Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Quotes on time as illusion

Lee Smolin:

"Is the flow of time something real, or might our sense of time passing be just an illusion that hides the fact that what is real is only a vast collection of moments?"

Robert Lanza, author of the book Biocentrism which lays out his theory of everything:

"But if you remove everything from space, what's left? Nothing. The same applies for time — you can't put it in a jar. You can't see through the bone surrounding your brain (everything you experience is information in your mind). Biocentrism tells us space and time aren't objects — they're the mind's tools for putting everything together."

William Poundstone:

"If you are sure that time is not running backward, ask yourself how you know this. You probably cite your memories of the past. It is now 1988. You have memories of experiences in 1987, 1986, 1985, etc.; you do not have memories of 1989, 1990, etc. But you would, for the moment, have the memories you do whether time was going forward or backward from 1988. The question is whether the moving finger of time adds to or deletes from this stock of memories. There is no way of telling!"

Nancy S. Atlas:

”Holidays, albeit imposed by man, provide us with the framework and opportunity to honor the individuals and the events that have shaped our lives, and might otherwise be taken for granted. Although the scheduling of leisure time might appear to be rigid and confining, it actually has a salubrious effect, as it relieves anxiety and reassures us that our goals can be met and our needs can be satisfied. Structuring time assuages the 'ought to' syndrome and sets the stage for 'free time' to be really free.”

Matthew May:

”Still, customers visiting FAVI are often astounded at what they perceive to be a total lack of control. A favorite story Jean-Fran├žois tells involves a customer’s site inspection at FAVI: ‘They asked to audit our procedures,’ he says. ‘They were not pleased because we had no measurement system for tracking late orders—nothing in place, no plan, no process, no structure in case of delay. They are a customer for over ten years, so I say, ‘In that time, have we ever been late?’ They say, ‘No.’ I say, ‘Have we ever been early?’ They say again, ‘No.’ And so I ask them why they want me to measure things that do not exist.’ Good point.”

Douwe Draaisma:

"In 1997, the psychologists Crawley and Pring performed an experiment in which the estimated time interval was compared precisely with the real time interval. They drew up a list of events that anyone in Britain even vaguely familiar with the news was bound to remember. ... The earliest event was the Queen's Silver Jubilee (1977); the most recent the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989). Next, Crawley and Pring asked their experimental subjects to give as nearly as possible the year and the month in which these events had occurred. The answers revealed an interesting difference to do with the subjects' age. Experimental subjects of middle age (between thirty-five and fifty years old) dated the events too recently, thus confirming the telescopy found in earlier experiments. But older subjects (on average aged about seventy) placed the events too far back in time. I was as if they had turned the telescope round, thus extending the interval.

'This can help to explain why time seems to fly by as we grow older', wrote Crawley and Pring. The underlying idea is probably that time in the subjectively longer period must have gone by more quickly. This conclusion shows how difficult it is to interpret the results of research on time perception. For something can also be said for the opposite conclusion. It is precisely those who think something happened three years ago when in fact it was five, who will exclaim, 'Gosh, how time flies.' The speeding up of the years seems to be due to telescopy rather than to reverse telescopy. Crawley and Pring's theory can only be saved by the assumption of a reverse connection between the overestimate of the duration of a period of time and its subjective tempo. That does indeed manifest itself with the quickened pace of a week on holiday, which upon one's return home seems longer than an ordinary week. However, in that case, both telescopy and reverse telescopy will make us feel that time is rushing past, and that robs them of any explanatory value."

Sources

Lee Smolin, quoted by Ray Kurzweil, The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence. New York: Penguin Group, 1999. p 25.

"What Happens When You Die? Evidence Suggests Time Simply Reboots." Robert Lanza, M.D. June 10, 2010. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-lanza/what-happens-when-you-die_b_596600.html Accessed June 12, 2010.

William Poundstone. Labyrinths of Reason: Paradox, Puzzles and the Frailty of Knowledge. New York: Anchor Books, 1988. p. 66.

"The Structuring of Time." Nancy S. Atlas. Jewish Reporter (Massachusetts), February 2003.

Matthew E. May, In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing. New York: Broadway Books, 2009. pp. 128-129.

Douwe Draaisma. Why Life Speeds Up As You Get Older: How Memory Shapes Our Past. (2001) Translated by Arnold and Erica Pomerans in 2004. Cambridge University Press, 2005. pp 216-217.

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