Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 13:44:21 +0000 Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: Quantum Approaches to Consciousness <QUANTUM-MIND@LISTSERV.ARIZONA.EDU> 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 <Andemicael@worldnet.att.net>
Subject: Reply to Johnson on Subjective Time (q-mind: 21 Sep 1998)
[Kevin Johnson previously] Does the fact that he or she will die negate their prior or current existence?
[Adhanom Andemicael previously] No, not at all. As is explained in the paper, a thing must endure for a length of time greater than zero seconds; but it does not have to keep existing indefinitely. Existence can be defined over a finite length of time. 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.)
[Johnson] Zeno might reply: How can you call something finite if no matter how long I attempt to determine the endpoints while adding half again (say) each and every time, they resist my attempts and yet you claim there are indeed first and last points. Is this not contradictory? Would not an infinite length possess this same character?
[Andemicael] 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).
[Kevin Johnson previously] You choose to Interpret this argument from the perspective of the future looking backward, reversing the arrow of time. How do you remove yourself from the dimension of time to 'relocate' (ignoring spatial connotations) yourself in the time stream in the future?
[Andemicael] 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.
[Andemicael previously] The passage of time is simply the existence of the present moment, and necessarily a one-way affair. Persistence (existence) is an activity which has no "opposite" process; thus, a "reversal of the passage of time" is not a meaningful/definable concept.
"South" may be considered the opposite of "North." But what could we consider to be the opposite of persistence? It is true, we can distinguish between persistence and non-persistence (non-existence). But non-persistence/non-existence cannot really be considered the "opposite" of persistence: there is neither directionality nor motion involved in non-persistence.
[Johnson] No problem. Then I suggest that your persistence can just as easily choose a previously 'used' moment as its subsequent moment giving up the arrow of time completely to randomness. Previously you mentioned geometric concepts of line and point. I suggest that it is not even necessary to go the route of identifying a non-standard geometry to enable this. What is your decision process to eliminate this possibility of randomness?
[Andemicael] You are claiming that M arrives at Point-A, then, after this, at Point-B, and after this, at Point-A, again. In effect you are stating: "M arrives at A both before and after it arrives at B." This is an inconsistency. M arrives at A either before *or* after it arrives at B--but not both. Unless I have confused your meaning, this "possibility of randomness," as you call, is incoherent? It is not a possibility at all.
[Johnson] ...my question was directed at discerning whether your dynamic process is continuous (absolutely) or in discrete steps? There is a fine point here in say the evaluation of the area under a curve
[Andemicael] I do not believe that calculus is applicable to M's motion across the timeline. In calculus there is the concept of "instantaneous rate of change." In effect, the passage of time is regarded as the reference or backdrop against which to measure change.
In our scenario, the motion of M across the timeline IS itself the passage of time, and is thus fundamentally different from all other dynamic processes. I do not believe that measurement techniques, etc. employed in calculus are applicable here. (They were specifically conceived as measuring *with respect to time*--not measuring time itself)
As far as the passage itself is concerned, it is of necessity a continuous type of motion. There is only one way to persist: continuously (although not indefinitely). Again, I stress the inappropriateness of measurement techniques here.
(Note: It needs to be clearly understood that "rate" is not a concept which is applicable to the passage of time itself: it is a misuse of speech to speak of the "rate of time's passage."
By definition, "speed" (or "rate") is the relationship between a *spatial* distance and a duration: it is not a relationship between the passage of time *and its own passage*.)
[Andemicael] You have indicated that some modes of reasoning have inherent limitations.
I believe that the reasoning process I employ will enable a complete and coherent description of subjective time and its relation to other phenomena in the universe. (I have not concerned myself much about this "reasoning mode's" classification/categorization etc.)
[Johnson] Again, what is your warrant that we 'exist' (or 'are') on the base number system?
[Andemicael] Only this viewpoint affords an explanation of subjective time which is internally consistent.
[Andemicael previously] ...existence within space implies volume and location (a thing which exists in space must have volume/location). Since mind does not have these properties, by definition, it cannot exist within space (spacetime).
[Johnson previously] How does, say, the mind's existence at a 'point' in space violate your own explanation?
[Andemicael] The mind has neither volume nor location within space. A point in space, in contrast, has location in space.
Adhanom Andemicael Andemicael@worldnet.att.net
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