June 6, 2008

  • time as a self correcting system


    First a disclaimer-- I'm not a physicist, just a physics hobbyist.  I'm not a new ager or spiritualist, but I was raised by religious parents.  I guess I'm more of a logical thinker, although I'm not into philosophy.  This idea I'm working on is all mine, as far as I can discern, but since there are over 6 billion brains on this planet, it's highly probable several other people are already working on this and I just don't know it.
    I have been thinking about time since I was a young child.  I have a degree and have studied systems theory as applied to the field of sociology.  At its most basic, systems theory says that within a whole there are sets of systems, and all systems interact in one way or another to affect other systems.  A good example is your body.  There is the endocrine system, cardiovascular system, nervous system, digestive system, etc.  In sociological terms there is the educational system, the transportation system, the health care system, and etc.  You can apply this to any field and even cross fields with it, as in solar flares affect not only our solar system, but our communications systems in our daily lives.  Or you can bring it down to a personal level and view your own household as a variety of interacting systems that form a whole.
    Time as a construct has always fascinated me.  Is it real?  What exactly is it?  It seems to be a measuring of linear progression, as in change over time.  It's even been given its own dimension.  We fantasize about it running backward, or skipping around through it, about changing the way it works.
    Time flows like a river, it's a wall you hit in middle age, it purportedly heals all wounds, it stops during breathless moments, it lags, it flies, it takes forever to arrive, and puts terrible pressure on us.  But is it really an entity in itself?  We measure atomic time and the speed of light time and the time it takes to cook dinner in our microwaves.  We can slow down light in a lab, and we can say time slows down for people traveling near light speed, and we can be out of time.  We buy and sell time as a commodity and talk about the time all the time.  What the heck is time?
    To be outside our universe is to be outside of time itself, or so some say.  But then we'd be watching other bubbles form with their own times inside.  And to watch the bubbles means that time is passing outside the bubbles as linear progression continues.  If you aren't up on the latest physics, don't worry about this paragraph.
    Time seems to be all about progression.  Even when progression stops, time is not necessarily 'frozen' or 'standing still'.  Time seems to be entirely independent of the progression, but the progression seems to be entirely dependent on the time.
    Spacetime is likened to a fabric, as in 'the fabric of spacetime'.  No matter how you wad it up, it is itself, like a bedsheet that gets twisted in the wash, fluffed in the dryer, folded on a shelf, or pulled around on a bed.  Although spacetime contains its own universe, it appears that it's not particularly inert from 'outside' jostling from other spacetimes, or a barrier against 'quantum flux', where particles pop in and out of existence.  Spacetime can be dragged around a black hole and stretched, it can be wrinkled, it can have waves ripple through it, and one end of it can affect the other end in the minutest and yet most important of ways.
    The light cone of events kinda defines what possibilities there are along a line of progression, or time.  But all through that we see time go in a straight line.  But all possible worlds has evolved into the idea of time bifurcating into parallel worlds, all with their own timelines, but all still running 'straight'.  In this model, every second of every possible probability becomes a bifurcation, a split into two or more possible worlds, but if you think about it, every second would become a plethora of new time lines, and those would... etc.  Just a big fuzz of everything exploding in all directions.
    So I concern myself with just one timeline, this one that I am consciously aware of following somehow.  Now I feel like I'm on a train on a train track, and I think that's just as misleading as all the other pictures in my head.
    C.S. Lewis wrote a story called The Dark Tower in which the timeline in an alt dimension ran at a 90 degree angle to that of our familiar forwardly progressing time, and the inhabitants of a world in that dimension were using physical artifacts and markers like buildings to line the times up to intersect so our world could be connected to theirs, allowing people to trade places.  The people there were much different, of course, and their laws of physics appeared to be different to some degree.
    Have you had moments where time felt like it stood still?  When people fall in love they use the word 'forever' a lot.  They want to hang on to the lovely moment forever.  Well, what if they can?  What if each moment can be bisected and another time runs sideways?  What if all moments are like this?  What if what we instinctively feel as 'forever' inside of a tiny little moment is really real?
    Douglas Adams used a character named Dirk Gently to explore alt worlds, but in such a way that you could see they are interconnected.  He followed the gods back to Valhalla by adjusting his perception by the slightest amount and slipped behind a molecule.
    Many people have been obsessed with the concept of time and what it means to our existence.  Einstein had a heck of a time (haha) accepting that a particular 'now' is meaningful to a consciousness, when all times are essentially now.  I once got extra credit in a logic class for simply mentioning I own a copy of Heidegger's Being and Time.  Camus was obsessed with absurdity of being, Kierkegaard was obsessed with existentialism, Nietzsche unwittingly inspired a new genetic variation on humans in the Andromeda series.  Honestly, I really wish there were a real Mr. Spock and a whole planet of Vulcans to bounce these ideas off of.
    So, I've spent a lifetime wondering just what time is.  While we are in these bodies, we are caught in the progression of time in this universe.  The only way out is to die.  But what then?  Some seem to think we keep progressing along with this timeline, going from life to life as we continue to learn, or being stuck here as a ghost, or existing in another level still adjunct to this world.  Are we necessarily only able to move 'forward' with this world as spirits?  I'm getting the idea from several sources, including remote viewers, paranormal investigators, and savants that time may not necessarily be linear like we think, although we cannot fathom what else it could be.
    Lightning seems to come down from the sky.  Frame by frame imaging shows lightning exploding up from the earth to meet more lightning in the sky, something our eyes are usually unable to see.  Could time be happening like this?  Could it leap around and then 'spacetime' fills in the gaps as needed?  Some ancient religions agree with quantum physics that unless there is an observer, the possibility will not 'collapse' into a measurable state.  I'm not worried about who the observer is and whether it has to be corporeal.  Some say the universe is observing itself.  That's kind of moot since we can't observe the observer, but certainly leaves open the idea that maybe Time is the observer, a record of events, if you will.
    Our bodies work continually to self adjust to a default.  When the default is upset, we become sick.  Hormones go out of balance, sugars and minerals are not properly utilized, liquids become trapped, and entropy cascades as the immune system can literally tear the body apart trying to do something about what it cannot fix.  Cancers, auto-immune and genetic disorders, and cytokine storm can be our own biggest nightmares.  The body as a self correcting system is out of control.
    What if time did that?  What if everything as we knew it began to crumble apart into a big jumble of lunacy?  In Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes, a cosmic storm swept spacecraft through 'time storms', and timelines were changed because of that.  But what if time storms could happen on a smaller level?  What if just down the block time were changing things all around, as if it were raining over there but not at your house?  Wouldn't it be cool to see a new scifi series based on that idea?
    Time, from our point of view, seems to be coherent and immutable.  When it isn't, then we assume something is wrong with our brains.
    What if time is a system?  What if time, which can apparently go on whether it is inside or outside our universe and regardless of whether any change happens, is actually a system that interacts with stuff like energy and mass on a level we are not yet able to understand?  What if time is part of an overall systems network that maintains itself within preset parameters?
    Ok, ok, these are called the laws of physics.  But seriously, what if time really is TIME?  What if it really exists on its own whether there are universes or not?  Not just as a concept, but something that has always somehow existed?  What if time is not just a byproduct of something 'happening'?
    I'm dangerously close to anthropomorphizing, and I hate that.  I think it is terribly erroneous to attribute personalities and motivations to things we don't understand, although I love it when Terry Pratchett does it.
    I guess if you're still with me, you are just as intrigued by this stuff as I am.  Is time on my side, like Mick Jagger says?  Just how many songs of his use the word 'time'?  Aspie on a tangent here.  Coming back from googling.
    It seems that time is important to us.  We need to take the time to stop and smell the roses, or the coffee.  We invest our time in something we like or believe in.  It wasn't that long ago that humans had no such concept of time.  Without clocks in every house, before watches were invented, before nations were synchronized, and with only day and night to go by (and especially before tv and gaming systems), there was plenty of time around, only it took a lot longer to get anything done or travel anywhere.  What do you do all day?  Create fabric.  Grind grain and make bread.  Talk.  Think.  Pray that harsh weather doesn't suddenly destroy the little garden before anything ripens.  Figure things out and invent things.  Time savers...
    I don't know how to end this.  I guess I could say my time is up.   

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Apologies for the missing vids, another upgrade during the server migration swept through like a scan sweeping through the Enterprise. I'll fix those later, kinda busy...

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