” ― in LK we just get Irhil~ where ‘~’ signifies “is occurrent”. Being ‘occurrent’ means that an event occupies a definite location on the Event Locality and has demonstrable physical consequences, i.e. brings into existence at least one other event. Such an event is what we would perhaps call an ‘objective’ event such as a blow with a hammer, as opposed to a subjective one like a wish to be somewhere else (which does not get you there). But the category ‘non-occurrent’ is much larger than our ‘subjective’ since it covers all ‘general’ entities, indeed everything that is not specific and precisely localized in space and time (as we would put it). On the other hand, the Sarlang consider a mental event that is infused with deep emotion, such as a flash of hatred or empathy, to be ‘occurrent’ even if it is completely private since, they would argue, such events can have observable physical consequences. This is somewhat similar to the Buddhist distinction between ‘karmic’ and ‘non-karmic’ events: the first have consequences (‘karma’ means ‘action’ or ‘activity’) while the second do not.
After the ‘occurrent/non-occurrent’ dichotomy, the most important category in Lenwhil Katylin is discontinuity/continuity. Although the Sarlang believe that, in the last analysis, all events are a succession of point-like ‘ultimate events’ (the dharma(s) of Hinayana Buddhism), they nonetheless distinguish between ‘strike-events’ such as a blow and ‘extend-events’ such as a ‘walk’, a ‘run’ and so on. Suffixes or inflections make it clear, for example, whether the equivalent of the verb ‘to look’ means a single glance or an extended survey. And the suffix –y or –yia turns a ‘strike-event’ into an ‘extend-event’  when both cases are possible. Moreover, ‘spread-out’ verbs themselves fall into two classes, those that are repetitions of a selfsame ‘strike-event’ and those that contain dissimilar ‘strike-events’. The monotonous beating of a drum is, for example, a ‘strike spread-event’ while even a single note played on a violin is classed as a ‘spread strike-event’ because of the overtones that are immediately brought into play.
A further linguistic category distinguishes between events which are caused by events of the same type and events brought about by events of an altogether different type. In particular, a physical event brought about by a physical event is sharply distinguished from a physical event brought about by a mental or emotional event: the latter case exhibits ‘cause-effect-dissimilarity’ and is usually, though not invariably, signalled by the suffix -ez. This linguistic distinction has its origin in the division of perceived reality into what is termed ‘the Manifest Occurrent’, very roughly the equivalent of our objective physical universe, and the Manifest Non-Occurrent which consists of wishes, dreams, desires, myths, legends, archetypes, indeed the whole gamut of mental and internal emotional occurrences. Nonetheless, these two domains are not absolutely independent and the Sarlang themselves claimed to have developed a technique (known as witr-conseil) that transferred whole complexes of events from the Manifest Non-Occurrent into the Manifest Occurrent and, more rarely, in the opposite direction. Whatever the truth of this claim, the technique, supposing it ever existed, was lost for ever when the Sarlang, reaching the end of their term, committed mass extinction.                                       SH  13/1/18

Note 1 The standard argument against the ‘Linguistic Relativity Theory’ is that, if it were correct, translation would be impossible which is not the case. This argument carries some weight but we must remember that almost all books successfully translated into English come from societies which share the same general religious and philosophic background and whose languages employ similar grammatical structures. Few books have been translated from so-called ‘primitive’ societies because such societies had a predominantly oral culture, while Biblical translators ‘going the other way’ have typically found it extremely difficult to get their message across when communicating with  animists.
There may be something in Whorf’s claim that the Hopi world-view was closer to the modern ‘field of energy’ paradigm than to the ‘force and particle’ paradigm of classical physics. ‘Energy’ (a term never used by Newton) is essentially a ‘potential’ entity since it refers to what an object ‘possesses  within itself’, not what it is actually doing at any particular moment. Generally speaking, primitive societies were quite happy with ‘potential’ concepts, with the idea of a ‘latent’ force locked up within an object but which was not accessible to the five senses directly. It is in fact possible to formulate mechanics strictly in energy terms (via the Hamiltonian) rather than on the basis of Newton’s laws of motion, but no one ever learned mechanics this way, and doubtless never will, because it requires such advanced mathematics. It is hard to imagine a society committed from the start to an ‘energy’ viewpoint on the world ever being able to develop an adequate symbolic system to flesh out such a vision.


Cromwell and Providence

In a previous post I suggested that the three most powerful men in Western history who acquired their position other than by inheritance, were Napoleon, Cromwell and Hitler. Of the three, if we judge them over the whole of their careers, Cromwell was undoubtedly the most successful. He started his adult life as an impoverished country squire with no connections at court but ended up as Lord Protector of a country that was already overtaking France and Spain and would soon vie with Holland for world-wide naval and mercantile supremacy. Once put in command of an army, unlike Napoleon and Hitler, Cromwell never lost a battle and he died quietly in his bed not especially bothered by his latter-day unpopularity. It is true that he did not aspire to world domination like Napoleon and Hitler, but this is part of the reason that he succeeded more completely than they did : he cut his coat according to the cloth available while they did not.
But why exactly was he so successful?

The sense of mission

From the standpoint of Eventrics, individuals succeed because they ‘go with the flow of events’. Either consciously or unconsciously, they identify dominant event patterns, or rather patterns that are about to become dominant, and they ‘put their faith in them’, allowing the momentum of the events to do most (but not all) of the work. They must also be quick to change course and dissociate themselves from the onward rush of events when this is no longer to their advantage.
Machiavelli was perhaps the first to state openly (but not the first to believe) that the pursuit and retention of power is a technique that can be learned just like horsemanship or perspective drawing. However, although Machiavelli gives some useful general principles, the technique cannot be taught but must be learned in situ, in the thick of events. In what does it consist? Essentially, in achieving the right mix of self-confidence and reliance on one’s own judgment combined with scrupulous attention to detail, to the day to day drift of unpredictable and uncontrollable event currents. Very few individuals have what it takes to do both. Messianic individuals neglect practical considerations, believing it to be beneath them, while sound technicians lack the breadth of vision and occasional recklessness without which nothing great can be achieved.
Clearly, an individual who believes him or herself to be divinely inspired has a vast advantage over ‘ordinary people’, provided, of course, that he possesses a minimum of technical ability and worldly knowledge. Most people do not know what they want or even what they believe : someone who clearly knows both commands respect, devotion and admiration (also fear). However, most ‘men of mission’ become blinded by their own success as Hitler, Napoleon and even Julius Caesar did alongside a host of lesser figures.

Advantages of the Puritan Mentality 

The Puritan mentality that Cromwell embodied was admirably suited indeed to the challenges and opportunities of the English civil war.       The concept of Providence ─ useful precisely because it was vague ─ was an enormous advance on pagan ideas of ‘fate’ which encourage defeatism, or the rock-hard belief in ‘Divine Right’ such as prevailed in the Royalist camp which encouraged recklessness. Instead of looking for ‘signs’ in the sense of omens and presages, the Puritans tried to discern an underlying ‘logic of events’ which they interpreted as the workings of Providence.
Moreover, the moral earnestness of the Puritan forced him to act, and if his acts were successful this was proof that God was on his side ─ “Duties are ours, events are the Lord’s” as Samuel Rutherford put it concisely. But, on the other hand, since every good Puritan was convinced that he was fallible, failure did not reflect on God, only on man’s faulty reading of the writing on the wall. This provided a useful check on the megalomania to which messianic individuals and movements are prone.
The Puritans in effect had it both ways, hence their success both in England and in the Netherlands (where they victoriously opposed the might of Spain). They picked up on the psychological advantages that come from believing oneself to be guided by God, but were protected by the peculiarities of their belief system from the dual dangers of inactivity (Quietism) and cocksureness (messianism).

Cromwell as ‘God’s Englishman’ 

Cromwell definitely believed that he was guided by God ─ “A divine presence hath gone along with us in the late great transactions of the nation”, he wrote in a letter. Again, on receiving the Scottish command, he wrote to Richard Major, “Truly I have been called unto them [these functions] by the Lord.” And many other people at the time bore witness to the same feeling. John Desborough thought that “It is [God] himself that hath raised you up amongst men, and hath called you to high enjoyments”. Fairfax himself, originally Cromwell’s superior, speaks of “The constant presence and blessing of God that have accompanied him”.
Moreover, this belief in ‘election’ was very widespread : there was nothing at all unusual in the idea that one could be, and indeed should be, guided by the Divine Will. And the Divine Will was for the Puritan, but not the Catholic or even High Church Anglican, directly knowable without the intermediary of priest or monarch. Cromwell, though extraordinary in the degree of his success, could (and did) believe himself to be ‘typical’, to be nothing out of the ordinary except inasmuch as he had, for some inscrutable reason, been given a larger task to fulfil (Note 1).
And the peculiarity of the Protestant, and more specifically Puritan, mentality safeguarded Cromwell from the self-intoxication of, say, the 19th century Mahdi (the victor at Khartoum) who enjoyed as much initial success as Cromwell and was, for a while, believed to be invincible. Almost alone of all dictators and military commanders, Cromwell demonstrates a certain humility and, incredible though it sounds, a seemingly genuine lack of personal ambition ! He really did have’greatness thrust upon him’. A moment after writing that he sees the hand of the Lord in his (Cromwell’s) sudden advancement, he goes on to say that he is “not without assurance that he [God] will enable this poor worn and weak servant to do his will”. This conception of being a ‘servant’ who is without merit in himself is rooted in the peculiarly Puritan (originally Calvinistic) idea that the ‘elect’ are not chosen for their merit but simply because God so pleases.
The permanent feeling of inadequacy which is central to the Puritan mentality, also meant that no one, however high and mighty he might be, would be tempted to ‘rest on his laurels’. And this in turn meant that a military commander or ruler always had to pay as much attention to detail as a village carpenter — as Cromwell indeed did. Cromwell, who trained and personally led the Parliamentarian cavalry was not a dashing glamorous figure like Prince Rupert on the Royalist side. Cromwell trained his cavalry to advance at the trot, not at the gallop, and always to reform in good order whether they broke through the enemy ranks or not. Cromwell also held out for a strictly no nonsense approach to enlistment and advancement ─ “The State in choosing men to serve it, takes no notice of their opinions”. This may seem commonsensical enough today but was well-nigh unheard of in the bigoted seventeenth century and unusual even as late as the latter nineteenth century.

The Extraordinary vs. the Impossible

Given all this, the wonder is, not that Cromwell and his followers, succeeded so well but that Cromwell has had so few imitators. What, then, were the weak points of this apparently unbeatable mixture of self-confidence and humility, grand strategy and careful attention to detail?
The Cardinal de Retz, himself one of the leaders of a movement not unlike the ‘Great Rebellion’, the Fronde, says that it is essential that “resolution should run parallel with judgment” and especially with what he calls ‘heroic judgment’ which “is able to discern the extraordinary from the impossible”. Now, Cromwell was able to make this all-important distinction. Overcoming a Royalist army staffed by experienced officers and backed by powerful foreign powers was certainly extraordinary but, as it appears, not impossible. Even more extraordinary on the psychological level is that a group of men should have dared to try and execute a monarch and have felt no guilt about doing so. And Cromwell’s endless stream of military successes against all comers is certainly out of the ordinary.
Cromwell was, however, able to discern what was, for historical reasons, impossible, namely the creation of a modern egalitarian democratic state. Movements like the Levellers and the Diggers were too much ahead of their time since they called, on the one hand, for a wholesale redistribution of land to all who were prepared to work it and, incredibly, even suggested the creation of a ‘Welfare State’, an idea that did not become a reality anywhere in the world until two and a half centuries later.
The trouble with believing that you are guided by God and that you know God’s Will, is that God is, by definition, all-powerful. He can thus, if He so wishes, bring about not only the extraordinary but also the impossible. This is a very dangerous doctrine for anyone who exercises power to adhere to. One of the most important tenets of the Enlightenment was that even God (in whom Voltaire and the Encyclopaedists believed) was limited by the physical laws of the universe He had created and did not intervene directly in the day to day running of the universe, nor was his intervention needed ─ Newton’s Laws sufficed.
But even the toned-down Protestant vision of a Calvin or a Cromwell was, at bottom, a shaky intellectual edifice: it could explain success and temporary setbacks but could make no sense of disaster. Cromwell, fortunately for him, did not live to see the Restoration. The surviving Puritans were faced not so much with a political and social crisis as a profound psychological one. If success showed that God was on your side, why had the Royalists triumphed? Even given that the Puritans themselves, like the Jews in a similar situation, were fallible and sinful, it remained difficult, if not impossible, to explain why God should seemingly have ‘changed sides’.
From the Restoration on most Non-conformists eschewed politics, and they certainly eschewed the use of force. Many retired, like the Quakers, into Quietism on the one hand while directing their burning need for activity into industrial and commercial channels. The Puritans had failed to bring about a complete social revolution, but they did more or less single-handed bring about the Industrial Revolution since practically all the inventors and forward-looking industrialists from Newcomen to Watt to Darby could be broadly described as ‘Puritans’ in belief and mentality (Note 2).
Since Cromwell, there has been no one who has so successfully combined the two opposing features of a sense of mission and intense practicality (Note 3). Bismarck had the Realpolitik but lacked the messianism, Hitler the messianism but not the rationality and attention to detail at any rate in the military sphere.      SH 


Note 1    “There was nothing unusual in the belief which henceforth governed Cromwell’s actions ─ that he was directly guided by the Divine Will. He did not, of course, regard himself as the infallible interpreter of God’s wishes, but he tested his actions no longer by the criticism of his own reason, but by their effectiveness. If he did God’s will, he must succeed; failure meant that the divine contact had somewhere broken down ─ that there had been sin. This it was which gave him his buoyant confidence when things went well, and drove him to an agony of prayer when things went wrong.”
C.V. Wedgwood, Oliver Cromwell

Note 2 Darlington, in his monumental work, The Evolution of Man and Society, singles out 16 individuals as ‘founders of the Scientific Revolution in Britain born between 1620 and 1800’, and 17 individuals as ‘founders of the Industrial Revolution born between 1650 and 1810’.
Of the scientists, only five are described as coming from the ‘gentry’ and only two, Halley and Malthus, gained entrance to an English university after 1662 when a Bill excluded religious non-conformists from places of higher learning. The Quakers weigh in strongly on the science side with Dalton, Young and Davy and field Darby as one of the prime movers of the Industrial Revolution. The steam engine is exclusively a Non-conformist achievement: Newcomen was a Baptist, Savery of Huguenot origin, Watt a Scottish Presbyterian and Trevithick a Methodist.
In conclusion, it would seem that neither the Anglican Church nor Oxford and Cambridge had much to do with either the industrial or scientific revolution in Britain, at any rate prior to the mid nineteenth century. Newton himself was a Unitarian but stifled his doubts though it is said that his suspected non-conformism stopped him from becoming Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. Halley was denied the chair of astronomy at Oxford on religious grounds. Mercifully the Royal Institution after 1800 dropped the religious requirement, thus allowing Davy and Faraday to lecture there.
Interestingly, there is  only one self-avowed atheist in either list, the ironmonger Wilkinson, and I am not quite sure that Darlington was right there.

Note 3 Stalin comes nearest perhaps. Stalin died in his bed after a long reign marked by complete victory over his principal enemy, Trostsky, and an enormous gain of territory for the USSR. But the cost of Russian victory in WWII was very high and Stalin was partly responsible for this because he allowed himself to be outwitted by Hitler. He also made the disastrous error of purging his own army of many of his most experienced and ablest officers for ideological reasons ─ something Cromwell would never have done.

Anyone who presents a radically new scientific theory must expect hostility, ridicule and stupefaction. Up to a point (up to a point) this is even healthy, since a society where new ways of viewing reality hoved on the horizon every two years or so would be bewildering in the extreme. What generally happens is that the would-be innovator is told that everything that is true in the new theory is already contained in the current theory, while everything that differs from the existing theory is almost certainly wrong. The new theory is thus either redundant or misguided or both.
And yet we need new theories, by which I do not mean extensions of the current paradigm, or patched up versions, but something that really does start with substantially different first principles. Viable new ways of viewing the world are not easy to come by, and inventing a symbolic system appropriate to the new view is even more difficult.

Now, it is quite legitimate to keep in full view features of the official theory that are solidly based, provided one rephrases them in terms of the competing theory. Ideally, one would like to see the assumptions of the new theory leading to something similar but, clearly, it is all too easy to fudge things up when one knows where one would like to end up. Such an attempt is, however, instructive since it focuses attention on what extra assumptions apart from the basic postulates are necessary if one wants to find oneself in a certain place. But if predictions of the new theory don’t differ from the existing one, there is little justification for it, although the new theory may still have a certain explanatory power, intuitive or otherwise, which the prevailing theory lacks.
Now, at first sight, Ultimate Event Theory, may appear to be nothing more than an eccentric and pretentious way of presenting the same stuff. Instead of talking of molecules and solid objects, Eventrics and Ultimate Event Theory speak of ‘event-clusters’, ‘event-chains’ and the like. But since the ‘laws’ governing these new entities must, so the argument goes, be the very same laws governing solid bodies and atoms, the whole enterprise seems pointless. Certainly, I am quite happy to do mechanics without continually reinterpreting ‘body’ as ‘relatively persistent event-cluster’ — I would be crazy to behave otherwise. However, as I examine the bases of modern science and re-interpret them in terms of the principles of Eventrics, I find that there are marked differences not only in  the basic concepts but, occasionally, in what can be predicted. There are, for example, Newtonian concepts for which I cannot find any precise equivalent and the modern concept of Energy, not in fact employed by Newton, which has become the cornerstone of modern physics, is conspicuously absent (Note 1). There are also predictions that can be made on the basis of UET that completely conflict with experiment amd observation (Note 2) but at least such discrepancies focus my attention on this particular area as a problematic one.
I start by examining Newton’s Laws of Motion, perhaps the most significant three sentences ever to have been penned by anyone anywhere.
They are :
1. Every body continues in its state of rest or uniform straight-line motion unless compelled to change this state by external imposed forces.
2. Change of a body’s state of motion is proportional to the appled force and takes place in the direction of the straight line in which the force acts.
3. To every action there is an equal and oppositely directed action.

How does all this shape up in terms of Ultimate Event Theory?
      It is first necessary to make clear what ‘motion’ means in the context of Ultimate Event Theory (UET). Roughly speaking motion is “being at different places at different times” (Bertrand Russell). Yes, but what is it that appears at the different places and what and where are these ‘places’? The answer in UET is : the ‘what‘ are bundles of ultimate events, or, in the simplest case, a single ultimate event, while the ‘places’ are three-dimensional grid-positions on the Locality,  K0 , where all ultimate events are motionless. Each constituent of physical reality is, thus, always ‘at rest’ and it is only meaningful to speak of ‘motion’ with respect to event-chains (sequences of ultimate events). But these event-chains do not themselves ‘move’ : the constituent events flash in and out of existence while remaining somehow bonded together (Note 3).  It is all like a rhythmically flashing lamp that we carry around from room to room — except that there is no lamp, only a connected sequence of flashes.   As Heraclitus put it, “No man ever steps into the same river twice” .
To clear the ground, we might thus take as the

Zeroth Law of Motion : There is no such thing as continuous motion.

We now introduce the idea of the successive appearance and disappearance of events which replaces the naïve concept of continuous motion.

First Law.  The ‘natural tendency’ of every ultimate event is to appear once on the Locality at a single spot and never reoccur.

(Remark. When this does not happen, we have to suppose that something equivalent to Newton’s ‘Force’ is at work, i.e. something that is not itself composed of ultimate events but which can affect them, as for example displace them a position where they would be expected or simply enable them to re-occur (repeat more or less identically).

Second Law. When an event or event-cluster acquires ‘Dominance’ it is capable of influencing other ultimate events, but it must first of all acquire ‘Self-Dominance’, the power to repeat (nearly) identically.

From here on, the Laws are rephrasings of Newton though perhaps with an added twist:

Third Law.  An ultimate event, or event-cluster, that has acquired self-dominance continues to repeat (nearly) identically in a straight line from instant to instant except when subject to the dominance of other event-chains.  

(Remark: It is an open question whether an event or event-cluster that has acquired ‘Self-Dominance’, will carry on repeating indefinitely in this way, but for the moment we assume that it does.)

Fourth Law. The dominance of one event-chain over another is measured by the extent of the deviation from a straight line multiplied by the ‘event-momentum’ of the constituent events of the event-cluster.

(Remark. I am still searching  for the exact equivalent of Newton’s excellent, and by no means obvious,  concept of ‘momentum’ which gives us the ‘quantity’ of ‘matter-in-motion’ so to speak. Event-clusters  obviously differ in their spread (number of grid-positions occupied), their density (closeness of the occupied places) and the manner of their reappearance at successive instants, but there are other considerations also, such as ‘intensity’ which need exploration.)

Fifth Law.
In all interactions between event-clusters the dominance of one event-cluster over another is met by an equal and oppositely directed subsequent reverse dominance.  

(Remark. Note that Newton’s Third Law (the Fifth in this list) is the only one of his laws that refers to events only (action/reaction) without mentioning  bodies.)

Note 1. Newton did not use the term energy and even as late as the mid nineteenth-century physicists like Mayer and Helmholtz who did so much to develop the energy concept still talked of ‘Force’.  J.J. Thomson (Lord Kelvin) seems to have been the first physicist to introduce the term into physics.

Note 2. For example, I find I am unable to explain why what we call light does not pass right through every possible obstacle as neutrinos almost always do  — clearly this will require some new assumption.

Note 3 No event is ever exactly the same as any other, since, even if two ultimate events are alike in all other respects, they do not occupy the same position on the Locality.

SH 23/7/12