From: Dace (edace@earthlink.net)
Date: Tue Aug 21 2001 - 19:35:26 BST

  • Next message: Dace: "Re: Multiple-minimum"

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    From: "Dace" <edace@earthlink.net>
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    Subject: Time
    Date: Tue, 21 Aug 2001 11:35:26 -0700
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    From: <joedees@bellsouth.net>

    > > Lawrence,
    > >
    > > I take it you're asking how the past could be transmitted in perfect
    > > condition to the present. Sheldrake leaves this question open, so
    > > I'll have to wing it.
    > >
    > > The inspiration for morphic resonance came from Henri Bergson's book,
    > > Matter & Memory, so that's where I'm looking for my answer.
    > >
    > As a student of philosophy, I own ALL of Bergson; he was a
    > champion of the idea of elan vital (vitalism), so I had Sheldrake
    > pagged right all along.

    Sheldrake is interested in Bergson only regarding his notions of time and
    memory. He explicitly rejects the vitalism offered in Creative Evolution.
    As far as biological theory goes, Sheldrake is much more in line with
    Whitehead's holistic school. Whitehead accepted the unity of nature. He
    regarded biology as the study of the larger organisms and physics as the
    study of the smaller organisms.

    > Bergson also wrote a 'refutation' of
    > Einstein's relativity theory called DURATION AND SIMULTANEITY;
    > it is so horribly flawed as to be embarassing - which should tell you
    > how much credence should be placed in his views on temporality.

    I haven't read this book, though I will shortly. My understanding is that
    Bergson never claimed to refute Einstein's theories. He merely pointed out
    that "space-time" is not the same as time itself. Einstein was looking at
    time from the external point of view, that is, from the point of view of
    space. Bergson approaches it intrinsically, as a thing-in-itself.

    > > Bergson asks us to think of time in terms of a pond. There's no
    > > absolute separation between the surface of a pond and its depths. Yet
    > > we go around speaking of the "surface" and the "depths" as if they
    > > were two different things. Outside of our idea of time, there's no
    > > absolute division between present and past. Only in our imagination
    > > can we draw a line between them and call one side the "present" and
    > > the other side the "past." Time is unitary. It's not composed of
    > > discrete "moments." If it were, then something would have to separate
    > > these moments, and this something-- having no time-- could never come
    > > into existence. Therefore nothing separates moments from each other,
    > > including the present from what preceded it.
    > >
    > > If the present is present, then so is the past. The question is not
    > > how the mind is able to remember (i.e. to bring the past into the
    > > present) but why matter is, shall we say... temporally deficient.
    > > Matter is like the thickening of water at its surface. To a
    > > materialist, time is the motion of ripples. From the point of view of
    > > mind, time is the continual deepening of the pond.
    > >
    > > There's no loss in quality in the transmission from the past because
    > > nothing is transmitted. The past is present.
    > >
    > This is a horrible mischaracterization of Bergson. His idea was
    > more that time was like a river, where the present gradually
    > becomes the past without any precise demarcation line in the flow,

    This point can also be illustrated with the pond metaphor, which Bergson
    utilized in The Creative Mind.


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