We've been taught that time and space exist. They're real. And that reality has been reinforced everyday of our life—every time we go from here to there, every time we reach for something, every month we pay the bills.
Most of us live without thinking abstractly about time and space. Time and space are such an integral part of our lives that their examination is as unnatural as scrutinizing breathing. In fact, many people feel rather silly talking about time and space in an abstract, analytical way.
The question "Does time exist?" can make a person wonder about taking the time to ponder such philosophical babble. A reply might be, "The clock ticks. The years pass. We age and die. Time is the only thing we can be certain of." Equally inconsonant is the question of whether or not space exists. "Obviously space exists," we might answer. "Because we live in it. We move through it, drive through it, build in it." It's the "when, what, where" scenario: ten o'clock, coffee, Barnes and Noble.
Time and space in the concrete sense are easy to talk and think about. For example, find yourself short of either time or space, or both—late for work, standing in a stalled subway car packed with riders—and issues of time and space are obvious: "It's crowded and I'm uncomfortable and my boss is going to kill me for being late."
But the idea that time and space are tools of the mind, our source of comprehension and consciousness, is an abstraction. Our day-to-day experiences have indicated nothing of this reality to us. Rather, our life has taught us that they are external realities. They bound all experiences.
Our minds are organized to think this way. We use dates and places to define our experiences to ourselves and to others. History defines the past by placing people and events in time and space. Scientific theories of such as the Big Bang and evolution are steeped in their logic. Our own personal experience of aging confirms the reality of time. Our physical experiences of parallel parking or standing on the edge of a cliff, confirms the existence of space.
When we reach for a glass of water our sense of space and timing is (almost) always impeccable. They're essential to our every movement and moment. We know they exist because the glass is always there when we reach for it. We forget that the glass is composed of a shimmering swarm of matter/energy. The results of quantum physics, such as the two-slit experiment, tell us that not a single one of its subatomic particles actually has any physical properties until we observe it. The glass, as we know it, can't be thought of being there when you leave the room.
We've spent a lifetime believing that time and space are external realities. To place ourselves as the creator of time and space, not as the subject of it, goes against every bit of our common sense, life experience, and education. It takes a radical shift of perspective for us to intuit the idea that they're tools of intuition because the implications are so startling.
Yet we all instinctively know that space and time aren't things—the kind of objects you can see, feel, or smell. There's a peculiar intangibility about them. We can't pick them up and put them on a shelf or bring them back to the laboratory in a marmalade jar like a kid brings home lightning bugs. There's something oddly different about them.
In biocentrism, space and time aren't physical things. They're forms of animal intuition. They are — as Kant eloquently pointed out — modes of understanding, part of the mental software that molds sensations into objects. When we feel poignantly that time has elapsed, as when loved ones die, it constitutes the human perceptions of the passage and existence of time. Our babies turn into adults. We age. That to us is time. It belongs with us.
But you might ask "What about clocks?" We have sophisticated machines, like atomic clocks, to measure time. But measuring "time" doesn't prove its physical existence. Clocks are rhythmic things. We use the rhythms of some events (like the ticking of clocks) to time other events (like the rotation of the earth). This isn't time, but rather, a comparison of events. We called these manmade devices "clocks."
But these are just events, not to be confused with time. Indeed, one could measure time by measuring the melting of ice on a hot day. We might even devise a plan to meet for tea at two ice-cube melts or 50 top-spins, which ever "time piece" you each happen to have on hand. Clocks just have springs and things. People get sidestepped into believing time exists as a physical entity because we've invented clocks.
From a biocentric point of view, time is the inner process that animates consciousness and experience. The existence of clocks, which ostensibly measure "time," doesn't in any way prove time itself exists.
New experiments confirm this concept. In 2002, scientists carried out an amazing experiment, which showed that pairs of particles knew in advance what its twin would do in the future. Somehow, the particles knew what the researcher would do before it happened, as if there were no space or time between them. More recently (Science 2007), scientists shot particles into an apparatus, and showed they could retroactively change something that had already happened. The particles had to decide what to do when they passed a fork in the apparatus. Later on the experimenter could flip a switch. It turns out what the observer decided at that point, determined what the particle did at the fork in the past. The knowledge in observer's mind is the only thing that determines how they behave.
What does all this mean? Does it make a difference in our daily life or how we see the world? This will become clearer as we collectively come to understand its implications, yet visual descriptions of a world without time and space have been steadily brought to us by popular culture. We've been digesting a world that's categorically different than the one we've been living in, albeit we generally accept these alternative universes of Star Trek, The Matrix, and such, as fiction. Yet most of us simultaneously intuit a morsel of truth in this popular culture genre.
Increasingly, popular culture has been honing in on a sense that our world isn't as it appears to be. Films, novels, music, and television shows overflow with examples of characters transcending the everyday boundaries of space and time. Most people think about the end of time as an apocalypse, like asteroids destroying the earth—or like those disaster movies: Mars Attacks, Tornado, and Armageddon.
However, it's not the end of the world, but rather the beginning of a new one. We're living through a profound shift in worldview, from the belief that time and space are entities in the universe to one in which they belong to the living. Only for a moment, while we sort out the reality of time and space not existing, will it feel like madness.
To learn more visitwww.robertlanzabiocentrism.com
Eternalism is a philosophical approach to the ontological nature of time, which takes the view that all existence in time is equally real, as opposed to presentism or the growing block universe theory of time, in which at least the future is not the same as any other time. Some forms of eternalism give time a similar ontology to that of space, as a dimension, with different times being as real as different places, and future events are "already there" in the same sense other places are already there, and that there is no objective flow of time. It is sometimes referred to as the "block time" or "block universe" theory due to its description of space-time as an unchanging four-dimensional "block", as opposed to the view of the world as a three-dimensional space modulated by the passage of time.
Conventionally, time is divided into three distinct regions; the "past", the "present", and the "future". Using that representational model, the past is generally seen as being immutably fixed, and the future as at least partly undefined. As time passes, the moment that was once the present becomes part of the past; and part of the future, in turn, becomes the new present. In this way time is said to pass, with a distinct present moment "moving" forward into the future and leaving the past behind. Within this intuitive understanding of time is the philosophy of presentism, which argues that only the present exists. It does not travel forward through an environment of time, moving from a real point in the past and toward a real point in the future. Instead, the present simply changes. The past and future do not exist and are only concepts used to describe the real, isolated, and changing present. This conventional model presents a number of difficult philosophical problems, and seems difficult to reconcile with currently accepted scientific theories such as the theory of relativity.
Special relativity eliminates the concept of absolute simultaneity and a universal present: according to the relativity of simultaneity, observers in different frames of reference can have different measurements of whether a given pair of events happened at the same time or at different times, with there being no physical basis for preferring one frame's judgments over another's. However, there are events that may be non-simultaneous in all frames of reference: when one event is within the light cone of another—its causal past or causal future—then observers in all frames of reference show that one event preceded the other. The causal past and causal future are consistent within all frames of reference, but any other time is "elsewhere", and within it there is no present, past, or future. There is no physical basis for a set of events that represents the present.
Many philosophers have argued that relativity implies eternalism. Philosopher of science Dean Rickles disagrees in some sense, but notes that "the consensus among philosophers seems to be that special and general relativity are incompatible with presentism." Christian Wüthrich argues that supporters of presentism can only salvage absolute simultaneity if they reject either empiricism or relativity. Such arguments are raised by Dean Zimmerman and others, in favor of a single privileged frame whose judgments about length, time and simultaneity are the true ones, even if there is no empirical way to distinguish this frame.
The flow of time
Arguments for and against an independent flow of time have been raised since antiquity, represented by fatalism, reductionism, and Platonism: Classical fatalism argues that every proposition about the future exists, and it is either true or false, hence there is a set of every true proposition about the future, which means these propositions describe the future exactly as it is, and this future is true and unavoidable. Fatalism is challenged by positing that there are propositions that are neither true nor false, for example they may be indeterminate. Reductionism questions whether time can exist independently of the relation between events, and Platonism argues that time is absolute, and it exists independently of the events that occupy it.
The philosopher Katherin A. Rogers argued that Anselm of Canterbury took an eternalist view of time, although the philosopher Brian Leftow argued against this interpretation, suggesting that Anselm instead advocated a type of presentism. Rogers responded to this paper, defending her original interpretation. Rogers also discusses this issue in her book "Anselm on Freedom", using the term "four-dimensionalism" rather than "eternalism" for the view that "the present moment is not ontologically privileged", and commenting that "Boethius and Augustine do sometimes sound rather four-dimensionalist, but Anselm is apparently the first consistently and explicitly to embrace the position." Taneli Kukkonen argues in the Oxford Handbook of Medieval Philosophy that "what Augustine's and Anselm's mix of eternalist and presentist, tenseless and tensed language tells is that medieval philosophers saw no need to choose sides" the way modern philosophers do.
Augustine of Hippo wrote that God is outside of time—that time exists only within the created universe. Thomas Aquinas took the same view, and many theologians agree. On this view, God would perceive something like a block universe, while time might appear differently to the finite beings contained within it.
One of the most famous arguments about the nature of time in modern philosophy is presented in "The Unreality of Time" by J. M. E. McTaggart. It argues that time is an illusion. McTaggart argued that the description of events as existing in absolute time is self-contradictory, because the events have to have properties about being in the past and in the future, which are incompatible with each other. McTaggart viewed this as a contradiction in the concept of time itself, and concluded that reality is non-temporal. He called this concept the B-theory of time.
Dirck Vorenkamp, a professor of religious studies, argued in his paper "B-Series Temporal Order in Dogen's Theory of Time" that the Zen Buddhist teacher Dōgen presented views on time that contained all the main elements of McTaggart's B-series view of time (which denies any objective present), although he noted that some of Dōgen reasoning also contained A-Series notions, which Vorenkamp argued may indicate some inconsistency in Dōgen's thinking.
Some philosophers appeal to a specific theory that is "timeless" in a more radical sense than the rest of physics, the theory of quantum gravity. This theory is used, for instance, in Julian Barbour's theory of timelessness. On the other hand, George Ellis argues that time is absent in cosmological theories because of the details they leave out.
Recently Hrvoje Nikolić has argued that a block time model solves the black hole information paradox.
Philosophers such as John Lucas argue that "The Block universe gives a deeply inadequate view of time. It fails to account for the passage of time, the pre-eminence of the present, the directedness of time and the difference between the future and the past." Similarly, Karl Popper argued in his discussion with Albert Einstein against determinism and eternalism from a common-sense standpoint.
A flow-of-time theory with a strictly deterministic future, which nonetheless does not exist in the same sense as the present, would not satisfy common-sense intuitions about time. Some have argued that common-sense flow-of-time theories can be compatible with eternalism, for example John G. Cramer’s transactional interpretation. Kastner (2010) "proposed that in order to preserve the elegance and economy of the interpretation, it may be necessary to consider offer and confirmation waves as propagating in a “higher space” of possibilities.
Eternalism is a major theme in Kurt Vonnegut’s novel, Slaughterhouse-Five. The Tralfamadorians, an alien species in the novel, have a four-dimensional sight and can therefore see all points in time simultaneously. They explain that since all moments exist simultaneously, everyone is always alive. The hero, Billy Pilgrim, lives his life out of sequence, which, among other things, means that his point of death occurs at a random point in his life rather than at the end of it.
Eternalism also appears in the comic book series Watchmen by Alan Moore. In one chapter, Dr. Manhattan explains how he perceives time. Since past, present, and future events all occur at the "same time" for him, he speaks about them all in the present tense. For example, he says "Forty years ago, cogs rain on Brooklyn" referring to an event in his youth when his father throws old watch parts out a window. His last line of the series is "Nothing ends, Adrian. Nothing ever ends." Alan Moore explores this idea even further in his 2016 novel Jerusalem. In Jerusalem characters who have died leave the three dimensional physical world and transcend to a higher spatial dimension populated by the deceased, by demons and by angels. From their new perspective, the dead can choose to re-live their lives or visit specific moments in history.
In his science fantasy novel The Number of the Beast, Robert Heinlein has one of the novel's protagonists, the mathematician and "geometer" Dr. Jacob Burroughs invent a device that navigates through time as one scalar dimension in a six-dimensional universe. The novel carries its main characters through time and many alternate universes, some of which are fictional worlds, accessible by quantum-wise progression through one of the six axes of the universe that Burroughs' invention can access. In this novel, there is not only block time, but a block plenum of many alternate universes, each a quantum step along an axis of space-time.
- Smart, Jack. "River of Time". In Anthony Kenny. Essays in Conceptual Analysis. pp. 214–215.
- van Inwagen, Peter (2008). "Metaphysics." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
- ^Kuipers, Theo A.F. (2007). General Philosophy of Science: Focal Issues. North Holland. p. 326. ISBN 978-0-444-51548-3.
- ^Tim Maudlin (2010), "On the Passing of Time", The Metaphysics Within Physics, ISBN 9780199575374
- ^"Block" here refers to the idea of spacetime as something fixed and unchanging, like a solid block, and not to the actual geometric shape of space or spacetime.
- ^ abcMarkosian, Ned (2014), Edward N. Zalta, ed., "Time", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2016 ed.), retrieved November 18, 2017
- ^Savitt, Steven F. (September 2000), "There's No Time Like the Present (in Minkowski Spacetime)", Philosophy of Science, 67 (S1): S563–S574, doi:10.1086/392846
- ^Thomas M. Crisp (2007), William Lane Craig; Quentin Smith, eds., "Presentism, Eternalism, and Relativity Physics"(PDF), Einstein, Relativity and Absolute Simultaneity, footnote 1
- ^Dean Rickles (2008), Symmetry, Structure, and Spacetime, Elsevier, p. 158, ISBN 9780444531162
- ^Wüthrich, Christian (2010). "No Presentism in Quantum Gravity". In Vesselin Petkov. Space, Time, and Spacetime: Physical and Philosophical Implications of Minkowski's Unification of Space and Time. Fundamental Theories of Physics. Springer. pp. 262–264. ISBN 9783642135378. LCCN 2010935080.
- ^Yuri Balashov (2010), Persistence and Spacetime, Oxford University Press, p. 222
- ^Zimmerman, Dean (2011). "Presentism and the Space-Time Manifold". In C. Callender. The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Time(PDF). Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy. OUP Oxford. pp.163-244 (PDF p.119). ISBN 9780199298204. LCCN 2011283684.
- ^Katherin A. Rogers (2007). "Anselmian Eternalism". Faith and Philosophy 24 (1):3-27.
- ^Brian Leftow (2009). "Anselmian Presentism. Faith and Philosophy" 26 (3):297-319.
- ^Katherin Rogers (2009). "Back to Eternalism". Faith and Philosophy 26 (3):320-338.
- ^Rogers, Katherin (2008). Anselm on Freedom. Oxford University Press. p. 159. ISBN 9780199231676.
- ^From Kukkonen's chapter on "Eternity" in The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Philosophy edited by John Marenbon (2012), p. 529.
- ^John Polkinghorne (2011). Science and Religion in Quest of Truth, p. 64.
- ^J. M. E. McTaggart, "The Unreality of Time", Mind 17: 457–73; reprinted in J. M. E. McTaggart, The Nature of Existence, Vol. 2, 1927, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: Book 5, Chapter 33.
- ^Vorenkamp, Dirck (1995). "B-Series Temporal Order in Dogen's Theory of Time". Philosophy East and West, Volume 45, Number 3, 1995 July, P.387-408.
- ^"Platonia", Julian Barbour's time-skeptical website
- ^Ellis (2006). "Physics in the Real Universe: Time and Spacetime". Gen. Rel. Grav. 38 (12): 1797–1824. arXiv:gr-qc/0605049. Bibcode:2006GReGr..38.1797E. doi:10.1007/s10714-006-0332-z.
- ^Nikolic H. (2009). "Resolving the black-hole information paradox by treating time on an equal footing with space". Phys. Lett. B. 678 (2): 218. arXiv:0905.0538. Bibcode:2009PhLB..678..218N. doi:10.1016/j.physletb.2009.06.029.
- ^John LucasThe Future p8
- ^Popper, K.R. (2002). Unended Quest: An Intellectual Autobiography. Routledge Classics. Routledge. pp. 148–150. ISBN 9780415285896. LCCN 2002067996.
- ^"The Quantum Liar Experiment Kastner". Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics. 41 (=2).
- ^Heinlein, Robert (1986). The Number of the Beast. New York: Fawcett Publications. pp. 512 pp. ISBN 978-0449130704.