Time, Consciousness, and the Nature of Reality
Lets look at time from the point of view of consciousness.
1) It is said that time is linear, that there is a past, present and future.
2) It is also said that 'time flies' or 'time drags.'
3) It is also said that time does not flow, but that all moments in time are equally valid, so that the future and the past have equal validity.
4) It is also said that time does not exist, that everything happens NOW, that the linearity of time is an illusion.
5) It is also said in physics that 4-space is (x,y,z,t) and that observation is a d/dt operator on (x,y,z,t) to yield a snapshot of the universe, to observation, in 3 space in the form (x,y,z). So in this conception time is an actual dimension, and that we perceive in a sort of digital way, taking observational snapshots of 4 space which yield a 'picture frame' in 3 space. The past is just a snapshot of a different (x,y,z,t).
The above are probably just a few of the assumptions about time, but will serve for the purposes of our discussion.
The common denominator of all of these ideas of time is conscious perception.
We begin by stating that consciousness created and designed the universe, and that what we observe around us is a creation of consciousness. We will discuss the question of 'what is real' by looking at the idea that there is an objective, 'real' existence to anything that is perceived, or whether what is perceived is a subjective creation of consciousness. In either case we will say that whatever is perceived, consciousness is itself the cause-point or initiator or creator of that perception.
This will dismiss at once theories of the biological basis of consciousness, so if you are a supporter of this idea, you probably are not going to like what follows.
If consciousness designed the universe, one must suspect that it was done in a rational manner. A look around the universe shows that it is well ordered and so we must assume that the design of the universe is a reasonable one.
Therefore, we can conclude that the universe was designed in such a manner as to allow those who are present in it to experience pleasurably.
Otherwise, we have a universe where pain is always present. Since this is a definition of psychosis, and we have already concluded that the universe was built in a rational and reasonable way, we conclude that the only way for a rational being to experience, is in a pleasurable manner.
We then ask whether the energy in the universe has been designed to resonate in a positive way with itself and with the consciousness inhabiting it, or in a negative way? In other words, is there an inherent affinity between things, or an inherent dislike, hatred, or repellent quality in the relationship of the matter and energy which composes the universe, to itself, and to conscious beings?
Because combinations or groupings of atoms, elements, and energies is the only way to form objects (and bodies for consciousness to inhabit, i.e. life forms), we must conclude that attraction is the inherent quality of the universe. Otherwise, there would be only repelling, and combination would be impossible.
Therefore we conclude the most important property of the universe is one of attraction and combination.
Now we must decide whether, in the design of the universe, would consciousness make pleasure the default condition, or discomfort, or neither?
Being reasonable beings, we assume that the deliberate design of a universe in which discomfort is the inherent condition, is psychotic and irrational. Therefore, if it is possible to design a universe where pleasure is the default condition, then that logically must the default design. We conclude there is no reasonable and rational purpose to an existence where the default or inherent experience is one of discomfort, or even one of neutrality. We also observe that all rational beings strive for pleasurable activities in all areas of their experience. We observe that when conscious beings are most 'alive' and 'energetic' they exhibit happiness and satisfaction, and when they are not, there is dissatisfaction.
So we conclude that the inherent orientation of perception (feeling) of any conscious being must be a positive one.
We live in a universe of attraction, and it would be unreasonable to design a universe where attraction provided an inherent perception or feeling of discomfort.
We also observe that pain is considered an unacceptable condition by all resonable conscious beings, so we conclude that well being is far more prevalent than pain and that the experience of pleasure is the intended condition.
If the inherent quality of feeling is positive, then we ask how can a perceiver experience pain?
We conclude that the experience or feeling of discomfort by a conscious being must be some sort of blocking of, resistance to, repelling of, the inherent pleasurable quality of perception.
This leads us to ask whether consciousness would design a universe where those experiencing in it would have free choice.
Since we observe beings experiencing both pleasure and discomfort, and the inherent condition of the universe is attraction, there must be a choice to resist the pleasurable attractive nature of the universe.
We observe conscious beings every day performing the most unspeakable acts of depravity, and also actions of utmost selflessness and beauty. No matter how much we may object or how distasteful the actions of others seem to be, we must admit, in all honesty, that there seems to be no prohibition on thought and conduct whatsoever, despite society's strenuous attempts to limit behavior.
Therefore we assume that beings in the universe have the option of free choice.
(The question of why a conscious being would choose to experience discomfort is left for another discussion).
In discussing the nature of matter and energy, we observe that all objects and life forms are collections. Since collections are a coming-together, and the nature of the universe has been designed for pleasurable experience, the inherent nature and relationship of particles, energies, objects and bodies must be one of cooperation at the very least. Otherwise the perception of conscious beings inhabiting a body, for example, would be inherently one of discomfort. (Deliberately designing a universe of attraction and then making attraction inherently uncomfortable is psychotic and irrational, and we therefore reject it as a reasonable basis for constructing a universe). Since we observe far more health and well-being than that of illness, we assume well-being is the intended condition and illness is a departure from it.
And when we observe an object, we do not observe it fighting or conflicting within itself. It is at the very least coexisting cooperatively within itself and with other objects. A chair does not fight with a bottle of beer (at least, I have never observed one to do so!)
And finally we assert that if the universe has been designed by consciousness, then it is understood by consciousness. It is not reasonable to suppose that if one is knowledgeable enough to design and build something that works, that one is ignorant of it.
The point of this discussion is to assert that the basic nature of the universe is a positive one, that the experience of discomfort must be a resistance to a rational, positive design of the universe, and that free choice is an inherent property of all conscious beings.
Back to Time
Since consciousness designed the universe, and time is a perceptual property or quality that beings experience, we assert that the nature of time is something that can be understood by consciousness.
We proceed from this assumption, because as stated above, it is unreasonable to suppose that a being which can design a thing and make it work does not understand that thing.
Now we are on firm ground.
We have postulated a universe where understanding is the inherent condition of a conscious being living in an attraction-based universe which it has designed for its own pleasure.
Therefore we reject explanations and 'logic' which leads to a condition of inevitable misunderstanding, evolvement towards a state of perceptual discomfort, or predisposition to 'negativity'. Such explanations assume the inherent nature of a universe designed by conscious beings and experienced by them, is psychotic.
This is unreasonable and irrational by definition, and must be rejected by any rational being.
Now we proceed to an understanding of time from the point of view of consciousness which has an understanding of it, and we reject explanations which assume there must always be something not understood about it.
We postulate that since consciousness designed the universe with the property of time, that time can be completely understood by consciousness.
We know as conscious beings that time can be perceived differently. We say, as in (2) above that time flies or drags. We also know, as conscious beings, that physical laws may be altered by consciousness. This is logical since it was consciousness that designed the universe. We know that Uri Geller can bend spoons, so it has already been demonstrated that a conscious being can alter the laws of physics at least in a local area of space/time of/around an object.
If the space of an object is related to the mass of the object (regardless of how we define the object), which we know is true from general relativity, (the gravitational field of the object actually curves the space around the object), and if time is related to space and mass , (which we know is true because when we say 'time has passed' we mean that objects have changed in form and/or position), then we say that both time and matter and energy and the laws which govern their behavior are modifiable by consciousness.
It is easy to understand what we mean when we say 'the physical laws of/around the object can be altered' because we can see the spoon bend, but it is a different matter entirely when we talk about time. We say we can perceive time differently, i.e., faster or slower, but can we physically go 'back in time' or 'forward in time'?
If time is merely a perception, a characteristic of consciousness itself, then we must say no. But if time has some kind of concrete existence, like the 3 spatial dimensions, then it should be possible to travel there in a physical body and experience the 'past' or the 'future.'
If time has a concrete existence and it is possible to travel in time, physically, then everything that has ever existed in 'time' still exists, physically, in matter and energy. In other words, we must have 'snapshots' of the earth in every second ( or some delta t) of its existence throughout the history of the entire planet. Now of course we need to define the time-slice of each independent 'moment in time' of the earth throughout its history. We must therefore say that time cannot be continuous, i.e., experienced in an analog fashion, for that would mean we could make our delta t vanishingly small, and so for each delta t an entire universe would have to be in existence.
In other words, continuous time would imply an infinite number of earth's for every delta t, which would imply (a) universe(s) of infinite mass and energy. Now the universe is a creation of consciousness, since it has existence, and existence is not by definition infinite, being a SOMETHING. Infinite is a mental, or metaphysical concept as opposed to a physical one. Buckminster Fuller says, "Universe is a dynamically synchronous scenario that is unitarily non conceptual as of any one moment, yet as an aggregate of finites is sum totally finite." (Synergetics, p.81).
Now of course consciousness COULD have created a Reality such that there would be a finite, but still perceivably infinite series of independently existing universes of matter and energy (assuming that the time-slice of perception is NOT a vanishingly small delta t), each having a concretely independent time variable, but we are now talking about such a vast amount of matter and energy that for all intents and purposes, it is infinite. Since we do not observe an infinity of matter, it would be quite a stretch to say that time has a concrete existence.
Occam's Razor suggests that we find a simpler explanation, and so therefore we conclude that time does not have an independent existence and we reject the idea of a (practically) infinite series of parallel universes. Moreover, there is just no logical way to find out what the delta t of perception is for every moment of a physically existing series of universes.
What tantalizes us is reading written records of a place, say, in 1233. This teases us into thinking that there must be some way to actually physically go back there. The greatest exposition of time travel in literature is Albert Finney's book called 'Somewhere in Time'. When I read this book I was convinced that it was possible too actually travel back and forth physically in time, but unless we can figure out how entire universes of matter and energy can be created in every (unspecified) instant, we must conclude that it is impossible.
Therefore we conclude that time must be subjective, and we reject hypothesis (1) and (5) above, because these assume a solid and physical time dimension.
Now we must define what we mean by 'perceptual.'
We will define perceptual as, "able to be experienced by a conscious being".
We state further that 'able to be experienced by consciousness' does not imply, necessarily, that an experience must be perceived in a physical universe of matter and energy, while focused in a physical body.
We define a universe as that collection of perceptions which can be experienced by consciousness.
These definitions are of necessity somewhat circular, because the nature of consciousness itself is circular!
The nature of consciousness is self-reflexive, and can be modeled by the torus. Consciousness, by its own thought, can affect the nature of itself. This is mirrored or reflected in physical life; for example, by the tree, which expels a seed which contains the template of the tree, within itself. For a more rigorous explanation, see the work of Arthur Young and Stan Tenen.
Next let us look at the idea of 'reality'. There are two main schools of thought, the first states that reality is objective, solid and has an independent existence from the perceiver. The second school says that what is perceived is a subjective conclusion of the perceiver itself, and that it is impossible to say whether anything outside one's own awareness is 'real' or not.
A good handle on this dilemma can be found by examining dreams.
Most people would say that a dream is a completely subjective experience, whereas a 'waking moment' is an experience of a solid and real 'objective' existence. Yet if one has a vivid dream that leaves one's body shaking and in terror, or supremely uplifted, this is an experience every bit as real as an experience in the 'real' world, sometimes even more so. If one dies in a dream, one awakens in one's bed. If one dies in real life, one also awakens to the conscious experience one has before (and after) focusing in the body. The common denominator of both experiences is conscious awareness. The two experiences merely involve a translation from one type of conscious perceiving to another kind of conscious perceiving. In both cases, the 'reality' of the event is unquestioned by the perceiver.
Each experience is equally valid, because each experience was perceived with equal 'force'. Therefore we say that there can be no distinction between the two series of events. An event is just a series of experiences!
So we say, therefore, that a 'real experience' must depend upon the conscious perceiver, and so reality is dependent upon whatever is experienced by the perceiver. And so it is irrelevant whether the solid things we observe around us are objectively or subjectively real. This is really a sterile intellectual debate (which has been continuing, unresolved, for millennia), a question which can never be answered satisfactorily for everyone.
So we say that what is real, is real depending upon the experience of the conscious perceiver.
We observe this truth every day, in example after example. For instance, say 3 people are driving along the highway at 70 miles per hour and as their car comes up over the hill they see in front of them another car joy riding in the same lane. The driver swerves very quickly to avoid the joyriders and as the 3 friends discuss the incident, the first passenger is shaking, in complete terror and shock from the experience, while the 2nd passenger (a race car driver) is excitedly and enthusiastically speaking of the experience. Same event, same 'reality', completely different experience. It is pointless to ask 'which description of the event is real'? It is also pointless to attempt to describe the incident from the viewpoint of some theoretical outside observer: 'the description which is real is what you have just described: the car is traveling along the highway at 70 miles per hour... etc.' because there is no outside observer of the incident! The only way to find out what is 'real' is to ask the participants.
One can find points of agreement, that is, there was a highway, and 2 cars traveling in opposite directions. But this sort of thing happens all of the time in dreams. Who is to say that the experience of the 3 friends 'actually' happened at all? What if it were 'really' a dream?
These sorts of arguments are used all the time by defense lawyers in criminal trials.
The 'reality' of the experience is questioned, trying to sow reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurors as to the 'actual facts' of the experience. It often works because it postulates an underlying truth: what is 'real' is utterly dependent upon a conscious perceiver.
So we conclude from this discussion that both schools of thought are correct! An experience which appears to be solid and real can be concluded to result from an
objective reality, or from a subjective one.
The question is irrelevant!
The important thing is that conscious beings experience and that reality is all about consciousness and the perception of consciousness, regardless of how that comes about.
The basic idea is that consciousness, by its decisions, creates its experiences. Arguing about what is 'really real' is pointless. What is real is what is perceived, and what is perceived is decided, created, CAUSED by consciousness.
For those who insist on speculating how reality comes to be experienced by consciousness in a physical body, we postulate the following:
a universe-wide, virtual energy 'soup' that is responsive to thought. This soup of virtual energy either contains the templates for every particle, element, atom, compound and object in 'objectively real' existence, which templates can be manipulated by thought and thus result in Uri Geller bending the spoon, i.e., being able to manipulate and modify an already existing objective reality; or, this virtual energy is just a 'vibrational soup' in which thought itself (from consciousness) determines (interprets) what form the vibrational pattern takes on.
As the reader may have gathered, I prefer the latter explanation because it allows an infinite 'layering' of realities one upon the other, able to coexist in the same space/time universe without having to account for the practically infinite amount of matter and energy that would be required to support the 'objective reality' concept.
For a more in-depth discussion, see The Creation of a Universe .
We will refer to this virtual energy soup as the potential.
Now back to our discussion of time.
We have rejected the idea of time having a concrete and independent existence, like the 3 dimensions of space. We said that time is intimately related to space, cannot be separated from it. So in order to travel back or forward in time with our physical bodies, entire universes of matter and energy must be created in every 'instant' to accommodate our excursions, and for this reason we rejected the idea of physical time travel.
We propose that the illusion of time is created because consciousness is manifesting, or interpreting what has already manifested, from the potential in every delta t. The decisions of consciousness, throughout the universe, manifest a perceived change in matter and energy, in every perceivable instant. The changes in the environment are then noted and compared with a previous created or modified manifestation. This creates the illusion of 'time passing' when in reality EVERYTHING in existence is a continuous creation (or manifestation) from the potential, by every individual consciousness. This is somewhat similar to the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics, but with a little twist, as we will make clearer as we go along.
The act of observation is the perception of a manifested potential, brought about by the decisions of consciousness.
The idea is that consciousness is creating its experiences, in every delta t. Delta t can be as vanishingly small as is desired by the consciousness which is perceiving.
(For example, the bird perceives differently from a human which perceives differently from a tree. We assume that the bird's delta-t is shorter than the human, and the human's is shorter than that of the tree, by observing the life spans and the rate of motion of each life form. A fascinating Science Fiction book which explored this concept is 'Dragon's Egg' by the scientist Dr. Robert Forward).
This conception of consciousness is as totally causative, and is consistent with our assertion that consciousness created the universe. It implies that consciousness is continually modifying what it has created.
'Creation' is defined as the thought of a conscious being, since any thought has reality to the thinker, however tiny it might be, and any thought by definition is separate or different than the consciousness that created it.
We suppose that any thought which has been created by a conscious being somehow has continued existence, or is able to be accessed by other conscious beings.
So where does this leave us in regard to time?
Does the year 1233 exist somewhere? Can we travel 'back' to that era on earth and observe and interact in that environment with our physical bodies? Can we travel 'forward' to the year 3344 with our physical bodies and observe what is happening?
These questions imply that time has an independent existence and that every 'moment' in time is equally valid ( (3) above).
We rejected these arguments because again, it requires separate universes of matter and energy, for each delta t of perception. And there is no way to figure out what that delta t should be, and there is no evidence whatsoever of a series of material universes (with their accompanying mass) which must be created and 'stacked' in every delta t of perception.
We also reject time travel forward because this implies the future is pre-arranged. We have already decided that this is a free will universe, therefore we must reject explanations which require pre-determined thought and conduct.
But should we completely dismiss the idea of time travel?
We have already said elsewhere that an imprint of every experience is available to every conscious being. We postulate that as universal consciousness, we are aware of everything that 'is' and 'has' manifested from the potential. Therefore there is a record of everything that has been manifested, a template for every object (or interpretation of an object, if we are following the 'there is no objective reality' school of thought), a way for consciousness to recreate (or re-interpret) any scenario of Universe (a la Buckminster Fuller). This means that consciousness can re-experience any time period that has ever existed. The year 1233 'exists' if it can be re-experienced. Since consciousness has the ability to manifest from the potential and there is a recording of everything that has even been, we postulate that it is possible to 're-imagine' or re-experience any period in time. Does that mean that a physically focused conscious being can jump into a time machine, with his physical body and re-experience 1233? No, because one focused physical being does not have access to all of the templates and thoughts necessary to recreate every object that was in existence 'then', and certainly cannot create all of the millions of people that existed in that 'time'. A person in 1233 is/was a uniquely focused awareness with a unique personality, never to be in existence in precisely the same way.
But it does mean there is a possibility of recreating 1233 and experiencing 1233, strictly through conscious re-creation.
If there is a way to access universal intelligence, then there might be a way to actually re-experience the year 1233!
So what should we conclude from this discussion of time and the nature of reality?
1) The most important conclusion to be made is that consciousness, whether universal, or focused into a physical body, is the cause-point for existence. All that occurs, is created or modified, all perception and experience occurs by and to consciousness.
2) Whatever is perceived by a conscious being is that being's reality.
3) Perception and experience (reality) is therefore defined by consciousness. Since consciousness is cause-point, all conscious beings determine their own experiences!
Or, we can say, each being creates its own reality.
4) Time is a by-product of the way a conscious being decides to perceive, since each time-slice of observation is decision dependent.