From: Dace (
Date: Tue Jan 29 2002 - 05:19:07 GMT

  • Next message: Wade T. Smith: "Re: neccesity of mental memes"

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    Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 21:19:07 -0800
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    > >> Henson:
    > >> >>Joe, this is one of those cases where if you take another viewpoint,
    > >> >>the problem might make more sense. Consider driving down a road.
    > >> >>From your viewpoint, *anything* could happen, rabbits run across the
    > >> >>road, an airplane land on the road ahead, etc. Now consider it from
    > >> >>the viewpoint of a person far overhead making a film. Now consider
    > >> >>it from the viewpoint of someone watching that film later. They will
    > >> >>see the chain of events where too much head wind and not filling the
    > >> >>tanks caused an aircraft to land on the road in front of your car.
    > >> >>
    > >> Dees:
    > >> >>OF COURSE everthing appears fron hindsight to be necessary, just
    > >> >as things appear in foresight to be contingent, but in the present cusp
    > >> >where causally effective decisions are made, neither assumption can
    > >> >be made, for the appearance/reality distinction collapses on this plane.
    > >> >>>>
    > >> Dace:
    > >> >Ah, but Joe, there's no such thing as time-- remember? There's only a
    > >> >static, four-dimensional space-time. "Before" and "after" are nothing
    > >> >more than "left" and "right" from the limited point of view of people
    > >> >trapped in the illusion of time.
    > >> >
    > >> >As long as you've conceded the reduction of real time to space-time,
    > >> >there's nothing you can say against determinism.
    > >> >
    > >> Wrong; spatiotemporality is quite real
    > >
    > >Of course. Everything that exists in space also exists in time. From the
    > >point of view of physical objects, the two are totally intertwined. But
    > >time itself doesn't exist in space. It exists intrinsically, irreducibly.
    > >
    > Nope; spatiotemporality is a single irreduceable manifold.

    Spacetime is real insofar as everything spatial is also temporal. What's unreal is the notion that time has no existence apart from space, that time is static and given, like space, which renders past and future akin to left and right, except that, in our limited abilities (soon to be swept away by Science) we can only see what's to the left, while the right remains in a haze. But with sufficient technological know-how we will find ourselves behind the projector and then in front of the screen, with a button for fast-forward and another one for rewind. We'll see how it's all really concurrent and therefore determined. There's no possibility, once you reduce time to spacetime, that any event could be uncaused. Look around, from big bang to big crunch, it's all done, all simultaneous. How could it be otherwise if duration is illusory and time a fourth spatial dimension?

    By physicalist standards, time is an appearance, while reality, which is static and eternal, is unfolded before us. Incidentally, this is the actual meaning of the term evolution, "unfoldment," which is why Darwin, a materialist who hated any sort of transcendental nonsense, be it theological of physicalist, initially opposed the use of the term evolution to describe his theory of descent by natural selection.

    Did you think Einstein was kidding with that God-playing-with-dice comment? If you accept Einstein on his own terms, you accept determinism (and determinism is forever-- super or unleaded). The key is to accept Einstein but not on his own terms. Yes, all objective phenomena are spatio-temporal. But that doesn't make time in any way spatial and fixed. Time is real. It's all really happening, and what's to come is undetermined.

    > >Only when viewed from the outside-- that is, from the point of view of
    > >space-- does it appear to be purely relative to space.
    > >
    > Nither is dependent upon the other; they are interrelationally correlative with neither being prior or posterior.

    Time is both prior and posterior to space. What exists, objectively, right now, is space, which we now know as spacetime. Time is past and potential, memory and novelty. To the extent that time is present, it's identical to space (hence spacetime). To the extent that time is motion it's identical to itself. This is why space (spacetime) is relative while time is absolute. Time is reality while spacetime is derivative, ephemeral, fleeting. If reality were spacetime, then there would be no freedom, no self, no mind. If life has the same relation to time that branches have to their treetrunk, then we too are self-existent and free, and it's this self-existence that constitutes the mind. This is why memory and will are mental. This is why we know time from within. Time is the one thing we observe in everything around us that's also inside of us, at our core. We seem to be made of it, and we are. Time is universal self-existence, and life is local self-existence. We can talk about all this because we inhabit a mental environment, because humanity is mental self-existence. We are mental creatures, making use of primitive primate bodies to propagate ourselves. And we, in turn, our used by our own mental offspring, culture and cult, both of which are made up of myriad cells, i.e. memes.

    > >Yet, no matter how fast you travel, you still perceive time-- from within--
    > >the same way you always have. At no point does the person on the rocket
    > >ship perceive a change in tempo. As far as the direct experience of time is
    > >concerned, nothing has changed. The rate of time's passage varies only in
    > >its external relation to space and the objects moving through it more
    > >slowly.
    > >
    > That is because you are not distinguishing between the subjective experience and the objective passage. The objective passage of time is indeed relative to a frame of reference, and one resides in a referential frame moving at one's own velocity in either case. But, subjective, existential duration experience may vary. An evening in the arms of Catherine Zeta-Jones might seem to just speed by (time flies when you're having fun), but that same afternoon strapped to a hot eye on an electric oven would seem to last much longer.

    While our senses enable us to obtain precise measurements of time, only in our imprecise, inner sense of it can we know its existence intrinsically. Without this direct knowledge, we couldn't say whether Einstein was right or wrong. A planet of robots would never know. And that seems to be the planet we're living on now.

    Ted Dace

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