Thursday, October 07, 2010

Zeno's Paradox

I have been fascinated by Zeno's Paradox for at least 4 decades, and there must be many dozens of musings scattered through my notebooks on the topic, including not a few solutions to the paradox. This is my latest musing.

5/15/2010, Shabbat Bemidbar, plane to DC
Reading Bohm, Implicate Order, pp. 199 to a third of the way down 201.

Zeno’s paradox, although appearing to pertain to motion, really is about consciousness and the perception of time. In consciousness, time is overlapping, like a series of semi-transparent images arrayed and overlapping each other. The term I have used is “superimposition” and in some cases “embedded,” while Bohm uses “enfolded.” As our sense of time is superimposed (a fundamental property of consciousness), so events are embedded in each other, and “now” includes some indeterminate component of “past” and “future.” The more expanded and expansive (expansen) our consciousness, the more the past and future is “embedden” in our “now.” Indeed, we must not think of time as a single thread, and in the same way, we must not think of consciousness as a single thread, or even as just a few threads. Our math, Aristotelian, Euclidean, as it is, distorts and misrepresents reality. We mathematically represent motion as a vector, but it is really multiple vectors, which in the calculus of consciousness are synthesized and unified, a simplification useful for most applications, but inaccurate as we begin to unpack the actual “workings” (in quotes because the term implies a mechanistic representation, and consciousness is not mechanistic) of consciousness and our awareness of minute periods of time and motion. When we try to stop-frame time, we realize it can’t be done. Just as a geometric point is a fiction, so is an instant in time. However, an instant in consciousness is not only an indeterminately short moment, it is a series or compilation of time frames, long and short, extending back, potentially thousands of years, or more, and forward in ways and “distances” we cannot calculate or comprehend.

Hercules overtakes the turtle because the geometric model that would restrain him with its infinite regression is fundamentally flawed. It posits time as a single line made up of an infinite number of tangent points. But time is not a single line, it is not even linear, and there are no such things as instants.

At my horizon, and hazy still:

1. Time is a complex superimposition of multiple frame-periods, individually discontinuous (?), and variable in their endurance/extension, (reified, integrated synthesized) by consciousness.

2. Human will/intentionality is the (necessity)(?) that generates this uni-dimensional synthesis, this illusion of a single thread of time, of moments, of motion, and of divisibility. I say will is what drives us to create the Euclidean illusions of time because will is what motivates us build, make tools, hunt, plan, and calculate, and all these functions require that time be simplified into one dimension in a series of causally connected moments.

3. Concepts and perceptions of predictability and control derive from archaic portions of consciousness that incline us to strip reality of its complexities.

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