On cosmology: Engels discusses Kant’s hypothesis of celestial bodies forming from primordial nebulae. “It is primordial nebula, on the one hand, in that it is the origin of the existing celestial bodies, and on the other hand because it is the earliest form of matter which we have up to now been able to work back to. This certainly does not exclude but rather implies the supposition that before the nebular stage matter passed through an infinite series of other forms.”
My own limited understanding is that Engels is wrong here with regards to the word infinite–there is a definite limit to the different stages; but he is right regarding the existence of stages before the coalescing of the nebulae. I speak under correction here.
“Motion is the mode of existence of matter. Never anywhere has there been matter without motion, nor can there be.”
Okay, this is me speculating: Might it be accurate to define energy as That form of matter that causes motion? And then we can define matter as That form of energy that is subject to motion. I might also be totally full of shit here. My knowledge of physics and mechanical motion and heat transfer &c is almost nil, which makes it very dangerous to speculate. But then, Dühring did, and it seemed to…er…never mind.
“All rest, all equilibrium, is only relative, only has meaning in relation to one or other definite form of motion.”
It was, in fact, in my lifetime (maybe around 1970?), that certain subatomic particles were held by some to be motionless relative to certain others within an atom, which was held out as a proof that the above stated law is incorrect. Or that was the argument I heard in high school. Of course, even if that hypothesis disproved what Engels said, the hypothesis only lasted until the next round of discoveries about subatomic particles.
“On the earth, for example, a body may be in mechanical equilibrium, may be mechanically at rest; but this in no way prevents it from participating in the motion of the earth and in that of the whole solar system, just as little as it prevents its most minute physical particles from carrying out the vibrations determined by its temperature, or its atoms from passing through a chemical process.”
“In ordinary mechanics the bridge from the static to the dynamic is — the external impulse.”
“Matter without motion is just as inconceivable as motion without matter. Motion is therefore as uncreatable and indestructible as matter itself; as the older philosophy (Descartes) expressed it, the quantity of motion existing in the world is always the same.”
“To be sure, it is a hard nut and a bitter pill for our metaphysician that motion should find its measure in its opposite, in rest. That is indeed a crying contradiction, and every contradiction, according to Herr Dühring, is nonsense.”
“From the dialectical standpoint, the possibility of expressing motion in its opposite, in rest, presents absolutely no difficulty. From the dialectical standpoint the whole antithesis, as we have seen, is only relative; there is no such thing as absolute rest, unconditional equilibrium. Each separate movement strives towards equilibrium, and the motion as a whole puts an end again to the equilibrium. When therefore rest and equilibrium occur they are the result of limited motion, and it is self-evident that this motion is measurable by its result, can be expressed in it, and can be restored out of it again in one form or another.”
Any motion that results in equlibrium initates motion that destroys another equilibrium, and so on (and here is an infinity I can grasp). This is one of the contradictions of motion; others will follow.