Monday, October 3, 2011

Illusion Ultima

1)  Time and space are one and the same, or so fundamentally connected that they cannot be considered separate; they are actually qualities of one single thing that has more recently been creatively termed space-time. This is proven rather simply: to “happen” is to change or to move in some way, which takes time, but also space. You can pinpoint a thing in the three dimensions of space, x, y, and z, but you also need t, time. If your friend goes to the café at 3 pm, and you go at 8 pm, you will not see her even though you got the location right. We can separate space from time only symbolically, by playing with words, but never in reality. Equally inconceivable is the idea of time without space: how can something happen (since time is movement) without space? This unity of space and time is commonly accepted, and used daily: speed is a measure of space traversed over time (miles/hour, feet/second).

All things exist in the "now" for, by definition, the past is over, and the future has not occurred. The Now is a point in time, in the mathematical sense of the word point: no length, width, or breadth… and as space and time are one, to occupy no space, it also must occupy no time. Otherwise it would exist partially in the future, partially in the past, and only partially in the middle, now; and how can the Now only exist partially in the Now? That is nonsense. So, it is timeless and spaceless. Yet it obviously exists. It is the only thing that we can be sure does exist.

2) As regards human (or any) perception: As I look at the stars, I may see one that is 10 light years away, and next to it, at the same moment of looking, one that is 50 light years away. Thus, I see one star as it was 10 years ago, and the other as it was 50 years ago. Truly, all perception follows the same rule. If I'm talking to a person at a table, their face is light-nanoseconds away, and thus I see into the past slightly. This is easily seen with thunder and lightning; the sound takes a much longer time to reach me than the light; if you were blind, you would not know lightning had struck until the thunder's sound arrived at your ears some seconds after the fact. Yet we are all blind in a sense, in that we the sighted don't know lightning has stuck until the light arrives at our eyes, which takes time as well.

In the end, perception is composed of seamless, progressively older times, ever older the farther away the thing is; only the perception itself is "now." Yet, it is a fiction, composing into one time that which is of many, or infinite, times; and always of times that are past. We never see things as they actually are, as they exist in the same concurrent Now as the perception, we're always at least a little behind the times.

This perception-as-past even includes our own body, as sensations take time to cover the distance to our brain. Yet this is seemingly an important point, and perhaps the crux of this chain of thought: where does perception happen?

3) "The brain" one might answer. But the brain is not a point, as it takes up space and thus time. The neurons must communicate and send their signals; sending implies distance and thus, another time lag. It is ridiculous to assert that one key neuron is the "seat of self," the place of perception. Besides, even a neuron is not a point, and must communicate internally. Tiny spans of time are not equivalent to being timeless.

4) So, the world whittles down to nothing: it follows that our perceptions happen outside of time and space, which are properties of the mind or productions of the mind, but not of reality.

5) The Now, being timeless as well as spaceless (for, as I have shown, space and time are one), brings up the problem of: if everything happens out of time and space, is it actually happening at all? Or else, conversely, do space and time truly exist? Obviously something is happening, there is some experience, some perception we are having— of what we cannot say just yet— so it seems to indicate that space-time is a property of the mind, not of reality.

6) Can we ever experience the world “out there” as it is, rather than as it was? And, what is the world “out there,” what can it mean to say “out there” if space-time doesn't exist in reality? What is reality?


  1. In some of the Taoist meditation I have done, and in the advice of the TTC even, "stillness" is what you need to achieve to become one with (return to) the Tao. "Movement" is the source of yin and yang, and all the rest. The return to stillness, like the moment between the in and out breath, is also timeless. Does sound like "Being Dead."

    Have you seen the reports that CERN has found particles that "move faster than light and are essentially moving backward in time, which could make the phrase cause and effect obsolete."

  2. Gosh, you have my mind spinning out of control. :-D

  3. @TRT, you and me both.

    @baroness, I did see that CERN discovery, and have yet to wrap my brain around it.

    Anyways, this "thesis" is a work in progress, there's more but this is something I've been working on for several years. Mostly it stays on the backburner, actually, and now and then I work on it. Don't know if I'll be able to post the rest of it anytime soon.