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"Yes, it implies determinism, but does not entail it - a big difference!!!"
What thing. The translator considers as synonyms "imply" and "entail", but I do not want to continue arguing."

OK, the point I am making is the block universe concept might lead someone to assume that the universe is deterministic. I meant imply in that sense. And perhaps the block universe idea is normally meant to convey the idea of determinism, I don’t know. All I am saying really is the fact that time does not flow does not necessarily mean the universe is deterministic.

"Events are not fixed in space, so why assume they are fixed in time?"
Block universe is that every space-time event is fixed.

Like I stated in my previous post, it would probably be helpful to dispense with the notion of the block universe, as the assumptions you are making about it are different to mine. All I can say to you is the fact that time does not flow does not mean we live in a deterministic universe. That is all I am saying. I do not really think it is constructive to continue referring to the block universe. And like I said, it does not seem to come up in relativity text books. I assume it comes from either philosophy or popular science books.

"That is contradictory: if consciousness exists objectively, then the feeling of red also exists objectively, because to feel red is the consciousness of red colour. And if the consciousness exists objectively, so does the time being the presupposition of consciousness."

It depends what you mean by the word subjective. I can have thoughts and perceptions that are private to me, so are therefore subjective. That does not mean they are not real. Subjective is not a synonym for ‘not real’. If something exists objectively that it is discernable to others. Anyway, this does not seem to have any obvious bearing on whether or not time flows. You seem to have made some sort of connection, but I do not as yet understand how you have done so.

“Nope, modern physics does not say that time flows, which is something very different.”

You are simply wrong Juan. Sorry, but you can read almost any relativity textbook and realize your statement above is false (provide you understand what you are reading).

"F=MA still holds true today, irrespective of this."
"Strictly speaking that is false because relativity has another formula but for everyday contexts, it remains correct."

It is true in the relevant sense. I wrote a post earlier in this thread to Michael Prescott which fully explains the reason why, so won’t repeat the argument here.

"You are simply wrong Juan. Sorry, but you can read almost any relativity textbook and realize your statement above is false (provide you understand what you are reading)."

Look, many go from physics does not say something to which physics denies it, but that step is not legitimate.

"It is true in the relevant sense."

But not strictly, that may be relevant.

Ever noticed how the same people who rail against God for bringing suffering into the world also insist Heaven would be boring and then accuse religious people of being inconsistent?

Juan says:

“Look, many go from physics does not say something to which physics denies it, but that step is not legitimate.”

To be honest I am not quite sure of what you are saying here, but if I was to hazard a guess I think you are probably essentially repeating your earlier statement: “Nope, modern physics does not say that time flows, which is something very different.” I agree that absence of proof is not proof of absence, but you are incorrect in suggesting that physics does not prove that time does not flow. If time flows then there must be a now moment which takes precedent over all other times. The problem is that relativity proves there is no such thing as an objective now moment. The closest one can get to this notion is the simultaneous plane of particular reference frames. So whose simultaneous plane do you chose as the objective now moment? Do you see the problem? All times have equal status. And none of this is interpretation, it is the very essence of relativity. Your claim that time flows would surely require a moment in time that could objectively be regarded as now. But no such moment of time exists.

Juan also writes:

"It is true in the relevant sense."
But not strictly, that may be relevant.

I have copied and pasted an earlier post made in this thread which explains precisely why it is not relevant. Also I described a hypothetical experiment a couple of posts ago which explains this a slightly different way (please do not say it doesn’t count because it is hypothetical, as if you understand the underlying concept you will not make such a claim).


Newtonian physics and quantum theory are often portrayed in popular science books as having fundamentally different epistemologies. Newtonian physics allegedly has a definite world-view associated with it, namely the reality we perceive with our senses (in fact classical mechanics is often referred to as a refinement of our common sense intuitions). Quantum mechanics on the other hand is allegedly a mere calculus for predicting the outcomes of experiments. This view is only half right however. It is true the QM is merely a calculation tool, but strictly speaking so is Newtonian mechanics. The difference is that the mathematical variables of Newtonian mechanics stands in a one-to-one correspondence to the objects of our perceived reality. As a result we automatically attach a world-view (in this case our perceived reality) onto what is in reality a purely mathematical framework for calculating results. This one-to-one correspondence completely breaks down with QM however, so we are not tempted, as we are with Newtonian mechanics, to fall into the same insidious trap of implicitly assuming an intrinsic world-view associated with the mathematical tool we use for simply making calculations.

Once one is aware of this process the idea of Newtonian mechanics being disproved quickly starts to become quite meaningless. Of course, what has needed to be abandoned is the world-view which was automatically associated with Newtonian mechanics. But this was only attributed to the theory for psychological reasons (ie. we simply assumed it because it corresponds to the world we see) rather than because the theory itself was inextricably linked to a particular world-view. The mathematical framework of Newtonian physics itself is just fine, with the caveat that we can only use it effectively as a limiting case of the full generality of physical parameters. What has basically happened is the same that has repeatedly happened since that time – a mathematical framework is subsumed into a broader mathematical framework, which is useful for a wider range of circumstances. This happened when the original quantum mechanics was subsumed into the broader quantum field theory, which was then subsumed into the string theory, and eventually superstring/M theory. This means that the purely mathematical framework we refer to as Newtonian mechanics is in effect an inextricable part of quantum mechanics, so therefore is not incorrect (otherwise we simply couldn't use it, and we do, all the time). To suggest otherwise is equivalent to suggesting that quantum mechanics is wrong, which can't be the case because CM has simply been subsumed into the broader mathematical framework we call QM. (As a side note, string theory has yet to be tested empirically, so we do not yet know whether this theory is correct. This stands in contrast to QFT, which has an absolutely staggering amount of evidence to support it).

Now back to relativity. I have been very clear on this thread that I very seriously doubt whether the mathematical construct we refer to as space-time has any direct ontological reality (probably an understatement as I am virtually certain of this). What I am saying in effect is that relativity is just like Newtonian mechanics and QM in that it is merely a calculus for predicting results. In this sense relativity will never be incorrect, unless of course the laws of physics themselves change.

In summary it is only world-views which change, not the mathematics or the empirical results.

Whatever theory is developed in the future, certain truths will remain. Take Newtonian physics for example. It will always be true that when we push an object it will move. The fact that we have re-conceptualized what a force is does not change that one jot. Nor does it change the fact that we have mathematics which can predict the trajectories of objects, providing we have sufficient knowledge of initial conditions and the dynamic laws governing the motion of the object. With quantum mechanics we are forced to accept the reality of entanglement. This phenomena will not simply disappear with the advent of new theories. And with relativity, we are forced to accept the reality of the relative nature of time. This will not also not change with the advent of new theories.

You are of course referring to the fact that science works by induction when you state that it is only possible to disprove rather than prove. I am very familiar with the types of discourses found in philosophy books under the topic of philosophy of science, and it is all very convincing whilst you are reading it. Despite the fact that science is admittedly an inductive process, it is highly misleading to conclude we do not prove things. Let me use an analogy to explain why. Take a normal die. What is the probability of rolling ten billion consecutive sixes? I am not going to bother calculating this, but obviously the probability is infinitesimally small, far lower than the (slightly arbitrary) threshold probability which defines an event as being practically impossible. The fact that the probability of this event is not equal to zero means that this event is theoretically possible however. At this stage you might see where I am going with this. Certainly anyone who is aware of the truly staggering amount of experimental evidence supporting quantum field theory and relativity would immediately see why this is a very fitting analogy. Basically there is so much evidence supporting theories such as relativity and QFT that the idea they are not proven is somewhat academic.

Just to be clear I am not denying that science technically works by induction, only that it is misleading to believe we are not proving things. This is only theoretical, in the same sense that rolling billions of consecutive sixes is theoretically possible.

The point is that we have a mathematical theory called relativity which agrees with empirical results. The empirical results will not change and the fact that the mathematics predicts the results will not change. What does happen sometimes is a new situation is found where the mathematics doesn't work. This will ultimately result (if history is anything to go by) in a broader mathematical framework, and possibly a re-conceptualization of certain concepts. But for the reasons I have already stated here, it will not change certain things. Objects still moved when pushed, entanglement will still happen, and time is still relative.

So the only thing which might change in the future is our world-view. But the world-view will HAVE to incorporate the fact that what we are calling time (whatever that actually is) IS relative. This will never change. To suggest otherwise is equivalent to people who suggest that physics will go full circle back to Newtonian mechanics again (please see one of my previous posts to see why this is impossible in principle).

Save all that. Eistein said that time is an illusion and you have written that you agree with mystics who say that time does not exist, when none of these things is deduced from relativity.

So you think you know better than Einstein then? Perhaps you do. What did he know, he only single-handedly discovered and developed special & general relativity, and started off quantum mechanics to boot. He was a bit overrated really wasn't he.

Mark Green,
Relativity is inherently inconsistent. If moving clocks run slower, as postulated, and each reference frame is equally valid, as you appear to be claiming, then this leads to a paradox. My clock runs slower, according to you, and your clock runs slower according to me. Do you see my point?
Yes, perhaps Einstein was overrated, like you say. He does not have appeared to have seen this as a problem. That is the problem with people who are completely absorbed in theory. They lose touch with common sense and miss the obvious.

Rob,

So if two people walk away from each other, and from the reference frame of one individual the other person appears smaller, and from the reference frame of the 'smaller' individual the other person appears smaller, would that be contradictory?

It is crucially important in relativity to make a distinction between apparent paradoxes and actual paradoxes. There is no paradox in what you describe above - two people in different reference frames considering the other's clock as moving slower than their own. And here's why:

Consider someone in a space rocket moving at a fast velocity between planet A and planet B. At the moment the rocket passes planet A all clocks are set to zero – the rocket clock, planet A clock, and planet B clock. At the moment the rocket passes planet B the person in the rocket compares his clock with the clock on planet B, and vice versa. The question is – would there be a contradiction? A quick analysis would suggest there would be. From planet B's reference frame the time taken for the rocket to travel the distance L between the two planets is L/V, where V is the velocity of the rocket (strictly speaking V is the relative velocity between the rocket and the planets, where we are assuming the two planets are stationary with respect to each other, so are therefore in the same inertial frame). The person on planet B, who is conversant with special relativity, knows that the time on the stopwatch of the rocket is (L/V)/Y, where Y is the gamma factor 1/sqrt(1-v^2/c^2), where c is the speed of light. The only important point here is that the time (L/V) in the planet's frame of reference is reduced by a factor proportional to the relative velocity when considered from the moving rocket's frame of reference. But if the time elapsed on the rocket is (L/VY) then according to the rocket's frame of reference the time elapsed on planet B is (L/VY)/Y = L/VY^2, as from the rocket's frame of reference the 'moving' planets have clocks that are slowed by the same factor Y. This is correct reasoning, as it is equally valid to consider the rocket as stationary (providing it is moving at a constant velocity and not accelerating, which is what we are assuming here) and planets moving at velocity V in the opposite direction.

Surely this leads to a contradiction, right?

Nope! I missed something out (intentionally) in the above description. The synchronization of all the clocks was above considered exclusively from the planet's frame of reference. The rocket, moving in a different reference frame, does not agree with the planet's perspective of simultaneous events. This is the key thing which is often overlooked when dealing with seeming paradoxes associated with special relativity – different reference frames do not agree on which events happen at the same time. It can be easily proven that from the rocket's frame of reference, when planet A sets their clock to zero, the clock at planet B is LV/C^2. The event: clock B at time LV/C^2 is simultaneous to the event: clock A at time zero, when viewed from the moving rocket's frame of reference. The crucial point here is that clock B is ahead of clock A by the aforementioned factor when considered from the rocket's perspective. Therefore if the rocket man wants to determine what time the clock on planet B will read at the moment he passses by, he will have to add on the offset time of LV/C^2. So he will calculate as follows: L/VY^2 + LV/C^2 = (L/V)(1/Y^2 + V^2/C^2) = (L/V)(1-V^2/C^2 + V^2/C^2) = L/V. No contradiction!!!

Just to be clear, I do not believe that time is an illusion simply because that is what Einstein believed. I always encourage people to think for themselves, and not take anyone word for something, irrespective of their credentials. That is why I do not criticize creationists and climate change deniers for questioning experts. There is absolutely nothing wrong with challenging prevailing worldviews instead of passively accepting certain views simply because that is experts believe. What I do adversely react to is when this is done in the absence of crucial facts or understanding, or when the individual has an agenda that it starts to have an adverse affect on their judgement.

Despite what I previously stated, Einstein was clearly fallible. He was unable to accept the full implications of a theory he helped to create – quantum mechanics. And his denial (because that's what it was) caused him to make mistakes which almost beggar belief, certainly considering his vast intellect. For instance, in one of his thought experiments designed to discredit QM he actually forgot about the full implications of his own theory of relativity, something which was pointed out to him by Niels Bohr, a person able to see things a bit more objectively. For someone like Einstein, this was just plain daft. But the truth is that his emotions were guiding his judgement more than his intellect was.

I would never take anyone's word for anything, including Einstein. But having studied relativity I am forced into the conclusion that time does not flow.

From my point of view, it is not so that much I agree with Einstein, than Einstein agrees with me.

"So you think you know better than Einstein then?"

It is still true what I wrote.

No it is not true what you said, and you have never attempted to explain how time can flow when there is no moment in time that could objectively be identified as 'now'. This is a fatal flaw in your argument, whether you understand the reason or not.

Mr. Green
With all due respect what you have wrote is complete nonsense. You are saying everything is relative right? Well you have recursively fed into your equations parameters which have no objective meaning because they are ‘relative’, and are at the same time insisting they make some kind of sense. Your equations are attempt to conceal the empty tautological nature of your argument. Utter rubbish if you don’t mind me saying so.

Mark wrote “From my point of view, it is not so that much I agree with Einstein, than Einstein agrees with me.” Do you think you are a megalomaniac Mark?

Juan, do not be intimidated by the seeming technical nature of Mark’s arguments. I can assure you they make absolutely no sense, and as you can see above I have thoroughly debunked his desperate attempt to pull the wool over people’s eyes by showcasing lots of fancy looking equations. Like I stated, people like Mark get wrapped up in their equations so much they lose sight of things that are very obvious to any reasonable person. Of course time flows! During the time it took to write this sentence, time has gone from the ‘now’ moment coinciding with the first letter I typed to the ‘now’ moment coinciding with the last letter I typed. That is just obvious to any reasonable thinking person. No amount of fancy looking equations can change that fact.

Rob, I'd be careful about assuming that what we think of as common sense applies to the deeper aspects of physics. There's much in both quantum mechanics and relativity that may seem nonsensical but is nonetheless extensively backed up by observations and analysis.

With regard to time flowing, it is possible to conceive of time as a series of static slivers of reality - like single frames of a movie. Our awareness may sequentially focus on one frame after another, but in this case it's awareness, not time, that flows. I'm not saying this is the way it really is, only that it's one way of looking at it. This approach might be more compatible with evidence for precognition. It would suggest that awareness can sometimes skip ahead a few frames, in effect.

Mr. G,

The parameters I recursively fed into my equations (btw they are not ‘my’ equations) are not relative. There are parameters in special relativity called proper length, proper time, and rest mass. These parameters are NOT relative. The parameter L which I fed into ‘my’ equations was the proper length (distance), so called because it is the length as viewed by someone at rest in the frame the length L is measured in. Similarly, proper time is the time that flows according to a clock in the same inertial frame as the person moving at velocity V. And rest mass is the intrinsic mass of something from the point of view of someone in the same inertial frame as that object. Everyone has to agree on these parameters. If I ask ‘what is the time that elapsed on the clock of someone moving at 500,000 mph relative to me, travelling a distance of 5 miles in their own reference frame’, whatever that answer is to this, everyone ought to agree. If not, there would be a genuine paradox (assuming I had made no calculation error).

You are confusing questions such as ‘what is the time elapsed in one frame of reference from the perspective of another frame of reference’ to questions such as ‘what is the time elapsed in one particular frame of reference’. Do you see the difference in these kinds of questions? Imagine if someone moving relative to me over a certain specified distance in their frame of reference, times their journey on a stopwatch. If I calculate the time on their stopwatch (the proper time) and then meet up with them some time afterwards and discover their stopwatch has a different time to the one I calculated, then something is amiss isn’t it? But my stopwatch, which I used to calculate his journey from my reference frame, could have a completely different time without there being a paradox. Do you see this??? Similarly, if the proper length of a stick in a reference frame moving at velocity V relative to me is L, then the length of the stick in my reference frame can be calculated by the formula L/Y, where Y=1/sqrt(1-v^2/C^2). Now everyone, irrespective of their reference frames, will agree that the length of the stick in the stick’s reference frame is L, and the length of the stick in my reference frame is L/Y. These are objective facts, and are known as frame independent parameters. But the length of the stick in someone else’s reference frame could be anything, depending on their velocity relative to the stick’s own inertial frame of reference.

Rob writes:
“During the time it took to write this sentence, time has gone from the ‘now’ moment coinciding with the first letter I typed to the ‘now’ moment coinciding with the last letter I typed. That is just obvious to any reasonable thinking person.”

What exactly are you calling a ‘moment’ in time here? The time it takes to type a single letter is still a finite interval of time. Does time flow in the sense that a finite interval of time flows in and out of existence, or does the flowing moment of time have zero duration? If the moment in time is a finite interval, then what determines how short this interval has to be? If it can be up to 1 millisecond then why not 1 second, and if 1 second then why not 10 seconds.....and so on. And alternatively, if you are saying that a moment in time has zero length, then how could that possibly work? I am not suggesting this conceptual difficulty disproves that time flows (I have done this already in previous posts) but simply pointing out that your idea of time flow is not ‘obvious’ in the way you are suggesting.

You talk about common sense in your previous post, but nature does not respect our common sense intuitions. Quantum mechanics for instance does radical violence to our common sense ideas of how reality ought to be. This does not make QM untrue, any more than the counter-intuitive nature of relativity make relativity untrue.

“Do you think you are a megalomaniac Mark?”

Not sure. I consider myself superior, so am possibly a megalomaniac in that sense, but as I am actually superior in reality then perhaps I am simply being objective.

(BTW, I hope you enjoyed the Discovery Channel documentary where you learnt all about relativity, Rob.)

Michael writes: "Our awareness may sequentially focus on one frame after another, but in this case it's awareness, not time, that flows. I'm not saying this is the way it really is, only that it's one way of looking at it. This approach might be more compatible with evidence for precognition. It would suggest that awareness can sometimes skip ahead a few frames, in effect."

I get that; it feels like a plausible concept. But it doesn't explain why I, the observer, get older the more 'stills' I see. Does it mean that I would be born and die in an instant if I didn't observe?

Julie wrote:

“But it doesn't explain why I, the observer, get older the more 'stills' I see.”

Time has a direction, but this should not mislead one into believing this property is a manifestation of time flow. One can of course only speculate as to the reason why time has a direction, but it is not hard to at least find logical possibilities. An initial condition at the beginning of the universe is probably an adequate (possible) explanation. Think of hurling a stone through the air. The initial conditions combined with the dynamical laws of motion give the stone a direction in space. Perhaps some initial condition gave matter a direction in time. This does not mean that time flows any more than a stone flying through the air in a particular direction requires space to flow.

It is important to realize that from a subjective point of view, us flowing through time would feel the same as time flowing. Left just to our subjective experience we would never know the difference. It is only physics which gives us the answer to which way round it is.

Julie also wrote:

“Does it mean that I would be born and die in an instant if I didn't observe?”

It would mean if you were born and died in an instant you would not observe, just the same as if time did actually flow, as opposed to us flowing through time.

Julie said:

"But it doesn't explain why I, the observer, get older the more 'stills' I see. "

Interesting question! Is it possible that only your body—which resides in the physical dimension—gets older?

I mean this literally. Your mind, spirit, soul—call it what you will— does NOT get older. Because it originates beyond the physical, returns to it, and, in fact, is fundamentally non-physical even while it is "here," aligned with your body.

So to Mind, there is no "time" as we think of it. And thus, no getting older.

Make sense?

Bruce writes: "So to Mind, there is no "time" as we think of it. And thus, no getting older.

Make sense?"

Yes, it does. In fact, in some ways, the older I get the younger I feel. David Bowie said that aging is an extraordinary process whereby you become the person you always should have been. I think he made an important point, certainly in this context.

Mark writes: "Time has a direction, but this should not mislead one into believing this property is a manifestation of time flow."

Well, I've thunk and I've thunk on the above sentence till I'm all thunked out. Having considered it from every angle: upside-down, back to front right side up and inside out, it still makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to me. :(

Surely, if time has direction then it moves - otherwise how might we determine that it has direction? And if time has direction (and thus moves) one could surely be forgiven for saying that, in a sense, it flows? It might not flow smoothly - indeed, its flow might be interrupted by a series of irritating jerks - but the only obvious difference between 'having direction' and 'flowing' appears, at least to me, to be a matter of semantics.

And the bottom line is that I'm not at all sure that even a six-foot epistle from you, our Mark, in response to the above will enlighten me further. :(

Perhaps I'm just not temperamentally suited to theoretical physics. :/

Unless, of course, what you (Mark) mean is that time is like a hospital corridor that leads, eventually, to that final Cul de Sac.

Do we traipse along, looking in the windows and waving at the patients in the wards as we shuffle by? Do we entertain ourselves by examining the pictures on the walls until we reach the end and find ourselves confronted by those imposing swing doors that lead directly to the morgue?

Well according to certain mystical thought, e.g. Advaita Vedanta, Kashmir Shaivism, etc, time flows through us. That is, your essential nature is awareness, out of which everything else manifests and flows. so in this sense, time is flowing though us, not us moving through time.

Of course, we're talking at the absolute level here, not the relative level. On an everyday, practical level, it does of course feel as if we are individual entities moving through time.

In traditional mystical thought, it is important to stress the distinction between the two levels, the absolute and the relative - don't mix them up or you end up like the neo-advaita crowd who are the scourge of the 'spiritual scene' in the west at the moment.

Julie:

"David Bowie said that aging is an extraordinary process whereby you become the person you always should have been."

I like that! But I also like Joni Mitchell's lyric:

"Something's lost, and something's gained, in living every day."

Julie wrote:

“Surely, if time has direction then it moves - otherwise how might we determine that it has direction?”

I didn’t literally mean time has a direction. I used that term simply because in physics texts, time is referred to has having a direction by virtue of processes such as entropy, which only ever act in one direction of time – from past to future (this is not a law of physics in the way we might commonly understand that term, but simply results from the relative probability of entropy occurring in this particular direction in time). However this is not necessarily meant to convey the idea that time itself has a direction (although it can depend on the text) but merely that, from our perspective, it is useful to consider time as having a direction.

I perhaps should have been more explicit, but I used the analogy of throwing a stone to illustrate precisely what I meant. If an object flies through the air in a particular direction we would not say that space had a direction (by virtue of this). It is the object’s motion which has a direction in space. I then went on to explain that there is a theoretical possibility that some initial conditions in the universe might be responsible for entropy occurring in one particular direction in time. This does not mean that time itself has a direction, any more than space has a direction by virtue of objects moving in a particular direction in space.

There is also some confusion over what I mean by time flowing. It seems highly unlikely that time flows in the sense Julie refers to. This is because relativity suggests that space and time are two sides of the same coin, and we recognize that we travel in space rather than space travelling through us. However, this is kind of a side-point. When I assert that time does not flow, I am talking about the natural but naïve notion that only a single moment of time ever exists (which is why I queried Rob on what he meant by a ‘moment in time’ and what duration he thought constitutes this single 'moment'). If you were to ask someone who had never really thought about time and relativity about how they thought about time, they would generally hold the view that the present moment exclusively exists, and the past and future do not. The past did exist, the future will exist, and the present moment does exist. Would you agree this basically sums up most people’s idea of how time works? This is the common sense view of time – the exclusive existence of a single flowing moment of time. It is this view of time flow I am considering when I say that ‘time does not flow’. I have appealed almost exclusively to special relativity because that provides all the insight we need to realize that time does not flow in the aforementioned sense. But it might perhaps be easier to understand in terms of general relativity. The term ‘fabric of spacetime’ is a very useful adjectival term which gives us some immediate insight into the relationship between time and space. According to general relativity, gravity is not a force at all, but a phenomenon that emerges naturally from the geometry of spacetime. It would take a considerable amount of tensor calculus to formally prove this, but if only a single moment of time existed, then gravity could not result from the geometry of spacetime in the way described by general relativity. It is important to acknowledge that this fact is not something which is disputed within physics, at all, and with good reason. So even if the arguments from special relativity do not particularly resonate with you, perhaps this is a bit simpler to understand?

Mark writes: "If you were to ask someone who had never really thought about time and relativity about how they thought about time, they would generally hold the view that the present moment exclusively exists, and the past and future do not. The past did exist, the future will exist, and the present moment does exist. Would you agree this basically sums up most people’s idea of how time works?"

Eckhart Tolle certainly would!

But I don't see things quite that way. My reference point for 'now' is my memory of the past, especially the immediate past, and my anticipation of the future, especially the immediate future. That's what gives me my sense of context and psychological bearing. And I continue in that way from moment-to-moment, day-to-day and so on.

Thus, for me, events flow and my sense of time determines how I arrange them in my mind. Having said that, if I become completely absorbed in something my sense of time flies out the window, along with thoughts of yesterday or tomorrow.

Anyway, all this theoretical physics stuff is pearls before swine with me. As I said earlier I'm temperamentally unsuited to it. :)

Cool, the discussion is ongoing! I just read and got myself caught up a bit.

I am basically Team Mark in this debate, though I appreciate the thoughts everyone is bringing to the table.

One issue is that the word "flow" with respect to time is fundamentally metaphorical. When we speak of anything flowing, it is always conceivable to stop or impede the flow using objects or energy. We can stop the flow of water, lava, blood, light, heat, and so on. We cannot stop the "flow" of time, nor is doing so conceivable since such a "flow" is not a physical process, activity, etc. (Sure, we can *imagine* time stopping or slowing, and it has been so portrayed in many a sci-fi story, but we know of know actual *mechanism* that could do that.)

Thus, the "flow" of time is merely analogous to the flow of physical objects or energy.

Matt, we can alter or stop the "flow" of time any "time" we want to. It happens all the time.

It happens in dreams frequently. Pre-cognitive events are clearly an alteration in the "flow" of time. Sometimes and hour goes on forever. One aspect of psychedelics is that a mere moment can go on for infinity. People in meditative states often report achieving a state of timelessness. people in extremis, combat, car accidents, etc report time stopping.

The flow of time is an illusion, IMO.

Julie, you seem to be talking about living in the moment.

In a sense, the past and future might be real to people who do not live in the present moment (virtually everyone) but not in the sense which I mean. To be more specific, memories of the past can be formed irrespective of the facts of relativity. And this can have a very real psychological effect on a person. Similarly people can project into the future and worry about possible future events. This also can occur irrespective of the facts of relativity.

And I am certainly not denying that time appears to flow from a subjective experiential point of view. I would think this point is beyond dispute. We appear to be talking about two different things here.

What is 'living in the moment', Mark? How long is a moment and does it have context?

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