Is The Moon Held Up By A Spring? How Perspective Shapes Reality

Is The Moon Held Up By A Spring? How Perspective Shapes Reality by MinutePhysics on YouTube has a nice metaphorical message at the end about understanding alternate ideas and perspectives.

The video explores how the first observations of Jupiter’s moons, because viewed from the side, suggested that they were attached to springs, bouncing in and out, rather than swinging around in orbit in the way that we observe own moon. The point of the video is that the sine wave for the spring out sideways idea produces a valid mathematic model for elliptical orbits viewed from above. Meaning that the spring idea is still kind of useful and valid. Watch the video. It’s explained better than that. In the end, these questions are posed:

Do Jupiters moons move like they’re pulled back and forth by the invisible force of springs? Or held in orbit by the invisible force of gravity? Or are they following helical paths which are actually straight lines in curved space time?

And this final answer is given:

The way we describe the world influences the way we think the world is, even when there are other, equally correct ways of describing the world that paint entirely difference pictures from our own. That’s not to say that we should accept wrong ideas, but we should be aware that sometimes, a different correct picture, one we haven’t considered, is the one we need to see.

Maybe I’m just forcing the metaphor, but I can’t help but feel resonance with all the fake-news news of the moment, and the wider difficulty of agreeing on a single and true truth.