Superphysics Superphysics
Section 1b

The Motion Of the Air-Aether Globules

by Rene Descartes (translated by Google Translate, fixed by Juan) Icon
4 minutes  • 830 words
Table of contents

How were these bodies generated? First, The General Motion Of Air-Aether Globules

[4.015] The production of material bodies on Earth depends on 4 principal actions:

  1. The general motion of air-aether globules
  1. Gravity

  2. Light

  3. Heat

The continuous agitation of the air-aether globules is so great that it carries:

  • the Earth around the sun in a year
  • things in Region 3 daily around the Earth

The air-aether travels in straight lines as much as possible.

And so they mix with the particles of the earth-aether to compose all the bodies of Region 3 of the Earth.

The First Effect of Air-Aether Motion: Make Bodies Transparent

[4.016] The air-aether in the earth-aether makes all liquid earth-aether bodies so fine that these globules are carried in all directions around them. This makes them transparent.

When they move continuously through the passages of these bodies from side to side, they easily form straight or nearly straight paths.

These paths allow light to go through them.

Pure liquids on Earth are made up of fine particles. This is why they are transparent.

Mercury’s particles are coarser. They cannot admit the air-aether.

Ink, milk, blood, and the like are not pure liquids. They are interspersed with many tiny particles of solid bodies.

Transparent solid bodies came from transparent liquids. Their particles retained the same position that they were placed in by the globules of air-aether when they were not yet adhering to each other.

On the other hand, the particles of all opaque liquids adhere to each other by some external force.

  • They do not obey the motion of the globules of the mixed matter.
  • They have many passages left in these bodies through which air-aether globules continuously flow here and there.
    • This is because these passages are interrupted and closed in different places.

But they cannot transmit the action of light which needs straight or nearly straight paths.

How Can a Solid and Hard Body Like Glass Have Enough Passages To Transmit Light Rays?

[4.017] Think of apple-spheres enclosed in a mesh, tightly bound so that these apples, adhering to each other, form a single body.

It will contain passages through which particles can pass through.

Pour small lead globules above it. Those globules will easily fall towards the center of the Earth in straight or nearly straight lines, due to their gravity. This is regardless of the direction this body turns.

Thus, it will be transparent, despite being solid and hard.

The celestial globules that transmit rays of light are like these lead balls.

The Second Effect of Air-Aether Motion: Separate One Body From Another And Purge Liquids

[4.018] When the particles of terrestrial bodies, especially liquids, are confusedly joined together, the air-aether globules tend to separate some from others and distinguish them into various bodies.

They also tend to mix others more accurately, arranging them in such a way that each droplet of the liquid formed from them is entirely similar to all other droplets of the same liquid.

When air-aether globules move through the passages of liquid terrestrial bodies, they constantly displace the earth-aether particles that come in their way.

The earth-aether particles become arranged among the others so that they no longer oppose the motions of each other. If they cannot be arranged in this way, they will be separated from the rest.

Thus, we observe that from dregs, certain liquids, not only upward and downward (which could be attributed to gravity and levity) but also towards the sides of the vessel, are expelled, and the wine subsequently clarified, although it still consists of various particles, appears transparent and no denser at the bottom than at the top.

The same should be assumed for other pure liquids.

The Third Effect of Air-Aether Motion: Make Drops Of Liquids Round

[4.019] Meteoris explained that the third effect of air-aether globules is to make drops of liquids round.

These air-aether particles have to travel much longer around a water droplet than through physical air.

To resume their usual straight-line path, they press on the droplet to make it perfectly round.

  • This is because if one part of the droplet protrudes, then it would deflect the air-aether motion and prevent its straight-line movement and cause it to impact that protruding part more.

This will cause the air-aether to push the protruding part towards the center of the droplet.

Likewise, if any part of the droplet is sunk closer to the center than the rest of the surface, the internal air-aether in the droplet itself, will push that sunken area more forcefully from the center.

And so all air-aether contribute to making a spherical droplet.

And since the angle of contact, the only one that deviates from a straight line, is always smaller than any rectilinear angle, and in no curved line except a circular one is equal everywhere:

it is certain that a straight line can never be more equally, and less deviate in each of its points than when it degenerates into a circular line.

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