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Time? It’s About Damn Time!

Written by Jeff Drake
7 · 04 · 21

There are any number of topics that I would like to have sorted out before I die, but purely intellectually speaking, my two favorites are consciousness and time. By “sorted out” I don’t mean to imply that I will have them figured out. I mean that I will have some concrete ideas, albeit subjective, about what consciousness is and what time is, based on the most recent scientific findings, philosophical analysis and educated speculation.

Some will think this strange. Why be concerned with such things? To this I can only respond with, “How can you not want to know these things?” Consciousness, after all, is what makes you, you. And time… well, what can I say about time? A lot, as it turns out.

I didn’t realize it until I started digging into it, but studying time is not as straight forward as one might think. It appears to be as complicated, if not more so, than the study of consciousness. There are many reasons for why these two subjects are obscure, but I find it intriguing that both time and consciousness are not only both opaque, they are also intricately connected. I hope to be able to explore this particular aspect of time and consciousness at some point in the future.

Studying time is a complicated subject to study in its own right,  but one of the things making it a difficult subject to even talk or write about is that our language seems to get in the way. Past, present, future? What do we mean by these terms? We may not know, but it doesn’t keep us from talking about time as if we did. Look at the following words. Do you know what they have in common?

  • Time
  • Person
  • Year
  • Way
  • Day

The above list contains the 5 most commonly used nouns in the English language. The list tells us that time is definitely a word we use or reference a lot in our language. A lot. And yet, just try to explain to someone what time is. I dare you.

As I delve into the topic of time, you will see what I mean by this. And of course, there’s the complications added by science, now that we know time, as we think of it, is really something else called, “spacetime.”  What the hell is that all about?

When Augustine tried to deal with the subject of time back in the 4th century, he wrote, “What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know.”[i]

Some things just don’t seem to change. LOL!

I’m still figuring out my approach blog-wise to the subject of time. I have a wealth of material at my disposal and I am busy reading as much as I can. Given the breadth of material, I may have to simply pick and choose and write about different time-related threads and hope that I can sew them all together at some point.

Here are some of the questions that I hope to address in this blog series:

  • What is time?
  • What is space?
  • What is spacetime?
  • Is time an illusion?
  • If there is no change, does time exist?
  • Why does time only go in one direction?
  • Are the past and the future as real as the present?
  • Does time actually flow?
  • Does time have an end?
  • What neural mechanisms account for our experience of time?
  • Is time travel possible?

People write books about each of these questions.  People with lots of time on their hands. Sadly, my time at this point in my life is limited, and mostly borrowed, so I won’t be writing any books, but I will try to explain to you the things I am learning along the way.

I look forward to sharing with you the high points of what I learn.

Jeff

 

 

[i] Confessions, by Saint Augustine. Chapter XI.

Let us know what you think…

Comments

2 Comments

  1. Tom Steinberg

    See if you can find (You Tube) an extended version of Chambers Brothers: “Time”.

    Reply
  2. Michael B Connolly

    I really appreciate you being willing to share your thoughts about these things Jeff! Thanks

    Reply

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Author

Jeff Drake

Retired IT consultant, world-traveler, hobby photographer, and philosopher.