time in a box

It is time to address time. I’ll have to be more careful with this than anything I’ve attempted to think about, because this word is the abstraction for something that evades logical thinking. We can use some variation of mathematical set theory, number theory to describe the concept of space, but time isn’t quite so easy to put into a category, much less a set. I will probably generate several issues as I wade through this one, and I suspect my thinking will take some twists and turns before anything interesting emerges (assuming that something will).

First, let’s start by making statements about reality–the local one (my own reality). What is it that we sense that we call time? One thing is for sure, just like space–we don’t sense the passing of time, or even the width or depth of space. The ONLY THING WE SENSE ARE OBJECTS THAT MOVE. If nothing moved, we would not sense time. Even internal to our brain we can initiate a timer (count seconds, for example) to note the passing of time. If our brains could not move charges within neurons, we would not even internally have a sense of time passing. Similarly, if we cannot see or feel objects we would have no sensation of spatial distance. It is safe to say that the only reality is–objects that move. We construct the abstraction of time and distance to help our brains make sense of the world, but that is a choice we make, it is not part of our local reality! Only objects that move are valid parts of our reality. In fact, let’s go one step further. What does it mean for there to be an object that moves? Quite simply, our brain gets a sensory input, takes a snapshot or an abstraction of it in memory, then is able to compare further sensory input with that memory. Our brains sense that the object moves or changes when enough traits of the object remain in our sensory input such that our brains identify that there is a match to the abstraction in memory, but some traits differ (such as where is it).

So one key point of time–it would not be recognized by us if we did not have memory.

Yeah, so what–memory is a time process, you say. I say, no it is not. It is a form of duplicating the sensory input and does not have to have time. But the interesting thing here is we perceive time when the sensory input and the copy DIVERGE IN IDENTIFIABLE TRAITS. I can almost envision a world where no time really passes, but generation of a sensory input and its copy occur and diverge that gives us the SENSATION OF TIME PASSING. I think you can play the same game with spatial separation–no spatial separation really exists, but this ability to correlate edges of an object at different points is harder for me to visualize right now, I have to think about that.

Note that I am specifically referencing our own local reality, the sensory input each of our brains receive. What does that say about the hypothetical global reality? You know, the one that I have concluded does really exist, and is the centralized and consistent source for each of our local realities?

You see, one thing I’ve been pretty sure of for a while is that since there is no absolute time or distance scale, our existence will form in a universe that would zoom in or out to whatever scale that objects occur. Suppose the global reality is actually only one cubic meter in volume. Ignoring the issue of sensing the boundaries for the moment, if we are in size only 10^-35 meters in height, and our atoms and subatomic particles still smaller, it would be indistinguishable from a universe whose actual size is 10^35 meters and we are 1 meter in height. Yes, that’s obvious–but what might not be so obvious is the idea that our existence will zoom in both spatially and timewise to whatever scale permits distinct observable objects. There’s another way to say it–suppose the universe is totally empty except for some tiny warps. The entire existence will form around those tine warps, because nothing exists at any other scale. You can go one step further, and see how a universe with nothing in it may give rise to one with something in it: watch carefully as I perform this magic trick:

If there is nothing in the universe at all, you could argue that the universe will “grow” to infinitely small or infinitely big until something emerges. It’s this property of scale over infinity that makes it possible for something to emerge where there was nothing before. And what’s cool about this–the same concept applies to time. Perhaps everything takes 0 time (that example of memory being abstraction copies of sensory input, diverging over 0 time). But then our sense of time will expand to cover the 0 time! Our whole lives will fit within that infinitely small amount of time, and our sensation of how much time actually passed will be huge. This is really weird because the concept works whether you approach infinitely small or infinitely big! This is all possible because as you approach infinity, the concept of nothing ceases to stay constant, you could almost say there is a symmetry breaking as you go from nothing over an infinitely big or small scale. A weird thought–what if the Big Bang formation of the universe was actually a massive shrinkage as the universe *shrunk* infinitely down to a domain such that stuff began to emerge, but appeared as a massive explosion relative to our emerging (shrinking) existence!!

That’s some big stuff to chew on! More to come.


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