It is interesting to see how the media is evolving. In the ’70’s, I used to explore large magazine and book shops, trolling for articles (ideas). Nowadays, while the media corporations consolidate and target lowest common denominator, the ‘Net and MP3 players have meant a shift away from TV, radio, and magazines. Recently when I was traveling, I picked up an issue of Discover magazine (August) in the airport. Seems traveling is the only time I look at magazines now.
In an article on The Brain, they talk about theories and research into how the brain processes time. It turns out the brain does not have a built in clock as once thought. Instead it appears to do things like compare 2 experiences relative to the speed the system processes the data. Does the second experience ‘overlap’ the first? In other words, “time is encoded in the way neurons behave.” Another scientist observes how the brain monitors patterns of “music” of activity. They also note how experiences can be “compressed” in memory and how memory may store time in reverse, part of our being goal-centric. In Time changes everything, I review some of the physiological effects that change our perception of the flow of time.
While I have little knowledge of brain physiology, I do understand the nature of time and how it arises and why we perceive it the way we do.
In the beginning… (laughs) there is simple alertness. As awareness moves within Itself, it becomes aware of Itself. This movement of awareness within Itself is called the flow. It underlies all experience. The flow is unbroken, smooth.
In that recognition of Self, there is what one might call fullness of love. Love flowing from Self to Itself. You can visualize it almost like a bubble in awareness. One side of the bubble seeing the other side, love flowing between them.
We experience this “bubble” as a sense of infinite space. This is the origin of space. Time arises in that flow of love. Another way of describing this is the arising of the observer-observed relationship creates space, the process of observation elicits time.
A bunch of stuff happens, creating the ground for what we would describe as “Universe”. The form of the dream of universe arises in what we can best describe as vibrations in an ocean. This vibration is perceived as the “primordial sound”, as Om or Aum. Interactions, or what we might call intention, on the vibration give rise to field values which interact with the vibrations through to manifestation. This is more detailed over in what’s Becoming.
Those initial vibrations are vibrating into and out of existence. As both quantum physics and ancient Vedic sages observe, the universe is being created and destroyed in every moment. The film Elegant Universe captured this vibration surprisingly well, aside from the colour.
When the senses arise, they are obliqued to “paste together” the coming and going. The Discover article observes that the eyes jerk around, picking up parts of the environment, then assemble the data into an image. As this process is not instantaneous, some of the data has to be “back dated”.
We can see this in effects like watching a film or TV. What is being presented is a series of still images but the brain stitches them together into a continuous movement. This is the process of observation, made into a machine. Buckminster Fuller referred to this process as “special case”. The human system is designed to process one thing at a time. The effect is that the world is very much like going to a movie theater. As the Discover article observed, the difference between “Excuse me while I kiss the sky” and “Excuse me while I kiss this guy” is a slight pause. It’s all in the timing. Jokes, as Douglas Adams would have said, doubly so.
The way we percieve the world has more to do with our perception and clarity of consciousness than how the world actually is. Now, that may sound obvious but we can go into this a little more closely. Because of the way we process the data and assemble it, we are ‘smoothing out’ or averaging that data. We are also filtering out a great deal of ‘background’. We are not observing what is there, we are observing an averaged increment of input, smoothed out for easy processing. We simply need to consider how little of the electromagnetic spectrum we are able to percieve directly to get a sense of it. And even there, in experiencing such a minor part of the possible experience, we are still ‘making it up’, creating an idea of it and laying our story all over it. If it doesn’t match the story we tell ourselves, into the trash the data goes.
Another way to look at this is to consider the reality your dog perceives. They typically see less acutely and in a much smaller colour range, yet move in a rich world of scent, thousands of times richer than our own. They have access to sounds we can’t hear and tastes we can’t comprehend. What of a bird sensing the magnetic field, elephants chatting in low rumbles across great distances, or insects with a thousand eyes living an entire life in a day or 2?
But there is a deeper value here. Western science does not yet recognize that the senses are not how we relate to the environment. They are actually a feedback loop. Consciousness projects an environment and the senses confirm the results and feed it back through the brain. No, consciousness is not a side effect of brain function, brain function is a side effect of consciousness. Brain is also a feedback loop. That’s why it behaves the way it does. It’s also why science does not yet understand how the brain stores memory. It doesn’t. The brain is an interface.
It doesn’t really matter if that is your experience or not. It’s simply something to keep in mind. It helps explain human experience much better. And it opens the door to a much richer range of experience. If all of reality for all beings is structured in consciousness and we are that, where are the limits?
Even though time flows and all time is present in the moment, it becomes incremental by the process of expression and experience. But then that experience restiches reality back into an apparent seemless flow. An imitation of reality, but one patterned after the original. A pattern, a music we can follow home.