A Brief on the Doctrine of the Conservation of Forces

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Mexico union print, 1878 - Force and energy - 56 pages
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Page 54 - How this metamorphosis takes place — how a force existing as motion, heat, or light, can become a mode of consciousness — how it is possible for aerial vibrations to generate the sensation we call sound, or for the forces liberated by chemical changes in the brain to give rise to emotion — these are mysteries which it is impossible to fathom. But they are not profounder mysteries than the transformations of the physical forces into each other.
Page 54 - Those modes of the Unknowable which we call motion, heat, light, chemical affinity, &c., are alike transformable into each other, and into those modes of the Unknowable which we distinguish as sensation, emotion, thought : these, in their turns, being directly or indirectly re-transformable into the original shapes.
Page 5 - ... fact is, perfectly comprehends what force is. Whether we ought to say that a force is an acceleration, or that it causes an acceleration, is a mere question of propriety of language, which has no more to do with our real meaning than the difference between the French idiom "II fait froid" and its English equivalent "It is cold." Yet it is surprising to see how this simple affair has muddled men's minds. In how many profound treatises is not force spoken of as a "mysterious entity...
Page 3 - Star and nerve-tissue are parts of the same system — stellar and nervous forces are correlated. Nay more ; sensation awakens thought and kindles emotion; so that this wondrous dynamic chain binds into living unity the realms of matter and mind through measureless amplitudes of space and time.
Page 53 - ... decomposition of water. Man, by food, not only maintains the perfect structure of his body, but he daily lays in a store of power and heat, derived in the first instance from the sun. This power and heat, latent for a time, reappears and again becomes active when the living structures are resolved by the vital processes into their original elements. The rays of the sun add daily to the store of indestructible forces of our terrestrial body, maintaining life and motion.
Page 4 - Gentlemen, that in questions of science the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.
Page 52 - ... e. Finally, as organic matter is so much matter taken from the common fund of matter of earth and air, embodied for a brief space, to be again by death and decomposition returned to that common fund, so also it would seem that the organic forces of the living bodies of plants and animals may be regarded as so much force drawn from the common fund of physical and chemical forces, to be again all refunded by death and decomposition. Yes, by decomposition ; we can understand this. But death ! can...
Page 34 - ... reduced. This enlarged assumption of the nature of gravity is not more metaphysical than the half assumption ; and is, I believe, more philosophical and more in accordance with all physical considerations. The half assumption is, in my view of the matter, more dogmatic and irrational than the whole, because it leaves it to be understood that power can be created and destroyed almost at pleasure.
Page 34 - ... assume, that when A and B attract each other less because of increasing distance, then some other exertion of power either within or without them is proportionately growing up ; and again, that when their distance is diminished, as from 10 to 1, the power of attraction, now increased a hundredfold, has been produced out of some other form of power which has been equivalently reduced.
Page 33 - ... of things are thereby fostered. In order that a body may fall, it is no less necessary that it should be lifted up, than that it should be heavy or possess gravity; the fall of bodies ought not therefore to be ascribed to their gravity alone.

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