In the last post I explored the notion of a fundamental unit of time. Once we have tried to wrap our heads around measuring time it is time to consider how we perceive time.
Again, most people consider the conversation about how we perceive time to be odd or pointless but let me take a stab at it. There are three ideas I would like to explore: the present, the non-present, and totality. I will only tackle the present in this post.
The present. Of all the different epochs of time I believe the present is the most fascinating. We all intuitively understand the idea of the present moment...but have you ever tried to really define WHEN the present is? Generally, the only definition that I hear is it is the moment I am experiencing right now. It is tucked right between the most recent moment of the past and the closest moment of the future.
Did you notice the word moment? How do we define that? I suspect in order to define a moment we will ultimately need a fundamental unit of time. Well, now we're in a jam. If time is a continuous phenomena with no breaks I suspect we will never find a fundamental unit. If time has a minimal scale (say a Planck time or something quantum in nature) then maybe science will eventually be able to define how long our "moment" actually is.
Ok, now another point to make about the present. Let's say you touch a hot surface and burn your finger. When did you burn your finger? When your finger touched the stove, a bit later after the nerve impulses travel to your brain, even slightly longer when your brain processes the signal and recognizes you are being burnt, or later on after your brain s new signals back to the muscle in your arm telling you to move your hand? Because of our crude perception of time we tend to perceive this all together as a single moment, but science and common sense tells us there are distinct events separated by time. Now this brings us to a question about the present. At the moment you recognized you were presently being burned were you at the beginning of the process? Nope, there was a definable amount of time that had elapsed from the time the damage started, was communicated, collected, processed, and finally perceived. By the time you consciously recognized burning, it was old news. The real world is separated from our awareness of it by a distinct amount of time. So which moment is the present moment? If it is when the burn started then we are only aware of the present after it is actually the past. So is there really a present? If the present is when we perceive it then isn't it really just an outworking of our brain that points more to how our brains work than a fundamental state of reality? Here the present is always just our brain processing the most recent past moment it physically has access to.
Whew...that makes my head hurt...right now!
I believe that no matter what worldview we espouse we should understand what we believe any why. I hope to show others that the Christian worldview is not only accurate but true. If not, I hope they will be clear on why they reject it.