Thursday, November 10, 2016

10th November 2016 - Time




There's a lot of mention in science about finding exoplanets in the 'goldilocks zone' surrounding other stars.  When we look closer we find planets in that zone where the heat from their star might allow liquid water.  But some of those planets are much bigger than Earth.  Even if those planets held liquid water and sustained life the intense gravity wouldn't allow our biology to function - our circulatory system would struggle or fail, our musculature wouldn't support us.  Even skirting the thin atmosphere of our planet for brief periods astronauts loose bone density and are bombarded with  lethal radiation.

We've evolved on Earth.  We use and require its many systems.  Gravity.  Water.  Air.  But what about time?

Usually we don't think about Time as an resource like heat from the sun but a news story yesterday got me thinking.  A scientist has put forward the theory that gravity isn't real.  Gravity he suggests is an emergent force.  Best explanation is comparing with temperature.  

We experience temperature when we pick up a hot coffee mug but really the physics is that of atoms moving about in the mug.  Temperature is our emergent experience of atoms in motion .. temperature in itself isn't real .. it is just how our skin evolved to experience those moving atoms.  Which brings me back to Time.

We've evolved to experience Time in much the same way as the hotness of that mug. We don't care what it is or how it works (unless we're building a flux capacitor) but the core of our humanity is immersed in the experience of Time.  It defines so much of us from the obvious alarm clock in the morning to the existential nag when we see our time here passing.

Steve Jobs in his Stanford graduation speech speaks about time, particularly death.

"almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important"

How much of our natures and behavior is determined by time?  If we had no passing time where would be our motivation, urgency, desire?  Would we have evolved a biological ability desire anything if we had an infinite time to even begin to think about fulfilling the first step in obtaining it.

Without wanting to bring concepts of religion into it .. this is one of the problems with afterlife concepts - if we have infinite time - will we really want a nice hot cup of tea in the morning?  Want.  Hot.  Really (urgency).  All these concepts fade away when we remove time.

So here we are bobbing around in a vast ocean of the relentless force that is emergent Time.

I practice each day.
I'm annoyed when I do poorly.
I'm pleased when I master something however small.
I'm looking towards October 2019.

But first I'm going to have a nice hot cup of tea.  Nothing like it in the morning.


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