time

questions of moments

is time reducible to moments or is it a continuous flow without division? are our moments like photographs, static abstractions of a continuous present? or perhaps moments are intrinsically dynamic, like small bubbles, capsules of contained movement and life that we perceive to be static and indivisible but are in reality in a process of constant, infinitely-divisible change?

moments slip away

what do we intuitively feel? we feel our moments but they slip away from us as soon as they have happened. perhaps we realise that our memories do not capture moments, they return us to a composite of moments, each memory is a complex return/revision of moments that we know lie in the past. but even now, in retrospect, we cannot isolate a single, indivisible moment. we cannot see a photograph for what it is, a snapshot of light on film, because it is impossible for us not to expand that captured image into feelings, context, environment, life

and all these things with which we perceive, interpret the photograph, are things that cannot be reduced to single moments. we cannot see anything for what it is, devoid of any connections or dependencies with other things or moments

all of which might lead us to understand that single moments cannot be extracted from the flow of past → present → future… therefore moments do not exist, and that perhaps time is something that exists outside of moments

quality of moments

what do we really intuitively feel? when we listen to our heart beat, and in quiet moments almost perceive the tick-tick-tick of one-thought-leading-to-another… when we listen to music, a melody built upon a rhythm built upon a metronomic framework of moments, bars counting time in atoms… we sense the individual spaces, beat by beat (even when the beat is not explicit, just the invisible framework of bars and quavers) but we don’t understand music in terms of moments directly: we feel the quality of the moments, how they are interpreted and layered on top of each other, the inflection and emotion added onto the written music; we feel what is either behind the beats, or in addition to them – the beats themselves, moments, are still somehow hidden from perception

the length of a moment

mathematics proposes a moment in time: it is called the Planck time and is approximately equal to 5.39124 x 10-44 seconds

0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000539124 seconds

this is the ‘quantum of time’, the smallest measurement of time: any time smaller than this does not exist… or perhaps we should say, if it did exist then it would have no meaning. the universe came into existence when it already had an age of 10-43 seconds, and our life, memories, can never be reduced to any moment shorter than this

free from moments

perhaps quantum physics has no relevance to our lives; who cares if our lives can or cannot be cut up into pieces so small that we cannot comprehend them? i can barely remember a few minutes ago with absolute clarity, so what difference does it make if my life is not continuous, but instead made up of clockwork moments so small they cannot even be measured?

it all matters because i don’t want to think that my life can be reduced to moments, with mathematical precision. what does freedom mean if its moments are constrained within limits (even if those limits might be beyond my comprehension?) would this mean that freedom is by definition an approximation?

an approximation of what? what lies between moments, these elementary particles of time, defines the passing of our lives… in here, these small gaps between our thoughts, there might be linearity or chaos, and perhaps the promise of either enlightenment or madness