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If you swing a bucket of water over your head, centrifugal force keeps the water in the bucket. But your arm keeps the bucket from flying off.
You’ve just illustrated Isaac Newton’s principle of two equal forces working together, commonly stated as, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
The principle explains not only buckets of water, but also the motions of planets in their orbits, satellites circling the earth, and galaxies in space.
Newton was not the first to recognize the truth of paired forces. The Chinese identified it centuries before – essentially, stating that beauty requires two contrasting elements. It could be smooth and rough, as in rocks. Or vertical and horizontal, as in lakes and trees. Or hot and cold, sweet and sour, shiny and dull…
I find this recognition of two forces oddly comforting. Especially in a world that is decidedly not stable.
Categories: Soft Edges
Tags: Newton, gravity, Zoroastrian, Third Law, monotheism
Composer Johannes Brahms had an inferiority complex, Tom Allan explained on CBC Radio one afternoon. Apparently Brahms idolized Beethoven. Beethoven set music on a new course; Brahms felt that his best efforts could never measure up to Beethoven’s standard.
Of course, Beethoven may have felt the same about Mozart, the genius who preceded him. And perhaps Mozart drew inspiration from Bach. And Bach -- who knows? Perhaps Vivaldi or Telemann. And they in turn looked back to Corelli or Buxtehude…
But none of them gave up composing music because they feared they couldn’t compare with their predecessors.
The same holds true in every human endeavour I can think of -- with one exception: religion.
Tags: Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Brahms, Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Vivaldi, Einstein, Newton, Bohr, Curie, Planck, Shakespeare, Milton