NEW PERSPECTIVES IN VIEWING AN OLD TECHNIQUE


NEW PERSPECTIVES IN VIEWING AN OLD TECHNIQUE. A state of health is a state of stable equilibrium. If disturbed, it restores itself very soon. An acute disease is an unstable state, and seeks a state of equilibrium. Chromic disease represents an unstable state of equilibrium. A minor disturbance results in large changes in state. The laws of thermodynamics tell us what chances can take place in these states.


As the thinning ranks of the Hahnemannians reveal to us the desperate plight of a highly developed skill that lacks training facilities, we repeat the history of other declining cultures, by an attempt to develop our philosophy in accord with the truths revealed to us through the researches and theory evolved by the keenest brains of science to-day. Among these brilliant minds, there has been none keener or more distinguished than Max Planck. On the solid foundation of his labours rests the entire superstructure of nuclear physics with all its fruits, good or bad.

Others have indeed contributed heavily; but without the quantum theory there could be no nuclear physics. Therefore I am selecting for this paper an autobiography of Planck, for study and review. The book to which I refer is The Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers by Max Planck published in 1949 by the Philosophical Library, Inc. of New York. I shall first quote the Philosophical Library, Inc., has kindly consented to the use of the quotations cited in this article-Ed.

If we seek a foundation for the edifice of exact science which is capable of withstanding every criticism, we must first of all tone down our demands considerably….We must be satisfied to discover initially some form of truth which no scepticism can attack. In other words we must set our sights not on what we would like to know, but first on what we do know with certainly.

Now then among all the facts that we do know and can report to each other, which is the one that is absolutely the most certain, the one that is not open even to the most minute doubts? This question admits of but one answer: That which we experience with out own body.

If we call the sum total of sensory impressions the world, we may state briefly that exact science issues from the sense world. The sense world is that which , so to speak, furnishes science with the raw material for its labours.

Therefore the content of the sensory impressions is the most suitable and only unassailable foundation on which to build the structure of exact science…..The sensations produced by objects are private, and vary from one individual to an other; but the world picture, the world of objects, is the same for all human beings and therefore called the real world. The real world of exact science, the scientific world picture, evolved from the real world of practical life. But this world picture is not final. It changes all the time, step by step, with every advance in technique.

Such a stage of development is represented by the scientific world to-day which we are accustomed to call “classical.” In our own day, scientific research, fructified by the theory of relativity and the quantum theory, stands ready to mould a new world picture for itself. The real elements of this coming world picture are no longer atoms or molecules, but electrons and protons whose mutual interactions are governed by the velocity of light and by the elementary quantum of action. From to-days point of view therefore we must regard the real world of the classical picture as naive.

The continual displacement of one world picture by another is inevitable whenever scientific inquiry hits upon a new fact in nature such as the velocity of light in empty space or the part played by the elementary quantum of action in the regular occurrence of all atomic processes. The old laws of classical mechanics be considered as infinite and the quantum of action infinitely small.

The fact that although we feel inevitably compelled to postulate the existence of a real world, in the absolute sense, we can never fully comprehend its nature, constitutes the irrational element which exact science can never shake off, and the proud name, exact science, must not be permitted to cause anyone to underestimate the significance of the element of irrationality. But the real world of metaphysics is not the starting point, but the goal of all scientific endeavor.

Marion Belle Rood