Thursday, May 20, 2010

Time sense

In our modern Einsteinian concept of four-dimensional spacetime, time gets added to 3-D (spatial, length, depth, breadth). We can understand now that when we move in space we also move in time and this creates a perspective that is relative to someone else's motion in space and time. Relativity became a feature of twentieth-century consciousness and beyond; it is part of the postmodern meme.

But we have only assimilated so much of the implications of Einstein's discoveries. Even though travel in time is permitted in Einstein's theory, our view of time is still relentlessly linear. We are governed by the timeline. We are so dominated by our memory and traumas of the past and fears, hopes and dreams of the future that the present moment gets really squeezed. The momentousness of the moment gets lost as the spaciousness of the present gets pressed flat.

Time's arrow, which is the law that time seems to move only one way, as if there is some gravitational influence in the field of time that draws us inexorably into the future, is reflected in the Second Law of Thermodynamics which says that entropy will tend to increase in any closed system. Entropy is a quantity of disorder. So just as the body will die and its molecules will be scattered in a disordered state, not preserved in the orderliness of a living system, the universe is, so far as we know, scheduled in the distant future for a heat death where it basically burns itself out.

There are implications if we adopt the entropy model for our consciousness. It tends to ruin things for the rational mind. Everything becomes no good. But in his imaginative life, man seems blissfully ignorant that he will die. He embraces concepts of immortality, whether religious, philosophical, or technological. He imagines he will live forever somehow, even in the face of certain proof that he won't. The spirit lives and finds cause for affirmation. Not always, but often--even in the mind of the hard-bitten realist, who is generally ruled by the inevitability of time's arrow.

So we want to transcend, in the deepest fabric of our being. Physics, even in its present state, implies much more than we can take in as common sense. To assimilate the more open ended view of spacetime implied in the Einsteinian world view, we need to break the shackles of the relentlessly linear time sense. According to Janet Sussman, we have a "time body," capable of moving freely in the time dimension. Which means that to the time body, the limits of Time's Arrow and of all the psychological baggage we carry with regards to time, do not really exist. Time's linearity is an illusion, or rather it is the edge of a reality which we cannot grasp.

This does not mean, however, that we should not reach towards developing a nonlinear or translinear consciousness of time. The practice of time yoga is one where the energy body begins to stretch its supposed boundaries, folding the very fabric of higher dimensional spacetime into its subtle structure. This process, described in The Reality of Time, endows the individual with a true time sense, which like sight, taste, touch and the others, is one of the new senses we must develop as fledgling cosmic human beings.