Would it make any difference if we knew our ancestors could see what we are doing to Earth now? I look at the newest cosmological theory of time. Indigenous thinking may be closer to the truth than we in the Westernish may ever have considered. Until now.
On the basis that the Anthropocene is a planetary extinction event, there is no good Anthropocene. The Anthropocene covers only a small part of the full experience of Homo sapiens, indeed the family Homo.
Could we ever consider earlier periods of the human experience more progressive? Huge energy resources are expended and ecosystems killed for the extreme Capitalists’ yearning to sell that so-called progressive future. For instance, Elon Musk’s private, personal vision for a Mars mission for profit may not be in the full interest of the entire Planet Earth, especially when all is skewed by the idea of making money. The idea of space exploration may be inevitable for our inquisitive species, at some point in time. But surely there should be a union of everyone in any efforts beyond our atmosphere for everyone, and every life form, launched from a secure home planet.
Sanctuary Earth a given, other than the two main strands of human wellbeing of health and good relationships always a necessity for our species, we already have the technology to produce food, clothing, and shelter in a nature-aligned way here on Earth; an expression of fluminism. All the rest, right now, equates to profit for the few and a dying planet.
That we in the modern Westernish consider future time as instantly progressive is also a failing. The English language determines a structural perception of time that is different from others and, as it becomes globally dominant, so does the perception of time. We think of time as linear, the past to our left, the future to our right. This is how we write, from left to right, and how I am creating typed words on a screen right now. Einstein’s work on time contended that it’s the fourth dimension, relative to all else via gravity, including how fast we move through space. Perhaps we should write in whirlpool patterns, to reflect the past, present, and future. Consensus continues to build on so much of Einstein’s remarkable insights on relativity.
Rovelli goes further, and this is where it gets super-interesting to me. In his work on loop quantum gravity theory, time is a non-entity. There are simply events that are related in all directions shaped by gravity. Our neurobiology creates memories in order to survive the impacts of the complexity of almost infinite frames, reflected in how we create film so that we can record and replay. Imagine all the different perceptions of time as a force by all the lifeforms that have ever lived. There may well be beings who perceive more or less of these saved copies in the ether. Such ideas are as mind-bending as Galileo’s assertion that it is actually the Sun that revolves around the Earth and not the other way around. *
My imagination is running free, and moving from one event to another in the quantum world seems somehow possible, if only we could find a way. Rovelli’s work doesn’t imply universal determination, because the geochemical and physical variables are different from moment to moment, and living beings are constantly making choices. Each wave placed into the cradle of what we call time represents a different universal set of atomic experiences as we spin through space. Who knows whether those experiences might have evolved very differently in life on Earth if we had been more proximate to black holes. If there is other life in the vastness of the universe, the basic perception of experience itself may well be entirely different to our own, and so too ideas of communication. Perhaps, we are already surrounded by messages, and we just don’t have a clue.
The real nature of time is yet to be fully decoded, though our perceptions of it have huge implications for the way we live our lives, expectations upon future generations, and the way we relate to, and as part of, nature. How do we frame the context of the Anthropocene? Did the Anthropocene begin after the last Ice Age and the transition from hunter-gathering to nomadic shepherding, and then to sedate farming practice? Or the Industrial Revolution and Capitalist/White Eurocentric Colonialism? Nuclear detonations? The geologists continue to argue the implications of all these events in the rock record. Perhaps, Rovelli’s work gives us leeway to accept the past is not something so distant, and could well be more progressive in certain ways than any vision of the future. Regardless, the decisions we make today do not have to prove themselves to be anything other than caring.
In the Westernish, clocks dominate, and time is money; there is an anxiety about time as a resource; death is time-up unless one believes it is eternally enjoyed in the spiritual afterlife. We know, for sure, we have at least one life. What if the afterlife is in fact our ancestors held inside the cradle of time, and if we are close (the physical nature of this still to be determined) perhaps in certain gravitational fields, or in places which are close, we have subatomic feelings of these past realms. Perhaps, the Everywhen, or the Altjira, or the just plain Good ( The Dreaming, named by anthropologists) of the Australian original peoples are closer to the truth than Relativism could have ever conceived.
Back to the present, this precious phenomenology right now, one of the remaining species in the order of the Great Apes, Homo sapien, is risking all life ~ ALL LIFE ~ therefore, global evolutionary forces too, for their own purpose. Unlike the previous five known major extinction events caused by random geological and cosmological forces, recorded in time’s cradle somewhere nearby, the Sixth is fully conscious. If we can feel those lives suffering maybe they feel us. We are a conscious asteroid.
4 thoughts on “Time, and the conscious asteroid.”
Another fascinating post, Ginny, which I’ve shared and discussed briefly at Views from Elsewhere on ClimateCultures. https://climatecultures.net/resources/from-the-blogosphere/views-from-elsewhere-2020/ Thanks!
Mark! Thank you so much for sharing to your platform. I’m so glad you found this thought provoking, as did I when I first read Rovelli’s work. And the article you mention following is very pertinent! I usually try to determine ‘we’ in sentences, but not always. I will be more mindful. Ginny x
A pleasure! And I just updated my piece to include a good link for anyone wanting to read more about Carlo Rovelli – including an interview where “he tells us, for example, when explaining that the smooth ‘flow’ of time is an illusion, that “The events of the world do not form an orderly queue like the English, they crowd around chaotically like the Italians.” The concept of time, he says, “has lost layers one after another, piece by piece”. We are left with “an empty windswept landscape almost devoid of all trace of temporality … a world stripped to its essence, glittering with an arid and troubling beauty”.”
Absolutely fascinating, Mark. Thank you. What if. What if! If existential life is exchange in flows on one plane, but time were not, and our senses simply cannot reconcile the fragmentation? What a profoundly moving quote, also. Again, thank you! Ginny x
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