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Date:         Mon, 2 Nov 1998 00:55:43 -0500
Reply-To:     Quantum Approaches to Consciousness
Sender:       Quantum Approaches to Consciousness
From:         Nicole Tedesco <nicole.tedesco@WORLDNET.ATT.NET>
Subject:      [q-mind] (d) Reply to Johnson on Subjective Time--AI Andemicael
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

From: Adhanom Iassu Andemicael <>

Subject: (d) Reply to Johnson on Subjective Time


In this article, I am including material from my September 15 q-mind post (entitled "Quantum Theory and Subjective Time"). This inclusion should provide readers with enough background to follow the correspondences between Kevin Johnson and myself.

---------- Original text at: ----------

[Andemicael, September 15] We have made a number of erroneous intuitive assumptions about the nature of the present moment. For this reason, a coherent description of subjective time has not been possible. In order to fully understand the function of the conscious observer in quantum theory, a satisfactory grasp of subjective time is required. ...Readers seeking a thorough exposition with detailed arguments may refer to my paper "Time in a Quantum and Relativistic Universe." This paper can be accessed in its entirety at:

The first step to understanding time is recognizing the distinction between subjective time and spacetime. Subjective time is temporal whereas spacetime is spatial. (Note: the "time" dimension in spacetime is inappropriately named. It is not a temporal phenomenon at all, but a purely spatial entity.) A spatial entity is, as we know, made up of points which exist concurrently. In contrast, temporal distance, i.e., duration, is not comprised of concurrent points. Clearly, "duration" is an entirely different notion from "space." Duration is a *relation* between points--not an "entity" like space. Duration arises when the present persists--when the present endures; and it allows us to speak of earlier and later "nows." Spatial distances, in contrast, do not emerge from a persisting present and do not accommodate the notion of a "before" and "after."

Let me describe briefly the nature of this persisting present. As we know persistence is a type of motion or *displacement*. Thus, by definition, the persisting present cannot remain at the same "now." This point will become clearer to the reader as I explain the difference between "the present" and "the now." There is only one present moment, and it persists. However, as it persists, it comes to exist at different "nows." The reader can appreciate, therefore, that these "nows" constitute various "locations" of the present. They should not be confused with the present moment itself.

These "nows" are of course essential to the description of a persisting present: any discussion of the motion of the present must make reference to these "locations" at which the present arrives during the course of its lifetime. Let me caution the reader, however, not to think of these "nows" as making up a spatial entity: they are not concurrent with each other.

This brings me to the crucial issue in this article. As we know, the theory of relativity describes four-dimensional spacetime as a spatial entity. Yet, as I have explained above, the present moment does not move through concurrent points. We are forced, therefore, to conclude that the persistence of the present--the passage of time--is a phenomenon external to spacetime.

I have clarified the relationship between subjective time and spacetime, but I have not yet explained what the present moment actually is. I submit that the "present moment of time" is simply the consciousness of the observer. Since conscious experience constitutes the present, we conclude that mind exists outside of spacetime.

However, although external, mind plays a most significant role in the universe. This becomes clear when we consider the quantum nature of spacetime. To be consistent in our interpretation of quantum mechanics, we must acknowledge that spacetime suffers from quantum effects, just as matter and energy do. This means, of course, that spacetime has to be observed in order to be real. Significantly, since consciousness is the only phenomenon external to spacetime, only it can assume the role of quantum observer...

[Andemicael, new] In opposition to my system of "persistence," Mr. Johnson wishes to advance his own structure of "randomness," which he feels can adequately explain time's passage. In this post, I respond to his proposal. The excerpts included here are from Mr. Johnson's Oct. 18 q-mind submission:

[Andemicael, prior to 18 Oct] ***By definition: "nows" bear a before/after relation to each other--and two "nows" which have such an earlier/later-than relation to each other are not the same "now."

Remember, "nows" themselves arise from the phenomenon we call "enduring." (The defining feature of this phenomenon has already been noted....)

Realize that *** is not in itself an argument (it is inappropriate to label it "circular" as you do). It is simply a statement of what "nows" are.

[Johnson, 18 Oct] It IS a tacit argument in your meta-language (Unless you are choosing to forward contradictory definitions in your theory?).

[Andemicael, prior to 18 Oct] Once you accept the definition (***), you cannot appeal to the notion of a "revisited now" to formulate an argument for randomness. This would directly contradict the definition.

[Johnson, 18 Oct] I find it singularly interesting that you have no problem inserting me within your system and restricting my access to your meta-language for hypothesis and debate yet you resist quite strenuously the same conjecture applied reflexively on your part... Hmmm.

[Andemicael, new] The word "persistence" means:

"The process of remaining in existence, where what is current becomes non-current, by receding into the past: (events which change their status from current to non-current receding always--never approached)."

In a moment of carelessness, you apply this term ("persistence") to your system of "randomness." Unaware of your misuse of terminology, you make statements which are contradictory. You mislead and confuse yourself into thinking that your system can be equated with mine and put forward inaccurate and inappropriate remarks.

Obscuring the difference between your conception and mine, you imagine that my system shares the same static character that yours does. Persistence is an *inherently* dynamic (and asymmetrical) process. Recognize that it is your system that is static, not mine! It is *your* system that requires a tacit argument in order to account for time's dynamic/unidirectional nature, not mine!

The argument to which you feel you've been "restricted access" is not at all present (at *any* level) in my theory! It is your own distortions that mislead you here.

(You can introduce a new (different) concept to supersede an existing one. However, by definition, you cannot *change* a concept's meaning. In attempting this, you certainly are in error. You may, of course, put forward your new scenario of "randomness," if you think it can adequately explain time's passage. But it is a *careless error* on your part to refer to your system as "persistence"/"enduring").

[Andemicael, prior to 18 Oct] ...there is a fundamental fault in your "proposal" which you overlook.

[Johnson, 18 Oct] I await the presentation of your ideas in something approaching set theoretical format so that we can determine what might be overlooked. I suggest that it seems if you extend the set theoretical permutative equivalency between infinite sets so that "randomness" (for our purposes) is described by the class of all set element permutations, that is sufficient to encompass the notion of "enduring". But, that is just my take on the situation.

[Andemicael, new] I did not develop my ideas within such a framework, and certainly have no intention of doing so: if we wish to understand subjective time, we need only consider persistence. You, however, seem fairly convinced that such an approach (i.e., of "randomness") can yield a satisfactory description of the time flux.

It is now up to you to *demonstrate* that your proposal has some promise. I, myself, remain quite skeptical. (It is my view that efforts along these lines can never prove fruitful: they fail to incorporate a principal feature of subjective time-- asymmetry/unidirectional motion.)

Best regards,

Adhanom Andemicael

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