Wednesday, September 10, 2008


This is a term that reminds most (well, most people who have had something to do with science) of Newton, physics and mechanics. Strictly speaking, inertia is the resistance an object has to a change in its state of motion. If a body is moving, it will keep doing so till an external force tries to stop it. Same way with a body at rest.

Now, how do you define rest? It really depends on the frame of reference right? If the object does not change its position with respect to this frame with time, it is 'at rest'. Now, if this frame of reference is moving (with respect to another boss-frame of reference of course), the 'stationary' object isn't well, stationary.

Similarly, an object that is perceived to be moving in one frame of reference can be taken as stationary in another. It all really depends on what the observer assumes to be the basic frame of reference. Where am I going with this explanation of high-school physics? Well, try applying this to 'real life'. Day-to-day situations. You are slogging your behind off at something, while your superior thinks you aren't moving at all. And things happen the other way round sometimes.

So if reality is just a bunch of perceptions, what is constant? Or in other fancy words, what remains unvarying between all the intersections of varied perceptions we label truth? And if it all really is this futile, why bother at all?

I am not so sure I know the answer to the first question. I'm guessing one word answers the second.



abhinand said...

as engineers we are taught to look out for certainties, things that someone can bet their 100 million dollars on, if there really was no absolute truth in the universe, has every succesful engineer just been lucky?

taking the analogy from physics a bit further: in nature, it is often the innate laws in nature that follow wot we intuitively know and not the objects directly that abide by them. for eg, gravitational fields should be spherically symmetric but it is newton's law of gravitation that is spherically symmetric and not the orbits of the planets that follow it, they're elliptical.

the irony is that, we seem to need to invent a language to describe wot want to, even before we figure out wot it is we are describing, newton had to invent calculus before he could explain why the old greek philosophers were slightly off centre.

maybe its our perception is really the only thing that limits us, the sharper tools we craft maybe we'd be able to decipher god :)

Onkar said...

Well, I personally agree with the "fact" that reality is only a matter of perception... But consider the statement of the original post - "Reality is a bunch of perceptions!". The statement to me, would make sense only if it were in itself to be invariant under different perspectives. In principle, the way I would put it is that without worrying about absoloute truth (invariance), there aint no "one" way of looking at life which is sanctious!

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

nice post...

i liked the lines
"what remains unvarying between all the intersections of varied perceptions we label truth?"

to nandus comment: physics \m/
decipher god eh?

i'd rather like to stop the search for god...

i like to believe that perspective is the god...

god dosent play dice.he is the dice \m/ . :)

JD said...

OMG, I feel SO out of place in the convention of MSc Physics phodus, but here goes :P

If reality was something we'd not be able to explain with Physics, then what good IS Physics? What good IS a Science that we can't extend to something beyond the realms of the obvious, of the literal meanings of their laws?

In plain English: The existence of such analogies hightlights the true brilliance of the scientists. Moreover, the bringing-to-light of these analogies highlights the true brilliance of Miss Author here :)

me, as i am said...

ummm.... i ll be honest here... i'm lost!


Sandeep said...

lolz!! Plz tell me what triggered this??!! Abhinand ko lag raha hai ki feeling aa gayi on reading your post! Phodu stuff...sahi!!

Abhinand said...


the beauty in nature lies in the fact that it reveals itself to us if we try hard enough, its acceptance of our curiosity, its naivete of our untamed power.

it is also beautiful coz sometimes we understand so much of it even without being able to put down a finger on what we know, coz it challenges us to explore further. that we find out, we label as physics, biology etc

i like to believe evolution is constant and omnipresent, if we dont teach the next generation what we have learned, how can they enjoy nature even more than we do? dont they have a right to the knowledge their ancestors discovered?

may you grow wiser still everyday, may you remain humble.

me, as i am said...

@onakr: Well,I guess the fact that everybody's 'reality' is his/her perceptions, this statement remains invariant in all the cases :)

@jd: Humans need science. Its not about science being redundant as it cant explain what we want it to, but its vital to our existence. Science is one of the manifestations of human curiosity, the urge to know and learn about stuff around us.

Again, curiosity arises because of inertia. As kids, we all fell down sometime while running. We didn't stop, did we? :)

@abhinand: thanks :) Your comment kinda reminds me of the Gayatri Mantra, it translates into a prayer to the Almighty, asking Him/Her to enable humankind to figure out the secrets of the universe. Yet the whole thing has a touch of humility to it :)

abhinand said...

my curiosity is my prayer

Full Of Life said...

Loved the post! True, the one thing that lies in the intersections of the various perceptions of truth is definitely inertia. Gawd! Its so fits everything we get to see around us.