05/27 Open Thread: Seeing Time
Since reality is a construct, at some level based on our perceptions, can altering those perceptions change reality? Is that even a meaningful question? Tweaking one's perceptions is a thing, and just how much does it pervade art and art history? And how about tweaking them to better reflect the more nuanced and complex model, the standard model, derived from centuries of theorizing, experimentation and study. What is it to see photons themselves, tiny, huge, poly-spherical, delimited yet fuzzy and overlapping into near infinitudes from anything but the most micro infinitesimal of point sources. How about temporal photons? What even to call them? More importantly, are they properly part of the model or just a computational gimmick of sorts needed to fill out the table of natural units?
I'm going to segue to my comment in smiley7's column of Saturday 05/09/2020, but I need to note first that it is at the edges heh
Yet another day here surrounded by tasks and time; an interesting perceptual-conceptual experiment with experience. My familiar office space, my desk, supplies, notes, keyboard, mouse, pens, paper and pseudo-randomized clutter is a hyper thin gel of "solids", photons, energy, and time; time as if little photons of temporal distance to anything and everything in it. When one moves one leaves a wake in both the spatial "ether" and the temporal one, like tracks in a cloud chamber, each track some sort of "was", a thing as real as the event that occurred there, totally analogous the more I work at it to the tracks in such a chamber. Because universes scale, the potentiality is as vast as the whole world outside. Can the vision itself scale? How much effort will it take to maintain it.-
So I interrupt this narrative to quick refill my coffee and divert to go out and fill the platform feeder with a brief digression to pull weeds out of the elevated planter box in which the bay tree grows. There is a fork there, divert to weed and consume temporal distance in one spot, limiting the total spatial distance I will be able to travel during this excursion or no? I diverted because why not, I have no need to maintain an average velocity or speed.-
Something something something about a life unexamined, but all the same this is bizarre, though strangely interesting and entertaining. Ah well, other forks lie ahead, as near as my reach, and even more beyond my office door and the corvid chorus outside is in full croak, so I think I will again divert.
(As an aside, I cannot but wonder how much dissociation is good for one, and who is to say? But that is another matter.)
This is all taking me back to some time in '67 or '68 when I played around with all the equations I could find from which I could algebraically derive time and covered a large surface with them and their combinations and their final reduction, in every case to something of the form t=(...), but hilariously enough time is as simple as paying attention whilst returning my breakfast dishes from the office to the kitchen and then diverting to take out the compostable green waste there accumulated before returning to, again, divert to something else. Somewhere I have, or once had a discarded window from a bubble chamber, micro-crazed with a multiplicity of multiply forked tracks of exactly what? Time is as good as any other answer in a very real sense just as our existence, minute to minute is nothing but a vast cascade of forks, those taken and those ahead, webs of potentiality, circumscribed here about me like Mephistopheles' Hell such that it is impossible not to take a fork, less travelled or not, because even stasis is a choice.
So, I said above that it is at the edges. Hard edges, all of them, but, if you look just right, all with borders of distortion such that the background color and intensity is slightly muted as if by diffraction, as if the foreground thing had an imperfectly transparent aura of decreasing intensity according to some sort of inverse square law that could easily be the spatio-temporal uncertainty of the visual edge as a collection of point sources; of, the model says, atoms, but as perceived, again per the model, of photons, but what of the temporal element. You can derive innumerable formulas for time, but they only show how it is computed, or, more correctly, how phenomena deemed to be functions of time or time dependent are computed. Thus, velocity, v, is computed as distance, d, over time, t, as follows v=d/t. Simple algebra converts this into t=d/v, but does that actually tell us anything whatsoever about time? Possibly, but only in a limited sense..
I was told at a very young age that there were really four dimensions, not three. I was also not given much detail or explanation of any of what that meant or implied. As you grow and age you start to get it; three regular (spatial) dimensions tell us the size of stuff, and later we learn that they also tell us location. We measure them. So time fits right in, we measure it too, but with clocks instead of rulers. We measure how long something takes or how long something lasts, and there we are. Except, at some point somebody throws in coordinate systems of one, two or three axes, all mutually perpendicular and then tells you that, clearly, by analogy, time, the fourth dimension must lie along some axis mutually perpendicular to the other three? Huh? You can't grok that, can't visualize it, probably because we don't experience time as directly or in the same fashion as to experience space, maybe. I have written on that specific topic and am still not really certain of it. We really can't fathom how four sets of axes can all be mutually perpendicular, so we default to three plus the clock. To me, however, it seems that time is all pervasive, not some separate linear measure, but like a fog, or somehow spherical. If you are travelling North, time goes with you, and being as seemingly mono-directional as it seems to be, increments in the Northerly direction. But, hang a left and run out West and time flows right along with you, incrementing out to the West. A trip up in an elevator finds time following you up and incrementing in the vertical direction. No matter which spatial dimension you follow, time is there, accompanying you and incrementing as you go, or so you think. Heh. Not quite.
While I am heading North, with my own time and timepiece marking, measuring and incrementing my time ever Northerly, somebody passes me heading South with their own time and timepiece marking, measuring and incrementing their time ever Sourtherly. Oops. So we need to provide for any direction time on any axis which makes time, once again amorphous. A few more points, The Newtonian universe is gone. There are no directions in space, no fixed points nor any any axes or origin from which to plot any points. There are no fixed rulers with which to measure distance, because distance varies with velocity and is never the same for the observer and the cargo or passenger. By the same token, time also varies with velocity and is also never the same for the observer and the passenger. The amount of time dilation and linear compression can be computed, but it has to be computed relative to something and given that there are no fixed points or standard rulers, these computations must be made relative to some prior state of the system in question. Beyond that, it turns out that there is, sadly, no such thing as simultaneity. So really, the best we can do is some amorphous all pervasive intangible that nonetheless permeates everything, and if you turn, really, really, really quickly, you just might see the tracks that you leave in it..
be well and have a good one
Title Image is : clock_sync
It's an open thread, so have at it. The floor is yours