You are here: Home »

The Philosophy of Time

Feb 13, 2013 ,


(((((((((Part : 1 

Now we address the philosophical question:'' does the time really exist? ' Although it is too difficult to answer but we'll try our own way. There are many schools which teach us that there are three tenses say past, present and future. What we mean by present is that “the things and their distribution which we perceive without any memory, is present”. That means what we perceive if we are lacking of memory, can be referred as present. This is the collection of informations about the things which we perceive. This distribution causes actually an impression on mind which comes in form of informations. When we find that there is something or we feel/think something, we say that to be “present”. Now the next question is what the past is? The past is actually due to our memory eg; recalling the two Presents we have in our mind. Each present is preserved in mind in form of certain information bits. We had some informations and now we have again some information, we compare both and say the information which is “present” is present but that the another one with which we compare it, is past. It is our mind which recognises the past to be different from present. The role of memory is so crucial in the contest of time that we should take a halt to understand it.

Suppose we are lacking of any memory i.e. what we perceive, has no previous information in our mind to compare with. For example consider a bunch of decaying particles which decay without any prior memory. The next one going todecay, knows nothing about which decayed just before or now and which will be the next. There is no correlation of decay of an individual one with decays of others. The decaying particles have no Memory. The consequences of the absence of any memory is that there will be no answer for any question by the system lacking of any memory. If a system will not be able to memorize the command or instructions, how will it give an answer to that question because a command also consumes some memory for its implementation. In absence of memory none will be able to appreciate the beauty, feelings etc. There will be no more pleasure and no more sorrows.

What do we mean by memory? The answer is " the impression of various things on a system which are preserved in form of certain deformations in the structure of the system". When one perceives something, the mind is impressed by it. It leaves certain deformation in our mind characteristic of the event. Now a natural question arises that what actually an impression mean by? The answer is that this is some bit of energy exchanged between the system making impression on the system of interest and the system being impressed (system of interest). Now suppose a situation where the things affect us instantaneously (in principle/an ideal situation) one by one followed by the impression, we perceive . But if we don't have any memory, how will we be able to correlate the two impressions ? And then it will be difficult to say that whether we saw something or not? This implies that only present exists in form of its instant impressions. This somehow defends the presentism which says that only present lives and past or future are non­existing. I have two objections on this. First is that what we call so called present, contradicts its own definition. We literally mean by Present as a set of simultaneous events affecting a system instantaneously.

This set of events has its impressions on our mind individually in events and thus the perceiving system becomes able to distinguish them as separate. But these different events in form of informations when reach to our mind simultaneously, actually may have their origins at different times. For example if one is caught in rain and he observes a thunder lightening and simultaneously a loud roar of the clouds then he thinks that both would have started simultaneously. But the situation is different. The thunder lightening started earlier at some different origin far from that which caused the roar of cloud. This means weobserved two objects in which if one is said to be instantaneous then definitely the other one is something started in past. This is contrary to presentism which offers that for something in present it not only should be perceived instantaneously but also should exist simultaneously somewhere in space. Thus at one hand the presentism denies the existence of any past and on the other hand contradicts itself.This can be taken other way around also. Suppose a collision of two clouds somewhere far in sky caused a thunder lightening and some roar simultaneously.

Although both started at the same time where the clouds collided but for an observer the sound reaches later than the light. So the observer perceives the roar as a past event contradicting its definition. Second is that any observer who perceives the time has certain things to make sure that some changes/processes to compare with but if it were lacking of memory, there is no further possibilities to correlate the events and this demands that the observer will be no more able to appreciate the changes and thus the existence of time itself is questioned.

What about the future? If we have a series of presents in our mind which actually form a past and the same time a single “present” going on. We find a correlation in changes, occurring. The changes we perceive indicate that we can predict what the type of change is to be or what the next we may perceive. This guess is nothing but “future”. Thus we find a sequence of time (changes) as “past > present > future”.

This was one way to see the changes. We have another way too. Few of us say that only present is real and all the past and future are mere imaginations of brain or you can say these exist only in form of the informations in brain. That means the past and future don't exist in reality. The people belonging to this school say that 'past is gone' and hence has nothing to do with the “present”. What could be, had already happened and so there is no possibility of being it. And the future is mere a possibility of being. It may be or may not be. But it gets its meaning only when the present takes its place. The future is that which has not come yet and is in a space of possibilities only or in other words this space of possibilities is nothing but future. Thus saying conclusively that only the present is real because something can be changed and we make some action on the things. Since we can not act on the events which have been passed or which are to be, so these are not real. This school of thoughts is known as “presenteeism”. A very sharp criticism of thepresentism, we put forward here. What we mean by the present, is perceptions of the various things which we have in our mind in absence of any prior memory.

But recall that the things which we perceived, have different locations and so the informations travelling from them have their different times (retarded). For example we listen a sound and see some flash of light in sky simultaneously. How can we say that both have their origin common? And even worse the case that the sound of thunderbolt and the light have started simultaneously at the same place far from us but we really don't perceive these simultaneously. So, what we say Present is actually a collection of snapshots at very different present times. Even the nearest thing is already has been elapsed in time and what we perceived is actually something stale. For the time being the things have been evolved and we really are not aware of it. So where the present is? We have perceived on the name of present, a jumble of stale events. The other school is there which denies the sole existence of time itself. It talks about that what we have as time is “just a collection of ordered events which emerge due to succession of various possible distributions of the things in space.”

In relativistic interpretation each and every event actually can be represented by points in a higher dimensional phase space. We call this higher dimensional space as spacetime. So each event in spacetime is nothing but a point. Now if a process is taking place then it means that it is tracing a collection of points in spacetime. Its trajectory implies an ordered collection of events. So one can start from anywhere.

All we perceive, is already fixed as points in spacetime. The only thing one can know is that which subset of points with certain order is being considered. What the next to attain, is mere a possibility of attaining of some points of spacetime. In this representation thus we have no more, any tense. This is the widely accepted school of thoughts. “The time comes through the ordering of the events for a certain process”. If the ordering would not be there, we could never perceive any time.

Till now we have talked about the time as something which finds its existence through the mind of the observer. This time is called “psychological time” because it involves the consciousness in its heart. But certain changes occur irrespective ofour being. A pendulum swings without caring of our being. So the time associated with such mechanical system which is independent of the presence of our own is known as mechanical time. Since we have discussed so for that for each individual process, there is a time associated with it. But if we look at the universe, the universe is itself changing as a whole more or less in a statistical way according to the laws of thermodynamics. Then there seems to be a global time. Which runs irrespective of local times. This time is called “thermodynamical time”. One can ask that what the thermodynamical time is? The answer is still complicated and suffers all the difficulties of the local time. It follows the thermodynamics of the universe.

Let us consider a case in which we find that the time flows in a local frame (associated with certain process). The flow of time never can be determined until we have something else to change irrespective of the change which we are observing for the time of consideration. That means in order to find the flow of time of a particular change, one has to have something changing irrespective of the changes of which we are trying to find the flow of time associated with. This may be our heart beats or it may be a wrist watch or anything else. Thus compared to this change we can talk about the flow of time. The slow change means less flow of the time and rapid changes leads fast flow of the time. Suppose we are observing any such change and hence perceiving the associated time. We find that the time associated with the change flows accordingly with the change. Now if the changes cease to occur then what we find, standing out of the regime of the change is: the time is still flowing while changes have been ceased to occur. This is all due to that in our system there is something, still changing. That means, the time associated with us is still flowing. Now if there be nothing to change anywhere that means all the changes have ceased to occur in us and everywhere else then will there be a time? No, never. What will then be that until the changes start again, the time will have no meaning. For example, suppose someone sitting on the surface of a star, as an independent system, is observing the evolution of another star and hence is calculating the history of the evolution of another star. Now if the changes through which he perceives the time associated with his star and thus with comparision,

knows the history of the evolution of the other star, cease to occur. He will never be able to know whether there have been any evolution in other star or not? He will never feel any cutting of time line. He will come to know about the star only when the evolution of his star, starts again. Like a person awakened after a long sleep,finds that his timeline would have never been broken and the world around him has evolved in time suddenly too rapid. Something like inflation. He will observe the world to be inflated. The vice­versa may also be true. An observer associated with the global thermodynamical time if due to certain reasons finds all the processes ceased. He will find there would be no more time. When the changes restart he will again start perceiving the time and then due to memory he will find that the things around him, have changed suddenly so fast like some inflation. He will find the world inflated around him. This is all due to that the global time through which he was associated was ceased to flow.

I will make it clear with analogy that suppose we have a cassette player. We are the external observer to the cassette player and let there be an observer associated with cassette player. Now we both agree with that the time is flowing. Now if due to certain reasons the cassette player stops working , there is nothing changing within player. The observer associated with player will be no more able to observe the cease of flow of time. But we being external to the cassette player will be able to observe the changes and will say that cassette has been stopped. Now if the cassette player suddenly starts playing again ( may be due to our efforts) , he will find his time flowing again but he will not be able to know this that his time had been abrupted. He will know that his time is continuously flowing. But we being an external, never find it to be true.

Another good example is that suppose some person who is among us, freezes to be an inert that means all his motions have been seized microscopically and macroscopically both. For implicitly, consider him to be turned into a statue for some span of time due to some devil curse and we being his caretaker are waiting for his curse to be finished. Now when the curse is over, he again turns into normal being and finds that the world around him, has been changed but he will never find that he was frozen for a time being. While we being his caretaker know that what he is observing is quite different from our observations. He would never find that for him the time had been abrupted, but we know. Let us consider now the case in which an observer finds that his time does not continue indefinitely but is bounded.

                                                                                       Continued......Part-3 more ........)))))




Share This Article

Related Post

No comments:

Leave a Reply