In reply to Luke

Hello there Matt,

Hope this finds you well. I meant to write this to you ages ago but didn't have the.. time. Okay, I got that out the way.

Really enjoyed the talk, but of course feel that I've left halfway through an intriguing film! You said you only got 60% of the way through it. A shame really. We have to arrange it to be shown from the middle to the end soon. The main points it made/I took from it were;

1. Clocks measure time, they are man made. An arrangement with each other to organise / simplify the turning of the globe. - This is one that I think everyone agrees on

2. As time is man made, it is not possible to travel through time. - This is one I think most people in the world agree on

3. This final point is where my brain wants to battle the theory. When you made the example of the football player taking a penalty. Yes I agree that the kicking of the ball did not happen before the goal in terms of time.. it was just one piece of energy that transferred to another. However, the event of the ball being kicked must have sequentially fallen before the ball going into the net... we just put it into a scale of time so that we are able to predict what the consequences of any one action might be.

Even as I write this out to get some clarity, I am struggling to put into words... or even into thoughts, exactly what I feel is right. I think it's my brain trying to undo something that it put in place to help organise life more efficiently, in order to swap it out for something that may be more true, but that is more unordered. As my friend David said, if you we do fully accept the theory... what will it mean for the way we approach life?

Other than that, it's hard for me to say any more. Let me know when you are ready to present the remaining topics!

Luke


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Reply,

Dear Luke

Hey , thanks for your email, excellent observations – heres some thoughts ( hope they make sense, I lost the ability to edit and punctuate near the end =).

 

1. Clocks measure time, they are man made. An arrangement with each other to organise / simplify the turning of the globe. - This is one that I think everyone agrees on

Yep, basically, but I would say they don’t ‘measure time’ because to be completely clear there is no Time, just matter and energy and motion etc. So the Earth spins constantly because it is massive, spinning, and  ‘suspended’ on the perfect bearings of ‘space’.

So all a ‘clock’ dose is provide a small useful, portable ‘model’ of this steady motion. To be pedantic a ‘clock’ is a battery, a motor, and some hands. All that such a machine really measures is the release of energy from the battery – in a way that is useful to us because it is presented by the hands which spin at precise fractions of the speed the earth spins. (that’s why I showed my ’24 hour ‘watch’ – its so much easier to say ‘this pointer spins at the same speed as the Earth – and that’s all).

2. As time is man made, it is not possible to travel through time. – This is one I think most people in the world agree on

Yep ‘Time’ is an idea, a system of thoughts and measurements used to very usefully make sense of all the motion in the world around us by comparing it to one single steady example or idea of motion.

The problem is that when using this system of the idea of time we use words like ‘past’ and ‘future’ – and the actual, real, precise meanings of these words are hardly ever really looked at. So we end up vaguely thinking ‘the past’ and ‘the future’ really exist in some ways.

What I am saying is that absolutely every single idea or pointer or piece of ‘evidence’ we have that we think points to ‘the past’ as being a really thing in any way – is always without exception just here now. And so no matter what we think, we never have any actual reason to believe ‘the past’ exists ‘behind us’ in any real way at all.

There’s an old joke about the stranger asking a local for directions to a particular shop, the local pauses for a while then says ‘to be honest I would start from here if I was you’.

Its funny because we’ve all be asked directions to a place we know well, but we also know its really hard to describe the route from where you actually are =)

And if the guy just took the next left then 2nd right and asked someone else the directions would be much easier from there. – the point being, that in my opinion, if the world is ‘timeless’ we wont see this starting from a position of ‘Time’. i.e with the idea of ‘Time’ in our head as a thing to be undone or disproven.

(eg untangling the concept of Time, using the language of time, and from a position that Time exists is a bad starting point if it does not exist and instead everthing is ‘just’ happening.)

So instead we should clear our minds and then inquire about just how things around us ‘really and actually ‘are’ ‘. In this way if some mysterious invisible, ‘fourth dimension’ does exist then we should find evidence of it and a need for it to exist for us to be able to explain what we see. (phew).

Which brings us to…

3. This final point is where my brain wants to battle the theory. When you made the example of the football player taking a penalty. Yes I agree that the kicking of the ball did not happen before the goal in terms of time.. it was just one piece of energy that transferred to another. However, the event of the ball being kicked must have sequentially fallen before the ball going into the net... we just put it into a scale of time so that we are able to predict what the consequences of any one action might be.

Re the player taking the penalty,

There’s a few things to consider , one is just how much effort energy and experience have we naturally or habitually given to accepting the idea that ‘time’ exists – compared to how much thought and possible validity we have given to the idea that perhaps ‘things just exist and move and change and interact’?

(in other words if I grew up in a family where for 20 ‘years’ it was constantly assumed and discussed that Man U simply, naturally, and obviously ‘were’ the world’s best football team, then it would be hard for me to simply drop that and see some other POV by just giving it a few minutes thought)

So to use the analogy of the ‘I wouldn’t start from here if I was you’ joke – I think the simplest way to see how things are is to ask the question

‘If things could just exist and move and change and interact, (where energy is free to flow), would that explain all that I am seeing, and thinking about, and even how and why I ‘think’?

If you play a game of football, and you take a penalty then you would see that it just happens, you hear a whistle and a decision, you place the ball, take a run up – it goes in or not.

The question is,

 As all this happens, ‘is’ a ‘record’ of everything that happens ‘created’ in some ‘temporal’ way, by some ‘mechanisim’ for some reason, or with some essential function in the universe? And is this ‘record’ ‘added to’ and stored ‘in’ some ’thing’ that really exists, and which we can call ‘the’ ‘past’?

And all the words in quotes are to emphasise very clearly what it is that we imply or declare does happen in some way if ‘time’ exists and has the function of creating a ‘past’ that we can see but not change.

(remember Einstein himself is questioning the ‘distinctions’ of the ‘past’ and the ‘future’).

All that extra emphasis and intense questioning is usually question by the reader as being ‘pedantic’ or semantic or as an example of me deliberately not understanding what people mean when they talk about ‘the past’ (in the way that we all do, and in a way that we all agree on – so there seems to be no need to question what it ‘is’ or what we mean – simply because we all ‘know’ what we mean).

But these approaches actually – nearly always successfully – result in the question being ‘responded’ to, but not actually answered. And not answered in full detail, i.e. a way that addresses all of the emphasized words.

So I may be splitting hairs and being very pedantic here – but just seeing and declaring that someone is  ‘splitting hairs and being pedantic’ is another  way of responding to, but not actually answering a question (i.e. intentionally or unintentionally sidestepping and avoiding the question and what it is designed to point to and reveal)– and is not the same as proving that at no time should we ever look at something in great detail.

(a quest-ion being a quest or journey to find something – in this case the more likely truth about how something is).

So id we look at the football scenario with the question in mind…

As all this happens, ‘is’ a ‘record’ of everything that happens ‘created’ in some ‘Temporal’ way, by some ‘mechanisim’ for some reason, or with some essential function in the universe? And is this ‘record’ ‘added to’ and stored ‘in’ some ’thing’ that really exists, and which we can call ‘the’ ‘past’?

I think we see that no, there is no reason to think some other record is made. Certainly in the players mind, and in the spectators minds as the penality or anything else around them is happening, their minds are changing in a way similar to how a memory card ‘flip’ video camera might change it solid state memory to create a record. But I don’t think any other record of ‘the’ ‘past’ is made.

So if ‘the past’ is a record of events, but ‘the past’ is not actually ‘created’ in the universe , then ‘the past’ simply does not exist. We just kind of assumed it did without thinking about it too much, and we meet loads of other people who have doent eh same and we make the logical error of thinking that if 10 million people casually assume something to be true without thinking about it much then we don’t have to think about it much because its obviously true. (phew again).

S0 – im saying re-

, the event of the ball being kicked must have sequentially fallen before the ball going into the net

Things are clearly constantly ‘happening’.

Thus ‘in a sense’ we can say or deduce that ‘things ‘have’ ‘happened’ ‘.

But even then in fact – you having the thought that ‘things have happened’ is really just happening now’. And is is this statement that ‘whatever you are thinking or reasoning about or against the idea that there is only now – you must either be doing it ‘now’ – or not doing it. So there is nothing you can do to get out of , or prove the existence of anything but ‘now’.

So the question is

                ‘does the ‘Temporal sequence’actually’ exist ?

Or

does the Temporal sequence actually not exist – because it isn’t created or stored any where in any place by any mechanisim.

In simplier terms –

what is your answer to the question ‘do you think ‘an actual ‘sequence’ of events is created and stored somewhere – other than ‘here, now’ in physical matter in our heads or on film, or in foot prints etc etc etc – (which are all here now and only directly prove that things can be here now and interact here now)?

To this we should in simple terms be able to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

If you answer ‘yes’ then you should be able to show how, and why, and by what, this ‘sequence’ is created and where it exists.

If not then we are concluding that ‘a’ ‘sequence’ does not exist!

-          I think a key thing to do is to really answer that question for oneself – “‘do you think ‘an actualsequence’ of events is created and stored somewhere ?“

-          If so – then where, and if not then what does that reveal about what does and does not truly ‘exist’.?

-          i.e. not just think that’s an interesting question and  then move on.

As I say this is a hard point to get unless you start with a clear head, and the intention of ‘just’ trying to see and understand how the world around us may ‘be’ and how it may function.

If you start from the position

What I am saying is No – I don’t think as we run up to take the penalty another ‘thing’ in the universe is running and has the function of ‘creating’ ‘the past’ in any way.

 

Even as I write this out to get some clarity, I am struggling to put into words... or even into thoughts, exactly what I feel is right. I think it's my brain trying to undo something that it put in place to help organise life more efficiently, in order to swap it out for something that may be more true, but that is more unordered. As my friend David said, if you we do fully accept the theory... what will it mean for the way we approach life?

 

The first thing here is to realize that (like money in a way) the idea, notion and system of time is excellent and it works.  – I’m not even suggesting we drop it as a way of organizing our lives or even scientifically carrying out observations and extremely useful calculations.

What im looking at is does time REALLY exist as a ‘thing’ in the universe, and im looking at it because so many scientists – and the general human consensus – seems to be that time does exist and is mysterious – and may even be travelled through etc . and because loads of people eg at the CERN particle accelerator work with the idea nd think time is real. So if i.e. got something to add to that which may clarify and untangle and area of understanding this may be useful ( and I might get a tour of the place =)

(i.e. newton Einstein hawking and so on all think time may be real and wonder about time travel – this seems ot be an error of taking a useful system too far and getting confused about what is real and what is not.

Also seeing everything as always just her now is quite an interesting thing to do and explore – you can just sit there ‘not thinking’ about it and its kind of like the world has in a way stopped – there are certain pressures to life – our bodies are wearing out slowly but enivitable – but that’s just happening now. The earth is constantly spinning makit it so we can, and cannot see the sun which is of course always just there, but that’s not happening ‘over time’ its just happening.

Busses may come bearing down on us if we are crossing a road without looking etc – but that is just happening or not happening – now , and there is suddenly no pressure from this other mysterious relentless invisible thing called time.

When you see a movie where people are trying to escape a flood or a bomb or a crash, they are never actually ‘running out of time’, just running out of ‘distance between them and the approaching water’, ‘amount of un-burnt fuse’, distance between them and another car, and so on. For ‘simplicity and uniformness we can compare and equate all these examples of distance, interaction,  motion and direction to some handy little motorized ‘hand’ going around a numbered dial at a fixed rate – but jumping to the conclusion that this shows there is ‘another mysterious and invisible thing called ‘time’ that we have, and are running out of , and which flows constantly, and is needed ‘for’ things to move etc – seems to me to be a VERY big assumption, which if wrong will lead to a lot of confusion and false assumptions, which It may take and obsessed comedian with lots of spare energy, motivation and interest (anything but ‘time’) to ‘untangle’.

 

The reasons time seems to exist, (as a thing that constantly flows ‘forwards’ in a fixed direction endlessly) are numerous consider …

 

  • We all live on Earth – so we all are dragged round in the same direction at the same speed
  • We are all the same basic design, so our bodies change in the same way
  • If we are alive we all ‘add’ memories ‘sequentially’ to our minds.
  • Energy flows in one direction, from inside us to outside us
  • If we are alive we cant turn ourselves off then on again – so we cant ‘stop’. Being ‘on’ constantly is like a car always ticking over – it must wear itself out, so we are all constantly wearing out (because so many of us exist and wear out we think there is another thing linking all this similar activity – that seems to always have the same ‘direction’.
  • ‘new’ babies grow bigger, get stronger, get more intelligent etc - and we see this as evidence of ‘time’ progressing forwards.
  • ‘middle aged’ adults grow smaller, get weaker, get less intelligent (ultimately) - and we see this as evidence of ‘time’ progressing forwards.
  • So whatever we see things getting bigger and stronger or smaller and weaker – we frame it all as if there is a thing called time ‘progressing’ in one fixed ‘direction’ anyway”.
  •  We all (millions of us) ‘declare’  ‘the past’ to be a thing that is only ever added to, and that we can see, but, cannot change.
  • We all (millions of us) have ‘minds’ that automatically create a ‘pile’ of impressions or observations that is only ever added to, and that we can see, but, cannot change.

(if we choose to change a memory we know we are just adding a note to change that memory).

  • So the fact that the contents of (millions of) our minds and the ‘one’ thing we call the past have identical properties may suggest we are jumping to a false conclusion about the existence of the other thing we assume also exists i.e. ‘the past’.

 

 

Dunno if that makes it clearer or worse Luke =)  but your question is very good at highlighting a part of timelessness that is hard to explain and grasp.

(if you want another similar problem look up ‘the Relativity of simultaneity’ on the net – I’ve had to re-explain that as well =)

Don’t forget im really just trying this idea out to the full  - maybe time does exist – but habitually just assumed it does im giving some thought to testing out the possibility that it doesn’t and seeing how that works ?

 

The following is an edited section from the book,

 

Time vs. timelessness; The order of events.

 

Consider, if a landslide causes a  wave to form, which then moves along some water – to then - hit a rock, then causing some spray, which then deflects a bird from its attempt to catch a particular fish …

Time wise, it seems that we can say ‘the landslide caused the wave, that hit the rock, that caused the spray, which deflected the bird so it missed the fish’ – and these things happened in order one after the other.

– but, now consider that the ‘land’ (whether it is ‘sliding’ or not), the water, the rock, the bird and the fish, are all constantly existing and doing something, whether we think it is a particularly interesting or distinct thing or not.

I.e. these separate ‘things’ never ‘do things one after each other’, the land doesn’t do something while the water waits for it, and takes its cue to do the next thing and so on. What’s more, the land, the water, the bird and so on are all just ‘stuff’. ‘Atoms of matter’, that are all here now. Some taking the form of a rock, some the form of water, and some the form of a bird. So to say the ‘land ‘happens before the water’, or that the ‘wave happens before the fish’ makes no sense. All the things are just matter, here now, and constantly moving and changing i.e doing something.

 

Of course I understand what we mean as we say things happen one after the other – and this is an example of how…

‘if we assume time exists it will seem to be the case

 – but

 – if we just assume that stuff is just here moving changing and interacting (‘now’) – then this too will seem to be the case, and also explain all that we observe.

– (critically) -including all the thoughts and ideas we have that a thing called time exists and flows.

 

 

Putting it all together.

So, if we put all these views together, the startling conclusion is, that it is true that there is one massive collection of matter in existence.

But while you and I may like to think that many ‘separate or different things are going on’ all at once, it is more accurate to say that ‘one big event’ is going on all at once.

This ‘one big thing’ might be ‘the sun burning, river flowing, bird flying, fish swimming, ‘memories forming’ and everything else in the universe all happening’ –‘event’.

 Matt

Timelessness.co.uk



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