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Jumped in time: A Philosophy Thread
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Thorzdad
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Jul 8, 2022, 08:47 AM
 
A truly weird, and concerning, thing happened to me over the weekend. Sorry if this goes long. It’s still a little hard to describe.

We were visiting friends up in the northern lake area of the state. We were, as old Hoosiers do, playing euchre. If you aren’t familiar with the game, a clumsy description is to think of it as a highly simplified version of bridge, but for pre-schoolers. It involves declaring suits as trump for taking tricks. When a suit is declared, the jack of that suit is the high card, and the jack of the same color suit is the second highest. Anyway...

After the dealer first deals the cards, there are four cards left. They are set-aside and the top card turned face-up. This card is initially trump, and we go around the table to see if anyone want to accept the suit as trump (i.e. they have a shitload of that suit in their hand) After the dealer turned-up the trump card, we went around the table and everyone passed, and the dealer turned the card face down, and we started a second round around the table to see if anyone had a hand in another suit with which to declare trump. Here’s where it got weird...

I was sitting across from the dealer (i.e. my partner) who had turned the trump card down. The player to my right, then, played a card, a queen of hearts, which is shorthand that they were declaring hearts as trump (and oddly leading with a low-ish card) I then played a card, following suit and playing a king of hearts, over-trumping the queen. The next two players played cards. The player to the left of me playing an ace of spades, and my partner something else.

Seeing that I had won that trick, I reached to pull the cards to me, only to be stopped by everyone, telling me that the player to my left had won the trick with the ace of spades. That couldn’t have been possible, as the player to my right had declared hearts trump and I over-trumped them, and no one else played trump. Right?

What had actually happened, according to everyone at the table, after the dealer turned-down the trump card and we started back around the table, the player to my right had actually passed (?), then I had passed (???!!), then the player to my left declared spades as trump. The player to my right then led with the off-suit queen, which I took to be trump.

I hadn’t experienced any of that. My experience proceeded straight from the dealer turning down trump and the player to my right playing their queen of hearts. I did not experience them passing. Most concerning, I did not experience myself passing. And I did not experience the player to my left declaring spades as trump.

Now, I’m familiar with zoning-out on occasion. You get focused on...something...and drop out until someone/something snaps you out of it. But, you’re kind of aware that you had zoned-out, and people around you are also aware, as you are more-or-less non-communicative for that moment. This was not the case here. I had not zoned-out. My experience, and awareness, went smoothly from the dealer turning down trump and the next player playing their card to declare trump. And, no one at the table saw me as zoning-out, either. According to them, I had verbally passed after the player to the right passed.

I had somehow jumped over all of that, and had no sense of any of it. It’s like my brain had deleted a few seconds of time on the fly. As it sunk in what had happened, I kind of got scared. As I said, this was not “zoning-out”. This was something far different. Zoning-out leaves you with a sense that you had, in fact, been fixated on something in your head. This wasn’t like that. My timeline had no cuts or jumps or dropouts. It was a smooth progression. But, it didn’t include the few seconds of time everyone else experienced, including my own action, and verbalization, of passing.

I’m still a little upset by it.
     
subego
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Jul 8, 2022, 01:18 PM
 
This is worth checking out obviously, but the good news is FWIU it’s not necessarily indicative of an underlying issue. Apparently, this just happens sometimes.
     
reader50
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Jul 8, 2022, 02:18 PM
 
... or they're all cheaters and are gaslighting you. Suggest setting a camera above the table next time, for instant replay.

That'll stop (or embarrass) the cheaters. And if you really did glitch, it gives you something to show the doctor.
     
christ
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Jul 8, 2022, 04:11 PM
 
There was an alien invasion, at the end of which Tom Cruise killed the Omega and time was reset to the moment just before the invasion began; but for everyone around the world the reset appeared a few milliseconds different. Everyone around your table got back a second before you.
Chris. T.

"... in 6 months if WMD are found, I hope all clear-thinking people who opposed the war will say "You're right, we were wrong -- good job". Similarly, if after 6 months no WMD are found, people who supported the war should say the same thing -- and move to impeach Mr. Bush." - moki, 04/16/03
     
Laminar
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Jul 12, 2022, 12:18 PM
 
There was an episode of House where a guy would have little micro-strokes and lose just a second or two. House figured it out by making the guy sing a song and every few seconds he'd cut out for a second, even though the guy thought he was singing constantly. Not to WebMD-ify it, but wouldn't hurt to get checked.
     
ghporter
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Jul 13, 2022, 10:52 AM
 
Attention and memory are interrelated. You must “attend” to something - focus on it to some extent - to be able to remember details. It takes “mental horsepower” to pay attention to details, and the available “horsepower” can be decreased by all sorts of things; fatigue and overstimulation* are two biggies. Being just a little under the weather can do it. So can having slightly low blood sugar.

Another factor could be distraction by something else that draws more attention than the relatively predictable course of play in a game. If the discussion going on through the game was more interesting - or took more focus to follow and participate in - that could explain not actively transferring short term memory to longer term storage.

There are basically three categories of memory, “working memory”, short term memory, and long term memory. “Working” memory is your brain’s scratch pad. It’s what you use when you try to remember a phone number you hear rather than read (though reading it also uses working memory, it uses it differently). The task of transferring working memory to short term memory requires certain brain activities. We facilitate this through repetition, transcription, and a combination of visual/auditory/physical self-cues (like saying the number as you write it down, saying it while keying it in, and so on).

This sort of thing happens to everybody on occasion. And when it’s occasional or rare, it’s completely benign. It’s amazing how little it takes to put someone’s focus enough to interrupt memory storage. Being sleep deprived does a great job of messing with your focus. So does pain, even with pain meds.

I would often spend quite a bit of time helping patients who were really worried about whether they were “losing it” when they were foggy and had trouble remembering stuff (whatever their age). Once they got past the “oh no, I have dementia now” point, they could see a daily improvement in things like focus and memory, often without cues from me.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
subego
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Jul 13, 2022, 11:42 AM
 
This sounds like it may be different, though. More like the recording completely shuts off. I’ve only had that happen (that I’m aware of) during a seizure, or when given an amnesic.

I have memory “fog” all the time though. My anti-seizure medication makes it much worse. Sometimes I need to ask a question two or three times before it sticks. I can remember asking the question previously, and it being answered, I just can’t remember the content of the answer.
( Last edited by subego; Jul 13, 2022 at 12:02 PM. )
     
ghporter
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Jul 13, 2022, 03:35 PM
 
It depends almost entirely on context. A riveting conversation can capture so much focus that almost anything else disappears.

And as a Michiganian, I am well aware how Euchre can fade into the background once you’ve played it enough. It’s much harder to explain than to play. So it could be that a good distraction, on top of a few other minor things (hungry, tired, worried, etc.) could easily explain this benignly.

The thing to note is whether it happens again, and the circumstances of the recurrence. That could point to a real problem.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Thorzdad  (op)
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Jul 13, 2022, 06:19 PM
 
What are you guys talking about?
     
MacNNFamous
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Jul 14, 2022, 11:58 AM
 
lol. Been reading the expanse much?
     
Thorzdad  (op)
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Jul 14, 2022, 04:21 PM
 
No. But the nature of time and our experience of reality is a big favorite topic of mine in sci-fi.
     
subego
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Jul 15, 2022, 11:44 AM
 
Here’s a sci-fi-like idea which I believe happens to be correct.

Time isn’t really passing. What gives us the impression it does is our memories only go in one direction. Any given memory can only access memories backwards on the timeline, which makes it feel like it’s “moving”.

Bonus: if time passes, it passes as a rate. Rate is distance times time. One can’t define something by itself.
     
reader50
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Jul 15, 2022, 12:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Bonus: if time passes, it passes as a rate. Rate is distance times time. One can’t define something by itself.
Physics to the rescue. The time axis is at right angles to the 3 spacial axis, and we move along it at lightspeed. So yesterday is 1 light-day away. And last year is one light-year away. The past involves some serious distances, and you'll need a lot more than 88 MPH to reach it.

On the familiar spacial axis, matter particles must travel below lightspeed, while massless particles travel only at lightspeed. On the time axis, everything (we know of) behaves like the massless particles. This is inconvenient, because we cannot slow down to reverse direction. Also can't turn to reverse direction, because there's only one time axis. No 2- or 3-dimensions to maneuver in.

Ideas for time machines that might actually work involve twisting space into weird shapes. As the time axis will always remain at right angles to the rest, if you twist the spacial ones far enough, then the time axis can drift slightly backwards. ie - a rapidly rotating neutron star reshaped into a cylinder. Then pick specific orbits. Problem: you cannot travel to a time before you built the machine, so if you want to visit distant human pasts, you'll need to find a machine already built by someone else.

Will dig up some links later if no one else has. Gotta run.
     
subego
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Jul 15, 2022, 12:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
So yesterday is 1 light-day away
This is recursive, no?

1 day = 1 day * c

The days cancel each other out.
     
reader50
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Jul 15, 2022, 01:25 PM
 
Regular search engines aren't that good for finding serious physics articles.

Sabine Hossenfelder (theoretical physicist) addressing subject on YouTube. 7 minutes. Warning: there are equations.

     
subego
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Jul 15, 2022, 01:31 PM
 
Unfortunately, I can’t really watch a video.

Is my assertion of recursiveness incorrect? Should I be using a different equation? Something else?

How can time have a rate when what rate means is a function of time? This is recursive.
     
reader50
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Jul 15, 2022, 01:55 PM
 
She actually addresses that within the first minute. That a simplistic view yields the result: we travel through time at a rate of 1 second per second. Accurate, but not useful to answering the question.

I'd rather not paraphrase someone with far more knowledge than myself. I'm a widely-read nerd, not a theoretical physicist. Maybe Oreo would be willing to argue with Sabine. I'd rather keep my dignity. The video is only about 7 minutes, or 6:20 without the ad for Brilliant at the end.
     
subego
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Jul 15, 2022, 02:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
we travel through time at a rate of 1 second per second.
What I’m talking about is a (not widely promulgated) competing theory, and one of the reasons I find it compelling is it very neatly eliminates this nonsensical proposition.

Time doesn’t pass any more than space passes. The idea time passes is wholly an artifact of our perception. To perceive time as passing is a trait we evolved.

Here’s another clue… dogs are clearly not as evolved as we are in this regard.
( Last edited by subego; Jul 15, 2022 at 02:27 PM. )
     
subego
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Jul 15, 2022, 03:01 PM
 
I should add, much of this is over my head, but eliminating the “one second per second” proposition is one of the more easily digestible implications of the theory time does not pass.
     
ghporter
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Jul 15, 2022, 05:52 PM
 
Attributed to Albert Einstein:
“Time is so everything doesn’t happen at once.”

Cognitively, since we experience a cause -> effect “reality”, we depend on a mechanism that provides the duration for the cause to exert the effect.

That’s where I start needing water wings because both the psychological and physical ramifications of time versus “it’s just a lie we tell ourselves” (or whatever counter argument there is to be made) get WAY too deep from here on.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Thorzdad  (op)
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Jul 15, 2022, 09:54 PM
 
You mean how everything we experience is a memory? Because, once you get past the delays of light and sound to get from the event to our sensory inputs, there’s also a real, measurable delay in getting those inputs to the brain. Then the brain has to process the inputs and make them understandable to your conscious self. So, by the time you actually perceive “now”, it’s already past, by however many thousandths of a second.
     
subego
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Jul 16, 2022, 03:45 AM
 
More hardcore than that. The theory is time isn’t passing at all. The term the theory uses for the time dimension is “durationless manifold”. The “future” has already taken place. Literally all of time has already taken place.

What makes it seem like it’s passing is because any given memory can only access memories backwards along the time axis. This starts to get a bit over my head, but the reason as I understand it is because of entropy increasing as we go forward on the time axis. It’s easy to access a memory with a lower entropy state, but almost impossible to access one with a higher entropy state.

As an aside, this theory allows for seeing the future. It kinda pisses off the guy who created it because while the theory makes it possible, there’s so much difficulty getting up the entropy gradient it’s very highly improbable.
     
subego
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Jul 16, 2022, 04:24 AM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
the psychological and physical ramifications of time versus “it’s just a lie we tell ourselves”
To be frank, I believe almost everything we perceive is a lie we tell ourselves. Our perception is just a big pile of survival adaptations.

Evolution only cares about the utility of our perception. Our perception and reality only overlap when this provides us utility, and a lot of the time accurate perception provides no survival utility.

The example I can’t shut up about is morality. Morality doesn’t exist. It’s a lie we tell ourselves. This particular lie has massive utility in terms of survival, so we evolved the capacity to tell it to ourselves and fully believe it.
     
reader50
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Jul 16, 2022, 04:54 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
The “future” has already taken place. Literally all of time has already taken place.
This describes a deterministic universe. Where it's like a wind-up clock, with all future events predictable. And free will would be an illusion.

But a deterministic universe requires us to know the position (100% accuracy) and vector (also 100% accuracy) of every particle + all laws of physics. 200% information about each particle. Quantum mechanics does not allow this, as only 100% info exists for any particle. You can get 50% accuracy on position, and the other 50% on vector. Or any other split, so long as the total never exceeds 100%. The other missing 100% is undefined until measured - which undefines the prior values. So you never have the 200% you need to define the future. This is the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.

If my understanding is correct, this property (complete info unavailable) turns up elsewhere too. ie - a particle is also a wave. A particle has a position, but vector is optional. While a wave has a vector but lacks precise position. You never get to nail down both.

The future isn't writable in advance, which implies it isn't written yet. That's my opinion, and I reached it in the past.
     
subego
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Jul 16, 2022, 05:04 AM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
And free will would be an illusion.
How so? Cause and effect are still there.


ETA: a purely philosophical question I like asking is whether there’s a practical difference between “free will” and “the illusion of free will”.
     
subego
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Jul 16, 2022, 05:13 AM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
This describes a deterministic universe. Where it's like a wind-up clock, with all future events predictable.
It’s only deterministic going backwards on the axis (down the entropy gradient) from a given point. Even though the “future” exists, it is not predictable because going forward from that point on the axis requires going up the entropy gradient.
     
ghporter
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Jul 16, 2022, 02:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
To be frank, I believe almost everything we perceive is a lie we tell ourselves. Our perception is just a big pile of survival adaptations.

Evolution only cares about the utility of our perception. Our perception and reality only overlap when this provides us utility, and a lot of the time accurate perception provides no survival utility.

The example I can’t shut up about is morality. Morality doesn’t exist. It’s a lie we tell ourselves. This particular lie has massive utility in terms of survival, so we evolved the capacity to tell it to ourselves and fully believe it.
I’d go with “an explanation we tell ourselves” rather than “a lie.” Lie implies intent to falsify, while in reality we have to interpret what our senses feed to our mind to the best of our ability.

At the most basic level, we interpret our world in a way that should maximize our survival potential, so “morality” is useful in a way that helps us avoid having our group reject us, making us fend for ourselves.

Again, it’s all based on what our senses tell us, which can be subject to all sorts of challenges that cause our interpretation to be faulty or just plain wrong.

So (in most cases) we aren’t intentionally lying to ourselves. We are using our experience and memory to interpret sensory data, and then cognitively interpreting those interpretations into a model that fits higher level experiences, such that our final impression is consistent with our world model.

This is why any discussion of morality as an isolated concept needs to start with a LOT of “ground rules” and agreed upon definitions (and zero alcohol!). In order to understand the thing we call morality, or ethics, or whatever, we first need to agree on all the other things that our brains do that our minds must organize and interpret. Otherwise we can get wrapped around arguments about whether optic nerve synapses in the occipital lobe constitute vision (spoiler: no - vision happens when the nerve impulses are collected into a vision map that the MIND can interpret).

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
subego
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Jul 16, 2022, 02:53 PM
 
I agree “lie” is too strong, but I consider “explanation we tell ourselves” to be too weak. Subject to revision, I’d say the Goldilocks term is we engage in “wholesale, unconscious self-deception and/or self-delusion”.

The big delusion we have is our moral conclusions are based on reasoning. They’re not. In the same way, we delude ourselves into thinking the conclusions we reach based on cognitive bias are due to reasoning. They’re not either.

Actual reasoning takes too much time and effort for us to be using it to draw conclusions at the rate needed for survival, so what we do is use shortcuts. Many, many shortcuts.
     
subego
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Jul 16, 2022, 03:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
vision happens when the nerve impulses are collected into a vision map that the MIND can interpret
My favorite example of this is a camel escaped from a zoo in Australia. A trucker spotted it running across the road at night.

What the trucker reported seeing was a giant kangaroo.

A less funny example is the result of an experiment about observing missile launches. A not insignificant number of observers reported seeing a missile launch when there was none.
     
ghporter
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Jul 17, 2022, 02:25 PM
 
Good observations of mundane things over a lifetime tend to build the pattern library with plenty of prototypes. This enables the “that’s a blue Mustang convertible” match to be fairly accurate. The problems that arise come from limited exposure to a variety of sensory experiences, which means the pattern library may have overflowing shelves of a few types of patterns, but vast, empty areas. I think of this as the “overly specialized expert problem.” Essentially, if there aren’t patterns to allow experiences to fit into something understandable, much “self explanation” is in order, while if there are many patterns, things “fall into place” readily and little “self explanation” is needed.

A friend used to work at a medical school (in IT/security). He regularly had to deal with everyone from undergrads who knew they didn’t know much to multiple-post-grad physicians. Guess which ones needed the simplest explanations for “how to change your password”? He indicated that he was seriously curious with some such PhD/MDs as to who tied their shoes for them. These were the “overly specialized experts,” and they needed hand-holding because their pattern libraries were stuffed with microbiology, chemistry and pharmacology, but simply following on-screen prompts was never added to their library.

A counter example is one Dr. Denton Cooley, a cardiac surgeon (super understatement here). He stopped driving himself to work because he noticed that he was always distracted by planning the day’s surgeries. So he hired a driver, and spent the ride to the hospital paying attention to planning. He essentially offloaded a skill set that was less important to him than his primary role. Read the Wikipedia article on him. I’ll add that my farther in law was one of his patients, and by all accounts the good doctor was a really good guy, too.

So maybe “explanation” is lame, but I think only so much as the fact that people’s life experiences can be everything from living within a block of their childhood home for their entire lives to extensive experience with a broad swath of technical and social challenges that spans the entire globe. The former probably needs to “explain” to themselves much more than the latter, who has seen both the differences and similarities among just about everything, just about everywhere.

This, by the way, would include experience with other peoples’ forms of ethics/morality and how their social structures enforced, stressed or ignored various issues. Morality is a complex construct. It’s a social mechanism needed to make groups of more than a few work together to the common good without too much internal conflict. As we discussed in the past, a moral code must provide for both the group and the individual, but the focus is typically the success of the group, from which the individual benefits.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
subego
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Jul 17, 2022, 03:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
Morality is a complex construct.
It’s not though.

Morality is a small set of very powerful impulses our brains have evolved to send us.

Every moral stance I have ever taken is because of this. Every time I have claimed I take a moral stance for reasons other than this, I have been deceiving myself. I have a lifetime of these self-deceptive claims, and despite great effort, still continue to make them.


ETA: there’s overlap here with the theory time doesn’t pass. The appearance it does is a very useful bit of deception our brains have evolved, and like with morality the deception is very effectively maintained.
( Last edited by subego; Jul 17, 2022 at 04:01 PM. )
     
   
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