Wednesday, January 2, 2013

That Debate Again

An article I published on PolicyMic has led to "That Debate": does our experience of time and space count for anything? Can we make changes in the world? Is mortality a human construction?

I used to love this debate. It is a fun and challenging exercise to remember that each of us experience time and space in a totally unique way, and in a way that is not common to other species. Think about how a termite experiences a day, or a meter, compared with our experience.

Now multiply that thought experiment by a million, because our universe has an experience of time and space, too. And many folks have theorized that, at the universal level, time and space folds over itself in a non-linear way, such that our linear experience of time - one event after another, in a stead progress - is a total fiction, a unique, human experience that has no basis in fact. Instead, time may be "an infinite series of frames...that exist simultaneously".

Now I am a fan of thought experiments. I also appreciate placing our lives and experiences in a bigger, universal context.

But I am a pragmatist at heart. I believe that we work to serve the highest good that we know about. We do this making the best decisions we can at every given moment with the best available information. So sure, I want to spread awareness of the limits of science, technology, and social norms so that we have an idea of what the highest good looks like. We experience time in a certain way, and we cannot escape factoring the "slow march of time" into our decisions and experiences.

So when we get into the theory of multidimensional non-linear time and it's implications for our experience of the life cycle, I think we have moved outside of what is possible for humans to experience. I think this is firmly in the realm of headgames, thought experiments, and mental constructs.

It is a fun thought, challenging, but I will not let it get in the way of living my life.

No comments:

Post a Comment