What is Time?

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How would you define it?

I propose a new way of describing time, which I find clearer and more explanatory than others.

Time is an abstraction which refers to a general property of experiences which are remembered or recorded as having occurred in a either an irreversible linear sequence, or a repeating sequence (cycle). In my view, time is inherently phenomenal (private, experiential) rather than physical (public, structural), not just because of time dilation under Relativity, but for the more axiomatic reason that time requires memory. Without memory, there can logically be only one eternal moment. It could be repeating forever or be following a pattern or have no pattern and nothing could tell the difference. Time…is experience, or a quality of experience through which private memory can map to public structure. I suggest that time can be understood as taking on three different modal scopes:

I. Micro-phenomenal: This is clock time. Physics. Looking at the development of time keeping, we can see that early devices exploited natural processes which were either continuous and invariant, such as the flow of water or sand into a container, or which cycled reliably, such as a shadow on a sundial. Mechanical clocks offered a marriage of the two, whereby an underlying linear or oscillating effect such as an unwinding spring’s tension or a pendulum’s swing would advance the teeth of a system of gears, one by one.

Each tick/tock is an precisely measured event which is, as much as possible, uniform and generic. As technology has improved, we have refined the clock to a pinnacle of pure abstraction. Both the indivisible and divisible power of nature has been abstracted electronically. A perpetual electrical current drives generic switches to compute a digitally coded readout. Satellite networks deliver synchronized atomic time. Each microsecond like the last, and even though global adjustments to clock or calendar can be made arbitrarily by central authorities, we feel that this kind of time is the ‘real time’.

II. Phenomenal Time: This is natural time. Idioms like ‘time flies when you’re having fun’ or ‘it was the longest night of my life’ reflect that our ordinary sense of time also dilates and contracts through emotional states. Significant events and experiences seem to stand out in our autobiographical memory as not only more timely, but more timeless as well. We claim them, intentionally or unintentionally, as our own. This kind of time is narrative. “I woke up, I ate breakfast, I went to the store”, etc.. There is a story which has a shape – beginnings, middles and ends. It is not just generic oscillation or monotonous duration or arrow of increasing entropy, but a proprietary sequence of participation. This is the kind of time that we might say ‘seems like’ it is real.

If you think of how a story works, the more of the story is told, the more the information entropy decreases. By the middle of the story, we know the characters, the setting, the plot, etc. The number of possible ways the story can continue is relatively limited (even if it is still potentially unlimited in an absolute sense). The significance, however, of the remaining bit of the story is increasingly augmented. If the story is good, you want to hear the end of it, even if you are pretty sure that you know how it will turn out.

After the story ends, it would seem that there is no entropy left. The story has been told in its entirety. In reality, however, the meta-story has just begun. The memory of it survives, creating new opportunities to be applied figuratively in one’s life, as well as sharing it socially and seeing it retold, dramatized, and celebrated in culture as myth.

III. Metaphenomenal Time: Carl Jung famously wrote about the Collective Unconscious, and synchronicity. Experiences which some consider delusional or paranormal. Meaningful coincidences, prophetic dreams, a symbolic language of recurring characters and sagas called archetypes. This is eternal time. Time wound around itself in such a way that some essential, iconic reduction of all that has happened or might happen is in some sense ‘always still here’ and in another sense ‘never really anywhere’.

This is not mystical babbling to me, it is literally the physical reality of what the universe is and what (or who) it does. We have no trouble thinking of eternity in the Platonic sense, as ideal geometric forms or mathematical relations, but because we ourselves are immersed in human phenomena we do not see ourselves as being composed of similarly eternal recurrences.

Because there is no hard line between I, II, and III, all time is actually nested within all three contexts. This can help explain how intuition could work to allow people to sometimes pick up on feelings from a larger scope of time. Events that have great significance especially could theoretically cast a shadow from the III range to the II, so that from the II perspective, it is precognitive.

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    • March 5, 2014 at 11:04 pm

      Interesting. Watching the beginning of the video there (I can only absorb a little at a time), I think I’m understanding some more about the foundations of Tetryonics. It’s confusing though. If the Planck units are Kgm^2/s and the Energy units are the same thing but pushing into time from meta-time (s^2 instead of s), I can imagine that to make Matter instead of Energy we would lose the time completely, and have something like Kg/m^3 instead. The extra dimensionality of volume would be purchased at the price of losing possibilities of motion. What’s on the video instead though is a big M (Matter? Mass in 3D?) and Kg. If Matter has volume (which I like) and mass has only area (ok), then why doesn’t Matter have a measure of distance as well? How can matter occupy volume if it has no size?

  1. March 5, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    In the carnival, we have a ride called ‘time’. When you look just past the ticket booth, you’ll notice the movement of puzzle pieces are controlled by master producer Wills, engineering the imaginations of which you’re living, as well as the experiences that make up a dualistic, attached life. Know friend, your attention goes where the blinking lights and calliope sounds are heard.

    You are stationary, yet the pieces move under your watchful ‘eyes’.

    Ah… so goes the ‘journey’.

    The sensation you’re experiencing is called ‘time’. When you use the measly little choice you have, you find it resides in that very same feeling, produced by how you react to the movement of the pieces. Depending on the sensation generated, your observance of the ‘moving’ pieces brings a new frame and view of ‘time’, ‘perspective’ and ‘opportunity’.

    At that point your boots can hoof down several different paths… you can;

    Stand there with a stupid look on your face,

    Hightail it with shifty sweating palms to get over the barbed wire fence,

    Or, simply grin and meander yourself to the front gate, stopping on the way to enjoy a few illusory-like corn dogs and chocolate covered bacons on the way.

    • March 6, 2014 at 4:15 am

      Reminds me of the second law of thermodynamics. Path three: You can’t win. Path one: You can’t break even. Path two: You can’t get out of the game.

  2. March 6, 2014 at 12:04 am

    I wanted to add… Time – A symptom of thought, engendered from higher Wills, and co-created by the unquestioned premise of complicit observers. Where there is word, there is sound, which is vibration, which is energy, which creates subjective light, which creates angles from mixing the 3 (read trinity) colors to make the first shape (hexagon), which contains angles (known also as ‘angels’), which creates objects and ‘things’. Here, where thought creates ‘things’, distance and space appear as an illusory-like manifestation.

    • March 6, 2014 at 4:22 am

      I think that there is no vibration or energy. It’s all sensory phenomena, and it is through the nesting of sensory phenomena that we get interiors (subjective private experience through time) and exteriors (objective public bodies in space). Interesting about the angles angle. I was playing with translating physics (or my understanding of it) into English, (https://multisenserealism.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/physics_in_english1.jpg) and it felt like I was closing in on something about angles being the square root of mass. Perspective is what spatializes time, freezing it and projecting that freeze as inertia to be added onto whatever frames of reference become un-disentangled with it.

  3. March 6, 2014 at 5:38 am

    again, reflections much appreciated – nicely arranged – thanks

  4. March 6, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Hi OP (couldn’t see your name)

    Interesting article, I like the opening paragraph, but I have a particular angle on why we think a thing called ‘time’ may exist, and how we may be mistaken, that written, and made videos about, that may simplify things even further.

    My thought is that perhaps we have completely misled ourselves from the outset in assuming time exists in any form. That is, it seems to me that *all* we actually observe is,

    1- Matter(/energy) existing, and,
    2- Matter moving, transforming, interacting and oscillating etc.

    (which I think you describe throughout your post)

    But, we seem to have assumed in some way that there ‘is’ a ‘past’ and a ‘future’, to be accounted for, or understood in some obscure way, and thus we conclude ‘time’ with a direction etc may ‘kind of’ exist.

    In your opening paragraph, you suggest,

    *”Time is an abstraction which refers to a general property of experiences which are remembered or recorded as having occurred”*

    Re this consider a simple experiment, sitting at a desk you tear up a sheet of paper into smaller and smaller pieces. As you do so, the paper is indeed more and more disintegrated, but no part or aspect of the paper is seen in any way to recede into a temporal past.

    On the desk there may be a pot of flowers, and as you are tearing up the paper, the plants are growing. To do this they are just using energy from light, to assimilate atoms from the air and soil, such that they make themselves larger or grow. But just as the disintegrating paper does not go into a past, the growing plant does not come from a future. Thus (imo) we have no reason to assume that as things move, change, oscillate, integrate or disintegrate, there is a past, future, or ‘time’ of any kind observed or ‘passing’.

    Instead it may just be that there is a universe full of interacting matter, not leaving a past behind or heading into a future, but we may mistakenly assume such ideas make sense if we consider the patterns form in our minds as ‘memories’ of ‘the past’ – while in fact they too, logically and scientifically, are surely just collections of matter, existing and changing ‘now’ ( to use a loaded term).

    Thus, perhaps, where you say *”I. Micro-phenomenal: This is clock time. “*, there may be no ‘clock time’. A ‘clock’ in simple terms is just a rotating or oscillating machine – which proves only that matter can be rotating and oscillating, thus, logically, it is true that IF time exists and passes, THEN a ‘clock’ may display this, but, no matter what we call it, a rotating or oscillating machine does not prove a thing called time exists.

    So what i am suggesting is that if we consider, perhaps matter just exists and moves etc, then we may see we are just ‘constantly’ having a single, changing experience, no past, no future, just a constantly changing collection of matter, that includes our own minds.

    I’ve produced a book on the possibility, and here’s a couple of videos, hopefully showing how Relativity might not be about ‘dilated time’, but just about dilated rates of change ‘now’ (if you’re interested in ‘time’ or ‘timelessness’).

    Considering ‘time travel’
    Time Travel,Timeless Answers to Prof Cox’s Science of Dr Who:

    more general aspects of ‘time’
    Timelessness, Downstairs at the Kings Head London (rt)

    • March 6, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      Hi Matt, Craig here. To begin with, let me say that I both agree with you 100%, and disagree with you 100%. Unfortunately explaining why in a way that is going to be understandable probably deserves a book in itself (and congratulations on your book btw. Feel free to link me or tell me how to get it). In many ways, this entire site is about why I agree with you that in some respects, the universe is timeless, and in some respect, it is nothing but time.

      To try to boil it down to some key points, I would say:

      1. I understand the view of time that you are talking about because I have thought about it that way myself. I still think about it that way, but also…

      2. It now makes more sense to me that the public world of bodies in space is only half of the picture – a half which is infinitely more accessible to our inspection and control (by seeing and touching) but is itself a subset of…

      3. An eternity of sensory experiences which are:

      3a. parsed into semi-permeable temporal packets or fugues, separated by what could be called entropic amnesia or a constraint on the private now.

      3b. Because the these bubbles of experience are subtracted temporarily from the totality of experience which is whole and ‘made of sense and sense making’, they act like a diffraction grating, so that the bubbles (and this is metaphor here, there are no bubbles really, only trans-dimensional phenomenal content being dimensionalized temporally/privately and then spatially/publicly) are more like air-gap lenses through which a higher-order narrative can be cast through like a beam of light.

      3c. This beam through bubble is the sense of irreversible sequence superimposed on repeating sub-cycles. I might use a symbol like this “≅” to represent it.

      3d. This kind of time can also be thought of as (2d+2) instead of (3d+1). In the public world of 3d space, time is a one dimensional vector of flat duration (or no dimensions, as your view proposes), while in our subjective experience, the flow of autobiographical narrative is more like 2d dreams (not literally 2d flat but 2d lacking mass) with a 2d harmonic feedback (through the meta oscillation of ≅).

      Set all that aside though. The main thing, if you should want to see this in a new way (and I’m not trying to sell you on my way, just trying to make a path there in case you want to visit) is to reconsider a couple of points.

      a. you said “That is, it seems to me that *all* we actually observe is,
      1- Matter(/energy) existing, and,
      2- Matter moving, transforming, interacting and oscillating etc.”

      I would add:
      3- Our own capacity receive and interpret (sensory affect)
      4- Our own capacity to participate in controlling our attention and the matter of our body (motive effect)

      So yes, you are right, if we only consider 1- and 2-, then there is no space for time.To understand time, we have to fully step into our own model of the universe and integrate the very motive for asking the question of what time is or is not.

      b. When you say that *all* we actually observe is matter and matter transforming, we can also observe that we can freeze the state of any material phenomenon with a sufficiently fast camera/sensory, so that even the phenomenon we see as motion is no less illusory from an objective physical perspective. We see how the illusion of animation can be created with a marquee effect or any number of graphic cues. If we really want to try for an absolutely impersonal view, can we really say there can be motion at all? Isn’t physics an “un-collection” of rigid configurations being presided over by unacknowledged ‘collectors’?

      My view is that we should begin instead from a sensory-motive super-collectingness from the start of our physics, which is divided temporarily and then spatially into sub-collecting bubbles, which in turn re-collect each other as mass-energetic participation. Oscillation and vibration require memory and sequence. If we want to include them in our physics, indeed if we want to include energy at all, we need this sensory-motive capacity of flux and flow (≅). We don’t need to reify it as a thing, but I propose that we understand it as a measure of the difference between scales of nested sensory-motive encounters/episodes (‘events’ is too generic and aloof…sense is always proprietary and intimate)

      It may not be clear, but I’m not trying here to introduce anything very surprising, only to describe what is the ordinary way things are in a surprising way. To understand time, all we need do is be alive and experience for ourselves what it is and what it is not. To try to make sense of that experience in a way that can be studied and communicated is harder.

  5. March 6, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    PS: Just to add,

    I think ‘Anonymous’ mentions elsewhere the idea of the ‘big bounce’ universe, which I quite like because it makes it easier to consider how, perhaps, nothing is ultimately going to, or coming from anywhere. It may all just be constantly changing.

    The idea the universe may ‘just’ be timeless might sound incomplete, and not even offer a solution to the question where did it all ‘come from’? – but then so too may the idea time ‘just’ exists seem incomplete, and its solution “everything came from ‘the past’ ” seems very unsatisfying

    – especially if we consider we don’t seem to actually see anything coming from, or going to a past or future, so even the origin of cornerstones of the idea of time seem to be just assumed.
    mm

  6. March 6, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Hi Everyone! I’ve enjoyed the discourse on this post. Here is my best response to many of these ideas, but obviously we can all unpack these concepts to further elaborate.

    Time, as an outcropping of reality and merged with Space as space-time, is something of a misnomer. I do not believe in a space-time manifold as independent of the observer measurement states.

    Time and Space, to me, is just an agreed upon reference frame for the overlay of numbers/quantities that helps observers to communicate as precisely as possible.

    Tetryonics is coming from a ‘quantum steps’ perspective suggesting that the change in Quantum Angular Momentum ( not to be confused with the typical understanding of angular momentum — but rather the hidden constant of the changing Planck mass-energy geometries [QAM] or the radial expansion of equilateral plank triangles inscribed within a radial time circle ) is the basis of time.

    Of note is the fact that QAM gives rise to CHARGE [mass.seconds] which is often mistaken in the mathematical formulation of Relativity for TIME [seconds] leading to much erroneous speculation on the nature of time itself and time-travel etc.

    Stated another way, Time is the rate of change related to Quantized Angular Momentum. QAM is a physical equilateral geometry that is conservative in any system where there are no external forces and serves as the foundational geometric source of all the conservation laws of physics. In quantum mechanics, angular momenta is quantised – that is, it CANNOT vary continuously, but only in ODD numbered ‘quantum steps’ between the allowed ‘SQUARE’ nuclear energy levels.

    Furthermore…You can view time as a measure of divergent energies, and has a radial geometry. Within the radial time geometry we inscribe an Equilateral Planck Triangle, and it’s expansion, or rate of change, or movement, once quantified, is Charge-Time…

    Math formulas describe an underlying geometric symmetry – to which Tetryonics has applied an equilateral foundation, rather than the normally taught and accepted circular geometries. And surprising in itself is the realization that Equilateral Geometry is the inverse of Radial Geometry. And that both a sphere and a tetrahedron have 4pi Gaussian surface curvatures. That’s a BIG WOW when you can chew on that, and realize that all of physics is currently looking to spherical point charges, which is correct from a mathematical perspective, but wrong according to the geometric foundations that Tetryonics is proposing.

    These definitions of mass-ENERGY-Matter and the spatial co-ordinate systems used to measure them are the same as is in current use – but radically re-interpreted geometrically to show us the ‘hidden’ world of quantum mechanics. Time itself can then be show to be a measure of the changing Planck mass-energy geometries [QAM] of any observed physical system where d.QAM/c^2 = [d.[m^2/s].[s^2/m^2] = d.seconds thus revealing that time is an emergent property of the motion of charged quanta in space (not an inherent property of space-time).

    • March 6, 2014 at 10:10 pm

      There’s a lot there to try to understand. I wish there were an easier way to upload the background that I would need to make sense of it. It seems a little circular or tautological to say that time is a measure of changing QAM, as change itself is only measurable through the passage of some kind of time. The Tetryonics view utilizes space and angles as the fundamental axioms, so circles and cycles (time) are backgrounded. It’s not clear that QAM alone would be able to measure cycles in a progressive way, so I’m not sure how the time that we experience would emerge. Even so, I don’t discount the potential value of Tetryonics. As long as it maintains a flawless translation from mathematical modeling to geometric modeling (and thus far I have no reason to doubt that), it promises to get to a unification of physics in a completely new way. I think that MSR could theoretically fill in the blanks between conventional physics and Tetryonics (triangulate them, heh).

  7. March 7, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    I think that much of what you are saying and much of what Tetryonics suggests is really similar and can definitely provide a basis for further philosophical musings. It is the ceaseless sea of change that we perceive in our minds. Movement have you. Without change there is nothing to measure. Without the observer, there is no accounting, and without the ability to quantify, how do we qualify this or that thing? I tend toward the only real time we have is the instantaneous now. As conscious beings, we have stored up experiences and we reminisce about those experiences calling it the past, but we’re always in the ever-present now, and as a result we anticipate the future because our experience tells us that the sea of change is going to continue indefinitely. But does the past and future exists as such? I would say no. I would suggest that we share in the ever present now with God, or the Divine, or whatever you want to call it. The instantaneous connection to all time, a timelessness that is shared and that we perceive as our consciousness experience. We are simply basking in the light of eternity all the time. Can some advanced civilization traverse ‘time’ as we can our spacial 3D world? I think not. I do agree with you concerning the idea that conscious beings have a nested connection to reality, and our brains are the receiver of many differing frequency sets. This isn’t a revolutionary thought but to state it explicitly, our senses are fine tuned to digest and qualify changes in vibration. Whether it’s in music, food, color, heat/cold, aroma, and even down to the quantum realm where our synapses connect neurons to other neurons. These changes passed through the chemical neurotransmitters, are archived, and then filtered through our conscious awareness and stored up as experience. The private landscape of experience you mention is really the only lens we have to inspect and investigate the public domain of material change. This ‘material’ change is what Tetryonics is attempting to quantify by using the quantum step understanding put forth by Planck. I put quotes around ‘material’ because 2D mass-energy geometries can combine to form 3D mass-ENERGY-Matter topologies. Platonic Tetrahedrons are the foundational topologies of all 3D Matter and do occupy a volume. A Quantum Tetrahedron of Matter, as a standing wave, is an ideal inductive loop of cycling energy, and is a perfect quantum Faraday cage, excluding all energies, thus creating null space. The vacuum energy field acts upon the internal ‘null space’ volumes of all Matter creating a gravitational pressure gradient. This pressure gradient is then modeled as a convergent Gravity field vector.

    • March 7, 2014 at 8:43 pm

      I agree that the past and future do not ‘exist’ as public features, but I think that they ‘insist’ locally though our experience. The instantaneous now and the eternal then are just opposite constraints on the totality of experience.

      >without the ability to quantify, how do we qualify this or that thing?

      Just by feeling it. Something like an experience of peace or agitation need not be quantified as far as I can imagine.

  8. March 9, 2014 at 6:17 am

    I’ve read most of the posts, and I do not disagree with any of the eloquent ideas you wrote about, but I think of time as a fifth physical force that is a property only of matter (I define matter as a discrete mass having energy). Unlike the other forces, time only ages matter and thus it causes the disorder (entropy) of all matter.

    • March 9, 2014 at 3:41 pm

      Thanks. I can agree somewhat with that, but I would say that matter is not a separate thing from experience, only a view of separation. From the absolute perspective, all of eternity is a single ‘here and now’. Because we are nested within it, our experience is of a localized here and now against a backdrop of almost infinite ‘theres and thens’. It is through that localization that matter comes to be, and I think that entropy is what we see of the effect of our own localization. Our coming and going within the universe turns the universe into an infinite reflection of coming and going.

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