Tuesday, 19 April 2011

More ranting about time

You know, I've been wondering something. We perceive there to be this moment called the 'now', which is between "back then" and "in a sec". Everyone recognizes this, as it is the moment where shit goes down, where decisions are made (after all, you can't make a decision in the past).

But this "now" we speak of, are we sure it's universal? If you look at your life as a timeline, you can say that the now is something that moves forward, like a track on itunes. But that doesn't make any sense. What's the speed of that progress bar? One second per second? Infinite nows/hour?

But, just for arguments sake, let's say that there is a time/time or a speed of living life. What would that imply? Would that mean that it's possible for nows not to be in synch? I'm not saying that someone says something that the other person only hears 15 seconds later. That would be "normal" time being out of synch.

Let's use a little visual aid. These are 4 lives. They belong to John, Paul, George and Samanta.

J: ------------------------
P: -------------
S: ----------------

You'll notice that they weren't all the same age. But let's assume they weren't born on the same day. That would make it:


As you'll see, George is the youngest, John the oldest. We assume our perception of time to be a vertical line, scanning from left to right, and the position of that line to be the "now". But what if it's not? What if there is time "on" time itself? Time Squared, if you will (no pun intended). What if all of time exists at the same time, because it is only perception, and in order to observe it, there had to be another time, one parallel to it? Meta-time, time-squared, whatever you wish to call it, is a fun idea, because it implies, among others, that our "nows" may not be in synch. My now may be 5 minutes behind on yours.
I'm not sure I get it myself, and I'm most likely wrong, but I'm still interested to hear your thoughts on this.


  1. Firstly, I'm not sure Ringo Star would appreciate being called 'Samantha'.
    Secondly, Nice theory. Reminds me a bit of string theory as was explained to me by a video I once saw and spent the better part of two hours looking for: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkxieS-6WuA (part one) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkxieS-6WuA (part two).
    I know your theory is different from this theory, but both are interesting and fun to think about.

    But in the end I think we all know that time is an ocean in a storm.

  2. (Silly me linked part one twice, but I'm assuming you'll find your way to part two yourself.)

  3. I don't really know what to say about the idea.

    "[...]and I'm most likely wrong, but I'm still interested to hear your thoughts on this. "

    But that line has problems, you can't be wrong here (or right), as you are speaking about unverifiable propositions. We can't really know something about it. We might justify this model as being better then another model on basis of practicality. Seen from the perspective of the Pragmatist Galileo's model was better then that of the model of Ptolemaeus. Of course it wasn't until Newton's theory of gravity that Galileo's model beat the one of Ptolemaeus completely out of the ring. Now lets cut this train of thought here before I start ranting about plate tectonics. Let's just say that mainstream science philosophers wouldn't really give a value rating of truth to this idea. Of course the pure pragmatically dudes probably would, but we won't talk about them (they smell funny).

    So while this is a nice way of exploring perception and I consider it a good way to keep my brains from rusting. And it has of course some entertainment value. It's just that you can't say you are wrong (or right) here.

  4. Akay :D

    Thanks for the replies.

  5. Scientifically speaking, a theory that cannot be disproven, cannot be dismissed. That's the beauty of science: it cannot ignore ideas it doesn't like by sticking its head in the sand and hoping the bad people go away.
    Unlike, say, religion.
    I assume philosophy has a similar (heh) philosophy.

    Also, plate tectonics FTW!

    (and no cookie for spotting the Beatles reference? Aww... :( )

  6. Oh, alright then. Here's a cookie.

  7. Okay, so I've made that mistake again even though I swore to myself to never directly type a reply into this box again. This once again resulted in the loss of quite a lot of material I was proud of.

    I'm not going to retype everything that I just typed down. Like that would even be possible.

    So here's one of the things I said in the original reply that I just can't let slip.

    “Scientifically speaking, a theory that cannot be disproved, cannot be dismissed.“

    Well actually, in science every theory that cannot be disproved is automatically dismissed. This if often best illustrated with an example. Imagine I believed that there was a teapot flying in orbit around Jupiter. This hypothesis is completely unverifiable and cannot be disproved in any way. Now if you hold the position that theories don't have to be falsifiable, that they are not disprovable then you cannot dismiss my claim that there is a teapot flying in orbit around Jupiter. And you cannot dismiss the claim about the immaterial pink unicorn in this room and the same is true for a lot of concepts of 'God'. In short, the principle of falsifiability is one of tests theories have to come through if they want to be qualified as scientific.(Also look up Bertrand Russell.) Yes, science ignores the voices of the bad people that are trying to tear it apart so it can fit their own pre-set belief system.

    Now what does this mean for the idea that Iskariot brought forward here? This just means that it isn't a scientific theory. But that of course should not withhold us from enjoying it and playing around with it. Just don't expect the proposition to be true of false as you will never be able to check whether it really is. This means that it is irrelevant. Fun maybe but irrelevant. You can construct an infinite amount of propositions that you cannot possible check on being true or false. You would have no grounds to dismiss any of these claims. But accepting them all would certainly lead to contradictions, because some of these claims are going to contradict themselves. (The claim that “God X” created the world and is the only God is in direct contradiction that there are multiple Gods and that they all created the world together.[Of course all these gods have an unverifiable definition. In reality God definitions don't have to be unverifiable , but it's in a lot of ways easier of course ^_^.])

    So done, this one might not be as good as the original one and doesn't contain nearly as much subjects (I'll save them for later) it's all I can give. Hope it wasn't to boring as I have the feeling I repeated myself several times.

  8. You seem to assume that I believe 'unable to be proven false' equals 'true'. Iskariot's theory cannot be proven false, or not yet anyway. Does it mean that it is undeniably true? No. It does, however, mean that it still remains a possibility (no matter how slim). Does this mean that, when he proposes his idea to physicists, they'll jump at the occasion to dedicate time and resources to research it? Sort of unlikely. However, they don't have the right to say that it is completely, one hundred percent impossible, unless they can prove so. (something they might be able to. I don't know. I'm not a physicist.)

    As for your teapot, because of the way matter attracts each other, it is virtually impossible for a teapot to occur naturally in space. The only way there could be a teapot up there is if someone placed it there, but then we'd be moving away from science and into the land of teapot conspiracies.
    Or aliens. Do aliens drink tea?


  9. Is there anyone else able to still post comments?

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