Perceptual Fog

17 03 2009

We experience in the past.  We act in the future.  By the time it’s reconstructed in our minds, the event is over, and by the time our bodies move to respond, it’s already the future.  Somewhere in between the two lies an infinitely narrow time span known as now.  Now doesn’t exist for any length of time.  It’s not even now by the time we acknowledge it.  It’s never now, because now is like two parentheses with nothing between them.  It’s not a long enough time span to contain any event.  Now is simply the interface between the future and the past.  It’s never now, yet it’s always now.  We exist in the now.  It is now now, yet, it is never now.  Between one second and the next, there are an infinite number of slices of time that at some point could have been called “now,” and each of those slices would be infinitely thin.  It’s another case of infinity divided by infinity.  What does it equal?  Sometimes it equals a second.  Sometimes it equals a year or more.  It’s yet another metaphysical mystery, because to study the laws of physics and their causes is to study the laws of metaphysics.

Sure, if all we did was study the effects of time on the world we know, then we’d only be studying physics, but when we wonder about the forces giving rise to time, then we step outside of the physical universe to examine it circumspectly.  An infinite number of nows could be a second, or it could be a year, so what makes the two any different from each other?  The perception of time arises from the effects that events have on the brain with time.  A year’s worth of events change the workings of the brain in terms of memories.  It works in cycles.  Each thought is experienced over and over, making a thought last for longer than a fleeting fraction of a second.  The more times a cycle runs through the brain, the greater the perception of time.  The key is that the brain, like the world around us, is a product of cause and effect.  Everything that it is now is the result of cumulative effects from the past.  In the next moment, there will have been a few more effects enacted upon it, and the workings of the mind will be slightly different as a result.

The brain can’t know the future, because it hasn’t been affected by the future yet.  The future is just as real as the past, but we just can’t perceive it because cause and effect only work in one direction.  To know the future is to violate this principle, and reverse this order.  This gives us every reason to fear the future, because we cannot see it clearly.  Had cause and effect generally worked in the opposite direction, then what we call the future now, would functionally be the past, and vice versa.  We’d be in the same boat we’re in now, but with the terminology reversed.  If cause and effect worked in both directions…things could get interesting.  Effectively, there would be no such thing as time.  The past would affect the future, which would then turn around and affect the past, and back again.  The time line would not be a line, but a plane.  Each time a cause and effect bounces back and forth on the time line between future and past, the entire line moves up a notch, drawing a zigzagging line depicting causal relationships as they bounce back and forth.

That’s if cause and effect can ever work in reverse order.  If I hit someone, they might fall backward.  However, I’d be shocked if a person fell backward and I responded by involuntarily throwing a punch.  Therefore, if cause and effect could work in reverse order, normal causal relationships would still always work in the same direction as they are seen to do now.  The difference would be in events that do not usually happen, such as foretelling of the future.  Telling the past is easy, because the causes of the past affect the memories of the present.  To tell the future would require an entirely different set of causal relationships, ones that do not normally happen.  The causes would exist after the effects.

Where does prophecy come from?  It comes from God, does it not?  Therefore, though for us time functions one-dimensionally, for God it must exist in two dimensions at the very least.  All we have is a future and a past.  We see a static time line.  It is what it is.  If the effects ever precede the causes, then we’re dealing with two-dimensional time, or a time line that changes with time.  It’s a difficult concept to grasp, but it is necessarily true.  In order to foretell the future, we need the assistance of one for whom time has one dimension more than we do.

The situation was similar in a previous post, Sid, The Defender, where a circle named Sid lived in a two-dimensional world and could only see objects that existed in that plane.  He was unaware of the three-dimensional person that could see him.  He could not understand the entirety of the finger that crossed through his world.  It looked like a circle to him.  If we wanted to, we could have that circle (the finger cross section) walk through one of his walls, a simple line, by lifting our finger out of his plane on one side of his wall, and placing it back into his world on the other side.  With the extra dimension to our advantage, what would be impossible in his world becomes easy for us.  Then, when we see an angel walk through walls or disappear entirely, or when the beings of a supernatural realm observe us without being seen, we marvel at the impossibility of it.  Yet, if they have the advantage of a fourth dimension, then they have the same advantage over us that we had over Sid.  The impossible becomes possible, but within certain limits.  Angels are not omnipotent.  They strive against their own forces of evil, just as we struggle against ours.

Some people see time as the fourth dimension.  I don’t.  Time has a dimension.  It’s the timeline.  For God, that’s a plane, having two dimensions, maybe more.  I don’t even know what it is for the angels and devils.  I can only say that I suspect they’re in the same boat as us on that one.  Otherwise, Satan would have seen his eventual defeat and decided against rebellion, or chosen to undo his rebellion and make it as though it never happened.  Had it never happened, the underlying root of the evil would still have been there.  He’d still be a devil at heart.  The same would be true for us.  Choosing righteousness because we see our own Hell looming before us is no righteousness at all.  Everything we know about Heaven and Hell, God and anything that might make dirty rotten sinners like us act like angels is a matter of faith.  Were it obvious, could people see the Hell before them like the memory of something that has not happened yet, they might not act out the evil that was in their hearts, but the underlying motivation would still be there.  The fog of perception that keeps the future hazy to us makes all the difference between faith that saves and uncontested fact that makes for boring textbooks.  People avoid running into walls, because they are sure that the walls exist.  They can believe what they want about the afterlife.

In the attic of my mind, I asked God if things would work out all right.  He looked up from his writing of history to say that things would turn out just fine for me.  “Then, I won’t end up dead in this story?” I asked.  “No,” he replied, “You’ll die, but it’ll work out all right for you.”  I’ll die, but I’ll be just fine.  Okay….

Be thankful that you’re blind to the future.  If not, then you’d be reliving your life from the very beginning with all of the memories of things that haven’t happened yet, all of the disasters, all of the burden.  You’d know about the September 11 attacks well in advance.  You’d feel like a jerk if you did nothing about it, and you’d be pulling your hair out if you tried to stop it.  You’d hate your enemies before they deserved it, and you would be faulted for your baseless aversion.  You’d love your future spouse while you were nothing but a stranger to that person.  Spontaneity would be utterly dead.  Everything would be scripted.  Your time of death would be known, and life would be a countdown.  Everything would be set so far in advance that life would lose its meaning.  The reason it would lose its meaning is because you’d be the one responsible for giving it that meaning, rather than God, who currently performs that role.  If you knew all events that would result from any action you made, all of life would be scripted by you, not God.  This person only loves you because you knew what it would take to make them love you.  That job you have is only yours because you knew what strings to pull.  All of life is what it is, because you made it that way, if you could see the future the way that you see the past.

Thank God for your ignorance.  Thank him for the perceptual fog that grants him the right to author the meaning of your life.





One response

17 03 2009

Hi this blog is great I will be recommending it to friends.

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