Time is Only Counting Events
Welcome To Aquarius, Volume 4 (April 1 or 2, 2006)
A Non-Anthropomorphic Theory of Time
Welcome to Aquarius, a new journal of informed dissent
A Non-Anthropomorphic Theory of Time
Copyright 2006 John Manimas Medeiros. All rights reserved. Anyone who benefits financially from the work of the author is obligated to compensate the author. Work in progress is not present on my Internet computer. See permissions below as guide to sharing this report.
Citation suggested: Manimas, John. A Non-Anthropomorphic Theory of Time, "Welcome to Aquarius," www.jmanimas.com, Volume 4 (April 1 or 2, 2006).
Headnote: The real world of JManimas: In my real universe, "science" and "technology" are two entirely different things. For me, "technology" means human technology or human methods for doing things. I see mathematics as a cultural invention, the primary human technology. Mathematics is counting and measuring, and it is the first technical step we take in order to do something, anything. For me, "science" is not human technology but is an understanding of Nature, an explanation of how Nature accomplishes what it does. Therefore my definition of "science" could be stated as "the technology of Nature, not of humankind." I believe this is a very important difference, and the confusion of human technology with an understanding of Nature, true science, is misleading, probably lethally misleading. By that I mean that if humans continue to see their own technology as a description of Nature, the human species will self-destruct. I believe there is at least one established professional scientist who agrees with me on this point, Leonardo Da Vinci.
Beginning With Evolution
The Theory of Evolution Implies Proper Understanding of Nature's Reality
Social Time, the Clock
Technical Time, The Theoretical Clock in Nature
Mathematical Time, the Time t of Physics and Mathematical Equations
Beginning With Evolution:
Beginning with our theory of evolution. Evolution is the best theory we have to explain how and why there are many species of living things but also a few survival traits that are found in all or most species, such as, the eye, the ear, the foot, defensive tools such as claws, digestion, and so forth. And, evolution is the most likely choice of a Creator God, because evolution makes all living things "self-adjusting," especially in view of the allele system, whereby an organism never adjusts suddenly to a new environment. That new environment might be temporary. The allele system is the primary survival trait of all living things, because it allows some individuals in a species to make phenotype changes, while others do not. This of course means that when there is a genetic mutation, there are some individuals of the species with a new survival trait and others without it. In this way, a new trait is actually tested over a short period of time. If the new trait is beneficial over time, it survives. If not, it becomes a temporary adjustment that could continue if neutral as a survival trait, or extinguish if a hindrance to the organism when environmental conditions cycle back to "normal." Evolution is certainly the choice process of a Creator God, if there is a Creator God, because evolution bestows a blessing on all living things, the ability to survive on its own in a changing environment. Evolution makes all living things adaptable. Without the capacity for adaptation, every living thing would be a fixed entity, flourishing in good times and disappearing in bad. Environmental changes would "pick off" the fixed creations one by one, until there were only a few living things left. This is obviously not what happened. We have, instead, we living things, been fruitful and multiplied. Looks like we followed God's advice, and we were able to do so because God was kind enough to give us the capacity, with evolutionary genetics.
Survival traits. We recognize physical survival traits and enjoy observing and discussing them. Such traits include longer legs, faster legs (cheetah), better eyesight (eagle), strength (mountain gorilla), mimicry, escape artist (rodents), digestive capacity (shark), and on and on. But, we also observe the evolution of the brain. And the qualities of our own brains, which we are not certain of. Human brains seems so inconsistent, and we now know the explanation for that. The explanation is that the human brain is amazingly "plastic" or adjustable to environmental conditions. The brain begins to organize its memories and information about its environment immediately following birth. It formulates ideas and principles about the real world because it is preparing to survive in it. The "real world" is different for each child, because it is controlled in large part by the child's parents. This occurs a second time during adolescence, when the brain's survival traits could determine whether the individual organism is going to get a chance to make use of its sexuality and reproduce, after college of course.
This wonderful brain of ours has so many intellectual survival traits, such as the ability to read the meaning of the expression on a human face. Books are written about the brain, and about one or two of its wonderful traits, such as mathematics, or poetry. Here, in order to understand my non-anthropomorphic theory of time, we need to discuss only one generalized and obviously valuable trait of the human brain. That trait is the ability to observe and remember cause and effect.
Let us begin by making the observation, on the face of it, that a perception of cause and effect requires a perception of time. To think about cause and effect, and to talk or write about it, that is to communicate about cause and effect we must possess a concept of "before, now, and later," past, present and future. That is basic time. A cause, by definition, is that which occurs before its effect, and an effect occurs after its cause. We do not have effects that occur before their causes. When we observe and discuss cause and effect we are giving expression to explanation. A cause is an explanation for how and why an effect occurred. When we get more serious about cause and effect, and more detailed, we make reference to a "causal chain," meaning a series of causes that coincides with a series of effects, where the initial cause leads to the final effect. We also talk about a "sufficient cause," meaning an event that is sufficient to result in a particular effect, and a "necessary cause," meaning an event that is necessary in order to get a particular result, and a "contributing cause," meaning an event which cannot alone result in a particular effect, but contributes to that effect if the other "contributing causes" also occur.
In order to understand cause and effect we need to observe the causal chain more than once. In the real physical world, it is certain that many events are cyclical. That is, they are events that occur repeatedly, in a cycle. Each occurrence is similar to what occurred before, but different in some way, certainly different in that it is occurring later in time, following the previous occurrence. This is very familiar to us as the subject matter in elementary school. The sun rises every day, a cycle of one day. The planet Earth revolves around the sun and one complete revolution is called a year. That event is believed to have occurred about 5 billion times. That would mean the Earth's revolution is a cyclical event that has occurred 5 billion times. When we count the rings in the cross section of a tree trunk, we say that each ring marks a year. So, if the tree has 50 rings, then the growth that creates the ring is an event that has occurred 50 times. Since some rings are wider than others, and not all the same color, we have additional explanations for this cyclical event because the production of the ring occurs every year, but is not exactly the same every year, due to climatic conditions. Suppose someone said that all events that occur in the universe are cyclical. Would you agree? Is there some good reason to disagree? Does it sound like it might be true, but something in the back of your mind says, No, it can't be true. There must be events in the real, physical universe that are not cyclical. Right?
It turns out, you will see, that challenging the statement that all events are cyclical is not as easy as you thought. In fact, it is difficult and probably impossible to describe an event that is not cyclical, because an event that is not cyclical has to be an event that has occurred, or will occur, only once. If it occurs more than once, it has a cycle. Can you name an event that has occurred only once? Can you predict an event that has not occurred yet, ever before, but which will occur in the future, one time, then never again? Let's suppose we name the beginning of the universe -- an event we cannot prove has occurred -- as an event that has occurred only once. Well, there it is. It looks like a good definition of an event that has occurred only once. Unfortunately, we cannot prove that this one-time event has occurred, and we cannot prove that it is in fact a one-time event. Possibly the universe is going to end and then begin again. That would be a cycle, of course, and could not qualify then as an event that occurred only once. Let's try again.
Suppose the universe has existed for 50 billion years, and in the middle of this span of time, at 25 billion years, an event occurred that never occurred before, and has not yet occurred again. That seems to fit the definition we are looking for. This event has occurred only once, and we have no reason to believe it is going to occur again. However, we must admit that if it does occur again, 25 billion and one years following the previous occurrence, then it is a cyclical event with a cycle of 25 and one billion years. Otherwise, we have our one time event, in our hands, if we can name it and identify the signs that prove it occurred. Can you do that? No, you can't. No one has ever described an event in the distant past, or even the recent past, that has occurred only once. We have no way of knowing if a particular event occurred only once. Whenever an event occurs, if it is new to us, we immediately go to work examining it and expressing opinions as to its causes and therefore we automatically describe it as a type of event that has occurred many times before and will occur again many times. Cause and effect is, it seems, inseparable from a cyclical universe. If the first once thousand events that you observed in your observing life were all events that occurred only once and never again, you would have no basis upon which to argue that one event caused another. There is something about this argument that doesn't feel quite right, and yet there is no way to challenge it effectively. The only way to offer evidence that there are events that occur only once is to name one, which seems to turn the brain inside out. How could we know of an event and know at the same time that it occurred only once? Every time we describe an event of any kind, it is an event that occurs many times, in some kind of cycle, like a wedding, or a funeral, or a telephone call. Or, an experiment.
You see, even our fundamental principles of scientific method reject absolutely the idea of an event that occurred only once. Or, we at least reject such an event as an event that contributes to our understanding. We reject it as a meaningful description of cause and effect. Our foundation principle is that an experimental procedure, a demonstration of cause and effect, must be repeatable and must actually be repeated. When another person follows exactly the same procedure, they must get the same results. Aha! If six scientists perform the same exact procedure and get the same result, we have a cyclical event that has occurred six times. If the experimental procedure occurred only once, or it also could not be repeated, it is not accepted as a source of reliable information. Cause and effect are logically inseparable from a universe of cyclical events. Therefore, the concept of cause and effect requires a concept of time. And this is why I have pursued this argument thus far, to show that in order to possess the concept of cause of effect, in order to learn from experience and think scientifically, the brain must possess a concept of time and a sense of time. A sense of time is not necessarily the same as a concept of time. A sense of time is the neurological ability to count and measure the duration of an event, to memorize events in a series and associate them over time, before, now, after, past, present, future, past cause, current effect, expected result in the future. A concept of time is the intellectual ability to think about time as having a relationship with other concepts, to include ideas about time in other ideas about other things. Such as, if time is necessary to allow events to occur, then time must be a contributing cause of events. Or, it would seem that with the concept of time accepted by physicists, time is an independent entity, or dimension, where events can occur but do not necessarily occur. In other words, we could have an interval of time where there is "nothing happening," no events occurring. We are then faced with the question why an event occurs with one occurrence of time and not another, which again seems to support an argument that time is a contributing cause of all events but not the sufficient cause of any event.
In order for a brain to be able to learn from experience and think scientifically, and become a technological being, the brain must possess this sense of time and concept of time. I have concluded therefore, that this is the real reason we do have a sense of time and concept of time, not because time exists in the external, Natural universe, but because it is a pre-requisite for becoming a calculating, learning observer. This is what we are. This is what a human being is: a calculating, learning observer. And, in order to become a calculating, learning observer, we had to evolve a brain with a sense of time and the intellectual concept of time. My argument then, is that time is internal and strictly internal, a fiction of consciousness. Nature does not count its days, or its tree rings, or its years, and it does not record time in any way. We record time, and we read the signs of cyclical events. This is what time is, the counting of cyclical events. It is impossible to talk about time, to think about time, to communicate about time in any way without reference to a particular cyclical event. Every measure of time, or of duration, is a cyclical event or a division of a cyclical event. Time is duration. And we measure duration and name duration with a count of a cyclical event. Look at us. We ask how old is the universe. Someone says about 20 billion years. But what has our year to do with the universe? Nothing. For every planet, there is a different year, being the duration of a revolution around a star. Ask yourself what is a minute. Trace the history of how our clock and our time measures evolved. It is all the comparison of one interval to another. There is no "clock" in the Natural universe. All clocks are the projections and productions of intelligent beings who count and measure cyclical events. Nature does not count and measure, except for proportion. Nature simply is, and does, exists. The lotus unfolds observed or not. Nature does not need to count or measure anything the way that we do. Counting and measuring is a way of observing. Since such counting and measuring is not necessary for Nature, it does not occur in Nature, because Nature does not invent any process that is not necessary.
The Theory of Evolution Implies Proper Understanding of Nature's Reality:
Nature is economical and does not "invent" anything new to do what can already be done. It makes no sense that an "intelligent" species would evolve that is not capable of understanding how the world works. If the human brain that evolved on Earth cannot comprehend the Earth, then the theory of evolution is entirely false. The theory of evolution makes sense only if the brains that evolve possess the capacity to understand the environment that must be understood. If a brain is characterized by constantly developing incorrect conclusions about how the world works, that brain is not a "survival trait" that enhances the likelihood of propagation of the species. A brain that persists in making mistakes in interpreting reality is like feet that cause an animal to trip and fall down, like eyes that see objects where they do not exist, like ears that hear sounds without the ability to locate the source of the sounds. Simply and finally stated: in order to be useful, the human brain must interpret the world correctly. If it does not, it is not a survival trait, and we can only add to the many concepts that we have misunderstood the perplexing question of how did we evolve brains that cannot understand the reality in which the brain must survive?
Social Time, the Clock:
With time programmed into our brains so that we can form the concept of cause and effect, we get some side benefits. We become "organized." We make commitments to one another, and our commitments invariably include an element of time, such as:
"Now that she is pregnant, I will marry your daughter."
"You will marry her tomorrow."
"If you loan me your ox, I will plow my field and then return your ox."
"I will loan you my ox if you feed him and water him properly and bathe him after you are finished plowing your field and you will return him within three days."
"Would you please pick up lunch for me." Within fifteen minutes is implied. We all know what fifteen minutes is. What a minute is. Right?
"We will have the house finished and ready for you to move in by September."
"Meet you at seven at Socrates Bar and Grill and dialogue."
"Okay. I might be ten minutes late."
"Of course. You usually are."
"Smedley, will you ever arrive to work on time?"
"Yes, of course, on my last day."
"Would you like that last day this week, or next?"
Technical Time, The Theoretical Clock in Nature:
Scientists are inclined to take "time" even more seriously than family members, friends, neighbors, contractors and employers. Scientists measure things, and they take great pride in measuring things more precisely, if they can, than they have ever been measured before. If one scientist carves "The Last Supper" on a grain of rice, the next will claim to have carved a pair of glasses on Judas. It's a boys' game. Just as mathematics has been appropriated as a boys' game. The study of Nature and the description of Nature, since it is always involved with cause and effect, always involves a reference to time. If an event occurs, any event, scientists like to make a statement about the duration of that event. Not only how does it begin, but when does it begin? How long does it take? Are there stages that occur at particular intervals of time? Does the event always have exactly the same duration? Or does the interval of time vary? What shall we use as a measure of time? Seconds? Seconds are the same time comparison we use for our social time: one revolution of the planet Earth around the sun, divided by 365 days, divided by 24 hours, divided by 60 minutes, divided by 60. That is the same as one revolution of the Earth around the sun, divided by 31,536,000. So, you see, even when we say to someone "I got another call. Hold on just a second," we are making a mathematical statement. We are saying, please hold on for one year divided by 31,536,000. And that's what it feels like. And if we wait a real long time, we might get angry and say, "Hey, you made me wait one year divided by only 1,576,800, you jerk!"
When scientists conduct experiments, they use a measure of time. When scientists measure the phenomenon of Nature, we use a measure of time. Instead of the second derived from the year, we might use the second derived from the vibrations of the cesium atom, which are reported to be very regular and neat. Scientists, as well as merchants, have always been concerned with how long something takes to do, how long it will take to complete a certain task, or the shipping of goods. The childhood formula of Time equals Distance times Rate (T = D*R), where rate equals velocity, was deeply engrained in the human mind long, long ago, before history was written. Possibly before humans even spoke about measuring time, they had a sense of how long it would take them to get back home from the hunting ground, before dark. As scientists, as shippers, as travelers, we always want to know how fast we are going to travel and how long our trips will take. As scientists, we want to know how long it takes a stone to fall, and how long it takes to throw a stone from where we are to the head of the other guy who we don't like. This all requires a lot of measurements, and especially a lot of measurements of time. After thousands of years of evolution, those involved in industry still conduct "time studies" in order to measure how much time an average employee needs to complete their assigned work. Employers are always making great efforts, sometimes strained, in order to shorten the time required by employees to complete the tasks assigned to them. Soon, when you enter a supermarket, a robot will greet you, hand you a receipt and escort you outside. An automobile will soon be manufactured and fully assembled in ten minutes. The government will require that you purchase one automobile for each day of the week (by means of a federal grant), so that we can all experience color and variety and freedom on the highways, or at least in your driveway, should we run out of fuel. The promising business of the future is motor vehicles converted to landscape planters.
Mathematical Time, the Time t of Physics and Mathematical Equations:
What is the meaning of the factor t in a mathematical equation? What is an equation that includes t for time? An equation that includes t for time is a shorthand statement suggesting that time is one of the factors in an event. That is, such an equation or formula implies not only that an event occurs over time, but our brains develop what I call time as a fiction of consciousness. By a "fiction of consciousness" I mean our brains contemplate the equation and we think that time is actually a tangible reality in the universe, or possibly something intangible but still an independent reality that plays an active role in causing events to occur. Or, time is a kind of dimension within which events occur. This is what we believe, or are taught to believe. Physicists and mathematicians talk as though they believe time is a dimension within which events occur. The logic is impeccable here: If time is required in order for an event to occur, then it has to be a contributing cause. It is like saying that if time stopped, everything that was happening would stop. It is like saying that time is spatial territory, and events can occur in that spatial territory, but if we come to a precipice, if we run out of territory, we cannot add new events because we have run out of space. Likewise, if we run out of time, not meaning that an allotted time is finished but rather there really is no more time, more emphatically even time no longer exists, then nothing further can occur. The world is over. This is the actual concept of time that belongs to the academic field of physics. The "time" of physics exists independently, with or without events occurring, and that's that, end of discussion.
However, this is a crime against the endless search for accurate human understanding. This concept is most likely wrong. As I see it, being a free man who does not hold membership in any club, the reality of the universe is that events exist independently, and it is our observation of these events, being either exclusively cyclical or nearly exclusively cyclical, that causes the evolution of the concept of time, strictly an internal intellectual event, in the brain of a calculating, learning observer. Every mathematical equation that includes t therefore is technology, human technology, our primary technology, because we must measure precisely in order to control events precisely. And that is the true end of the story, but actually only the beginning, the beginning of humans studying proportion and the technology of Nature instead of persistently grooving and spacing out on their own self-important human inventions.
-End of text for A Non-Anthropomorphic Theory of Time-
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Citation suggested: Manimas, John. A Non-Anthropomorphic Theory of Time, "Welcome to Aquarius," www.jmanimas.com, Volume 4 (April 1 or 2, 2006).
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