## Absolute rest is impossible - All is motion

• 5.8k
We know for certainty that we, A, are in motion relative to the sun, B because we have night and day, seasons.

Now take any other object C in the universe.

C must be either be at rest relative to:

1. both A and B
2. A
3. B

Imagine A, B and C are points on a triangle. We know that A and B are in relative motion. So the distance AB is always changing. C is the other vertex of this triangle. If AC is constant and BC is constant but that means AB also has to be constant because A and B are not changing relative to C. This contradicts our premise that A and B are in relative motion.

Thus, ALL objects in the universe are in motion relative to something else. All is motion.

Is there anything wrong with this argument?

Thanks.
• 1.4k
We know for certainty that we, A, are in motion relative to the sun, B because we have night and day, seasons.

I'm not sure this is sound. If you turn a light in your living room on and off, you have "day and night," but that's not proof of relative motion between you and the lamp. Likewise if you turn the thermostat higher and lower you have "seasons." Night and day and seasons are not proof of relative motion absent other facts, such as ... well, such as the relative motion of the earth with respect to the sun. Besides, night and day don't require relative motion between the earth and the sun, it only requires the earth to rotate on an axis. Or, for someone to be messing around with the light switch.
• 5.8k
That's a good point but are your hands moving relative to your keyboard when you type something. I think we can begin there too.
• 8.7k
Thus, ALL objects in the universe are in motion relative to something else. All is motion.

Observation tells us that the galaxies are moving away from each other because the universe is expanding. The galaxies are spinning, the planets are orbiting their stars, and are spinning on their axes. Then, on this planet, there is continental drift -- and you won't sit still either.
• 4.2k

Heraclitus would be proud, as would Schopenhauer. Schopenhauer thought, metaphysically, all was unrest, and this makes for a pessimistic human existence. In the West, if you are not bound by religious cons, you are most likely an unawares Nietzschean. Will to power (transform yourself!), Be the person you are!, Eternal Return (change your life so you would want it to be its most beautiful version of itself), Beyond Good and Evil (essentially be virtuous in your own way), the Ubermensch (climb the mountain, go on your crazy travelling adventures, build the monument, produce something incredible, etc.). It's all what the modern mindset is driven on in the post-industrial world. Like it or not, we live in a Nietzschean-mindset world. This bodes poorly for me, who is a Schopenhauerean through-and-through. What do you think about that notion @Bitter Crank?
• 803
Stillness is impossible, at least so far, since hasn't happened. Ask me again at the end of the universe.
• 353
From the Wikipedia page for Zeno's paradoxes-

In the arrow paradox, Zeno states that for motion to occur, an object must change the position which it occupies. He gives an example of an arrow in flight. He states that in any one (duration-less) instant of time, the arrow is neither moving to where it is, nor to where it is not.[15] It cannot move to where it is not, because no time elapses for it to move there; it cannot move to where it is, because it is already there. In other words, at every instant of time there is no motion occurring. If everything is motionless at every instant, and time is entirely composed of instants, then motion is impossible.

It's strange how different metrics of the same thing can not only imply different outcomes, but complete opposite outcomes.

Movement measured relative to other objects seems to imply that all things are moving, but movement measured as points in time rather than segments seems to imply that they aren't.

I don't know what I think about this problem. I actually don't even know if what you say and the paradox contradict in any way. All I can really say is this-

Diogenes is said to have replied to Zeno's paradoxes on the unreality of motion by standing up and walking away.
• 803
I don't know what I think about this problem.

Well, there is no "duration-less" because time is an interval; also, the hare beats the Together Turtle in another paradox.
• 1.3k

You are right in a sense. Relative absolute rest (relative rest) is a real thing. Just as when a spoke circles around a axle the spoke is actually accelerating even though it might have a linear velocity that is constant. The reason is anytime you change direction that counts as accelerating. I guess the point i'm trying to make is that as long as the general trend is that the object (statistical analysis plays a huge part in understanding physics) is staying in the same general state, if you hit the object, that object is likely to start accelerating from a relative absolute rest, or to put it more accurately a relative rest.
• 5.8k
Very kind of you to bring Zeno into the discussion. I didn't expect that but I think Zeno is ignored by science. Whether that's right/wrong is another issue but take my post in a scientific context which accepts that motion is possible.
• 7.1k
Is there anything wrong with this argument?

Yes there is something wrong with the argument, you haven't defined "absolute rest". Does absolute rest mean that nothing is in motion, as would be the case if time stopped passing, or does it refer to something, relative to which the motion of all things could be measured? The argument does not show that either of these is impossible, so it really does nothing to show that absolute rest is impossible.
• 846
Now take any other object C in the universe.

C must be either be at rest relative to:

1. both A and B
2. A
3. B
Whatever happened to 4: None of the above.

The vast majority (like all) objects C are at rest relative to neither A nor B.
Some of it depends on your coordinate system. My fork and knife appear to be at rest relative to each other, but only because I'm using a rotating and accelerating reference frame.

Imagine A, B and C are points on a triangle. We know that A and B are in relative motion. So the distance AB is always changing.
I can take a triangle and twirl it about and yes, there is motion but that doesn't imply that the length AB is changing. The Earth moves quickly around the sun, but its distance from it (length AB) stay more or less the same. It would stay exactly the same for an object with a perfectly circular orbit.

So I assume you're talking about a dynamic triangle formed by moving objects, in which case all 3 of the lengths are possibly constantly changing.

C is the other vertex of this triangle. If AC is constant and BC is constant but that means AB also has to be constant
Imagine a salad tong, with C at the hinge and A/B the two grasping ends. As you squeeze the tong, AC and BC lengths remain constant but AB is getting smaller. This counterexample demonstrates that AB does not have to be constant.

Thus, ALL objects in the universe are in motion relative to something else. All is motion.
Is there anything wrong with this argument?
It draws conclusions that don't follow from the arguments. Even if all objects are indeed in relative motion, you've not shown it by your logic.
• 5.8k
None of the above.

Can you describe this in words?

I can take a triangle and twirl it about and yes, there is motion but that doesn't imply that the length AB is changing.

I was thinking about. Motion doesn't mean simply a change in distance rather a change in position too qualifies as motion. When you twirl the triangle the distance stays the same, yes, but there is a change in position no? Is that not motion?
• 353
I did find it strange that his paradoxes contradicted each other.
• 353
I’ll be honest, I just thought that the Diogenes story was funny. Regardless, I think that as usual his crude way of doing things reveals some truth, this time being that actions speak louder and sometimes truer than words.
• 5.8k
I’ll be honest, I just thought that the Diogenes story was funny. Regardless, I think that as usual his crude way of doing things reveals some truth, this time being that actions speak louder and sometimes truer than words.

:up:
• 846
None of the above.
— noAxioms
Can you describe this in words?
C is not at rest relative to either A or B.

II was thinking about. Motion doesn't mean simply a change in distance rather a change in position too qualifies as motion. When you twirl the triangle the distance stays the same, yes, but there is a change in position no? Is that not motion?
Of course it is, yet your OP suggested otherwise, stating that the distance AB must be changing if the position of the points is changing, and thus motion cannot happen if length AB stays the same.
• 770

I think your intuitions are accurate in the larger sense - i.e. absolute zero - which would be the absence of all motion - has been proven to be theoretically unreachable fairly recently.
• 803
I think your intuitions are accurate in the larger sense - i.e. absolute zero - which would be the absence of all motion - has been proven to be theoretically unreachable fairly recently.

Yes, as in a post I put an article saying it would take forever, which means never.

My list of impossibles: Stillness, Beginning, End, Infinite, Nothing, Free Will, He, and maybe Forever.
• 1.4k
That's a good point but are your hands moving relative to your keyboard when you type something. I think we can begin there too.

This is an interesting comment. I could say, suppose the light switch is in the next room and an evil demon electrician is flipping it? There's motion even though we can't observe it. In fact if I understand your point, you are saying that if there is change there must be motion. Is that true? Suppose instead of a light switch and an electrician, there's an electronic timing circuit? There's no motion, unless you count the vibrating electrons. But electrons vibrate even when there's no change! So I don't know if this idea is true. There can be change without mechanical motion, that's what the electronic revolution is all about. What do you think?
• 5.8k
Of course it is, yet your OP suggested otherwise, stating that the distance AB must be changing if the position of the points is changing, and thus motion cannot happen if length AB stays the same.

Thanks for pointing that out.

What if we assume, in fact it's true that the distance between the earth and the sun keeps changing, that it's the distance AB keeps changing. Doesn't this mean AC and BC should also change?

I used the math tool geogebra and what I saw was (taking three vertices of a triangle ABC) if we move B relative to A then even if AC doesn't change BC does change.

The mathematical proof would likely use the pythagorean theorem.
• 5.8k
I think your intuitions are accurate in the larger sense - i.e. absolute zero - which would be the absence of all motion - has been proven to be theoretically unreachable fairly recently.

From a relativistic sense absolute zero is meaningless. As I said absolute rest is impossible.
• 7.1k

But you still have not provide a coherent definition of absolute rest. As I explained earlier, there could be something which everything else is in motion relative to, but is not itself in motion, and this is absolute rest. How do you show that this is impossible?
• 5.8k
But you still have not provide a coherent definition of absolute rest. As I explained earlier, there could be something which everything else is in motion relative to, but is not itself in motion, and this is absolute rest. How do you show that this is impossible?

Use three vertices of a triangle, A, B and C. Move point B relative to A. This can be done in two ways, translation (slide) or rotation (turn). If we rotate B around A then it necessarily moves relative to C. If we translate B along the line AB then by the pythagorean theorem the length BC changes (motion).

This is all that I've figured out mathematically. Actually there's a wikipedia article on this.
• 7.1k

I don't see how that is relevant to absolute rest.
• 1.3k
Any object (as a relationship of points in 3D space) in actuality is continually variable over time in relation to all other points in 3D space. All is motion or flux in what we consider to be actual, physical reality.

That doesn’t mean a ‘constant’ triangle or ‘absolute’ rest doesn’t exist as a possibility. But I personally think it’s a waste of energy to attempt to actualise either. In relation to the universe as we interact with it, I think these concepts have little to no relevance and no potential. We can wonder about them, sure - but to what end? Wishful thinking?

What is it about our value/logic structures that renders the concept of ‘absolute rest’ as relevant information - information that allows us to predict what will be the result for us of future interactions with this system? How accurate are these predictions? And, given that the total relevant information cannot grow indefinitely, why is this information more relevant to us than obtaining new information about the system? Just a thought...
• 41
Neither Newton nor Lorentz suggested a unit of measure for 'rest'.
Measurement is the validation tool of science.
How do you measure 'rest'?
• 4.4k
Is there anything wrong with this argument?
Um, yes.

Your argument serves various logics and sciences and understandings, in that its presuppositions and basic understandings comports with theirs. Within, then, these schemes of reason, your argument holds. Indeed in terms of Euclidean geometry it's a version of what in school we called the S.A.S. (side-angle-side) theorem.

But there is reason grounded in both relativity and quantum mechanics to believe that the universe is not so tractable, not so "friendly" to our ideas of how it ought to be.

For example, from relativity, we know that of two locations, one of three relations holds: 1) one (or the other) is in the other's light cone, called a time-like relationship, meaning that as a practical matter I maybe could send you a letter, whether by bicycle, pony-express, or spaceship; 2) one is on the edge of the light cone of the other, so-called light-like, meaning that the best I can do is direct a beam of light at you; and 3) that neither is in the light come of the other, called space-like, meaning that we cannot communicate at all, and in addition, that most of the terms either defining or describing any particulars of our relationship are at best contingent and dependent on who's looking and under what circumstances (of relative motion) - or are meaningless.

Quantum mechanics adds the specification of locality. For any description to be accurate means that the accuracy itself is not determinate but falls in a range, and that range is dependent on the size of the locality in question. What time is it, then, is a question that depends not only on clocks and their relative motion and location, to be sure, but also on the fact that their locations are not exactly the same. A different clock, then, for every location. "The same time," then, is a fiction adopted for convenience, and apparent accuracy in a well-defined and limited macro-world.

I'm getting most of this from The Order of TIme, Carlo Rovelli.
• 130
My list of impossibles: Stillness, Beginning, End, Infinite, Nothing, Free Will, He, and maybe Forever.

Ah, a man of faith
• 5.8k

Either all objects are in relative motion or there exists an object at absolute rest (relative to everything else).

You all deny/critique that <all objects are in relative motion>

If you all are right then there is must be an object at absolute rest.

Can you prove that?
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