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When I am reading Philosophy and Simulation, I encountered the sentence:

"the higher the air reaches the colder it gets, the more saturated it becomes, and the larger the liquid drops and ice crystals that condense from it"

But I could not understand what the sentence means. Could you pharaphrase it for me?

The death of a thunderstorm, in turn, is linked to processes that counteract its sustaining gradients: the higher the air reaches the colder it gets, the more saturated it becomes, and the larger the ·liquid drops and ice crystals that condense from it.

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    The higher the air reaches, the colder it becomes and it becomes all the more saturated. Also, ice crystals and liquid drops that condensate from the air become larger/bigger when this air is high. – MorganFR Apr 26 '16 at 14:36
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The sentence is not bizarre and you need to understand the so called "the more comparative" structure in order to understand the sentence in the book.

This link seems to have pretty nice examples. For example:

The more he reads, the less he understands.

It means

Even though (as) he spends more time reading (increase), he doesn't understand more (decrease). (He should understand more as he reads more, but it is not happening).

Another example:

The less you spend, the more you save.

It means

When (as) you spend less money than before (decrease), you can save more money (increase).

The sentence basically means:

The higher the air reaches (increase of height: when or as the air reaches a higher point)

the colder it gets, (increase of coldness: it gets colder)

the more saturated it becomes, (increase of being saturated: it becomes more saturated)

and the larger the ·liquid drops and ice crystals that condense from it (increase of the size of liquid drops and ice crystals: the size of them increases)

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The author is using some parallelism in phrasing and eliding some words that might help in understanding the sentence. "The higher the air reaches the colder it gets" could be rephrased as "As the air reaches higher, it becomes increasingly colder."

"the more saturated it becomes" means, roughly, "it becomes increasingly more saturated".

"the larger the liquid drops and ice crystals that condense from it" means roughly "the liquid drops and ice crystals that condense from it become increasingly larger."

We could rephrase the entire sentence as "As the air reaches higher, it becomes colder, and this makes it become more saturated, and the liquid drops and ice crystals that condense from it become larger."

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The death of a thunderstorm, in turn, is linked to processes that counteract its sustaining gradients: the higher the air reaches the colder it gets, the more saturated it becomes, and the larger the liquid drops and ice crystals that condense from it.

This is about cloud formations during rain, snow and lightning-and-thunder storms. The atmosphere of the earth is colder at higher altitudes, and this drop in temperature causes the moisture in the clouds to condense and be released, forming rain, snow, sleet and/or hail, which then falls to earth. As far as I can tell from this quoted passage, it has nothing to do with philosophy; it appears simply to be a statement about the weather.

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"sustaining gradients" are those factors that must keep changing in a certain direction in order for a thing to survive. Anything that tends toward the opposite direction, or towards stillness, will tend to kill it.

It has often been said that a business must grow or die. In that case, positive growth is the sustaining gradient. In the case of thunderstorms, there are several gradients that keep it alive:
Air moving from lower to higher warmer to colder less to more saturated smaller to larger drops.

The counteracting forces are mostly intrinsic. As the air gets colder and denser, it sinks. As larger drops form, they fall out of suspension making the air less saturated. Therefore the "sustaining gradients" carry within them the seeds of their own destruction. The same has been said about growing businesses.

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