Posted by: kentauros | September 4, 2014

Seeing Time

It’s a topic that all too often causes people to stop listening, or even thinking, due to how complex it seems. I’m going to attempt to simplify it in ways people can readily imagine.

First, think of how we live in Time in our physical lives. It’s linear because that’s how life works in this reality. So, we can only think in terms of this came before that, and that comes after now. It’s a progression of past events from right now. (If you want to confuse yourself, just watch the clip of Col. Sanders trying to explain to Dark Helmet about “Now-now” in Spaceballs.)

So, we think of our lives in Time as a series of events, moments, and memories in a long line. You could literally lay out every memory on a 2-dimensional line, from a beginning point to a present point. Think of them as an image facing along the line to the present moment. (Some that are old enough might think of film slides in a slotted board with all facing to the end called their Present Moment.)

Once you have this in mind, move the end that is the Present Moment to your mind’s eye until you are looking straight down the line to the other end. Assuming you could see every moment as clearly as what you see around you right now, all of those same moments/memories you put onto your line can now all be seen at once. They are all overlapped yet still as clear as any other single memory. You are seeing all of them at the same time, or simultaneously.

Another way of ‘seeing’ simultaneous time is to imagine all of your memories of your life up to the Present Moment as overlaid on the other like see-through pages on a map or image. They become layers, all as distinct from the other as before.

This last one came to me as I was thinking about this subject earlier this week and how some people I know have complained of it being too complex of a topic to imagine it. That is, to simply remember something in your past, from any time in your life. Now, I only have myself to go on, and realize that sometimes when I ‘re-live’ a past memory, I do so as an observer, and not as myself in that time. Whereas when it’s a more recent memory, such as something done yesterday or earlier today, then it’s as if I’m in that moment as me, and not simply observing me in that moment. The key to understanding simultaneous time by this method is to basically re-live whatever memory or moment you’re accessing.

Being in that moment again isn’t difficult, at least in my experience, and I know plenty of other people with better memories than mine for the entirety of their lives and can “step into” that previous moment with ease. It encompasses your mind when you do that, such that most of the surrounding ‘present’ isn’t noticed. The conscious human mind doesn’t truly do multitasking as people claim in their daily lives. More that you are quickly switching from one task to another, keeping the memory to do the other tasks off to the side of your current mind, so to speak. What you are thinking right now is only one thing, be it my words here, or whatever else has a higher current priority in your thoughts. One moment, one mind, one thought per moment.

What this has to do with understanding simultaneous time is that when you relive that memory, you are basically back in that previous moment. And yet, here you are in the present. Both moments are happening at the same time in this context. Sure, you may say the past one is just a memory, and you aren’t actually living it again. My example is more about how to perceive that past moment as existing at the same time as this very moment. Both are in your mind, and so both are happening now.

I understand that my last example may still be too complex for some people, so just use the previous simpler versions. You don’t have to comprehend it fully; I certainly don’t have a full grasp of it, either, just better ways of visualizing it for dealing with how my Other Lives exist in a place that is always Now.

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