Let's Prehend
A Manual of Human Ecology and Culture Design

BRIEF MYSTERY OF TIME, Mind or Matter? Dilemmas of Reality and Mind

"God created time to keep everything from happening at once."
—Folk saying

As physics and cosmology advance, the disparity between the world of science and the world of common sense seems to grow. Which world is real?

The objectivist position holds that the world of the scientists is more valid than common experience because it describes reality more accurately and more completely. More valid does not necessarily mean more fun. But how else than by using the quantum theory, etc., could we explain how the sun shines and why the sky is blue, not to mention the more difficult explanations of why the trees are green and our blood is usually red?

The subjective experience of reality is the realm of the mind-scientists who describe in increasing detail how mental machinery works. The poets and their ilk also have a lot to say about it.

How does it happen that scientific theories, such as Einstein's notorious equation, E=mc2, are so magnificent, and that physics and cosmology become increasingly unified? Is this grand unity some quality of the universe, or is it some quality of the mind? Since the universe is evidently in total harmony, like an electron soup or giant jello, it must be our minds that cause the dissociation of the universe into things, things that we must then toil to reorganize and unify.

Fortunately, even though our minds distort reality by False-Focus and There-and-Then, we are able to reconstruct a mental model of the universe, at least in our primitive and abstract mode of mind. Since mental mechanisms, FF and TT, fragment reality, we need to apply effort for reintegration and accord. Perhaps, if reality were not a total system, the universe would fly apart as soon as we stopped thinking about it. Such might be the image of the fragile idealist, who, on the edge of paranoia, calls upon some God to hold reality together and allow his tortured mind to sleep. Obviously the dissociation of reality is the work of the mind, not of reality itself.

Time seems to run forward, like the physicists say it does. Everyone, especially science fiction writers, imagines experiences or machines that skip over time. Everyone has experiences in which time seems to pass differently, such as deja vu, smoking a joint, falling in love, or having an auto accident.

The explanation from cognitive science is that the subjective human experience is based on memory, and thereby subjective time can be rearranged by whimsical mechanisms of mind. It seems that we remember, not the original incident, but rather the last remembering. Thus memories migrate in time and detail. Much work is being done by the scientists on the persistence of memory, its selection, distortion, and decay. This is especially important in the criminal professions, since witness memory is so crucial.

The subjective experience of certainty can be a poor measure of objective validity. Those who confuse the subjective with the objective may find themselves "Out on a Limb."[ This is the title of famous actor and author Shirley *MacLain about past-life and other mystical DSM experiences.] Time travel may be fun, but is not to be taken seriously. There is no validation of it. There may be an experience of dying, but probably no experience of life-after-death or reincarnation. Perhaps time travel, past lives, etc., are a delusion, a pathology, a dissociation of the ego from reality for the sake of its own aggrandizement, an ego trip. But who can be sure? Both the subjective and the objective deserve respect.

< AX, Theory as Tool - Escaping the Trap of Truth Chapters   Essays DUCK, A Model in the Mind - Pity the Child >
Copyright © 2021 Earl Williamson. All rights reserved. Feedback Last updated Monday, April 9, 2018 05:43 UTC