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Does time/eternity have a beginning?

Does time/eternity have a beginning?
June 29, 2010, 06:02:32 AM
I thought I would start some discussion on a topic I'm writing about for a book: does time/eternity have a beginning? Here's my take on it. I know the 'nihilist answer' is often that it's impossible to know for sure, but I hope then that my line of thinking would be all the more appreciated. What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with me?

Re: Does time/eternity have a beginning?
June 29, 2010, 09:26:01 AM
Time in a mode of existence in which possibilities are realized in succession.

Eternity is a property, or aspect, of Reality as such, it transcends time in the same way that Infinity transcends number.  In a sense eternity is synonymous with 'beginning', but this is a permanent 'beginning' or essence, which is outside any successive mode of existence.

The issue here is the assumption that logic can only be expressed in time as causality.  The structure of reality is logical, but it already contains the entirety of time within itself as possibility.  There is no reason to assume that causality is absolute because no point in time possesses absolute existence, regardless of the fact that this always seems to be the case from an individual point of view, which is situated at a particular point in time.

Re: Does time/eternity have a beginning?
June 29, 2010, 03:34:40 PM
Time in a mode of existence in which possibilities are realized in succession.

Eternity is a property, or aspect, of Reality as such, it transcends time in the same way that Infinity transcends number.  In a sense eternity is synonymous with 'beginning', but this is a permanent 'beginning' or essence, which is outside any successive mode of existence.

The issue here is the assumption that logic can only be expressed in time as causality.  The structure of reality is logical, but it already contains the entirety of time within itself as possibility.  There is no reason to assume that causality is absolute because no point in time possesses absolute existence, regardless of the fact that this always seems to be the case from an individual point of view, which is situated at a particular point in time.

What do you mean causality as not being "absolute"? I'm not saying that from a logical point of view time is only causality, I'm just saying that from a logical point of view if you have time then you also have causality. I'm saying causal continuity is one aspect of time and it's this aspect I investigate in my text in order to prove a point. Do you disagree? Do you think the heating coils of a toaster could ever render toast unburnt, or do you see it in a different way entirely?

Re: Does time/eternity have a beginning?
June 30, 2010, 06:42:04 AM
off topic, but this exactly reminds me of a discussion in a drawing room right out of Tolstoy's "War and Peace" between noble blood.  Is ANUS the last vestiges of classical thought?  Instead of a drawing room, now a message board? 

Re: Does time/eternity have a beginning?
June 30, 2010, 08:04:15 AM
Yeah, let's give people who post on ANUS another reason to pat themselves on the back.

Re: Does time/eternity have a beginning?
June 30, 2010, 11:01:24 AM
Time and eternity are just ways of expressing human concepts. So to me it seems fair to hypothesize that before man invented the concept of time and eternity there was no time and eternity, only the balance of nature. What humans call time is just planets revolving around the sun. Since our definition of time is imperfect (think of leap years) I'd say that humans haven't even fully understood time in a universal sense yet. It can be very informative to look at the history of calenders if you're interested in the human concept of time.

If we ever encounter intelligent extraterrestrial life forms that come from a different universe it would be likely that their sense and concept of time is very different from ours. What if they're from a planet that has no solar cycle and they live to be 2000 years old for instance?

So my answer to your question is: time and eternity began existing since man came up with their concepts. And once the concepts are forgotten there will be no time and eternity anymore until some other intelligent life form comes up with a new concept.

Re: Does time/eternity have a beginning?
June 30, 2010, 12:38:37 PM
Hmmmm, I totally don't understand the two replies before Fenriz's..

Since our definition of time is imperfect (think of leap years)
I would think that the implementation of the leap year exemplifies right understanding of time, since without it eventually night would become day and it would all get screwed up..

I'd say that humans haven't even fully understood time in a universal sense yet.
Perhaps not, I would probably agree with you; I'm just focusing on one specific aspect of time which I think we can understand sufficiently insofar as to prove a major point about the nature of time.

It can be very informative to look at the history of calenders if you're interested in the human concept of time.
OMG 2012!!!1

If we ever encounter intelligent extraterrestrial life forms that come from a different universe it would be likely that their sense and concept of time is very different from ours. What if they're from a planet that has no solar cycle and they live to be 2000 years old for instance?
Then they would be pretty damn lucky?

So my answer to your question is: time and eternity began existing since man came up with their concepts. And once the concepts are forgotten there will be no time and eternity anymore until some other intelligent life form comes up with a new concept.
Hmmmm, I understand if this is what you perceive as time, but you understand this has nothing to do with my argument?

Re: Does time/eternity have a beginning?
June 30, 2010, 01:10:11 PM
Since our definition of time is imperfect (think of leap years)
I would think that the implementation of the leap year exemplifies right understanding of time, since without it eventually night would become day and it would all get screwed up..

Yeah brainiac, but what about the time before mankind came up with leap years? Or what about an entirely different calender system that doesn't need leap years?


I'd say that humans haven't even fully understood time in a universal sense yet.
Perhaps not, I would probably agree with you; I'm just focusing on one specific aspect of time which I think we can understand sufficiently insofar as to prove a major point about the nature of time.

And that aspect is? And that point is?


It can be very informative to look at the history of calenders if you're interested in the human concept of time.
OMG 2012!!!1

I assumed you wanted a serious discussion, did you not?


If we ever encounter intelligent extraterrestrial life forms that come from a different universe it would be likely that their sense and concept of time is very different from ours. What if they're from a planet that has no solar cycle and they live to be 2000 years old for instance?
Then they would be pretty damn lucky?

If you think organic life needs sunlight to exist then think again. Or perhaps the aliens wouldn't even be organic. Or perhaps it was another of your attempts at being "funny"


So my answer to your question is: time and eternity began existing since man came up with their concepts. And once the concepts are forgotten there will be no time and eternity anymore until some other intelligent life form comes up with a new concept.
Hmmmm, I understand if this is what you perceive as time, but you understand this has nothing to do with my argument?

What is your argument? All you gave was a link to your website. Are we supposed to discuss your spam? Post your arguments here in the forum where everyone can read them. Surely you'd have no problem rephrasing your arguments in a way that everyone can understand them?


Re: Does time/eternity have a beginning?
June 30, 2010, 06:11:35 PM
Before I begin, I'd like to note that defining the cause/effect between entropy and time are a bit beyond me, so my understanding may be partially flawed.

Spacetime is a function of entropy, where an increase in entropy correlates to an increase of time. So, from this perspective, with the understanding of the laws of Thermodynamics, you can relate it to special relativity (spacetime). The "universal" maximum of entropy, also know as "heat death", would be the end of time according to this theory, is my understanding of the end of the universe. So, in order for maximum entropy to occur, all mass would be converted to light/radiation. And as you should know, time does not exist relative to lightspeed. So, if heat death is the end of the universe, it follows that minimum entropy would be the beginning of the universe. Admittedly, I don't think anyone exactly understands how or what the "beginning" even means. Since the progression of time will asymptotically approach 0, I guess it would follow that an infinite progression of time occurred at the beginning of the universe, which is a concept I'm having trouble wrapping my brain around.

See the works of Boltzmann for more details.

So, I guess my definition sort of relates to Transcix definition, however ambiguous and arbitrary his language seems.

Time and eternity are just ways of expressing human concepts. So to me it seems fair to hypothesize that before man invented the concept of time and eternity there was no time and eternity, only the balance of nature. What humans call time is just planets revolving around the sun. Since our definition of time is imperfect (think of leap years) I'd say that humans haven't even fully understood time in a universal sense yet. It can be very informative to look at the history of calenders if you're interested in the human concept of time.

If we ever encounter intelligent extraterrestrial life forms that come from a different universe it would be likely that their sense and concept of time is very different from ours. What if they're from a planet that has no solar cycle and they live to be 2000 years old for instance?

So my answer to your question is: time and eternity began existing since man came up with their concepts. And once the concepts are forgotten there will be no time and eternity anymore until some other intelligent life form comes up with a new concept.

Well, after reading both Transcix's and Fenriz's responses, Transcix does not seem very informed regarding the subject matter and has been effectively trolled hard. Knowing Fenriz, he brings about very flawed concepts that do not represent the main goal of the thread.

Calendars are measurements of time the same way we measure lengths and widths with rulers. So no, the "concept" of time is not different, but yes, the way ET measures time will be different. Yes, ET can live for over 2000 "human" years, due to special relativity.

Re: Does time/eternity have a beginning?
June 30, 2010, 07:11:01 PM
First FenrizTheBrazilianTranny may I say that I apologize if you thought I was being hostile. I was only being whimsical in certain places in my reply, like the 2012 bit. :)

I'm not sure if I can rephrase what I mean, it's a complex subject matter and I tried to be as clear as possible in the text I wrote (a draft chapter for a book I'm working on, not part of any website). Perhaps you could give it a second read, I assume this is certainly something many readers would do. I'm not sure you understand the difference between time itself--something very ambiguous (and I'm only talking about one aspect of it: causal continuity)--and human measurement of time. Essentially human measurement of time is a physical matter... take the gears inside a clock. Human civilization has made a consensus choice about how "long" a second, hour, day, etc should "last", but the variables at play here are physical. The "length" is actually a physical process, the movement of gears. So if you have gears and stuff (whatever things are inside a non-digital clock) of specific sizes we have come together as a species and established consensus that if the gears rotate 'this' much then that's one second. Different clocks can use different sized gears, but the physical proportions remain the same.

So we as a species came together and decided how to divide the day from sunrise to sunset. Try not to think of it in terms of what sizes (seconds, etc) we divide the "time" of a full day into, because "time" is ambiguous; rather, try to think of it in terms of how many rotations we agree that a clock arm should physically move in one full day, understanding that if you have different sized clocks the same proportion should always be kept (so the movement is in unison). I hope that clarifies things somewhat.

Chessnut I have only briefly scanned your reply, I have to run out the door now but I'll reply to you later.

Re: Does time/eternity have a beginning?
July 01, 2010, 01:10:59 AM
Knowing Fenriz, he brings about very flawed concepts that do not represent the main goal of the thread.
Calendars are measurements of time the same way we measure lengths and widths with rulers. So no, the "concept" of time is not different, but yes, the way ET measures time will be different. Yes, ET can live for over 2000 "human" years, due to special relativity.

Your logic about length and widths seems to assume that aliens will have the same dimensions we have on our planet. What if they don't? What if life on their planet looks like this:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/55/8-cell-simple.gif

You know the way flies see the world don't you? What if aliens see everything like this:
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1383/1433751086_a5d33701c7.jpg

Correct me if I'm wrong but your reply suggests that you assume aliens would be much like humans. I don't agree with that. I agree that it's possible but I definitely do not consider it a necessity. Their senses might be entirely different from ours and so their concept of time would also be different. You're forgetting to think outside of the box here.


First FenrizTheBrazilianTranny may I say that I apologize if you thought I was being hostile. I was only being whimsical in certain places in my reply, like the 2012 bit. :)

I'm not sure if I can rephrase what I mean, it's a complex subject matter and I tried to be as clear as possible in the text I wrote (a draft chapter for a book I'm working on, not part of any website). Perhaps you could give it a second read, I assume this is certainly something many readers would do. I'm not sure you understand the difference between time itself--something very ambiguous (and I'm only talking about one aspect of it: causal continuity)--and human measurement of time. Essentially human measurement of time is a physical matter... take the gears inside a clock. Human civilization has made a consensus choice about how "long" a second, hour, day, etc should "last", but the variables at play here are physical. The "length" is actually a physical process, the movement of gears. So if you have gears and stuff (whatever things are inside a non-digital clock) of specific sizes we have come together as a species and established consensus that if the gears rotate 'this' much then that's one second. Different clocks can use different sized gears, but the physical proportions remain the same.

So we as a species came together and decided how to divide the day from sunrise to sunset. Try not to think of it in terms of what sizes (seconds, etc) we divide the "time" of a full day into, because "time" is ambiguous; rather, try to think of it in terms of how many rotations we agree that a clock arm should physically move in one full day, understanding that if you have different sized clocks the same proportion should always be kept (so the movement is in unison). I hope that clarifies things somewhat.

Chessnut I have only briefly scanned your reply, I have to run out the door now but I'll reply to you later.

Apologies accepted and you have my apologies for almost turning this into drama-thread. I'm glad it didn't because I find it an interesting topic.

I understand that there's a difference between time as in biological rhythm and human measurement of time. My point was that biological rhythm simply exists with or without man and that "time" is just a way for humans to try to define this natural occurrence. The first clocks were sundials, not mechanical clocks like you mentioned. Humans didn't invent time, we just try to define it. Take away humans and all that will be left is biological rhythm.

So does biological rhythm have a beginning and an ending? Yes it does, planets, the stars and the sun all have a beginning and an ending.

It's kinda like he said:

Spacetime is a function of entropy, where an increase in entropy correlates to an increase of time. So, from this perspective, with the understanding of the laws of Thermodynamics, you can relate it to special relativity (spacetime). The "universal" maximum of entropy, also know as "heat death", would be the end of time according to this theory, is my understanding of the end of the universe. So, in order for maximum entropy to occur, all mass would be converted to light/radiation. And as you should know, time does not exist relative to lightspeed. So, if heat death is the end of the universe, it follows that minimum entropy would be the beginning of the universe. Admittedly, I don't think anyone exactly understands how or what the "beginning" even means. Since the progression of time will asymptotically approach 0, I guess it would follow that an infinite progression of time occurred at the beginning of the universe, which is a concept I'm having trouble wrapping my brain around.

Except he seems to think organic life forms need sunlight. How 1990 of him!

Quote
Oceanographers struggle to explain a strange glow from seafloor vents

Discovered 8 years ago, the light issues from ridge-top vents that spew out volcanically heated brines laden with metals and caustic compounds. At first, scientists attributed the light to thermal radiation emitted by the 350#161#C water, much as hot electric elements on a stove give off an angry orange glow.

But recent measurements conducted from the submersible Alvin reveal that thermal radiation alone cannot explain the light. What's more, the new data suggest that there might be enough light to power photosynthesis on the ocean floor-which would make it the first known case of photosynthesis divorced from the sun's rays.

http://www.thefreelibrary.com/The+light+at+the+bottom+of+the+ocean%3B+oceanographers+struggle+to+...-a018674354

Life doesn't need sunlight = proven. Planets can contain enough geothermal warmth to sustain life through for instance hydrothermal vents. So the end of the sun does not necessarily mean the end of the universe. But hey, never mind what I type. After all I bring about very flawed concepts that do not represent the main goal of the thread! (thanks for that awesome quote)


Re: Does time/eternity have a beginning?
July 01, 2010, 07:24:55 AM
Your logic about length and widths seems to assume that aliens will have the same dimensions we have on our planet. What if they don't? What if life on their planet looks like this:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/55/8-cell-simple.gif

You know the way flies see the world don't you? What if aliens see everything like this:
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1383/1433751086_a5d33701c7.jpg

Correct me if I'm wrong but your reply suggests that you assume aliens would be much like humans. I don't agree with that. I agree that it's possible but I definitely do not consider it a necessity. Their senses might be entirely different from ours and so their concept of time would also be different. You're forgetting to think outside of the box here.
Well, in any universe (it doesn't have to be our own) it's standard theory that we have at least three spatial dimensions. The difference is that we indeed don't have the biology to perceive greater spatial dimensions, but each spatial dimension can be measured and quantified using a tool as simple as a ruler. Again, I'm probably taking this too literally, but I'm answering based on what I understand from what you've written. The physiology of ET doesn't matter; reality does not change.

Did you know: the smallest discrete unit of time is called Planck time? Now you know!

Regarding biorhythms or whatever: from what I know regarding migration patterns / hibernation and the like is that these phenomenons are based upon seasons or earth's magnetic field, not based upon specific increments of time.


Re: Does time/eternity have a beginning?
July 03, 2010, 03:54:26 PM
The physiology of ET doesn't matter; reality does not change.

But doesn't a being's physiology have everything to do with its conception of reality?  Theoretically 'reality' would not change from an objective standpoint, but we do not have access to this, now do we?

Time and eternity are just ways of expressing human concepts.

That's the easiest (and maybe most accurate) answer.  Time is a human concept; eternity is a human concept embodied in a word we use when we want to describe something outside of time.  By definition something eternal has no beginning.  But because our experience is completely temporal, we can only theorize about that which may be 'eternal'.  As far as we are concerned, nothing is eternal.

"Change alone is unchanging", to quote Heraclitus.

Re: Does time/eternity have a beginning?
July 03, 2010, 07:06:09 PM
But doesn't a being's physiology have everything to do with its conception of reality?  Theoretically 'reality' would not change from an objective standpoint, but we do not have access to this, now do we?

The argument that "time is a human concept" is really the biocentrism theory. While I'm not going to deny that biocentrism is valid, it is rather akin to the geocentric model. Admittedly, I have not described time in my discussions at all; I have defined it as the increase toward maximum entropy, making measurement of it highly arbitrary due to random fluctuations of order and disorder (see: Boltzmann brain) that occur.

Anyway, I guess I could take a cop out and say that time is based upon incremental increases of Planck time in our universe, whatever that may mean. Time seems rather useless to describe anything.