Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Idle Musings on Time

I’m not sure what brought this on – maybe pondering the Mayans yesterday, as they were masters of time tracking and calendars – but an abstract thought has clattered around in my head sporadically throughout my life (cue the sound effect of the Yahtzee cup). Exactly what is time, as a thing? How is it structured? Where does it come from, and where does it go?

Is it in a straight line? Or is it … layered?

Have you ever been driving along in your car, and you go under a bridge or past a transmitter tower or move from one broadcasting range into another, and for a few moments you kind of pick up two stations at once? Or for you old folks/kids deprived of cable in their youth like me, remember the days before cable, when you had to tune in UHF stations? There could be several stations on that same UHF channel, but you had to twist the knobby around and wrangle the antenna to find them. What if time is layered in frequencies like that? What if different points in time or different dimensions all kind of occupy the same space, but on different levels? What if the beings we call ghosts or the experiences we call premonitions or visions, are just glimpses of another “program” or “station” that we get by accident?

Maybe time is organized like the pages in a book. Different points in time are actually lying very closely together, but are separated by the thin opaqueness of the page. But think back on, say, the encyclopedias in the school library. Remember sometimes there would be transparencies in there? Like the invisible guy where you could lay his nervous system and his muscular system and his vital organs over top of his skeleton and see all the layers simultaneously?

Could a setup like this explain déjà vu?

Or, maybe time does just go in an endless line in both directions, and I simply spend way too much of it conjuring up such nonsense in my head. But it’s just kind of fun to think about weird stuff.

12 comments:

Bougie Black Boy said...

which also has me thinking about daylight savings time. Why do we HAVE to move clocks forward and backward? ? ?
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Michael said...

Sometimes when I motion to someone to change the channel I mimic doing it the old fashioned way - by turning a knob!

I've heard that déjà vu is actually your brain "catching up" with you. Perhaps it's taken a bit of breather and has to process a whole bunch of information at once and it seems as though you've already seen it but really you haven't.

I don't really agree with that though, as I've had some really strong cases of déjà vu, perhaps my brain just stops sometimes.

Bainwen Gilrana said...

Linear time is a very human construct. (Including daylight savings time.)

Think about it. Astronomers looking out into the vast reaches of space, looking to far distant galaxies, are also seeing back in TIME. They are seeing directly into the past. But they are seeing it NOW, so presumably what they see exists NOW. It is the past and present both at once.

Time is cyclical, all-pervasive, and all times exist always. Linear time is the way we perceive it, thanks to causality and the way our brains are structured.

One of CS Lewis's non-Narnia books (but darned if I can remember which one at the moment) contained a section on how God exists in all times at once. The point being made was that sin we do today was also atoned for by the death of Jesus, even though it was some 2000 years ago, because God does not exist in linear time, but in the completely pervasive all-time.

It seems that physicists are finding evidence supporting this non-linear concept of time as well. They have postulated and found evidence for a quantum particle called a tachyon, the particle which carries time. It is commonly accepted that time and space are one continuum and cannot exist independently of each other.

Wow, I am rambling, sorry! Somewhere, there is a spot where God, science, and poetry meet, and that is where I am trying to go.

McSwain said...

I think of time like spokes in a wheel, all coming out from God at the hub. Because He's the source of light, and that would be where time stops.

naive-no-more said...

Very interesting thread for a Tuesday morning. Clew, where do you dream up this stuff? My brain refuses to formulate anything worth while to comment right now so I'll just say excellent "ramblings" Bainwen.

TC said...

Okay there is way too much deep thoughts going on here for a poor tired stressed mommy's brain to comprehend.

I will just say that this is a very cool thought provoking post and I plan on thinking about it more when I don't have 5 other things on my overworked mind.

martie said...

I don't have any answers to questions regarding time.....all I know is that time exists solely to keep everything from happening at once!

martie said...

I don't have any answers to questions regarding time.....all I know is that time exists solely to keep everything from happening at once!

clew said...

LOL ~ martie, did you do that on purpose, posting that twice??? HAR! ;)

Thanks for so many thoughtful comments, everyone - I didn't realize this would be so well-received!

XOXOXO

Ruben said...

OK! This way too deep for me to deal with after the day I've had. LOL

martie said...

Yes Clew, that's why we need "time"! LOL XOXO

Rebecca said...

Time is a dimension, a fabric....and depending on where the tear is, depends on where time is for you.