The Laws of Physics

Do you think that before Newton saw that well-known the apple company decrease to the earth, do you think before he designed the law of Severity, do you think that individuals did not realize that law lengthy before he identified it? Of course they did.
The Gary archers at the Fight of Hastings certainly did as they taken their arrows higher into the sky to tumble with dangerous impact right into the eye of inadequate Master Harold.

They knew with absolute certainty that those arrows would not fly forever towards the Heavens but would certainly fall back to Earth.
They knew about gravity long before Newton. And indeed everyone who has fallen out of a tree knows the law. Every golfer who can drive a ball 250 yards knows the law – however hard he propels the ball upwards and forwards the ball inevitably falls back to the earth.
In fact this is the wonderful thing about most of the Laws of Physics. Although they maybe formulated in the classroom, sometimes with fancy names, immediately that we understand them we find that they relate to the facts of our experience. We may not understand the mathematics, we may not understand the how and why, but we do understand quite clearly that they are that they are facts, that they are true.
The 1st, 2nd and the Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics is, or should it be ‘are’, a case in point.
Do you imagine that an ancient smith in his smithy with his bellows heating up iron to put a ring round a wheel, or a shoe on a horse, do you imagine for one moment that he did not understand about conductivity?  Of course he did – his life depended upon it.
He may not have known the laws, he may not have known the words conduction, convection and radiation, but he did not need to know these concepts, because he knew them as a fact of experience.  He could see that the smoke went upwards through the chimney, he could feel the heat radiating from the hot coals and from the glowing iron. His classroom was his life and his work.
Did he need to know the Clausius statement that heat always flows from hot to cold and never vice-versa, as he plunged his red-hot irons into a trough of water? No, he knew for a fact of experience that what is hot will certainly become cold in the course of time.
Now it is sometimes said that ‘entropy’ is a difficult concept. Really?
It would seem to me that Gautama the Buddha understood this, thousands of years ago. After all it was entropy that set him off on his search for enlightenment. Certainly as a splendid and athletic young man as he saw before him old people and dying people, and as he pondered about old age and death, facts of life that had been shielded from him, certainly he would not have formulated anything about high entropy and low entropy. But he would have known these laws just the same, just as most of us know these laws. We know very well that an acorn has high entropy; that is because an acorn has the potential to become a mighty oak and to live in splendour for three or four hundred years. As I am now 81 I am increasingly aware that I have low entropy and no matter how hard I try to keep active in body and mind, however careful I am of my diet and exercise, this bodily mechanism in which my I is encased is decaying inevitably.
The birth of a baby is always greeted with joy – why? Because the baby has high entropy, has the potential to grow into manhood or womanhood. And if a young person is struck down too young, as many soldiers are, we grieve because they have not had the time to achieve their true potential.
Not everyone I know has even heard of the adiabatic lapse rate – however anyone who has gone up Snaefell in the Isle of Man, even by the mountain railway, or anyone who has climbed Goat Fell in the Isle of Arran, or climbed upwards anywhere on a mountain, anyone will know for a fact that as they go up it gets colder and the air gets more difficult to breathe. The Physicist may be able to explain why with altitude it gets colder, why there is snow on the tops of mountains, but nobody doubts the facts of their experience.  As I have bathed in midsummer in the Lac de la Cavetaz at Sallanches in the Haute-Savoie, I have watched with delight the enormous snowcap on the mountain so rightly called Mt Blanc. How gloriously, gloriously shining white is Mt Blanc!
Do you imagine that the ancients did not know about TSI? Of course, they would not have called it Total Solar Irradiance, but those whom we somewhat naively term sun-worshipping pagans undoubtedly knew that the sun was the giver of light and warmth and the prime driver of climate. Indeed, if we were not beset by a barrage of misinformation, we would all know that the sun is just that – the driver of climate. Of course, the worship of the sun is not a thing of the past – indeed it has never been more prevalent than it is today. The tourist industry is largely based on the fact that the majority of Holy Day makers head for the sun if they possibly can.
Professor Brian Cox in his latest TV series ‘Wonders of the Universe’ assured us that the Arrow of Time can never be reversed.
I wondered why he should make such a point of something that is seemingly self-evident.  But put into context, not just with the motion of the Planets round the Sun, but also with the fact that the whole Galaxy of the Milky Way is revolving in stately and massive progress I began to see why Time is in fact a Law of Physics. It may take the Milky Way some 250 million years to complete an orbit, but what is certain is that not one iota can be reversed.

Once again one can say that this Law was grasped in its essence long, long ago by the Persian Poet, Omar Khayyam:
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.
What the poet says corresponds to the facts of experience. Georgy Ivanovich Gurdjieff in his massive allegorical work “All and Everything” referred to the passage of Time as the Merciless Heropass.
So that when an esteemed colleague of mine declared that ‘the overarching issue is climate change and how to reverse it. We have a brief window of opportunity, and unless we act now the chances of avoiding a serious collapse are remote’ it means that he has not understood a fundamental Law of Physics. He can no more reverse changes of climate than he can reverse the revolutions of the Milky Way.
He was working on the assumption that man can and does control climate. This is a completely modern-day and atheistic heresy. I would even say blasphemy in the truest sense of the word.
What the Physicist is asserting, what the Physicist is examining are the Laws of Creation and the Laws of Destruction – Vishnu and Shiva in the Hindu pantheon. Unwittingly, even though he may think otherwise, the Physicist is a de facto theist.

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