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Georgina Parry: on 11/11/12 at 10:18am UTC, wrote Hi Joel, I do appreciate the kind invitation but must decline. I already...

Joel Levinson: on 11/5/12 at 2:39am UTC, wrote Hi Georgina, Thanks you so much for reading my entry and commenting so...

Georgina Parry: on 11/4/12 at 22:31pm UTC, wrote Dear Joel , Lois Brassard's comments led me to your essay. I am glad I...

Louis Brassard: on 11/4/12 at 21:14pm UTC, wrote Dear Joel, I enjoyed you essay. Since you do not rely on the reader...

Jayakar Joseph: on 10/8/12 at 4:08am UTC, wrote Dear Joel Levinson, As time emerges within each eigen-rotational quantum...

Sergey Fedosin: on 10/4/12 at 4:35am UTC, wrote If you do not understand why your rating dropped down. As I found ratings...

Hoang Hai: on 10/1/12 at 3:41am UTC, wrote Dear Joel Levinson Iam very like : "Consequently, the passage of time...

Vladimir Tamari: on 9/23/12 at 11:59am UTC, wrote Dear Joel I really enjoyed reading your lucid essay. Unlike some others,...

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FQXi FORUM
July 15, 2020

CATEGORY: Questioning the Foundations Essay Contest (2012) [back]
TOPIC: Phantom Instants, Two-Faced Time, the Empty Bag of Space, and the Illusionistic Nature of Perception by Joel Levinson [refresh]

Author Joel Levinson wrote on Sep. 4, 2012 @ 15:24 GMT
Essay Abstract

This essay raisies questions about the nature of time, the nature of space, and the illusionistic nature of perception that affect our understanding and theories of space and time. The essay also raises questions about the validity of matters associated with the hot inflationary big bang model of cosmic origin and development.

Author Bio

Joel Levinson is an architect-turned-author who has had a life-long interest in science. He is the founder of SpaceGroup, which has been active for six years. His first novel, The Reluctant Hunter is soon to be published in which cosmology is a minor theme.

Yuri Danoyan wrote on Sep. 4, 2012 @ 20:31 GMT
TWO-FACED TIME

See my essay about two faced time

http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/1413

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Joel Levinson replied on Sep. 5, 2012 @ 00:29 GMT
Thanks for writing, Yuri. I had som difficulty understanding your message. Joel

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Yuri Danoyan replied on Sep. 5, 2012 @ 12:54 GMT
See my essay 2 approaches to time

Parmenides vs Heraclites.

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Jeff Baugher wrote on Sep. 5, 2012 @ 00:10 GMT
Joel,

"Cosmologists seem to regard space as an empty paper bag that they can fill with all sorts of contradictory attributes drawing out what is necessary to suit their theory of the moment. They have alternately characterized space as curved, flat, expanding, oscillating, empty, filled, without an edge, boundless, finite, three-dimensional, and more recently, even composed of multiverses. Another profound attribute that was added, of course, is that space is part of a four-dimensional space-time continuum. Curiously, according to my readings, cosmologists and physicists have never really said definitively what space itself is, but perhaps they leave that question to philosophers. To add even more confusion, space has been regarded alternately as an entity, a relationship between entities, or part of a conceptual framework. So I ask: how is it possible, how is it tolerable, that scientists can refer to one or another of these qualities to support their particular cosmological theory without, in the first place, tying down the very nature of space itself. A speculative claim is one thing; a proof is another. To my mind conceptual uncertainty creates a level of theoretical license that invites fool-hearty speculation. For instance, although there seems to be overwhelming evidence that space is expanding, there is no sure proof that it ever did expand, or even could expand."

Paper bag indeed! I have to say that I agree wholeheartedly with this paragraph. Excellent writing.

Regards,

Jeff

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Joel Levinson replied on Sep. 5, 2012 @ 00:27 GMT
Hi Jeff,

Thanks for your vote of confidence and for your compliment about my writing. Can you tell me a little about yourself? Did you enter the contest?

Joel

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Jeff Baugher replied on Sep. 5, 2012 @ 10:42 GMT
Joel,

My essay is here, although I recently added a simple sketch to help explain it graphically. Basically I am asking a simple question concerning the Einstein field equation and if it can be interpreted another way, how would we tell the difference. Seems to be a simpler explanation of dark energy. Comments welcome.

Thanks

Jeff

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Jeff Baugher replied on Sep. 5, 2012 @ 11:08 GMT
Joel,

Reading your essay again a second time, and I am jealous of your ability to elucidate your thoughts. I certainly agree on the "illusionistic nature of perception" as well as "Consequently, the passage of time must be regarded as absolute and distinctly different from the measurement of time, which involves the unfolding of baryonic (atomic) processes that vary with velocity and proximity to gravitational forces. But the two phenomena are inextricably two faces of the same clock."

The best descriptive essay I can remember running across anywhere, let alone in this contest. I certainly hope you do well.

I am a PhD student, recently introduced to tensors during study of power electronics, that became interested in the history of field theory. I never had a problem with mainstream explanations prior to this, simply because I assumed that the unfamiliar logic was well founded. Now that I look at the development of the stress energy tensor, this just does not seem to be the case at all. One large glaring omission forced me to rethink my views, which now are aligned with yours.

Regards,

Jeff

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Joe Fisher wrote on Sep. 5, 2012 @ 13:56 GMT
Dear Joel Levinson,

Your essay was a terrific read. Apparently, you actually read the rules of this essay contest and meticulously followed them by writing with such clarity every bit of your essay was ridiculously easy to understand even though the material dealt with the most complex subjects known to man.

As the author of the essay Sequence Consequence, I partially agree with your assumption of phantom sightings. Part of the problem might be that we can only distinguish sameness. We have no neural mechanism for defining that which is unique. This is tough because everything we deal with has to always be unique.

One real Universe can only be perpetually appearing in one real here for one real now performing in one real dimension once. All real stuff has to stay in one real Universe once. There will always be only one real 1 of anything once. There will only ever be one real 1 of everything once.

Mathematicians never seemed to have followed the logic of mathematics to its inevitable conclusion. If the true value of 1 only has the ability to remain accurate once, only the first 1 ever represented could have possibly had that true value of 1. Because of this, any subsequent 1 corrupts the pure value of the first 1. Sadly for Bertrand Russell, whereas 1+1 does indubitably = 2, there is no way possible for once + twice to equal 2.

I do sincerely hope that your splendid essay qualifies for one of the prizes.

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Author Joel Levinson replied on Sep. 5, 2012 @ 14:27 GMT
Dear Joe,

I'm delighted that my essay is quickly finding a positive response and your comments in particular gave me the feeling that an informed layperson with a longterm, deep, and serious interest in matters scientific will have some value in the community of people who know how to count. I can't count with numbers (obviously, I can count, but my skills beyond 1+1 are very limited) but it forces me to use common language and other forms of logic to thinking critically and creatively about the foundations of modern science and ancient natural philosophy. I would love to offer my writing skills to physicists and cosmologists who have good brains but occasionally poor skills at communicating their ideas to others, but I fear I would frustrate those whose knowledge of complex notions far exceeds mine.

I will read your essay and share my thoughts with you, or more likely my questions. Thanks for reaching out. If you send me your email address, I will add you to the mailing list of our SpaceGroup, if you care to be a corresponding member.

Warm regards,

joel

Joe Fisher replied on Sep. 6, 2012 @ 13:42 GMT
Dear Joel.

Your kindness is only exceeded by your extraordinary lucid writing ability. I regret I cannot join your group right now. I know I can refute Einstein. I am going to try to write a scientific paper expressing my proof. I have found a translation of Einstein’s short book that he wrote concerning General and Special Relativity. You know what I find amazing? Bertrand Russell, Richard P. Feynman and Albert Einstein were really great writers except when they wrote (completely unintelligible to me,) mathematical stuff. I found Stephen Hawking’s writing lacking any sense and quite poor in expression.

Thanks again.

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John Merryman wrote on Sep. 6, 2012 @ 04:00 GMT
Joel,

You present a clear and logical argument. The question is why has physics become so convoluted? I think you just miss it. It isn't that time is two faced, though there is are subjective and presumably objective aspects, but that there are two directions. The present goes from past events to future ones, while these events go from being in the future, to being in the past. So which is...

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Joel levinson wrote on Sep. 6, 2012 @ 11:52 GMT
From my perspective, this quote from your essay is problematic: "The present goes from past events to future ones, while these events go from being in the future, to being in the past."

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John Merryman replied on Sep. 6, 2012 @ 15:45 GMT
Joel,

Hmm. Tomorrow is the 7th of September. With the passage of 48 units of time, called hours, the 7th of September will be referred to as yesterday. This passage of time will occur within a state of dynamic presence.

That, in a nutshell, would be my observation. Could you specify how you perceive it to be problematic?

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Joel Levinson replied on Sep. 6, 2012 @ 16:13 GMT
Hi John,

Thanks for writing. Forgive me for my having been abrupt in my earlier email (pre-occupied planning the promotion of my first novel) and also for being rather picky about language, but I am trying in my own writing to be as precise as possible. I on't see a problem with your post directly above but the possible problems I have with your first post is this.

1. I don't see the present going anywhere but into the future. The present, to my way of wanting to phrase things, does not go from past events to future ones. I would choose to say that the present goes to subsequent presents. I think it is risky to say that events go from the future to the past. It seems to suggest that the future and the past are 'real' places (I know you don't mean that) but maybe from a condition in the future through the past into a condition in the past. I'm more for speaking primarily about the present and probing its significance. Admittedly, it is not an easy subject to discuss. Joel

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John Merryman replied on Sep. 6, 2012 @ 18:37 GMT
Joel,

I think we are on the same page, but I'm addressing more of the conventional wisdom, on which the physics focus on treating time as a measure from one event to another is based.

Being in a rush myself, i'd look up some links but Julian Barbour's winning essay in the nature of time contest is a good example, where he dismissed time entirely, then concedes the only "measure worthy of the name" is least action between configuration states of the universe. Edward Anderson's entry in this contest is another, as he first explain time is only an effect of motion, then proceeds to obsess over measuring it. All from prior events, to succeeding ones, not on the dynamic itself.

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Joel Levinson wrote on Sep. 6, 2012 @ 17:36 GMT
Sorry. One word was mis-typed, which is now in bold below.

I think it is risky to say that events go from the future to the past. It seems to suggest that the future and the past are 'real' places (I know you don't mean that) but maybe from a condition in the future through the PRESENT into a condition in the past.

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John Merryman wrote on Sep. 7, 2012 @ 02:28 GMT
Joel,

"I would choose to say that the present goes to subsequent presents."

The problem with this statement is that it conflates the present with the event. Einstein said time is what you measure with a clock and a clock consists of two components, the hands, representing the present and the face, representing the events. Blocktime, as a declarative explanation of spacetime, argues only the face is real and all those events simply exist as their own present. It says time is like a book or dvd, where all the scenes already exist and it's simply a matter of where you are in that four dimensional geometry.

The point I'm making is that only what exists is real and it's constantly changing. Thus it's not the face, the events, which are real and the present is an illusion, but the present, that which exists, that is real and the events which are transitory. So it's not the hands moving around the face, but the events coming into being and being replaced. Thus not the present moving from past to future, but the future becoming past. An example I go into is Schrodinger's cat; Quantum theory uses an external timeline, ie, going from past to future. But that pushes a determined past onto a probabilistic future. If we eliminate that external timeline and just let time emerge from the process, then it is the actual occurrence of the events which determines the fate of the cat. To use a less loaded example, prior to a race, there are as many potential winners as runners, but after the race has occurred and the events reduced the possible outcomes to one, there is only one result.

The present isn't some dimensionless point on a timeline, but a dynamic reality, much of which is traveling at the speed of light and much of which is seemingly stable for periods far longer than our lives. Out of this flood of input, our minds select very limited bits of information to coalesce into each thought, thus the sense of the present as a frozen moment.

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Peter Jackson wrote on Sep. 10, 2012 @ 10:08 GMT
Joel

Nice thinking. Your architects training must have helped the logical analysis and clear style.

My long post to you yesterday is somewhere in cyberspace as it seems it didn't 'stick', but main points here;

I agree dual time, with a close analogue derived with an actual quantum mechanism showing there is both real and apparent ('illusionistic') speed/time even BEFORE final analysis by the brain itself. This is also equivalent to what Minkowski called 'imaginary'. My own essay goes further in examining and analysing the 'implications'; the model agreeing with and evidencing your redshift and big bang logic.

A central agreement then is that the two forms of time, Absolute and Relative, are not mutually exclusive but in fact legitimately coexist and functionally coexist. We just approached it from slightly different angles. See also the Matt Jackson & Charly Cotgrove essay about non 'ready made' images. I agree no image of the moon can exist if its light hits no lens. This makes sense of the Copenhagen interpretation of QM, and with dynamics consistent with SR!

Your is worth a good score in my view. I hope you think the same of mine, but do be warned it will test your powers of logical analysis even further so needs to be read and digested slowly! Do please comment or ask questions if not clear.

Thanks, and Best of luck

Peter

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Wilhelmus de Wilde de Wilde wrote on Sep. 12, 2012 @ 15:25 GMT
Dear Joel : Time is an illusion of our memory, Space is a dream. The big bang is a result of mutually shared cutting circles of our sSubjective Simultaneity Spheres... I would be honoured if you could read comment and rate "THE CONSCIOUSNESS CONNECTION"

Wilhelmus

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Joel Levinson replied on Sep. 12, 2012 @ 15:42 GMT
Hi Wilhelmus,

Thanks for writing. yes, I will look at your submission, comment and rate, but my first novel THE RELUCTANT HUNTER, was just published yesterday and you can imagine all the work that has now fallen on my shoulders. If interested please check out: joellevinsonauthor.com

I HOPE TO GET BACK TO YOU SOON

Joel

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Wilhelmus de Wilde de Wilde replied on Sep. 13, 2012 @ 15:46 GMT

I wish you good luck with the novel.

Wilhelmus

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Joel Levinson replied on Sep. 13, 2012 @ 16:42 GMT
Hi Wilhelmus,

Yes, the novel will be available as an eBook. I'm working on that presently. Promoting the book is harder than writing it. Not true. I worked on the novel for 16 years. Thanks for the good wishes.

Joel

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Vladimir F. Tamari wrote on Sep. 23, 2012 @ 11:59 GMT
Dear Joel I really enjoyed reading your lucid essay. Unlike some others, the ideas are presented in an orderly convincing fashion.

I completely agree with you about the 'reality' of perception - but then so do most psychologists of vision. Color is just something we perceive in the mind due to the process you described. So is sound, tone, perception of shape etc. If we had no lens in the...

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attachments: Ibn_alhaytham.png

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Hoang cao Hai wrote on Oct. 1, 2012 @ 03:41 GMT
Dear Joel Levinson

Iam very like :

"Consequently, the passage of time must be regarded as absolute and distinctly different from

the measurement of time, which involves the unfolding of baryonic (atomic) processes that

vary with velocity and proximity to gravitational forces. But the two phenomena are

inextricably two faces of the same clock."

Let relax and you might consider and make suggestions for the ABSOLUTE theory is "a draft for proposal of T.O.E " of me in this topic (topic/1417- outside of my essay)

Kind Regards !

Hải.Caohoàng of THE INCORRECT ASSUMPTIONS AND A CORRECT THEORY

August 23, 2012 - 11:51 GMT on this essay contest.

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Sergey G Fedosin wrote on Oct. 4, 2012 @ 04:35 GMT
If you do not understand why your rating dropped down. As I found ratings in the contest are calculated in the next way. Suppose your rating is
$R_1$
and
$N_1$
was the quantity of people which gave you ratings. Then you have
$S_1=R_1 N_1$
of points. After it anyone give you
$dS$
of points so you have
$S_2=S_1+ dS$
of points and
$N_2=N_1+1$
is the common quantity of the people which gave you ratings. At the same time you will have
$S_2=R_2 N_2$
of points. From here, if you want to be R2 > R1 there must be:
$S_2/ N_2>S_1/ N_1$
or
$(S_1+ dS) / (N_1+1) >S_1/ N_1$
or
$dS >S_1/ N_1 =R_1$
In other words if you want to increase rating of anyone you must give him more points
$dS$
then the participant`s rating
$R_1$
was at the moment you rated him. From here it is seen that in the contest are special rules for ratings. And from here there are misunderstanding of some participants what is happened with their ratings. Moreover since community ratings are hided some participants do not sure how increase ratings of others and gives them maximum 10 points. But in the case the scale from 1 to 10 of points do not work, and some essays are overestimated and some essays are drop down. In my opinion it is a bad problem with this Contest rating process.

Sergey Fedosin

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Jayakar Johnson Joseph wrote on Oct. 8, 2012 @ 04:08 GMT
Dear Joel Levinson,

As time emerges within each eigen-rotational quantum in Coherently-cyclic cluster-matter paradigm of universe, the hidden variables of these quanta are the functions of the holon they belong in the holarchy. Thus in a top-to-bottom approach expressional in this paradigm describes a cyclic-time, that expresses the nature of time both as relative and as absolute.

With best wishes

Jayakar

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Louis Brassard wrote on Nov. 4, 2012 @ 21:14 GMT
Dear Joel,

I enjoyed you essay. Since you do not rely on the reader mathematical

Ability to carry your points, but his/her common sense, your argumentation is clear.

I have done on Ph.D. on image analysis and visual perception and I read and reflect a lot on this question. I will limit my comments to your first section “THE ILLUSIONISTIC NATURE OF PERCEPTION” which is a...

view entire post

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Georgina Parry wrote on Nov. 4, 2012 @ 22:31 GMT
Dear Joel ,

I can see you taking the same journey of exploration through various ideas that I have also taken and spoken about on FQXi blogs over a number of years. I even remember using a loaf of bread analogy on another site long ago, I think it was Advanced Physics Forums. The participant I was speaking to used a tapestry for analogy instead. I understand that as an analogy for all of the photon particles whizzing about externally like the back of the tapestry and the observer seeing the nice neat design on the 'front'.Which I think is very nice.

I have also thought about colour and sound being the outputs of data processing and not independently existing external qualities. I sometimes contemplate that light is not actually light but we perceive it as such because it allows us to visualise the external environment and navigate within it. Perhaps to a bat its sound echoes are 'the light' that allows it to see in the darkness.

Your essay is very clearly written and the arguments well presented.I feel like shouting "Hey over here, come this way!" but you are doing a very fine job making your own way and describing your personal journey eloquently. So I'll leave it at that. Kind regards Georgina : )

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Joel Levinson replied on Nov. 5, 2012 @ 02:39 GMT
Hi Georgina,

Thanks you so much for reading my entry and commenting so supportively. It was too bad that I was readying for publication my first novel, The Reluctant Hunter, when the contest entries were first published. I wish I had had more time to read other submissions and thereby obtain some more exposure of my thoughts.

I smiled and deeply appreciated you comment "I feel like shouting "Hey over here, come this way!"

Would you like to be added to the mailing list for notices from my science salon called SpaceGroup. We discuss some interesting subjects and there is oftentimes a lively exchange of dialogues between the members. You could quit at any time.

I'll now go to your entry and see what you had to say. Where do you live?

Joel

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Georgina Parry replied on Nov. 11, 2012 @ 10:18 GMT
Hi Joel,

I do appreciate the kind invitation but must decline. I already spend more time than is sensible 'talking' and reading what others have written online, mostly at FQXi. It does not pay the bills or get the housework done! I look forward to hearing your opinions/thoughts related to my essay. Diagram 1., and discussion about it, in the discussion thread might be of particular interest to you.

A.- A very beautiful but isolated and private place.

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