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If time has no beginning, how can there be a present?!

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If time has no beginning, how can there be a present?!

Postby Scepcop » 09 Aug 2009, 05:19

Hi all,
I saw this interesting philosophical question on another forum. Anyone have an explanation or answer for it?

If we assume time to be a real phenomenon, then it goes forward towards infinity.

But it must also go backward towards infinity as well, for the past is a record of time having run its course.

Therefore, it is logical to say that we were dead FOREVER, isn't it? Because, no matter how many years you go back, there is never a starting point.

But if there were no starting point, and if we were dead forever, how can there be a time when we did exist??????

If time had existed forever, without a starting point...

HOW COULD THERE BE SUCH A THING AS A "PRESENT"???


Put it this way: the existence of a "present" -- an actual point with a specific location -- would make more sense if time were uni-directional, with a definite point of origin, and with only one end extending towards infinity. When a line has at least one closed end, it is possible to use specific coordinates to place and locate a point in time. In the diagram below, the middle circle represents the present (i.e., the year 2009) having a specific location in time:


O----------------------------------------- O ------------------------------------>
BEGINNING OF TIME





OTOH, when time has no point of origin, (represented below as a line with arrows on both ends) the concept of a "present" becomes an impossibility:


<----------------------------------------------------------------------------------->

Where would the present be on a line in which both ends extend toward infinity? Specific coordinates are totally meaningless. The concept of a "present" -- as a point with a specific location on a line -- becomes an impossibility.
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Re: If time has no beginning, how can there be a present?!

Postby Hellboy » 09 Aug 2009, 06:37

Ummmm difficult concept is time, mathematically it works in terms of quantitative representations and projecting time frames either backwards or forwards with respect to three dimensional space-time coordinates.

Hence Einstein’s concept of four dimensional space-time which mathematically and intuitively works to a remarkable degree. Of course the equations are symmetrical in terms of the direction time can take, in other words the equations work both forwards and backwards in time, without apparent ambiguity.

For me personally time is intimately related to distance or distance travelled. Imagine an atom or any fundamental particle that vibrates with a specific frequency in a specified amount of time. What are you actually measuring? You are measuring a change of state over a period of time (or an arbitrarily selected measure of time/distance). Therefore without change there is no measure of time as the atoms state is still the same as the measured initial state. Therefore the concept of time is a measure of change over a span of time that a human being perceives the flow of time. I am saying that without change there can be no relative comparisons between physical systems that yield a useful definition of space-time.
Without change of a system or the action between systems such systems could be viewed in effect as a system in stasis. The aforementioned system to an outside observer could be seen to experience in effect ...... no time!


The statement that time is infinite has no useful definition in terms of physical reality. According to modern cosmology time and space was created by the big-bang, from the evidence already uncovered this seems to be in accordance with theory and observation.
In terms of human experience of time I personally think that trying to combine human experience with measured time span is for the moment futile. The two are fundamentally incompatible for the time being (no pun intended...) you are measuring apples against oranges! Without a deeper and more complete understanding of both principles, one can only speculate!



Think on this more I will,
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Re: If time has no beginning, how can there be a present?!

Postby Scepcop » 09 Aug 2009, 12:32

Why is time for you related to motion? You can stand still and the clock will still tick, and the sun will still move from day to night, etc. So time moves regardless, doesn't it?
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Re: If time has no beginning, how can there be a present?!

Postby Hellboy » 10 Aug 2009, 23:55

Hi there,


Scepcop wrote:
Why is time for you related to motion? You can stand still and the clock will still tick, and the sun will still move from day to night, etc. So time moves regardless, doesn't it?


The clock is ticking, it is a mechanical device that relies on motion.The passage of time is marked by the physical movement of the mechanical device. Put another way, the distance between two points on the cog wheel may represent a second of time. Without motion of the mechanical device the clock will not work, therefore it cannot represent time in any useful way.

The second part of your quote really helps to answer your own question. However stictly speaking the Sun does not move from light to dark, it is the spinning motion of Earth that creates night and day. Again motion is intimately involved with the percieved passage of time. I hope this post answers your question(s). :)

Thanks,

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Re: If time has no beginning, how can there be a present?!

Postby Scepcop » 15 Aug 2009, 21:56

But even with no clocks, time still passes. Things age and decay, or go through changes. So even without movement, time still passes, doesn't it?
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Re: If time has no beginning, how can there be a present?!

Postby Scepcop » 15 Aug 2009, 22:16

Speaking of time, I had a weird experience when I was 5 or 6 that reflected my deep pondering of life early on.

One afternoon my parents took me to this circus, and while we watched the acrobats performing high up in the air (with no nets below! I'll never understood why they gambled with their life like that and no one cared, that should be against the law), I spaced out and starting thinking about the nature of time. Suddenly, I noticed something while watching all the movements during the show. With every movement and action, the previous state of things disappeared into oblivion. Even the moment I realized the present, it had already passed and became the past, never to return again. It was totally out of our control. Every moment was constantly passing into oblivion. With that, I felt a sad sense of helplessness.

It was an odd thought, but I noticed this is how time was. It was depressing to dwell on it too. I don't know why I thought these things when I was 5 or 6. Anyone else here think deep things like that when you were 5 or 6?
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Re: If time has no beginning, how can there be a present?!

Postby NinjaPuppy » 16 Aug 2009, 02:37

Scepcop wrote:It was an odd thought, but I noticed this is how time was. It was depressing to dwell on it too. I don't know why I thought these things when I was 5 or 6. Anyone else here think deep things like that when you were 5 or 6?


Probably no where as deep as your example but I have wondered since very early childhood if people's perspectives of life have anything to do with their perception of color.

OK, now here's where it's going to get very difficult for me to explain myself.

As a child, I was always curious as to why people had favorite colors. I kind of like them all. To me each one had it's own individual 'pretty'. (Humor me folks, we're going back to the age of 5 or 6 here) I really couldn't even fathom proclaiming that one color was better or more pretty than any other. It made me wonder if perhaps their preferences had something to do with individual perception of each individual color. For instance my 'pink' is someone elses 'green'. A leaf is green but what if their brain or eyes see it as my pink? They would still be taught that the pink that they see is called green but could this be something that would affect the way the decided their choices?

No I am not colorblind nor do I think I see in some strange range of any spectrum. It was merely something I had wondered at a very young age.
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Re: If time has no beginning, how can there be a present?!

Postby Scepcop » 16 Aug 2009, 20:34

I think since our eyes are anatomically the same, it's safe to say that we see the same colors. Surely you don't think that the bright orange that traffic controllers wear might be black to someone else's eyes do you? If it were, you couldn't see them clearly. lol

And white shows dirt and food a lot more clearly than other colors, so we must be seeing the same colors.

That being said, our favorite colors have to do with our personality and temperament. People who are sensitive and calm and imaginative like blue. Red is liked by passionate, aggressive people who love power. Green is favorited by stable, down to earth, nature types, etc. Orange and yellow appeal to optimistic spiritually oriented people. Black appeals to rebellious types. This has been well documented.
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Re: If time has no beginning, how can there be a present?!

Postby NinjaPuppy » 17 Aug 2009, 02:33

Scepcop wrote:I think since our eyes are anatomically the same, it's safe to say that we see the same colors. Surely you don't think that the bright orange that traffic controllers wear might be black to someone else's eyes do you? If it were, you couldn't see them clearly. lol

And white shows dirt and food a lot more clearly than other colors, so we must be seeing the same colors.

That being said, our favorite colors have to do with our personality and temperament. People who are sensitive and calm and imaginative like blue. Red is liked by passionate, aggressive people who love power. Green is favorited by stable, down to earth, nature types, etc. Orange and yellow appeal to optimistic spiritually oriented people. Black appeals to rebellious types. This has been well documented.


Yes, all good points. As I said, it was something that I questioned at a very young age.

However, do you think it might be possible that much of those personality traits corresponding to color are possibly taught or aquired with upbringing?

I think some of my original question was bought about by my mother's personal problem with the color purple and all shades of it. She hated it. It reminded her of death. I feel that black is more associated with death than purple. People wore black clothing to a funeral, etc. She had an early memory of some purple shroud (probably associated with Catholic Easter) that made a very big impression on her as a child and detested the color in the house or in clothing.

Also yellow wasn't exactly a color that made her feel comfortable. Yellow is the 'complimentary' or opposite color of purple. Of couse this isn't much of an example but of course at the age of 5 or 6 my world wasn't exactly very large. :lol:
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Re: If time has no beginning, how can there be a present?!

Postby Scepcop » 17 Aug 2009, 04:21

It's possible that we are conditioned to feel certain emotions with certain colors. But each color has its own vibration, and as you know, certain vibrations resonate with some vibrations more than others, just like certain people feel more comfortable around those they resonate than others, which is why some people you meet you feel like you've known them for years.
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Re: If time has no beginning, how can there be a present?!

Postby NinjaPuppy » 17 Aug 2009, 04:47

Scepcop wrote:It's possible that we are conditioned to feel certain emotions with certain colors. But each color has its own vibration, and as you know, certain vibrations resonate with some vibrations more than others, just like certain people feel more comfortable around those they resonate than others, which is why some people you meet you feel like you've known them for years.

I've never heard of colors having vibrations. I think I can relate but if you know of a link I would love to read more.

As far as people are concerned, I can probably relate more to them giving off 'vibes' or certain energy that can be very easily felt. I don't know if I would say that these 'vibes' would make me feel like I have known them for years. More like feeling comfortable with them during a first meeting, in my opinion. I may be one of those people who don't really bond too easily. I am far from shy but I rarely get close to many people in my personal life.
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Re: If time has no beginning, how can there be a present?!

Postby Chica » 26 Aug 2009, 05:39

Hi. I don't have any words of wisdom on this topic but my mother used to say that purple/lilac was the 2nd colour
of mourning. Isn't it also associated with royalty? What about pink? It is a paler shade of red, isn't it? It should ,
therefore, have the same qualities associated with it as red does---only in a milder form. Right? What, then,
about bottle green and mint green? Would they follow suit? If so, what about turquoise orange etc? Would they
represent mixtures of two types of temperament? At this point, I suspect the whole concept becomes ludicrous?
I can see how red is associated with anger as a fit of rage often dilates the blood vessels in the face but why is green
linked to jealousy or blue to sadness?
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Re: If time has no beginning, how can there be a present?!

Postby Scepcop » 27 Aug 2009, 12:25

Ninjapuppy,
I don't have links right now, but aura healers and seers would consider each color to have certain vibrations, and in metaphysics, everything has its own vibration, not just colors.

Chica, most people who like pink like red too. But this is all a theory. It may be learned or inborn. Who knows. Some things are just natural. We naturally like beautiful mountains and flowers, for example, even without being conditioned to.
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Re: If time has no beginning, how can there be a present?!

Postby TaggertComet » 29 Aug 2009, 20:05

scepcop,

I think the original poster of the quote you posted about there being no present is somewhat confused about the question he/she is asking. He/she states that there must be a beginning for there to be a reference point for the present. Points a and b on the line below can not both be the present, location a would not recognize location b as the present, just as location b would not recognize location a as the present.

X--------------a-------------b----------------->

Furthermore, they suggest that time extends infinitely in either direction in a purely linear manner. Perhaps he/she forgets the symbol we use to describe infinity
It can better be visualized as a mobius strip, a line expressing infinite length, where "beginning" and "end" are the same point or state. I would suggest the opposite of his/her claim. How can there be a past and a future if there is the present? The past is just the memory in our minds of a state we once were. Since we cannot revisit the past except in our minds, does the past even exist? Time as we perceive it is just a direction, forward. No one, so far as we know, has experienced anti-time. If the past does exist and we were able to visit it, then there would have to be a separate universe/timeline created for every moment in time. It would be similar to a computer hard drive backup. Any changes you would make to that backup would be different than all the other backups, so in essence we wouldnt be revisiting our past, but moving to another state of existence. The future on the other hand is always a moment away. We never "plan for the future," we're really just planning for the present. At this point, all we have is the present.

Scepcop wrote:One afternoon my parents took me to this circus, and while we watched the acrobats performing high up in the air (with no nets below! I'll never understood why they gambled with their life like that and no one cared, that should be against the law), I spaced out and starting thinking about the nature of time. Suddenly, I noticed something while watching all the movements during the show. With every movement and action, the previous state of things disappeared into oblivion. Even the moment I realized the present, it had already passed and became the past, never to return again. It was totally out of our control. Every moment was constantly passing into oblivion. With that, I felt a sad sense of helplessness.

It was an odd thought, but I noticed this is how time was. It was depressing to dwell on it too. I don't know why I thought these things when I was 5 or 6. Anyone else here think deep things like that when you were 5 or 6?


You're lucky to have had the faculties to ponder such ideas at age 5. I myself would've been glued to Sesame Street. Two things I disagree with you about: why should it be illegal for people to take chances with their lives? Wouldn't you be suggesting that people dont have the capacity to think for themselves and make their own decisions? Sounds an awful lot like 1984. Also, would you make it illegal for anyone to join the armed services or drive cars? Both have risk of death. In my experience, safety apparatus gives people false confidence and leads them to taking more risk than necessary. That being said, I would certainly want a net if I were doing the trapeze! Secondly, I find it strange that you think the idea of the present slipping away into the past as sad and helpless. If time did not pass, we would be stuck in a single state. No one could change their circumstance or themselves. I find that more hopeless than the chance to reinvent myself with every new second.
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Re: If time has no beginning, how can there be a present?!

Postby highflyertoo » 14 Jan 2010, 15:59

Scepcop wrote:Speaking of time, I had a weird experience when I was 5 or 6 that reflected my deep pondering of life early on.

One afternoon my parents took me to this circus, and while we watched the acrobats performing high up in the air (with no nets below! I'll never understood why they gambled with their life like that and no one cared, that should be against the law), I spaced out and starting thinking about the nature of time. Suddenly, I noticed something while watching all the movements during the show. With every movement and action, the previous state of things disappeared into oblivion. Even the moment I realized the present, it had already passed and became the past, never to return again. It was totally out of our control. Every moment was constantly passing into oblivion. With that, I felt a sad sense of helplessness.

It was an odd thought, but I noticed this is how time was. It was depressing to dwell on it too. I don't know why I thought these things when I was 5 or 6. Anyone else here think deep things like that when you were 5 or 6?


I wrote out a long response and my page broke down... I'll try condense form

I thought the other day while riding back on the bike from the shops about maybe there is no PRESENT TIME but only ''Past Time Thoughts and Future Time Thoughts'' because I can not measure the Present Time Thought.

I can think about the Past and Future, yet I can't think about the Present Time because I can't put it in a jar to examine it.

I mean really who can scientifically prove that there is an actually Present, maybe awarness is only allowed to be in the Past and Future while being excluded from a percieved present awareness. When someone speaks,even before completing their word, the past has taken place.

So is the Past and Future ACTUALLY occupying the present time?, instead of the present occupying the Present Time called NOW ?
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