aidan24326 Registered User
#31

HydeRoad said:
The subject of time fascinates me. The human describes time for the most part in manmade measurements of years, days, hours, seconds. The fact that these are linked to the rotation of the Earth is immaterial. That is a measurement of convenience, nothing more. However, our perception of time would seem to be related to the heartbeat.

If you look at small animals with a short lifespan in human terms, take a mouse for example, they have a rapid heartbeat, and seem to scuttle along and perform their daily tasks with lightning speed. When a mouse runs across your path, his legs seem to work at an impossibly fast rate. To a mouse, the world probably appears much as it does to a human, and humans probably appear as huge, very slow, lumbering beasts.

Conversely, long lived animals with slow heartbeats, such as elephants and tortoises, probably perceive humans as scuttling around too fast, much as we perceive mice. Picture an old Buster Keaton movie reel played at fast speed, with the actors scuttling about everywhere much too fast.

Taking this into account, while it is very easy to think back to what the world was like a couple of years ago, and what we were doing at any given time in our lives, it is very hard for a human to perceive the vast timescales of prehistory. The dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago. It is impossible for the human brain to quantify that in relation to our own puny lifespan.

On a universal scale, if there were a greater consciousness capable of it's consideration, then the billions of years of the Earth's formation and the evolution of life, would probably appear to happen unimaginably quicker than the human brain is capable of doing. A single lifespan, or even the whole history of humanity, would be no more than a bubble appearing in a test tube and popping almost immediately out of existence.

Conversely again, on the atomic level, there could be a whole universe of life and interaction happening in the time it takes a human to blink an eyelid.

We are constrained by an unwritten law, which would seem to allow us only to perceive whatever is within our heartbeat's ability to perceive, on a human scale. That which is eons greater, or ions smaller, is outside of that, and can only be related in mathematical equations, but not in terms of human perception or experience.


It's true that in general animals with a fast heartbeat tend to have shorter lives and animals with a slower heartbeat have longer lives, but that's more down to the mechanics of how much beating a heart can actually do rather than any deeper relation to time itself. Your idea is a nice one though and what you say about perception is probably true.

Personally I think time is more of a pyschological construct than a real thing in and of itself.

GO_Bear Registered User
#32

aidan24326 said:

Personally I think time is more of a pyschological construct than a real thing in and of itself.


Like an abstract , like love ? While we cannot hold it in our hands we see its effects .
What about space ? is it a pyschological construct we designed to determine positions of objects in a system in relation to each other ?

h4ck573r Registered User
#33

Joe1919 said:
Yes, you are correct here. A clock does not measure time but counts the swings of a pendlum or the vibration of a electronic crystal etc. and time is always measured or compared 'relative' to this. Similarly, the calender and larger quantities of time are 'relative' to the perceived movements of the sun and moon 'relative' to the earth.

IMO, you cannot attribute any reality to time but you can to the change that takes place.

Also, I am in agreement with Augustine that the past and future only exist in the mind (as memories or anticipations) and only the 'now' or present moment exists. Hence time travel will never be possible. (imo)

Besides memory, what does exist is 'traces' of the past but these are really only the effects of change.


I agree with slight change...We do not see present , because of the delay we see near past.
The time that is required for our senses to perceive makes the perceived reality already past, because it is not instant.

h4ck573r Registered User
#34

About the existence of time...
It is relative but does exist, time is not an illusion, without it you would not be able to post this question at all, or perhaps you never did.
Time is an effect in which events take place, it is measured by observing change to a referent object.
This is just my opinion, I am not that arrogant to assume that I am right.

#35

HydeRoad said:
The subject of time fascinates me. The human describes time for the most part in manmade measurements of years, days, hours, seconds. The fact that these are linked to the rotation of the Earth is immaterial. That is a measurement of convenience, nothing more. However, our perception of time would seem to be related to the heartbeat.

If you look at small animals with a short lifespan in human terms, take a mouse for example, they have a rapid heartbeat, and seem to scuttle along and perform their daily tasks with lightning speed. When a mouse runs across your path, his legs seem to work at an impossibly fast rate. To a mouse, the world probably appears much as it does to a human, and humans probably appear as huge, very slow, lumbering beasts.

Conversely, long lived animals with slow heartbeats, such as elephants and tortoises, probably perceive humans as scuttling around too fast, much as we perceive mice. Picture an old Buster Keaton movie reel played at fast speed, with the actors scuttling about everywhere much too fast.

Taking this into account, while it is very easy to think back to what the world was like a couple of years ago, and what we were doing at any given time in our lives, it is very hard for a human to perceive the vast timescales of prehistory. The dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago. It is impossible for the human brain to quantify that in relation to our own puny lifespan.

On a universal scale, if there were a greater consciousness capable of it's consideration, then the billions of years of the Earth's formation and the evolution of life, would probably appear to happen unimaginably quicker than the human brain is capable of doing. A single lifespan, or even the whole history of humanity, would be no more than a bubble appearing in a test tube and popping almost immediately out of existence.

Conversely again, on the atomic level, there could be a whole universe of life and interaction happening in the time it takes a human to blink an eyelid.

We are constrained by an unwritten law, which would seem to allow us only to perceive whatever is within our heartbeat's ability to perceive, on a human scale. That which is eons greater, or ions smaller, is outside of that, and can only be related in mathematical equations, but not in terms of human perception or experience.



Now that's really good. I believe in a 'Now' that contains past, present and future, which only exists/existed for an instant and which we are able to perceive in a super-slow motion, a kind of suspended animation. The Universe has been and gone and we exist in its echo.

roosh Registered User
#36

Came across this a while ago. It's an interesting read, even if you don't get the maths (which I don't) - the Nature of Time - Julian Barbour

Abstract: A review of some basic facts of classical dynamics shows that time, or precisely duration, is redundant as a fundamental concept. Duration and the behaviour of clocks emerge from a timeless law that governs change.


A further quote from the article
time is an abstraction at which we arrive by means of the changes of things....

- Ernst Mach

Morbert Moderator
#37

roosh said:
Came across this a while ago. It's an interesting read, even if you don't get the maths (which I don't) - the Nature of Time - Julian Barbour


Do you believe, as the physics in the above piece implies, that the past and the future are just as real as the present? I had a previous discussion with you where I inferred you didn't think so.

roosh Registered User
#38

Morbert said:
Do you believe, as the physics in the above piece implies, that the past and the future are just as real as the present? I had a previous discussion with you where I inferred you didn't think so.


I wouldn't be inclined to accept all of the theory, or at least as I understand it from this:



I do think it is a step in the right direction, however. If it is acknowledged that time is abstracted from change, then the notion of moment to moment snapshots existing can be examined.

Morbert Moderator
#39

roosh said:
I wouldn't be inclined to accept all of the theory, or at least as I understand it from this:



I do think it is a step in the right direction, however. If it is acknowledged that time is abstracted from change, then the notion of moment to moment snapshots existing can be examined.


The document presents the picture where all the snapshots or "configurations" exist. The set of all these configurations is called a configuration space. Each location in this space corresponds to a different snapshot. Time, as well as "change", is derived from the curves in this space that minimises the action. So even change would not be fundamental, but a derivation of the structure of all the snapshots. Neither time nor change is fundamental.

You seem to be suppose something different. You are supposing that only one snapshot represents the "present" and all other snapshots of the past and future don't exist any more, or haven't existed yet. But "present" is relative to different frames of reference. What is the present for me, can encompass the past, present, and future for you. In other words, there are many different ways to take a snapshot, and there is no snapshot that is more real than any other. The notion of change is no more fundamental than the notion of time.

roosh Registered User
#40

Morbert said:
The document presents the picture where all the snapshots or "configurations" exist. The set of all these configurations is called a configuration space. Each location in this space corresponds to a different snapshot. Time, as well as "change", is derived from the curves in this space that minimises the action. So even change would not be fundamental, but a derivation of the structure of all the snapshots. Neither time nor change is fundamental.

You seem to be suppose something different. You are supposing that only one snapshot represents the "present" and all other snapshots of the past and future don't exist any more, or haven't existed yet. But "present" is relative to different frames of reference. What is the present for me, can encompass the past, present, and future for you. In other words, there are many different ways to take a snapshot, and there is no snapshot that is more real than any other. The notion of change is no more fundamental than the notion of time.


I think we can drop the idea of snapshots altogether, they are superfluous and probably just a hangover from the subconscious attachment to the notion of time being existential.

If you imagine the movement of the planets, in our solar system, around the sun - and take it as a microscosmic model of the universe - where do the snapshots come into play? Is what we see as the movement of the planets just a series of snapshots on a roll of film? What is the process of transition from one snapshot to another? Why is that even necessary, why can't the planets themselves exist and move around the sun, without the need for there to be an infinite number of snapshots of them.

Morbert Moderator
#41

roosh said:
I think we can drop the idea of snapshots altogether, they are superfluous and probably just a hangover from the subconscious attachment to the notion of time being existential.

If you imagine the movement of the planets, in our solar system, around the sun - and take it as a microscosmic model of the universe - where do the snapshots come into play? Is what we see as the movement of the planets just a series of snapshots on a roll of film? What is the process of transition from one snapshot to another? Why is that even necessary, why can't the planets themselves exist and move around the sun, without the need for there to be an infinite number of snapshots of them.


There is no true snapshot of the "present". Say you are sitting on a park bench, and I am walking down the street at a couple of kilometres per hour. From my perspective, a star in Andromeda might be about to go supernova. From your perspective, the star may have already gone supernova. Your present contains my some of my past, present and future, and vice versa. I must stress that this is not due to light reaching you before or after me. Your snapshot is intrinsically different to mine. So there cannot be only a single snapshot.

roosh Registered User
#42

Morbert said:
There is no true snapshot of the "present". Say you are sitting on a park bench, and I am walking down the street at a couple of kilometres per hour. From my perspective, a star in Andromeda might be about to go supernova. From your perspective, the star may have already gone supernova. Your present contains my some of my past, present and future, and vice versa. I must stress that this is not due to light reaching you before or after me. Your snapshot is intrinsically different to mine. So there cannot be only a single snapshot.


Although I am arguing against the notion of snapshots, your use of it here is very helpful as an explanatory aid.

I think we can differntiate between what people perceive in the present and the present itself. On that basis I think it might be more accurate to say that no individual's perspective is a true snapshot of the present, as opposed to their not being one.

If we imagine the universe going about it's usual course of events and then suddenly pausing, granted, each individual may have a different perception of things, but that just means they have a different perception in that moment. The actual state of the universe would represent the "true snapshot".


The issue of why people perceive things differently is incidental, but I still have trouble seeing why it is that the distance light has to travel doesn't have a material effect. Taking the example of the Andromedan star, we know that the light is travelling outwards. If I am closer to the star then the light reaches me first, and you second, meaning that each light quantum (or photon, or whatever the correct term is) will pass me first, before it passes you. That way, I will "see" each quantum of light first.

If the star goes supernova, then the resultant light will pass me before it passes you, meaning that I will see it first. No?

Morbert Moderator
#43

roosh said:
Although I am arguing against the notion of snapshots, your use of it here is very helpful as an explanatory aid.

I think we can differntiate between what people perceive in the present and the present itself. On that basis I think it might be more accurate to say that no individual's perspective is a true snapshot of the present, as opposed to their not being one.

If we imagine the universe going about it's usual course of events and then suddenly pausing, granted, each individual may have a different perception of things, but that just means they have a different perception in that moment. The actual state of the universe would represent the "true snapshot".

The issue of why people perceive things differently is incidental, but I still have trouble seeing why it is that the distance light has to travel doesn't have a material effect. Taking the example of the Andromedan star, we know that the light is travelling outwards. If I am closer to the star then the light reaches me first, and you second, meaning that each light quantum (or photon, or whatever the correct term is) will pass me first, before it passes you. That way, I will "see" each quantum of light first.

If the star goes supernova, then the resultant light will pass me before it passes you, meaning that I will see it first. No?


If you and I were sitting on park benches, with you closer to the star, the light from the supernova would reach you before me. We would do a quick calculation, taking into account the finite speed of light and our respective proximities to the star, and conclude that the star went supernova at some time we both agree on. But if I was walking, and let's say I was still further from the star, and we took into account the same considerations, we would both disagree on when the star went supernova. Your "present" would be different to mine. Similarly, let's say I was passing you at the exact moment the light reached us, so that we both detected the supernova at the same time. We would still disagree on when it occurred.

I cannot stress enough that it is not an aberration due to light. The absence of a single, correct present is evident even after we take into account the finite speed of light.

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roosh Registered User
#44

Morbert said:
If you and I were sitting on park benches, with you closer to the star, the light from the supernova would reach you before me. We would do a quick calculation, taking into account the finite speed of light and our respective proximities to the star, and conclude that the star went supernova at some time we both agree on. But if I was walking, and let's say I was still further from the star, and we took into account the same considerations, we would both disagree on when the star went supernova. Your "present" would be different to mine. Similarly, let's say I was passing you at the exact moment the light reached us, so that we both detected the supernova at the same time. We would still disagree on when it occurred.

I cannot stress enough that it is not an aberration due to light. The absence of a single, correct present is evident even after we take into account the finite speed of light.

<snip>
youtube slide-showabsolute-relativity

CerebralCortex Registered User
#45

roosh said:
Assuming that the above is true, it still only demonstrates the difference between individuals perception of the present and the present itself.

I watched the video you posted - cheers, I'm always interested in things like that that offer clear explanations of scientific ideas - but if you play it to the end, the selection of related videos at the end contains one which, to the lay persons mind, is pretty interesting. It attempts to highlight the flaws in the theoretical model that Einsteing used (the flashes of lightning), which potentially address the issues of simultaneity. It's worth a watch - although, unfortunately, I am not in a position to really critique it; rather ask if certain elements are correct or not.

youtube slide-show

It tried embedding the video but couldn't get it to work, if someone can manage to do it, that would be great. If they could also post the unparsed link as well, just to show what part of the url goes into the youtube tags (bcos I tried every possible way, I think) that would be sweet, cheeers.

The related website, absolute-relativity, is probably worth a read also, because he goes into more depth, which will probably be easier interpreted by yourself and others.



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