Sunday, April 13, 2014

Thoughts 6

Thoughts 6

I have had some feedback about the difficulty understanding the previous post, so I have devoted this post to trying to make everything more understandable. The following would probably fit better before Thoughts 5. 

 For our human intellect to try to comprehend anything, we seem to have to set up what we call standards. Without a tall we have no short. Without a fat we have not skinny. Without pain, sadness, anger, anxiety, etc. we have no joy, peace, etc. We have the standard that we have set up for tall so we know what is short.

We set up institutions to keep examples of some of these standards. In the United States we have NIST, National Institute of Standards and Technology that does the job for us. Some of the standards that we need to be precisely set are an inch, a foot, a pound, a ton, a second, etc. We have said that from this point to that point is an inch; a certain volume of a particular material weights a pound; so many of a cesium atom is a second. By knowing what an inch is, we can know what multiples and fractions of an inch are. There are many different standards.

It seems that humans need something to compare when we try to understand anything. We cannot comprehend without duality (comparisons); tall and short; near and far, heavy and light, and on and on and on.

Let’s take one duality; distance. If we take an inch to be short or near then what is long or distant? If I am working with wood, a yard is long compared to an inch. When I compare a yard with a mile, the yard is not so long. Is a mile long? when it is compared to the distance from New York to San Francisco (2908 miles) it is not long. Expand Let’s go a little farther; the circumference of the Earth is 24-25,000 miles. Maybe, the distance for New York to San Francisco is not so far after all. What about the 25,000 miles around the Earth. The distance from the Earth to the Moon is approximately 276,444 miles. Miles are too short for astronomical distances so we have set up other standards: Astronomical Unit is the dictance form the Earth to the sun, Light Year is the distance it takes that light travel in a year, Parsec is 3.26 light years. It is according to what we are using as a standard that makes anything distant or close and all are comparison. 

We can do the same thing in the opposite direction. Is an inch short? In the English system we use ½, ¼. 1/8, 1/16, 1/32 of an inch. In the decimal system hundredths, thousandths, ten thousandths, hundred thousandths, millionths of a meter are used. When we get into the sizes of sub-atomic particles those fractions of an inch are large. An inch may be long. Here again it is the standard we set up that makes something short or long.

We have also set up standards for volume, temperature, luminosity, electric current, etc.

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