Time Conundrum: A Question for Believers

I don’t believe in time. This is a question for those of you who do. Please help enlighten me.

First, if you’re a believer, then an increment of time is an increment of time, right? One hundred years is an increment of time, and 1/1000th of a second is an increment of time. Increments of time can be very long, or short, but they are still increments of time.

At some point, an increment of time becomes imperceptible to the range of our senses, but it is still an increment of time. As an analogy, we may not be able to see x-rays or ultraviolet rays with the naked eye, but we know they exist.

Holding on to the notion that an increment of time is an increment of time no matter what, let’s consider our senses. Let’s begin with seeing.

First, when your eye receives an image, things are initially a bit “messed up.” Images received by the eye are upside-down, and are then corrected by a process-too-complicated-to-explain in the back of the eye. The corrected image signal is then sent to the brain. This is not a very scientific explanation of the process – but the point is that a process occurs before an image is received by the brain. What is most important for the question to be posed here is to recognize that this process takes an increment of time.

If you think about it, it seems all stimuli we receive for understanding the world undergo some kind of process before we understand it with our brain. Granted, some processes are quicker than others…such as a reflex action that occurs before the associated pain message reaches the brain…but all of the processes take some increment of time.

My question is simply this – if all increments of time are increments of time + anything that happened an increment of time ago happened in the past + all experience takes an increment of time before being processed by the brain = then where is the present tense in experience? Is there a present tense that we can know?

- The Fool
- This posting originally appeared @ Shouting in the Dark 2007