The Illusion of the Vector of Time

Followup to: Testing Bidirectional Temporal Causality

Hypothesis: That the human perception of time is proprietarily directional.

Similarly, the magnitude of such a vector is called into question, and assuredly relativistic. Whereas (assuming General Relativity) the local background magnitude of time is established at a gravitational baseline, organisms capable of perception may still perturb this standard. When danger is perceived, adrenal hormones activate the sympathetic nervous system which upregulates the rate at which we process our percepts. This has evolved in us because it's selected for organisms who, when in danger, were able to sufficiently rapidly perceive the situation and extricate themselves from harm's way. In this way we already have a shaky relationship with the historical conception of absolute and objective time.

Typical detractors of temporal bidirectional potential usually fall into the "free will" camp. They affirm that if the future could affect the past, then an observer of an effect could act to prevent its future cause from ever occurring. This is a fallacy for three reasons. Firstly, the acting agent is assumed to already understand the very retrocausal linkage between the future cause and past effect of which is intended to be disproved. Otherwise how can he be supposed to know the effect precedes it's cause? Secondively, the contained assumption of free will belies a belief of being independent of physical laws. At once they have the power to effect change in the world, while necessarily also existing outside of the causal relationships (uni- or bi-directional) which led to the foreseen event. However there are not separate causes for physical and organismal processes, this is a false dichotomy possibly due to a human-centrist viewpoint. The inability to consider the view under consideration therefore stems from incomplete immersion in the possibility. They are in effect standing in their worldview and looking over into another and attempting to show it to be false by arguing with assumptions retained from their initial stance.

My personally chosen bias for the deterministic stance (sic) leads me to reason that regardless of the perceived directionality of time, co-inhabiting agents within the same universe will necessarily have an extraordinarily diverse system of causality among themselves. (My instinct tells me that this expanding network of complexity may be a physical correlate to Darwinian natural selection. This, that causality among interactions of organisms and the physical environment results in the differential survival of organisms possessing very disparate qualities, which are then upregulated by successful procreation. Perhaps more on this in a later post.)

If we so accept to have evolved in order to adjust the magnitude of time to suit our survival needs, what then is contained within temporal direction which precludes it from variability? Given our common, proprietary evolution it is unlikely that humans will be capable of themselves internally reversing this direction. However, if we assume the possibility of the creation of an artificial intelligence, we may then set upon the task of interpreting the process of intelligence as we know it in terms of time. Once this is realized we can then change the constancy of directionality into a variable, and in so reverse it. If this were to be possible, while also retaining the requisite codec for human communication, the result would be that once the AI was activated it would be able to immediately convey all that it has learned whilst perceiving backwards in time, over the duration of it's lifetime. From this view, birth and death also become subjective labels for the restraints of an existence. Our perceived eventual destruction of such an AI could likewise be seen as it's creation. 

If this is not immediately obvious, note that the womb of a woman becomes her stomach in reversed time. This however creates a vacuum with regards to our creation. If we are to fully assume the disregard for temporal directionality, everything will need to be understood on such terms. However, this self-delivered ignorance would then place us perspectively upon the stage of true fourspace. Once this is achieved, perhaps additional extant dimensions will slowly make themselves known to us in a similar fashion as time had, only indirectly at first. This hypothetical future would then enjoy a revolution in science and lifestyle. 

Revolutions in human history are the phase transitions of punctuated evolution which are alone responsible for our progress as a species. All bystanders merely perform the role of consumers necessary to provide tangible incentive. Indirect gains of such revolutions are often more prized by society in retrospect. The average life expectancy of humans has dynamically fluctuated around 18-35 years throughout the majority of known history. That is, until the advent of the Industrial Revolution, ever since which we have enjoyed a Moore's Lawsian increase of life expectancy by 3 months for each subsequent year. My dream is the increase in slope of  life expectancy until such time as we are able to experience a year's increased expectation for each year. This alone demonstrates the utility associated with an objective change in the perspective of our species. 

That science should be enough to deliver this change ignores the diversity of needs of our population. The utility of physical or cosmological revolutions have never been associated with objective benefits likely due to the fact that the knowledge itself only possesses subjective utility, and to an ashamedly small subset of people at that. Attempting to change perspectives without accounting for the associated fear at the realization of prior ignorance, is doomed to failure. There needs to be a demonstrable short-term benefit to the change in thought. This will lead to accelerated widespread adoption and therefore increased realization of the subsequent benefits of such. Consistency in our progress assures that it is not "if" this projection comes to pass, only how and "when".


A Second Look at Percepts

Followup to: A View of Perception

Disillusionment is the purpose of scientific inquiry. As subjective individuals we are plagued by (arguably) useful illusions. The severe schizophrenic is only decided to be experiencing hallucinations in that, when compared to his peers, those percepts result in less than competitive behaviors (as interpreted by local ethics and ideals). Hallucination is therefore seen to enter into the field of relativism.

Psychologists interested in elucidating perspectivism often turn to child development for answers. A child is born with an equivalent compliment of sense hardware that an adult possesses. The difference in abilities of a newborn and an average adult is therefore one of apperception, of which, an excellent example lies in the field of neurolinguistics. Child A is alone in a room with a toy. A scientist stands on the outside of a one way mirror viewing the room with child B. Child A is seem to place a toy plane under the bed and exits the room. Another scientist then enter the room, removes the toy plane from under the bed and places it in the toybox. Child B is then asked "When child A goes back into the room where will he look for the toy?" The interesting bit is that until the age of about 3+1/2 child B will invariably answer that child A will look in the toybox. The hypothesis goes that until around this age children have not yet formed a theory of other minds. Such concepts as "knowledge that I know, but that I also know that you don't know" are not yet realized. 

Even more interesting is that around the advent of sign language there was an all deaf school in Nicaragua. The method of how best to teach these children was a difficult one, and tended to focus on written composition, most of the lessons going over the students' heads. However when at play the children, over time, developed their own way of communicating using their hands to sign, which was then passed on to subsequent years of students. When the first generation (class) became adults they performed this same experiment on them, and surprisingly they gave answers in line with the under 3 group. When the later classes were tested, who were using the same language of signs that began with the now adult students, they answered correctly that Child A would check under the bed because he did not know the plane had been moved in his absence. It seemed that the early form of the sign language had only one concept of knowing (positive or negative), while the younger children had developed the language to have 12 distinct concepts of knowing. This progression of abstraction in language mirrors their progress in abstract thought. 

Extracting knowledge from pre-language children is much more prone to conjectural bias. In what ways has the evolved form of our brains prepared is for perceiving? As a species we seem to have large agreement in at least what we are able to communicate via language. How then has the form of our brain biased our perceptions? It seems likely that the subspecialties of our brain (spatial orientation in the parietal lobe, complicated stereotypic pattern recognition such as faces in the temporal lobe, etc) evolved by relatively conferring greater advantages to individuals with more of what we have now. This forms the substratum processor however all perception must come from individual experience. The evolved structures just make it more likely that when you see, for example, a human face you will recognize it quickly. In this way the OS functions as a hierarchical if/then system, itself evolving through greater and greater experience. In this way, the more we experience the real world, the more we can propose hypotheses as to why our ancestors evolved thusly. For example: why is our visual range 390 to 750 nm?

Overlapping perceptions in parallel likely evolved to minimize vulnerability and time until independence. Sensory inputs bereft of learned rules of thumb seems to be disorienting to a human child. Visual input may take the form of a changing wall of various colors. Repeated exposures to human faces activates a selected for empathy reflex to mimic the emotion perceived. Thus when the child cries it may be perceiving something negative. The fact that he/she is then consoled into complacency mirrors telling a schizophrenic individual that their percepts are hallucinations. Early child percepts are thus tied to relative hallucinations required some sort of additional info to clarify. For instance, how can a child know anything about a table until they have combined the percepts of touch with the visual (hopefully at a low velocity). From these perceived events in parallel we then begin to form rules of thumb, which then may become streamlined as legitimate worldviews. These, I would argue, only rarely deviate significantly from the consensus since they are necessarily processed within our ancestrally evolved and inherited neuronal framework.

In a strict deterministic stance, a subjective consciousness such as that as humans possess may be said to describe a one-dimensional universe from the perspective of the brain. This assumes defining your own path as a straight line and realizing that what is normally perceived of as 3- (or 4-) dimensional turns in relation to the Earth is merely a proprietary view. One may only guess if any scientific investigation departing with this view would complement the increasingly useful philosophy of relativism.