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Date:         Wed, 30 Sep 1998 12:47:09 +0000
Sender:       Quantum Approaches to Consciousness
From:         Saul-Paul Sirag <sirag@POND.NET>
Subject:      [q-mind] Reply to Johnson on subjective time -- A.I. Andemicael
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii

From: Adhanom Iassu Andemicael <>

Subject: Reply to Kevin Johnson on Subjective Time (q-mind: 25 Sep 1998)

[Andemicael previously] Two seconds is a longer period of time than one second (twice as long, by definition). A thing can endure for, say, a few seconds; but it can also keep persisting *beyond* a few seconds, and continue indefinitely. This indefinite length is longer (by definition) than our few seconds.

I believe Zeno is mislead by intuition. It is true that a finite interval (e.g., one second) may require an infinite number of "adding-halves." But it is ALSO true that one second elapses after only one second; one second may contain an infinite number of points, but it is NOT an infinite length of time. We must not confuse the two. There is a big difference between waiting for a train for just one second, and waiting for it indefinitely (i.e., for an endless succession of seconds).

[Johnson] Note how your own argument switches from spatio to temporal references in order to claim an extra-exclusionary exception of truth in both instances combined as one.

[Andemicael] It is merely for stylistic (verbal) convenience that I use a spatial description here. Allow me to restate it in temporal terms:

"...Point-M may persist and pass over an infinite number of points during the course of one second, but it certainly manages to pass over all of them in a relatively short period of time: one second..."

[Johnson] If one sees Zeno as rationally arguing on behalf of Parmenides, motion is indeed illusory for logic and information theory have no means by which to express absolutely simultaneous variance or constancy of both time and space.

[Andemicael] Realize that in describing motion as an "illusion," you are, in fact, acknowledging that we perceive it (you merely deny that it is an objective, mind-independent, phenomenon). Our psychological impression of continuous variance (motion) has to be accounted for within the framework of a persisting set of mental states: we cannot simply ignore it or dismiss it as you apparently attempt to do.

(Regarding Zeno and his views on infinity: I believe that Cantor's work has revealed the highly non-intuitive nature of the finite/infinite. When considered in relation to this work, some of Zeno's musings and intuitions on the subject seem rather outdated.)


[Johnson previously] How do you remove yourself from the dimension of time to 'relocate' (ignoring spatial connotations) yourself in the time stream in the future?

[Andemicael previously] If I am "relocating" myself, I must be relocating myself with respect to something. You imply that there is a natural/"unrelocated" perspective. Presumably, you regard Point-I as the natural and unrelocated perspective from which to describe existence: a description from the viewpoint of any other point on the timeline, you consider to be "removed" or "relocated."

You are, however, overlooking a most significant fact: we cannot discuss/define existence from the perspective of point-I; this point is not a defined "now."(Since existence is recognized only over the set of defined "nows," you must select a point from this set.) Choose any "now" you wish and use this as your natural perspective. Realize, however, that in choosing this point, you are not relocating yourself from anything. (There is nothing, with respect to which, you can claim "removal," as point-I is not part of the set.) The defined "now" has the curious and highly non-intuitive property that it must be preceded by even earlier "nows"! Please recognize, however, that this does not imply "relocation" with respect to some "correct" or "natural" perspective. This peculiar state of affairs is inherent in the nature of existence: we simply have to accept it. It highlights the fact that "existence" and "persistence" are indistinguishable concepts.

[Johnson] I think you use a removed perspective in your description but want it left apart from your ontology.

[Andemicael] The timeline is a set of points without endpoints. I introduce "Point I" in my discussion simply because it facilitates verbalization of the timeline concept--this is a purely practical matter. A description which makes no mention of "I" would be accurate--but it would also be considerably more wordy. (If you insist, however, I can leave "I" out of my descriptions).

I would agree with you that the natural, unrelocated perspective is the initial point of existence; and I would also agree that any other perspective is "removed." However, in this scenario, this first point resists us--it eludes us. We cannot use words like "removed" or "relocated" in this situation because it suggests, inaccurately, that there is a first point of existence.

[Johnson] If you restrict yourself TO and WITHIN your dimension of "nows" you have no way to claim that a 'now' is not a 'previously' utilized or occupied 'now'. To claim otherwise subsumes a removed perspective lest 'arrow of time' (previous, subsequent, etc, etc) become meaningless.

[Andemicael] You are claiming that M arrives at a "now" (call it Point-A) and then arrives at this same "now" (Point-A) some time later. However, you are forgetting the critical fact that these two "arrivals" of M bear a before/after relationship to each other. (You, of course, definitely acknowledge this: you use the word "previously" in your description above.) Thus, the second "now" occurs after the first "now."

By definition, two "nows" that bear a before/after relationship to each other are not the same "now." After all, this earlier/later-than relationship *is* what distinguishes one "now" from another. Recognize that your reference to a "revisited now" directly contradicts the definition above! Much of your discussion seems to be rooted in this incorrect assumption.


[Johnson previously] Again, what is your warrant that we 'exist' (or 'are') on the base number system?

[Andemicael previously] Only this viewpoint affords an explanation of subjective time which is internally consistent.

[Johnson] That an explanation is internally consistent (by the standard of our reasoning system or mode) does not mean that it necessarily dictates reality. Three million universes existing in their own alef levels could offer your comment and they would be internally consistent.

[Andemicael] Time passes in OUR universe; I believe only the viewpoint from the base system can explain *this* passage satisfactorily.


[Johnson previously] How does, say, the mind's existence at a 'point' in space violate your own explanation?

[Andemicael previously] The mind has neither volume nor location within space. A point in space, in contrast, has location in space.

[Johnson] Too many snips used here, I also quoted you: "However, (in view of the geometrical properties of lines and points) this existence cannot be defined at the endpoints (i.e., the first and last points of the duration.)"

And then I wrote:

"How does, say, the mind's existence at a 'point' in space violate your own explanation? Just pick one of those geometrically undefined points out at the undefined surface of the dimension of space."

I am using your own mention of 'un-' or 'ill-' defined endpoints in two dimensions and carrying the concept over to three dimensions (endpoint comparable to surfacepoint). This would seem to allow the surfacepoint to both be a repository of the mind and undefined (sans 'definite' location in space).

[Andemicael] I indicated earlier that the endpoints to which you refer are not part of the timeline. At any rate, the timeline is not a type of space. It is, rather, a representation of the passage of time. Also--since M IS the mind, it is defined at all points on the timeline EXCEPT at the endpoints.

Let us suppose it were *somehow* possible to place the mind at your suggested endpoint. Since the mind would not be in motion (i.e., moving from one point to another), it would not be persisting. And if it didn't persist, it wouldn't exist. ...I think you can see, then, that your proposal here makes little sense.

Best regards,

Adhanom Andemicael

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