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That Makes A Lot Of Sense

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Posted by Aurino Souza on April 10, 2002 19:36:04 UTC

Hi Dick,

Thanks for your reply, it was very interesting.

I will try to make my position clear on the issue you bring up; however, I don't really expect clear comprehension.

For what it's worth, I can tell you it made a difference. There's probably more to it than I'm able to visualize but I got what I was looking for.

First, you must comprehend that, by my definition, time is nothing except a construct of the human mind introduced to make sense of what it knows. Continuity between events is a complete mental fabrication and not real at all: i.e., an illusion. From that perspective, the fact that it cannot be measured should not be surprising at all.

Believe it or not, to me that makes perfect sense. I realize what I'm trying to get at is a bit more subtle, and it seems to be coming together now, thanks to something I read on your paper (I think it was chapter 5). In essence I think what we really need are concepts other than time and space to "explain" reality when relativistic speeds are involved. However, since we can't experience that aspect of reality, our subconscious cannot create a model for it, and therefore we're forced to deal with the concepts we have. Hence the confusion.

I don't know if that makes sense to you, it does to me.

To think that our subjective experience of time is controlled by a clock is to get the whole thing backwards.

I was actually thinking that it probably comes from the brain, and as far as I know the brain is subject to the laws of physics. If that is true, when you travel near c you wouldn't see your environment "slowing down" and you would be really surprised to find you didn't arrive at your destination at the time you thought it was (assuming you never heard of Einstein)


Unless, what you mean by "is controlled by a clock" is that the continuity of the image so achieved is the driving force behind the illusion; in which case, I would agree with you.

It's interesting how people seldom report experiencing the world around them "speeding up" or "slowing down", which one would expect to be quite common experiences given the low accuracy that can be expected from organic clocks. So it does seem that it's the images that drive the illusion. That even explains why time runs slower when we're bored even though we don't perceive the world slowing down - the illusion rules.

***** Aurino:
And the problem here becomes one of finding a definition of time which is consistent with our knowledge of physics as well as our subjective experiences.
Now, you see I am of the opinion that my definition of time is consistent with both!

Here we differ, but I think it's a matter of opinion. Or religion.

Be careful! What I said was that "If one defines downhill with a carpenters level ..."! Certainly there exist alternate definitions of downhill which do not make water run downhill by definition (the direction of my front walk to the driveway for example).

Exactly! What I'm trying to say is that it's just as valid to define time as "that which clocks measure", after all it's just a definition. The problem with it is that, as you said, it conflicts with the notion that two objects must exist at the same time in order to interact, which could also be stated as a definition. So which definition should we keep? What do we do when water runs uphill?

Perhaps you already gave the answer:

I hold that most of what we know lacks any good explanation.

That might be a good explanation!


(now on the time expansion issue)

I suspect we would both agree that his answer did not even begin to approach your question which, by the way, is a very intelligent question!

I agree with the first part. As to the question being intelligent, you have to talk to Harv, he's the authority on intelligence here.

I will start by commenting that Einstein's Theory of General Relativity gives reality to "space". It is an entity with structure and properties sort of analogous to "aether" though it is sacrilege to say such a thing. Aether is a very hard concept to free the mind of. If you read about General Relativity, you will find the literature full of things like "wormholes" in space or space being "frothy" at the quantum level. All these ideas give "aetherisk" properties to "space".

That makes sense (your explanation of their point of view, not their point of view). You know, one day I spent several hours trying to bend the space in my bedroom, to no avail. The damn thing just kept slipping through my hands. Literally!

Now seriously. OK, I can understand how it's possible for someone to think space expands, shrinks, bends, has wormholes, is quantized, and so on, if they think of space as an aether. Too bad they don't call things by their proper names.

Thanks for the explanation.

With regard to Yanniru's answer, I think we are discussing "religion" (it's a religion called "science" but it is a religion none the less) and he is quoting catechism.

I think he just failed to understand my question. I suppose I didn't make myself clear.

I think you should take a close look at

I looked it up the other day, but I found their arguments a bit sloppy. I see that happening all the time, some bright people catch on to an idea worth pursuing, then they get all excited go off the deep end. That said, I was also shocked by the realization that our current understanding of the cosmos amounts to little more than wishful thinking. Who knows, maybe 500 years from now people will laugh at our belief that those bright dots in the sky were "suns".

I hope I have not confused you!

Not at all. Thanks again for a very thoughtful reply.

Have fun,


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