According to Mach's principle inertia were not an inherent/intrinsic property of bodies, but rather an influence of "masses of fixed stars"1. The reason were the conviction of the determinist that all happening has to be induced by external, mechanical conditions. In this view the aging of living bodies should also be related to their velocity in space, i.e. a consequence of space, or because they were hit by the arrow of time, but not a consequence of their own genetic predisposition - which could be presently determined. In gravitation, however, one had suddenly to do with a "local" phenomenon, since the assumption of distant forces would be non-scientific. What is, however, the (general) relativistic assumption of mass "curving" the space, if not the contention of a distant force - here the acting of mass (better: matter), there the reacting space??? The Mach principle is anyhow the purest distant force - an this without any factual reason - only while it makes sense in Einstein's world-view. In contrast, for Newton the centripetal force is already at the place of its acting, as a second permanent property of matter besides its inertia, distributed all around: this is, namely, the only thing which can be positively stated and which deserves the qualification "knowledge"! Also, all what can be positively said about the inertia of a body is that it manifests wenn one tries to change its state, and "mass" is just the measure of the mechanical resistance2. All factual contentions which originate in an existence based on test-bodies and quantities, are non-testable phantasies. For this reason Newton devised only a mathematical concept to deal with the facts, while refusing to find hypotheses! Newton's thinking was in a good sense of positivism in the line of the traditional britisch way of the experienced, while that of Einstein followed the "continental way" of speculation, in the disguise of the doctrinaire Machian neo-positivism. This is the first Upside-Down. For their justification, however, he imputed to Newton the "distant forces", a concept introduced by himself. This is the second "Upside-Down". And all this by invoking the very scientific approach ignored by him! This is the third "Upside-Down". At the same time he made the most distant responsible for the closest, inherent inertia. The gravity of a body, which can be experienced at large distances and shows that no body can be isolated from the rest of the universe and that the universe is a non-separable wholness, has therefore been degraded to a local phenomenon. This is the forth Upside-Down, namely an upside-down world. So many wrong ideas could be taken by good intentioned as evidence for a creative thinking. However, in a discipline which is bound to honesty only research should make sense, rather than to be classified as "criminal" for multiply false testimonies. All 'Upside-Downs' are inevitable consequences of an ideology which relies upon crooked and conflicting premises, for example that of 'locality'. Goodbelieving physicists like to make "authorities" - like Mach and Einstein for holding incontestable contradictions between facts and assumptions - responsible for those. However, when somebody wants to be a scientist, he has to possess so many judgement abilities, that he has to be able to judge by himself a matter of fact hold by him. If the last sentence from Wittgenstein's Tractatus holds somewhere, then it is here: "If one cannot speak about something (since one doesn't know, or cannot know), it is better to keep silent." Meta-physics doesn't cease to be meta-phisics only because it comes from a physicist.translated by Dr. Georg Galeczki (Cologne/Germany)
1When the masses of the "fixed stars" are devoid if inertia, the can, of course, not endow other masses with inertia, since nobody can give something which he doesn' possess. According to the principle of Mach only massless masses were existing, which would do "as if" they inert were: a pure absurdity! They behavior cannot thus be "explained" by themselves, but always - mostly unconsciously - invoking a World-driver hidden behind the idea of determinism, whose existence was Einstein's belief.
2The measure of a thing is not the thing itself. Failing to differentiate between the thing - in this case the matter - and its measure introduced by men, in this case the mass, one could reach the conviction that "M", respectively "m" in Newton's gravitational formula, were the cause for gravity. However, the masses M and m are no more than a measure of the acting matter which - for reasons of simplicity - is tought to be in the geometrical center of the body! The mental uncertainty induced by the lack of differentiation between matter and mass is thus leading even good-believers to missinterpretations of Newton's concepts. The necessary differences due to the application of Newtons simplest assumption to measurements in the vicinity of astronomical bodies is then used as a pretext to question Newtonian dynamics itself, instead of looking for the nearest reason for those differences.
© HILLE 2000-2002