Murdoch University Western Australia
Have we got the concept of time right? In the context of relativity theory space and time are intimately connected and form a four-dimensional continuum - spacetime. Two observers will order events differently in time if they happen to be moving at differing velocities relative to observed events resulting in them the perception of different temporal sequences of those events. Relativity theory implies that perception cannot be uniform among perceivers. The past seems fixed and yet we intuitively know that the future is open to possibility. Strictly speaking, then, an open future cannot necessarily be determined by the past. Time appears to flow asymmetrically (fixed past - open future). In what way, then, is time linked to consciousness? Time, according to quantum physics, has directionality only in the conventional sense determined by the discourse of tensed language; its existence is symmetric. For example, at the Planck length space and time lose their identity to what is known as the 'quantum foam' and there is no distinction between past and future. Yet, according to the physics of nonequilibrium processes, irreversibility leads to a host of novel phenomena (e.g. chemical oscillations, laser light, etc.) in which the arrow of time plays an essential and constructive role. Which theory is right? Can time be both linear and nonlinear? By employing a similar model extrapolated from Bohm's conception of the Implicate and Explicate Orders (Impression and Expression respectively) one can conceptually (at least) bridge the divide between the linear and nonlinear distinctions of time.
In this paper, I will suggest that time can be both linear and nonlinear. Time is intimately linked to the Expression (materialized) Order of existence. Time does not exist in the same sense on the Impression Order (quantum vacuum) of existence, which needs to be thought about in terms of potential yet existent (as in a superimposed absolute realm) due to its time-independence. The Impression Order coexists with the Expression Order at the Planck scale, which occupies the interstices of all space yet is theoretically not space in the classical sense of the term. To understand these concepts requires the development of new concepts that incorporate the physical processes of energetic activity. The processes discussed involve the combined concepts of Space-Time-Event-Motion (STEM). The acronym STEM is a new metaphor to describe both linear (causal) and nonlinear (simultaneous) processes related by the notion of energy corresponding to its frequency (Planck's constant) i.e. signature-energy-frequency (SEF). The implications of this model have far-reaching consequences for consciousness studies especially with respects to brain exploration concerned with occurrent events centered on the timing of processes. The measure of such events in terms of elapsed time are modeled against a background emerging from a historical dialectic based on the concept of causality and its hybridization, e.g. mental causation, causal theories of perception, etc. What is on offer in this paper is a process philosophy based on a holistic worldview.
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