The March of Time – Ch4 – Humanity’s Forgotten Reflection

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Humanity’s Forgotten Reflection

By S. A. Ward

Chapter 4 – The March of Time

Our various conceptualizations of time are part of a collective societal perception that our minds have been conditioned to use as a foundation for heightened conscious experience. The common association with time for the majority of human history, via a clock, is a social construct to grant greater uniformity within a society. It is not fundamental, but is a tool that serves our species survival in this environment we find ourselves in. This concept of time only retains relevance to organisms with such senses. It’s a purely structural ideation of our minds to create order. This social construct and time as a mental framework, hangs upon the human condition. The way our brains are tuned to perceive and our species having a finite lifespan. If the human lifespan wasn’t so fragile and ephemeral, then this social construct of time would become irrelevant. Time is only relevant to us, because our lives can be swept from existence like an ant being relentlessly curb stomped by a herd of elephants. This sphere of human thought demands a distinct level of cognitive capacity to where a cohesive understanding and relations to other conscious experiences can be made. Animals as far as we know (good chance that I’m wrong) have no concept of time, their mental perceptions are far more constrained than even the human experience and it is not something our species adopted from the beginning. Further reinforcing that it is not fundamental and is just a social construct, which shouldn’t be done away with like many social constructs, because they often serve us more than we realize, and it is a systematic game changer for greater functionality. This social construct of time is relative to an individual’s subjective experience. What we experience as the passing of time is completely relative to the observer or a frame of reference. We often experience this in our day to day lives. For example, when we are in pain it feels though it passes by slower. When we are having fun, it zooms right by. 

During childhood, before we acquired the concepts of time and age, they were totally alien to us fundamentally. Our own mortality never crossed our minds until we experienced the mortality of others. Another relatable example, during summer vacation we often lost track of the current calendar date, it became totally irrelevant to us, because we were so captivated in the present moment and that’s when our chains of the human condition were at their weakest. Carl Jung referred to it as the dream of childhood. How childhood is like a far off and fragmented memory, like a vivid dream. We go through much of our lives in a sort of cognitive daze and then randomly wake up at some arbitrary point in our lives. Arriving at the stark realization that years or even decades passed. Either one manages to overcome the horrors of reality, or they go back to being in a cognitive daze again.

The older we become the more knowledge we acquire and that can either be liberating or demoralizing. It is usually demoralizing, but like what was already stated. The road to Heaven passes straight through Hell. Not all are fortunate to have such moments in their childhood, so it can be hard to relate to that for some, but that same frame of mind can be experienced beyond childhood. Our social construct of time is ultimately a tool for greater societal structure, uniformity, and functionality. Our experience of time is also quite linear or the whole idea of there being a past or future may just be abstract concepts. For all we know such instances may no longer exist and are nothing more than mere fantasy we entertain ourselves with. Do we really know how long a year is? Is it something we almost instinctively know? Or do we rely on social order and what we are told? The second, minute, hour, day, month, year, century is arbitrary by design and only holds relevance to Earth’s planetary orbital cycle. An example of the fragility of our society’s social construct of time. How many times do we find ourselves asking others what’s today’s date? That’s the blatant fragility, we are highly dependent and put an immense amount of trust on what others tell us. It wasn’t all too long ago that the common consensus was that Earth is the center of the universe. Putting Earth in some delusional position of great importance in the universe. We are ultimately prey to the information we are exposed to. That’s enough of our social constructs of time.

The physical manifestation of linear time as a framework, can be manipulated by mass or how fast one is traveling in regard to light speed. A particular frame of reference can be altered due to an immense mass exerting great gravitational influence or how close one travels to light speed, to where less time will pass than in another frame of reference. Time doesn’t go at some sort of snail’s pace in such a frame of reference; however, less time will elapse. Their frame of reference being a spaceship, traveling at an immense speed causes less time to elapse within that frame of reference. 

The early common conceptualization of time travel is a bit naive, because the sheer idea is always self-centered around an individual’s personal existence or the human experience when our pixel of planetary history holds no real fundamental grasp onto the fabric of existence. We still are quite ignorant of the objective nature of our domain. Our planetary history is like a snake’s mottled skin, it’s expendable and is absolutely not vital for the universe’s perpetuation. An asteroid could come wailing into the planet and our little pixel would be erased like it never even existed. Time travel is an intriguing realm of thought for many. Its potential implications are unpredictable so that’s why we’re immensely drawn to it.  

Time traveling to a desired period could be like having someone release a single droplet of water into the ocean at a random location that isn’t disclosed. The only information you are accommodated with is that it is somewhere in one of the oceans and you are tasked with retrieving or locating it. Our planet is not stationary, our solar system is not stationary, nor our galaxy. Our cosmic system is traveling at incomprehensible speeds through the universe. Our galaxy isn’t a necessity, it’s an expendable and temporary attribute of it that can be shed on a whim, the universe will go on. The whole idea of a multiverse is an absurd and naive concept. We should ask ourselves the question, what is a universe? We haven’t even traveled let alone observed the full expanse of our cosmic domain, yet we jump to the conclusion that there’s an infinite quantity of universes that all conform to human history or experience. Insinuating that each multiverse has a slightly different version of ourselves, and we feed ourselves this frail delusion of false importance in existence. (Personal note: The multiverse is a cool and entertaining concept. I write fiction, so I love some good bullshit, but the way it is sold in the world of media is just so mediocre. That’s the main part that really irks me. The complete butchering and bastardisation of the concept.)

Then let’s bring in relativity, the dimension of time is relative to a frame of reference or area of space. Depending on the conditions of an area will dictate the rate at which time will pass. The mass of a celestial body or the rate at which something moves can slow the rate of time passing. The whole idea that there is a state of constancy is an illusion we have been conditioned into to make our environment more easily comprehensive. Space can be warped; the dimension of time and the rate is entirely relative to a frame of reference’s arbitrary conditions.

Linear time travel is supposedly possible if one travels at a speed relative to the speed of light, as explained earlier, however linear time travel may be the only path, meaning we can only travel forward in time and not into the past. To travel at such speeds for even a short duration would require an unfathomable amount of energy. The closer one travels at the speed of light the less time will elapse in that frame of reference. So, depending on one’s speed will dictate the perceived or experienced time frame; it will determine whether 5 years, 1 year, a month, 5 minutes, or 2 seconds may elapse. We could potentially linearly time travel billions of years into the “future,” however such a feat would demand an immense amount of energy and there could be no going back. There is also the question if organic organisms could even survive such an event, or our ideas of time travel could be catastrophically wrong and our efforts amount to inconceivable paradoxes for the participants involved. There’s a creepy pasta narrated by Mr. Creeps on YouTube called, “Time travel is not what you think it’s like.” It is fiction however it contains an intriguing concept on time travel. Essentially 3 participants were part of a time travel experiment. The area of interest to be time traveled was a small shack of a house in the middle of nowhere. They were supposed to only time travel 3 hours into the future, which they did, however only 3 hours passed for the scientists while the participants were trapped in an isolated timeless bubble to where they didn’t age, didn’t need to eat, breathe, relieve oneself, and or really do anything to sustain themselves and to them it was as though many lifetimes worth of time went by. One of the male participants killed himself relatively early, the remaining male and female participants were gradually devoured by madness. The female participant lived, but never recovered from a catatonic state, which means she was so traumatized that it reduced her to having the cognitive capacity of a vegetable. The living male participant didn’t fall into total madness like the other two, but what he experienced haunted him for the remainder of his life. Like I said, this is fiction and shouldn’t be treated as fact, but it’s a pretty solid representation of what time dilation and relativity is like. The point being made is that time travel is not as straightforward or simplistic as it is portrayed and could amount to a soul-destroying paradox for those involved.

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