Friday, April 24, 2009

Two Boxes (and the non-existence of time)

There are many ideas that people accept as so completely obvious that anyone who questions the status quo is seen as being a little mad. I'm sure that anyone who thought space was anything more than a vast black nothing full of heavenly bodies was completely reasonable up until "dark matter" was hypothesized by scientists. Of course, dark matter isn't a fact, nor is there any direct evidence of it. It's something scientists made up to explain the unexplainable while figuring out the way the universe works.

At any rate, when you question what is utterly obvious to the vast majority of people, it's hard to make others understand where you are coming from. When I say that I don't believe in the existence of time, I find it a little difficult to explain to those who can't even begin to fathom such an absurd notion. Last night, I was having a talk with a student about the future and whether or not she believed that people could tell the future. When she asked me if I believed they could, I told her that it was complicated because I didn't believe time existed, so it's not a matter of predicting what has not occurred.

After the lesson, I was thinking about how to frame this feeling about time in an understandable and clear way. When I explained it to the student, I drew a time line of our life which is like an arrow shooting forward from birth to death. Our conception is that that is how we experience life. We move in one direction and we can't go back nor can we change the rate at which we move forward. The best I could explain to her at that time was to consider the smallest measures on that line as chopped up little slides what we existed in and were blind of the slices ahead of us. That is, we were walled off from the past and future, but they were still there.

Later, I thought about this again and a better example came to mind. Consider that there are two boxes on either side of you. You don't know what is in one of the boxes, but you know something is in them. You are given an item from the "future" box and you experience it. You can touch it, see it, smell it, or even taste it if you want. When you are finished with it, you put it into the other box, "the past". Once you put the item into the past, you can never access it again. Would you say that the box full of the past was empty because you couldn't see what was in it or access its contents? Do you really believe the "future" box is empty because you cannot see what is inside of it? My feeling is that just because you can't access the contents of the boxes, it doesn't mean they cease to exist. Time shapes how we experience this existence, but it is a construct that exists to feed us experiences in a manner which will not overwhelm the fragile body's sensory mechanisms.

This is how I view time. Because of the limits of our perceptions (due to our nervous systems' inability to process multiple "dimensions" without suffering a complete mental and likely physical overload), we can't have access to everything at once so we can only access life in a limited way. It's as if our bodies are designed to be "handed" items in a fashion that they can process so they can still function in this reality rather than being inundated with all experiences (past and present) at all times. I don't believe that means those experiences are gone, but rather that we aren't allowed to access them for our own "protection".

This relates to both predictions and past lives (if you believe in such things). Some people, perhaps because they are capable of handling it or have a capacity which is uncommon, have access to the contents of the boxes that we don't. The extent to which that access is distorted, however, is always an issue. That is, just because they can reach into those boxes, it doesn't mean they can clearly and accurately experience what is in them as they are fighting through a construct which is meant to protect our reality from others, so such things are rarely presented without the distortion of the psychology of the involved party and less than 100% clarity is present while processing them. The results of any such access will almost certainly be skewed (sometimes very badly) by the zeitgeist the person lives in and their own psychological need to view things in a particular way.

This is also, incidentally, how I believe ghosts, spirits, and other strange things show up for some people in our reality. I see it as a form of dimensional "leakage" which occurs when two entities (people) have a sensitivity to one another and can interact. Most of them are terrified and react accordingly. That is, they try to force one another out of their respective realities. Such experiences are inevitably full of perceptual distortions as well. Consider that a "ghost" that is telling someone in our reality to "get out" may be experiencing the other party as a similarly invasive and terrifying "ghost" in their reality.

I could be wrong, of course. I've never had an experience with a past life memory or what might be considered a significant premonition, nor have I ever seen a ghost. However, I'm not prepared to utterly dismiss those who have had such experiences as all being self-deluding, psychotic, or simply liars. Scoffing at them and waving away their experiences is a handy way of explaining away the unexplainable, but I question the psychology of the need to do this. Mainly, I think that it's rooted in arrogance and self-centeredness. That is, if it is unusual and I haven't experienced it, it didn't happen, so that person must be crazy or a liar. While I am sure that some people have psychotic breaks or neurological problems which cause them to see, hear, and experience things (as I've worked with such people before), I'm not prepared to believe that is always the case.

I don't believe that time doesn't exists as an explanation of the unexplainable, though it somehow does end up explaining some things. Though I guess that if I did make it up to explain the unexplainable, I'd be no different from those who made up dark matter to fill in the gaps of their theoretical notions of how the universe works.


Sharon said...

Interesting analogy, and one I hadn't seen before. I'll have to remember that as it works well to explain non-linear time perceptions.

Kelly said...

You know, as i work with the spirit world myself, in my intuitive work like Reiki, i found this post and your views very interesting.

Those in the spirit world that communicate with me don't have a notion of time either. They can't differentiate between past, present, or future. When I see things that they show me, I tell the person the statement, and they tell me if it has already happened, is happening, or not, then it must be sometime in *their* future. But to the spirits who communicate with me, they are merely presenting a fact, to them, it exists, but because they don't work with "time" they can only show me what to them is a fact but for humans I have to put it in a time frame. That is why I don't give out time frames when I do readings, like "you will get a new job in 6 months time". For me its impossible to say so because the spirit who is giving me the information knows it happens but not exactly when in our time frame. So mediums who give out such a time frame, are merely putting their own spin on it as a human to human experience.

I agree with you that time is a human invention, and the spirit world does not use it.

Spirits can make themselves be known to you if you're not frightened. If they know you will be scared they won't show themselves. However, that being said, there are some lower entities, that are not as high spiritually as most of the spirits who are communicating with us, these lower entities are living in the closest thing that could be classed as "hell" and they were murderers and drug addicts etc, who pray on people who have the same addicts that they do. These lower class spirits are the ones that show themselves to humans to frighten them because they get a kick out of it. These lower class spirits are in an in-between place, not quite crossed over.

Well, as a spiritualist and a medium that's my take on it. But ayway, i digress, i agree with your notion of time.

Girl Japan said...

Hi Orchid, I enjoyed reading your post, although I can not comment much, not having really an opinion on the topic "just yet", your post, and your commenter's (sorry I forgot the plural)... have brought some awareness that I might not have read about before.

Emsk said...

Very interesting piece here. As someone who is scientifically-inclined I do try to find an answer for things, but you're quite right with the dark matter analogy. We simply don't have all the facts yet. Who knows what lies beyond the fourth dimension, after all?

My mum remembers seeing her grandmother, who had died some months before her birth. My granny was holding my mum, who was around eighteen months at the time, over her shoulder when she suddenly heard her say, "Look at my dolly, Granny!" The hairs on the back of her neck stood on end. My mum was big enough to able to crudely list what she'd seen - a lady with grey hair standing smiling in the doorway, which apparently described my great-grandmother.