Force, Substance & Spacetime


According to the postulates of disturbance theory, the universe is a continuum of substance that exists in emptiness. The external characteristics of substance are extension (space) and persistence (time). In emptiness there is neither substance, nor space nor time.

The presence of substance is felt through force to which our perceptions react in terms of touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste. But we are limited in the level of force that we can perceive directly. We then use other tools to perceive indirectly.

When Newton saw force acting between two material objects he explained it in terms of gravity of the masses and the distance between them. But he puzzled about how that force passed from one object to another. He wrote to his friend Richard Bentley:

“That gravity should be innate, inherent, and essential to matter, so that one body may act upon another at a distance, through a vacuum, without the mediation of anything else, by and through which their action and force may be conveyed from one to another, is to me so great an absurdity that I believe no man who has in philosophical matters a competent faculty of thinking, can ever fall into it. Gravity must be caused by an agent, acting constantly according to certain laws; but whether this agent be material or immaterial I have left to the consideration of my readers.”

This gravitational force could be computed without considering any substance filling that space in between. Science continued to develop in this way. It simply treated the space between the objects mathematically according to the Newton’s laws.

Newton’s scientific framework came to be known as “action at a distance” compared to the postulated framework of “continuum of substance”.


Lines of Force

Starting at the beginning of 19th century, extensive experimental work was done on electricity and magnetism. At the forefront of this work was Michael Faraday. When conducting these experiments, Faraday could see the effects propagating through the intervening space.

In a letter dated Jan 25 1844, “Electric Conduction and the Nature of Matter”, Faraday expressed that matter seemed to extend itself as “force” to fill the space in an atom, such that there was no empty space. This conclusion came from his observations of electric conduction through different materials. Thus, Faraday saw atoms as centers of force from which lines of force originated, and on which they terminated as well.

Faraday theorized space to consist of electromagnetic lines of force.


Light and Aether

It was supposed that light required a medium to travel, and that medium was aether.

In a letter dated April 15, 1846, “Thoughts on Ray Vibration”, Faraday proposed that the vibrations, which were assumed to account for radiation and radiant phenomena, might be seen as occurring in the lines of force which connect particles. In other words, light, radiation or radiant phenomena were part of the force content of space.

Faraday theorized radiant phenomena, such as, light, to constitute the mysterious aether that filled the space.


Force and Substance

Newton associated force with acceleration of matter in space. Work was the displacement caused by this force. Energy was the capacity for doing this work.

Faraday saw force as the cause of physical action, and not just the tendency of the body to pass from one place to another. Thus, force formed the very essence of substance for Faraday.  In this sense, it also formed the “inertia” described by Newton as “inner force”.

“The vis insita, or innate force of matter, is a power of resisting by which every body, as much as in it lies, endeavours to preserve its present state, whether it be of rest or of moving uniformly forward in a straight line.”

In a lecture dated February 27, 1857, “On the conservation of Force”, Faraday proposed that all force was conserved. Non-conservation of force implied that the phenomenon was not being viewed completely.  In a later addendum, Faraday clarified force as, “the source or sources of all possible changes amongst the particles or materials of the universe.”  To Faraday, changes implied force. But changes also implied substance.

Faraday saw force as the fundamental substance.


Further Research

When we look at spacetime from the viewpoint of the postulates we find that,

Spacetime is the external characteristic of substance. The internal characteristic is force.

Matter is not the only substance; for example, there is definitely a substance that appears as “empty space”. We shall now examine this substance.


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