28th June 2008 - 01:16 PM
Movement Gives Meaning to Time
Long, long ago, I took a course in physics at Oklahoma Agriculture and Mechanical College now called Oklahoma State University. That physics course defined speed to be equal to the distance traversed by an object in a unit of time. For the initiated that is s=d/t. It was assumed that distance and time were more primitive concepts than was motion.
I live in the mountains and often go hiking. On occasion some motion among all the other fluttering motions going on within my perception halts all activity, my pulse races, chills run down my back, and all my attention is focused upon a particular motion. Later I consciously analyze the situation and discover that that motion was similar to a dangerous motion as defined by my genes. We are hard-wired to respond to motion. I discover every time such an incident occurs that motion is number one and time is not supreme.
“What we call the domain of time appears to be a conceptual domain that we use for asking certain questions about events through our comparison to other events: where they are “located” relative to other events, how can they be measured relative to other events, and so on. What is literal and inherent about the conceptual domain of time is that it is characterized by the comparison of events.”
“This does not mean that we do not have an experience of time…What it means is that our real experience of time is dependent, is always relative to our real experience of events. It also means that our experience of time is dependent on or embodied conceptualization of time in terms of events. This is a major point: Experience does not always come prior to conceptualization, because conceptualization is itself embodied. Furthermore, it means that our experience of time is grounded in other experiences, the experience of events.”
What, if anything, is time ‘in itself’? I suspect no one can answer that question because such a thing, I guess, does not exist. We are able to talk of time only with metaphors.
Common linguistic expressions: “That’s all behind us now. Let’s put that in back of us now. We’re looking ahead to the future. He has a great future in front of him.”
A Moving Time Metaphor: “There is a lone, stationary observer facing in a fixed direction. There is an indefinitely long sequence of objects moving past the observer from front to back. The moving objects are conceptualized as having fronts in their direction of motion.”
How does cognitive science, as constructed by the embodied realists, look at ‘time’?
Cognitive science examines concepts as they come ready-made from the unconscious. Language expresses our ready-made concept of time and with this the cognitive scientists constructs the mechanisms and the human experiences that have gone into the development of this living concept. I call it a living concept because some experience I have later today might very well modify it somewhat without my conscious awareness.
As Rumsfeld might say ‘we take the concept we have and not the concept we might wish to have’.
Events and time: oscillating pendulums mark time—drummers mark time—subatomic particles mark time—time marches forward—time does not march backward—time is continuous and also segmented—time is never alone but is often marked by an event.
Spatial time: is that central time or GM time?—time is located with reference to the observer, it is behind, in front of, in the present, past or future—there is moving time that comes toward me or away from me—time is never alone but is often marked in spatial terms.
Time flows like a river. Time stands still and the observer moves. The observer stands still while time moves. There is trouble down the road. What length of time will you be staying? We are coming up to Christmas. We passed the deadline. The days dwindle down to a precious few. The deadline sneaked by me. The future is ahead of us. Put the past behind you. Time is never alone but is often marked by my presence.
All this time orientation occurs in many languages and occurs widely around the world; these conceptions of time are not arbitrary, but are motivated by “by the most basic of everyday experiences”. Time is conceived with metaphors. We do not speak of time-in-it-self we think of time in metaphor. In many metaphors, time is conceived as a container. “He ran a mile in five minutes”, in locates the event within a metaphorical temporal container, i.e. a bounded region. “The race occurred at 10 A.M.”, locates time at a temporal location.
Our subjective life is enormous. We have subjective experiences of desire, affection, and achievement. We make subjective judgments about abstract ideas such as importance, difficulty, and morality. Much of what makes up our conceptualization, reasoning, and visualization of these subjective matters “comes from other domains of experience”. These other domains are mostly sensorimotor experiences.
Within the human unconscious there is a constant copying of the neurological structure of actual experiences onto subjective concepts. In other words, below the conscious radar our unconscious is selecting copies of the neurological structures from real life experiences and placing those copies onto subjective concepts. Our concept of time is an accumulation of the neurological structures of real experiences; thus we have such a varied and sometimes contradictory comprehension of many subjective abstract concepts such as we see with ‘time’.
Time is a human conceptualization. Is there a literal aspect of time? Yes, time is directional, it is irreversible, time-defining events are regular and iterative. But we can hardly think or speak of time without metaphor. This is the case because we invent the concept of time unconsciously by our experiences as we move through space and time in our daily activities.
Many of our concepts are just like this concept of time. Our subjective concepts, our abstract concepts, such as value, causality, change, love, nation, patriotism, God or gods, etc. are all human constructions that happen below the conscious radar and exist because our unconscious activity creates them.
Can you conceptualize ‘time’ without using metaphors? I cannot, it appears that no one can.
Ideas and quotes from “Philosophy in the Flesh”—Lakoff and Johnson
28th June 2008 - 01:24 PM
28th June 2008 - 03:48 PM
It requires intelligence to construct a perception of motion over time. Consider that at a lower level we have information, which is correlated over time, via. intelligence to determine a perception of motion - some period of "time" ago, the tree was in front of me and now it's in back of me, so either I've moved forward (relative to my facing or orientation) or the tree has moved backward.
The most basic description of observation appears to be as a sequence of events (discrete quanta of information). Those events individually do not move (no matter how fast you may appear to be moving, it has no influence upon the velocity of light, because the information conveyed via. it is what tells us what the event is and we can then interprete it as motion). To determine a motion, more than one such event must be integrated together and this requires a memory - in the tree example, it took a memory that the tree had previously been in front of me in order to determine the virtual motion of the tree (the tree at any instant of time isn't moving as it takes such instants to determine it to be a tree and additional information to determine the motion). So you need memory and intelligence in order to both recognize an object as a tree and remember where it was in order to determine how it moved to where its at now (these motion are inherently relative to a central observation point - the tree didn't move relative to itself).
So, as you say, you have time flowing or moving and this can be seen as a single pathway through which an observer experiences events. The history of this is not physically present except in terms of memory (which can be correlated with inertia and mass) and its up to the observer to determine correlations within this string of events in order to map these into a space with motions (subjective judgements play a role in this and we have observer dependent attributes arise from this interpretation).
If an observer could make no correlations with the past from present moments, then there would be nothing but an incomprehesible chaotic blur of indescibable experiences/events and this would be physically similar to a light speed motion in which no correlation with past spaces is possible to construct - such a motion in Relativistic space would be similar to a straight line travelled by a photon. If correlations are extracted (or constructed, depending upon interpretations) then locations in space or objects in space are effectively revisited and the motion can be seen as cyclic or "stationary" (though truly such a stationary situation would exist as a small orbital, such as an atomic orbital as it takes events and time to recognize the recurrance of some property).
An analogy here would be of taking a long straight thread, similar to DNA, with discrete events denoted along its length (the events are determined by senses/interactions and the thread represents memory/entanglement) and then attempting to loop/fold this thread back on itself in order to construct a maximal number of sequence matches along its length. This folded/looped space then denotes the most likely (relative to the intelligence involved) pathway taken by the observer (notice that subjective interpretations as to positions and motions are possible here and in a sense a "will" exists within this intelligence). The properties of these loops then provide a foundation upon which additional experiences can be correlated or future events extrapolated upon and predicted (for example, seeing A then B resulted in C before and could be seen as a prediction of C again, when presented with a sequence of A and B, so this structure contains an equivalent of intelligence, though no "will" in itself).
Also, multiple observers can effectively share the same laws of physics and communicate if they share some of the fundamental "kernals" in this structure in common because they possess a common "alphabet" or physical objects and physical properties by which to convey information with each other (though you could also potentially have various permutations of physical laws and events allow for communication between observers, though not with a direct 1 to 1 correlation over time existing between them). So basically imagine a chaotic sea of discrete events, connected via. memory to adjacent observers/events and the loops in these pathways (wavelengths) determine physical objects and laws of physics (the ratios of their wavelengths and phases at which they intersect). Stationary objects are constructed via. wavelengths that are "resonant" or rational multiples of each other (small fractional ratios - consonance) and objects in motion are constructed by phase shifts over time ("beat frequency" or dissonance).
28th June 2008 - 05:47 PM
A couple more comments. Notice that the problem of an optimal folding of a DNA strand represents both chemical forces and can be associated with computation or intelligence (if fact this process has been used for large parallel computation already). There would be no inherent "will" involved from an external perspective if there was no uncertainty as to the evolution of this structure, but in the real world, such uncertainties do exist and these are fundamental to physics (if we place this in the perspective of resonant pathways of information, it's the problem of determining whether or not the ratio of two processes/threads/wavelengths over time is truly some small rational multiple or "consonant" (in physics terminology) or whether more samples will ultimately reveal the ratio to simply be close to such, for example seeing 3 samples of A and 7 samples of B doesn't necessarily guarantee that such a ratio remains true in the future and differentiating between a ratio of 3001:7000 can require many samples - notice that such a slight difference in terms of spacial motion can be mapped to two objects with physical properties described by relative ratios of 3:7 slowing interacting or moving/orbiting around each other with a period of 1000 units, or alternately as a much more massive "stationary" object with a larger period over which all the interactions remain stationary).
Also notice that two distinct observers, though communicating via. identical shared events cannot be witnessing all the properties of these identically or they could only be the same observer and have nothing to communicate about, and it's the ordering of events that differentiates between observers sharing common observations that distinguishes between them. In the context of a motion through spacetime, this could be seen as visiting the same observational locations but observing them in a different order and this becomes the equivalent of following different pathways at different times within the same space.
Notice that we can take a small set of fundamental properties and that by combining and ordering them in various ways construct a very large number of permutations comprised of the same fundamental objects. Though the universe is quite expansive the fundamental physical rules for visible space and objects are a much smaller set that the objects and spaces in the universe inherit features from. Those properties are necessarily detectable by an observer (and space and physical laws are limited by the such capabilities of an observer), and every observer detects them in a unique manner for which not all properties can be identical (for example, my left is someone else right, or potentially up or down etc., depending upon relative orientations and a photon I see is a photon something else did not see or a photon something else emitted etc. - though multiple observers could share a common perspective, there would be no physical manner to distinguish such a scenario and it would seem primarily just a semantic reference without value unless those observed differed in some other respect).
29th September 2008 - 03:11 AM
"Time" - Is the consideration, observation and experience of energy particles in matter changing position within space whose constant rate of agreed upon change can be measured by instruments we can then call 'time.' It is the action of energy in space and the duration of an object or particle in co-action. The 'action' of time is the relative change of particles in space.
"Space" - viewpoint of dimension, it doesn't exist without a point of view or a point to view from. It is the forming of agreements of points in which one can state dimensions and thus allow objects within in the form of energy and particles. Thus matter, energy, objects and time require space for their existence.
"Viewpoint" - a point of awareness from which one can perceive that which one is observing. Thus a viewpoint is an awareness of awareness unit who can postulate, poss and resolve problems relating to survival and the playing of a game.
"Understanding" - in all forms, whether mathematics, scientific, psychological, etc., breakdown into: agreement, reality and communication. One of the fundamental laws of agreement in this universe is that all forms, all energies, all particles must endue or persist in order to have a reality with it and thus conveyed via senses of the viewpoint as uniform communication, we agree upon this rate of change of particle and have our common understanding.
Thus one viewpoint to another will always have their own view as their position of observation is normally not in the same space as another (another law of this universe - two objects can not occupy the same space, unless you become identified as that object. Not true of spirits, ghosts or life-force whose physical universe laws don't apply.)