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On Time

February 18, 2014
tags: time, philosophy, existential crises

Hello all,

I'm going to take a step back from what I usually write on here to spitball a bit about something that's been wracking 'round my noggin lately: time, and its implications.

To me, the fact that we can perceive things in time is absolutely astounding. And indeed, it is fundamental to the experience of life -- not just human, but all life. Short-term memory is a gift, and it empowers us to buffer events and create cause-effect relationships. It allows us to learn. It allows us to be more than just automatons. But it confounds me.

Time is a continuum, or so the theories say. It's analog. But I have a hard time grasping analog concepts. I tend to reduce them to ditigal, discrete events. And therein, I'm sure, lies my confusion over time. When time is seen as discrete slices of existence, what does any one moment mean in the grand scheme of things? Indeed, how can one conceive of a grand scheme at all?

In any given millisecond, I could be either inhaling or exhaling, moving or not moving, happy or sad, blinking or not blinking, shedding a particular hair or not, etc. I am a collection of bits. It follows that the entire universe and all of time could be encoded as a massive, unending bitstream... but what would each frame mean? Given that time is analog, how could it be discretized without losing fidelity?

These are the questions that confound my poor mind. I don't know how to rectify them. But I am just a hairless ape, so do I really need to?

No, I think I just need to enjoy the ride a bit more.

Thanks for reading.

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