iSoul In the beginning is reality

Gravitation and levitation theories

A theory of levity might be hilarious but the basic sense of the word levity is lightness, the opposite of gravity’s heaviness. In Aristotle levity is like buoyancy, as some things in water float and others sink.

Aristotle commits himself to gravity and levity as two distinct qualities, both of them positive. Fire has levity alone, earth gravity alone; air and water have both levity and gravity in different degrees. Aristotle, Physics, Vol. I, Loeb Classical Library, p. lxiv.

Levity was conceived as working in the opposite direction of gravity, but otherwise they were alike. The concept of levity was finally dropped in early modern science.

When Newton devised his theory of gravitation to explain the motion of celestial bodies, he said that the force of gravity was directed radially toward the body with greater mass. This was understandable since it is a theory of gravitation and since the greater mass would be associated with greater significance. But this is a convention.

One could just as well devise a theory of levitation with an “unforce” that is the same as Newton’s force of gravity except that it is directed radially toward the body with lower mass. Both gravitation and levitation are radial but levitation is about lightness, not heaviness. There is nothing illegitimate about such a theory, though it may seem strange to those raised on gravitational dynamics alone. After all, a satellite in geosynchronous orbit is hovering over the Earth, that is, levitating.

In time-space a different concept of levitation is available (see here). Levity may be measured by gorce, vass, and prestination, in which larger values indicate a smaller gravity. It would be natural to associate the direction of the gorce of levity toward the body with greater vass, which means less mass since vass is the inverse of mass. This means that the “center” of motion is the body in orbit or falling. It’s all a matter of perspective.

There is a larger issue here, which we will address in the next post.

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