Saturday, June 11, 2011

Failed Blog Post

I've been struggling all week with an idea for a blog post.  The idea's a good one and relevant to understanding current . . . struggles.  Really, I swear, it could be a good post.

However, there are bounds within which I must stay.  When I sat down a couple of days ago to start outlining my thoughts, I had a small thought in the back of my head.  "Should I post this?  Could I get in trouble for writing this?"

Those are important thoughts to have when you want to take part in the public world.  As my wife tells me (in fairly similar words to what my mom said), "Be careful what you say."

Freedom of Speech has its limits.  And being careless about what you say can do more than be embarrassing.

In light of my desire to post something, I'm posting this link to L.E. Modisett's website.  His blog has nothing whatsoever to do with my thoughts, but I like his post and the intelligent debate in the comments to his post.  And I'm a fan of his books.

Additionally, I added a story section to this blog.  I haven't added anything yet, but give me some time to organize my thoughts, stories and whatever else might fit into that area.

Wife and I in San Francisco in June 2010.  Just felt like putting up a photo.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Time as Human Construct

Is time a Human construct?  This physicist explains that Time does not exist.  A little too abstract for me, I think.

Normal people--those of us who don't think at the same level as Albert Einstein--work through our lives believing the Time flows like a river.  It goes generally in one direction, down hill and out to sea.

From Iwakuni Castle looking out to sea.  August 2010.

The physicist makes the argument that each moment is independent of the next.  In some abstract sense, I can understand that, but how is that possible in reality?  I think there are two ways to think about this.  First, with human example, and, second, with natural example in the absence of humans.

1) Human example...School.  Getting anywhere in school requires that you build knowledge upon other knowledge.  I'm smart, not super-smart, but smart enough to get most concepts without too much trouble--except maybe tax law and "On Being," German philosophy is a little out there for me.  It takes time to learn something...reading this statement takes time.  At least time as we've perceived it.  Look at the clock on the computer screen.  Time as moved.  I guess the real question is have we constructed time, or are we merely tracking Time?

I'd say we're tracking Time.  We can live in the moment and try to establish that every moment is distinct and independent of the one before it, but walking involves putting one foot in front of the other and repeating that motion over and over.  And that takes Time.  One foot must remain in place (usually) while the other moves forward in order for the movement of walking to continue.  The act of doing something is itself a moment...Think pictures.  A picture is a snapshot of time.

Taken at a park 40km south of Iwakuni in March 2011

That drop is in the act of falling.  Forever that picture will only show that moment (until I delete it or something). The drop will never progress further towards the water below, nor will it regress up to the source.  It is solid and independent.  However, where this logic fails is that the picture is a picture--only a single moment.  The drop continued to fall and made it to the puddle below.  I took thirty shots or more just to get that one above.  I used a camera to freeze time--and a really cool lens.

2) To prove that time is not a human construct just look to nature.  Take a look at the Grand Canyon.  That geological wonder took TIME to construct...form...erode (whatever the correct term is) into its current state.  The Colorado River has spent the last 17 million years (give or take a million) making its way through that portion of the earth.  Geologists and other natural scientists have studied the Grand Canyon for over a century.  One of the things they can say is that the Grand Canyon offers a record of 3 of the 4 geological eras.  What that means is that the Grand Canyon has kept track of what has happened.  Layer upon layer of rock, sand, ash and dirt, a geological timeline exists showing what happened in the past.

Essentially, Time tracks change.  17 million years to create the Grand Canyon.  A blink of any eye for a drop of water to fall 15 inches.  However long to read this blog.

The reason I say that Time tracks change is that Change is the easiest way to show the movement of Time.  The difference between one moment and the next is Change.  The human body is constantly changing--albeit in small and mostly insignificant ways.  Our hair is constantly growing--hence why men who shave have 5 o'clock shadows at the end of the day.  Our nails grow, sometimes faster when we're stressed.  Nature is constantly changing--rivers move, ice melts, plants grow and die.  The tic of the second hand moving around the clock is just a change that tracks Change.

Each change is dependent on the change the occurred before it.  Each step we take forward takes us farther in that direction.  Undoing a change is itself impossible.  It is why we can't rewrite history.  The present is dependent on the past.  Believing that each moment is independent of the moment before it ignores how we got to the present.

I may have missed the point the physicist was after, but Time exists and humans merely track it and use it and depend upon it.  The only human construct in Time is the methods we use to measure time. 

Taken in the processing building at the Uptapo Airport in Thailand at 0256 on 21 February 2011.  I had spent the last 4 hours on the worse bus ride I've experienced; driven by a man that kept his foot to the ground the entire way.  I slept for 45 minutes before boarding the flight back to Iwakuni at 0800.