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Thread: What do we know about time anyway?

  1. #1 What do we know about time anyway? 
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    It seems to me that the "pace" in which time flows doesn't matter to any of the particles in our universe (including us human beings). If time would suddenly "halt", we wouldn't even know about it. Is there some way we can be sure that time is actually flowing? It seems to me that for all we know, time could be going backwards and we wouldn't think anything is strange.

    If the direction of the flow of time is irrelevant, then is the flow of time also irrelevant? Maybe "now" is just an illusion?


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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by imawobot View Post
    It seems to me that the "pace" in which time flows doesn't matter to any of the particles in our universe (including us human beings).
    Does it not?
    That'll be a relief for aging people. And chenical/ nuclear reactions. And anyone/ thing that tries moving. Etc.

    If time would suddenly "halt", we wouldn't even know about it.
    Correct. We wouldn't know about it because we wouldn't be aware of anything.

    Is there some way we can be sure that time is actually flowing?
    Since we had a yesterday and we now have a today and will (in all likelihood) have a tomorrow then we're fairly sure.

    It seems to me that for all we know, time could be going backwards and we wouldn't think anything is strange.
    Define "time". Our perception is that it almost always 1 flows "forwards".

    If the direction of the flow of time is irrelevant, then is the flow of time also irrelevant?
    If is a big word.

    Maybe "now" is just an illusion?
    Yup, and so, maybe, are consciousness and existence.


    1 Certain biblical claims taken into account.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Since we had a yesterday and we now have a today and will (in all likelihood) have a tomorrow then we're fairly sure.
    And so clearly you think that any consideration of the possibility of the contrary is unreasonable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Yup, and so, maybe, are consciousness and existence.
    Yeah, that's kind of what I'm trying to consider tbh.
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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by imawobot View Post
    And so clearly you think that any consideration of the possibility of the contrary is unreasonable.
    Ah well, considerations and possibilities....
    Sure go ahead.
    But philosophy usually operates on premises and support. What support is there for "no flow"?

    Yeah, that's kind of what I'm trying to consider tbh.
    Cogito ergo sum. Take it from there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Ah well, considerations and possibilities....
    Sure go ahead.
    But philosophy usually operates on premises and support. What support is there for "no flow"
    I'm trying to consider how existence could be transformed into a digital system. In any sort of computer simulation, you can control the flow time, just like you can pause a movie, so I'm wondering what makes us "feel" like time is flowing.

    If it is possible to ever transform life into a digital system or even create a whole universe as a simulation, then perhaps we already are living inside such a simulation (matrix theory).

    It's not that I believe in such a theory, but I would be happy to find a way to disprove it. Actually you've already helped me tremendously by making me anticipate your next question: what support is there for "matrix theory", right?
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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Nah, I've read a few papers on that.
    I don't pay them too much credence because A) we couldn't tell if we were and B) the Matrix was based (heavily) on Baudrillard's writing (specifically Simulacra and Simulation) which is basically typical French post-modern self-referential generally meaningless rubbish 1.


    1 That's a considered opinion. Too much of the post-modern stuff - especially the French school - relies on redundant verbosity and (false) analogies with actual science over clarity in order to fool itself into thinking it's saying something worth reading.
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    Forum Freshman Crimson Sunbird's Avatar
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    Haiku about time:


    How fast does time flow?
    No faster, and no slower:
    dt/dt = 1.
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    “Don’t fear change. Change fear.”
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crimson Sunbird View Post
    Haiku about time:


    How fast does time flow?
    No faster, and no slower:
    dt/dt = 1.
    I hate you.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Nah, I've read a few papers on that.
    I don't pay them too much credence because A) we couldn't tell if we were and B) the Matrix was based (heavily) on Baudrillard's writing (specifically Simulacra and Simulation) which is basically typical French post-modern self-referential generally meaningless rubbish 1.


    1 That's a considered opinion. Too much of the post-modern stuff - especially the French school - relies on redundant verbosity and (false) analogies with actual science over clarity in order to fool itself into thinking it's saying something worth reading.
    So not a lot of support still I suppose I'll just have to give this theory the razor treatment.
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    The question as to how quickly time flows does expose the nonsense behind the supposition that it flows at all. To claim that it flows at a rate of one second per second is clearly not to say anything useful.

    For a while, I felt that the flow of time was simply an illusion brought about by our state of consciousness advancing through time. In other words, it is our state of consciousness which is moving, not time. It is analogous to us travelling along a road - we are moving not the road.

    However, some doubt is cast on this way of looking at things by the following simple observation: if we are rendered totally unconscious by being given an anaesthetic, when we regain consciousness, we are soon aware that time has passed. It might have been daytime when we were put to sleep but dark when we wake up. So time seems to have passed even when our state of consciousness wasn't functional. Back to the drawing board!
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