Sunday, September 7

Time and time again

The concept has recently been advanced (see references )that our very first responses to things are prior to any realisation of conscious thoughts, giving a lie to the idea of a complete free will. Hence the argument is that it may be just a perception that gives us a feeling we have orderly control over our thoughts, which instead may have been triggered from our subconscious before , even if such a prior period represents just a fraction of a second before.  Furthermore,  our understanding  of the passage of time and its events in terms of a linguistic tense, e.g. the sense of past, present, and future, may be somewhat of a contentious issue. Our conventional view is of course, given the overwhelming evidence of decay and entropy that appears before us is that time can only be linear in nature.  But there is no such thing as time in terms of tense in the universe.
These things puzzled that great philosopher Augustine who concluded : 

'Who shall lay hold upon the mind of man, that it may stand and see that time with its past and future must be determined by eternity, which stands and does not pass, which has in itself no past or future."

Maybe our human perception of time is just another intuitive function of the mind , necessary to make sense of our world from within our earthly confinement. This is indeed a mystery that will remain an unresolved theme for philosophers the world over, time and time again. 
For further reading


Halle said...

It has long been my intuition that time is a human concept and more specifically a concept of the ego, necessary for us to make sense of the world.
God and our higher self too exist beyond linear time. Our conscious mind makes attempts to connect with God, but our reliance upon and in fact our insistence on the existence of time makes this very difficult.
Fascinating stuff. So glad my brain decided to look in on your blog this morning! :)
"It seems we've stood and talked like this before.... But who knows where or when."

Tom said...

I am familiar with the idea that some response is triggered before a conscious thought emanates from the unconscious mind. Certainly, I think (from experiments carried out) that there is no such thing as free will - at least as far as the ego-consciousness is concerned.

I agree with Halle that God and our higher self (they may even be the same thing) exist outside time. Asking whether or not time exists is much like asking whether the wind exists. Neither can be sensed, although their effects can be. Does this mean they exist, or are they merely interpretations of other phenomena?

I would add that maybe our human perception of time is an intuitive function of the mind, rather than the brain. Certainly, the mind appears to have a degree of autonomy and an ability to change itself, or change the conclusions it draws from sensory evidence.

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Hi Halle
It does indeed sound like we are singing from the same melody-hymsheet “It seems we stood and talked like this before” courtesy of Rodgers & Hart. Thanks for your insightful comments. Best wishes
Hi Tom,
Thanks for your interesting comments and I do agree our human perception of time is an intuitive function of the mind rather than the brain so I have changed my post reference.

I do think time may well be an interpretation of other phenomena.
Best wishes

susan said...

It seems to me that time can be viewed as a blessing from our limited human perspective. If we were aware of everything happening everywhere all at once it would be impossible to cope with the reality of our daily lives.

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Indeed-very well put Susan !!
Best wishes