You are on page 1of 77

Page 1

===================================

THEANIMATE
ANDTHEINANIMATE

WILLIAMJAMESSIDIS
________________________________
sidis.net/freeprint

________________________________
BOSTON
RICHARDG.BADGER
THEGORHAMPRESS

===================================

Page 2
COPYRIGHTT19255BYYRICHARDDG..BADGER
ALLLRIGHTSSRESERVEDD
PRINTEDDINNTHEEUNITEDDSTATESSOFFAMERICA
THEEGORHAMMPRESS,,BOSTON,,MASS.,,U..S..A.
sidis.net/freeprint

compiledbydanatsidisdotnet
bookbindingimagecourtesyofjaydillon

Page 3
PREFACE
Thisworksetsforthatheorywhichisspeculativein
nature,therebeingnoverifyingexperiments.Itisbasedon
theideaofthereversibilityofeverythingintime;thatis,
thateverytypeofprocesshasitstimeimage,a
correspondingprocesswhichisitsexactreversewith
respecttotime.Thisaccountsforallphysicallawsbut
one,namely,thesecondlawofthermodynamics.Thislaw
hasbeenfoundduringthenineteenthcenturytobea
sourceofagreatdealofdifficulty.Theeminentphysicist,
ClerkMaxwell,inthemiddleofthenineteenthcentury,
whilegivingaproofofthatlaw,admittedthatreversals
arepossiblebyimagininga"sortingdemon"whocould
sortoutthesmallerparticles,andseparatetheslowerones
fromthefasterones.Thissecondlawofthermodynamics
broughtintheideaofenergylevel,ofunavailableenergy
(or"entropy"asitwascalledbyClausius)whichwas
constantlyincreasing.
Inthetheoryhereinsetforth,wesupposethatreversals
ofthesecondlawarearegularphenomenon,andidentify
themwithwhatisgenerallyknownaslife.Thischanges
theideaofunavailableenergyintothatofareservefund
3

Page 4
ofenergy,usedonlybylife,andcreatedbynonliving
forces.
Thisisinaccordancewithsomerecentdiscoveries.The
lateProf.WilliamJameshasdiscoveredinthedomainof
mentalphenomenawhathecalls"reserveenergy,"which
laterinvestigationhasshowntobepresenttoamore
limitedextentinallbiologicalphenomena.Itremaineda
mystery,however,wherethisenergycamefrom,andthe
theoryofreserveenergyassetforthinthisworksuggests
apossibleexplanationofthesephenomena.
Inrelationtotheuniverseasawhole,thetheoryherein
setforthrepresentstheideaofwhatisknownascyclical
change.Thisideaisaveryoldone,beingfoundamongthe
philosophersoftheIonianschool,andreappearingatlater
periodsfromtimetotime.Ontheotherhand,thegenerally
acceptedtheoryofthesecondlawofthermodynamics

representsadifferentphilosophicaltendency,thetendency
thatconsiderschangesoncemadeasirreparable.
Aristotle'sphilosophyisagoodexampleofthattendency
inancienttimes,butithasappearedmorerecently,
especiallyinSpencer'stheoryofevolution,which,itis
interestingtonote,ishardlymorethanastatementofthe
secondlawofthermodynamicsinphilosophicalterms.
Sincethemanuscriptwascompletedmyattentionwas
attractedbyaquotationfromalecturebythegreat
scientist,LordKelvin,inwhichatheoryissuggested
whichisverysimilartomineinitsgeneraloutlines;Lord
Kelvin,however,doesnotworkoutthetheory.He
suggeststhatlifeworksthroughareversalofthesecond
lawofthermodynamics;andthatlivingorganisms,
especiallyanimallife,actuallyactthepartofClerk
Maxwell's"sortingdemon."LordKelvin,however,
regardsthisasanindicationofsomesuspensionofthe
ordinaryphysicallaws,insteadofseekingforthe
explanationofthisreversalinthesephysical
lawsthemselves.
ToquoteLordKelvin'sownwords:"Itisconceivable
thatanimallifemighthavetheattributeofusingtheheat
Preface
4

Page 5
ofsurroundingmatter,atitsnaturaltemperature,asa
sourceofenergyformechanicaleffect....Theinfluence
ofanimalorvegetablelifeonmatterisinfinitelybeyond
therangeofanyscientificenquiryhithertoenteredon.Its
powerofdirectingthemotionsofmovingparticles,inthe
demonstrateddailymiracleofourhumanfreewill,andin
thegrowthofgenerationaftergenerationofplantsfroma
singleseed,areinfinitelydifferentfromanypossibleresult
ofthefortuitousconcurrenceofatoms."
Herethesuggestionisobviousthatthephenomenaof
lifeoperateasClerkMaxwell'ssupposed"sortingdemon,"
throughreversingthesecondlawofthermodynamicsand
utilisingtheunavailableorreserveenergyofmatter;only
LordKelvin,insteadofderivingthisfromtheordinary
physicallaws,immediatelyconcludedthatsome
mysteriousvitalforcemustbeinoperation.Undermy
theory,thisreversalcanbeexplainedonthepurebasisof
thetheoryofprobability.
ItisalsotobenotedthatthetheorywhichIsuggestin
thisworksolvesnotonlythebiologicalproblemofreserve
energy,butalsocertainastronomicalparadoxesin
connectionwiththetheoryofthestructureoftheuniverse
anditsevolution.
Thelatterpartofthework,whichdealswiththetheory
ofthereversibilityoftimeandthepsychologicalaspectof
thesecondlawofthermodynamicsitself,isapurely
speculativesection,partakingmoreofthemetaphysical
thanofthescientific.However,eveninthatsection,itisto
behopedthattherewillbefoundabasisforputtingthe
theoryofthenatureoftimeonascientificbasisandfor
takingitfinallyoutsideofthedomainofmetaphysics.
Attheendofthework,anumberofobjectionstomy
theoryarestatedinordertoshowwhatobjectionscanbe
adduced.Idonotattempttoanswerthesearguments,but,
forthesakeoffairnesstothereader,simplystatethemand
leavethemunanswered,sothatthereadermaydecidefor
himselfalltheprosandconsofthequestion,andcometo
amoreunbiasedconclusion.
Preface
5

Page 6
AtfirstIhesitatedtopublishmytheoryofthe
reversibilityoftheuniverse;butIwasencouragedon
discoveringthequotationfromLordKelvinabove
mentioned;sothatnow,knowingthatthisisnotthefirst
timethatithasbeensuggestedthatlifeisareversalofthe
secondlawofthermodynamics,Ihavedecidedtopublish
theworkandgivemytheorytotheworld,tobeaccepted
orrejected,asthecasemaybe.
WILLIAMJAMESSIDIS
January6,1920.
Preface
6

Page 7
CONTENTS

(Clicktoread.)
PREFACE
IT
HEREVERSEUNIVERSE

9
IIR
EVERSIBLELAWS
14
IIIIRREVERSIBILITY
17
IVT
HEPARADOX
22
VT
HEPROBABILITIESINTHEPROBLEM
31
VIS
OLUTIONOFTHEPARADOX
34
VIIT
HEORIESOFLIFE
42
VIIIT
HEEXTENSIONOFTHESECONDLAW
51
IXT
HERELATIONBETWEENTHETENDENCIES
58
XE
XOTHERMICANDENDOTHERMICSUBSTANCES
62
XIT
HEORIESOFTHEORIGINOFLIFE
67
XIIT
HEASTRONOMICALUNIVERSE
74
XIIIT
HENEBULARHYPOTHESIS
90
XIVT
HEREVERSIBILITYTHEORYOFCOSMOGONY
102
XVT
HEPSEUDOLIVINGORGANISMS
107
XVIP
SYCHOLOGICALASPECTOFREVERSAL
114
XVIIG
ENERALSUMMARYOFTHETHEORY
124
XVIIIS
OMEOBJECTIONSTOTHEREVERSIBILITYTHEORY
133
XIXC
ONCLUSION
138
INDEX
139

Page 8
Page 9
CHAPTERONE
THEREVERSEUNIVERSE
Amongthephysicallawsitisageneralcharacteristic
thatthereisreversibilityintime;thatis,shouldthe
wholeuniversetracebackthevariouspositionsthat

bodiesinithavepassedthroughinagivenintervalof
time,butinthereverseordertothatinwhichthese
positionsactuallyoccurred,thentheuniverse,inthis
imaginarycase,wouldstillobeythesamelaws.
Totestreversibility,wemayimaginewhatwemay
call"thereverseuniverse,"thatistosay,another,an
imaginaryuniverse,inwhichthepositionsofallbodies
atvariousmomentsoftimearethesameasinourreal
universe,inwhichthosepositionsoccuratthesame
respectiveintervalsoftimebutinthereverseorder.To
assistinimaginingthisreverseuniverse,wemay
remindourselvesthat,whenwelookinamirror,the
imaginaryworldthatweseeinthatmirrorcorresponds
ineverydetailtotheworldwearein,withthe
exceptionthatonedimensionofspaceoccursinthe
reverseorder,namelythedirectionperpendiculartothe
planeofthemirror.If,now,weconceiveoftimeasa
sortofadditionaldimensionoftheuniverse,thenour
"reverseuniverse"wouldbeoneinwhichtherewasa
similarreversalinthatdimension,leavingthethree
dimensionsofspaceunaltered.Or,toputitinanother
way,theseriesofimagesproducedbyrunninga
motionpicturereelbackwardswouldgiveexactlythe
impressionofsuchareverseuniverse.
Withthisauxiliary,imaginaryuniverse,ourtestof
thereversibilityofanygivenphysicallaworprocess
9

Page 10
wouldbe,whetherthatlawholdsgood,whetherthat
processstillsubsistsinthereverseuniverse.Inorderto
seethatinanycase,wemayfirstfindouthowto
translateanyphysicaloccurrenceintothe
correspondingoccurrenceinourreverseuniverse.To
startwith,allpositionsinspaceremainabsolutelythe
sameinthereverseuniverseasintherealuniverse;
intervalsoftime,however,remainthesamein
magnitudebutarereversedindirection.Inotherwords,
thoughtheabsoluteamountofanintervaloftime
remainsunchanged,itisnecessary,intranslatinginto
termsofthereverseuniverse,toreplace"before"by
"after,"andviceversa.
Thepathofamovingbodywillremainthesamein
thereverseuniversebecauseallthepositionswhich
constitutethatpathwillremainunchanged.Since,
however,thepositionsarereachedinthereverseorder
oftime,thebodymovesalongthepathinthereverse
direction.Theabsoluteamountofcorresponding
intervalsofspaceandtimeinthismotionremaining
unchanged,itfollowsthatallvelocitiesmust,inthe
reverseuniverse,bethesameinamountbutexactly
reversedindirection.
Wecometoaproblemofgreaterdifficultyin
consideringwhatbecomesofacceleration.Acceleration
istherateofchangeofvelocitywithrespecttotime.If,
tomakethequestionsimpler,weassumeuniform
acceleration,thentheaccelerationofabodyisequalto
thedifferenceofvelocitydividedbytheintervaloftime
requiredtoproducethisdifference.If,forexample,in
anintervaloftimeTthevelocityAischangedtothe
velocityB,theacceleration(vectoriallyrepresented)
wouldbe(BA)/T.Inthecorrespondingmotioninthe

reverseuniverse,intheintervaloftimeT,thevelocity
changesfromBtoA,sothattheaccelerationis[(A)
10
TheReverseUniverse

Page 11
(B)]/T,or(BA)/T.Inotherwords,theaccelerationof
abodyremainsunchangedinthereverseuniverse,both
inamountandindirection,intranslationintotermsof
thereverseuniverse.Theabovereasonassumesthatthe
accelerationofthebodyisuniform,butanextensionof
thesamereasoningwillshowthatthesameconclusion
holdsevenwhentheaccelerationisconstantlyvarying.
Somuchforpurekinematics.Fordynamicalterms,
itisnecessarytofindwhathappenstothemassof
bodiesinthereverseuniverse.Now,massbeingmerely
amountofmatter,andunrelatedtotime,itfollowsthat
massisnotintheleastchangedbyreversal.Fromthatit
follows,bywhatwehaveseen,thatallmomentaare
reversedindirectionbutunchangedinamount,while,
inthereverseuniverse,theforceactingonabody,
beingtheproductoftwomagnitudesthatremain
unchangedinthereverseuniverse(namely,themassof
thebodyandtheacceleration,assumingnootherforce
toact),mustnecessarilyremainunchangedinthe
reverseuniversenotonlyinamountbutalsoin
direction.Itmighthavebeenexpectedthat,inthe
reverseuniverse,forceswouldbereversedindirection;
butthisisnotso.
Energy,beingentirelydependentonsuchthingsas
positionandforce(inthecaseofpotentialenergy)oron
massandthesquareofspeed(inthecaseofkinetic
energy),allofwhichremainentirelyunchangedinthe
reverseuniverse,mustmanifestlyremainentirely
unchanged.
Wecome,however,toamorecomplicatedproblem
inthequestionofthecausalrelation.Forthispurposeit
isnecessarytodistinguishvariouskindsofcausality.
Thetruerelationofcauseandeffectisoneoftemporal
sequence;e.g.,theremovalofthesupportofanobject
isthecauseofitsfalling.Theforceofgravityhasbeen
11
TheReverseUniverse

Page 12
thereallthetime;anditisalogicalconsequenceofthe
existenceofsuchforcethatthefallofanobjectshould
followtheremovalofitssupport.Strictlyspeaking,the
forceofgravityisinthiscasenotacause,butan
explanation,areasonfortheactualcausation,whichis
itselfmerelyasequencewithanexplanation.Wehave
thustodistinguishbetweentherelationofreasonand
consequence,ontheonehand,and,ontheotherhand,
therelationofcauseandeffect.Thelatterimplies
sequenceintime,theformerisapurerelationoflogical
deductionandessentiallyimpliessimultaneity,forthe
reasonandtheconsequence,onebeingalogical
deductionfromtheother,mustbothsubsisttogether.
Now,inthereverseuniverse,wemustsupposethat
alllogicalrelationsoffactsremainthesame.Thisdoes
notimplyanythingconcerningmentalphenomena;of

thatweshallfindoutlaterinourinvestigation.Infact,
logicalrelationsoffactsmustofnecessitysubsistapart
fromthequestionwhetherornotamindexistsinthe
universe.Logicalrelationsmaybesaidtobesimplythe
mostgeneralexternalfactsinexistence.IfAisBandB
isC,therulethenis,notthatIthinkthatAisC;itisa
factverifiablebyobservationthatAisC.Hence,even
shouldthereverseuniversedestroycompletelyall
mentalphenomena,logicalrelationsmustremain
unchanged,andconsequentlyalsotherelationofreason
andconsequence.
Butwithtruephysicalcausality,itisotherwise.If
somegenerallaworsomeparticularforceresulting
therefromhasforitsconsequence,intherealuniverse,
thateventAshouldbefollowedbyeventB,thenthe
correspondinglawor,forceinthereverseuniversemust
resultinthecorrespondingeventsA'andB'following
oneanotherinthereverseorder.Thatistosay,ifone
physicaleventcausesanotherintherealuniverse,then
12
TheReverseUniverse

Page 13
theeventcorrespondinginthereverseuniversetothe
effectwill,ingeneral,causetheeventcorrespondingin
thereverseuniversetothecause.Thatistosay,in
translatingintotermsofthereverseuniverse,"cause"is
tobetranslatedby"effect,"andviceversa.This,
however,isnotanaccuraterule,therebeingexceptions,
acausalrelationbeingsometimesaltogetherseveredor
elseunrecognizablyalteredbythereversaloftime.
Againinthereverseuniverse,suchpropertiesas
density,specificheat,elasticity,amountofheat,
temperature,etc.,alsoremainunchanged.Itcouldalso
beshownthatsuchpropertiesaselectricityand
magnetismremainunchanged,butthatthedirectionof
anelectriccurrentwouldbereversed.Thusallphysical
phenomenacouldreadilybetranslatedintotermsofthe
reverseuniverse.Thevariousvarietiesofsubstance,
dependingontheinternalstructureoftheatomand
molecule,etc.,alsoremainunchangedinthereverse
universe.
Contents
13
TheReverseUniverse

Page 14
CHAPTERII
REVERSIBLELAWS
Nowweshallattempttofindoutwhatarethe
physicallawswhichsubsistinthisimaginary"reverse
universe."Tostartwiththesimplelawsofmechanics,
wehaveitgivenintherealuniversethatabodyretains
itsvelocityunlessthereissomeexternalforceto
changethatvelocity.Now,astherecanbenochangeof
velocityinthereverseuniversewithouta
correspondingchangeofthereversevelocityinthereal
universe,andsinceallforcesinbothuniversesare
respectivelyequal,itfollowsthatthissamelawof
motionappliesalsointhereverseuniverse.Inother
words,thelawofinertiaisunchangedbythereversal

intime,andisthereforewhatwemaycallareversible
physicallaw.
Thesecondlawofmotionisthatchangeof
momentumisproportionaltoforceimpressed.Now,
followingthereasoningwhichwehavealready
followedinthecaseofaccelerations,therateofchange
14

Page 15
ofmomentumremainsunchangedinourreverse
universe.Furthermore,wehavealreadyseenthat,inthe
reverseuniverse,theforceimpressedonabody
remainsunchanged.Henceitfollowsthatthesecond
lawofmotionsubsistsinthereverseuniverse,andis
thereforereversible.
Thethirdlawofmotionisthattoeveryaction
(force)thereisalsoanequalandoppositereaction.
Thislawisalsoobviouslyreversible,sinceinthe
reverseuniverseneitherthemagnitudenorthedirection
offorcesisaltered.
Energybeingthesameinthereverseasinthereal
universe,itsimilarlyfollowsthatthelawofthe
conservationofenergyholdsinthereverseuniverse,
andisthereforereversibleintime.Thesameholdstrue
ofthelawoftheconservationofmatter.
Oneoftheprincipalmethodsbywhichmotioncan
bechangedisbyimpact.Animpactmaybeelasticor
inelastic.Inthecaseoftheverysmallestparticlesof
matter,thatkindofcollisiononlyispossiblewhich
losesnoenergy,butinwhichthekineticenergy
remainsthesameasbefore,thatistosay,anelastic
collision;for,inthecaseofultimateparticles,noneof
theoriginalenergycanbechangedintointernalmotion
oftheparticles.Henceonlyelasticcollisionispossible
inthecaseofultimateparticles;anditisnotdifficultto
showthat,inthecaseofelasticcollision,thereversed
finalvelocitiesofthesamemasseswillcause,asan
effectoftheimpact,thereversedinitialvelocities.
Now,sinceallmatterismadeupoftheseparticles,
whatevertheymaybe,andthereforeallcollisionsof
bodiesofmatteraremadeupofcountlesselastic
collisionsofultimateparticles,itfollowsthat,inthe
reverseuniverse,whereimpactoccurs,allparticlesof
matterfollowthesamecourseastheywouldinthereal
15
ReversibleLaws

Page 16
universeunderthesameinitialconditions.Hencethe
lawsofimpact,whenbroughtdowntoultimate
particles,areperfectlyreversibleandalsoremain
unalteredinthereverseuniverse.
Thevariouslawsofattractionandrepulsionthatare
foundtosubsistintheobjectiveuniverse,suchas
gravitation,electricalandmagneticattractionand
repulsion,etc.,dealingastheydowiththedirectionsof
forces,mustalsoremainunchangedinthereverse
universe.Similarlywithmanyothergeneralphysical
laws.
Eventhelawsofreflectionandrefractionoflight
willremainunalteredinthereverseuniverse,andare

thereforeperfectlyreversible.
Asaresult,wemaysayingeneralthat,lookingto
theultimateparticlesofmatter,enoughphysicallaws
subsistinthereverseuniversetodetermine,fromthe
positionsandvelocitiesofallparticlesofmatterata
giveninstant,theentirepastandfutureoftheuniverse.
Theresultisthat,giventhosephysicallawswhichwe
assumetoremainalwaystrue,ifweshouldimagine
that,intherealuniverse,atonegivenmoment,all
particlesofmattershould,whileretainingtheir
respectivepositions,reversetheirvelocities,itwould
followthatthiswouldbeenough,ofitself,tomakeall
particlesofmattertracebacktheirpreviouspositionsin
thereverseorderandthus,asitwere,createareverse
universe.
Contents
16
ReversibleLaws

Page 17
CHAPTERIII
IRREVERSIBILITY
Sofar,wehaveseenthatthephysicallawsessential
tothedeterminationofthecourseoftheuniversefrom
itspresentmomentaryconditionareallreversible.From
thisitmightbeconcludedthatallphysicallawsmustin
consequencebereversible,andthat,therefore,therecan
benoessentialdifferencebetweentherealuniverseand
thereverseuniverse.Andthismuchistrue,that,
providedweexaminethemotionsoftheparticlesof
matter,everythingthathappensinthereverseuniverse
canbedescribedintermsofthephysicalpropertiesof
matterasweknowthem.
Butatthesametime,ifwetakethemostordinary
eventsoftherealuniverseandattempttofindoutwhat
isthecorrespondingeventinthereverseuniverse,
somethingstrangewillatonceimpressusaboutthe
reverseuniverse.Takethis,forexample:aballrolls
downastaircase,bouncesalittleatthebottom,and
finallystops.Inthereverseuniversetheinitial
conditionistheballatthebottom,onafloornearthe
footofastaircase.Theheatenergyinthefloorcollects
atonepointunderneaththeball,soastopushtheball
suddenlyupward.Eachtimethattheballfallsbackto
thefloorthisprocessisrepeated,untilfinallythefloor
throwstheballontothefirststair.Thestairs,eachin
17

Page 18
turn,throwtheballinasimilarmannerupthestaircase,
tillfinallytheballstopsatthetop.Themolecular
vibrationsintheball,floor,andstaircase,had
previouslybeensoarrangedthatconcentrationof
energywouldhappenataparticularspotandtime,
whiletheballsomovedthatitjusthappenedtobeat
thosespotsexactlyintime.
Soitwillbewiththeoccurrencescorrespondingin
thereverseuniversetoalmostanycommonoccurrence
inthephysicalworldofourexperience.Everything
seemstobeperfectlyexplicableintermsofphysical
laws,butatthesametimethecombinationsofmotions

seemtohavesomethingutterlystrangeaboutthem.
Hencethereissomepointofdifferencebetweenthe
realuniverseandthereverseuniverse,andhencethere
mustbesomepropertyoftherealuniversethatis
irreversible.
Thisirreversiblepropertyisfoundinwhatiscalled
thesecondlawofthermodynamics.This,takeninits
mostgeneralaspect,amountstothis:thattheenergyof
theuniverseisconstantlyrunningdowntoonecommon
level.Inotherwords,whereenergyofthesamevariety
ispresentindifferentdegreesofconcentration,those
differenceswillbeequalised,andenergyofastill
higherlevelortoagreateramountmustbecome
dissipatedinordertorecreatethesedifferencesof
concentration.Ofthevariousvarietiesofenergy,all
kindstendtoturnintoheat,whichistheleast
concentratedformofenergy;and,eventhoughsomeof
thatheatmaybereconvertedintosomeotherformof
energy,still,ateachstep,someenergyisirretrievably
lostintheformofheat.
Thisphysicallaw,aswellasallthosewhichare
derivedfromit,isirreversible.Furthermore,onlysuch
physicallawsasarederivedfromthesecondlawof
18
Irreversibility

Page 19
thermodynamicsareirreversible;sothatthislaw
constitutesthesoledifferencebetweentherealandthe
reverseuniverse.Where,intherealuniverse,energy
runsdowntoacommonlevel,itfollowsthat,inthe
reverseuniverse,energytendstobuilditselfupinto
differentlevels.
Wemaysay,then,thatthecharacteristicirreversible
partoftheuniverseconsistsinthis,thatenergytendsto
evolve(ordevolve)frommolarmotionofextremely
largemasses,whichisthemostconcentratedformof
energy,toaconditioninwhichallenergyisintheform
ofheat,whichistheleastconcentratedform,andata
uniformconcentration,thatistosay,ataconstant
temperaturethroughout.Afinalconditionwouldresult
inwhichadeadlevelofenergywouldbereached,and
afterthatnothingfurthercouldeverhappeninthe
universe.
Thefact,forinstance,thatperfectlyelasticcollisions
oflargemassesofmatterdonotoccur,butthatsuch
collisionsareinelastic,isadirectconsequenceofthe
secondlawofthermodynamics.Thecharacteristicofan
inelasticcollisionisthatsomeofthemolarkinetic
energyofthecollidingbodiesislostbytheimpact.This
lostkineticenergyischangedintoheat,whichisalways
producedbyaninelasticcollision.Thisisinstrict
accordwiththesecondlawofthermodynamics.Inthe
reverseuniverse,onthecontrary,animpactwouldbe
anoccasionforheattobeconvertedintomolarmotion,
thusincreasingthetotalamountofkineticenergy.Such
acollisionwemaycallsuperelastic,andisnotwithin
ourexperience.
Again,theresistanceofferedbyonebodytoanother,
whetherintheformoffrictionorotherwise,isbutan
exampleofthesecondlawofthermodynamics,being
anothercaseofchangeofmolarenergyintoheat.Inthe

19
Irreversibility

Page 20
reverseuniverse,theveryoppositeprocesswouldtake
place.Accordinglywefindasmightbeexpected,that
thelawsoffriction,etc.,areirreversible.
Manychemicalreactionsareirreversible,though
somearereversible.Asageneralrule,theirreversible
chemicalreactionsarecasesofconversionofchemical
energyintoheat,inaccordancewiththesecondlawof
thermodynamics.Sowithallirreversibleprocesses.
Inthecaseofamachine,theratiooftheenergy
obtainedtotheenergyputin(usuallyexpressedasa
percentage)iscalledthemechanicalefficiencyofthat
machine.Theremainingenergy,thatthemachinehas
lost,becomesheat.Thesecondlawofthermodynamics,
expressedintermsofmechanicalefficiency,meansthat
allphysicalphenomenahaveamechanicalefficiencyof
lessthan100%.Thereverseuniverse,onthecontrary,
isdistinguishedfromtheuniverseofourexperiencein
thatthemechanicalefficiencyofitsphenomenaisover
100%.
Again,toexpressitinanotherway.Supposetwo
bodies,oneatatemperatureof0Fahrenheit,theother
atatemperatureof200.Theonlyavailableheat
energyinthosebodieswouldbetheamountrepresented
by200degreesinthehotterbody.Atthesametime,the
colderbodybeing460degreesaboveabsolutezero,
thereisunavailableenergy,which,accordingtothe
secondlawofthermodynamics,cannotbereached,
amountingto460degreesineachofthetwobodies.If
bothbodieshavethesamemassandspecificheat,the
energywhich,underthesecondlawof
thermodynamics,isavailableforconversionintoother
formsofenergy,couldthusberepresentedby200,
whilethetotalheatenergyinthetwobodieswouldbe
representedby460+660=1120.Theratioofavailable
tototalenergyinthiscasewouldbe200:1120,or5:28.
20
Irreversibility

Page 21
Inotherwords,only18%ofthetotalheatenergyis
availableforconversion.Thesecondlawof
thermodynamicsstates,notmerelythatnotallthe
availableenergycanactuallybeusedforanypurpose
exceptheat,butalsothatallenergyinanavailableform
(aformotherthanheat,orelseheatenergyintheform
ofadifferenceoftemperature)tendstoturninto
unavailableenergy,thattheamountofavailableenergy
intheuniverseisconstantlydecreasing.
Inthereverseuniversewehaveadifferentsituation,
sincethesecondlawofthermodynamicsisirreversible.
Eventheheatenergybelowthetemperatureofthe
coldestbodiesintheenvironmentisnotmerely
available,butconstantlydrawnon.Thesameimmense
fundofenergywhichintherealphysicaluniverseis
constantlystoredupandunavailable,nowceasestobe
unavailable,butbecomesareservefundofenergywith
whichdifferenceofconcentrationofenergyis

constantlybeingbuiltup.Underthesecondlawof
thermodynamicsareservefundofenergyisconstantly
storedupintheformofheatandneverafterwards
touched;underthereverseofthatsecondlaw,onthe
contrary,westartwiththisreservefundofenergyand
constantlydrawonittobuildupenergydifferences.
Contents
21
Irreversibility

Page 22
CHAPTERIV
THEPARADOX
Thesecondlawofthermodynamicsis,aswehave
seen,anirreversiblephysicallaw,andseemstobethe
onedistinguishingcharacteristicbetweenthereal
universeandthereverseuniverse.Atthesametime,
thatlawisofsuchanature,that,fortheultimate
particlesofmatter,itdoesnotexist;itisessentiallya
lawconcerningtransformationsofenergyoflarge
masses.Andyetalllargebodiesaremadeupof
countlessnumbersoftheultimateparticlesofmatter,
thelawsofwhosemotionareallperfectlyreversible.
Allphenomenaofthereverseuniverse,however
strangetheymaylook,areperfectlyexplicableinterms
oftheordinaryphysicallawsasappliedtothesmallest
materialparticles.Itwouldseem,then,asthoughthere
mustbesomereasonintermsofthereversiblephysical
lawswhythesecondlawofthermodynamicsmustbe
true;thatis,thesecondlawofthermodynamics,iftrue,
shouldbeaconsequenceofthereversiblephysicallaws
applicabletoultimateparticles.Weare,then,
confrontedwiththeparadoxofhavingtodeducean
irreversiblelawfromperfectlyreversibleones.
22

Page 23
Andyet,sincethereverseuniverseconsistsofa
perfectlyconsistentseriesofpositions,obeyingall
reversiblephysicallaws,itfollowsthatanylogical
deductionfrompremiseswhicharereversiblelaws
mustinevitablyapplytothereverseuniverse,andthat
thereforetheconclusionmustbetrueinthereverse
universeaswellasintherealphysicaluniverse.Thatis
tosay,anydeductiveconclusionfromreversiblelaws
mustitselfbereversible.Andyet,inthecaseofthe
secondlawofthermodynamics,thereversiblelaws
whichgovernthemotionsofultimateparticlesof
matterseemtocompoundthemselvessomehowintothe
bestpossibleexampleofanirreversiblelawgoverning
themotionsoflargemasses.
Weare,therefore,inevitablyledtotheconclusion
thatthesecondlawofthermodynamicscannotbe
deducedfromthereversiblelawsbystrictdeductive
reasoning.Thereversiblelawsmustofnecessityleave
someroomforthepossibilityofthetruthofthereverse
ofthesecondlawofthermodynamics.But,sincethe
secondlawofthermodynamicssimplyrepresentsa
generaltendency,wecometotheconclusionthatthe
onlypossibilitythatthesecondlawofthermodynamics
representsacorrectphysicallaw,is,thatitistobe

deducedfromthereversiblelawsnotasastrictlogical
consequence,butasagreat,orevenanoverwhelming
probability.Suchasolutionofthisparadoxofthe
secondlawwaspropoundedbyClerkMaxwelland
otherphysicistsofthemiddleofthenineteenthcentury.
Letus,then,examinethereasoningbywhichClerk
Maxwellwasenabledtoreconcilereversiblepremises
withanirreversibleconclusion.Accordingtohis
reasoning,bothprocessesarephysicallypossible,
concentrationanddiffusionofenergy.Theoneprocess
obeysthesecondlawofthermodynamics,theother
23
TheParadox

Page 24
reversesit.Underthesecondlawofthermodynamics,a
collisionoflargemasseswillgenerateheat(conversion
ofmolarenergyintoheatenergy);underitsreversal,
theheatgeneratesmolarmotioninandofitself.Now,
saysClerkMaxwell,ifparticlesmoveinagroup,or
ratherintwoapproachinggroups,theparticlesare
likelytostrikeoneanotheratallsortsofangles,sothat,
aftertheimpact,theresultingvelocitieswillbecome
scattered,whichmeansthatsomeoftheenergywillbe
convertedintoheat.Onthecontrary,areversalofthe
processmeansaconcentrationofthemotionsofthe
particlesattheverypointandtimeoftheimpact,which
isaverymuchmoreimprobablecombination,and,
requiringasitdoesthatthisconcentrationshould
happeninaparticulardirection,ataparticularpoint,at
aparticulartime,inordertohavethedesiredeffect,it
followsthatsuchareversalofthesecondlawof
thermodynamicsissooverwhelminglyimprobableasto
bealmostimpossible.Thesecondlawof
thermodynamicsisthusbasednotonnecessitybuton
extremeprobability.Areversalofthesecondlawis
possibleunderthereversiblephysicallaws,aswehave
seen,butthisreasoningtendstoprovethatitis
overwhelminglyimprobable,andthereforewould
almostneverhappen.
But,again,ifthepremisesofthereasoningare,as
wesuppose,reversiblephysicallaws,itmustbe
possibletoapplythesamereasoningtothereverse
universe.Consequently,asimilarlineofreasoning,
whichmustbeexactlyascorrectlogically,canbe
followedbytracingeventsbackwardsfromeffectto
causeinsteadoftracingfromcausetoeffect,asClerk
Maxwellhasdone.
Anymomentarycondition,oftheuniversemaybe
regardedeitherasthecauseofallfutureconditionsof
24
TheParadox

Page 25
theuniverseorastheeffectofallpastconditions.And
notonlycanagivenmomentaryconditionofall
particlesintheuniversedetermineoneandonlyone
possibleeffect,oneandonlyonepossiblefuture;that
samegivenmomentarycondition(positionandvelocity
ofeveryparticle)couldonlyhavebeencausedbyone
possiblepastseriesofconditions.Henceitisjustas

possibletotraceourcausalrelationsstepbystep
backwards,asitistotracethemsimilarlyforwards.
Now,tracingcausationthusbackwards,wefindthat
molarmotions,whentracedbackwardsintothepast,
will,inallprobability,bringustoatimewhentwo
masseswhicharenowinmotionhavebeentogether,in
contact.FollowingClerkMaxwell'sreasoning,wemust
saythat,whentwoparticlesmoveawayfromcontact
witheachother,animpactmusthavebeenthecause,at
leastsomeformofimpactofparticles,butitisaform
ofimpactwhichproducedmolarmotion.Inall
probability,thosetwoparticularmasseswillnothave
motionswhichtracebacktoareboundofallparticlesat
thesameangle;whichnecessitates,accordingtothe
rulesofelasticcollision,thatbeforetheimpactthe
motionsoftheparticlesmusthavebeenscattered.Thus,
tracingthereasoningbackwards,wearriveatthe
probabilitythatthemolarmotionsmusthavebeen
partiallyatleastcausedbyheat,thatis,tothe
probabilityofareversalofthesecondlawof
thermodynamics.Onthecontrary,inordertohavea
caseinaccordancewiththesecondlawof
thermodynamics,onthisanalogousreasoning,itwould
benecessarytosupposetwobodiesbeingtracedbackto
contactatsomeparticulartime,andthattheheat
motionsofthosebodies,whenthustracedback,should
suddenly,attheparticularmomentandpointofcontact,
tracebacktoaconcentrationofmotionoftheparticles
25
TheParadox

Page 26
ofeachbodyawayfromtheother,foronlysuch
concentrationcouldbetheeffectofamolarmotion
bringingthebodiesintocollision.Now,theprobability
ofsuchacombinationisextremelysmall,sothat,by
merelyshiftingourreasoninggearintoreverse,thevery
samereasoningtellsusthatthesecondlawof
thermodynamicsismostextremelyimprobable,but
that,onthecontrary,itsreversalisanoverwhelming
probability.
Tracingthusfromagivenmomentaryconditionof
theuniverse,ourforwardandbackwardreasoning
combinedmightbeinterpreted,ifsuchreasoningcould
betrusted,tomeanthatthesecondlawof
thermodynamicsholdsgoodasaprobabilityastothe
future,butthatitsreversalholdstrueastothepast.
Asidefromthisresultbeinguntrueinpointoffact,itis
selfcontradictory,foranygivenmomentoftimeis
alwaysfutureastomomentsthatprecedeit,andpastas
tomomentsthatfollowit.Itfollows,then,thatthere
mustbesomefallacyinClerkMaxwell'sreasoning,
which,whenextended,givesusthesecondlawof
thermodynamicsinthegeneralform.
Takethespecialcasethatwehavebeenusingasan
illustration.Molarmotionwithoutheat,itistrue,is
likely,asamatterofpuretheory,toproduce,after
impact,lessmolarmotionandsomeheat(thetotal
amountofenergyremaininginvariable).Butsuchan
initialconditionis,initself,extremelyimprobable.If
initialvelocitiesofparticlesmaybeselectedinitiallyas
inanydirection:andinanyamount,itisextremely

improbablethatallthevelocitieswillhavethesame
directionandamount,orevenapproximatelyso.The
smallerthenumberofparticles,thegreaterthe
probabilityofaconcentratedmotionresulting.Also,the
smallerthemass,thegreatertheprobableaverage
26
TheParadox

Page 27
velocityofthemassatagiventime,whentheparticles
aremovingatrandom.Hence,whenthereisimpactof
bodiesinwhichparticlesmoveatrandom,the
probabilitiesarethat,atthatmoment,atthepointof
contact,thesmallmassofparticlesintheimmediate
vicinitywillhaveagreaterspeedinallprobabilitythan
theentiremass.Thus,whenthecollisionoccurs,the
forceavailableforproducingmolarmotionwillconsist,
intheimmediatevicinityofthepointofcontact,oftwo
averagespeedsgreaterthanthoseoftherespective
masses.Ifthosegreaterspeedstendtobemoretowards
oneanotherthanthemassesasawhole,thenitwould
bemostprobablethatsomeoftheheatenergyofthe
twobodieswillbeconvertedintomolarmotion.Onthe
otherhand,iftherespectivespeedsinthevicinityofthe
pointofcontactaremoreawayfromeachotherthanthe
velocitiesofthemassesthemselves,thereversewill
happen.Besides,whilewehavethispossibilityofheat
turningintomolarenergyorintosomeotherformof
energy,andofdifferencesofenergyconcentration
buildingthemselvesupinthismanner,wehavethe
contrarytendencysuppliedbyClerkMaxwell's
reasoning.Theresultis,thatweasyetcanformno
conclusionsastowhichtendencyismorelikely.
If,furthermore,weconsiderthatwemustregardfor
agivenmomentoftime,allpositionsandvelocitiesas
equallylikely,andthatforallsuchinitialpositionsand
velocitieswhichwillgiveauniverseobeyingthe
secondlawofthermodynamics,thereisareverse
universe,equallyprobable,reversingthatlaw,wecome
totheconclusionthatthesecondlawanditsreverseare
equallyprobable.Ifthisistrueforanygivenevent,then
theprobabilityoftheobservedfacts,thatistosay,that
alleventsobeythesecondlaw,mustbeinfinitesimally
small.Sothat,again,weareforcedtotheconclusion
27
TheParadox

Page 28
thatthesecondlawofthermodynamics,beingan
observedfactwhichcanonlybeexplainedasan
extremelyprobableresultofthereversiblephysical
lawsis,onthecontrary,mostextremelyimprobable.
Notmerelythat,butthesecondlawof
thermodynamics,whenpushedtoitslogicalconclusion,
producesratherabsurdresults.Inthefirstplace,we
have,seenthatitinvolvesasortofdeathoftheuniverse
intheremotefuture,atimewhenallwillbeonedead
levelofheat;thoughallthiswill,inallprobability,
comeaboutslowly.Buttherateofdecreaseofthe
availableenergyunderthissecondlawisapproximately
proportionaltotheamountofavailableenergyinthe

universe;thereforetherateoftherunningdownof
energyintotheunavailableformmustbeconstantly
decreasing.Tracingbackwards,wefindthat,inthe
past,thefartherbackwego,themorewegetalarger
percentageofavailableenergyintheuniverse,
increasingatanevergreaterrate.Thereforeitfollows
thatwemustarriveatsomedefinitetimeinthepast
andthatnotataninfinitetimebackwhenthe
availableenergywas100%ofthetotalenergyofthe
universe.Atatimeprobablynotmuchfartherback,all
themotionintheuniversemusthaveconsistedofmolar
motionofmasseswhich,aswegoback,musthave
increasedinsizetillwearriveatatimewhenallthe
energymusthaveconsistedoftheenergyoftwohalves
oftheuniversemovingtogether,eachhalfofthe
universebeingatatemperatureofabsolutezeroandall
itspartsmovingsidebysideatexactlythesame
velocity.Thispossibility,itistrue,issomewhat
corroboratedbythefactthatatpresentthestarsare
movingintwooppositedirections,intwoopposite
currents,asitwere,whichmaybesupposedtobethe
remnantsofthetwooriginallargegroupsofstarswhose
28
TheParadox

Page 29
collisionformedthepresentuniverseaccordingtothis
hypothesis.
Atthesametimethetwooriginalhalvesofthe
universecannothavebeenaltogethermutually
impenetrable,forinthatcasetheresultofthecollision
wouldbuthavemadethemrebound,thoughproducing
agreatamountofinternalheatenergyineach,and
possiblybreakingsomesmallpiecesoffeach.Itwould
seem,then,asthoughtheoriginalhalvesoftheuniverse
musthaveconsistedofseparatedarkstars,witha
structuresomewhatsimilartothepresentuniverse.At
thetimeofthecollision,allthestars,evenallthe
particles,ineachsemiuniversemustallbemoving
togetheratthesamespeedandinthesamedirection.
Thesecondlawofthermodynamics,then,mustdate
fromsomesortofGreatCollisionoutofwhichthe
presentuniverseevolved.Butwhathappenedbefore
thisGreatCollision?Theanswerwouldhavetobe,
everythingwasatatemperatureofabsolutezero,there
weretwosemiuniverseswhichweremovingtowards
eachother,ineachofwhichtherewasnotevenatrace
ofrelativemotion.Althougheachofthetwosemi
universeswasinmotion,yetwithineachtherewasno
motion,nointernalenergy.
ButifsuchwasthesituationatthetimeoftheGreat
Collision,itcannothavebeensoforaneternitypast,
unlessweconceiveofthelawofgravitationalattraction
nottohavebeentrueinthosetimes.Takingeachsemi
universebyitself,itsreverseuniversewillalsoshow
thesameconditionsaswehavealreadydescribed,
exceptthatthesemiuniversesaremovingawayfrom
eachother,sothatwecanproceedinpeacewithout
dangerfromtheimpendingGreatCollision.Eachsemi
universemay,forthepurposeofinternaloccurrences,
beregardedasatrest.Gravitationwillthendrawallthe
29

TheParadox

Page 30
starsofeachsemiuniversetowardsitscenterof
gravity,tillallofthemfallinthere.Reversingonce
more,soastoobtaintheprocessasitmusthavebeen
supposedtohappen,wegetthefollowingresult:Each
semiuniverseoriginallyconsistedofonegreatbody;
suddenly,somehow,thatbodyexplodedintopieces,
whichformedstars,eachpiece,though,remainingata
temperatureofabsolutezero.Finally,ineachsemi
universe,mutualgravitationofthestarsslowedthem
downtorelativerest.Justwhenthisrelativerestwas
reached,thetwosemiuniversescollided,andoutof
thiscollisioncameourpresentuniverse.Thuswetrace
alittlefartherbacktotheGreatExplosions;butthese
explosionscannotpossiblybetracedbackanyfarther
accordingtotheknownphysicallawswithoutviolating
thesecondlawofthermodynamics.Inconsequence,if
wewishtopreservethesecondlawofthermodynamics,
wemusteitherdispensewithsomeoftheotherphysical
laws,orassomephysicistshavedone,interspersea
creation.Inotherwords,thesecondlawof
thermodynamicscannothavebeentrueforaneternity
past,thoughitmaybetrueforoneternityinthefuture.
Andeventheassumptionofacreationwouldbe
assumingaprocessdifferentfromtheprocessescoming
undertheordinaryphysicallaws.
Inotherwords,wecometotheinevitable
conclusionthatthesubsistenceoftheirreversible
secondlawofthermodynamicsinthesameuniverseas
thereversiblelawsconcerningthemotionofparticlesis
aparadox,bothfromthatpointofviewandfromthe
factthatthissecondlaw,pushedtoitslogical
conclusion,leadsbacktoamysteriouscreationwhich
deniesallphysicallawswhatever.
Contents
30
TheParadox

Page 31
CHAPTERV
THEPROBABILITIESINTHEPROBLEM
Tohelpustowardsasolutionofthisparadox,we
mustfirstfindoutwhattheprobabilitiesactuallylead
ustoconclude.Wehavealreadyseenthat,inagiven
case,thechancesareevenastowhetherenergywillrun
downorbuildup.Therearealsosmallchancesofa
neutralcondition,inwhichenergyremains,onthe
whole,atthesamedifferenceofconcentrationas
before.Buttheprobabilityofthisneutralityis
negligible,andwemaysaythattheprobabilitiesare,
thatin50%ofthecasesthesecondlawof
thermodynamicswillbeobeyed,andin50%ofthe
casesitwillbereversed.Ifsuchisthecase,theuniverse
asawholewillbeneutral;thatis,takingallthe
occurrencesoveralloftimeandspace,therewillbeno
tendencyinonedirectionortheother.
Inthisreasoningwecanbeassuredastothe
probabilitiesinanygivenoccasion,forwemustassume
allcombinationsofinitialpositionsandvelocitiestobe

equallylikely.Inasmuchasanyeventoccupiesacertain
amountoftime,letusfigureontheprobabilitiesofthe
positionsandinitialvelocitiesatthemiddleofthat
interval.Foranyrangeofpositionsandvelocities
31

Page 32
resultinginacombinationobeyingthesecondlawof
thermodynamics,wehaveanequalandthereforean
equallyprobablerangeofpositionsandvelocities
reversingthatlaw;namely,theidenticalpositionswith
thereversevelocities.Wherethepositionsand
velocitieshappentoborderbetweenthetwokindsof
combinations,wewillhaveasortofneutralresult,
whichissoimprobableastohaveazeroprobability
(thoughthatdoesnotmakeitimpossible).Asidefrom
that,thesecondlawofthermodynamicsis,onany
occasion,equallyprobablewithitsreverse,andthe
probabilityofeachmaybetakenas50%.The
probabilityofthesecondlawofthermodynamicsbeing
followedontwocertainoccasionsis,asaresult,only
25%;andsoon,whileitsprobabilityforalloccasionsis
almostanullity.
Theprobabilityis,however,asaresultofthis50%
probability,thatapproximatelyhalftheeventsofthe
universe,takingallofspaceandtime,willbein
accordancewiththesecondlawofthermodynamics,
whileabouthalfwilltendtoreverseit.Theformer
tendencywewill,forshort,callthepositive,whilethe
lattertendencywewillcallthenegativetendency.
Betweenthesetwothereisabordering,orneutral,
tendency,which,asawhole,neitherbuildsenergyup
norlevelsitdown.
Theuniverseasawhole,includingalloftimeand
space,willtendtowardsthisneutraltendency,butthis
neutraltendencywillsimplybeacompoundofpositive
andnegativetendenciesatdifferentpartsofspaceand
timetendingtocanceloneanother.Takingdefinite
portionsofspaceandtime,thechancesarethatthere
willbesomesortofpreponderanceoftendencyinone
directionortheother,thepreponderancebeinggreater
thesmallerthesectionofspaceandtimethatwetake
32
TheProbabilitiesintheProblem

Page 33
intoconsideration.Wemay,therefore,assumethat,in
thepartofspaceandtimeunderourobservation
(which,weknowisverylimited)thepreponderanceis
towardsthepositivetendency.Wemaysupposethat
thereareotherpartsofspace,andotherperiodsoftime,
whenthepreponderancewillbeinthereversedirection.
Butevenwherethepreponderanceistowardthe
positivetendency,itstillremainsmerelya
preponderance,andinstancesofthenegativetendency
wouldbealmostcertaintooccur.Itistruethatthe
probabilitiesarethat,insuchapartofspaceandtime,
instancesofthenegativetendencywilloccurtoavery
limitedamount;but,allthesame,theywilloccur.
Theprobabilitiesofthesituation,then,areas
follows:thewholeuniverse,includingallofspaceand

time,willtendtohaveasmuchofthepositiveasofthe
negativetendency,withacertainamountoftheneutral
tendency.Ataparticularmomentoftimethe
probabilitiesarethattherewillalsobeaboutasmuchof
onetendencyasoftheother,butthatinsomesections
ofspacetherewillbeapreponderancetowardsthe
positivetendency,whileinothersectionsofspacethe
preponderancewillbethereverse;abouthalfofspace
fallingunderoneheading,andabouthalfofspace
fallingundertheother.Ineachofthoseportionsof
spacetherewillbeinstancesofeventsopposedtothe
prevailingtendency,presumablyincertainmaterial
objects.Thesameappliestoamorelimitedextentifwe
takeonesectionofspacewithrespecttothedifferent
momentsoftime.
Contents
33
TheProbabilitiesintheProblem

Page 34
CHAPTERVI
SOLUTIONOFTHEPARADOX
Wehaveseenthatthesecondlawofthermodynamics,
ifpushedtoitslogicalconclusion,leadstoabsurdities;
that,onthebasisoftheotherphysicallaws,itismost
extremelyimprobable;andthatitcannothavebeen
universalforalltimepastunlessweassumesomesort
ofcreationorsomeotherformofmiracle.Onthe
contrary,wehaveseenthattheprobabilitiesfromthe
physicallawsgoverningthemotionofparticles,which
areallreversible,andwhoseconsequencesmust
thereforebealsoreversible,leadustotheconclusion
that,thoughtheuniverseasawholewilltendtobe
neutralinthatrespect,yet,incertainlimitedportionsof
spaceandtime,thesecondlawofthermodynamics
representsaprevailingtendency.Wemayeasily,
therefore,supposethattheportionofspaceandtime
underourobservation(which,asweknow,isvery
limited)isjustsuchasection,andthatthesecondlaw
ofthermodynamicsrepresentsaprevailingtendencyof
energytoleveldowninourvicinityandinourepoch.
Thiswouldseemtobetheonlywayleadingoutofthe
34

Page 35
paradoxwhichseemstofollowfromthesecondlawof
thermodynamics;sothatasthislawisthussupposedto
betrueonlyforalimitedepoch,thereisnonecessityto
supposeanycreationorothermiracles;andtherefore
theruleforthewholeuniverseisreallyreversible.
Thiswouldapparentlysolveourparadox,ifnotfor
thefactthat,accordingtothisproposedsolution,the
secondlawofthermodynamicswouldrepresent,nota
constantlaw,asobservationswouldindicate,but,on
thecontrary,merelyaprevailingtendency,witha
numberofinstancesofreversalsofthatlawinourown
partofspaceandtime.Thuswefindadifficultyin
acceptingthissolutionoftheparadox,namely,thatour
proposedsolutionrequiresthat,eveninourownsection
ofspaceandtime,theremustbemanyinstancesofthe
reversalofthesecondlawofthermodynamics;which

seemscontrarytoobservedfacts.
Andyet,consideringthatthesecondlawof
thermodynamicsitselfleadstoabsurdities,itmightbe
worthwhiletoinquirewhether,afterall,theremight
notbeinourportionofspaceandtimecertaininstances
ofthereversalofthesecondlaw,certaineventswith
whatwehavecalleda"negativetendency,"which
mighthaveescapedourattention.
Inordertoconductthisinquiry,wewouldhaveto
findsomewaytorecognizesuchareversal,shouldany
befound.Thiscanbedoneintwoways:eitherby
translatingcommonoccurrencesintothereverse
universe,andthusfamiliarisingourselveswithhow
suchareversallooks(amovingpictureoutfitcould
easilybringthisreverseuniversebeforethesenseof
sight,byoperatingthereelbackwards);orelsewecan
reasonfromtheabstractsecondlawitselfandinfer
fromitsreversalcertaineasilyrecognisableoutstanding
characteristics.Weshallproceedinbothways,starting
35
SolutionoftheParadox

Page 36
withtheabstractmethod,thenusingtheothermethod
tofillin,asitwere,bywayofillustration.
Onecharacteristicofthesecondlawof
thermodynamicsisthatthereis,underit,atendency
thatlargecausesshouldproducesmallereffects(some
energybecominglostalwaysinspreadingheat
throughouttheuniverse),whilesmallcausesrarely,
thoughoccasionally,producelargeeffects.Now,since
itisalwayspossibletoregardanyeventeitheras
causedbypastconditions(reasoningfromcauseto
effect)orasbeingthecausewhichwillproducethe
conditionsofthefuture(reasoningfromeffectto
cause),bothcauseandeffectofagiveneventbeinga
determinedthing,wemaysaythat,underthesecond
lawofthermodynamics,sinceagiveneventislikelyto
havemorevisiblecausesandlessvisibleeffectsthat
itself,itfollowsthat,underthesecondlawof
thermodynamics,itiseasiertoexplainaneventasthe
effectofpastcausesthanasthecauseoffutureeffects.
Inotherwords,underthesecondlawof
thermodynamics,thoughreasoningfromeffecttocause
ispossible,itisalmostnecessarytoreasonfromcause
toeffect,asthephysicalsciencesusuallydo.
Onthecontrary,whenwehavethenegative
tendency,whenthesecondlawofthermodynamicsis
reversed,thereverseisthecase.Underthenegative
tendency,energyisconstantlybeingreclaimedfromthe
enormousheatreservewhichotherwiseliesunused,
andthiswillbehappeningateveryoccurrencetaking
placeunderthereversedsecondlaw.Thusthetendency
insuchacasewillbethat,whileoccasionallylarge
causeswillproducesmallereffects,yetasageneralrule
smallercauseswillproducelargereffects.Inother
words,agiveneventismostlikelytohavelessvisible
causesandmorevisibleeffectsthanitself,sothat,ifwe
36
SolutionoftheParadox

Page 37
trytoexplainaneventastheeffectofpastconditions,
weshallalwayshavedifficulty,becausepartofthe
causeinanycase,andsometimeseventheentirecause,
willconsistmerelyofdiffusedandundifferentiated
energywhichcannotbeobservedunlesswecankeep
trackofeveryindividualparticleofmatter.But,onthe
contrary,ifwetrytoexplainsuchaneventasbeingthe
causedeterminedbyfutureconditionswhichareits
effects,suchanexplanationissimple,becausethefull
effectisobservable,andtheeffectisusuallymore
visiblethanthecause.
Theresultisthatwegetonedistinguishing
characteristicofthatreversalofthesecondlawof
thermodynamicsforwhichwearelooking.Ifwefind
suchareversal,wewill,inallprobability,befinding
somesortofeventswhichitiseasiertoexplainfrom
thefuturethanfromthepast;inotherwords,wemust,
inlookingforsuchareversal,lookforsomething
which,whileitactsundertheordinaryformof
causationlikethecommonphysicalbodies,yetappears
teleologicalinnature.Thisteleologyisonlyapparent,
forcausationunderthenegativetendencyisno
differentfromordinaryphysicalcausation.Incausation
ingeneral,thereverseorpseudoteleological
explanationisalwayspossible,butismoreobviousin
thecaseofareversalthanintheordinarycaseof
positivetendency.Thus,whenwewishtofinda
reversalofthesecondlawofthermodynamicsinour
sectionofspaceandtime,wemustlookforphenomena
withanappearanceofteleology.
Anotheroutstandingcharacteristicofareversalof
thesecondlawistheabilitytousetheimmensestoreof
energywhich,underthesecondlawof
thermodynamics,isunavailable.Inotherwords,a
reversal,besidesthepropertyofapparentteleology,
37
SolutionoftheParadox

Page 38
mustalsopossessthepropertyofabilitytouseastore
ofreserveenergy,someofwhichisalwaysused,while
attimesevenallofitcouldtheoreticallybeusedand
convertedintovisibleforms.
Sowethusgettheoreticallytwooutstanding
characteristicsofthereversalforwhichwearelooking;
namely,apparentteleologyandtheabilitytouseafund
ofreserveenergy.Ifwecanfindanythinginoursection
ofspaceandtimewhichhasthesetwoproperties,then
inallprobabilitywehavefoundthereversalforwhich
wearelooking.
Now,totakethemoreconcretemethod,thatof
observingthereverseuniverse,eitherbyreversingany
commonoccurrence,orelseinobservationbyreversing
amotionpicturefilm,etc.Wehavealreadyseenthata
reversalofsuchanincidentasaballrollingdowna
flightofstairsbecomes,inthereverseuniverse,the
following:thefloorandthestairssuccessivelythrow
theballupstairs;theballitselfaidstheprocessby
givingajump,asitwere,eachtimeitlands.Thiswould
givefloor,stairs,andballsomewhatanappearanceof
beingalive.Infact,inanycase,allordinaryphysical

objectswillactinthereverseuniversesomewhatasif
alive.Insteadofriversrunningdowntosea,wewould
haveinthereverseuniversethesituationofseawater
rejectingitssaltandthenjumpinguptheriverchannel
tothesource,wherethewater,separatingitselffirstinto
dropsandthenfinallyintomolecules,makesafinal
jumpuptotheclouds;inotherwords,thewateris
constantlyjumpingupwards,asthoughofitsown
volition,andaidedateachstepbythegroundpushingit
upwardsoreventhrowingitup.Hereagainthereisan
appearanceoflifeinobjectsthatwewouldcertainly,in
ouruniverse,considerasdead.
38
SolutionoftheParadox

Page 39
Takeamorecomplicatedinstance:Thebehaviorof
dropsofmercuryonasmoothsurface,consisting,we
maysuppose,partlyofmetal.Thesedrops,inour
universe,wouldrollaroundundertheinfluenceofany
externalforcesthatmayhappentobepresent,uniteif
twohappentocometogether,and,incasetheytouch
metal,thedropwillshrinkandpartlyamalgamatewith
themetal.Inthereverseuniverse,onthecontrary,we
haveadifferentarrangement:thedropswillrollaround
asbefore,but,intheirrolling,willavoidthepuremetal
surfaces,butwilltendtorollovertheamalgam
surfaces.Whenincontactwiththeamalgam,theywill
extractthemercury,andthusthedropswillkeep
growing.Whenthedropgrowsinthismannertoalarge
size,therewillappearaconstriction,andfinallya
divisionintotwodrops,eachliketheoriginal.This
actionofordinarymercurydropsinthereverseuniverse
correspondsinmanydetailstothegrowthanddivision
oflivingcellsinouruniverse.
Inshort,wemaysaythat,ingeneral,eventsinthe
reverseuniverseappearasthoughtheywereliving
phenomena;andthegeneraleventsofthereverse
universemaybetakenasthetypeofnegative
phenomena,ofthereversalofthesecondlawof
thermodynamics.Weshouldthusexpect,inthereal
universe,tofindsuchreversalsinsomesortoflivingor
apparentlylivingphenomena.Furthermore,ifwefind
inthereverseuniversesomephenomenathat,contrary
towhatmightbeexpected,obeythesecondlawof
thermodynamics,itmustfollowthatthecorresponding
phenomenaintherealuniversemustbepreciselythose
reversalsforwhichwearelooking.
Inasmuchaswehaveseenthatordinaryinanimate
phenomenatakeonanappearanceoflifeinthereverse
universe,letusseewhatbecomesoflivingphenomena
39
SolutionoftheParadox

Page 40
inthereverseuniverse.Letusinjectsomesortofliving
agencyintoanypreviousillustrationofthereverse
universe.Suppose,inthecaseoftheballrollingdown
stairs,thatitwasoriginallythrownbysomeone.The
beginningoftheincident(whichwillcorrespondtothe
endinthereverseuniverse)willconsistofahumanarm

startingtomove,carryingtheballforwardagainstthe
resistanceoftheair,finallylettingtheballgo,after
whichtheball,onthemomentumthusacquired,
proceedstobouncedownthestairs.Inthereverse
universetheballproperlyaidedbythefloorandthe
stairs,comesjumpingupstairsintothehand;theball,
thoughittendstobespeededupbytheairpushingthe
ballalong,andbytheheatenergyoftheballsimilarly
reactingontheair,yetslowsdownquicklyandfinally
comestoastop:theacquiredmomentumoftheball
movesthehand,swingsthearm,andfinallythemolar
energythustransferredtothearmbecomestransformed
intoheat,andthearmstops.Thisverylastpartofthe
incidentisaratherunexpectedcaseofthesecondlaw
ofthermodynamicsinthereverseuniverse;andwemay
note,asaresult,thatthelivingbody,whenreversed,
becomesamereobstacleinsteadofamovingforce.We
maythereforeconclude:first,thatinanimate
phenomena,whenreversed,becomeanimate:second,
thatanimatephenomena,whenreversed,losethe
appearanceofanimation;andthird,thatanimate
phenomena,whenreversed,losethisappearance
because,whenreversed,theytendtofollowthesecond
lawofthermodynamics.Thelogicalconclusionfrom
thesewouldbe:thatinanimatephenomenaarepositive
tendencies,andfollowthesecondlawof
thermodynamics,whileanimatephenomena,onthe
contrary,arenegativetendenciesandtendtoreverse
thatlaw.Thuswehavefoundwhereourpartofthe
40
SolutionoftheParadox

Page 41
universecontainsreversals,andcometoasolutionof
ourparadox.
Contents
41
SolutionoftheParadox

Page 42
CHAPTERVII
THEORIESOFLIFE
Wefindthatthetheoriesofthenatureoflifedivide
themselvesintotwovarieties:themechanisticandthe
vitalistic.Theformerkindoftheorystatesthatallliving
phenomenaaretobeexplainedsolelybytheordinary
physicallaws,andthatlifediffersfromother
phenomenaonlyonaccountofitscomplexity,orin
someotherincidentalmanner.Ontheotherhand,the
vitalistictheoriesaretotheeffectthatliving
phenomenaarecharacterizedbysomemysterioussort
of"vitalforce"whichwouldseemtohavethepowerto
suspendoraltertheoperationofthephysicallawsthat
governtherestoftheuniverse.Inthecourseofthe
historyofscience,muchhasbeensaidbothforthe
vitalisticandthemechanistictheories,and,asyet,no
agreementhasactuallybeenreachedonthatsubject.
42

Page 43
Intheattempttosolveourparadoxofthesecond

lawofthermodynamics,wehaveincidentallyreached
asuggestionofthenatureoflife.Accordingto
theconclusionswehavereached,thereareinthe
universewhatwehavecalledpositivetendencies,
neutraltendencies,andnegativetendencies,allof
whicharepossibleresultsofthereversiblephysical
lawsgoverningthemotionofparticlesofmatter.The
neutraltendencybeinganextremelyimprobableresult,
veryfewcasesofitarelikelytotakeplace;but,inany
givencase,unlessfurtherspecialcircumstancesalter
theprobabilities,thepositiveorthenegativetendency
hasa50%probability,andwillthereforeresultfromthe
reversiblelawsinabouthalfofthecasesoccurringin
theuniverse.Inoursectionoftheuniversethepositive
tendency,however,preponderates,though,inasmuchas
itwouldbeextremelyimprobablethatanysectionof
theuniverseisentirelywithoutinstancesofthenegative
tendency,itfollowsthattheremustbephenomenaof
thenegativetendencywithinourobservation.The
phenomenaofthenegativetendencyaretheliving
phenomena;whilethephenomenaofthepositive
tendencyarethenonlivingphenomena.
Thistheoryoflifeisstrictlymechanisticinsofaras
lifeisassumedtooperatesolelyunderthephysicallaws
applyingtothemotionofparticles,whichlawsare
sufficienttodetermineacompletechainofcausation.
Onthecontrary,physicists,confiningtheirobservation
entirelytoinanimatematter,havereachedthe
conclusionthatthereisafurtherphysicallaw,theso
calledsecondlawofthermodynamics,whichis
suspendedbylivingphenomena.Thereisaccordingto
ourtheory,thisessentialdifferencebetweenlivingand
nonlivingphenomena;andthisdifferencewould
43
ThoriesofLife

Page 44
supplythebasisfortheideaof"vitalforce."Thusthe
twotheoriesoflifecanbereconciled.
Onthematterofthedifferencebetweenlivingand
nonlivingbodies,thereisstilllessagreement.For
instance,itisstatedthatlifelesssubstances,insofaras
theyformdefiniteshapes,formonlygeometrical
shapes,whilelivingsubstancesformirregularshapes.
Outsideofthefactthatthisdoesnotdistinguishliving
bodiesfrombodieswhichwereoncealivebutwhich
havelostthepropertyoflife,andoutsideofthefactthat
notallinorganicsubstancesbutonlycertainsolid
substancesformgeometricallyshapedcrystals,wemay
refutethestatementthatlivingbodiesalways
haveirregularshapesbysimplyadducingtheexample
oftheegg.Thisdistinctionisthereforeonallsides
untenable.
Again,ithasbeensaidthatthedifferencebetween
livingandlifelesssubstancesisthequestionofthe
presenceoforgans.Butwillthatalonedistinguishthe
averageorganismfromamachine?Thesameobjection
canbeurgedagainsttheproposeddistinctiononthe
groundthatlivingbodieshaveacomplexorganization.
However,eitheroftheseproposeddistinctionsmay
meanthatalivingbodyissoorganizedthateverything
hasitsteleologicalfunction;andthisleadsustoa

proposeddistinctionbetweenlivingandnonliving
bodies,namely,thatlivingphenomenaareessentially
teleological.Inthecaseofamachinewehavethe
organization,buttheteleologymustbesoughtforinthe
livingbeingthatassembledthemachine.Apparently,
teleologyisacharacteristicoflife;butyeteverythingis
explicableonaphysicochemicalbasis;thereforewe
haveinlifethepropertyofapparentteleologyasa
distinguishingcharacteristic.Onlyinthisformcanthe
proposeddifferentiationonthebasisof"organization"
44
ThoriesofLife

Page 45
betenable.But,aswehaveseen,apparentteleologyis
oneofthecharacteristicsbywhichareversalofthe
secondlawofthermodynamicscanberecognized.It
thereforefollowsthat,inallprobability,ourdistinction
onthebasisofthesecondlawofthermodynamicsis
reallythefundamentalpointofdifferencebetween
livingandnonlivingbodies.
Anothersuggestedmethodofdifferentiationisinthe
capabilityofreproduction.But,whenwecomedownto
theultimatelivingunits,thecells,thisreproduction
consistsmerelyofconstrictionanddivision;inwhichit
ishardlytobedifferentiatedfromthebreakingupinto
smallerdropsofadropofoilinwateroradropof
mercuryonaglasssurfaceunderaslightshock.Aswe
haveseen,whileunderordinarycircumstancesashock
isnecessarytoaccomplishthisdivisioninthesecases,
yet,underthereversalofthesecondlawof
thermodynamics,thisformofdivisionisanormal
phenomenon.
Afurthersuggestionastoamethodof
differentiationisthatlifeisalwaysderivedfromother
life,whileinanimatemattermaybederivedfromeither
livingornonlivingbodies.Thisdistinctionisageneral
one,simplystatingafact,butcannotserveasa
definitionorasameansofdifferentiation,becauseit
wouldnotshowwhetheranyindividualcasewasoneof
livingorlifelesssubstance.Shouldwetrytoapplythe
test,weshouldhavetoaskwhetheritcouldonlyhave
beenderivedfromotherlivingmatter.Whatitcould
havebeenderivedfromwecannotexperimentallyfind
out;theactualcausesmightbediscovered,andthenwe
arereducedtothequestionwhetherlifeistobefound
amongthosecauses,andwearenownobetteroffthan
atfirst.Itisliketryinginanunknownregiontofindthe
eastbythedirectionsinSchedrin'sstory:Facethe
45
ThoriesofLife

Page 46
north,andtheeastisonyourright.Suchdirections
obviouslyareuselesswherethenorthisasunknownas
theeast.Thebasisoffactbehindthisproposed
distinctionbetweenlivingandlifelessbodies,however,
wewillexaminemoreindetaillateron.
Thesuggestionthatorganicbodiesgrowby
absorbingparticles,whilegrowth,whereitisfound
amonginorganicbodies,isalwaysbyaccretionof

matterontheoutside,turnsout,whenanalysed,tobe
ratheradistinctionbetweensolidsandliquidsthanone
betweenlivingandlifelesssubstance.Theabsorptionof
particlescanbeduplicatedinthelaboratoryunder
certaincircumstancesbyliquidsenclosedin
membranes,andalivingcellconsistsofamembrane
containingliquids.
Finally,wecometothedynamicaldistinctions.The
mostobviousoftheseis,tosaythatlifeisdistinguished
bymovement.Thisisobviouslyanincorrect
distinction,sinceallobjectsareinmotion.Butthereis
obviouslysomethingpeculiaraboutlivingmovement
thatseemstomakeitseemmoremobilethanother
movement.Itisthus,forinstance,alleged,thatliving
movementcomesfrominternalcauses,orelsethat
livingbodiesworkofthemselves,whileotherobjects
needtobesuppliedwithenergy.Eventhatisnot
descriptive,fortherearealways"external"causesfor
allmovements,andlifedoesnotcreateenergy;ifituses
upenergy,itmustobtainthatenergyfromsomewhere.
Similarlywiththedistinctionbetweenstatic
equilibriumoflifelessbodiesandthesocalled
"dynamic"equilibriumoflife,oftenmoreaccurately
definedasthemetabolicprocess;suchadynamic
equilibriumexists(asmolarenergy)inthecaseof
almostallmachines,andchemicallyinthecaseofany
46
ThoriesofLife

Page 47
catalyticagent,whichisalsobeingconstantly
decomposedandrecomposed.
Buttherearemoreaccuratedefinitionsofthis
mobilitywhichissopeculiarlycharacteristicoflife.We
maynotice,forinstance,thetheoryadvancedbythe
lateProf.WilliamJames,thetheoryoftheexistenceof
a"reserveenergy"inthecaseofbiological,and
especiallyinpsychological,activities,whichisabsent
inthecaseoflifelessactivities.Accordingtothis,while
thelivingorganismcannormallyuseacertainamount
ofitsenergy;yetinsomemysteriouswayitcan,under
specialcircumstances,drawonanimmensesurplus
fundof"reserveenergy."Thispropertybeingabsentin
physicalbodies,wemaydrawadistinctiononthatbasis
betweenlivingandlifelessbodies,andthiswouldseem
tobeanabsolutedistinction.Now,ithaslongbeen
knownthatphysicalbodiescontainanimmenseamount
ofenergywhichisunavailableforconversioninto
anythingelse;andthephysicallawthatlimitsthe
amountofenergywhichitispossibleforaphysical
bodytoutilizeispreciselythissecondlawof
thermodynamicsthathasgivenussomuchtrouble.We
mustthereforecometotheconclusionthat,sincelife
doesnotcreateenergy,andthis"reserveenergy"is
evidentlyrealphysicalenergy,thatthepeculiarityof
lifeisitsabilitytodrawonmoreenergythanthe
secondlawofthermodynamicswouldallow;thatis,its
ability,insomecircumstancesatleast,toreversethat
secondlaw.Andagain,wehaveseenthatreversalsof
thesecondlawarecharacterizedbyabilitytouseafund
ofreserveenergythatphysicalbodiescannotuse.Let
ussaythatthemechanicalefficiencyofasetofbodies

is85%;thereciprocal,or118%,isthatofthesameset
inthereverseuniverse.Butas,undersome
circumstances,producingspecialresultsinthewayof
47
ThoriesofLife

Page 48
heat,etc.,notquite85%oftheenergywillbeused,but,
letussay,only50%,thenunderthosespecialcasesin
thereverseuniverserequiringmoreenergy,the
mechanicalefficiencywillbenot118%,but200%,thus
usingoverfivetimestheamountofreserveenergy
normallyused.ThisexcessconstitutesJames's"reserve
energy."
Anotherdefinitionofthemobilityoflifeiswhatis
called"irritability,"thatistosay,theabilitytomakea
largeresponsetosmallstimuli.This,itisalleged,is
possessedonlybylife,sothatlifemaybedefinedby
irritability.AgainstthisVerwornobjectsthatsuch
inanimatesubstancesasnitroglycerinealsopossessthis
property,thatsubstanceproducingapowerfulexplosion
undertheinfluenceofaslightshock.Butinthecaseof
nitroglycerine,wehaveanunstableequilibrium,anda
slightshocksimplyletsloosethedifferenceoflevel
necessarytoreducetoastableequilibrium;whileinthe
caseoflife,irritabilityispartofthesocalled"dynamic
equilibrium"anddoesnotdisturbthatequilibrium.
Irritability,asitisfoundinbiologicalphenomena,isthe
abilitytoproducenormallyalargeeffectfromasmall
stimuluswithoutanirreparablelevelingdownof
energy;inotherwords,theirritabilitythatdistinguishes
lifeconsistsoftheabilitytobuilduphigherdifferences,
ofenergylevelfromlowerones,inexactlytheinverse
ordertothatrequiredbythesecondlawof
thermodynamics.Inotherwords,irritabilityisidentical
withthe"negativetendency"or,inotherwords,with
thereversalofthesecondlawofthermodynamics.Thus
weareagainreducedtoourformofdistinctionbetween
livingandnonlivingbodies,namely,thatbetweenthe
negativeandthepositivetendency.
Verwornproposedthedistinctiononthebasisof
chemicalconstituencynamely,thatlivingbodies
48
ThoriesofLife

Page 49
consistofcomplicatedcarboncompounds,suchas
albumen,protein,etc.,whichcannotbeproduced
outsideoflife.Butinwhatwaywouldthisdefinition
distinguishalivingbodyfrom,letussay,acorpse?Or,
accordingtothedefinitionbychemicalcomposition,
everywoodenobjectisalive.Itisobvious,therefore,
thatthisdistinctionisuntenable.
Onthecontrary,wehavetheextrememechanistic
view,representedbyDr.JacquesLoeb,thatsucha
distinctioncannotbedrawn.Theactualexistenceofa
hardandfastdistinctionofthissortis,indeeddifficult
toprove,butthereiscertainlyadifferencein
appearance,whichmustbebasedonsomething,
howeverflimsythatsomethingmightbe.Dr.Loebcalls
alivingbody"achemicalmachine,"andstatesasthe

onlybaseofdifferentiation"thepowerofautomatic
development,selfpreservation,andreproduction."Itis
notquiteclearwhetherornotallthreepropertiesare
essential;andnotalllivingbodiespossessatalltimes
allthesethreeproperties;while,onthecontrary,these
propertiesseparatelyarepossessedundercertain
circumstancesbycertainnonlivingbodies;sothat,to
saytheleast,thisattempteddistinctionmustbecleared
upsomewhatbeforeitcanbeofanyserviceatall.
Thus,ofallthedistinguishingcharacteristicsthat
maybeusedtodefinelife,wehaveleftsimplythese
three:apparentteleology,reserveenergy,and
irritability.Thelatterproperty(irritability)is,aswe
haveseen,acondensedstatementofthereverseofthe
secondlawofthermodynamics;whilewehaveseen
beforethattheothertwoproperties,apparentteleology
andreserveenergy,aretheoutstandingcharacteristics
bywhichareversalofthesecondlawof
thermodynamicscanberecognized.Itfollows,
therefore,thatthefundamentaldefinitionbehindall
49
ThoriesofLife

Page 50
theseis:Lifeisareversalofthesecondlawof
thermodynamics.Or,toputitinotherterms,sincewe
haveseenthatmechanicalefficiencyunderthepositive
tendencyislessthan100%,undertheneutraltendency
just100%,andunderthenegativetendencymorethan
100%,wemaydefine:Lifeconsistsofbodieswitha
mechanicalefficiencyofover100%.
Contents
50
ThoriesofLife

Page 51
CHAPTERVIII
THEEXTENSIONOFTHESECONDLAW
Wehave,then,cometotheconclusionthatthe
secondlawofthermodynamicsisnottrueasageneral
propertyofmatter.Itwill,accordingtoourtheory,have
tobeomittedfromthelistofthephysicallaws.But
whatistherethatwecanputinplaceofit?Wecansay,
inthefirstplace,thateveryphysicallawisreversible,
orrather,tobemoreaccurate,thatifanyphysicallawis
true,itsreversemustalsobetrue.
Furthermore,takingtheconceptionof"mechanical
efficiency,"thesecondlawofthermodynamics,iftrue,
wouldsetanupperlimittotheamountofenergyabody
canuse;namely,whateverdifferenceinenergylevel
thereis.Now,ifthissecondlawisomittedfromthelist
ofphysicallaws,thereisnosuchupperlimit,there
beingmoreenergythanthatinthebodies,an
inaccessiblefundintowhichallenergytendstoleak.
51

Page 52
Butwecanstillusethislimit,andexpresstheamount
ofenergyusedbythebodyasapercentageofthislimit.
Ifweconsiderthatthesecondlawofthermodynamics
isnolongerageneralphysicallaw,thispercentagemay

be100%(neutraltendency),orlessthan100%(positive
tendency),ormorethan100%(negativetendency).The
mechanicalefficiencyofabodymaythusfallintoany
ofthethreecategories,butwehaveseenthat100%isa
criticalpoint,andwhenthemechanicalefficiency
changesfromlessthan100%tomorethan100%,or
viceversa,wehaveachangeintheappearanceofthe
actionsofthebody.Thiscriticalpointofmechanical
efficiencyconstitutesthedividinglinebetweenliving
andnonlivingphenomena.
Aswehaveseen,auniversefollowingthepositive
tendencycannothaveexistedforaninfinitetimepast;
andthereverseofthisrulemustalsobetrue,thata
universefollowingthenegativetendencycannot
continuetoexistforaninfinitetimeinthefuture.
Hence,ifwesupposetheuniversetohaveexistedfrom
eternitypasttoeternityfuture,itfollowsthatthe
averagemechanicalefficiencyoftheuniverse,taking
allpartsofspaceandtime,mustbeexactly100%.On
thecontrary,inoursectionofspaceandtime,though
wehavefoundinstancesofthenegativetendency(that
istosay,life),yetthepositivetendencyvisibly
prevails,sothatthemechanicalefficiencyatpresentof
ourpartoftheuniverseisconsiderablylessthan100%.
Astheprobabilitiesarethatinourpartofspaceforall
time,oratthepresentmomentforallspace,the
mechanicalefficiencyoftheuniverseisabout100%,it
followsthattheremustbeotherpartsofspaceandtime
inwhichthemechanicalefficiencyisover100%;and
suchpartsofspaceandtimesupplyuswithexamplesof
areverseuniverse.
52
TheExtensionoftheSecondLaw

Page 53
Wehaveseenthatthepositivetendencyis
characterizedbyaconstantrunningdownofenergy
levelsandastorageofenergyintoaninaccessible
reservestore,whichcaninitsturnbeutilizedandbuilt
upagainintodifferencesofenergylevelonlybythe
negativetendency.Thatistosay,thepositivetendency
storesupreserveenergy,andthenegativetendency
oncemoreutilizesit.
Sincemostofthesubstanceswithinourobservation
followthepositivetendency,wemayobtain
characteristicsofthetwotendenciestosomeextentby
observation,usingourobservationsforthepositive
tendency,andreversingforthenegativetendency.For
instance,ithasbeenobservedontheearththatthereis
constantdissociationofatomsgoingon,especiallyin
thecaseofsubstancesofverygreatatomicweight(e.g.,
uraniumandradium).Itmustbesupposedthatthese
substancesmusthavebeenthereinthefirstplacein
muchlargeramountsthanatpresent,whentheearth
wasinahotterconditionthanatpresent;and
accordinglywemightexpect,inveryhotbodiessuchas
thesunandstars,tofindmanysubstanceswithlarge
atomicweightandfewwithsmallatomicweight,andin
nebulasandnewlyformedstarstofindsubstances
almostentirelywithlargeatomicweight,andalmostno
suchsubstancesashydrogen,helium,etc.,whose
atomicweightisverysmall.Thecontrary,however,is

true.Inthesun,thereisverylittletobeseenof
substancesofverylargeatomicweight;evensucha
substanceasgold,whichismorestablethanuraniumor
radiumandmuchmorecommonontheearth,butwitha
largeatomicweight,isconspicuouslyabsent,while
hydrogenandheliumarepresentinlargequantities
(heliumwasfirstdiscoveredinthesolarspectrumasits
nameindicates).Furthermore,thenearerastaristothe
53
TheExtensionoftheSecondLaw

Page 54
nebularstage,themoreconspicuouslyisthistrue;while
innebulae,temporarystars,etc.,hydrogen,whichhas
theverylightestatomsofanyknownsubstance,
constitutesmostofthesubstanceofthestarornebula.It
thusfollowsthatinsuchhotbodiesasstarsand
nebulae,thereisanoppositeprocessgoingon,which
wemaycalltheintegrationofatoms,thebuildingupof
largeratomsoutofsmallerones.
Allthisisoccurringunderthepositivetendency.If
wesupposeasectionoftheuniverse(eitherinspaceor
intime)inwhichthenegativetendencyprevails,the
reversewillbetrue.Theintegrationofatomswilltake
placeatlowertemperatures,thedissociationathigher
temperatures.Itfollows,that,ifweconsideracyclein
timeofabody(orrather,ofalargegroupofbodies),or
ofaspatialsectionoftheuniverse,whilewehavetwo
stagesofmechanicalefficiency,firstbuildingup
reserveenergy,thenusingupthatsamereserveenergy
foravailableenergy,wehaveinacorrespondingperiod
acycleoffourstagesintheevolutionofatoms.Inthe
firstpartofour"positive"epochatomsarebeingbuilt
up,intomoreandmorecomplicatedforms;inthelatter
partofour"positive"epochtheyaredissociatedonce
more;duringthebeginningofthe"negative"epochthe
atomsarereintegrated,untilsufficientlylarge
differencesofheatlevelarebuiltuptoreversethe
process,andtheatomsbecomeoncemoredissociated.
WhythisprocessshouldtakeplaceinjustthiswayI
cannotattempttoexplain;butitmayeasilybethatboth
dissociationandintegrationofatomsisconstantly
takingplace,andtheexcessofoneovertheotherwould
differunderdifferentcircumstances.
However,bethatasitmay,undertheneutral
tendencytherewouldbenotendencywhateverforthe
ultimateparticlesofmattertoformintobodiesor
54
TheExtensionoftheSecondLaw

Page 55
compoundparticles;sothatwemayexpectthat,even
shouldtheneutraltendencybefoundtoexist,thatthere
wouldbeno"neutral"bodies,butthatitwouldbe
entirelywhatevertheultimateparticlesmaybe;e.g.,
thatitwouldconsistofseparateelectrons,if,asisat
presentbelieved,theelectronistheultimatematerial
particle.Eitherthepositiveorthenegativetendency
startsoutbybuildingupmoreandmorecomplicated
atoms;buttheneutraltendencydoesnosuchthing;
accordinglywecantakethisasoneofthe

characteristicsoftheneutraltendency.Another
characteristicoftheneutraltendencywouldbethat,
thoughitrequiresimpenetrablematter,yet,sinceany
frictionresultingfromthemotionofbodiesthroughit
wouldtendtobecounterbalancedbytheequalnegative
elementofbuildingupmotion,theresultwouldbe,an
apparentlackofresistance,characteristicagainonlyof
theneutraltendency.And,inasmuchasitisnow
supposedthat,thoughradiantenergyisvibration
transmittedbytheether,yetitiselectronsscattered
throughtheetherthatareinvibration,andsincethe
etherwithitssupposedelectronsseemstobetheonly
thingknownthatoffersnoresistancestothepassageof
movingobjects,itfollowsthattheether,orthe
electronsitcontains,istheexampleofneutraltendency
tobefoundinouruniverse.
Butwehavesaidbeforethattheprobabilityofthe
neutraltendencyiszero;howthendoesthiscome?As
wehavesaidbefore,azeroprobabilityismerelyan
extremeimprobability,butnotnecessarilyan
impossibility.Forinstance,ifwehaveafinitesegment
ofaline,andweselectapointonthelineatrandom,
theprobabilitythatthatpointwillbethemiddlepointis
preciselyzero,sincethereareonthelineaninfinite
numberofpoints,ofwhichonlyoneisthemiddle
55
TheExtensionoftheSecondLaw

Page 56
point;sothattheprobabilityoftheselectedpointbeing
themiddlepointis1dividedbyinfinity,thatis,zero.
C
A________|_________B

Or,totakeanotherexample,theprobabilitythatapoint
selectedinspaceatrandomwillbewithintheearthis:
theearth'svolumedividedbythevolumeofspace,
whichiszerosincethelatterquantityisinfinite.Here,
thereareaninfinitenumberofpossibilitiesofthepoint
beingwithintheearth,andyettheprobabilityiszero.
Thusitiswiththe"neutraltendency."Itsprobabilityis
zero,andyetthereisachanceforaninfiniteamountof
matterintheuniversetocomeunderit,providedthat
thereisinfinitelymorematterthatiseitherthepositive
orthenegativetendency,Infact,weknowfromthe
theoryoferrorthatamechanicalefficiencyof100%,
beingexactlytheaverageoftheuniverse,ismore
probablethananyothergivenmechanicalefficiency,let
ussay85%.Andyet,inspiteofthat,itsprobabilityis
zero.Infact,ifwefigureouttheprobabilityofthe
positionoftheuniverseatagivenmomenthavingcome
outexactlyasitdid,wealsoarriveattheconclusion
thatthetheoreticalprobabilityoftheuniversebeingas
itis,is0.Andyettheuniverseexists,inspiteofitszero
probability.
Nowletusconsiderthechemicalstructureofthe
positiveandnegativetendencies.Forthispurposeit
willbenecessarytodistinguishbetweenexothermic
andendothermiccompounds,thatis,between
compoundsonalowerlevelofchemicalenergythan
theirconstituentsandcompoundsonahigherlevelof
chemicalenergythantheirconstituents.Wemight
expectthattheformerwouldbebuiltupunderthe
56

TheExtensionoftheSecondLaw

Page 57
positivetendency,andthelatterunderthenegative
tendency,becausethecompositionoftheformeroutof
theirconstituentsinvolvestheconversionofsome
chemicalenergyintoheat,whilethecompositionofan
endothermiccompoundfromitsconstituentsinvolves
theconversionofheatintoahigherlevelofchemical
energy.However,wemustdrawsomedistinctionshere.
Thepositiveandthenegativetendenciesmerelytendto
builduprespectivelyexothermicandendothermic
compounds.Underspecialcircumstancesexceptions
canbefound.
Itistrue,indeed,ingeneral,thatthenegative
tendencytendstobuildupmoreandmoreendothermic
substances;thoughmanyexothermicsubstancesmay
result,eitherfrommoreexothermicsubstancesor
whereasubstance,onaccountofitsexothermic
properties,hasverylittlechemicalactivity.Also,the
positivetendencydoes,asawhole,buildupexothermic
substances,thoughendothermicsubstancesmaybe
produced,usuallyasaresultofadifferenceofenergy
levelhigherthanthatoftheendothermiccompound.
However,whetherthenegativetendency,forinstance,
buildsupendothermicsubstancesinnegativeorin
positiveobjects,isaquestionwhichcannotbe
considereduntilweconsideralittleinrelationtothe
reactionsononeanotherofthepositiveandnegative
substances.Wewillaccordinglyproceedtoinvestigate
that.
Contents
57
TheExtensionoftheSecondLaw

Page 58
CHAPTERIX
THERELATIONBETWEENTHETENDENCIES
Itwouldseemthatthenegativetendencydependsfor
itspossibilityoncertainspecialcombinationsof
positiontakingplace,whichcombinationswould
probablytakeplaceanywaybyaccident,butwhich
wouldbemuchmorelikelytohappenasaresultof
othersimilarcombinations.Inotherwords,ifwetake
thenegativetendency,wewillfindthatany"negative"
eventmusthavebeenimmediatelyprecededbyan
extremelyimprobablesortofcombination,butis
followedbyamoreprobablecombination.Thiscanbe
seenifwetakethesimplestexampleofthenegative
tendency,thesuperelasticcollision,which,inorderto
happenatall,mustbeprecededbyaratherunlikelysort
58

Page 59
ofconcentrationofparticlesandenergyattheexact
pointofcollision.Thisdoesnotintheleastcontradict
ourconclusionthatthepositiveandnegativetendencies
areequallyprobable;for,onanalysingthepositive
tendency,wefindthatitisfollowedbyasimilarly
improbablecondition.Thus,inthenegativetendency,
thecauseiswheretheimprobablestagecomesin,butin

thepositivetendency,thatsameimprobablestage
comesinattheeffect.However,thetwovarietiesof
"improbablestage"donotcorrespondexactly;forthat
ofthenegativetendencyconsistsinaconcentrationof
motion,whilethatofthepositivetendencyconsistsofa
divergenceofmotion.Hencetheeffectofapositive
eventcouldhardlyserveasthestartingpointfora
negativeevent.Outsideofsomeaccidental
combination,anegativeeventmusthaveanegative
combinationforatleastpartofthecause.Thereverse
ofthisruleis,thatapositiveeventmustgiveriseto
positiveeffects,atleastpartially.
Inotherwords,wehavesuchthingsasanegativeora
positiveeventgivingrisetoanothereventofitsown
kind;butwithonlypositivecauses,anegativeresult
wouldhardlybeexpectedtoarise.Ifweidentifythe
negativetendencywithlife,thestatementreducesto
this:Alllifecomesfromsomelivingcause.
Onthecontrary,thereisnosuchimprobabilityina
purelynegativecausegivingrisetopositiveeffects.In
fact,aswehaveseen,apositiveuniversecouldnot
haveexistedforaninfinitetimepast,noranegative
universeforaninfinitetimeinthefuture;ineitherkind
ofuniverse,thechangefromnegativecausetopositive
effectmusttakeplace;infact,itistobeexpectedthatit
willbeverycommonforanegativecausetogiveriseto
apositiveeffect.
59
TheRelationBetweentheTendencies

Page 60
Wethusseethatthetransformationfrompositiveto
negativetakesplaceinaverydifferentwayfromthe
changefromnegativetopositive.Thelattercantake
placeasacomparativelysuddentransformation,a
suddencessationofalllifeactivity;whilenonliving
bodiescannotbecomealiveexceptbyaccretionon
otherlivingbodies.Thetransformationfrompositiveto
negativecanoccuronlyasanextensionofthenegative
tendencyfromsomesortofcenterthatisalready
negative;thatis,byalivingbodygrowing.
Itmightbesupposedthatthisdifferencebetweenone
kindoftransformationanditsinverseindicatesan
irreversiblelaw;andwehavealreadyseenthat,ifwe
giveupthesecondlawofthermodynamics,wemust
replaceitbythestatementthatallphysicallawsare
reversible.Henceitwouldseemasthoughwehad
arrivedataninconsistency.But,ifweexamineintothe
question,wewillseethatoneformoftransformationis
nottheactualreverseoftheother,butthateachprocess
issymmetricalintime,andisreallythereverseofitself.
Forthetransformation,forinstance,ofanegativecause
intoapositiveeffectsuddenlyandcompletely,isa
strictlyreversibleone,ifweconsiderthefactthata
negativecausecorrespondsinthereverseuniversetoa
positiveeffect,andviceversa;sothat,wheninthereal
universewehaveanegativecauseandapositiveeffect,
wewillhavethesameinthereverseuniverse,sothat
theprocessremainsunchangedwhenreversed.The
sameistrueoftheotherprocess,bywhichapositive
causemightgiveanegativeeffect.
However,inthelattercase,thereisadifferent

element,whosereverseisnotquiteidenticalwithitself,
andthereforewhosereversecanbeusedtosupplement
theproposition.Thatistosay,wheresucha
transformationmust,aswehaveseen,requiresome
60
TheRelationBetweentheTendencies

Page 61
negativeelementtoenterintothecause,thereverseof
thisrequiressomepositiveelementtoenterintothe
effect.Thatis,suchatransformationnotonlycannotbe
spontaneous,butitalsocannotbecomplete.Ifa
positivesubstancebeabsorbedintoanegativebody,
somepositivemattermust,attheendoftheprocess,be
rejected.
Inotherwords,wecometothefollowing
conclusions:(1)Lifecannotgeneratespontaneously,
exceptbyanaccidentthatissoextremelyunlikelythat
itwouldhardlyhappenonceinawholeuniverse;(2)
lifeextendstonewmatterbyaprocessofgrowth,that
is,byaccretionroundalivingcenter;(3)wherealiving
bodyabsorbsinanimatematter,someinanimatematter
mustberejected;(4)however,thetransformationof
livingintolifelessmattermaytakeplacesuddenlyand
completely,manifestingmerelyasuddencessationof
lifeactivities,acessationwhichwouldbean
irreparableone.
Contents
61
TheRelationBetweentheTendencies

Page 62
CHAPTERX
EXOTHERMICANDENDOTHERMIC
SUBSTANCES
Tocomebacktothequestionthatwebeganto
consider,andwhichweleftoffinthemiddle;namely,
thatofthesortofchemicalsubstancesthatwouldbe
builtupunderthetwotendencies.Wewillhaveto
distinguishbetweenthecasewherewearedealingwith
apositivesectionoftheuniverseandthatwhereweare
dealingwithanegativesectionoftheuniverse.Totake
theformercasefirst,letussupposethatthepositiveis
theprevailingtendency.Thistendencywouldtendto
buildupexothermicsubstances,whilethe
comparativelyfewcasesofthenegativetendency
wouldformthosesamesubstancesintoendothermic
substancesfortheirownconstituency.Someofthese
endothermicsubstances,itistrue,willberejectedas
positiveorinanimatematter,but,onthewhole,there
willbeatendencyforthemoreendothermicsubstances
togointothenegativetendency,orintolife,andforthe
moreexothermicsubstancestobefoundinlifeless
matter.
Sinceeachprocessmustchemicallybuildup
substancesfromtheirelements,whichexistedasfree
elementswhentheworldwasatahighheat,itmightbe
expectedthattheremightbeatendencytowards
complexcompounds,sothatsubstancestend,toagreat
extent,tocombinewiththetetravalentelements,which
formthemostcomplexcompounds.Thetwomost

commontetravalentelementsarecarbonandsilicon,
thecomplexcompoundsofsiliconbeingextremely
exothermic,whilethecomplexcompoundsofcarbons
areextremelyendothermic.Itmightthereforebe
62

Page 63
expectedthatinanimatematterwouldtendtobuild
itselftoagreatextentintocomplexsiliconcompounds
(silicates,suchasearth,clay,manyrocks,etc.),while,
onthecontrary,livingmattermightbeexpectedtoform
asmuchaspossibleintocomplexcarboncompounds,
asendothermicaspossible.Suchisknowntobethe
case;infact,suchcarboncompoundsaregenerally
knownas"organiccompounds."
Furthermore,onesubstancethatformscompounds
ofahighchemicalenergy,thoughitselfhavingvery
lowchemicalenergy,isnitrogen.Thiselementforms
extremelyendothermiccompounds,whichareinmany
casesexplosive.Ateveryordinarychemical
transformationinvolvingnitrogen,somefreenitrogen
goesoffintotheair;butthereverseprocess,the
fixationofnitrogen,thatistosay,theformationof
nitrogencompoundsfromnitrogenitselftogetherwith
othernecessarysubstances,isaprocessrequiringan
immenseamountofenergy(byoneprocess,a
temperatureofabout3000degrees,byanotherprocess,
apressureofabout200atmospheres).Sincenitrogen
formssuchextremelyendothermiccompounds,we
mightexpectthat,wherethegeneraltendencyis
positive,lifewilltendtoincludenotonlyasmuch
carbonaspossible,butalsoasmuchnitrogenas
possible.Itwouldtherefore,inasectionoftheuniverse
wherethepositivetendencyprevails,seemtofollow
thatlifewouldtend,asfaraspossible,tobefoundin
complexcarbonnitrogencompounds.Thesimplestof
thesecompoundsofcarbonandnitrogen,itselfan
endothermiccompound,iscyanogen,(CN)2,andwe
mightexpectthattheCNradicalwouldbethe
foundationoflife.
Onthecontrary,wherealivingbodyreactswithan
inanimatebodyinanyway,itisalsolikelytobuildup
63
ExothermicandEndothermicSubstances

Page 64
suchcomplexcarbonnitrogencompoundsnotonlyas
thelivingproduct,butalsoasthelifelessproductwhich
wehaveseenmustbeformed.Hencetheseproducts
mustbeformedtosomeextentnotmerelyinliving
matter,butalsoininanimatematter.Forinstance,this
veryprocessofthefixationofnitrogen,thatwehave
alreadyreferredto,wemightexpecttobefound
accomplishedbylivingbodieswhichcanabsorb
nitrogenandreactwithit,leavingnitrogencompounds
asrejectedmatter,besidesformingthemselvesinto
nitrogencompounds.Wedo,infact,findsuchaprocess
operatingamongwhatarecalledthenitrogenfixing,or
nitrifying,bacteria,whichabsorbnitrogenandreject
nonlivingnitrogencompoundsinamannerthatcould
hardlybeexplainedasanythingbutreversingthe

secondlawofthermodynamics.
Thusistheresultwheretheprevailingtendencyis
positive,andwherethenegativetendencyisthe
exception.Totracethisresultfurther,wemuch
rememberthatlife,thenegativetendency,growsby
accretiononalivingcenterwhichisnecessary.Living
bodiesabsorbinanimatematter,extendinglifemore
andmore,absorbingtosomeextentexothermic
substances,rejectingtosomeextentendothermic
substances,untilthislivingactivitybeginstotakeinthe
majorityofthesectionoftheuniverse.Meanwhilethe
living,thenegative,activitieswillhaveabsorbedmost,
ifnotall,oftheexothermicsubstances,whilethe
positivetendencywillbekeptupbytheconstant
rejectionofmostlyendothermicsubstancesaslifeless
matter.Thuswilltheextremelycomplicatedcarbon
nitrogencompoundstend,inasectionoftheuniverse
wheretheprevailingtendencyisnegative,tobefound
moreandmoreaspositive,aslifelessbodies.
Furthermore,sincesuchasectionoftheuniverseisthe
64
ExothermicandEndothermicSubstances

Page 65
exactreverseofapositivesectionoftheuniverse,such
positivebodieswilltendtobeformedasexactlysuch
complexorganismsasare,inoursectionofthe
universe,foundinlivingbodies.Wewillhavea
complex,lifelikeorganism,butwithnoneofthelife
activities(withsomeexceptions,asweshallsee).We
maycallsuchorganismspseudolivingorganisms.In
our"reverseuniverse"thesepseudolivingorganisms
willtaketheexactshapesofthelivingorganismsinour
realuniverse.
Suchextremelyendothermiccompoundsare
unstableunderthepositivetendency,butrequirethe
negativetendencytostabilizethem.Underthepositive
tendency,thesecompoundswilltendtodecomposeinto
exothermictendenciesveryquickly.Butthetendency
ofnegativeactivitiestoextendfromanegativecenter
willbeveryactivewhenmostoftheuniverseis
negative,andhencesuchexothermicsubstanceswillbe
likelytobequicklyabsorbedbytheprevailingnegative
tendency;while,onthecontrary,theprevailing
negativetendencywilltendquicklytobuildupas
rejectedpositivematterthesesameendothermic
compoundsintothepositive,pseudolivingorganisms.
Thusthesepseudolivingorganismsdifferfromcorpses
inthatthereisaconstantcycleofchemicalreaction
withthesurroundingworld,aconstantbuildingupand
decompositionofsubstance.Sincetheseorganismsare
theexactreverseoflivingorganismsasweknowthem,
itfollowsthat,inasectionoftheuniversewherethe
prevailingtendencyispositive,anylivingbodiesmuch
existintheformofchemicalmachinesthatconstantly
absorbinanimatematter,buildupintolivingmatter,
andasconstantlymakepartialdecompositionsoftheir
ownsubstanceintomoreexothermicsubstanceswhich
arerejectedasinanimatematter.Thatis,bothliving
65
ExothermicandEndothermicSubstances

Page 66
substancesinoursectionoftheuniverseandthe
pseudolivingorganismsinthenegativesectionsofthe
universehaveincommonthepropertyofmetabolism.
Alltheseconclusionsholdexceptataheatsogreatthat
theformationofcompoundsisimpossible(e.g.,onthe
sun).Metabolismisthusnotapropertyoflife,butof
theminoritytendency.Thesameistrueofthechemical
compositionoforganisms.Inapositivesectionofthe
universetheorganismsareliving;inanegativesection
oftheuniversetheyareessentiallylifeless.
Wheretheheatistoogreattopermitofthe
formationofchemicalcompounds,suchchemical
machinescannotexist;buttheminoritytendency,
whetherpositiveornegative,wouldprobablyexist,the
chancesofitsnonexistencebeingextremelysmall.
Underanyconditionsthechancesareoverwhelmingly
infavoroftherebeingamixtureofthetwotendencies.
Yet,thoughbothtendenciesarepresent,therewillbea
majorityandaminoritytendency.Butwhatsuch
minoritytendencymaybelike,itisdifficulttoimagine.
Forinstance,itwouldbedifficulttoimaginewhatsort
ofphenomenonlifewouldbeonthesun.Itwould
certainlyhavetobedifferentfromanylifethatwe
knowof,thoughwiththecommonpropertiesof
irritability,apparentteleology,andreserveenergy.
Contents
66
ExothermicandEndothermicSubstances

Page 67
CHAPTERXI
THEORIESOFTHEORIGINOFLIFE
Accordingtoourhypothesis,lifealwayshasexisted
andalwayswillexistunderallconditionsinsomeform,
thoughthatformmaybequitedifferentfromanyform
oflifethatcomeswithinourexperience.Ifwetrace
backtheancestryofpresentdaylife,wewillalwaysbe
abletotraceitbacktosomelife,thoughitmaybein
suchaformthatitmightbeextremelydifficultto
67

Page 68
recognizeitaslife.Thus,thereneverwasatimewhen
lifestartedontheearth;itmerelydevelopedintoits
presentcomplexformfromsomesimplerformthat
existedonearthwhentheearthwasinamoltenoreven
inavaporouscondition;stillfurtherback,itcanbe
tracedtosomeextremelysimpleformoflifethat
existedasfarbackasthenebulaoutofwhichthesolar
systemoriginated;weshalllaterattempttotraceitback
beyondthenebula.
Ourtheoryoftheoriginoflifeisthusthattherewas
noorigin,butonlyaconstantdevelopmentandchange
inform.Thisbelongstotheclassoftheoriesknownas
theBiogenetictheories,ascontrastedtothe
Abiogenetictheories,whichassumethatatsome
previoustimelifedidnotexist,andthatundercertain
specialcircumstancesthatexistedwhentheearthwasin
aheatedconditionthenecessaryelementscame
togethersomehowandassembledthemselvesintoa

livingbodyfromwhichallotherlivingbodiesare
descended.Thenatureofthisautomaticassemblageof
constituentsremains,ofcourse,rathermystical;notto
speakofthefactthattheassumptionofspontaneous
generationisrathercontrarytoobservedfacts.
Suchabiogenetictheorieshaveveryfrequentlybeen
advanced,especiallysinceeverynowandthenthereis
arecrudescenceofthebeliefthatspontaneous
generationoflifeispossibleunderpresent
circumstances,thatlifecouldbeproducedinthe
laboratory,inspiteofallobservedfactstothecontrary.
Haeckelrepresentsthisabiogenetictheoryinitsmost
generalform:that,whenwaterfirstliquifiedonthe
earth,itsreactiononvarioussubstancesthenpresent
producedproteid,whichwastheoriginallifefrom
whichalllifehasdescended.
68
TheoriesoftheOriginofLife

Page 69
Howthisproteidwasformedremainsamystery.We
have,however,amoredetailedexplanationinPflger's
theory,whichistothegeneraleffectthattheoriginal
combinationwasthatbetweencarbonandnitrogen,
formingcyanogen,whichinitsturnunitedwithother
substance,especiallythehydrogenandoxygenof
water,toformmoreandmorecomplexcyanogenor
othersimilarcarbonnitrogencompounds,such
combinationformingasafinalresultproteid,the
chemicalbasisofwhichwouldthusbethecyanogen
radical,CN.Herewehaveaverylikelyexplanation.In
thefirstplace,evenmanysimplecyanogencompounds
havemanychemicalreactionsverysimilartothoseof
proteid;inthesecondplace,whereasproteidhas,in
itself,beenfoundtoconstituteaverygreatpoison,itis
alsoknownthatcyanogenisoneofthemostpowerful
poisonsknown,andthatitscompoundsare,ingeneral,
extremelypoisonous,thoughincertaincombinations
foundinlivingbodies(e.g.,almonds)suchcompounds
seemtobequiteharmless.
Onedifficultywiththisisthatthisideaof
spontaneousgenerationissomewhatcontraryto
observedfacts;thereisnoinstanceobservedofsucha
thingasspontaneousgenerationoflife.Butthemain
difficultyistoexplaintheformationofcyanogenand
especiallyofitscompoundsfromtheirelements.Itis
perfectlytrue,asalleged,thatcarbonandnitrogen
beingtogetheratahightemperaturewillformalittle
cyanogen,but,withthelargeamountofoxygenpresent,
thiscyanogencouldnotlastlong,sincecyanogenisa
veryendothermicsubstance,andunderthesecondlaw
ofthermodynamics,itwillreducetothecombination
thathaslesschemicalenergy,losingthedifferencein
theformofheat;resultingincarbondioxideand
nitrogenasaproduct.Accordinglywemustsuppose
69
TheoriesoftheOriginofLife

Page 70
somepeculiarsortofcarbonandnitrogenthatwillnot
onlyuniteintocyanogen,butwhichwillformsucha

peculiarformofcyanogenthat,insteadofoxidizingon
contactwithoxygen(asordinarycyanogenwould),it
notonlyholdsitselfalooffromoxidationbuteven
formsmorecomplexandmoreendothermic
compounds.Wemustsupposesomeformofcarbonand
nitrogenwhichwouldreversetheordinarychemical
reactionsunderthosecircumstances;or,sincethose
reactionsarebasedultimatelyonthesecondlawof
thermodynamics,wemustsupposethattherewasatthat
periodoftheearth'shistorysomecarbonandnitrogen
thatpossessedtheabilitytoreversethesecondlawof
thermodynamics.Ifwesupposethat,ourtheoryoflife
caneasilyharmonizewiththePflgerideaastothe
originoforganiclifefromcyanogencompounds.In
fact,aswehaveseen,ourtheoryoflifeissuchthatwe
wouldtheoreticallysupposethatlivingorganisms
wouldhaveachemicalconstructionbasedonthe
cyanogenradical,thusfallinginexactlywithPflger's
ideathatlifeontheearthoriginatedincyanogenandits
compounds.
Somuchfortheabiogenetictheories.Turningnow
tothebiogenetictheories,wecanhardlyfindthem
muchmoresatisfactory.Wehave,forinstance,Preyer's
theorythattheearthitself,intheheatedstate,wasitself
animmenselivingorganism,fromwhichallliving
organismsexistingatpresentaredescended;all
inorganicmatterontheearthbeingmerelytherejected
excretionsoftheformerlivingearth,whiletheliving
substancecamemoreandmoretoresembleprotoplasm.
Absurdasthistheorymaysound,thereisnothing
impossibleaboutit.However,theastronomyofthe
propositionisratherpoor.Thereisnoreasontobelieve
thattheearth,inaheatedstate,wasinanydifferent
70
TheoriesoftheOriginofLife

Page 71
conditionfromallotherknownbodieswhichwefindin
asimilarlyheatedstate(e.g.,themajorplanetsandthe
sun);andtheseheavenlybodiesarehardlyina
conditionwhichcouldbyanystretchofimaginationbe
calledliving.However,ifbylivingismeantthatthere
isapotentialityofthegenerationoflife,ofcoursethe
earthinaheatedconditionmusthavecomeunderthat
heading.Butsincetheheatedplanetshavenoparticular
resemblancetolife,whatismorelikelyis,thatonthe
earthinaheatedstate,therewaslife,andtherewas
suchlifeeveninthenebula,almostasdifferentfrom
thelifethatweknowatpresentasthekindofearth
organismthatPreyersupposes,buthavingsome
propertiesincommonwithpresentlife.Thisis
preciselywhatourtheoryoflifewouldleadto.
Wecomenowtothebiogenetictheorymost
commonlyadvanced,onewhichnumbersamongits
supportersHelmholtzandSirWilliamThompson.This
isthesocalledtheoryofcosmozoa,otherwiseknown
asthetheoryofseedbearingmeteors.Thistheoryisto
theeffectthattwoplanets,atleastoneofwhichhad
developedlifeonit,cameintocollision,sothateachof
theplanetswasbrokenintosmallpieceswhichwere
scatteredalloverindifferentdirections.Someofthe
piecesofthelifebearingplanet,intheformof

meteorites,passedthroughspacefromthesystemof
onestartothatofanother,alwaysbearingwithinthem
theseedsoflife.Thesemeteoritesfinallycameintothe
solarsystemandenteredtheearth'satmosphere,then
strikingtheearthandplantingtheseseedsoflifeonthe
earth,whichafterwardsdevelopedintothevarious
formsoflifethatnowexist.
Thistheorysoundsveryplausible,butagainitis
basedonverypoorastronomy.Thecommonmeteors,
orshootingstars,whicharetheactualbodiesthatseem
71
TheoriesoftheOriginofLife

Page 72
tohavepassedfromonesystemtoanotherinthis
manner,neveractuallyreachtheearth'ssurface,butare
completelyburnedupbeforetheyhavepenetratedvery
farintotheatmosphere.Thelargerbodiesthatactually
reachtheearth'ssurfacearethesocalledmeteorites
whichareasmuchpartsofthesolarsystemasthe
planets,andevenmoveroundthesuninthesame
directionastheplanets;whichare,infact,simplystray
asteroids.Tracinglifetosuchbodiesisnottracingitto
anyotherstellarsystem,butmerelytothesolarsystem,
andmakesitmoreimpossiblethanevertotraceback
wherethesesupposedseedsoflifecamefrom,orhow
theygotintothemeteorite.Thereis,ofcourse,nothing
toprovethatsuchameteoriteasthishypothesis
assumescouldnotbeformed,orthatitcouldnotthus
transplantlifefromoneplanettoanother.But,since
suchmeteoritesasarelargeenoughtoreachtheearth's
surfaceandatthesametimearenotmembersofthe
solarsystemdonotseemtobearegularoccurrence,
therebeingnoknowninstanceofsuchabody,itwould
seemthatsuchanoccurrenceisaveryrareone,if
indeeditcanhappenatallthatanylifeinitspresent
formcouldsurvivesuchacollisionorsuchalongtrip
throughspace.Shouldtwoplanetshappentocollideas
thehypothesisassumes,andshouldanylifeonthose
planetssurvivethecollision,thechancesarealmostnil
that,inthecasewhenithappens,anyofthepiecesof
wreckagewouldstrikeanotherplanetatall,muchless
thatitwouldstrikeoneattheveryperiodwhenthat
planetwasreadytoreceivetheveryformoflifecarried
bythemeteorite.Thusnotonlyisthehypothesis
improbableperse,itisalsocontrarytoanyobserved
facts,sincetheactualbodiesthatcouldbesupposedto
comefromotherstellarsystemsare,asfaras
observationgoes,sosmallthattheyareburnedby
72
TheoriesoftheOriginofLife

Page 73
frictionwiththeatmospherelongbeforetheycanreach
thesurfaceoftheearth.
Itmightbeinterestingtonotethat,inthetimeof
HelmholtzandThompson,thedistinctionbetweenthe
meteorsorshootingstarsthatcomefromotherstellar
systems,andthemeteoritesoraeroliteswhichformpart
ofthesolarsystem,wasadistinctionwhichhadnotyet
beenclearlydrawn.

Wethuscometotheconclusionthatthetheoryof
Cosmozoaisentirelyunacceptableinviewofpresent
facts,whilePreyer'stheoryoftheearthorganismcan
onlybeacceptedintheextremelymodifiedformthat
theearth,initsmoltenandvaporousstates,contained
life(insteadofhavingbeenalive,asPreyerhimself
wouldhaveit).Thuswecometotheconclusionthatlife
isaseternalastheinanimate,andistobefoundas
universally,underasvaryingconditions,asinanimate
phenomena.Ontheotherhand,wecanalsoacceptthe
Pflgerideathatlifeasitexistsonthisearthoriginated
fromtheformationofcyanogenanditscompounds.
OurtheoryoftheoriginoflifeisreallyBiogenetic,
inthatitsupposesthatalllifeoriginatedfromlifeforan
eternitypast;but,onthecontrary,inasmuchasthepast
lifefromwhichthepresentlifeisderivedwasinan
almostunrecognizablydifferentformfromthatin
whichlifeatpresentappears,itsuppliesabasisforthe
Abiogenetictheoriesoftheoriginoflifefromnon
livingorganismswhichare,accordingtoourtheory,
inorganiclife.
Contents
73
TheoriesoftheOriginofLife

Page 74
CHAPTERXII
THEASTRONOMICALUNIVERSE
Theconsiderationofthequestionoftheoriginoflife
andthevarioustheoriesformedonthatquestionhasled
usintoastronomicalconsiderations,sothatitmaybe
worthwhiletoexaminetheastronomicalaspectsofour
theoryofthereversibilityoftheuniverse.Andwemay
well,afterdealingbothwithobjectsofordinarysize
andwithverysmallandevenultimateparticles,turnto
theconsiderationofobjectsofadifferent,alargerscale
ofmagnitude:theheavenlybodies.Weshalltherefore
considerourtheoryinconnectionwithsuchobjects.
Astronomydealsnotonlywithindividualplanetsinour
solarsystemasawhole,butalsowiththealmost
inconceivablyvastextentsofspacewhichstand
betweenthevariousstarsandtheirspecialsystems,and,
finally,withthetheoryofthatgeneralgroupofallstars
whichisknowntoastronomersasthestellaruniverse,
orsimplyastheuniverse.Accordinglyoneofthefirst
74

Page 75
thingsweshouldinvestigateshouldbetheastronomical
theoriesoftheuniverse,especiallysinceourtheoryof
reversibilityisessentiallyatheoryoftheuniverse.
Whenwecometoexaminetheastronomicaltheories
oftheuniverse,wefindthattheydividethemselvesinto
twogroups.Justasthebiologicaltheoriesofthenature
oflifeare,generallyspeaking,tobedividedintothe
mechanisticandthevitalistic,sotheastronomical
theoriesofthenatureoftheuniversemaybedivided
intothetheoriesofthefiniteuniverseandthetheories
oftheinfiniteuniverse.And,asourtheoryeffectsa
compromisebetweenthetwokindsoftheoriesoflife,
wemaytrytoseewhetherourtheorycannotalso

reconcilethetwokindsoftheoriesoftheuniverse.Let
us,therefore,examinemoreindetaileachofthetwo
kindsofastronomicaltheoriesoftheuniverseandthe
variousargumentsthatcanbeadducedinsupportof
bothkindsoftheories.
Letustakethetheoriesofaninfiniteuniverse.The
generalideaofthesetheoriesis,thatspaceisinfinite,
andthereisnospecialreasonwhymattershouldbe
confinedtooneportionand,atthat,onlyan
infinitesimalportioncomparedtotheinfinityofspace.
Thuswegetthepictureofaninfinitegeometricalspace
filledwithstars,heretoasomewhatgreaterdensity,
theresomewhatlessdensely,but,onthewhole,witha
certainaveragedensity.Thisreasoningonthebasisof
thetheoryofprobabilityisaperfectlygoodone,andit
is,furthermore,nottheonlyargumentinfavorofan
infiniteuniverse.Thereareargumentsthatarebasednot
ontheorybutonactualobservation.
Themostimportantoftheseisthegravitational
consideration.Iftheuniverseisinfinite,andmatter
approximatelyuniformlydistributedthroughoutthe
universe,then,ontheaverage,thegravitationalpullson
75
TheAstronomicalUniverse

Page 76
agivenstellarsystemshould,onthewhole,completely
balanceeachother,sothatgravitationwouldnottendto
pullanystellarsysteminanyparticulardirection,and
thepropermotionofanystarshouldbe,inaccordance
withthelawofinertia,auniformmotioninastraight
line.But,onthecontrary,iftherewereintheuniversea
centerofdensity,andespeciallyiftherewereafinite
universe,thenallstellarsystemswouldtendtobe
pulledontowardsthatcenterofdensityand,ingeneral,
revolveroundthatcenter.Thefactsindicatethatthe
propermotionofstarsisactuallyuniformmotionina
straightline,andthatthereisnocenteraboutwhichall
starsmove;sothatthisargumentwouldpointmost
distinctlytoaninfiniteuniverse,withmatterdistributed
throughoutspaceapproximatelyuniformly,onepartof
spacebeinginthisrespectnodifferentfromanother.
Butthereisoneoutstandingobjectiontothistheory
thatthestellaruniverseisinfinite.Theremaybe
supposedtobenoreasonwhytheaveragebrightnessof
starsshouldbeanydifferentinonepartofspacefrom
whatitisinanyotherpart;multiplyingthisaverage
brightnessbytheaveragenumberofstarsperunit
volume(theaveragestardensitythatwesupposefor
theinfiniteuniverse),wewillgettheaverageamountof
lightissuingfromaunitvolumeanywhereinspace;let
uscallthisproductL.Now,astheapparentbrightness
ofanysourceoflightisinverselyproportionaltothe
squareofthedistancebetweenthatsourceandthe
observer,then,ifwecallthatdistanced,theaverage
apparentbrightnessofaunitofvolumeatdistanced
fromtheobservercouldberepresentedasL/d.Ifwe
dividespaceintoaninfinitenumberofconcentric
sphericalshells,withtheobserveratthecenter,each
withequalthickness,letussaytheunitdistancedivided
by4,then,especiallywhenthesphereisverylarge,
76

TheAstronomicalUniverse

Page 77
thevolumeofeachshellisapproximately
d.Multiplyingtheaverageapparentbrightnessofa
unitvolumeatdistancedbythevolumeoftheshellof
distanced,wefindthatthevolumeofeachsuchshellis
aconstant,l.Sincethestellaruniverseconsistsofan
infinitenumberofsuchshells,eachofwhichhasthe
sameapparentbrightness,itfollowsthatthebrightness
ofthesky,orindeedofthesmallestpartofit,mustbe
altogetherinfinite.Theconsequenceofthetheoryof
aninfiniteuniverseisobviouslycontradictedbyfacts.
Onaccountofthisobjectiontotheuniversebeing
infinite,therearosethetheoriesofthefiniteuniverse,
whichseemtodependmainlyontheobserved
distributionoflightinthesky(outsideofthelightfrom
thesun,moon,andothermembersofthesolarsystem).
Thesetheoriesofthefiniteuniversestartedwiththe
greatobserver,SirWilliamHerschel(oneofthethree
originatorsoftheNebularHypothesis),whosetheoryis
thatofthesocalled"drumuniverse."Accordingto
Herschel'stheory,theuniverseisintheshapeofavery
flatcirculardrum,or,inotherwords,athin,wide
circularslab,withpossiblyanothersecondaryslabata
planeinclinedafewdegreestothefirst,thetwoslabs
beingconcentric,andthecenterbeingthesun!It
seemsthatevenHerschelhadtheideathatoursolar
systemisthecenterofallthings,whichissomewhata
survivaloftheancientdoctrinethattheearthisthe
centeroftheuniverse.Infact,wemaysaythat
Herschel'stheoryoftheuniverseisamodernized
versionoftheancientprimummobilecontainingthe
starsandhavingtheearthforacenter.However,the
drum(ordoubledrum)shapeoftheuniverseis
intendedtoexplainthedistributionoflight;for,ina
planeofthedrum,weshouldhavetolookthroughsuch
animmenselygreateramountofstarsthaninadirection
77
TheAstronomicalUniverse

Page 78
withanyconsiderableinclinationtotheplane,sothat
weshouldhavetheappearanceofawhitestreak
runningallaroundthesky,whichweactuallyhave
underthenameoftheMilkyWay;thedoubledrum
shapewouldrequireabifurcationofthiswhitestreakat
twooppositeparts;whichagainisstrictlyinaccord
withobservedfacts.Herschelwasperfectlywillingto
believethatthereareothersimilardrumshaped
universes,twoofwhich,accordingtohim,arevisibleto
us,andknownastheMagellanicClouds.These
"clouds"werefirstdiscoveredbythefamous
explorerMagellan,andarecircularpatchesinthesky
ofthesouthernhemispherewhichlooklikedetached
portionsoftheMilkyWay,thoughataconsiderable
distancefromtheMilkyWay.
Themoderntheoriesofthefiniteuniverse,though
notacceptingHerschel'sexplanationastothe
MagellanicClouds(rathertendingtosupposethatthose
objectsarewithinourownstellaruniverse),arevery

similartoHerschel'sdrumtheoryingeneraloutline,and
allhavethesamecharacteristicofbeingattempted
explanationsofthedistributionoflightactuallyfound
inthesky.Thetendency,however,isnottosuppose
thatthesolarsystemisatthecenteroftheuniverse,but
rathertosupposethatthesolarsystemisconsiderably
southofthecenter,beingalmostonthesouthernsideof
thedrum,andmuchnearerthesouthernpartofthe
drumedgethanitistothenorthern.Thereis,further,a
tendencytosupposethatthisstellaruniverseisthe
resultofacollisionoftwosemiuniverses,whichis
whatwehaveseenwouldbetheresultofpushingthe
secondlawofthermodynamicstoitslogicalconclusion,
itbeinganobservedfactthatthestarsseemtomovein
twogeneralcurrents.However,justasthetheoryofthe
infiniteuniversecannotbesupportedonthegroundsof
78
TheAstronomicalUniverse

Page 79
thedistributionoflight,sosimilarlythetheoriesofthe
finiteuniversecannotbesupportedonthegroundsof
theconsiderationofgravitationalattraction.
Wethusfindthatconsiderationsofgravitational
attractionleadustosupposeaninfiniteuniversewith
starsapproximatelyuniformlydistributedthroughout
space;similarlywithconsiderationsofprobability,
whichleadustothesameconclusion.But,onthe
contrary,theobserveddistributionoflightinthesky
leadsustothedirectlyoppositeconclusion,thatour
stellaruniverseisfinite,thoughtheremaybestraystars
outsidethatuniversethatoccasionallycomein,and
thoughsimilarlysomestarsmayoccasionallystrayout
ofthelimitsoftheuniverse.Theremaybeothersuch
finiteuniverses,inwhichcasewemayconceiveof
thingsinsuchaseriesasthefollowing:
Electronsaretheparticlesthatmakeupatoms;
Atomsaretheparticlesthatmakeupmolecules;
Moleculesaretheparticlesthatmakeupmasses;
Massesaretheparticlesthatmakeupplanets,etc;
Planets,etc.,aretheparticlesthatmakeupstellar
systems;
Stellarsystemsaretheparticlesthatmakeup
universes;
Universesaretheparticlesthatmakeupexistence.
Allofwhichsoundsperfectlyreasonable;butthe
gravitationalconsiderationspoilsthissimpleseries;and
itisaconsiderationthatcannoteasilybedisposedof.It
wouldseem,then,asiftherewasgravitationallyan
infiniteuniverse,whileinrelationtolighttheshapeof
theuniverseissomethinglikeHerschel'sdrum.Inother
words,starsareuniformlydistributedthroughoutthe
wholeofinfinitespace,sothatthegravitational
phenomenawillbelikethoseofaninfiniteuniverse;
whilesomehoworother,beyondHerschel'sdrum,stars
79
TheAstronomicalUniverse

Page 80
donotgiveoutlight.Thisphenomenoncannotbe
explainedbyapartialopaquenessofether;forthenthe

apparentshapeoftheuniversewouldbespherical,with
ourselvesatthecenter,insteadofdoubledrumshaped,
withourselvesonthesouthernside.Hencetheremust
besomeotherexplanation,especiallysincethissame
questionofprobabilityindicatesthatetherislikelyto
beuniformlydistributedthroughinfinitespace.
Someotherexplanation,then,mustbefound.
BeyondtheboundariesofHerschel'sdrum,forsome
unknownreasonorother,starsfailtogiveoutlight.
Eithertheyareallcoldortheyarehotbutnotbright.
Andfurthermore,starsmustbeconstantlyenteringand
leavingthelimitsofthisHerscheldrum.Wemayeasily
supposethatastar,afterhavingpassedalltheway
acrossthispartofspace,hascooleddownsomuchasto
givenolight;butonentering,theyaremuchhotterthan
lateron,becausestarsconstantlyloseheattothe
surroundingether;hence,ifthesestarswerecoldbefore
enteringtheHerscheldrum,somethingmusthave
happenedtothemneartheboundarytoheatthemup
suddenly.Ifthereis,aroundtheboundaryofthedrum,
anymaterialwhichwouldheatupastarbycollision,
friction,orcontact,thenitwouldfollowthatcoldstars
leavingthedrumwouldbesimilarlyaffected;whichis
hardlyinaccordancewiththetheory,asdeducedfrom
observation.Henceweconcludethatthestarswhich
entertheHerscheldrumare,toagreatextentatleast,
hot,butgiveoutnoradiantenergy(light).Thus,outside
thelimitsoftheHerscheldrum,asfaraswecanjudge,
starsexist,andmanyofthemareevenhotterthanthe
starswithinourobservation,anditwouldseemthatthe
etheristheretoreceiveradiantenergyfromthem,but
noradiantenergyisforthcoming.
80
TheAstronomicalUniverse

Page 81
Theresult,then,is,thatwedoindeedhaveaninfinite
stellaruniverse,butthatHerschel'sdrumhasthe
peculiaritythat,withinit,stellarheatisconvertedinto
radiantenergy,whilenosuchconversiontakesplace
outsidetheHerscheldrum.Theremay,furthermore,be
otherHerscheldrumsinotherpartsofspacehaving
similarpeculiarities.Inordertounderstandthespecial
peculiarityoftheseHerscheldrums,letusexaminewhy
stellarheatisconvertedintoradiantenergyatall.
Inthefirstplace,theetherofinterstellarspaceisata
verylowtemperature,while,ingeneral,astarisatan
extremelyhightemperature,manystarsbeingmuch
hotterthanoursun.Accordingtothesecondlawof
thermodynamics,theenergyshouldtendtorundown
towardsacommonlevel;thatis,thestar'sheatenergy
wouldradiateintothesurroundingspaceandappearin
theformofethervibrations,thatis,intheformof
radiantenergy,underwhichheadingisincludedlight.
If,then,outsideHerschel'sdrums,therearemanyhot
stars,hotenoughtogiveoutlightofallvibration
periods(whitehot),butwhichdonotissueanyradiant
energy,itfollowsthatsomehowthesecondlawof
thermodynamicsappliesonlywithintheHerschel
drumsbutissomehowsuspendedorevenreversed
outsidethem.Inotherwords,theactualstellaruniverse,
asmanifestedbygravitationalphenomena,isinfinite,

andstarsareapproximatelyuniformlydistributed
throughoutinfinitespace;butwecanonlyseethestars
inthatsectionofspacewherethesecondlawof
thermodynamicsprevails,andthereforethesectionof
thestellaruniversethatisvisibleis,afterall,onlyfinite.
Wethuscometotheconclusionthattheboundaryof
theHerscheldrumisreallythelimitingsurfacebetween
positiveandnegativesectionsoftheuniverse.Andnow
wecometothequestionwhether,startingwithour
81
TheAstronomicalUniverse

Page 82
theoryofthepositiveorthenegativetendency
prevailingindifferentpartsofspaceandtimeaccording
tothetheoryofprobability,wecandrawanymore
detailedconclusionsinrespecttotheexactappearance
ofthestellaruniverse.
Inthefirstplace,wehavecometotheconclusion
that,takinganygivenmomentoftime,thepositiveand
thenegativepartsoftheuniverseshouldbe
approximatelyequal,asamatterofprobability;infact
that,ifwetakethewholeofspaceandtime,thepositive
andnegativesectionsbeartowardsoneanotheraratio
ofexactly1.Sincewearedealingwithonlythepresent
time(ortimesnearthepresent)indealingwiththe
presentappearanceoftheuniverse,wemayconfine
ourselvestothestatementthat,inagivenportionof
time,thereshouldbeapproximatelyequalpositiveand
negativesectionsofspace;and,ifmatteris
approximatelyuniformlydistributedthroughoutspace,
thatthevolumesofthetwokindsofsectionsshouldbe
approximatelyequal.Thenextquestionis,inwhatway
thenegativesectionofspacecanbedistinguishedfrom
thepositivesection.
Ourpreviousconsiderationontheproductionof
radiantenergyfromthestarsindicatesthatsuch
productionofradiantenergyisonlypossiblewherethe
secondlawofthermodynamicsisfollowed,thatis,ina
positivesectionoftheuniverse.Inanegativesectionof
theuniversethereverseprocessmusttakeplace;
namely,spaceisfullofradiantenergy,presumably
producedinthepositivesectionofspace,andthestars
usethisradiantenergytobuildupahigherlevelof
heat.Allradiantenergyinthatsectionofspacewould
tendtobeabsorbedbythestars,whichwouldthus
constituteperfectlyblackbodies;andverylittleradiant
energywouldbeproducedinthatsectionofspace,but
82
TheAstronomicalUniverse

Page 83
wouldmostlycomefrombeyondtheboundarysurface.
Whatlittleradiantenergywouldbeproducedinthe
negativesectionofspacewouldbepseudo
teleologicallydirectedonlytowardsstarswhichhave
enoughactivitytoabsorbit,andnoradiantenergy,or
almostnone,wouldactuallyleavethenegativesection
ofspace.Thepeculiarityoftheboundarysurface
betweenthepositiveandnegativesectionsofspace,
then,is,thatpracticallyalllightthatcrossesit,crosses

itinonedirection,namely,fromthepositivesidetothe
negativeside.Ifwewereonthepositiveside,asseems
tobethecase,thenwecouldnotseebeyondsuch
surface,thoughwemighteasilyhavegravitationalor
otherevidenceofbodiesexistingbeyondthatsurface.
Furthermore,justas,inthepositivesectionofspace,
lightisgivenoutuniformlyinalldirections,so,inthe
negativesection,lightmustbeabsorbedbyastar
equallyfromalldirections.Thus,toanystarinthe
negativesection,lightmustcomeinaboutthesame
amountfromalldirections;and,sincemostofthislight
comesfromthepositivesections,itfollowsthatthe
negativesectionsmustbecompletelysurroundedby
positivesectionsandmustthereforebefiniteinall
directions.Byreversingthis(sincewehaveseenthatall
physicallawsarereversible),itfollowsthatany
positivesectionmustalsobefiniteinalldirections,and
becompletelysurroundedbynegativesections.We
thusfindtheuniversetobemadeupofanumberof
whatwemaycallbricks,alternatelypositiveand
negative,allofapproximatelythesamevolume;asort
ofthreedimensionalcheckerboard,thepositivespaces
countingaswhite(givingoutlight),andthenegative
spacesasblack(absorbinglight).
Thuswhatweseeissimplythewhitespacethatwe
arein.Thesurroundingblackspacesareinvisible,and
83
TheAstronomicalUniverse

Page 84
inaddition,absorbthelightfromthewhitespaces
beyond,sothateventhosecannotbeseen,and,ifwe
judgefromthedistributionoflightinthesky,wegetan
ideamerelyofthesizeandshapeofourspecialwhite
space.
Letustry,now,togetatheoreticalideaasto
approximatelywhatshouldbetheshapeofthesewhite
andblackspaces,sothatitcanbecomparedwith
observation.Fordevelopingthetheoryinthisdirection,
wemustrememberthattheproportionofpositive
matterinanypartofspaceshould,accordingto
probability,beabout50%.Butthissametheoryof
probabilitywilltellusthatitisextremelyimprobablein
anygivenpartofspacethatthisproportionshouldbe
exactly50%,butthatthereshouldbeadiscrepancy
betweenthepercentageofpositiveandthatofnegative
phenomena,thisdiscrepancybecomingincreasingly
improbablethegreaterthediscrepancyis.Accordingly
wemaysupposethattherearesurfaceswherethe
proportionofpositiveeventsis50%(ourboundaries),
andothersimilarsurfaceswherethereareotherspecial
proportions,while,inthemiddleofthepositive
"bricks,"therewillbeamaximumpercentagepoint,
andinthemiddleofthenegative"bricks"therewillbe
aminimumpercentagepoint.Aroundthesemaximum
andminimumpointsourwhiteandblackspaceswillbe
built,thefundamentalvariationofthepercentageaway
fromthesepointsbeingpresumablybasedonthree
principaldirectionsordimensions,ofwhichthe
variationinotherdirectionswillbecompounded.
Proceedingfrom,letussay,oneofthemaximum
points(centerofapositivesectionoftheuniverse)in

anydirection,thediscrepancyfromthenormalof50%
shouldbecomefirstpositive,thennegative,inasortof
vibrationaryform.Thisvibrationshouldbeirregular,
84
TheAstronomicalUniverse

Page 85
accordingtothetheoryoferror,thoughwithacertain
average;butinthethreeprincipaldirections,
approximatelyperpendiculartoeachother,weshould
expecttofindthemmoreuniformlyperiodic.
Ifthese"vibrations"wereregularandperfectly
periodicinthesethreedirections,theboundarysurfaces
wouldbeplanesmidwaybetweenthemaximumand
minimumpoints,andthesectionsoftheuniversewould
taketheshapeofrectangularparallelopipeds.Withsuch
shape,thesectionsoftheuniversewouldindeedbe
"bricks."Butsuchregularuniformvibrationsarehardly
tobeexpected.Thetheoryoferrorwouldleadusto
expectirregularitiesfromeventhat;butthevolumeof
thesectionsshouldremainunaltered.Furthermore,a
positivesectionmusttouchanotherpositivesection
alonganedge,orelseatthatedgetwonegativesections
willformacontinuoussection,andwearethusliableto
getacontinuouslineofnegativespacetoperhapsan
infiniteextent,whichiscontrarytoanythingthatwe
shouldexpect.Hencewemustexpectthat,inthe
irregularities,boththeedgesandthevolumewouldbe
butslightlychanged.
Thefacesoftheparallelopiped,however,may,even
undertheseconditions,beconsiderablychanged.We
may,forinstance,expectthatthevibrationsofthe
percentage,insteadofbeingthesimpleharmonic
vibrationswhichwouldproduceplaneboundary
surfacesmidwaybetweenthemaximumandminimum
points,maybecompoundedwithits"harmonics,"that
is,maybecompoundedwithvibrationsofmultiple
frequency,ofwhichthedoublefrequencyisthemost
important.Thedoublefrequencywouldbelikelyto
makeawholefaceoftheparallelopipedeithercavein
orbulgeout,thehigherfrequencieswillsimply
introducefurtherirregularities.Sincethereistobelittle
85
TheAstronomicalUniverse

Page 86
alterationofvolumeofthesections,twooftheopposite
pairsofsurfacesmustbechangedinonedirection,and
thethirdintheother.Thelongerdimensionsofthe
parallelopipedarethoseinwhichmoreirregularityis
likelytoshowitself,sothatthebiggestalterationwould
showitselfononeofthetwosmallerpairsofopposite
faces.Theothertwopairsoffaceswillthenhavetobe
alteredintheoppositewaytomakeupforthis;
presumablythelargestandthesmallest,themedium
pairsoffacesshowingthegreatestirregularity.The
irregularitymaythusbeoftwovarieties:eitherthe
mediumpairoffacesiscavedin,andthelargestand
smallestbulgedoutsomewhatless;orthelargestand
smallestpairsoffacesarecavedinslightly,andthe
mediumpairoffacesextremelybulgedout.

Takingeachofthosetwoshapes(andtheyareliable
toalternatetosomeextent,somesectionsofthe
universebeingofonekindofshape,andsomeofthe
other),wecansupposeofeachonethatitrepresenteda
positivesectionoftheuniverse,andattempttopredict
thedistributionoflightintheskyasseenfrom
somewherenearthemaximumpoint.Ifthe
parallelopipedsarecomparativelyflat(astheyarelikely
tobe,thethreedimensionsofthesefiguresprobably
beingwidelydifferent),itfollowsthatinthesky,the
planeparalleltothelargestpairoffaceswouldseemto
befilledwithathickwhitestrip.Accordingtowhichof
theformsofirregularitieswesuppose,theshapeofthe
stripwillvary.Ifthelargestandsmallestfacesare
bulgedout,thiswhitestripwouldbemuchless
conspicuous,therebeinginotherdirectionsagood
distributionofstarsvisible,butthestripwouldstillbe
visible,andthehollowinonepairoffaceswouldmean
that,inoneplaceonthestrip,aswellasintheopposite
part,therewouldbeawidening(duetothemediumpair
86
TheAstronomicalUniverse

Page 87
offacesbeingnearerthanthesmallest,and
consequently,appearingwider)withadarkspaceinthe
middleofthiswidening.Midwaybetweenthesedark
spacesthestripbecomesnarrow,duetothefactthat
therethesurfaceboundingthesectionoftheuniverse
recedestoagreatdistance.Iftheothershapeofthe
positivesectionwereadopted,weshouldhave
somethingsimilar,exceptthatthestripwouldtend
moretobeofuniformwidth,and,ifanything,the
"coalsacks"wouldbeinthenarrowpartofthestrip.
Wemayrepresentthetwoformsofthestripsomewhat
asfollows:
These"coalsacks"wouldtendtobeovalinshape,
insteadofpointedattheends,asHerschel'sdouble
drumwouldleadustosuppose.Ifweareonthe
southernsideofthepositivesection,thenonthe
southernsidemoreirregularitieswouldbeseen,suchas
striationsofthestrip,occasionallysmall"coalsacks"in
otherpartsthanwhereexpected,whilesomeofthe
irregularwavyvariationsonthelargestfaceofthe
"brick"onthesouthsidewouldresultinourseeing,
nearthisstrip,apparentlydetachedsections,
presumablyapproximatelycircular.Asamatteroffact,
thesocalledGalaxyorMilkyWayhastheshape
indicatedinthefirstofthetwoabovediagrams,with
exactlysuchirregularitiesaswehavepredicted.The
shapeofthecoalsacksisindeedapproximatelyoval,
andnotpointed,asHerschel'stheorywouldleadusto
expect.Furthermore,suchcirculardetachedsectionsof
theMilkyWayactuallydoappearinthesouthern
hemisphere,andhavebeenphenomenawhichhave
87
TheAstronomicalUniverse

Page 88
alwaysbeendifficulttoexplain;theyarecalledthe
MagellanicClouds,andwecanseethat,accordingto

ourtheory,theyareexactlywhattheylooklike:
detachedsectionsoftheMilkyWay.And,iftheyresult
fromwhatwesuppose,namely,thelargestofthethree
southernfacesofthe"brick"becomingwavyand
extendingsuddenlyagreatdistanceout,itfollowsthat
theneighboringregions,whicharetheoppositephase
ofthesamewaves,shouldbesonearusthatthere
shouldtheoretically,aroundtheMagellanicClouds,be
veryfewstarsvisible.Thisisindeedthecase;the
MagellanicCloudsarefoundinaregionoftheskythat
isalmostcompletelydevoidofstars.
Wethusfindthatnotonlydoesourtheoryofa
reversibleuniverseactuallyreconcilethetheoriesofthe
infiniteuniversewiththetheoriesofthefiniteuniverse,
butitactuallyenablesustopredictthedistributionof
lightintheskymuchmoreaccuratelythananytheory
hasyetbeenabletodo.Wethusseethattheuniverseis
infinite,butdividedintoalternatelypositiveand
negativespacesofapproximatelyequalvolume,and
thattheapparentstellaruniverseismerelythepositive
sectioninwhichweare.TheGalaxyconsistsmerelyof
thedistantsidesoftheirregular"brick"thatconstitutes
thispositivesection.
Togetanapproximateideaofthesizeofthis"brick,"
thetemporarystar,NovaPersei,whichappearedin
1902,wasintheMilkyWay,andwasprobablyas
distant.Itsdistancehasbeenestimatedatabout3400
lightyears,sothatthisgivesusthelengthofthe"brick"
asabout7000lightyears.TheMilkyWaynearthe
coalsacksbeingabouttwiceaswideashere,thewidth
ofthe"brick"wouldbeabout4000lightyears.And,
thegreatestwidthoftheMilkyWaybeingabout15
degrees,thatgivesthethicknessofthebrickatabout
88
TheAstronomicalUniverse

Page 89
1000lightyears.Inreducingtoordinarymeasurement,
wemaynoticethatalightyearisabout5.8trillion
miles.
Contents
89
TheAstronomicalUniverse

Page 90
CHAPTERXIII
THENEBULARHYPOTHESIS
Sofar,wehaveconsideredonlyasinglecrosssection
intimeoftheuniverseinourastronomical
considerations.Thatis,wehaveonlyconsideredthe
appearanceoftheuniverseatagivenmomentoftime,
andthuscometotheconclusionthat,atagiven
moment,theuniverseisbuiltofpositiveandnegative
sectionswithatolerablywelldefinedshape,asa
consequenceofourtheoryofthereversibilityofthe
universe.Butwehavenotyetconsideredthechangesin
theuniverseorinitsconstituentparts,thestars,thatare
broughtaboutbytime;whattheuniversewasinthe
past,whatitwillbeinthefuture;inshort,thecourseof
eventsthatgeneratesinindividualstellarsystems,orin
theuniverse,itspast,present,andfutureconditions.

ThisbranchofastronomyisknownasCosmogony.
90

Page 91
Letus,then,examinetherecenttheoriesonthe
matterofCosmogony.Thefirsttheorywhichhada
scientificbasiswasthesocalledNebularHypothesis.
Thishypothesisisinterestingpartlyfromthefactthatit
originatedinthemindsofthreemenindependentlyat
aboutthesametime,thesethreemenhavingarrivedat
itfromthreedifferentpointsofview,andbeinginthree
differentcountries,whileeachwasamongthemost
prominentmeninhisownspecialty.Oneofthosethree
menwasImmanuelKant,thefamousphilosopher,who
originatedthishypothesisasanincidentalspeculative
conclusionfromhisownphilosophy;anotherwasthe
wellknownmathematicianLaplace,whoarrivedatthe
hypothesisfromconsiderationsofhisstudiesof
celestialmechanics;whilethethirdoriginatorofthis
hypothesiswasSirWilliamHerschel,whoiswell
knownasanastronomicalobserver,andwhoarrivedat
theNebularHypothesisasanexplanationofmany
phenomenaheobservedamongthestars.
Accordingtothistheory,whichwasquitegenerally
acceptedalmostthroughoutthenineteenthcentury,the
universewasoncewhattheoriginatorsofthe
hypothesishavebeenpleasedtocall(probablyafterthe
Greekmythology)aChaos;whichseemstomean
undifferentiated
matter
uniformly
distributed
throughoutinfinitespace.Centersofattractionwere
formedwhere,inanyspot,thematterwasslightly
denserthaninitsvicinity,andsurroundingmatterwas
drawnintothesecenters.Thuswereformed
whirlpools,whichsetupagreatrotationateachcenter,
increasingwiththeincreasingcondensationatthe
centers.ItwasfurtherassumedthattheoriginalChaos
wasatanintenseheat,sothat,atthecentersof
attraction,great,hot,rotatingbodieswereformed.The
rotationbecamefasterandfasterasthematterwas
91
TheNebularHypothesis

Page 92
drawnintowardthecenter,thecentrifugalforcefinally
becomingsogreatthattheringsofmatterwerethrown
off.Ineachringacenterofattractionwasformed,and
theprocesswasrepeated.Fromtheprimarywhirlpools
therethuscamethestars;fromthecentersofattraction
resultingfromtherings,cametheplanets;andthese
planetsthemselvesthrewoffringswhichfinally
becamesatellites.Sincelargerbodiescooloffslower
thansmallerbodies,thestarsandthelargestplanets
remainedhot,thesmallerplanetsandthesatellites
cooledofftoasolidcondition.
Thistheorywasacceptedgenerallythroughoutthe
nineteenthcentury,withoccasionallysomeminor
modifications.Forinstance,theassumptionthatthe
originalChaosoruniversalnebulawasinastateof

intenseheathadsincebeendropped,becausetheenergy
ofmattercominginfromadistanceundertheinfluence
ofgravitationwouldbesufficienttoexplainthatheat
wouldariseinimmenseamounts.Whenpotential
gravitationalenergyatahighlevelisreducedtoa
smalleramountataproportionatelylowerlevel,the
differenceisconvertedtoheatwithoutlossunderthe
secondlawofthermodynamics.
Thistheorywascorroboratedbythesupposedfact
thattheplanetsandstarsinthevariousstageswere
visibletoastronomers;suchashotplanets(themajor
planets,suchasJupiterandSaturn),andeventhering
aroundSaturn,starsinthevariousstagesfrom
extremelyheatedstarstoalmostdarkstars,Algol's
companionstarbeinganexampleofacompletelydark
star;whiletheveryfirststageofstarformationwould
beindicatedinthemanynebulasthatarevisibleinall
partsofthesky.Onestage,ofcourse,thatwasnot
exemplifiedinobservation,wastheChaos,oruniversal
nebula,fromwhichallstarssupposedlyoriginated.
92
TheNebularHypothesis

Page 93
Further,intheexplanationofhowthisChaosgaverise
tostars,itissupposedthatcentersofattractionaroseat
theplacesofmaximumdensity.But,sinceinthe
originalChaosthedensitywasassumedtobeuniform
throughout,thequestionnaturallyarisesastowhat
miraclecouldhavegiventhestartbycondensingsome
spotsandrarefyingothers.Infact,thistheoryleadsus
backmoreobviouslytosomecreativemiraclethan
eventhesecondlawofthermodynamics.
Inthelasthalfofthenineteenthcenturyfurtherfacts
aboutthestarsandaboutthesolarsysteminparticular
begantobediscovered,whichmadetheoriginal
NebularHypothesisveryimprobableindeed,andwhich
necessitatedtheformationofanewcosmogonic
hypothesis.Thisgraduallytookshapeintheformof
whatisnowknownasthePlanetesimalHypothesis,
which,thoughpartlybasedontheoldNebular
Hypothesis,hasalteredthemainideas.
ThisPlanetesimalHypothesisoriginatedfromthe
theoryoftidalfriction,asdevelopedbyGeorgeDarwin.
Accordingtothistheory,whentwodarkstars(ofwhich
theuniverseissupposedtobefull)comeclosetogether,
beingledtopassclosetoeachotherbytheirrespective
propermotions,theextremeproximityresultsinthe
twodarkstarsmutuallyraisingimmensetidesonone
another,thetidalfrictionbeingsogreatastoheatboth
starstoanimmenseheat,andatthesametimeto
produceineachstararotationintheplaneofthe
relativevelocityofthestars.Incidentally,themutual
attractionofthetwostarswouldprobablymakeagreat
changeinthepropermotionsofboth.
Thetidalforceactingoneachstarwouldfurthermore
bestrongenoughtoovercomethecohesionoftheparts
ofthestar,andthustearalmostalltheexteriorpartsof
thestarawayfromthestarintothesurroundingspace,
93
TheNebularHypothesis

Page 94
formingaspiralnebula.Thisnebula,asthusformed,
willcontainmanycondensationsoflargerorsmaller
size;these,oncooling,absorbsurroundingportionsof
thenebula,andbecomeplanets,satellites,asteroids,and
meteorites.Allthesewilltendtorevolvearoundtheir
suninthesamedirectionastheirsunitselfrotates,as
wellastorotateontheirownaxesinthesame
direction.
ThePlanetesimalHypothesisthustendstoassume
thattheuniversealwayswassomewhatasitisnow,but
thatstarscomeandgoingenerations,asitwere.There
arethussupposedtobeatpresentstarsofallsortsof
ages;starsoftheoldergeneration,andyoung,warm
starsofthenewergeneration.Theveryyoungeststars
aresurroundedwithnebulas,whichare,indeed,usually
foundtotaketheformofspiralnebulas.Thelifeofa
starissomewhatasfollows:Aftertheprocessthathas
justbeendescribed,thenfirsttheplanetsandthenthe
staritselfcoolsoff,possiblybecomingdark,till
proximitywithanotherstarcomesaboutagain,when
thesystemsareoncemoreheatedupandproximityof
thetwostarsgeneratesinbothanewplanetarysystem.
Fromtheproximityoftwostarsthereissuestwonew
stars.Andsotheprocesskeepsonfromonestar
generationtothenext.
ThisPlanetesimalHypothesisisundoubtedlya
plausibleone,though,likeeveryothertheory,thereare
plentyofobservedphenomenathatiteitherdoesnot
explainorexplainsonlyimperfectly.Nodoubt,iftwo
darkstarscomeintosuchproximity,thatproximitywill
generatenewstarswithaplanetarysystemtoeach,as
thathypothesisassumes.Anditisalsotruethatalmost
allstagesofgrowthofastarunderthePlanetesimal
Hypothesisareactuallyobservedintheskybut,asin
94
TheNebularHypothesis

Page 95
thecaseoftheNebularHypothesis,theinitialprocessis
amissinglink.
Themaincommongroundofthesetwohypothesesis,
thattherewasanebulawhichcondensedintoastellar
system,thestars,planets,etc.,ofthestellarsystem
becomingconstantlycoolerastheyradiatetheirheat
intooutsidespace.Somuchcanalmostbeobserved
directly,forallthesestages,fromthenebulaon,are
exemplifiedinthesky.The"ringstage"assupposedin
theoriginalNebularHypothesishas,however,never
beenobservedinanystar,andtheonlypossible
exampleofthatisSaturn'srings,which,however,isa
spuriousexample,sincespectroscopicobservations
showthattheringsaroundSaturnarenottruerings,but
simplycollectionsofsmallsatellitesatapproximately
thesamedistancefromtheplanet,andwhich,fromthis
distance,looklikerings.
However,practicallyallstagesofthePlanetesimal
Hypothesiscanbeseenexemplifiedinthesky.The
PlanetesimalHypothesisdoesnotdenythatsometimes
anewbodycanarisebyrotation;but,eveninsucha
case,thereisnoringprocess.Inthecaseoftheearth,
forinstance,itissupposedthattheearthwasrotating

withextremerapidity,thecentrifugalforcefinally
elongatingitintoasortofpearshape,theelongation
continuinguntilthecentrifugalforceattheendofthe
pearexceedsthegravitationalattraction.Thenthepart
oftheearthatthesmallerendofthe"pear"separated
andbecamethemoon.Tidalfrictionafterwardslowed
therotationofbothpartsandthereactionmovedthe
moonawaytoitspresentdistancefromtheearth.
Thesameoriginmaybesupposedformanymultiple
stars.Infact,thevariousstagesofthisprocesscan
actuallybeseemamongthestars;fortherearevariable
starswhosevariationinbrightnesscouldonlybe
95
TheNebularHypothesis

Page 96
explainedbythispearshape,andagaintherearethose
whosevariationindicatesthattheyareveryclose
"binary"(physicallydouble)stars,andagainwehave
thevisiblebinaries.Itmaybeinterestingtonotethat
thisprocessoforiginofnewbodiesbyrotationhasa
remarkableresemblancetotheprocessesofcellular
reproduction,onlyinthelattercasesurfacetensionand
notcentrifugalforceproducestheconstrictionand
division.
Aswehavestatedbefore,onestrongtestofthese
hypothesesistheobservationintheskyofstarsin
variousgradesofformationfromthenebulatothedark
star.Thedarkstaritselfisofcourseinvisible,butall
gradesuptothatcanbeobserved,and,infact,all
gradesofstardevelopmentassumedbythe
PlanetesimalHypothesis,asfarbackasthespiral
nebulastage,areactuallyobservedinthesky.However,
thecruxofdifferentiationbetweenthehypothesesis:
Whatwastheprenebularstage,whatbroughtabout
thesenebulas?Theobservationalmethodofanswering
thiswouldbe:Doweseeintheskyanyphenomenathat
wouldbelikelytoleaduptotheformationofanebula?
Theonlysuchphenomenathatcanbeobservedare
thesocalled"temporarystars",orNovae.Theseare
starsthatsuddenlyflareup,lastafewmonths,andthen
graduallyfadeout.Beforetheflareup,nothing
whateverisvisibleintheplacewhereafterwardsthe
temporarystarappears;afterthestarfadesout,ithas
simplyradiatedagreatproportionofitsnewlyacquired
lightandsettlesdowntotheusualbrightnessofthe
starsinitsvicinity.However,itisageneralrulethat
mosttemporarystars,ifnotall,aresurroundedbya
nebula.Wemaysupposethattheexplanationofthe
nebularconditionasgenerallyobserved(mostnebulas
havingoneormorestarsorstarlikecondensationsin
96
TheNebularHypothesis

Page 97
thecenter)couldbefoundintheflareupofthe
temporarystar.
Thisexplanationwouldbeverysatisfactoryifwe
onlyknewjustwhathappenswhenatemporarystar
suddenlyappears.Itwouldseemthat,byobservation,
thehistoryofastellarsystemcannotbetracedback

fartherthantheappearanceofatemporarystar;sothat,
ifwewishtotracebackthedevelopmentofsucha
system,itwouldbeimportanttofindoutjustwhat
makesatemporarystarflareup.Itseemstobethe
generalconsensusofopinionamongastronomersthat
thereisnothingintheappearanceofatemporarystarto
makeitevenremotelypossibletoassumethattheyare
duetocollisionsofbodies.Acommontheoryis,that
theflareupisduetoexplosionsofhydrogen.Thismay
soundreasonable,untilwenoticethathydrogenisnot
anexplosivesubstanceunlessincontactwitha
sufficientlylargeamountofsomesuchsubstanceas
oxygen.Wewouldthushavetosupposeabody
consistingofhydrogenmeetinganoxygenshoaland
thenexploding.Atemporarystar,however,consists
mostlyofhydrogen,andhardlycontainsenough
oxygentomakeallthathydrogenexplode.
Furthermore,atsuchaheatasthatofordinarystars,
stillmoresoatthatoftemporarystars,water,whichis
theproductofanoxyhydrogenexplosion,couldnot
exist,anditsdecompositionundertheinfluenceofthe
explosiveheatwouldabsorbjustasmuchheatasthe
explosionproduced,thusleavingourtemporarystar
withoutanyheatorlightatall.
UnderthePlanetesimalHypothesisithasbeen
suggestedthatatemporarystaractuallyconsistsoftwo
starsapproachinginproximitytoeachotherand
drawingoutofoneanotherheatandanebula.This
soundsveryplausible,butisabitdifficulttosupport.
97
TheNebularHypothesis

Page 98
Besides,itisdifficulttoseewhymostofthese
phenomenashouldoccurintheMilkyWay,thatis,near
theedgeoftheHerscheldrum.Infact,itisnoteasyto
understandexactlywhatdoeshappenwhenatemporary
starappears.Wemaypossibly,however,benefitbythe
moredetailedobservationstakenofNovaPersei1902,
atemporarystarwhichappearedinAugust1902,andin
connectionswithwhichmanystrangephenomenawere
observed.
Thisstarwasfirstdiscoveredbyamanwho,though
notaregularastronomer,wasahabitualstargazer.One
eveninginAugust,1902,henoticedintheconstellation
ofPerseusanewsecondmagnitudestarthathehad
neverseenbefore.Thisdiscoverybeingmadepublic,it
turnedoutthat,onthepreviousnight,aphotographic
plateofthatpartoftheskyhadbeentakenatthe
observatory,showingstarsdowntothetwelfth
magnitude,andyetthespotwherethisnewbrightstar
appearedwasvacantonthoseplates.Evidently,within
24hours,thestarhadflasheduptothesecond
magnitudefromamagnitudecertainlylessthanthe
twelfth,ifindeeditgaveanylightatall;thatistosay,it
flaredupsuddenlyatleast10,000timesitsoriginal
brightness,if,indeed,itgaveanylightatallbeforethe
flareup.Onecharacteristicofthisflareup,then,was
itssuddenness:thetimethestartooktoflareupinthis
mannerisnotknown,butitcertainlywasonlyamatter
ofhours.
Butafarmoreinterestingaspectoftheaffair

appearedlater.Thestar,indeed,appearedabithazy;
butsoonitwasseensurroundedbyanebula,which
keptonincreasinginsize.Thenebulawas
approximatelycircularinshape,theradiusofthecircle
increasingbyabout5secondsofarceachmonth,which
wouldmakeinayearabout1minuteofarc.Sincethe
98
TheNebularHypothesis

Page 99
starshowednoparallax,sothatitsactualdistancewas
toogreattobemeasured,thatmeantthatitsdistance
wasmorethanmerelyhundredsoflightyears,but
ratherranintothethousands.Therateatwhichthis
"nebulainmotion"wasspreading,beingaboutaminute
ofarcinayear,mustbe,inayear,about1/3400ofthe
distanceofthestar(aminuteofarchbeingaboutthat
fractionoftheradiusofthecircle).Thismeant,ifthe
distanceofthestarwastobemeasuredinthousandsif
lightyears,thattherateofspreadofthenebulawasat
leastonethirdthevelocityoflight,ifnotmore.The
mostprobablehypothesiswas,thattheratewasexactly
thevelocityoflight,makingthedistanceofthestar
about3400lightyears.
Now,sincewecouldhardlysupposethatany
explosion,howeverviolentitmaybe,orespeciallyany
resultoftidaldisruption,wouldproducematterwhich
wouldactuallymoveinalldirectionswithavelocityso
greatasthatoflight,theobserverswereledtothe
hypothesisthatthenebulawasactuallytherebeforethe
starflaredup,andthattheapparentspreadofthenebula
wasanillusionduetotheactualspreadoflightthrough
thenebula,firstinthecentralparts,thengradually
towardtheedges.Inotherwords,theconclusionwas
arrivedatthatthestarwasinanebulousconditionlong
beforeitbegantogiveoutlight.
ThisishardlyinaccordwitheithertheNebularor
PlanetesimalHypothesis,for,onthefirst,lightwould
notbeasuddendevelopment,and,onthesecond,both
lightandnebulaoriginateatthesametime,thelight
reachingoutsidepointslongbeforethenebula.Infact,
wemaysayasamatterofobservationthatonlythe
starswhichappeartobeoftheoldergenerationare
surroundedbynebulas.Weshouldthereforeconclude
thatanebulaissomesupervaporousphenomenon
99
TheNebularHypothesis

Page 100
whichisonlypossibleastheresultofsuchextremeheat
thatthevibrationofmanyparticlesgetsthemalmost
altogetherawayfromtheinfluenceofgravitation.Thus,
theconclusionthatthenebulaexistedpreviouslytothe
flareupcanonlymeanthatthestarwas,beforeit
suddenlyflaredup,inashotaconditionasafterwards.
Thiscanonlymeanthattheflareupcouldnothave
beenduetothesuddenaccessionofheatthatmightbe
supposedundertheinfluenceofeithertidalfrictionor
ofacollisionorexplosion.Theheatwastherebefore,
butsomehoworotheritdidnottransmititselfinto
outsidespace.But,sincesuchtransmissionofheatinto

outsidespaceintheformofradiantenergy,andin
particular,ofsuchgreatheatintheformofwhitelight,
isaconsequenceofthesecondlawofthermodynamics,
andmustbearesultifthesecondlawof
thermodynamicsissupposedtrue,wemustsupposethat
NovaPersei1902hadallthenecessaryheat,butthat,
untilthatday,thesecondlawofthermodynamicswas,
forsomereason,notoperativeonit.
Beforetheflareup,then,thestarinquestionwasina
conditioninwhichitshowedlittleornoneofthe
positivetendency.Thetendencycouldhardlyhavebeen
theneutraltendency,for,aswehaveseen,theneutral
tendencydoesnotformbodiesatall,thoughtheremay
possiblybesuchathingasabodygoingthroughthe
neutralstagetemporarily,whenitishalfpositiveand
halfnegative.Itfollows,then,thattheflaringupofthis
starmusthaveconsistedinitschangingoverfromthe
negativetothepositivetendency.Andwemayreadily
assumethatsimilarcircumstancesgiverisetoother
phenomenaoftemporarystars;and,sincethetemporary
starseemstobethephenomenonthatprecedesthe
nebula,wemaycometotheconclusionthatthepre
nebulaconditionofanystellarsystemisastagein
100
TheNebularHypothesis

Page 101
whichthatsystemfollowsthenegativetendency,
followedbyasuddenchangetothepositivetendency
accompaniedbyagreatoutburstofradiantenergy.
Ifwetake18,000,000astheapproximatenumberof
visiblestars,andallowabout9timesasmanythatare
darkortoofainttobeseen,andtakeasanaverage
speedofpropermotionofthestars10milespersecond,
then,ifwesupposethateverystar,onenteringthe
Herscheldrum,withthedimensionswehavesupposed,
flaresupasaresultofthechangefromnegativeto
positive,suchflareupsshouldhappen,ontheaverage,
alittlemorefrequentlythanonceayear.Thisisindeed
theaveragefrequencyoftheappearanceoftemporary
stars;anditisremarkablethatmosttemporarystars
appeartobenearthesurfaceoftheHerscheldrum.
Accordinglywemaytakethisasthegeneral
explanationoftemporarystars.
Contents
101
TheNebularHypothesis

Page 102
CHAPTERXIV
THEREVERSIBILITYTHEORYOFCOSMOGONY
Wehaveseenthat,accordingtotheresultsof
observedfacts,itseemsprobablethattheprenebular
stageofastarwasanegative,alivingcondition.Now
letusseewhatwouldbethetheoreticalresultof
supposingourtheoryofareversibleuniverse,asfaras
suchresultsmayrelatetocosmogony.
Wehaveseenthatthestructureoftheuniverse,
accordingtothetheoryofreversibility,isthatit
consistsofirregularlyshapedsections,alternately
positiveandnegative.Inthepositivesectionsallheated
bodiesgiveoutradiantenergy,accordingtothesecond

lawofthermodynamics.Inthenegativesections,onthe
contrary,hotbodies,insteadofgivingoutlightorother
radiantenergy,wouldtendtoabsorbitandconvertit
almostentirelyintoheat,thusheatingthemselvesup
withlightreceivedfromoutsidesources.Thisisin
strictaccordwiththereversalofthesecondlaw
ofthermodynamics.
Inthefirstplace,whenweexaminethechangesthat
takeplaceintime,wemayfirstnoticethatthestructure
oftheuniverseprobablyremainssomewhatthesame
always.Thepositiveandnegativesectionsdoprobably
indeedchangetheirposition,but,onthewholesuch
changewouldconsistofageneralmotionofall
thesectionsalikethroughspace,sothatthesectionsdo
notmoverelativelytooneanother.Further,theremay
beslightchangesintheshapeofthevarioussections.
Butbyfarmoreimportantisthemotionofthe
individualstarsrelativetothevarioussections.The
motionofastar,beinguniformmotioninastraightline
underthelawofinertia,(theinfiniteuniverseassuring
102

Page 103
usthattherewillbenogravitationaldisturbanceunless
byaccidentthestarshouldcomeveryclosetoanother
star)willhavetheresultthatthestarwillconstantlybe
crossingfromonesectionoftheuniverseintothenext,
fromapositivesectionintoanegative,andfrom
thenegativesectionintoanotherpositiveone,andsoon
adinfinitum.
Inapositivesectionoftheuniverse,thestar,which
wasatfirsthotandbright,radiatesitsheatintooutside
space,andgraduallybecomescoldanddark.Wehave
alreadyseen(inChapterX)that,asthiscoolingprocess
goeson,lifegraduallyextendsitselfattheexpenseof
theopposite,thepositivetendency,until,whenthe
coolingprocessiswellunderway,lifehasabsorbed
practicallyallinorganicmatter,leavingasnonliving
mattertheorganiccompoundsformedbylife,whichit
buildsupintopseudolivingorganisms.Wemay
supposethat,whenastellarsystemcrossesoverfroma
positivetoanegativesectionoftheuniverse,
therehappensthisslowprocessofdevelopment,oflife
growth,changingthestarfromapositiveonetoa
negativeoneverygradually.
Totracethisprocessofdevelopmentfarther,we
mustnotethattheevolutionoflivingstarsandplanets
consiststoagreatextentintheirabsorbingradiant
energyfromoutsidespaceandusingittobuildup
higherheatlevelsinthemselves.Thelifeofthesestars
andplanetsdependsontheirbeingconstantlyfed,soto
speak,withradiantenergyuniformlyfromall
directions;whichissomethingthatisnotobtainablein
thepositivesectionoftheuniverse,wherethe
distributionoflightisveryirregular.Inthenegative
section,however,wearesurroundedbypositive
sections,andinsuchawaythatthelightobtainedfrom
themisapproximatelyuniform,sothatthenegative
103
TheReversibilityTheoryofCosmogony

Page 104
starsandplanetscontainedthereincanbeproperlyfed.
Thetidalforcesproduce,underthoseconditions,not
tidalfriction,astheywouldunderthepositive
tendency,butasortoftidalirritation,speedingupall
motionsofrotation,etc.Theselivingstarsandplanets,
buildingupinthemselveseverhigherlevelsofheat,
finallypassintothemoltenandthenintothevaporous
stage,andfinallythestardevelopsanebularstage,this
nebulatakingaspiralformonaccountoftherotational
motionofthestar,everincreasingthroughtheprocess
oftidalirritation.Thuswegettoanebularstage;and
thedissociationofatomsthatgoesoninthelastpartof
thenegativestage,whenwehavegreatheat,willmake
thestellarsystemlargelyonethatisconstitutedof
hydrogen,thesmallestatomknown.
Meanwhilewemightexpectthatnotonlythestar
anditsplanets,butalsoanumberofsmallmasseson
thestar,wouldhavelife,thatis,wouldfollowthe
negativetendency;besidestheexistenceofanumberof
pseudolivingorganisms.Thesesimplelivingmasses
would,whenintheheatedcondition,alsotendtolive
byabsorbingradiantenergyfromoutsidespace.
Now,wemaysupposethat,afterthenebularstage
hasbeenreached,andthestarandallitsplanetsarebut
morecondensedvaporsinthenebula,thestellarsystem
inquestionfinallycomestowardtheendofthatpartof
itspathwhichisinthenegativesectionoftheuniverse.
Thestellarsystem,nebulaandall,isquickly
approachingtheboundarysurface,withthepositive
sectionshiningbrightlyaheadofit.Thesudden
absorptionofanimmenseamountoflightfromthe
frontwilltendtocauseagreat,sudden,additional
buildingupofheat,sothatwewillhaveanimmense
amountofheatdevelopedbeforetheboundarysurface
isfinallyreached.Star,planets,nebula,andall,are
104
TheReversibilityTheoryofCosmogony

Page 105
constantlyabsorbingevermoreandmoreheat;
includingalsothesmallerlivingmassesonthestarsand
planets;withthepossibleexceptionofthepseudo
livingorganisms.Allaredependentontheconstant
accessionofradiantenergytosustaintheirlife.
Now,whenthesystemcomesneartheboundary
surface,whenitisonthatsurfaceorveryclosetoit,the
accessionofradiantenergysuddenlyceasestobe
uniforminalldirections,and,oncetheboundary
surfaceiscrossed,nolightwhateverisreceivedfrom
behind,becauselightcrossestheboundarysurfacein
onlyonedirection,thatfromthepositivetothenegative
side.Theuniformaccessofradiantenergythatthe
systemhastofeedonissuddenlycutoff,andthestars
andplanetscannolongercontinuetolive.Theproper
supplyofradiantenergyfoodbeingsuddenlycutoff,
thedeathofthesystemresults,andtherefore,after
crossingtheboundarysurface,ifnotalittlebefore,
thereoccursinthestarsandplanetsofthatsystemthe
transitionfromthenegativetendencytothepositive.As
wehaveseenbefore(inChapterIX),thetransitionin
thisdirectionmightbetheoreticallyexpectedtobea

suddenandcompleteone.Hence,somewherenearthis
boundarysurface,wemightexpectasuddenreversalof
thisprocessduetothedeathofthesystem,toits
suddenlyceasingtobealiveasitwaswheninthe
negativesectionoftheuniverse.Andthemomentthis
transformationoccurs,thesecondlawof
thermodynamicsimmediatelybeginstoapply,andthe
heatofthesystembeingatahigherlevelthanthatof
outsidespace,wouldsuddenlybegintospreaditselfata
rapidrateintooutsidespacebyasuddenoutburstfrom
thestarofradiantenergy.Thenebula,beingmore
scattered,givesoutmuchlesslight,buthastobe
lighteduptoagreatextentbythecentralstar.Thiswill
105
TheReversibilityTheoryofCosmogony

Page 106
producethephenomenonofthe"nebulainmotion"as
seeninNovaPerseiin1902.Inothercases,thenebula
itselfwillgiveoutenoughlighttobevisible
immediately.
However,thisreasonforthe"death"ofthestar,
planets,andnebula,doesnotbyanymeansapplytothe
smallerlivingmassesthatexistedonthosebodies.The
pseudolivingorganismsthatformerlyexistedonthose
bodieswillthen,withverylittlechange,becomesimply
inanimatebodies;butthesmalllivingbodies,unlikethe
stars,planets,etc.,willsuddenlygetanewandpossibly
bettersupplyoftheirfood,radiantenergy,fromthe
flareupofthestar.Insteadofhavingtodependonthe
radiantenergycominginfromadistance,thereis
suddenlyopenedupforthemanimmensenewsupply
oflightonthestaritself,orontheplanets.Thesmall
livingbodiesthusbegintofeedonthedeadbodiesof
thestarsandplanets.Thedeathofthestarsandplanets
givesanopportunityfornewlifetodevelopasasortof
parasiteonthedeadbodies.Fromthissurvivaloflife,
furtherlifeontheplanetsofthatsystemisdescended.
Afterthissuddenflareup,thelightandheatwould
thenproceedtofadeoutgradually,andthesystem
wouldcontinuetoevolvealongthelinesindicatedby
thePlanetesimalHypothesis,thisbeingtheprecise
reverseoftheevolutionasittookplacebeforeinthe
negativesectionoftheuniverse.Finally,theworlds
cooloff,lifeextends,and,bythetimethatthesystem
leavesthepositivesection,lifehasagaingradually
extendedsoastotakeonthelargebodies.Nowthe
cycleiscomplete,andwearebackattheoriginalstage.
Contents
106
TheReversibilityTheoryofCosmogony

Page 107
CHAPTERXV
THEPSEUDOLIVINGORGANISMS
Wehaveseenthatorganicstructureislikelytobe
foundineithersectionoftheuniverseintheminority
tendency.Inthecaseofthenegativesectionofthe
universe,wheremostobjectsarealive,thisminority
tendencywillbethepositivetendency.Thusthe
organicstructuresinthenegativepartoftheuniverse

arenotlivingbutlifelessbeings,thoughhavingcertain
appearancesoflife.Thesewehavecalledpseudoliving
organisms,which,thoughincertainrespectsthey
appearlikelivingbeings,yettheirmotionsareofa
passiveratherthananactivecharacter.
Inasmuchas,onreversalwithrespecttotime,a
negativeuniversebecomesapositiveone,andthe
inorganiclifethatisfoundinthenegativesectionofthe
universecorrespondstotheordinarylifelessinorganic
107

Page 108
bodiesthatweobserve,sowemaynoticethatthese
pseudolivingorganismsaretheexactreverseofthe
livingorganismsthatcanbeobservedinthepositive
sectionoftheuniverse.
Wehaveseenthat,atordinarytemperatures,these
pseudolivingorganisms,inordertokeepexisting,must
haveaconstantmetabolicprocessalwaysgoingon;this
beingtheexactreverseofthemetabolicprocessgoing
oninlivingorganismsinthepositivesection.Infact,
takeanyprocessgoingoninlivingorganisms,andits
exactreversewithrespecttotimewillgiveusthe
correspondingprocessgoingoninpseudoliving
organisms.
Take,forexample,thesensitivenessthatis
characteristicofnearlyalllife.Thiswill,indeed,be
foundalsointheinorganiclifeinthenegativesection
oftheuniverse.Butthepseudolivingorganismshave
nothingofthesort.Theyarenotsensitivetocauses,but
toeffects;forasmalleffectmay,intheseorganisms,be
theresultofalargecause,asweshouldexpectfromthe
secondlawofthermodynamics.Thus,whileallliving
substanceissensitivetothepast,alllifelesssubstance
issimilarlysensitivetothefuture.Thisisindicatedin
ordinaryphysicalobjectsbythefactthatitiseasier,
wherebothareunknown,totracethefuturethanthe
past.Thesamewillbetrueofthepseudoliving
organisms,whicharebutcomplicatedphysicalbodies
surroundedbylivingsubstance.Suchorganismswillbe
organizedtobeabletofeelwhatiscoming,butnot
whathasalreadyhappened.Astothepast,anythingin
thoseorganismsthatmaypossiblybecalledfeeling
wouldbeabsolutelyblank.
Inthecaseoflivingorganisms,thisfeeling,itits
mostelementaryform,consistsmerelyofthat
irritabilitywhichwehavealreadyidentifiedwiththe
108
ThePseudoLivingOrganism

Page 109
reversalofthesecondlawofthermodynamics.Thatis,
feelingconsists,initsmostelementaryform,ofa
stimulusreleasingreserveenergyandmakingit
availableenergyorelseactuallyusingit.Onthe
contrary,thepseudolivingfeelingwouldbeexactlythe
reverse,turningavailableenergyintoastoreofreserve
energyaseffectuallyasmaybe.Inthemorecomplex
livingorganisms,specialorgansoffeelingare
developed,whichareofspecialirritability,organs
whicharespeciallyefficientinextractingavailable

energyoutofreserveenergy.Infact,inthosespecial
organsoffeeling(thenervoussystem)isconcentrated
mostofthemechanicalefficiencywithrespectto
extractingavailableenergytobeusedasmolarmotion.
Finally,wehavethedevelopmentofabrain,acentral
organinwhichthereserveenergyisstoredasaresultof
specialstimuli,andwhichcanusethatenergyto
producemolarmotion.Inthepseudolivingorganism,
whichistheexactreverseofthelivingorganism,this
nervoussystemandbrainwouldconstituteasystemof
extremelylowmechanicalefficiency,thatis,asystem
fordoingasnearlynothingaspossible.Itwouldindeed
storeupimmenseamountsofreserveenergy,orrather,
ofpartlyavailableenergy,whichwouldbealmostas
goodasunavailable.
Thusthenervoussystemandthebrain,whichin
livingorganismsisthemostactivepartoftheorganism,
wouldalsobefoundinthepseudolivingorganism,
withthesamesize,shape,position,substance,etc.,but
would,insteadofbeingextremelyactive,bethedeadest
partofanapparentlydeadorganism.Andthereasonfor
thisobvious,ifwewillbutconsider.Thephysicalbody,
andespeciallythepseudolivingorganism,issensitive
onlytothefuture.Ifsomethingstrikesit,orifanyother
stimulusisappliedtoit,thisimmediatelybecomesa
109
ThePseudoLivingOrganism

Page 110
pastphenomenonandtheorganismcannolongertake
cognisanceofit.Butshoulditeverhappenthatthe
bodyitselfproducesavisibleeffectinthemannerof
motion,sound,heat,etc,thebodyshowsitbyits
internalconditionbeforetheeffectisproduced,though,
assoonastheeffectappears,thisabnormalconditionof
thebodydisappears.Thebodycanfeelwhatisgoingto
happen,notindeedwhatisgoingtohappentoit,but
whatisgoingtohappenasaresultofit;andthe
momenttheeventhappens,allisforgotten,asitwere,
thatis,noresultinginternalconditionisnoticeable.In
pseudolivingorganisms,speciallifelessorganisms
builtupbylivingsurroundingstoresembleincertain
respectsthelivingbeingsthatwesee,thesephenomena
will,inthemorecomplexcases,bespecializedintoa
nervoussystem.Thusthephenomenaunderthepositive
tendency,andinparticularinthepseudoliving
organisms,thatareanalogoustofeeling,refernotto
pastcauses,norindeedtofuturecauses(thisnotbeing
thetruereverseofpastcauses),buttothedirectreverse
ofpastcauses,namely,tofutureeffects.
Where,inalivingorganism,wehaveenough
complexitytofindsuchanorganasabrain,we
immediatelyhavethebrainreactionswhichareknown
asmentalphenomena.Thesearethecentralizedstores
ofavailableenergywhichthenervoussystemhas
extractedfromtheoutsidereserveenergy,andwhich
canbeusedunderastimulustoproducemolarmotion.
Themindisthuspartofthebrainmachinery,ahighly
complexandspecializedmachineryfortheextractionof
reserveenergyanditsfinalconversionintomolar
energy.Theextractionofreserveenergyintheoriginal
processissensation;theenergystoredupinthebrainat

ahigherlevelisthementalprocess;andthismindcan
onlyfeelsensations,andretaintracesofprocesses,that
110
ThePseudoLivingOrganism

Page 111
havealreadyhappened,andreferthemtothepast.On
thecontrary,inthepseudolivingorganism,the
similarlycomplexandspecializedprocesswillmerely
producereserveenergyfortheoutsideworldtouse,and
anymentalprocessinsuchorganismcouldonlyrefer
nottothepastcausesbut,likeallfeelingunderthe
positivetendency,tofutureeffects,which,however,
wouldbefeltasstimuliandnotaseffects;fortheobject
itselfwouldbeunderastrainasifstimulated.Inother
words,thispseudolivingmind,thismachinefordoing
nothingaseffectuallyaspossible,couldonlyperceive
andrememberthefuture,andwouldconceiveofthat
futureasthereverseofwhatitreallyis,namely,as
stimulusinsteadofaseffect.
Sincetheordinaryorganicbodiesarethesimplest
formsoutofwhichthepseudolivingorganism
developsasahighdegreeofcomplexity,justasthe
inorganiclifeofthenegativesectionoftheuniverseis
thesimpleformofwhichlivingorganismsareahigher
development,wemayeasilysupposethatordinary
inorganicbodiessuchasweconstantlyobservehave
thisreversedfeeling;but,asmentalprocessesarea
resultofahighlycomplicatedandspecialized
organism,wecannotattributetoordinaryphysical
objectsanythinglikeamind.
IthasbeenafavoritetheoryofthelateProf.Josiah
Roycethatphysicalobjectsarealiveandevenendowed
withamind,butthatwecannotcommunicatewith
themorobservethatmindonaccountofthedifference
inreactiontime.Accordingtohistheory,whilewe
reacttoastimulusin,letussay,atenthofasecond,let
ussupposethatthereisabeingthatreactsinathousand
years.Themotionsofthatbeingwillbesoslowthatto
ushewillappearpracticallymotionlessanddead,
while,ontheotherhand,ourmotionswillbesorapid
111
ThePseudoLivingOrganism

Page 112
thathewillbetotallyunabletoperceivethem,sothat
hewillalsothinkusdead.Thistheoryindicatesthata
differenceinreactiontimemightbethecauseofour
notattributinglifeandfeelingtophysicalobjects.
Underourtheoryofreversibility,thesamewillbetrue,
onlythereactiontimeofaphysicalobjectwillnot
merelybedifferentfromours,butnegative,sothatall
meansofourobservingthesimilaritywouldbecutoff.
Thisdoesnot,ofcourse,mean,thatthereareno
observationsorexperimentspossiblefromwhichwe
couldindirectlyinfersuchsimilarity,butmerelythat
wecouldnotpossiblyobserveitdirectly,becauseitis
superficiallydifferentalmostinkindfromliving
feeling.Itisnot,ofcourse,quitetrue,thatphysical
objectsdonotshowtheeffectsofstimuli;theydo
indeed,insomecases,buttoamarkedlylessdegree

thantheyshowtheincubationoffutureeffects.Thus,if
thissensitivitycouldbeatallcalledfeeling,aphysical
object,onceaneventispast,wouldfeelitvaguelyifat
all,andwithagreatuncertainty.Tothepseudoliving
organism,thepasthasthesamevaguenessand
uncertaintyasthefuturehasforus,thoughsomedim
guessesastothepastmightconceivablybemadebythe
pseudolivingmind.
Butitstillremainstrue,thatifweweretransported
intoanegativesectionoftheuniverse,thoughthe
pseudolivingorganismwouldappearinshape,
substance,structure,etc.,exactlyliketheliving
organismsweareaccustomedto,yetweshouldnot
recognizetheexistenceofsensitivityormental
phenomenainthematall,andtheyshouldappeartous
aslifelessbodies,whichindeedtheyare.Theywould
appeartousmerelyasextremelywellpreserved
corpses.And,becausewecannotfeelwhatthepseudo
livinganalogueofamindwouldconceiveasastimulus,
112
ThePseudoLivingOrganism

Page 113
andwouldnotreacttoit,thoseorganismswould
similarlythinkofusasdead.
Contents
113
ThePseudoLivingOrganism

Page 114
CHAPTERXVI
PSYCHOLOGICALASPECTOFREVERSAL
Thismatterbringsupthequestionastohowthe
pseudolivinganalogueofamind,this"machinefor
doingnothing,"wouldconceiveofitsownportionof
theuniverse.Intryingtosolvethisquestion,wemust
rememberthatitsmemoryisdirectednottowardthe
pastbuttowardthefuture;because,memorybeingbut
thestoredupfeelinginahigherformofdevelopment,
andfeelingbeingthatofreserveenergy,itfollowsthat
feelingandenergymust,inanyorganism,bedirected
towardsthatdirectionintimeinwhichthatorganism
hadlessreserveenergy,andawayfromthatdirectionof
timeinwhichtheorganismacquiresmoreavailable
energy.
114

Page 115
Now,weknowthatthemethodbywhichwereally
distinguishbetweenthepastandthefutureisbythefact
ofourrememberingthepast,whilethefuturetousisan
uncertainmatter.Itfollows,therefore,thattothe
pseudolivingmind,thepastwillbeconceivedofas
future,andthefutureaspast.Anorganismconceives,
therefore,oftheflowoftime,intheinversedirectionto
thatinwhichitsmemoryisdirected,thatis,inthe
directionoftimeinwhichthatorganismbuildsup
reserveenergyintoavailableenergy.Or,sinceorganic
phenomenaarefoundintheminoritytendencyofa
givensectionoftheuniverse,suchanorganismmust
conceiveoftimeasflowinginthatdirectioninwhich

themajoritytendency,thatis,thegeneralsurrounding
world,decreasestheamountofavailableenergyand
increasestheamountofreserveenergy.Inotherwords,
anorganicbeing,whetherlivingorpseudoliving,must
conceiveoftimeasflowinginsuchadirectionthatthe
secondlawofthermodynamicsprevails,independently
ofwhetherthatconclusioniscorrectornot.
Thisarisesfromthefactthatthepseudoliving
organism,thoughexistinginaworldinwhichthe
secondlawofthermodynamicsisregularlyreversed,
doesnotperceiveitssurroundingsastheyare,but,on
accountofthefactthatitisnotlife,butreversedlife,it
perceivestheworldasreversedintime,itsperceptions
formasortoftimemirror,whichwouldthusproduce
theillusionofreversal,withtheresultthatsucha
perceptionwouldshowtheorganismitselfasalive(not
asapseudolivingorganism)andthesurrounding
world,whichisreallyalive,aslifelessandasfollowing
thesecondlawofthermodynamics.
Thus,ifwewerepseudolivingorganismsina
universetheexactreverseofours,thatistosay,inthe
correspondingpartofthereverseuniverse,weshould,
115
PsychologicalAspectofReversal

Page 116
aspseudolivingorganisms,beunderthisreversal
delusionandconceiveoftheworldandofourselves
exactlyaswedonow,and,infact,wewouldhave
exactlythesameideasasnowinrelationtoeverything.
Thusthereisactuallynowayforustotellwhetherwe
arelivingorganismsinapositiveuniverseorpseudo
livingorganismsinanegativeuniverse;inbothcases,
theformerwouldbetheapparentsituation.Underthe
conditionsunderwhichacomplexorganizationlikea
mindcanbeproduced,thatmindmustconceiveofits
surroundingsinsuchawaythatthesecondlawof
thermodynamicswouldfollow.Itmaybethatthelawis
orisnotaphysicalfactinthatparticularpartofthe
universe,butconceivingofthingsinthatmannerisa
necessityforanorganizedmind.Inotherwords,the
secondlawofthermodynamicsisnotaphysicalbuta
mentallaw.
However,thismustbeconstruedwithlimitations.
Therearecertainphysicalfactsastowhetherthe
secondlawofthermodynamicsisactuallytrueornotin
anygivenpartoftheuniverse.Wecannotsaythatthe
realuniverseandthereverseuniverseareoneandthe
sameonthestrengthofthisreasoning;forwerewe
transportedintothereverseuniverse,weshouldnotice
thedifference;andsimilarlythepseudoliving
organismstransportedintoourrealuniversewouldalso
easilyperceivethedifference.Butthedifferencerather
suggeststhedifferencebetweenrightandleftrather
thananythingelse.Therearemanysubstanceswhich
formtwospecies,onewithrighthandedmoleculesand
onewithlefthandedmolecules.Thereactionoftwo
righthandedsubstancesisthesameasthatoftwo
similarlefthandedsubstances;butwegetentirely
differentreactionsifarighthandedsubstanceofone
116
PsychologicalAspectofReversal

Page 117
kindisbroughtintocontactwithalefthanded
substanceoftheotherkind.
Wemustregardsimilarlythedifferencebetweenany
possiblecombinationofeventsanditsreversewith
respecttotime.Theyaresimilar,andatthesametime
different,inmuchthesamemannerasrightandleft.
Thereisnoreallyessentialdifferencebetweenthe
forwardandbackwarddirectionintime,anymorethan
thedifferencebetweenrightandleftisanessentialone.
Timeisreallyatwodirectionphenomenon,andthetwo
directionsarepracticallyinterchangeable,insteadof
beingasingledirectionflowwithonedirection
essentiallydifferentfromtheother.Thefactthatthe
twodirectionsoftimeappearessentiallydifferentisdue
tothefactthatourmindissoconstructedastofaceone
direction.Theremightseemtoustobeanessential
differenceinspacebetweentheforwardandbackward
directions,ifnotforthefactthatweareabletoturn
around.
Thepseudolivingmindisoneinallaspectslike
ours,withthedifferencethatitissoconstructedasto
facetheotherdirectionintime;andithastheillusions
ofdifferencebetweenthetwodirectionsaccordingly.
Toanymind,thepastismerelythedirectionoftime
whichthememoryfaces,andthefutureistheopposite
directionoftime.Hencethepseudolivingmindwill
seepastwhereweseefuture,andviceversa."Thefirst
shallbethelast,andthelastshallbethefirst"forthe
pseudolivingmind.Andthereasonthatthereisnoway
oftellingwhetherwearelivingorganismsinapositive
universe,orpseudolivingorganismsinanegative
universe,isthatthedifferenceisreallyonemerely
betweenthetwodirectionsoftime,and,thoughthose
twodirectionsareoppositetoeachother,theyhaveno
physicalpropertieswhichareinanywaydifferent.
117
PsychologicalAspectofReversal

Page 118
Thereareothercasesofsuchconjugaterelations,
wheretwophenomenaaredifferent,butcanbe
mutuallyinterchangedwithoutthepossibilityofany
testtoindicatethedifference.Thecasethatisnearestto
thatwhichweareconsidering,isthatofanytwo
oppositedirectionsinspace.Iftwooppositedirections
inspacewereinterchanged,weshouldmerelyhavea
mirrorworld,butnodifferentphysicalproperties;and,
ifweweretosupposethat,inthatworld,weshould
conceiveofrightasleftandviceversa,therewouldbe
nowaytotellsuchaworldfromtheonewelivein.
Amuchmoreclearcutcaseofsuchaconjugate
relationistobefoundinthedomainofalgebra,when
dealingwithimaginaryquantities.Thequantityiis
definedasthesquarerootof1,butwemightremember
thatanyquantityexceptzerohastwosquareroots,each
thenegativeoftheother,soitiswith1;andwethus
gettwoquantities,iandi.Now,itmakesabsolutelyno
differencetoanypossibleformulainconnectionwith
thetheoryoftheimaginaries,whichofthequantities

wecalli,andwhichi;theyareabsolutely
interchangeable;andyetthetwoquantitiesareanything
butidentical.Forinstance,thedifferencebetweentwo
identicalquantitiesiszero;andyetthedifference
betweenthesetwoquantitiesisanythingbutzero,butis
twiceoneofthequantities.Thedifferencecanbemade
tobetwiceeitherofthequantities,accordingtowhich
issubtractedfromtheother.
Infact,wemaynoticethatperfectinterchangeability
isnotidentity.Thetestofidentityis,notthatthetwo
thingsmaybeinterchangedinanystatementwithout
vitiatingthetruthofthestatement,butratherthateither
maybesubstitutedfortheotherinanystatement
withoutvitiatingthetruthofthestatement.Inapplying
118
PsychologicalAspectofReversal

Page 119
thistestforidentityofAandB,weshouldsubstituteA
forBwithoutatthesametimesubstitutingBforA.
Wemaythensaythatthemindconceivesoftimeas
flowing,becausethemindisnotsymmetricalwith
respecttothetwodirections;itfacesonedirection,
accordingtothelawsgoverningthespecialmachines
thatwouldhavetopumpreserveenergy,andtherefore
accordingtothephenomenamanifestedbyreserve
energy;and,undertheconditionswhichproducesuch
mechanisms,theresultinglawisthatanorganizedmind
mustconceiveoftimeasflowingtowardsthatdirection
inwhichismorereserveenergyinthatparticularpart
oftheuniverse.Thismaybeeitherdirectionintime,
eitherthatwhichis,inourparticularminds,forwardsor
backwards;but,ifweconceiveofpastandfuturewith
thismentaldefinition,thesecondlawof
thermodynamicsfollowsasanecessarymentallaw.
True,werewetransportedtoanegativesectionofthe
universe,weshouldnotseethingsasconformingtothe
secondlawofthermodynamics;butthechancesare
verysmallthatwewouldbeabletoliveunderthose
specialcircumstances,underwhichasensitive,living
airmighttakeanaversiontoourbreathingit,or,what
wouldbemorelikely,wouldsendusitscarbondioxide
andleavetheoxygenforitself,asitwoulddotothe
pseudolivingorganisms.
Ifwerepresentthepercentageof"availableenergy"
inagivenpartoftheuniversebyacurveshowingthe
variationofthatpercentagethroughtime,wegeta
wavycurve,resemblingsomewhatthesinusoid.Ifthe
pastisplacedattheleft,andthefutureattheright,then,
aswegoalongthecurvefromlefttoright,theupward
sectionsofthecurverepresentthenegativeportions,
andthedownwardsectionsthepositiveportions.Time,
then,isatwodimensionaffair,likethebottomaxial
119
PsychologicalAspectofReversal

Page 120
line;butamindinanypartwouldconceiveofthattime
asaflowtowardsthelowerpartofthecurve,though
thatmayactuallytakeittowardsthepastinsteadof
towardsthefuture.Tothatmind,however,no

differencewouldbenoticeable.
Inthediagramtheabscissarepresentstime,andthe
ordinatesthepercentageofavailableenergyinthe
particularsectionoftheuniverse.Thelawthenis,that
whateverkindofmindwouldbeproducedunderthe
variouscircumstanceswouldbesoconstructedasto
conceiveoftimeasflowingtowardsthelowerpartof
thecurve,thatis,towardsthetroughsofthewavesin
thediagram;whilememorywouldalwayslooktowards
thecrestsofthosewaves.Itmakesnodifference
whethereitherofthosedirectionsisactualpastor
future,thatis,onthediagram,whetherthesedirections
pointtowardstheleftortowardstheright(left,onthe
diagram,representingpast,andtherightrepresenting
future).Inrelationtothephysicaltime,thesecondlaw
ofthermodynamicsmayormaynotbetrue;but,asfar
asconcernsthementalconceptionoftime,thesecond
lawofthermodynamicsmustbetrueasamajority
tendencyinthatparticularsectionoftheuniverse.
Hence,inthelastanalysis,thesecondlawof
thermodynamicsistobeinterpretedasamentallaw,as
thelawdeterminingthedirectioninwhichagivenmind
willconceiveoftimeasflowing.
120
PsychologicalAspectofReversal

Page 121
Itmustfurtherberememberedthattimeitselfisnota
mentalphenomenon,butonlytheappearanceofflow.
Thereisactuallynomoreflowintimethaninspace,
andeitherdirectionintimemaybecalledpastandthe
otherfuture,withoutanydifferenceinthepropertiesof
theuniverse.Buttheactualexistenceofintervalsof
timewemustassumeasbeingaphysicalreality,and
absolutelynecessaryfortheexplanationofphysical
phenomena.
Inasmuchasitmakesnodifferenceinwhich
directionwesupposetimetoberunning,andwemay
fixeitherdirectionarbitrarilywithoutchangingthe
physicalpropertiesoftheuniverse,itismore
convenient,inordertoavoidanydisputeastothe
natureanddirectionoftime,tocallthatdirectionpast
inwhichourmemorypoints,andtocallthatdirection
futuretowardswhichweconceivetimeasflowing.In
relationtothisdirectionoftime,then,wemaysaythat
ourownsectionoftheuniverseispositive,andthatin
thatsectionthesecondlawofthermodynamicsprevails.
Infact,wemayreadilyconceiveoftimeasasortof
fourthdimensionoftheuniverse.Thiscouldreadilybe
donetheoretically,onlythereisadifferentrelationto
physicalobjects.Ifweusedsuchaconception,we
shouldhavetoimagineeachparticleasasortofthread
infinitelyextendedinthetimedimension.And,further,
measurementsintimecannotbecomparedwithspace
measurements.But,althoughweshouldnotsuppose
thatwhatwehaveisanetworkofthreadsinafour
dimensionalspace,yetwecanusethisasapossible
illustrationtoshowwhatatwodirectiontimeis.
Suppose,then,afourdimensionalspacewitha
perfectlystationaryloom,fullofthreadsentangledin
allsortsofways.Theendsoftheloomwemust
supposetoberemovedtoinfinityintheirrespective

121
PsychologicalAspectofReversal

Page 122
directions.If,then,wesupposeathreedimensional
filmtobemoveddownwardsthroughthisloom,the
crosssectionsofthreadswouldchangeaboutsoasto
appearasthemotionofparticles.If,now,wesuppose
thatcertainsectionsofthreadhavesomesortof
consciousness,andcanperceivewhatisinthefilm
whenthefilmpassesthem,andtheirpreviouscondition
(or,inotherwords,theconscioussectionjustabovethat
part),weshouldhavetheeffectofmentalactivity.If
insteadofsupposingthisfilm,wenowsimplysuppose
thatcertainsectionsofthreadareconscious,andthat
eachcrosssectioncanperceiveonlythesurrounding
objectsofitsownlevelandthehighercrosssectionsof
itself,thenwemaysaythateachcrosssectioncan
perceivethehighercrosssection,butnotviceversa.
Thiswouldgivetheimpressionofaflowfromthe
highertothelowercrosssections,thusgivingthe
illusionofoneflowingandthreestationarydimensions;
inotherwords,ofonedimensionoftimeandthreeof
space.Probablythisisnotthecorrectexplanationofthe
conceptionoftime,butitillustratesthefactthatthetwo
oppositedirectionsintimearenomoredifferentthan
twooppositedirectionsinspace.
Ifwesuppose,intheillustration,thatanyconscious
bunchofthreadalwaysperceivesparallelcrosssections
inthedirectioninwhichthethreadsarelessentangled,
itwillgivetheillusionofflowofthisfourthdimension,
butinsuchadirectionthatmotionofparticleswill
alwaysseemtoscatter.Thatis,ifthethreadsinthis
illustrationareconstitutedtoperceiveinthatmanner,
theywillnotmerelyconceiveofonedimensionas
beingtimeinsteadofspace,buttheywillactually
conceiveofthattimeassoflowingthatthesecondlaw
ofthermodynamicswillbetrue.
122
PsychologicalAspectofReversal

Page 123
Thoughallthisisbutanillustration,wemay
conclude:Thesecondlawofthermodynamicsisreallya
mentallawindicatingthedirectionoftheillusoryflow
oftime.Timeitselfreallyexistsasatwodirection
affair,andreallyhasnomoreflowthanspace.
Contents
123
PsychologicalAspectofReversal

Page 124
CHAPTERXVII
GENERALSUMMARYOFTHETHEORY
Accordingtoourtheoryofthereversibilityofthe
universe,thesecondlawofthermodynamicsrepresents
oneoftwooppositetendenciesfoundintheuniversein
equalproportions.Thesetendencieswehavenamedthe
positiveandthenegativetendency.Thepositive
tendencyisthatwhichfollowsthesecondlawof
thermodynamics,whilethenegativetendencyreverses

it.Thephenomenaofthetwotendenciescorrespondto
eachothertothesmallestdetail,eachbeingthereverse
oftheotherwithrespecttothetimeelement.Thus,a
movingpictureofthenegativephenomenacouldbe
obtainedbytakingamovingpictureofordinary,thatis,
positive,phenomena,andrunningthereelbackwards
whenthereelisbeingprojectedontothescreen.
124

Page 125
Theordinaryphysicalbodiesobeythesecondlawof
thermodynamics,thatis,theybelongtothepositive
tendency;whilelivingbodies,onthecontrary,follow
thenegativetendency,andthereforereversethesecond
lawofthermodynamics.Ifwereverseordinaryevents
withrespecttotime,as,forinstance,withthedeviceof
runningamotionpicturereelbackwards,thelivingand
thelifelesswouldchangeplaces,though,indeed,the
shapesandthestructuresofeverythingwouldremain
unchanged.So,also,wouldeveryphysicallawnot
derivedfromthesecondlawofthermodynamics,sothat
everythinginsuchareversalcouldbeexplainedonthe
basisoftheordinaryphysicallaws.Thereverseofthe
ordinaryphysicalbodyisaninorganicformoflife;
whilethereverseofanordinarylivingbodyiswhatwe
havecalledapseudolivingorganism,havingthe
organicstructureoflifebutnotitsvitalactivity.
Occasionally,inmovingpictures,inordertogetan
effectwhichcannotbeobtainedinactuality,suchasa
mangoingupasmoothverticalwall,thedeviceof
reversingthereelisused.Inwatchingthepicture
producedbysuchareversedreel,anapparently
unnaturaleffectisnoticed,thoughitisdifficulttosay
whatissounusualaboutit.Forinstance,inonecase,a
motionpicturerepresentedanumberofpersonsdiving
intotheoceanfromahighspringboardandfinding
underthewatersomethingthatfrightenedthem.They
werethenrepresentedasimmediatelyjumping
backwardsoutofthewaterontothespringboard.This
lastpartofthefilmwasobviouslyareversalofthepart
representingthediving;butitwasnoticeablethatthere
werecircularwaterwavesconvergingtowardsacenter
beforeanyonecametothesurface,and,justasthe
wavescametothecentertoproduceabigsplash,the
undercurrentsbroughtthepeopletothesurfacewhile,
125
GeneralSummaryoftheTheory

Page 126
insteadofjumping,thepicturerepresentedthemas
beingsplashedbythewaterintotheair.Thepeople
themselves,ontheotherhand,lostinthisreversalall
appearanceofactivity;aroundthemthewaterand
everythingelsewasjumpingandmoving,theywere
beingmovedinapassiveway,asthoughthewaterand
springboardwerelivingandtheydead.
Anotherwayofexpressingthedistinctionbetween
thetwotendenciesisbydrawingthedistinction
betweenavailableenergy,energywhichcanbeused
underthesecondlawofthermodynamics,ontheone
hand,andreserveenergy,energybelowthelevel

requiredbythatlaw,ontheotherhand.Oftheenergy
oftheuniverse,partcomesunderoneheadingandpart
undertheother.Thepositivetendencyusesupavailable
energyandbuildsitupintoastoreofreserveenergy,
whilethenegativetendency,onthecontrary,utilizes
thatstoreorreserveenergythatthepositivetendency
hasbuiltupandcreatesavailableenergyoutofitonce
more.Inotherwords,lifelessobjectsbuildupthe
energyoftheuniverseintoareservestore,whichthey
themselvescannotuse;forthem,theenergyisrunning
downintoanunavailableform.Buttherearealways
presentlivingbodieswhichutilizethereserveenergy
andagainbuilditupintoanavailableform.
Oursectionoftheuniverseisoneinwhichthe
positivetendencyprevails;butthisistrueforafinite
sectionofspace;ingeneral,therearecertainplacesand
timesinwhichonetendencyprevails.Takingagiven
amountoftime,thisdivisionbetweenthetwo
tendenciesdividesspaceintoaninfinitenumberof
approximatelybrickshapedsections,alternatively
positiveandnegative.Whenweareinapositive
section,wecanseeonlytheparticularsectionwearein,
thoughwemayhaveotherevidence(e.g.,gravitational)
126
GeneralSummaryoftheTheory

Page 127
ofmatterbeyondthatsection.Astellarsystem,asit
movesfromonesectionintoanother,graduallyevolves
fromasetoflifelessbodieswithlifeonthem,througha
livingstagewheretherearesomepseudoliving
organisms,intoanebularstage,thenfinally,onentering
apositivesection,becominga"temporarystar"and
goingthroughthereverseprocess,fromthenebulaback
tothecoolerstages.
Onetendencyisasuniversalasitsopposite.Life
mustbefoundeverywhere,underallconditions,
preciselyaslifelessbodiesare.Thereisnospontaneous
generationoflife,andthereforelifecanbetracedback
asfaraswecantracebackthematterofwhichthesolar
systemismade,thatis,toaneternitypast.
Butthebasisofthedistinctionisthatlivingbodies
aresensitivetowardsthepast,andlifelessbodiesare
sensitiveonlytowardsthefuture.Ifalifelessbodycan
developasufficientlycomplicatedorganicstructureto
manifestmentalphenomena,oranythinganalogous,
thissensitivenesstowardsthefutureinvolvesamemory
ofthefutureonly,and,asaresult,anillusionofaflow
oftimefromthefuturetowardsthepast,insteadofthe
reverseaswesupposeittobe.Thesensitivenessof
livingbodiestowardthepastandoflifelessbodies
towardthefutureisduetothefactthat,underthe
secondlawofthermodynamics,largecausesarelikely
toproducesmalleffects,while,underthereversalof
thatlaw,itissmallcausesthatarelikelytoproduce
largereffects.Anotherconsequenceofthesamefactis,
thatlifelessphenomenaaremoreeasilyexplainedby
theircauses,whilelivingphenomena,onthecontrary,
thoughequallytherigidresultofcausality,aretobe
moreeasilyexplainedbythefuturechainsofthecausal
relation,orasthatwhichistoproducecertaineffects.
Thatis,livingphenomena,phenomenawhichfollow

127
GeneralSummaryoftheTheory

Page 128
thenegativetendency,arecharacterizedbyanapparent
teleologyorfunctionalitythatisabsent(oratleast,
apparentlyso)inlifelessphenomena.
Therearealsothepropertiesofbothtendenciesas
majorityorasminoritytendencies.Forinstance,inone
partoftheuniverse,thepositivetendencyisamajority
tendency,andthenegativetendencyisaminority
tendency.Inotherpartsoftheuniverse,onthecontrary,
thereverseisthecase:themajoritytendencyisthe
negative,orlife,whilethelifelessphenomena
constitutetheminoritytendency.Wemaynotethat
therearevariouscharacteristicsoftheminority
tendencysuchastheformationofcomplexendothermic
compoundsandofanorganicstructure;whilethe
majoritytendency,whetherpositiveornegative,is
characterizedbyaninorganicstructureandthe
formationofexothermiccompounds.Theminority
tendency,again,whetherpositiveornegative,is
characterizedbyametabolicprocesswhereverthereis
nottoomuchheattopermitofsuchchemicalreactions
goingon.
WemayusethediagraminChapterXVItoillustrate
thealternationinanypartoftheuniversebetweenthe
positiveandnegativetendency,rememberingthatthe
lowerpartsofthecurverepresentaconditionwhere
thereislessavailableandmorereserveenergy.Wemay
makeanadditionalremarkonthecurveinthatdiagram,
thatatomsintegratewherethecurveisconcavetowards
theleft,anddissociatewherethecurveisconcave
towardstheright;inotherwords,theconcavesideof
thecurvealwaysfacesthatdirectionintimetoward
whichwefindsmalleratoms.
Besidesthepositiveandnegativetendency,thereis
alsoaborderingtendency,whichwehavecalledthe
neutraltendency.Thisiscomparativelyrare,andit
128
GeneralSummaryoftheTheory

Page 129
sufficestosaythatithasnotendencyeventoform
compoundparticles,butremainsdecomposedintothe
separateultimateparticles.Itthereforeisnottobe
found(unlessmaybeforasinglemomentintime)in
anyknownsubstance,fornosubstanceswillbeformed
undertheneutraltendency.Buttheneutraltendencyis
probablytobefoundinthespacesbetweenthe
heavenlybodies,whereitrepresentsthephenomenonof
asubstancewithimpenetrabilitybutwithnoresistance
tothepassageofabodythroughit.
Wemaytabulateasfollowsthesimilaritiesand
differencesbetweenthepositiveandthenegative
tendency:
THEPOSITIVE
TENDENCY
THENEGATIVE
TENDENCY
1.Followsthesecond

lawofthermodynamics.
1.Reversesthesecond
lawofthermodynamics.
2.Decreasesdifference
ofenergylevel.
2.Increasesdifference
ofenergylevel.
3.Formsunavailable
reserveenergy.
3.Usesthisreserve
energy.
4.Usesupavailable
energy.
4.Formsavailable
energy.
5.Lifeless;appears
passive.
5.
Living;
appears
active.
6.Inelasticcollisions.
6.
Superelastic
collisions.
7.
Mechanical
efficiencylessthan100%.
7.
Mechanical
efficiencyover100%.
129
GeneralSummaryoftheTheory

Page 130
8.
Larger
causes
producesmallereffects.
8.
Smaller
causes
producelargereffects.
9.Explainedeasiestby
cause;apparentrigidityof
causality.
9.Explainedeasiestby
effect;apparentteleology.
10.Appearlivingwhen
reversed.
10.Appearlifeless
whenreversed.
11.
Absence
of
irritability.
11.Irritability
12.Atomsintegrateat
great
heat,
otherwise
dissociate.

12.Atomsdissociateat
great
heat,
otherwise
integrate.
13.Chemicalreactions
tendtowardsexothermic
compounds.
13.Chemicalreactions
tendtowardsendothermic
compounds.
14.Spontaneousand
completegenerationfrom
opposite
tendency
possible.
14.Spontaneousor
completegenerationfrom
opposite
tendency
impossible.
15.
Can
generate
oppositetendencyonlyby
gradualgrowthfroma
livingcenter.
15.Generatesopposite
tendency,spontaneously,
suddenly,andcompletely.
16.Partlyremainswhen
thereistransformationinto
theoppositetendency.
16.Isneededifmoreis
tobeformed.
17.Hotbodiesgiveout
lightetc.
17.Hotbodiesabsorb
lightetc.
18.Lighttendsnotto
18.Lighttendsnotto
130
GeneralSummaryoftheTheory

Page 131
enterthepositivesection
oftheuniverse.
leavethenegativesection
oftheuniverse.
ASAMAJORITYTENDENCY
19.Tendstoinclude
exothermiccompounds.
19.Tendstoinclude
exothermiccompounds.
20.Ordinarylifeless
objects.
20.Inorganiclife.
ASAMINORITYTENDENCY
21.Tendstoinclude
complex
endothermic
compounds.

21.Tendstoinclude
complex
endothermic
compounds.
22.
Pseudoliving
organisms.
22.Livingorganisms.
23.Metabolism.
23.Metabolism.
OTHERMISCELLANEOUSPROPERTIES
24.Obeysthethree
lawsofmotionandthe
lawofgravitation.
24.Obeysthethreelaws
ofmotionandthelawof
gravitation.
25.Conservationof
massandofenergy.
25.Conservationof
massandofenergy.
26.Sensitiveonlyto
thefuture.
26.Sensitiveonlytothe
past.
27.Organismsconceive
oftimeandeventsas
reversed.
27.Organismsconceive
oftimeandeventsinthe
orderinwhichtheyoccur.
131
GeneralSummaryoftheTheory

Page 132
28.Memorymustrefer
tofuture.
28.Memorymustrefer
topast.
29.Illusioninpositive
mentalphenomenaof
flowoftimefromfuture
topast.
29.Illusioninnegative
mentalphenomenaofflow
oftimefrompasttofuture.
30.
All
positive
phenomena
fully
determinedbyeither
causeoreffect.
30.
All
negative
phenomena
fully
determinedbyeithercause
oreffect.
132
GeneralSummaryoftheTheory

Page 133
CHAPTERXVIII
SOMEOBJECTIONS
TOTHEREVERSIBILITYTHEORY
Thereversibilitytheoryoftheuniverse,whichhas
herebeensetforth,isonlyadvancedasamere
speculation,asapossiblehypothesis.Therearemany
objectionstothetheoryofthereversibilityofthe
universe.Allthatisintendedhereis,nottoprovethis
theoryscientifically,oreventoclaimitasperfectly
consistentwithitselforwithfacts,butmerelyto
indicatethatthereare,onthequestionofreversibility,
otherpossibletheoriesthantheoneatpresentgenerally
acceptedbyphysicists,andyetnotmoreabsurdormore
inconsistentwithfacts.Thetheoryofthesecondlawof
thermodynamics,aswehaveseen,leadstomany
133

Page 134
absurdities,andwehaveseenanumberoffacts
indicatingthepossibilityofareversalofthesecondlaw
ofthermodynamics.Havingexaminedallthefactsand
alltheargumentsthatwehavealreadymarshalledon
thesideofthistheoryofthereversibilityofthe
universe,wemightaswellexamineafewfacts
mitigatingagainstthattheoryinfavorofthegenerally
acceptedtheoryoftheuniversalityofthesecondlawof
thermodynamics.
Inthefirstplace,oneessentialpointofthe
reversibilitytheoryisthesuppositionthattherearesuch
thingsasreversalsofthesecondlawof
thermodynamics,andthatthosereversals,inoursection
oftheuniverse,constitutethephenomenaknownas
life.Thisimmediatelyinvolvesthequestion:Doeslife
reallyreversethesecondlawofthermodynamics?We
havenoproofthatitdoes,anditmayindeedbe
consideredextremelydoubtfulwhetheritdoes.Ifwe
lookdownthelistofpropertiesofthenegative
tendency,bothingeneralandastheminoritytendency,
(excludingthename"life,"whereveritoccursinthat
list),wewillstillfindthatnothingunderourdirect
observationexceptlifecouldcomeunderthatheading,
sothat,unlesslifeisthatreversal,therearecertainlyno
reversalsofthesecondlawofthermodynamicswithin
ourobservation.Now,amongthecharacteristicsof
thesereversalswefind"superelasticcollisions"and
"mechanicalefficiencyover100%."Thesearevery
importantdistinguishingcharacteristics,andyetitis
doubtfulifwecouldfindasingleauthenticatedinstance
ofasuperelasticcollisionoccurringeveninthecaseof
livingbeings;and,ifthatispossible,itcertainlyistrue
thatinelasticcollisionsarethemorecommon
phenomenawithlivingaswellaswithlifelessbodies;
whichwouldnotbetrueiflifewereareversalofthe
134
SomeObjectionstotheReversibilityTheory

Page 135
secondlawofthermodynamics.Forinstance,whenwe
clapourhandstogether,itdoesnotresultinalarger

rebound;infact,thereboundisslight,andtheapplause,
ifkeptupalongtime,producesadistinctsensationof
heat,theheatfinallysubsiding.Herewehavean
inelasticcollision,molarmotionresultinginheat,
whichfinallyrunsdowntoacommonlevelexactly
whatwemightexpectunderthesecondlawof
thermodynamics.Inotherwords,therecertainlyare
livingphenomenawhichobeythesecondlawof
thermodynamicsinsteadofreversingit.
Furthermore,turningtochemicalproducts,thefinal
productoflivingforcesiscarbondioxide,themost
exothermiccompoundofcarbon.Doesnotthis,then,
indicateaprocessofproductionofcarbondioxideby
theoxidationofmorecomplexormoreendothermic
carboncompounds,preciselyaswemightexpectunder
thesecondlawofthermodynamics,andpreciselyaswe
shouldnotexpectunderitsreversal?Andthe
accompanyingresultistheliberationofalargeamount
ofchemicalenergy,whichmightbeusedtoexplainthe
energyoflifewithouthavingrecoursetothereserve
energywhichthesecondlawofthermodynamicssaysis
unavailable.Infact,thisprocessoftheoxidationof
carboncompoundstocarbondioxideisaprocess
distinctlycharacteristicofthepositiveratherthanofthe
negativetendency,thusindicatingthatlifeobeysthe
secondlawofthermodynamicsinsteadofreversingit.
Inotherwords,itwouldseemasthoughourtheory
ofthereversibilityoftheuniverseisbasedmerelyona
superficialresemblanceoflivingphenomenatothe
theoreticalappearanceofasupposed"negative
tendency."Theactualproofthatsucha"negative
tendency"isactuallytobefoundiswantingandit
seems,indeed,extremelydoubtfulwhetheritdoesexist.
135
SomeObjectionstotheReversibilityTheory

Page 136
Further,inourtheoryoftemporarystarsasstars
whicharealreadyinaheatedcondition,andwitha
nebula,butsuddenlygiveoutlightontakingonthe
positiveinsteadofthenegativetendency,wemay
noticethatwehavedependedonthepeculiar
observationsofthe"NebulainMotion"inthecaseof
NovaPersei1902.Itcertainlyisremarkablethat,while
temporarystarsareseenaboutonceayearoroftener,
thatsuchphenomenashouldhavebeenobservedon
onlythisonestar.Thusatheoryoftheuniverseandof
theevolutionofstellarsystemsbasedonthe
observationsofthisstarisonethatisnotlikelytoapply
ingeneral,becausethisstarisanexceptional
phenomenon.Ifthereversibilitytheoryiscorrect,the
phenomenonoftheNebulainMotionshouldbemuch
morecommonthanitreallyis.
Further,thetheoryofthereversibilityofthe
universesupposesthatlifeexistsunderallsortsof
circumstances,evenonsuchhotbodiesasthesun.
Certainlyonthesunthereisnopossibilityofanything
ofthesortthatcomesundertheheadingoflifewithin
ourexperience.Iflifeexistsonthesun,itmust
certainlybesodifferentfromanythingthatweareused
tocalllife,thattherecouldhardlybeanypointsof
resemblance.Andsimilarlyundermanyother

circumstancessuchascompleteabsenceofair,water,
orboth,as,forinstance,onthemoon.Inshort,asmuch
aswecanobserveoflifewouldratherseemtoindicate
thatlife,farfromexistingunderallsortsof
circumstanceseverywhereintheuniverse,isratheran
extremelycomplexphenomenonthatcanonlyexist
underveryspecialcircumstances.
Furthermore,ifwecometotheconclusionthatthe
secondlawofthermodynamicsisfundamentallybased
onaconceptualillusion,itwouldbejustaslogicalto
136
SomeObjectionstotheReversibilityTheory

Page 137
admitthesamepossibilityfortheotherphysicallaws,
inwhichcasethetheoryofthereversibilityofthe
universewouldalmostcarrywithititsownrefutation,
sincethereversiblephysicallawsarethefoundationof
thattheory.Ifobservedfactscanbeexplainedinone
caseasaconceptualillusion,whynotinanothercase?
Contents
137
SomeObjectionstotheReversibilityTheory