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The Arrow of Subjective Time. Perception All perception is of change. If there is no change, there is no perception. Therefore, a single unchanging thought,

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Presentation on theme: "The Arrow of Subjective Time. Perception All perception is of change. If there is no change, there is no perception. Therefore, a single unchanging thought,"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Arrow of Subjective Time

2 Perception All perception is of change. If there is no change, there is no perception. Therefore, a single unchanging thought, memory, or perception could never be perceived. Examples: All perceived sights, sounds, and sensations are pulsing, shifting, or cyclic in nature. Also, our attention is constantly shifting, resulting in changing perceptions.

3 Subjective and objective perception Definition: Subjective perception is change in thoughts or body sensations normally thought to be internal to the mind. Definition: Objective perception is change in sensory impressions of objects normally thought to be external to the mind, such as in the outside world.

4 Memory A memory is a thought or body sensation that refers to an event that appears to have occurred in the past. A single memory alone cannot be perceived because it contains no change. In order to perceive change, at least two memories are required. These two memories must also contain the thought that the event had happened in the past.

5 Objective and subjective memory Subjective memory is a thought or body sensation that refers to an apparently past internal event. Objective memory is a thought or body sensation that refers to an apparently past external event. As defined here, no storage device is required for either subjective or objective memory.

6 The arrow of objective time The arrow of objective time is the directionality of change in objective memory as measured by objective devices and processes such as: 1. Clocks, calendars, electronic instruments, positions of planets, suns, and galaxies; 2. The directions of chemical and thermodynamic reactions; 3. The direction in which the entropy of the universe increases.

7 Subjective memory Even though experiments can show statistical correlations between some kinds of brain states and some kinds of mental states, objective experiments on the brain cannot show that brain states are the source of thoughts. Neither can subjective observation of thoughts show that thoughts are the source of brain states. Thus, we must be open to the possibility that at least some memory thoughts are purely subjective, i.e., not related to any brain state.

8 The ordering of memories Both objective and subjective memories may appear in an ordering. Some memories in an ordering are thought to refer to events occurring at earlier times. Other memories in an ordering are thought to refer to events occurring at later times. The times in an ordering are purely conceptual.

9 The concept of time The time ordering of memories, whether objective or subjective, determines the sense of direction in time. Random thoughts and sensations either have no time ordering or have random time ordering, and thus have no directionality.

10 Subjective memory and subjective time Subjective time is independent of objective time. The arrow of subjective time is the directionality of change in subjective memory. If there is no directionality of change in subjective memory, there is no sense of subjective time. Random background thoughts and body sensations do not produce directionality (think of background hums or hisses) so they do not signify the passage of time.

11 Perception in quantum mechanics In quantum mechanics, perception occurs either when the wavefunction collapses (Copenhagen interpretation) or when it branches (many worlds interpretation). Both of these processes are irreversible, thus perception in quantum mechanics is irreversible. The irreversibility of perception results in both the sense of time and its direction.

12 All perception is of memory Because, even in quantum mechanics, change cannot be known without memory, perception requires memory thoughts or sensations. Therefore, all perception is equivalent to changes in memory. Objective perception is not different from subjective perception because both are of changes in memory. Therefore, there is no difference between external and internal perception.

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15 Time in quantum mechanics In quantum mechanics, the directionality of time is determined by the process of observation. In the Copenhagen interpretation, wavefunction collapse is irreversible, making observation unidirectional. In the many-worlds interpretation, branching of the wavefunction is irreversible, making observation unidirectional.

16 Time is a thought Time is the concept of time-ordered memories. Memories are thoughts; time ordering is a thought; thus, time is a thought. In the absence of thoughts, there is no time, e.g., in deep meditation, deep sleep, under anesthesia.

17 That which is aware of the thought of time is Awareness The thought of time cannot appear without the awareness of it. Awareness is timelessness. Thus, time appears to Awareness and is not separate from It. Since time is not separate from Awareness, it is not different from It. Therefore, the substance of time is timelessness.

18 Memory implies change A single memory contains no change. But, for there to be experience, there must be change. Therefore, there can be no experience of a single memory.

19 What can give a sense of directionality to change? A sense of directionality can result from a sense of sequentiality in memories, e.g., the sense that one memory came before another. This requires at least two memories to be present, plus a way of determining which came first.

20 A single thought could not be experienced A single thought could never change. Therefore it could not be experienced.


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