About Time

Since time is an illusion…

The concept of time must be taught with rigor in order for children to conform to it. What greater illusion exists than to habitualize existence based on the past, to lay out the future while ignoring the present. Children have no concept of time—and they are right. For time is simply a mental relation between two moments—a learned reckoning. Living in the moment is therefor timeless.

“I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist only in the present, which is what there is and all there is”—Alan Watts

The past is a memory. The future—an expectation. Is the immediate present simply a fractal marking on a line of events, or a continuous movement through it, where the past is moving with the present?

Our perception of time’s flow depends entirely on our inability to see the world in all its detail”—Carlo Rovelli

We have a deep intuition that the future is open until it becomes present and that the past is fixed. As time flows, this structure of fixed past, immediate present and open future gets carried forward in time. This structure is built into our language, thought and behavior. How we live our lives hangs on it.

The concepts of time and change may emerge from a universe that, at root, is utterly static”Craig Callender

“The concept of time is simply an illusion made of human memories, everything that has ever been and ever will be is happening RIGHT NOW”Max Tegmark

“We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infintesimal hairline between a causative past and an absorbingly important future. We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation (thinking and thinking about thinking) We do not realize that there never was, is, nor will be any other experience than present experience. We are therefore out of touch with reality. We confuse the world as talked about, described, and measured with the world which actually is. We are sick with a fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas“—Alan Watts. These symbols limit our perceptions of life, for what can be known (accepted as knowledge) is simply that what can be put into words—symbols of events.

Aa a small example, our english language structure changes the meaning of the past every day, even moment to moment, ie; I love…you. Really, I love flowers. See how that works, even in common speech? Forgiveness also changes the meaning of the past, while a grudge locks you in it, held to bitter moments that no longer exist.

“reality is just a complex network of events onto which we project sequences of past, present and future”—Carlos Rovelli

“Zen is a liberation from time. For if we open our eyes and see clearly, it becomes obvious that there is no other time than this instant, and that the past and the future are abstractions without any concrete reality”—Alan Watts

We teach history, we plan for the future, but rarely teach anything on how to live today—and if you don’t ever live in the present, you wont be able to enjoy the future, because it never comes. Our cultures are constantly preparing for the next level of life.

Learning to think like an adult (to take life seriously) takes effort and repetition. Playing this hoax on our children is the key to maintaining the illusion and keeping players in the game—and kids know life is a game, and of such is the kingdom of heaven, uh, I mean…the game of life. But interesting nonetheless, that mystics, philosophers, and physicists all agree that time is an illusion—simply not what it seems. Language and writing are partly to blame (symbols) yet religion is quite the guilty party—always training for later.

Does anybody get this?

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs breaking the faith trap.

40 thoughts on “About Time”

  1. i did a lil more investigation on my own, and found this amazing article about time in buddhism. there is no question, time cannot be understood outside the mind, and we have no idea what mind is. we still think mind operates in the brain, and that’s a massive error. BUT, leave it to those buddhists to make a precise science out of all this. they are so freakin’ amazing!

    Concept of Time in Theravada Buddhist Philosophy

    According to Buddhist Philosophy, time appears in our consciousness during the process of knowing, which consists of the existence of matter first, then, the interaction between matters, then, functions of our consciousness (our senses), then, the process of knowing that occur in our consciousness and finally, the feeling that occurs in our consciousness.

    Time therefore, is subjective because its existence depends upon our consciousness to acknowledge it. Time is relative to our consciousness through our perceptions of the world via our senses (Bunnag, 2016, p. 89).

    Moreover, Buddhist philosophy suggests that time does not have real existence. It is only a concept with no inherent existence because it belongs to the relative truth of the world of experience from our consciousness. Each of our consciousness (or thought-moment) according to Abhidhamma (Narada Maha Thera, 1987, p. 215) consists of three phases, with the first phase called the occurring or genesis (uppada), the second phase is change or development (thiti) and the last phase is cessation or dissolution (bhanga). One consciousness is followed by another. The past is gone; the future has not yet to come. We live only for the moment of Now which is, thus, the transitional stage from the future to the past. Buddhist scripture states clearly that “Time is a concept derived from this or that phenomenon. And it does not exist by nature, it is merely a concept” (Narada Maha Thera, 1987, p. 216).

    Furthermore, Buddhist philosophy suggests that time is mind-dependent because time has no existence outside of phenomena and their observers. Time must be perceived by a mind (consciousness) in relation to successions of events that occur to a particular system (that is, planes of existence, such as heaven, earth, or hell) (Promtha, 1988, pp. 54–60). It follows that without a mind to observe the changes of the conditioned things, the perception of time cannot be realized (Bunnag, 2016, p. 90).

    Finally, the concept of time in Buddhist philosophy suggests that without the conditioned things, there will be no concept of time. The conditioned things related to time as witness to their unstable and changing condition which suggests that time does not exist separately from the conditioned things. This relationship does not mean that time is a quality of the conditioned things, but it indicates that time is only a concept invented by consciousness from perceiving the becoming process of the conditioned things. It follows that without the becoming process of the conditioned things, there is no time, and without time, there is no past, present, and future (Bunnag, 2016, p. 91). The only existence would be only the unconditioned things that exist beyond the concept of time (Promtha, 1988, p. 59).

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2452315117300140

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    1. But there is no subjective without objective. These things must arise mutually for you cannot have one without the other. There can’t be anything known without a knower, or a knower with nothing to know. This is so fundamental its amazing it is overlooked. There is no here without there—or you wouldn’t know where here or there is, no background without the figure, nor figures without the backgrounds.
      We tend to think of ourselves as loosely related to everything but not integral to it. But without one neither is the other. It’s all one.

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          1. where is the “you” that sees, exactly?

            don’t let mind (thoughts) come in.
            see that the ‘me’ is only a thought.
            mind only appears when the thought is allowed.
            it is not a permanent thing, more like a phenomena. you think… it appears. no thought, no mind.

            so… seeing all, but letting go of the seer… what is there?

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            1. Ive come to the conclusion that my (our) world is completely backwards from the way we’ve been led to believe. Gimme a few to think about this. I know its not hard, but for the exercise i have to undo 57 years of actual weirdness. Things aren’t what they seem. This damn thinking is a curse that came with no manual, mutually arising of course.

              Liked by 1 person

            2. it is completely upside down, and inside out. what is in, is actually out. in fact, there is no ‘in’ and ‘out’.

              let mind drop in the heart center, in the chest area. feel from there. feel a relationship with everything.
              it’s by love that we are one, not by knowing.

              Liked by 1 person

  2. “Now” is all there is. We cannot change the past and we have no information on what will occur in the next microsecond, so NOW is essentially all we have. Yes, our lives are in constant movement and our brains/thoughts carry us backwards and forwards, but this moment, this very instant is the only “time” that exists.

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  3. Ah, time! Simply put time is a measure of “something” that exists and happens, with or without time. The tape measure isn’t the fabric I’m measuring for a dress, it is an invented convenience. Time is a bit more insidious than a tape measure because of the brainwashing attached to its use. Time is used to control and that is a great evil.

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  4. When someone demonstrates that I am an infant, child, adult and corpse all at once, then I’ll buy into all this esoteric, intellectual exercise “proving” time does not exist. Time is relative, yes, but not non-existent.

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    1. Where is the memory of those stages of life, right now, back there, up ahead, or now? Would you be satisfied that time didn’t exist if you could live forever after some genetic tweaking?
      It may seem odd, but it is always now, and those ideas of infant, child, adult, corpse,
      Is it esoteric that some very influential physicists agree?
      Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are a part of the mystery that we are trying to solve—
      Max Planck

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      1. But now is never the same moment twice. Time is a continuous series of nows, even if I lived forever. Those stages of life are not imaginary. The memory of the past ones is irrelevant. Are you trying to argue that memory somehow matters in the concept of time? My mother doesn’t remember breakfast this morning – doesn’t mean it wasn’t real. Just because prominent physicists have an idea doesn’t make it true. As pointed out previously, they don’t have all the answers; they don’t know what gravity is, what life is. Even children do understand time exists, even if they don’t measure it or speak of it the way adults do.

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        1. Lets say, “I am going to the store to buy some bread”. Now you could say a future event is now the cause of why you’re getting in to the car. But its all one process of external stimuli we like to consider a voluntary or deliberate action. Time is trying to measure as though these are separate events. But where does one event begin or another end?
          Another way, why do mammals have sexual intercourse? Because they enjoy it, or because it makes babies? Its one process. Time is an attempt to segmentualize one process. A massively interconnected happening where there really are no separate events—simply vignettes on the same stage where all the parts are connected. To understand this is to understand the other.
          Theres no either/or, but one event. If one doesn’t begin, or another end, wheres the time?
          And btw, those stages of life are currently imaginary

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          1. Whew! I’m so glad you didn’t have to wait for my response.😉 Time is not defined by discreet events that begin and end. Continuity is the hallmark of time. Nothing ever stops. No one has achieved absolute zero. Stages of life are not imaginary unless nothing is real. If nothing is real, how is it that we perceive our own being?
            I don’t get what intercourse has to do with the concept of time, except it’s something living things do with the time they have to be alive. I fail to see how your points negate the existence of time. Maybe I’m just obtuse, but we’ll just have to disagree.

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            1. Obtuse is as natural a phenomenon as anything.
              It certainly seems real, until it doesn’t. But i do like the disagreement. You’ve put a wrench in my perfectly sound reasoning. Back the the drawing board (my imaginary one)

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      2. Technically, you are always living in the past because your conscious thoughts occur before you become aware of them and your brain analyses the sensory information you receive after it has already occurred.

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          1. True. But you’d still hear the audio and know what they were listening to. Nor would it change the fact that your perceived “nowness” is in actuality a past event due to the delays between the original transmission of the broadcast and your first conscious awareness of the information received.

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            1. Then to choose what to select to memory makes the event real (to you) Its a wonder we function at all. Maybe its more likely life is a dream than real, just on odds alone.

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            2. In a sense (pun intended) — yes! Our scope of reality is limited not only to what’s happening within our own immediate surroundings, but also by what we choose to focus our attention to at any given moment; so choosing to dwell upon the past or future, will rob you of your ability to live fully within the present.

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            3. And we define ourselves by a very narrow band width of focused attention—what we comprehend based on personality and preconceived ideas that are important based on familial and cultural assumptions. But I’m right…

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  5. One of the most important poems I ever wrote, you’ve probably seen before as I bring it up a lot, is:
    Somewhere in the preeent
    Is a vision of the future,
    Understood from the past,
    Lost in the eternity
    Of now.

    The only time we can ever be is NOW! We can look back at the past, as science fiction writers have done for many decades, and say “If this continues as it is, what then?” Many predictions can be correctly made. If you are reading this Lander, Trump was foreseen in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation and Empire. But yet, the future as a whole can never be successfully forecast, because the future never comes. If we don’t live in the now, we might as well not live at all. Chaos still rules. We can hope and pray, but those are merely illusions.

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  6. time and space are functions of mind, rather than of reality. they create the structures of an operatable world within the non-dimensionality of consciousness. it is only experienced from the ordinary point of view of the body/mind.
    for anyone to experience no time, it’s necessary to go beyond mind altogether.

    even in physics, special relativity teaches us that time is an ‘elastic’ principle, ie not the same for different observers traveling at relative velocity. today, cosmologists are revisiting the meaning of time on the scale of the universe, and again, concluded that time is not as fixed or real as they thought (Tegmark).

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  7. There is a tendency to think these kinds of references about time being an illusion have merit… because, like so many concepts we use to describe reality, we think of the term ‘time’ as a thing…. a thing that can be divided into handy-dandy segments like past, present, and future. We then presume our segments are also things and from this assumption we come to the metaphysical conclusion that they don’t exist, that because the segments are impossible to capture complete in itself, the noun we have divided – this supposedly real thing – is also and necessarily an equivalent illusion. Quote, quote, quote. See? Time is an illusion. Look how many people say the same.

    Except… it’s not an illusion. And we actually know it’s not an illusion. (That’s why you and all these quotable and clever people are no longer infants.) And so we actually know something has gone amiss in our thinking.

    How do we know this? Physics… namely, entropy. Entropy proves beyond question that time – however we wish to define it and/or segment it – is demonstrable by reality in the form of entropy. Time passes. Entropy happens. That’s the reality.

    So where are we going wrong in our thinking?

    Start at the beginning premise: is time really a ‘thing’? Well, real things are nouns with measurable physical properties. Does time fit this definition? Does time have mass and weight and energy and force? No, but it does have direction. Perhaps you’ve encountered this idea that is called the ‘arrow of time’. What is being described is a stable rate of entropy of all ‘things’. It is unidirectional. Therefore, we can conclude from this evidence that time is not a thing, not a property so much as it is a handy term for a process that continues unabated no matter how we might wish to segment it.

    If you think of time as a river (a common analogy) no one part ‘captures’ it, captures this thing we call a river. But realize that constant change doesn’t make the river an illusion or any less real – any less a process of erosion by water compelled by gravity to always be in motion, the term ‘river’ any less a handy term to describe it’s current form (excuse the pun) in a specific place travelling through various locations and having a very real affect on the geography through which it passes – claims that we commonly find often enough from metaphysicians and esoterically inclined philosophers and woo masters regarding this passage of time to produce a library of handy quotes about the thing being an illusion. Well, it’s not an illusion. Time – like a river – is very real in the sense it is handy term we use to describe a process causing effect and not a product.

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    1. So the projected entropy of google years (10 with a hundred zeros) hypothesis suggests entropy after maximum expansion of the universe, still suggests a guess using symbols that may not reflect the real world since Lord Kelvin’s suggestion.
      Max Planck wrote that the phrase “entropy of the universe” has no meaning because it admits of no accurate definition.
      “Our perception of time’s flow depends entirely on our inability to see the world in all its detail”—Carlo Rovelli.
      Entropy is an event, not a time. Time is illusory because it is not what it appears to be. It appears as it is because of language and culture assuming there are separate events in the universe, when they are all part of one happening.

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  8. Sure, basically intellectuals have too much free time on their hands. A fascinating feature of our consciousness, because it is based upon imagination (we create a simulacrum of reality in our minds and use that rather than direct observation for the vast majority of events we experience) is that we are not limited by reality.

    In addition, when we misperceive or misinterpret some of nature, we excoriate ourselves for being “wrong.” We are suffering under an illusion seems a harsh conclusion just because we got something wrong. Getting things wrong, then sorting things out seems natural to me. Since we keep pushing ourselves to understand deeper and deeper things, we are trying to understand things that have few facts to support them, so the likelihood that we will get things wrong, at first, increases. Plus, concepts we create early on often don’t hold up in every possible aspect of reality. Consider absolute frames of reference, and time as examples. We still, for example, don’t know that the fuck gravity is, or quantum mechanics, or…. We can handle the mathematics of these phenomena but they elude our comprehension. And, sometimes a few of us, specialists, claim to understand such things but ordinary people cannot follow their explanations.

    I think an appropriate response to these things is a Spokian “Fascinating.” (Note the lack of an exclamation point.) Comments such as “We are sick with a fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas” (Alan Watts) betray a deep seated disdain for the process and intellectual effort needed to wade through mountains of evidence with a willingness to try things, even though they prove to be wrong.

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  9. Always..the thought provoking post..
    To me everything is a cycle…loosely connected in a temporarily forward direction, not really time, as we feel it.

    Universes cycle repeatedly into being from the mechanisms that lie within something that is always there permanent…timeless.

    Galaxies form along with stars and planets and life. But it all cycles in a forward direction from emergence to a certain point, then (still in a forward direction) to demise and eventually re-emergence, but scattered apart never the same. Same as life. We are born, reach a point, then slide towards disassembly only to re-emerge in some other scattered form; in trees, flowers, the ocean etc. depending on where our bodies or ashes go. And some believe consciousness is “out there” somehow somewhere.

    So it’s all progressing from beginning to end, which does involve time on that level, but the bigger picture of the constant recycling is timeless and while, to me, it is not all at once, it is timeless without beginning or end.

    I believe our experience of time is valid, we just tend to focus to much either on the future, as younger people do, or the past as some older people do. Now is the most important and the only thing that is really “real” , but we miss it..

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    1. Like Carlo Rovelli said, “Our perception of time’s flow depends entirely on our inability to see the world in all its detail”—Alan Watts had also stated, there are no separate events (coming from a hindu/zen buddhism background) the whole thing is one big show comprised of vignettes, that all tie together in some interesting fashion.

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  10. You must know the lies we’ve been raised on from the beginning. Indian kids are practically raised on lies on future and present is spent only on working hard and studying.
    Tell me this, if you can’t spend the money you earn on yourself, what the fuck is the point of earning? We chase life in search of livelihood and then live like our lives depend on it. It’s insane.
    Hard work is admirable but not at the cost of losing the present.

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