Saturday, October 31, 2009

Temporal Mass

Is everything about our reality accelerating? What do the impressions of childhood, that time moves very slowly from month to month, and our impression that time moves much more quickly from year to year as we get older, tell us about our reality? In Jumping Jesus, we looked at Robert Anton Wilson's ideas on the exponential growth of information and innovation that we are all now having to deal with. Over at the tenth dimension forum, Daniel McQueen recently submitted this thought-provoking post:

If you take a gravitationally-attracted body (IE, something with mass), and let it freely move about in 3-dimensions, it will tend to move with ever-increasing speed towards the strongest gravitational pull. Any child who has played the wood-box game of Labyrinth can attest to it. Furthermore, if there is only one such source, the object will move in a straight line.

In our observations, the three arrows of time all point from past to future. Without explaining the physics of each arrow (Pick up Michio Kako's book "Hyperspace" to read about time's arrows in detail), it is our observation that objects moving at non-relativistic speeds move in a constant velocity towards time(future) and away from time(past). Limiting the timeline to 1d (and ignoring alts or forbids), I pose this question.

Do we have temporal "mass"?

To a child younger than 3 years, minutes seem like hours, hours seem like days, and days seem like weeks. Any kid put in 5 minutes timeout or "quiet time" will tell you its an eternity. Birthdays seem to take forever to come around.

I am a few months away from my 29th birthday. I can remember most of my life, and I have to admit, the 1980s went by really slow (1981-1989), the 1990s went a little faster (my freshman year of high school seems like a long time ago, even though it was 1995), and the 2000s seem to have flown.

At the same time, my younger cousin, age 9, from my p.o.v. has grown up really fast. From her p.o.v., it seems to have been forever since she was in pre-school.

The point is this: My age in seconds (days, fortnights, or whatever time units you want to use) is quite higher than hers. I have more temporal "mass" one could say. Perhaps this is why I seem to move faster through the days than my cousin does? And even though this is purely a perceptional issue, I think it is an interesting one. Each week seems to go by faster to me than the last. Either I am imagining things, or I am incessantly rolling down a shallow hill towards my ultimate resting place (death).
That's an interesting idea, Daniel, thanks for posting it! The question, for me, becomes this - if everything about our reality is accelerating, then these questions all become relativistic. Someone born 9 years ago has been part of the most accelerated development in all of recorded history, in a universe that is continuously accelerating its expansion, and in a world where people are instantaneously connected together in ways that were science fiction a decade ago... and yet to that 9 year old person this time has taken an interminably long time. Is it the observer or the observed who are accelerating? Does the universe have more "temporal mass" now in the same way that each of us as individuals do, and that's where the impression that time and space are both accelerating is really coming from? And if the Biocentric Universe theories are correct, then does this tie into the idea that our observation is what creates spacetime, rather than the other way around?

Gevin Giorbran described our spacetime reality as being pulled at either "end" by two organizing forces: grouping order and symmetry order. If Information Equals Reality, then everything about our reality can be divided into two lists: "this is the way our universe is right now" and "these are the ways our universe isn't". Obviously, when we think about the remarkably unlikely configuration of mass and energy, organizing patterns and information that represents our universe at this instant, this means the second list is much much larger than the first. But time's arrow tells us that we are moving away from the highest grouping order (the past), and the traditional view has been that what we are moving towards is some gloomy kind of high entropy soup where all of that information becomes meaningless noise.

We keep returning to the idea that our universe, as stated in a Scientific American article by physicist Sean Carroll, is a "temporary deviation from symmetry". Symmetry is perfect balance, a natural process that happens all the time - things have a way of evening out. Starting from the work of physicist David Bohm, Gevin Giorbran showed how the highly-ordered beginning of our universe is one way of ordering the information, or showing perfectly-balanced symmetry, and the "ending" of our universe is not meaningless noise, but the other most balanced way of representing that information. To use an absurdly simple representation, let's say the information representing our universe is like a big handful of coins tossed on a table. With H for heads and T for tails, it's like the beginning of our universe would be where we threw HHHHHHHHHHHHHTTTTTTTTTTTTT, our current position in spacetime would be some random-looking collection of results (THHTTHTTTHHTTTTHTTTHTHHHT), and what we're moving towards is HTHTHTHTHTHTHTHTHTHTHTHTHT. The beginning and the end, then, are two ways or representing the same thing, a perfectly balanced order, and what looks like a random assortment in the "middle" is really a causally-connected representation of one frame from within a process of gradually moving from the first set to the last set, from grouping order to symmetry order.

(Let me remind you, though, that when we're thinking about concepts like "past" and "future" and "before" and "after", these are useful for thinking about how things relate from one state to another, but we're not really thinking about the whole picture until we are visualizing how these events really already exist simultaneously within the timeless omniverse.)

Gevin suggested that gravity is a force that comes from the "past", from that highest grouping order, since gravity is what draws things together into groups. With his Timewave Zero and Novelty Theory, Terence McKenna suggested that what we are moving towards now is the highest "novelty". He proposed that we're on an exponential curve where eventually our timeline becomes so filled with possibilities that we jump to another level, where we can see the place where all of those potential states that we could now be moving towards exist simultaneously: and in my way of visualizing the dimensions that would be viewing our reality from the extra dimensions. When we get to that highest degree of novelty, we'll be at the highest symmetry order - absolutely every bit of information will have been appreciated along with its unique opposite, within that ultimate state of highest symmetry order which all enfolds together into a big beautiful zero that is not empty, but full of all those possibilities.

Thinking about Robert Anton Wilson's Jumping Jesus Phenomenon, Terence McKenna's Timewave Zero", and Daniel McQueen's idea of a "temporal mass", then, might be different ways of thinking about the very same thing. Is the future pulling us towards it at an increasingly accelerated rate? Signs point to "yes".

Enjoy the journey!


Next: O is for Omniverse A and B

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