Friday, November 13, 2009

Is Entropy the New Mutability?

How has science affected the way we imagine time?

For any writer/poet fascinated with science (me me me), this is a freaking WONDERFUL challenge! Thing is to keep somewhere in mind what you've retained about scientific treatment of time, not to reproduce that as poetry, but to reflect on how it's seeped into the way you imagine time, thinking about where scientific thinking has taken us since, you know... When I behold by time's fell hand defaced... that sort of thing.

From John Conway at Cosmic Variance

I’ve been meaning to write about this for, well, some time: how do we visualize time? What is the mental picture we have in our heads of this basic dimension of our existence? This is bound to be one the the stranger posts of mine you’ve read, but, so be it.

Looking online I find basically no research or anything written on this subject, but I am quite certain that just about everyone has some picture of time in their heads. For me, it’s quite a visual one, and past events and for that matter future ones are all attached to my mental picture of the time continuum. My notion of all history, from my own to that of the universe is inextricably linked with my internal mental images of time.

The thing is, as I have reflected on how I actually internally visualize time, I have found it to be somewhat bizarre. Or maybe not – I don’t really know because I haven’t really explored this in one-on-one conversation with others and haven’t learned from anything written out there just how different my picture is from others’. So here goes…I hope those of you out there who are intrigued or inspired by this will share their own images.


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