Tuesday, July 14, 2009

About Time

This blog is about shedding assumptions, about changing perspectives, and about leaving our anthropomorphic cradle. You are encouraged to let go, temporarily, of the familiar constraints of human experience. This blog is about thought experimentation; about adventures into that part of the rational mind that can let go of Gravity--for a moment.

What is a moment? Does time proceed forward as a sheet without gaps or as a sequence of infinitely small steps? We naturally assume that past time is immutable, that yesterday happened and now cannot be changed. But consider this. If the past were to change, our memories which are the effect of the past would change right in step. That said, the past could be changing constantly, and we wouldn't know it. We can't even say that we exist for longer than the moment that is now. Perhaps, once now is passed we are something else and the self that existed a moment ago is no more. The continuity that we assume to be our consciousness is an illusion based upon our accumulated memories. We assume because we see the effects, our memories, that causes of those effects must have been. All memories exist now. Even the activity of the neurons that form thoughts are dependant on time. To merely think is to traverse time.

Our language alone is hopelessly dependant upon time. One reads a sentence in a duration of time. Our verbs are fundamentally tensed. It is therefore hard, from a human perspective to talk about timelessness or to think of single frames of time.

Sure, William of Ockham is turning in his grave. Scientific reason cuts away anything that cannot be demonstrated, but that does not make the cuttings untrue, just unusable. Of course, we have to fall back on sense experience eventually. We cannot extract truth from the limbo of wonderment, at least not any that can be verified. Alas, gravity has won this round.


  1. Time, a continuous flow such as a river. I would have thought with the subject of the past you could write an article about not regretting our past for without it we wouldn't be who we are. No matter what we've had to go through, it has increased our breadth of knowledge through experiences.

    Rather, time is this idea, to you, that is simply made up of memories. The only way we know time is through our memories. I have this to say, if for a reason your hippocampus were to be damaged in a specific way so that you could no longer form new memories, would that mean that time has ceased? Maybe for you as that person you would be stuck in time and only remember events prior to the time of that incident of having your hippocampus damaged. But, if you were to look at yourself in the mirror and see your face get older, that would be your assurance that time has indeed passed.

    Therefore, simply because you've lost your memories or can't form new ones doesn't mean that time has indeed ceased to exist.

    One would then say that your thoughts need to be reevaluated. :-p

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  3. This will explain my point more clearly.