The Paradox of “Now”

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This is going to be one of my thoughts I figured I might share with the rest of you. People often contemplate time, but in science it’s not a very well understood concept.  What exactly is time, and where does time come from? Is it the passage of one moment to the next as our clocks continue to tick and toc the seconds into minutes of an hour fraction of 24 in a day among 364 more in a year? Well in physics time is the inertia of the system we know as our observable universe, in which of course began at the instant of the Big Bang. Our Universe is expanding, and so is spacetime itself, but yet we ask ourselves if there was a time before the Big Bang. Was there such a time?  Well in physics, a state in which is static without inertia would be a state of no-time as there is no clock to be ticking or tocking. But even that really doesn’t completely explain time, or tell us what exactly it is. We may even ask; how long has the clock not been ticking before the Big Bang? This very question brings up the paradox of “Now”, a paradox that really stumps any attempt to understand the nature of time. The here and now is a fundamental part of our everyday experience to which on the surface seems trivial in regards to ourselves and all the things going on in the world around us. However,  It seems that our efforts to understand time is met in never ending futility either scientifically or philosophically when we try to reconcile the here and now with the past and the future. So the purpose of this article is to explain, in principle, why time is seemingly beyond our comprehension through the Paradox of “Now”.

This paradox is one of the great mysterious wonders of our world, therefore in order to explore this paradox, we will need to assume there is an eternal element in which has neither a limit nor a boundary in how far back in history it has been in existence in relation to the present. You can feel free to come up with anything for an example just to explore this paradox whether that be a fire breathing dragon, an apple, god, or some imagined world beyond the boundaries of our own as any will suffice since we are making the assumption they are eternal.  Now despite what you may have in mind, I am going to use “Existence” with the assumption that “Existence” has always existed as my assumed eternal element. I chose this for one reason, and that reason is due to the logical understanding that “Non-Existence” can not by definition have ever existed, or ever have been an existing state, person, place, object, substance, or thing. To simplify why I chose this, the principle I follow logically and philosophically can be expressed in understanding that if nothing ever did exist, not even nothing would have existed. This is what we can infer to as a self-refuting concept for which is wrong by the consequences of its premises, and by definition. Therefore Existence must have always existed, right? So take the example you prefer as your “eternal element” in this paradox, or feel free to use the example I have chosen.

Thus with the above in mind, this brings to understanding that when I am inferring to Existence being eternal, I am unable to place a limit on how long existence has been here.  I am assuming an infinite history or past from the instant of “Now” (The present). Now the interesting part isn’t necessarily the past, it is here in the “Now” to which is the Paradox of time that has challenged even the most brilliant of minds in both physics and philosophy as an unsolvable problem, a problem that is so profound it may not actually have a solution in which we may be able to comprehend.. This is simply due to what the instant of now represents in the timeline. Thus as far as we can tell,  “Now” represents the end to the past and the start of the future.  That is in which lies the paradox, for “NOW” is, of course, the end of what is supposed to have an infinite history!  How can there be an infinite history if there is an end? To put this into perspective, the instant of now demonstrates how the past could never be infinite as it ends with the instant of now (see Timeline 1):

Timeline 1:

Timeline

That my friends is the paradox of now! It is seemingly not reconcilable to either the past or the future.  How do we scientifically or philosophically reconcile if the past is infinite, “Now” should never exist, and the future should never come to be? Would it not have taken an infinite amount of time before “Now” could ever have come to exist? Would that not also mean future would essentially infinitely never come to be?  So how is “Now” here in the now? Even if we were to argue that non-existence had existed, we could still be asking how long did non-existence exist before existence came to be..,  as the problem of the infinite past seems inescapable in relation to the instant of now.  “Now” simply should not be, and that is crazy if not mind blowing to even contemplate.

Worse still, we understand the “instant of now” as a Universal key frame to all and any existential timelines. Hence anything that is in and of Existence all exist at the same time.  The only difference in timelines is the perception of time relative to each observer. Anyone that understands video editing will probably understand using multiple timelines, but to simplify this for everyone who perhaps does not,  I have provided an example below to demonstrate what I mean regarding how “Now” is a universal key frame:

Example:

Jack and Jill have separate timelines as they have their own lives. Their lives are separate timelines relative to each other. So Jack may be doing his homework while Jill is on the way to go shopping for some new shoes. Regardless of their perception of time, even in the physics of relativity regarding particle dilation (how fast or slow their clocks are ticking relative to each-other),  they both share the instant of now to which is the universal linking key frame between them both. Thus jack is studying at the same time Jill is out shopping for new shoes. 

Therefore for anything to exist, we would have to say it must exist in the instant of “Now” despite how many relative timelines there are. This for which would be universal throughout existence, and that which doesn’t exist “now” simply does not exist. But if the infinite past would mean the instant of now could never be, or come to be…, how can Jack and Jill exist at all? How can jack now be doing his homework while Jill is out shopping for new shoes? In the same context, how can our eternal elements we have in mind then thus exist as of now, or ever at all?

That’s down right confusing as hell, isn’t it? You may think your brain is ready to overheat and explode just trying to compute and process the problem “Now” has on our eternal element at this point in relation to an infinite past. Some of you may have already given up while some of you may have decided to pick up your computer screen and toss it out the window in order to save what little sanity you may still have. So those of you still here brave and curious, it gets much worse as I am sure some of us might wonder if the solution to this problems is in whether or not the infinite past, present, and future all exist at the same time in the here and now (See Timeline 2).:

Timeline 2:

Timeline2

This, of course, would mean there is no definable instant of now, and would make everything predetermined, an answer I am sure would not be one to satisfy the human condition to need purpose and meaning in life.  But when we look deeper still, there it is “Now” again staring back at us.  If the past, present, and future all exist “Now” at the same time,  would that not mean there is no past or future as there would only be what is in and of the instant of “Now”? And where is “Now” on the timeline of “Now”? Where would now for example now be on the timeline?  What this means is that the Paradox of” Now” would suggest there is no past or future, and It would also mean that there is no definable instant of now on the timeline. Thus there can be no assured and definable individual “instant of now” on the timeline either, but rather every instance on the timeline is of “Now”. Essentially we shouldn’t even exist.

Thus this begs to ask the following question:

Would our eternal element exist or even be possible?

If anyone can solve this Paradox either now or later, I here now in the past would love to hear your solution to this Paradox in the near future. My only thought on this is that perhaps the “instant of now” is the emergent infinite future from the infinite past. But even in this case, the Paradox has not been solved as the infinite emerging future is the infinitely emerging end of the past. As much as I try to twist my brain around this time paradox, it seems unlikely resolvable.

Cheers,
TheJackel

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13 responses to “The Paradox of “Now”

  1. Good article, mate. It’s hard to wrap your mind around that one. Kraus was saying that atoms appear and disappear, which would mean ‘nothing’ could never really exist. Space could seem empty and then matter appears.

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    • It’s crazy because no matter how much I rack my brain on this problem, I can’t manage to solve the problem. Even if I assumed Existence to be like an infinitely long VHS tape to where all the infinite frames already exist into one Universal “Now” (Movie) to which are all playing at the same time, the Paradox of now still applies if we ask how long Has existence existed in relation to “Now”. Hence, how long has the movie (Existence) existed in relation to now?

      I almost wonder if it’s meaningless as to say here is a relative point in an infinite space among an infinite number of other relative points. So when we ask ourselves where are we in existence, the only answer can suffice to satisfy is “Here” as giving a co-ordinance in an infinite volume is meaningless. But even this is more understandable than “Here” in terms of the instant of “Now”.

      O.o

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  2. See, this is the type of stuff the longer you process it all you end up with are more unanswerable questions. I enjoy the philosophical exercise and postulating paradoxes, but doing so made me shit my brain long ago. Time and consciousness… I’ve thought myself into non-existence…

    Awesome blog dude. Thanks for stopping by!

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    • This is definitely one of those unanswerable questions.. It’s one I think puts into perspective the sheer complexity of existence. I consider these questions a peer into the curious wonders of what it is to exist, and I think that gives it all value beyond measurement. 🙂

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      • I agree completely. And I think the very fact we have consciousness makes us eternal, though I admit I can’t really say that because I can’t possibly know something I can’t comprehend!!!

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      • Giving Consciousness can’t exist without cause, it can’t be “eternal”. But there isn’t anything to say that once it emerges that it can’t be immortal. The interesting thing about energy and information is that they are interchangeable as two sides of the same coin. Consciousness seems to be a state in which energy can produce, and if that can be sustained, there is no reason to suggest it can’t become immortal. The problem is that there is no evidence to show consciousness without a brain to process information into conscious state or frame of reference. So what happens when we die is still unknown. However I like to refer to Alan Watt’s “The Real You”:

        Hence I don’t fear death anymore than I fear being born.. What I fear is not death, but how I die and whether or not I have lived before death comes. And even after death, if conscious death happens, there is the understanding that information and energy are the same thing. Hence in essence I am immortal and I am still a part of the Universe I emerged from, continuously becoming emergent in what will become in those yet to be written pages of the future. Thus I like my atoms can become a part of emerging new. Those water molecules in my body may very well have been those that which were in that of a T-rex million years ago. That which I am may become a part of the birth of a new star and life on a new planet in reflection of the death of our own solar system. And I find solace in that even if the conscious me ceases to be.

        Though it would be nice at times to think of having immortal consciousness. 🙂

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      • See, here’s my thing. I see consciousness as merely looking back at a life that’s already come and gone, like the playback of a movie. I realize that the brain holds our memories and memories can be lost, but if consciousness is snuffed out forever at some point, it doesn’t make sense to me that we would ever have lived at all. I mean, even while we sleep, our consciousness goes on in dreams. In comas, we still continue. I have a hard time believing that we are just constructs of our brains.

        Here’s to the immortal consciousnesses of us all!!! 😀

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      • Unfortunately you need something that processes information into a conscious frame of reference. If I hold a ball, a source of inquiry, your sensory systems must first detect the ball and then send that information to where it can be processed and put into a frame of reference or what we can call a frame state of awareness. You are correct that consciousness is not the instant of now since it takes time to process information, and thus there is processing lag. Hence the conscious state is an echo of the past…

        But for an analogy, the conscious state is sort of like the image on your computer screen. Hence it is the emergent property of the processes in which produce it. These processes are necessary and must be continuous for the image to continue to be displayed.

        Memory acts as a source of inquiry in which can be accessed and written to. That to which is entirely dependent on our sensory systems to write to it so we can have accessible information to process. You know, like shapes, color, our location, or what’s going on around us ect.. Once we learn these things, our brains can take things like shapes, color, and such descriptors and play with them to create dreams, works of art, and things of the imagination. Thus for example I can take just 3 descriptive words in abstract from the real world to create something of the imagination..:

        One
        Eyed
        Monster

        We can then play with shapes, color, scenarios ect and develop an adventure or dream to which may even become a nightmare. One eyed green monster eats Japan!. These are things our brains can do, and which are necessary to have in order to do.. Hence without the processing of information, there is no dream to be had, no consciousness, and simply nothing other than a static dead state of existence.

        So thankfully the properties of Existence allow for the inertia of information, and the emergence of the mind. 🙂

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  3. Wow….I found this blog real late, but this contains a treasure of knowledge. This post is the place where science and philosophy, knowledge and reasoning come together. Excellent post, keep writing.

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    • Hello Johe, thank you for dropping in 🙂 I am glad you enjoyed the post on the Paradox that has baffled me for quite some time. One would think there to be a comprehensible and simple solution, but I guess that will have to wait for perhaps the world’s next generation of genius minds.

      As far as writing goes, I am in the process of updating a few of my already written articles. I also have a few new ones I’m working on. 😉

      Cheers!.

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  4. I have learn several just right stuff here.
    Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting.

    I wonder how much effort you place to create this sort of
    excellent informative web site.

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    • Hello webpage, sorry for my delay in response. I’m glad you have gotten more out of my blog posts than having come in with. And though my time has been limited lately, I do spend quite a bit of my free time researching and writing these articles. I still have a few more articles in the works, as well as updates to existing ones.

      Basically my main goal here is to cover interesting subjects and make them educational, fun, and sometimes serious and political. So keep an eye out, I will have more sometime this coming month. 🙂

      Cheers!
      TheJackel

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  5. Existence existing eternally can not be conceptualised by the mind and reasoning. Everything you can work with your mind, has a beginning, has a possible end and has reasons governing it. And here we have the existence displaying Itself in eternal moment infinite times without a cause behind it. Lacking a cause makes it unworkable on the mind plane. Hence you(we) have your (our) paradox.

    Stage 2:

    If you can accept this de facto situation you should think on what the proper action should be. Should I be selfish or should i be selfless? Or something between? Or random? This stage is harder.. 🙂 Good luck for every one of us..

    Bonus:
    http://tinyurl.com/rootlessroot

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