The Trap of Metaphors

If in the lyrics of a pop song there is mention of a man on the moon who has watched a couple of lovers and gave them his hand, then every listener knows that it is meant metaphorically, hat is figuratively, because: 1st there is no man on the moon, 2. the moon itself has no eyes, arms and hands and 3. anyway it's a dead stony celestial body devoid of senses, feelings, intentions and extremities. With such a song supposed to be expressed only human feelings. However, if physicists who as a matter of fact should be familiar with physical things, see and describe such celestial bodies as "resting" or "moving", as if they had organs enabling movement and depending if they use them or not, draw final physical conclusions from it, then as to me they have not yet learnt to distinguish dead objects from living ones, what however would be the precondition of their science. While people or animals during their lifetime can truly and objectively move, because they have both organs enabling movements as well as movement intentions and the energy in the execution of their own movement is also ascertainable, natural dead things are missing entirely all these characteristics. Therefore Newton said accurate in his 1st axiom that regardless of whether we see (dead) bodies in a state of rest or of symmetric-rectilinear movement, in both of the states seen by us they only persist and that for as long as no external force react to them. Dead objects cannot therefore out of themselves "move" or "rest" but only react to external forces, while their so called "rest" or "movement" is just metaphorical description of their reaction in reference system used by the observer. But to dead objects themselves it has no meaning, because this reference and resulting out of it states exist only in thoughts of the observer as long as he is watching them. "Rest" and "movement" of dead objects should here therefore only show that to the freely chosen reference point there is displacement or not. That now even in the science there is not factually correct talk of this simple displacement fact, but that physicists without reflection talk metaphorical upon "rest" and "movement" of the dead objects according to practiced viewing habits of living ones, as if these objective states were theirs, not being aware of this metaphors, let alone take them into consideration or even better to avoid them, shows profound lack of their basic education and training, because of which the factually accurate description of physical processes and its consequences fails, although that's what should matter to them. Those metaphors which one is not noticing as such are misleading. So inspired by a pop song person who would seriously look for a man on the moon to give him his hand, can seek very long. Even a plenty of donated research money for his "research" wouldn't be of help for him. But for the inquiring researcher certainly, he would then have at least for a while a good living.

translated by Peter Hille MA (Munich/Germany)

© HILLE 2009

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