Time is What a Clock Measures

You say that time is a measurement of consciousness, but that is very silly. It’s like saying that time is a measure of the speed of a clock.

It’s not silly, it’s accurate. Einstein is famously quoted as saying ‘Zeit ist das, was man an der Uhr abliest.’ [Time is what a clock measures.]

What does a clock measure? Depends on the clock, but generally it measures a ratio between a dynamic baseline (flowing water or sand, rotating shadows, etc) and fixed enumeration points (ticks and tocks of an escapement mechanism, markings on a container, etc). This is what time is. A normalized abstraction of the sense of relation between what appears fixed and what appears sequential within a given frame of perception. That’s all it is. Entropy can be reversed locally (biology for example), and even on the quantum level:


“Step II: What is “Negative Temperature”?

Not all systems have the property that the entropy increases monotonically with energy. In some cases, as energy is added to the system, the number of available microstates, or configurations, actually decreases for some range of energies. […]

So we have created a system where, as we add more and more energy, temperature starts off positive, approaches positive infinity as maximum entropy is approached, with half of all spins up. After that, the temperature becomes negative infinite, coming down in magnitude toward zero, but always negative, as the energy increases toward maximum. “

The definition of time which conflates it with entropy (‘the arrow of time’) is not a universal definition, but a convention which applies only to typical conditions within physics. As we observe gas reducing its entropy over time, we can be sure that time itself cannot have stopped or reversed (or we could not run the experiment, eh?).

Time is a formalization and extension of the conscious function of memory. Without memory, there can be no time.

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  1. March 14, 2014 at 1:05 pm

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