What if everything you thought you knew about reality was merely a figment of your imagination?
Mainstream science says that time is illusory, but what does that mean? The concept seems so far removed from what we perceive as everyday reality.
Could it be that what science says is true and what we see as reality is not actually there?
I’ve had the idea for this book swirling around my head for quite a while, and I recently decided it’s time to get it out there.
This is mainly due to the popularity of an article I wrote in 2013 on the illusory nature of time.
Over the last few years traffic to the article has steadily grown and other sites have linked to it also. All of this has meant that the article now sits in the number one and three spots on Google for keyword “does time exist”.
I revisited it recently and found that some of the concepts were not very well broken down and the flow of the article needed work so I updated it and redirected the article to a new version on hardcorejunkie.
Apart from the intuitive nudge, many other factors convinced me to write this book.
So up to the April 30 launch, every week I’ll be publishing a new article related to the subject matter of the book The Illusion of Time. I’m doing this for a couple of reasons;
- To share my thoughts and involve you guys in the process.
- To work through and develop the draft content (with your help)
- To get the word out prior to launch 30 April 2016
As such, I’m interested in hearing from you so I’m putting it out there for you to get in touch. I want to hear your views on the subject of Time and it’s place within our concepts of self and of the broader Universe.
If you have an opinion, either for or against the notion that Time is illusory I’d like to hear it. Your theories and ideas might even make it into the book!
So, until later, here’s a foreword to The Illusion of Time that I’ve been working on.
The Illusion of Time
As long as I can remember I’ve always been a deep thinker. As a kid I’d lie awake at night until all hours thinking about myself and my place in the world.
That’s by no means unique, given that many people at some stage in life ponder these big questions; who am I? Where do I come from? Why am I hear? etc etc.
My friends and family would tell me “Larry you think too much”, but I didn’t think so. As far as I was concerned they didn’t think enough.
Unfortunately for me I didn’t have a tribe around me that thought the same as I did and so I found it hard to blend in. However I worked hard at it, and I eventually did. Blend in that is.
I put my universal ponderings on hold in my early adulthood and focused on work and business, and for a while things were good. But it didn’t last.
The big downturn in the economy came in 2008 and I was wiped out. I pretty much lost everything I had built over the previous 8 years and the idea of myself that I had created was gone. I felt lost.
That difficult period was a good time to reconnect with myself, re-evaluate why I was here and what I was here to do.
Reading material from people like Alan Watts, Eckhart Tolle, Richard Feynman, Carl Sagan and R. Buckminster Fuller helped me broaden my perspective.
On one particular ordinary kind of day, I was going about my business when it occurred to me in no uncertain terms that Time, as thought of as a linear passage of events from birth to death, was not real.
From a right now point of view there was no future and there was no past, all there appeared to be was the present.
How could this be?
I remember yesterday and the day before. I was born in 1974 and I’m older now, not to mention physically bigger. So how did that happen if there is no time?
The clock, the calendar, the seasons in nature, aging, birth and death, what of all of this? What about the Big Bang, was that all bullshit too?
As I examined things, the answers began to reveal themselves.
The Standard Model of The Universe
The accepted Standard Model of The Universe suggests that before time and before matter, the entire Universe was condensed in a single dense speck.
Almost every explanation you’ll find suggests that about 14bn years ago, from this single dense point The Universe began expanding outward in all directions at a uniform rate.
But as Nassim Haramein asks; Who is blowing up the balloon?
The balloon analogy is simply not good enough at explaining the nature of expansion of The Universe because it doesn’t account for the multidimensional nature of things.
The truth is that there is no center, no single point from which everything began, at least none that has so far been detected.
What would actually be more accurate to say is that the center of the Universe is everywhere and the perimeter is nowhere.
Now this is a real mind bender and something that most accounts of the Big Bang will not go into, purely because (in my opinion) the authors can’t get their heads around it enough to explain it adequately.
Religion as it happens says the same thing about God. The men in long dresses say that God is omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent and that seems to be consistent with Science’s account of The Big Bang.
It’s funny you know… I’ve examined lots of material over the years and it seems to me that Science and Religion are talking about the same thing.
It’s just that they are too autocratic and arrogant to see it.
We’ll get into more about this in later chapters.
What About The Time Before Time?
What did people do before the modern concept of time? What about Egyptian, Celtic and the Chinese civilisations, did they hold the same concept as we do today?
I had learned from reading books like Black Elk Speaks that Native American people used the passage of the moon and sun as a means of measuring their relationship with the broader universe.
They were a simpler people than we are today and I would suggest more sophisticated too. They certainly were more in touch with their environment and their role in the universe.
They respected Mother Earth realising that they were an integral part of it and it gave them food clothing and homes, all they needed to live.
They were not pushed and pulled by the invisible spectre of Time. They had no minutes and they had no hours, they moved in accordance with nature.
And what about other ethnic peoples throughout history, did they believe in this modern day idea of a linear passage of an invisible thing we call time, or did they have a more multidimensional concept?
The Vedic teachings of India (Indian Religious Texts) were fascinating to me. They spoke of cycles of time that repeated themselves forever, like seasons only on a larger scale.
The Vedas refer to space and time as an eternal cycle of the life of Brahma, the Lord of Creation.
In Chapter 1 of The Illusion of Time I will go into more detail about the cultural ideas of time held by various ethnic groups and examine how we could benefit from their broader perspective.
Finding The Answer
Was what I suspected correct? Was time an illusion, a product of relative experience or was I just going crazy?
If the linear understanding of our existence was accurate, and all life today was created by virtue of what happened in the past then the future is dictated to, pushed out from the past.
Now I had a real problem with that idea because it takes away my free will. It says that everything I’ve ever done in the past dictates what I do in the future and I just wasn’t buying it.
The truth is that the past and future move out from the present. They are created now. (More on this later)
As I explored, I realised that there was a similar problem with the distance between objects in space. I realised that nothing could be defined absolutely.
If I asked you to find the length of a line you couldn’t do it. At least not absolutely. As you try to get closer and closer to the edge of the line it runs away. It becomes fuzzy and eventually disappears.
The distance from the Moon to the Earth is an approximation, it cannot be defined absolutely. Not only because it changes depending on the time of year, but because neither the surface of the Earth or the Moon is stable.
Yet another one;
It’s impossible to measure the actual length of an island’s coastline. Because of the curved nature of a coastline, the shorter the ruler you use to measure it, the longer the length of the coastline. All curved surfaces are the same — They are infinite.
The entire physical Universe is a moving target which makes it’s impossible to define. Time it seems is only an apparent function of this moving thing.
In fact it might be more accurate to suggest that the Universe is a pulsating fractal rather than moving thing. (More on this later)
If it were true, if Time was not a real thing and only an idea, then why was it that most of humanity (including me) is dictated to by this arbitrary concept with no fundamental properties of it’s own?
It seems to me that this concept of Time is our modern day equivalent to the old world idea of a flat earth and if we could ever transcend it, human consciousness would be transformed.
Howdy, I’m Larry, Writer & Artist. Thanks for taking the time to read my stuff. I write short stories about the ordinary lives of people and the challenges they face. My stuff can be edgy, hard hitting, and sometimes controversial, but never contrived. If that’s your bag you can Sign-up To Sunday Letters Here.
Originally published at hardcorejunkie.co on February 23, 2016.