Gravity and Impermanence?

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nrose619
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Gravity and Impermanence?

Post by nrose619 »

I have a philosophy club at my school and in today's meeting I said that almost everything is impermanent. One person disagreed saying that the law of gravity is permanent it was always here and always will be. I said gravity is dependent on mass therefore it is not a permanent self sustaining force/thing. Also, what about in dead space where there is an absence of gravity? He continued to restate that it's a law and has been scientifically proven therefore it is permanent. We both kinda ended up in a dead end. Any thoughts on this?

-Nick
"A silver bird
flies over the autumn lake.
When it has passed,
the lake's surface does not try
to hold on to the image of the bird."
daverupa
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Re: Gravity and Impermanence?

Post by daverupa »

nrose619 wrote:I said that almost everything is impermanent.
sabbe sankhara anicca, not "almost everything is impermanent". The problem is likely a misunderstanding of what the Dhamma teaches. Here is a previous discussion.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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nrose619
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Re: Gravity and Impermanence?

Post by nrose619 »

That didn't answer my question but perhaps I should have rephrased my statement of impermanence. Also could you explain what my "misunderstanding" is instead of sending me a link to a forum to dig through?

thanks,
-Nick
"A silver bird
flies over the autumn lake.
When it has passed,
the lake's surface does not try
to hold on to the image of the bird."
santa100
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Re: Gravity and Impermanence?

Post by santa100 »

Physical laws are only valid within their given scope. Until now, there's still on-going efforts to reconcile general relativity with the laws of quantum physics. To go beyond their own scope and apply them to the realm of super-massive objects like black holes and they'll break down. The math of Eternal Inflation shows that there's nothing wrong with a scenario of multiple universes, each is subjected to its own set of physical laws! Cern scientists are researching the activity of graviton to try to explain why gravity is so feeble compared to the other forces like electromagnetic or strong nuclear force. There're competing theories on the possibility of gravity leaking gravitons in and out of our universe from higher dimensional realms. In short, according to modern physics, there's nothing permanent about gravity..
daverupa
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Re: Gravity and Impermanence?

Post by daverupa »

nrose619 wrote:That didn't answer my question but perhaps I should have rephrased my statement of impermanence. Also could you explain what my "misunderstanding" is instead of sending me a link to a forum to dig through?
Sorry; the link is to this forum, where a very similar question was asked already.

Phrasing is important when discussing the Dhamma; it is worth the time to practice.

Now: I'm not sure you have any misunderstanding. But I feel certain that trying to discuss anicca in terms of objective science laws is altogether missing the point. Anicca is not saying that objects or concepts don't last; it's saying that anything which depends upon conditions is not self-sustaining, and for this reason cannot last.

So, gravity isn't a self-existent thing; it requires a universe and something like the Higgs boson in that universe, and so forth. It is at all times in relation to a context that is not permanent, and therefore cannot itself be permanent.

Does this make sense?
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
SarathW
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Re: Gravity and Impermanence?

Post by SarathW »

Hi Nrose
I am not a cosmologist but the way I will answer your question is using Big Bang Theory . Accordingly there was no gravity before the Big Bang and world will contract and end due to entropy. At that point no gravity left. Cosmologist agree that our world is impermanent and constantly change. Most of the science theories include hypothetical or arbitary numbers to compesate for the uncertain nature and new theories are introduced to replace old ones.

By the way practice Satipatthana and you will find the answer yourself! :meditate:

PS: I do not believe in the Big Bang Theory.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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retrofuturist
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Re: Gravity and Impermanence?

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings,

I agree with what Dave has said above, and would go one step further and suggest that if dhammas are experiences, and sankhata dhammas are formed/conditioned experiences... then gravity falls outside the scope of both of these as it is neither of them. Gravity is not an experience... experiences are experienced via the six-sense-bases. Even if you could argue that gravity is experienced, then it is the experience of gravity that is impermanent in the Buddha's teaching.

What experiences can be formed are answered by suttas such as...

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The Buddha was not averse to saying that certain principles (including the Dhamma itself) were steadfast and operated regardless of whether or not they were observed.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
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nrose619
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Re: Gravity and Impermanence?

Post by nrose619 »

daverupa wrote:
nrose619 wrote:That didn't answer my question but perhaps I should have rephrased my statement of impermanence. Also could you explain what my "misunderstanding" is instead of sending me a link to a forum to dig through?
Sorry; the link is to this forum, where a very similar question was asked already.

Phrasing is important when discussing the Dhamma; it is worth the time to practice.

Now: I'm not sure you have any misunderstanding. But I feel certain that trying to discuss anicca in terms of objective science laws is altogether missing the point. Anicca is not saying that objects or concepts don't last; it's saying that anything which depends upon conditions is not self-sustaining, and for this reason cannot last.

So, gravity isn't a self-existent thing; it requires a universe and something like the Higgs boson in that universe, and so forth. It is at all times in relation to a context that is not permanent, and therefore cannot itself be permanent.

Does this make sense?

Yes! I totally agree and I said exactly what you did about how if something depends on conditions to exist it is most likely impermanent. So was I correct in that aspect? or was I incorrect all along for engaging in such philosophical discussion? In some books I read, it's discouraged to engage in such talks but I find myself slipping teachings from the Dhamma into philosophy club no matter how much I try to remind myself not to :shrug:
"A silver bird
flies over the autumn lake.
When it has passed,
the lake's surface does not try
to hold on to the image of the bird."
daverupa
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Re: Gravity and Impermanence?

Post by daverupa »

nrose619 wrote:So was I correct in that aspect?
It seems accurate, as far as it goes. This is more germane:
nrose619 wrote:was I incorrect all along for engaging in such philosophical discussion?
For me, the antidote has been to strive to remember about the purpose: dukkha and dukkha-nirodha. This talk of gravity and impermanence is very alluring, but the Buddha did not set out to analyze reality; He diagnosed dukkha, and taught the cure. This isn't a tool for anything else.

You can, in fact, frame the Dhamma this way by using the following Sutta as a canned response for occasions where (meta-)physical concepts are being held alongside the Dhamma:
MN 18 wrote:As he was standing there, he said to the Blessed One, "What is the contemplative's doctrine? What does he proclaim?"

"The sort of doctrine, friend, where one does not keep quarreling with anyone in the cosmos with its devas, Maras, & Brahmas, with its contemplatives & brahmans, its royalty & commonfolk; the sort [of doctrine] where perceptions no longer obsess the brahman who remains dissociated from sensuality, free from perplexity, his uncertainty cut away, devoid of craving for becoming & non-. Such is my doctrine, such is what I proclaim."
You'll want to update the social references, of course.

:heart:
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
Mawkish1983
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Re: Gravity and Impermanence?

Post by Mawkish1983 »

daverupa wrote:So, gravity isn't a self-existent thing; it requires a universe and something like the Higgs boson in that universe
The Higgs boson explains inertial mass, not gravitational mass.

Edit: I'm not a particle physicist but I am a physicist. From what I've read the Higgs field describes inertia very well, but I've yet to see a convincing argument that inertial mass and gravitational mass are equivalent. We axiomatically take them to be equivalent and, so far, the numbers agree, but I would love someone more educated in particle physics than me to explain how the Higgs field explains the force of gravity.
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m0rl0ck
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Re: Gravity and Impermanence?

Post by m0rl0ck »

E=MC2

And since gravity depends on mass i would call that the ultimate statement of impermanence. :) You might have to wait a while tho, but who says impermanence has to be limited to a human timescale.
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig
Mawkish1983
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Re: Gravity and Impermanence?

Post by Mawkish1983 »

m0rl0ck wrote:E=MC2
Doesn't really help with the equivalence principal though
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Re: Gravity and Impermanence?

Post by Mawkish1983 »

Just been thinking about non-inertial frames of reference... I'm struggling to remember this level of physics because I've not encountered it for many years (I only teach to children aged between 11 and 18). To children we teach that gravity is a fundamental force. Am I correct when I vaguely remember that gravity can be considered the result of a non-inertial (accelerating) frame of reference and, so, isn't really a force at all? It's such a hazy memory I'm quite embarrassed about it. There are other physicists who use DW and still operate at that deeper level, could they help me? (Mikenz66 springs to mind, if I remember the username correctly).

One thing is certain, memory really is impermanent!
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James the Giant
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Re: Gravity and Impermanence?

Post by James the Giant »

Mawkish1983 wrote:... but I would love someone more educated in particle physics than me to explain how the Higgs field explains the force of gravity.
Image
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11
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m0rl0ck
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Re: Gravity and Impermanence?

Post by m0rl0ck »

Gravity is a side effect of the existence of matter. The matter deforms space as a side effect of its existence. You might as well consider gravity a property of matter rather than as some all encompassing feild waiting to spring into action. Anything conditional is impermanent and gravity depends on matter.
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig
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