The growing block theory of time

Time is simply blocks or slices of reality, added on top of one another. Writes C. D. Broad’s in his theory of time in 1923. #books #amreading

Time is simply blocks or slices of reality, added on top of one another. Writes C. D. Broad’s in his theory of time in 1923: 

[…] such a theory as this accepts the reality of the present and the past, but holds that the future is simply nothing at all. Nothing has happened to the present by becoming past except that fresh slices of existence have been added to the total history of the world […] The sum total of existence is always increasing, and it is this which gives the time-series a sense [direction] as well as an order.

C. D. Broad, Scientific Thought: A Philosophical Analysis of some of its fundamental concepts
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Getting to zero time

Time is constant. And it keeps on moving with more and more rapidity, driven by technology.

Said painter Fredericka Foster in her interview with composer Philip Glass:

Time is speeding up in a real way. Younger people’s sense of time is completely different than mine; they have been working on screen time since they were tiny. Perhaps the reason why summer went by so fast for your son is that he has never experienced the slowdown in time, or boredom.

We have food, we enjoy our electronic screens, yet boredom seems to harder to find. It is scarce.

We’ve learned to pursue distraction as a replacement for letting our minds wander. Entertainment fills the void: it introduces new and shiny objects in the form of YouTube videos and shiny Instagrams.

But we can still freeze time, at least in our heads when we look at something like a painting. Says Phillip Glass:

When I look at a painting, time always seems to be in the present. In music, things happen in measured time. When a painter looks at a canvas, time is irrelevant. I was visiting Jasper Johns once, looking at one of his number paintings from 10 years before. He said, “I am still working on that painting.” When I look at your paintings, for you a day of work may go by fast or slow, but the painting is the painting, and looking, I can jump in and get to zero time easily.

When in the midst of creativity, time also seems to slow down. We dance, play an instrument, write, or paint to the rhythm of each tick-tock.

Once I get the composition down, I can begin to pay attention to the rhythm of the painting. I put on music (for example, your Satyagraha) and enter into a dance with the painting, changing the composition to exaggerate the rhythm. Time disappears. I become a verb, seeing, painting. That time cannot be measured. With this kind of focused attention, time has no boundaries. That’s the kind of time you find in love, in creativity, in the life of the spirit, the kind of time I live for.

Time is elapsing now, yet there are still ways to grasp it.

The elasticity of time

Benedict Cumberbatch reads an extract from Carlo Rovelli's book The Order of Time:

I stop and do nothing. Nothing happens. I am thinking about nothing. I listen to the passing of time. This is time, familiar and intimate. We are taken by it. The rush of seconds, hours, years that hurls us towards life then drags us towards nothingness … We inhabit time as fish live in water. Our being is being in time. Its solemn music nurtures us, opens the world to us, troubles us, frightens and lulls us. The universe unfolds into the future, dragged by time, and exists according to the order of time. What could be more universal and obvious than this flowing?

In a physics laboratory, a clock on a table and another on the ground run at different speeds. Which tells the time? The question is meaningless. We might just as well ask what is most real – the value of sterling in dollars or the value of dollars in sterling. There are two times that change relative to each other. Neither is truer than the other. But there are not just two times. Times are legion: a different one for every point in space. The single quantity “time” melts into a spiderweb of times. We do not describe how the world evolves in time: we describe how things evolve in local time, and how local times evolve relative to each other.

Time is always moving at different speeds, a subjective interpretation.

It only takes a few micrograms of LSD to expand our experience of time to an epic and magical scale. “How long is forever?” asks Alice. “Sometimes, just one second,” replies the White Rabbit. There are dreams lasting an instant in which everything seems frozen for an eternity. Time is elastic in our personal experience of it. Hours fly by like minutes, and minutes are oppressively slow, as if they were centuries.

Before Einstein told us that it wasn’t true, how the devil did we get it into our heads that time passes everywhere at the same speed? It was certainly not our direct experience of the passage of time that gave us the idea that time elapses at the same rate, always and everywhere.

U.K. schools dismiss the traditional clock face

[bha size='120×120′ variation='01' align='alignright']The U.K. is eliminating analog clocks from student classrooms because kids can't read them.

Says one professor from the Times Educational Supplement newspaper:

“It is amazing the number of students I am coming across in year 10, 11 and in sixth form who do not know how to tell the time. We live in a world where everything is digital. We are moving towards a digital age and they do not necessarily have analogue watches anymore and they have mobile phones with the time on.”

Of course, kids in the UK can't be the only ones who need digital clocks to tell time.

Generation thumbs in the USA can't seem to either, as Jimmy Kimmel highlights in the video below.

Just as Google replaced the 3 x 5 index card, the iPhone silenced the tick-tock. At least adults and children can agree on one thing about time: it never stops.

One infinite loop

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  • Smart watches
  • Kindle books
  • Spotify streams

The newest technologies erode their physical counterparts, but they also revitalize interest in the old stuff.

The sensory, tactile experience of analog items as those listed above literally feel more special. They are stimulants: the subtle noise of a telltale “tick-tock,” the fresh smell of an unopened book, or the surface noise of vinyl, not to mention the album art that doubles as real-life Instagrams to make fancy wall art

People want reality. They want to disconnect from the internet's dizzying pace and reconnect to those micro moments.

Nature nurtures and refocuses our sense of being. We are more than just robots seeking the temporary therapy of distraction.

My now is your now 

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Humans are entropic; we die the minute we're born. Our lives are limited by time.

But life goes on. It keeps ticking away.

NASA discovered seven Earth-like planets that no one reading this will ever see.

Machines are starting to take over jobs,; the AI revolution will do everything from making music to curating it.

We discover and tee up the future even if we don't breathe in it.

Our presence comes and goes in the blink of the eye. Time passing is time past. It's always about more than us.

The annihilation of space by time

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Tempus fugit. Time flies. But that's because we allow technology to accelerate it.

When we speed through life as we scroll through our Instagram feeds, seeing everything as “pictures on a wall,” we don't remember much. We get caught in looking at the rapidity of impressions rather than engaging in real wonders. We see the world like a rolling film, and any pause causes a fight with intolerable boredom.

The rush to speed through life and accomplish all our goals in quick succession is the fastest way to reach “the annihilation of space by time.” But if we walk and slow down, we can catch the everyday moments in between. Slowness is what stimulates.

Technology flattens time and our expectations along with it. We expect everything to be instantly digestible, a downloadable shortcut. The time we spend digging deeper — experiencing– is what puts the bones in the goose. Acknowledging that “it will never be finished,” opens up space and time to dream.

Read A Model Railway Journey

What is more important: money or time?

What is more important: money or time?, what is more important time or money

At some point, you'll need to decide which is more important to you: time or money.

Everybody has the same amount of time. However, few people can enjoy it because they have to go to work. But we can be deliberate with time when it comes, using it pursue a hobby or hang out with friends and family. It's proven that people who choose time over money spend it wisely and are happier for it.

Some rich folks feel like they never have enough money, so they buy things they never have time to use. They're unhappy because they confuse time with money, but materialism rarely equates to happiness.

There is no doubt that money makes life easier. Who wants to wait in line, eat Ramen every night, and feel left out because they can't afford to travel or upgrade their computer? Being poor sucks. But focusing on money fails to create the deeper meaning you seek.

In today's age, software accelerates time. People feel like they're playing catch-up, trying to stay on top of the news and their friends' activities until they realize that the fear of missing out. Comparison is the root their of unhappiness.

“I wanted to pursue my star further,” Jack Kerouac once wrote. What he longed for is more time. The gas tank is starving for fuel so the individual can go out and find meaning. But that same person can always choose to slow down and walk for free.

What Should You Choose: Time or Money? 

Debating the nature of time 

The future already happened. We are just working backwards to fulfill an eventuality. But some physicists are leaning toward a philosophical route to explain the meaning of time. Instead of longing on the future, they focus on the present. 

“The future is not now real and there can be no definite facts of the matter about the future.” What is real is “the process by which future events are generated out of present events.” – Lee Smolin, Theoretical Physicist

Is the “NOW,” space, time all there is? As they say, let go and let God.

“Future events exist, she said, they just don’t exist now. “The block universe is not a changing picture. It’s a picture of change.” Things happen when they happen”  – Jenann Ismael, Philosopher University of Arizona

Tick tock you don’t stop ⏲

“This is a unique object”

“It glows. It seems to be getting brighter. It’s also running backwards, it’s not so much keeping time but, counting down to something. And look at the back it’s..it fits into something. It’s like a key” — Lara Croft Tomb Raider

Everybody’s fixated on the clock. It’s what we use to countdown to the weekend. It’s what professional sports uses to determine a winner. Clocks constrict time when them as points of reference.

Jeff Bezos built a clock that will keep time for the next 10,000 years. It demonstrates Bezos’ vision for long-term thinking.

Coldplay created a hit song called “Clocks” in 2002. More importantly, it’s also the name of a track from Elementz of Sound that appeared on John Peel’s FabricLive 07.

Did you know that 2016 will be one-second longer? Says science author Dan Falk:

“If you don’t insert a leap second, eventually time based on those atomic clocks will be out of whack with solar time.”

Clock in, clock out. Everybody's got the same amount of time on Earth. It's what you do with it that matters.

Written for the Daily Prompt: Clock ⏲

The value of extra time

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Extra time is invaluable.

The winning goal is often scored in extra time.

A revelation comes to fruition near the end of the meeting.

“Did we miss anything?” one might ask.

Extra time allows (necessary) time to fill in the gaps.

PS: In Our Time has a fantastic session after the show where the participants talk about things they missed.

“More time is better than money” 💸

Time is money

Time is the most valuable asset we have, especially when it comes to vacation. Money just makes things easier. Instead of walking up the mountain, we pay to take the lift. Instead of using the local train, we hop in a more expensive cab ride. Yet, convenience is often a shortcut to experience.

The most memorable trips are the ones that slow us down and allow us to notice the minutiae: the smells, the way people move, communicate, and dress. Flying over a mountain makes an enviable Instagram photo but taking a picture of the man reading the newspaper or even his shoes, recreates a cultural moment that's not Googleable.

“Of the two modes, it is far better to have more time than money.

When you have abundant time you can get closer to core of a place. You can hang around and see what really happens. You can meet a wider variety of people. You can slow down until the hour that the secret vault is opened. You have enough time to learn some new words, to understand what the real prices are, to wait out the weather, to get to that place that takes a week in a jeep.” – Kevin Kelly, More time is better than money

Money cheats time by replacing experiences with immediate gratification. The challenges along the way are the richest experiences in disguise. “So if you have a choice,” Kelley writes, “travel with more time than money. You’ll be richer.”