What time is it, anyway?

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anarkst's picture
anarkst
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What time is it, anyway?

Let’s say you and a friend just happen to be standing on top of Mt.Everest, when s/he turns to you and says, “You know, Sparky, there’s no such thing as Time.”  Well, thinking that your friend is suffering from too little oxygen on the brain, you give him your best, ‘who could care less what dribble is coming out of your mouth look,’ (generally reserved for times when your 3am philosophical battles have degenerated into crawling aimlessly around the backyard).  He goes on, “As I look at you here in the present (and for argument’s sake, let us assume that there is such a thing), I also, simultaneously, see light emanating from the stars which are hundreds of thousands of light years out in space.  How is it possible that I can be seeing you in the present and the starlight which is a gazillion years old, at the same time? “ 

 Generally, quick with a riposte, I ponder the apparent paradox, and come back with the following, “Well, hypoxia-breath, it’s obvious that time is relative, that it only works for one location.”  He follows, “Well, if it only works in one location, what exactly is Time?”

 At 29,028 feet, this was a bit too much to contemplate.  I told him to hold that thought and I would get back to him down at the base camp bar, and, after consulting my “Albert Einstein Reader.”

 Although the relatively of time is fun to talk about, there is a point this.  It’s that all things are like Time.  This is not meant to be metaphysical.  As Chris has shown in, The Course, there is massive shift underway.  But, it is a 1% shift in actual reality, and 99% in our own reality.  It’s about seeing things that have tremendous control over our lives, as they truly are, e.g., money as debt.  For many people, it will be about confronting the great questions of life and death.  These things are omnipresent, yet well out of view.

 So, it becomes imperative to keep your mind wide open as events unfold, and realize that nothing is as it appears.  Massive growth and massive destruction is the same thing.   This is the way the world works, every second of every day. 

 

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Re: What time is it, anyway?

 

One should not be caught up in before and after: the great understanding of right now is not oneself, is not another self. Although it has not come, yet it fills everywhere: although it does not go, yet beware of seeking from another. Why is it so? As it is said, it goes along with the other.

Dogen Zenji, Rational Zen

 

I would like to challenge your preconceived notion...you. "You" are the only preconceived notion, everything else is just a derivative of "you".

Talk about a sub-prime crisis of consciousness.

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Re: What time is it, anyway?

Both philosophically and physically you're correct.

Time flow on the top of Everest is actually slightly faster since it's higher up in the Earths Gravity Well, and in comparison to absolute universal time, we also have a velocity (we're on a revolving body, that itself is revolving around a body, that is transitioning through space itself) so there is also a time dilation effect, since some of these velocities are not insignificant. Obviously from some philosophical points it's also accurate. One of the things thats interesting is we now have clocks that are so accurate that depending upon the height you place them on the wall, it will effect the time that is displayed in comparison to the a one in a higher or lower position.

There's actually a specific branch of Relativity that discusses this called the Relativity of simultaneity, for instance lets assume that there are three car crashes that occur apparently at 12:00pm UTC (universal time or GMT as it used to be known), one is in London, one is in New York and the third is in Beijing. It cannot be proven that all three events occurred at the same time, since local time is different at each of the locations, and even though the observers at those locations can confirm that the events occurred at the time that they said that they did, each local time is relative to that locality. Now we kind of know this anyway since for instance light from stars we know has travelled many years to reach us, indeed the very Sun is 8 light minutes away, and the moon is 1.29 light seconds away, however we also know if we sat on a photon travelling from any of these places, we'd appear to us to arrive immediately at our destination thus to us riding that photon all events from our departure to our arrival are coincident.

Further there are simultaneous hyperplanes that also intersect events that can effect the observers perception of the simultaneity of the event depending upon the velocity of the observer, where we head off into Minkowski space.

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Re: What time is it, anyway?

Gungnir,

Thank you for explaining time, maybe you could go one step further and explain the Universal Wave Function... In English of course and when you have the time...

Thank you,

Cat

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Re: What time is it, anyway?

 

anarkst wrote:

What time is it, anyway?

All we really need to know is this:  It's far too late to be wasting time in philosophical discussions with no practical application, when there is serious work to be done in preparing for the future.

 

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Re: What time is it, anyway?

So since time is short right now, Universal Wave Function is the function that describes the entirety of the universe, that at all times obeys the basic waveform equation.

Now this generally springs off to mean the relative state interpretation of the universe or the many worlds interpretation.

Many worlds is slightly easier to grasp, it eliminates quantum waveform collapse, thus when the "collapse" occurs what actually happens is that new universe(s) is(are) created such that the totality of the results of the observed event are actualized, for instance you can go to lunch with your Husband, go to the Gym, or go to the Grocery store, when you decide (to go shopping), you experience one of the three universes that have just been created. However two additional universes were created by that choice, where you went to the Gym, and had lunch with your Husband. Basically this confirms the belief that Shrodingers equation holds true all of the time and everywhere.

Relative state interpretation holds that the observer is not relevant to the experiment, so the quantum waveform is not merely a representation of the objects state, it actually is completely the object. Thus when an observer observes he is seeing that actual object, and has no part to play. So your decision to go to the Grocery Store is the only result.

Using Shrodingers Cat

In Many worlds when you look at the cat, then you split a new universe off where the cat is other than the observed result

in the Relative state looking at the cat is irrelevant since it's state is already defined, it's either dead or alive, looking is not relevant.

In effect what you're asking about is the Quantum Mechanics equivalent of god...

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Re: What time is it, anyway?

Gungnir writes:

Now we kind of know this anyway since for instance light from stars we know has travelled many years to reach us, indeed the very Sun is 8 light minutes away, and the moon is 1.29 light seconds away, however we also know if we sat on a photon travelling from any of these places, we'd appear to us [my emphasis] to arrive immediately at our destination thus to us riding that photon all events from our departure to our arrival are coincident.

And this moves on the the very interesting notion that there is no present.  In that it takes some time, albeit a minuscule amount, for light to travel any distance and for the perception to take place, our awareness of any event is technically, in the past.  And although this may not seem like a big deal, it serves to further de-construct/re-construct reality. 

In other words, if there is a period of time between the event taking place and the perception itself, couldn't a highly ethical company, say Goldman-Sachs, use this to their advantage?  As you can see, all of these things that appear only metaphysical in nature, have their real life existence.

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Re: What time is it, anyway?
C1oudfire writes:
 
anarkst wrote:

What time is it, anyway?

All we really need to know is this:  It's far too late to be wasting time in philosophical discussions with no practical application, when there is serious work to be done in preparing for the future.

I disagree.  The actual preparations can not begin until you understand the situation.  Although much of we are talking about seems like non-sense, it allows each of us to work through our own stuff.  I would suggest that once you find your own path, you'll spend most of your time helping others to find their's, and be concerned little about your own.

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Re: What time is it, anyway?

RE post #5

Thanks Gungnir,

I watched a documentary on Hugh Everett no too long ago. I was sure you could explain this better than the documentary.

Thank you... Cat

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Re: What time is it, anyway?
anarkst wrote:

<snip>

And this moves on the the very interesting notion that there is no present.  In that it takes some time, albeit a minuscule amount, for light to travel any distance and for the perception to take place, our awareness of any event is technically, in the past.  And although this may not seem like a big deal, it serves to further de-construct/re-construct reality.

<snip>

Agreed the present is fleeting, think of the smallest time slice you can possibly think of then that is the present (for instance a yoctosecond 10^-24). Everything prior is the past, everything subsequent is the future. However we perceive the present as the time that I'm writing this post, while my wife takes the cats to the vets for their certificates of vaccination so they can travel through Canada. We each have a personal perspective on the "present" too, is it today, is it the next 24 hours, or is it that yoctosecond? Add into that that we have senses that take some time to process information from our reality into meaningful data and we're actually always perceiving the past. Even if something actually took no time at all for our senses to detect, before we could respond in any way to that perception there would be a lag. 

Now add into this just general perceptions, take a red box, you look at the red box and you can describe the red box, it's 1 foot cubed and red. Ok I agree because when I look at the red box I see a 1 foot cubed red box. However I only know that it's red because someone pointed to that color at some point and said "this is red", and I only know that it's about 1 foot because someone gave me a ruler and said this is 1 foot. Now in my perceptive frame you might see the box as green, even though we agree that the color is red in our respective reference frames. Similarly if you were looking at my reference frame you might estimate the boxes size as bigger or smaller. We interpret the data our senses give us using language in the same way, however there is no way to effectively confirm that the data that we're perceiving is the same in any way. Since I cannot actually perceive the data your senses are giving you, nor vice-versa.

Thus "reality" is highly subjective on many scales, effectively reality is personal, we have common ground in language abstracts of what we perceive but cannot confirm that the perceptions that we all have are the same. Add in that in a specific inertial frame the behaviors of space and time alter then we have a very very distortable reality anyway.

 

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Re: What time is it, anyway?

I'd recommend watching the following show hosted on BBC Horizon by Professor Brian Cox, a physicist from the University of Manchester.  He attempts to answer the question, "what time is it?".  Part 1 is below -- you'll have to go on YouTube to see the remaining parts of the show (http://www.youtube.com/user/turxxx#grid/user/B6BE0700688DBF9D)

The simple answer is, "it's all relative," but Professor Cox weaves an interesting story looking at how time has been recorded and measured throughout the ages, talking with experts from various fields.

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Re: What time is it, anyway?

However I only know that it's red because someone pointed to that color at some point and said "this is red", and I only know that it's about 1 foot because someone gave me a ruler and said this is 1 foot.

What color is it in the absence of visible light?  "Red" (say 675nm) is only perceptible when light of the same wavelength is available to be reflected.  With two observers, the perception could never be the same for many reasons, which is another way to say that objective reality also shifts, geographically, as well as temporally, thermally, etc.

Thus "reality" is highly subjective on many scales, effectively reality is personal, we have common ground in language abstracts of what we perceive but cannot confirm that the perceptions that we all have are the same. Add in that in a specific inertial frame the behaviors of space and time alter then we have a very very distortable reality anyway.

Yes, what we think of as "reality" is completely subjective because so-called objective reality constantly changes.  But here's the kicker, and this gets back to the time lag; if you take all of the variables into account which would objectively define an object, by the time the information reaches your senses (e.g., visual cortex), and is processed, all of the conditions have changed and the object is different.  Therefore, it is impossible to really "know" anything.  Even if our perception was 100% accurate, we could only know what it used to be.  

Now, this wouldn't seem like a big deal when staring at a field overflowing with beautiful wildflowers, but it does become relevant when, for example, you are listening to somebody speak.  Is it any wonder than people have difficulty understanding each other? 

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Re: What time is it, anyway?

I suspect we are in violent agreement thus confer a resounding Amen.

 

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Re: What time is it, anyway?

RE Post #10

Ron thank you for the link.  Now my head really hurts.  Thought it was funny in the end how none of the physicist had the same answer to, "What time is it?"

Cat

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Re: What time is it, anyway?

The one thing I have trouble understanding on the whole time discussion is the concept of simultaneaty. It sounds as if the present is discussed in terms of perception.  For instance, when an astronaught hit a golf ball on the moon, he experienced it in one instance.  On earth, if someone had a huge telescope and could watch, they would experience it about 1.5 seconds after it happened.  When they see it, it is not the present they are seeing, but simply the delayed light that was reflected 1.5 seconds ago.  If you get a really big telescope and go out about 40 light years, you could see it happen all over again today.  The fact that it you can see it does not change when it happened, but only when you perceive the light reflected from it.

I guess my failure to understand is that most discussions seem to treat perception of an event as the same thing as being present at the event and make the argument that time is flexible enough that a golf ball 40 years ago is still being hit 40 light years away.  My thought is that it is not being hit right now, but instead it was hit one time, at one instant 40 years ago and that all that remains of that event is the light speeding across the universe.  That is the one concept of time that I have trouble getting my arms around.

What is it that I'm not getting right?  I'm sure that there is a big hole in my logic and would love to find out what it is.

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Re: What time is it, anyway?
Tim_P wrote:

I guess my failure to understand is that most discussions seem to treat perception of an event as the same thing as being present at the event and make the argument that time is flexible enough that a golf ball 40 years ago is still being hit 40 light years away.  My thought is that it is not being hit right now, but instead it was hit one time, at one instant 40 years ago and that all that remains of that event is the light speeding across the universe.  That is the one concept of time that I have trouble getting my arms around.

Nope you're missing it.

An event occurs at a time that is relative to it's inertia frame, an observer cannot know when that event really happened in his own inertial frame. For instance the 50 light year away Supernova, might not actually be 50 light years away but significantly further, if for instance the light needed to pass through a large gravity well, or similar.

What we think, is not always accurate. It's all relative to your frame of reference.

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Re: What time is it, anyway?

What we think, is not always accurate. It's all relative to your frame of reference.

Hmmm, a 75mph fast ball right down the center of the plate .

What we think is NEVER accurate, and can never be accurate, for all kinds of reasons.  The most obvious is that your intellect acts as a filter to your senses, and therefore what is actually happening is tainted by your experience, and by the physical properties which distort the incoming information.  Add in the time lag and you've basically got the distortion of distorted information being diistortedly :) interpreted.  And this doesn't even take the relative aspects of this in to account.

This is what the Eastern practices are all about, that is, attempting to remove all of these filters in order to get closer to reality; where the ultimate goal, 'enlightenment', is the actual perception (non-perception) of reality (all of the filters removed).

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Re: What time is it, anyway?
anarkst wrote:

What we think is NEVER accurate, and can never be accurate, for all kinds of reasons.  The most obvious is that your intellect acts as a filter to your senses, and therefore what is actually happening is tainted by your experience, and by the physical properties which distort the incoming information.  Add in the time lag and you've basically got the distortion of distorted information being diistortedly :) interpreted.  And this doesn't even take the relative aspects of this in to account.

What we think is!  It's absolutely true for us at the moment we are experiencing it. Stepping "outside" of ourselves and looking back at what we are thinking can also be very helpful, as you suggested doing in another thread.

...if we find ourselves on the top of Mt. Everest with limited air...then we obviously have an immediate decision to make.

Yes, it's true that we could be actually lying safe in our bed and just dreaming that we are on top of Mt. Everest without much air...but as long as "reality" is appearing this way to us, here in this moment, it is both reasonable and advisable to stand up and start one's decent without further delay!

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Re: What time is it, anyway?
anarkst wrote:
C1oudfire writes:
 
anarkst wrote:

What time is it, anyway?

All we really need to know is this:  It's far too late to be wasting time in philosophical discussions with no practical application, when there is serious work to be done in preparing for the future.

I disagree.  The actual preparations can not begin until you understand the situation.  Although much of we are talking about seems like non-sense, it allows each of us to work through our own stuff.  I would suggest that once you find your own path, you'll spend most of your time helping others to find their's, and be concerned little about your own.

C1oudfire has it right! The situation is exactly as it appears to be to you in this moment. Arguing for some "future understanding" to occur...where you will then be in a better position to take some "more enlightened" action...is just another tasteless recipe of procrastination. Prepare now!

 

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Re: What time is it, anyway?

Brad writes:

Prepare now!

Brad, the 'preparing' is manifest in the realization that you are already prepared.

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Re: What time is it, anyway?
anarkst wrote:

Brad, the 'preparing' is manifest in the realization that you are already prepared.

Anarkst, you seem to be prone to speak always from the absolute.

I'd suggest that you continue to think in the absolute, but simultaneously act in the relative.

A wise man doesn't out-drive his spiritual headlights!

Brad

 

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Re: What time is it, anyway?

Ok, I think I'm starting to see a glimmer of understanding starting to come over the horizon to me.  I need to re-read this entire thread and think about it for a bit.  I'm sure there are more questions coming though.

BTW, Gungnir & PC;  Good luck on the trip north and hope all goes well for you both.  Can't wait to hear about it from the other end of the trip once your settled in and connected again.

Tim

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Re: What time is it, anyway?
anarkst wrote:

Brad, the 'preparing' is manifest in the realization that you are already prepared.

Holy Cow Anarchist, I'm glad I don't have to pay your psychotherapy bill. Your intellect is growing exponentially. Please return to zazen before its too late.

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