AS AN INFINITE FRACTAL
Part I (July, 2003)
By Noel Huntley, Ph.D.
The difficulty with the study of time is that it is probably the only universal concept, of which we are very aware, that continuously enters into all facets of life and activity---and, in particular, a concept we can't step outside of, to view it. We are almost compelled to view time as absolute time, which is an illusion. We assume that time has one context when in fact it has infinite contexts. In accord with this one-context notion, Newtonian physics implies that time is a real phenomenon in itself; that it flows at a constant rate and is absolute. With the advent of modern physics, in particular relativity, it is now recognised that time is not absolute. This is roughly the status quo of established physics today. In certain philosophical circles, however, time is recognised as merely an effect and not a cause, and as we take this further we encounter descriptions of the nature of time being a property of consciousness, even that it is the rate of passage of consciousness, that energy is time, or that time is merely a consideration.
Time will not be understood through objectivity (which is not taking into account perception), or through mathematics. It must be understood qualitatively. What happens to (internal) time when one is engrossed in something and then in the next moment one makes an external observation. It changes the sense of time---now the regular clock time becomes apparent.
Let us try to penetrate the mechanics of this elusive attribute of reality we call time. Imagine a sentient entity coming into a universe, or space, with only one particle present. Before we go further we might object and state that space is made up of minute particles. Then let us have the particle and nothing else in this imaginary illustration. This particle does not move or change in any apparent way. Thus on this basis there cannot be any time; there are no motions to reference. But one might say, What about duration? However, if there is duration then we would have to have atoms which are oscillating and have frequencies, thus giving us a time of duration. We must eliminate this also. Having done so, if nothing changes then we cannot apply the concept of time---we mustn't fall into the habit of imagining it there in the background.
We now go to step two in this argument and point out that there is a perceiving entity---doesn't this count? If the entity moves the focus of its consciousness over the particle then time can be assigned since one thing occurs after another. But this time is within the control of the entity. Thus we can call it psychological time. This is also valid time. It can be considered that if the attention moves slowly, time goes slowly; if the attention moves quickly, time goes quickly, and so on. For no time to exist the observer must perceive the object as one whole---as one quantum state. Thus the idea of wholeness affects time. In wholeness there are no parts to create limited viewing and movement of consciousness or attention.
We have argued how there is no objective time if there is no change, and that if there are no separate parts in the observation there is therefore no psychological time. But let us conjure up some objective time. Consider that the particle is moving in an orbit. One can assign time since the particle is moving in its orbit but then it returns to the starting point and, say, stops. One can give it a time interval for traversing the orbit but now it is indistinguishably where it was before, and we are back to no time---see Figure 1.
This state is no different from the previous one before the particle orbited; something else in the universe would have to be moving in order to give it time after it went round the circle and came to a standstill. If, however, we allow it to finish up at a displaced point after one orbit, thus traversing a spiral as it continues to orbit further, one loop after another, then we have introduced another dimension of time---see Figure 2. This dimension of time can measure the duration of the particle even if it is stationary, such as remaining at that same starting/ending point. But there is no reason to introduce this second dimension unless time is passing due to another context---another motion in the universe. Nevertheless, this is merely a method of converting time into space so we can grasp if better.
It is just a geometric contrivance of course and not a reality. We can continue looping, then bending the spiral itself into a loop---continue to spiral that loop and bend it into a further loop, etc. and on and on---see Figure 3. But by this method there are only three axes. As we continue beyond the third step of looping, the directions repeat, thus giving limited application---the directions or arrows of time will start to coincide in places.
We are indicating that we can only have limited models. Usually many different ones are helpful as the mind can then put them together into a more complete concept.
Thus we see that time is assigned to the particle when it is, or parts of it are, reoccurring in a separate space. But if we bring in the entity's perception, this reoccurrence may be considered slow or fast depending on the rate of the entity's consciousness. Moreover, and strictly, the entity's rate can only be relative to its own range of rates or anything else's rates. Or is this psychological state fixed---constant? Or, for example, could the perceiver and perceived be out of synchronisation? Let us move on to the next step.
In step one, the objective view, and step two, the perceiving entity, we have pointed out that even if there is no objective clock time there can still be psychological time. But what about the interrelationship between consciousness and the object? We shall give more practical examples as we move into more realistic situations. The next step is to try to show how objective time relates to psychological time. In the above example, what happens if there is objective time and psychological time? This is where the complications arise since perception is an interface between environment and mind; what is viewed is not independent of the viewer. The psychological time relates to the observer's subjective state, which has an underlying interrelationship with objectivity.
This is why some philosophers and leading physicists used the phrase the 'I/not-I' (the implication being that one's environment is part of a larger self, or is basically subjective, but is blocked off or unconscious, and thus made objective). For example, our consciousness perceives a spectrum of energies of the environment according to our own spectrum; the two frameworks are resonant. Change the consciousness and the appearance of the environment will change (all energy and knowledge are contextual).
Nevertheless this loop and spiral method, above, shows how one time line (dimension) can carry another. That is, the time with the first loop A is within the second loop time B (which spans the A loops), and the third time spans those of A and B---just as in the analogy of, say, an executive overseeing (spanning), the manager level and the groundfloor worker level.
This method of analysing time gives us a model for times within times, for example, A within B, etc. Since the starting point of analysing time is beyond time (and space), some point we choose or even the loop and further loops of Figures 1, 2, and 3, is going to be a whole state---even if tiny. The loops from start to finish---one full orbit---could be whole/quantum states and be loops within loops. Thus just as we place divisions of time around loop A we have large divisions (greater quantum states) in B in the form of A loops repeating. This is a hierarchical relationship---not a linear one. The second point to make here is that although we have given loop A physical meaning in the form of an orbiting particle, these loops and larger ones actually represent the circular property of time. All actions are cyclic and therefore can be modelled by means of the circle or loop. It can be just objects, events, starting and stopping---the loop system is just an artificial model.
Thus we are arriving at the notion that there are different times, all superimposed, that is, we have 1) a more qualitative time, that is, different scales of quantum wholeness nonlinearly superimposed, in addition to 2) quantitative individual times on the same linear level, for example, all atoms, particles, etc. have their own reference but can be brought under the same clock time. See Figure 4 for an approximate idea of this relationship---the lines represent the degree of wholeness or quantum state. There is time between the lines but no time within the lines.
Category (2) above is our objective clock time (the first level in the hierarchy), and (1) gives us the strata of different times that we may perceive more as psychological time, but it doesn't resonate directly with our 'selected' current physical environment. For example, in executing a learned skill with continuous movements the learning pattern has inherent within it this same time hierarchy and at the top or president level it will give the sensation (in the margin of consciousness) of future physical (limb) positions superimposed on the present one---it spans a certain interval as one whole. This timeless higher unity is of course incompatible with the physical level of doing one thing at a time and must transduce (quantum reduce) to an appropriate discrete level for consecutive movements to occur. That is, 'simultaneity' can't control 'separateness' directly, only through the fractal gradient.
Thus we have what we can call a fractal gradient hierarchy of nows all superimposed. But we focus on the time with smallest steps giving the bottom-level objective clock time. Higher times will quantum reduce to lower ones when viewed with 3D perception processes. We are focussed (and selecting) in a linear reality.
Let us now give an analogy for the above requirements. Let us take a pile of typing sheets in a block, neatly stacked, looking like a solid cube. We now imagine each sheet has, say, one large word in the centre. The words, say, starting from the top going through to the bottom form a short story, that is, the words together have a meaning as a whole. The observer with a 3D conscious mind (humans) can only read one word at a time and in this dimensional analogy the observer would perceive the sheets as laid out flat, linearly on a surface side by side, that is, two dimensional as opposed to the 3D block. Compare in quantum mechanics the detection process in which the wave (spread out) is quantum reduced on observation to a specifically located particle (Copenhagen interpretation). This is a property of consciousness, not the objective universe (external world). It depends on what and how much our essentially 3D consciousness is educated/programmed or evolved to see. Imagine perceiving the typing sheets so that one can grasp and see two pages at a time. This would be slightly higher dimensional, maybe 3.1 dimensions. There is a slight 'thickness' in time (two pages, one on top of the other), which is perceived as a thickness in space. There will be a new time scale associated with these, which is just as valid. Next we extend this to three pages and so on to the whole pile. For the whole block the story is experienced in no time, as one whole. This would be a higher-dimensional state of consciousness which also could experience a whole symphony at once---no time. We can deduce this from an understanding of true unity and extrapolating from the lower levels.
These analogies may not suit everyone. If that is the case, the reader is urged to continue reading, and understanding may be obtained a different way.
Now if only two pages are grasped as one whole then this doesn't mean one sees the two words separate on each page. It means they form a new single word. The two pages become one. The concepts are thus increasing multidimensionally from one page, one word, to all the pages, the full story. The pages represent the environment and thus we see that it is perceived according to the consciousness. This will relate directly to the spectrum of frequencies of consciousness. Sense of time will be different for these different perceptions. However, the particular vibrations of the human ego-consciousness quantum reduce (from phase-correlation) the inner states of unity (perception of 2 pages, 3 pages up to the whole) to the material level (phase-randomisation) of the 'single page' of our objective observation. Vice versa objectivity gradually reduces (going up the scale) with increasing subjectivity. This means in the objective world consciousness becomes more aware of its participation, with the inevitable increasing control over one's environment.
Time directly relates to the unity of space or spatial configurations. Quantum particles must be thought of as having the 'same' extension in time as they do in space. This is what quantum action is. Even though we think of these quantum states as having size, there is really no distance across them---such as a diameter (a signal will pass through them instantaneously). Similarly there is no time across them but they are pictured as extending along time. Compare the above descriptions of music appreciation. When we say there is no distance across a quantum state we do not mean at the physical level but the holistic underlying energy. In fact, in effect, one reduces distance or time by increasing correlation of energies within space for the same external space (used in advanced spacecrafts). For example, some 30 to 40 years ago scientist Terry Clark was probably the first to produce a quantum of energy (undivided whole) half-a-centimeter in diameter at cryogenic temperatures using a circular conductor with a junction to create a resonant electron standing wave. More recently quantum states as much as a metre in diameter have been investigated. This enables signals to pass instantaneously within these circuits, which in particular has application to higher-speed computers.
In general though, the human observer interacting with the natural environment determines the spectrum of selection from the multidimensional universe. Higher quantum states are reduced to objective reality to create the 'I/not-I' separation of observer and environment. And of course this applies to time. In the typing sheets example, each grouping (two pages, three pages, etc.) will give different objective time but it will be more easily manipulated by psychological time as the unity/thickness increases. This actually means that an individual could create more psychological time by going into higher frequencies of consciousness (higher rates of information) for a given interval of objective time, that is, further up the scale of time or nows there is more scope for creating time.
A person may view a good painting and experience the integration or unity/wholeness. This is an out-of-3D focus condition. However, and as soon as some feature, some point, some part, draws in the attention, the focus changes and the 3D, surface-of-the-canvass detection process, is activated. The unity disappears momentarily. There will also be no time during that flash of wholeness, for the individual. Similarly for music appreciation. There must be at least a little of past, present and future unified into one whole quantum state of perception to recognise music. There is no music in the sound now (the objective now). This means one's overall sense of time, the sum of psychological and objective is altered. But we still have a long way to go for a more adequate presentation of time as an infinite fractal.
In summary, we find that one's sense of time is a mixture of perception of the outer objective clock time and inner, psychological time (but each influencing the other in their interactions). How does this manifest in everyday lives? We might note that we consider time to go slowly when we are bored and quickly when interested. Astonishingly psychologists some 30 - 40 years ago evaluated these suppositions and found the reverse was in fact true. The experimental psychologists interacted with employees in factories. They made changes in clock times, or removed clock times from the environment, and then would interview employees after a set time, in particular, ones that were either bored with their work or ones who were interested and sometimes quite engrossed in what they were doing.
The final outcome was that time appeared to go quickly for the bored employees and slowly for the interested employees. The result itself, however, was never evaluated properly. During the interview the employees' answers could work in either of two ways 1) if their attention was directed towards clock time the normal understanding was that boredom caused time to pass slowly and interest caused it to pass quickly. However, if they were questioned with a view to the amount of work accomplished during the set time, that is, referencing the psychological time, then boredom appeared to pass quickly and interest slowly. In periods of interest, causing engrossed attention, there are periods of no awareness of clock time, the interest enabled greater amounts of work to be accomplished with a sense of greater quantity of time. During the interview, when they directed their attention over events in retrospect and aligned their psychological time with clock time, the latter would appear greater. In the case of bored workers---constantly referencing the context of clock time---the sense of time was slow while observing time pass, but when interviewed, they looked at the amount done, which was little and the quantity of time appeared less. This is an example of the quantum states of the mind (of no time), quantum reducing when played off next to objective time. The larger quantum wholeness of experience is quantized into smaller blocks/points of time in the observing process.
To ease the burden of assimilating all this, we will continue the study of time in Part II.
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