Clock Clock

Time is Only an Illusion

"There exists only the present instant ...
There is no yesterday nor any tomorrow, but only Now ... "
Meister Eckhart

Time, as we know it, is only an illusion. We usually think of time as having three parts - Past, Present, Future. But what is the Past - only a collection of memories. We can't experience the Past, we can only remember it. And we can only remember it in the Present (furthermore, our memories are noticeably unreliable). There is no objective thing that we call the Past; it can't be measured in any way; our only contact with it is in the Present.

And what is the Future - only a mental construct in the Present. We can't experience the Future until it "becomes" the Present. Until then it only a hope and dream. We can project what the Future may be like, but we are considerably less accurate than when we remember the Past. There is no objective thing that we call the Future; it can't be measured in any way; our only contact with it is in the Present.

That leaves us with only the Present - the ever changing Present. Time is an illusion we created to try and measure the rate of change of the Present. It's always NOW. But it's an ever changing NOW. In a effort to cope with the change, we have invented time. It's a handy mental device that helps us deal with the higher order derivatives of the rate of change.

This change that we experience in the ever present Present does have a "direction." Things change in the general direction of having greater entropy. Entropy is a measure of the amount of disorder in a system. That's why when we measure time we find it restricted to one direction (unlike when we measure distance) - things are changing such that the overall system has more and more entropy.

Although the illusionary nature of time is the deep truth in this matter, it's not particularly practical. To be totally in harmony with this truth, you'd need to wear a watch that always said "now". But you'd be late for a lot of meetings....

Leigh Brasington
Written in honor of Kurt Gödel, who also didn't believe in Time (New Yorker ~ Feb 28, 2005, pg 80ff)

Be Here Now

In 1979 - 1981 I took a trip around the world. I often encountered signs that said "You are here." You know what - every one of those signs was right! I'm always here. I can't go anywhere but here. If I think I'll leave here and go there, when I get there, here I am here again.

In light of it always being Now and always being Here, "Be Here Now" isn't just good advice, it's the only possibility. If you want to experience the deepest truth of things as they really are, you are going to have to be in harmony with being here, now.

Leigh Brasington

David Hume

Hume’s philosophy of time: How do we acquire the idea of time in the first place? He presents his argument in the second part of the first Book of his Treatise, where he submits that we get the idea of time by perceiving change. It ‘can never be convey’d to the mind by any thing stedfast and unchangeable’, Hume writes. Change is observable either in the succession of objects or in their relative motions. A good example of succession is the sequence of musical chords. We do not get time’s idea from a single ongoing chord. Instead, there must be a succession: chord, pause, chord, a different chord, and so on. Another source for the idea of time is observable relative motion. Perceiving motion causes an idea of time because ‘every moment were distinguish’d by a different position’ of the moving object.

from What Albert Einstein owes to David Hume's notion of time | Aeon Essays

Is "time" all in the mind? Is it real?
Physicists continue work to abolish time as fourth dimension of space
Discover Magazine: Newsflash: Time May Not Exist
Discover Magazine: 3 Theories That Might Blow Up the Big Bang - see #3 on page 3
NewScientist Magazine: What makes the universe tick?
NewScientist Magazine: Is time an illusion? (payment required to read article)
NewScientist Magazine: "time is no more than a mirage."
New Statesman: There's no such thing as time (2nd article)
NewScientist Magazine: Your Brain Is a Time Machine
Quartz: This physicist’s ideas of time will blow your mind
Aeon: No absolute time
'“Time” is the most frequently used noun in the English language.'
Before, Now, and Next: On McTaggart’s philosophy of time
What Einstein Meant By "Time is an Illusion"
Time Might Not Exist at All, Some Scientists Say
How logic alone may prove that time doesn't exist
What If Space And Time Are NOT Real? PBS Space Time youtube video
Sam Harris - It Is Always Now - 5½ minute youtube video
Why space and time have a secret connection - 2½ minute youtube video
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Leigh Brasington / EmailAddr / Revised 21 Apr 24