Section 5

How the Striated particles Flow through the paths of the Earth

by Rene Descartes translated by Google Translate, fixed by Juan Icon

4.146 How the striped particles flow through the paths of the Earth

Earth AB has A as the South Pole, and B the North Pole.

The striped particles, coming from the southern part of the sky E, are twisted in a completely different way than those coming from the north F so that one of the paths of the others cannot enter clearly.

The southern ones proceed straight from A towards B through the middle of the Earth, and then return from B towards A through the air surrounding it.

At the same time the North passes from B to A through the middle of the Earth, and return from A to B through the surrounding air because the paths by which they came from one part to the other are such that they cannot return by them.


4.147 It is more difficult for them to pass through air, water, and the outer earth than through the interior

However, as many new particles always approach from parts of the sky E and F.

And so, many depart through other parts of the sky G and H or dissipate along the way and lose their shapes.

They dissipate by returning through air, water, and other bodies of the outer earth.

  • There, they encounter more difficulty, as these bodies do not have such passages [not electromagnetic].

They frequently collide with particles of the air-aether and fire-aether, which they strive to displace and are sometimes shattered by them.

4.148 They pass more easily through a magnet than through other bodies of this outer earth.

If these striped particles encounter a magnet there, when they find passages shaped to their form and likewise arranged as the passages of the inner earth, they can pass through it much more easily than through air or other bodies of the outer earth.

At least, when this magnet is positioned in such a way that its openings are turned towards those parts of the Earth from which those striped particles come, which can freely enter through them.

4.149 The poles of the magnet

And just as in the Earth, so in the magnet, the middle point of that part, in which there are the openings of the channels, through which enter the striped particles coming from the southern part of the sky, we will call the southern pole.

he middle point of the other part, through which these striped particles leave, and others coming from the North enter, we shall call the North pole, the Boreal.

Nor do we dwell on the fact that, as others say, the pole which we call Southern, they call Boreal; for the common people, who have the sole right of approving names ill-suited to things by frequent use, do not usually speak of that matter.

4.150 Why did these poles turn to the poles of the Earth?

When these magnetic poles do not respect those parts of the Earth from which those striped particles come, to which they can provide free passage, then these striped particles, rushing obliquely into the paths of the magnet, push it to where it is, to continue in its motion according to straight lines, until they have brought it back to its natural position: so whenever it is restrained by any external force, they cause its South Pole to be turned towards the Boreal Pole of the Earth, and the Boreal towards the South Pole: since those which tend from the Boreal Pole of the Earth through the air to the South from the southern part of the sky through the middle of the Earth, and coming from the Borealis which return to Borea.

4.151 Why do they lean towards its center?

They also cause the magnet, depending on their different locations on Earth, to incline one of its poles towards the other.


In the Equator, the South pole of the magnet L is directed towards B the North Pole of the Earth.

The North pole B of the same magnet is directed towards the South pole A of the Earth.

Neither is more depressed than the other because the striped particles approach them with equal force from both sides.

But at the North pole of the Earth:

  • the pole A of the magnet N is entirely depressed
  • the pole B is raised perpendicular to it.

In intermediate locations, the magnet M raises its pole B more or less, and depresses its pole A depending on its proximity to the North pole of the Earth.

This is because the Southern striped particles are going to enter the magnet N. They rise straight through the Earth’s interior via the pole B.

However, the Northern particles, coming from all directions through the air towards the same magnet N from the hemisphere DAC of the Earth, should not progress more obliquely in order to reach its upper part than to its lower part.

On the other hand, the Southern particles are going to enter the magnet M, coming from the entire region of the Earth between B and M. They have the force to depress its pole a obliquely, and are not hindered by the Northern particles, which approach its other pole B from the region AC of the Earth, whether it is raised or depressed, with no less ease.

4.152 Why does one magnet turn and bow to another, in the same way as to the earth?

But since these striped particles flow through individual magnets in exactly the same way as they do through the Earth, they must turn two spherical magnets to one another in no other way than to the whole Earth.

For it should be noted that they are always gathered in much greater abundance around each magnet than in the air removed from it: namely, because they have passages in the magnet, through which they flow much more easily than through the surrounding air, by which they are therefore held close to the magnet; so also, because of the paths which they have in the inner Earth, there is a greater abundance of them in the whole air, and in other bodies surrounding the Earth, than in heaven.

And so, as far as the magnetic force is concerned, everything must be thought of in respect of one magnet, in respect of another magnet, and of the Earth, which itself may be said to be the greatest magnet.

4.153 Why do two magnets approach each other, and what is the sphere of activity of each.

Two magnets turn towards each other until the North pole of one faces the South pole of the other, until they come into contact if no external force hinders their motion.

The striped particles move very swiftly as long as they are within the passages of the magnets because they are carried by the momentum of the fire-aether to which they belong.

When they emerge from there, they encounter particles of the air-aether or earth-aether do not have the same speed.

Thus, those that pass through the magnet O acquire the force to continue straight along the lines:

  • from A to B towards R, and
  • from B to A towards S

This is until they encounter a sufficient number of particles of the air-aether or earth-aether.

  • This will cause them to be reflected towards V from both sides.

The entire space RVS, where they scatter in this manner, is called the sphere of influence or activity of this magnet O.

  • This sphere should be greater as the magnet itself is larger, especially if it is longer along the line AB
  • This is because the striped particles traveling a longer distance acquire more agitation.

Similarly, those that pass through the magnet P proceed straight towards S and T from both sides.

  • They then are reflected towards X, propelling the entire air-aether contained within the sphere of their activity.

However, they do not expel the air-aether if there is no place for it to retreat.

  • This happens when the spheres of influence of these magnets are disconnected from each other.

Merging of 2 Magnets

But when they merge into one, the striped particles coming from O towards S can easier to go straight to P.

  • At P, those coming from T through X are reflected towards S and b instead of towards V and R, which they pass through easily when coming from X.

Before the merger, the particles coming from P going towards S were reflected towards X where it passes easily while returning from V.

  • But after the merger those particles now go straight to O

Thus, these striped particles pass through these 2 magnets O and P as if it were 1 magnet.

It becomes easier for the striped particles traveling straight from O to P and from P to O to expel the intermediate air-aether from S to R and S to T into the space of magnets O and P.

  • This causes these magnets to approach each other until they touch in S.

This is achieved by exerting force on that air-aether from A to b and from V to X, which are the 2 shorter paths when these 2 magnets approach each other.

4.154 Why do they sometimes turn away from each other?

When the striped particles coming from one magnet’s pole, which faces the pole of the other magnet, require some space between these two magnets in order to pass through it and return to the pole of the magnet from which they emerged.

When they cannot enter the magnet P through its pole a, coming from O through the pole A, they need space between A and a so they can pass towards V and B.

They are propelled by the force which moved them from B to A, thus pushing the magnet P.

Similarly, when they emerge from P, they push the magnet O, at least when their axes BA and ab are in the same straight line.

However, when they are slightly more deflected in one direction than in the other, then these magnets turn towards each other as explained earlier.

Or if this turning is hindered but not their straight motion, then one magnet again repels the other along a straight line.

So, if the magnet O is placed on a small boat floating in water in such a way that its axis remains upright perpendicular, and the magnet P, whose South pole faces the South pole of the other magnet, is moved by hand towards Y, it will cause the magnet O to move away towards Z before being touched by the magnet P.

Whichever direction the boat turns, there always needs to be some space between these 2 magnets so that the striped particles, exiting through the poles A and a, can pass through towards V and X.

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