Re: Time

Date: Wed Aug 22 2001 - 06:51:49 BST

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    Subject: Re: Time
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    On 21 Aug 2001, at 11:35, Dace wrote:

    > From: <>
    > > > 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
    > > pegged 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.
    In other words, for Whitehead (who championed what he called
    process philosophy, something so fuzzy it never stuck except in
    theology where it belongs), everything is alive (panvitalism). Of
    course, since this removes the possibility of comparing the term
    with any exemplar of the opposite state, that is, death, it strips the
    term 'living' of all meaning whatsoever, since there is no basis by
    which to compare and contrast, and thus define it. No wonder only
    the faithists use him.
    > > 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.
    No, for human consciousness, spatiotemporality is a single
    perceptual manifold. People, including Kant, have illegitimately
    bifurcated this manifold into the abstract ideal concepts 'space' and
    'time', but they cannot point to any referents for such terms. In
    other words, we use the words, but we cannot perceive, or even
    imagine the perception of, either spaceless time or timeless space.
    The reason the mistake was made was simple inattention; the term
    'space; was abstracted from the visual modality and the term 'time'
    was abstracted from the auditoy modality because the abstractors
    failed to notince that even though these senses grasp the manifold
    in differing ways, with the spatial aspect predominating in vision
    and the temporal aspect predominating in audition, that actually
    both 'space' and 'time' are present inn both modalities, and in our
    most basic perceptual modality, taction, 'they' are equipresent. Let
    us reduce this error to the absurdity it deserves by asuming it to be
    true, then showing how such an assumption mires us irretrieveably
    in contradiction. First, we shall assume a spaceless time, and
    then we shall assume a timeless space.
    1) A spaceless time must be infinitesimal, that is, it must lack the
    three spatial dimensions. But worldly and somatic consciousness,
    as well as imagination, are perspectival; that is, they observe their
    objects from positions which are not identical with those of their
    objects.To perform such an observation, even imaginatively, is to
    establish two points, that of observer and that of the observed,
    which define a line, a spatial dimension. Contradiction: premise
    disproved by reductio ad absurdum.
    2) A timeless space space must be instantaneous, that is, it must
    lack duration. But the establishment of a spatiol perspective
    requires presence to succeed absence, and the presence of the
    observer to the observed entails their simultaneous co-presence
    (note). Succession and simultaneity are temporal distinctions.
    Contradiction: premise disproven by reductio ad absurdum.
    Begson vever grasped this; Einstein did.
    (note: it does no good here to say that we see dead stars; the light
    we perceive from them is co-present with us).
    > > > 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.
    Actually it cannot, for the difference between a stream and a pond
    is the difference between the dynamic and the static. We are
    actually rowers in a moving stream, possessing some control, but
    lacking the rest (partial free will).
    > Ted
    > ===============================================================
    > This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    > Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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    > see:

    This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)

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