Time as Emergent

What is time? We haven’t quite pinned it down yet. Many physicists think time might be emergent, meaning it’s not fundamental to the universe, but is something that emerges [from other variables]. I learned a lot about Emergence Theory from Klee Irwin and his team, and will link to one of their videos at the end of this post.

My work is focused on perception. Perception varies based on the orientation of the observer and the distance of the observer from what is being observed.

For instance, there are different ways to think of the vertical axis, “north.” Think of your car’s navigation system. At times it uses “north” to mean going (for example) from 12th street to 13th street to 14th street, in New York City. At other times it pivots and sees north as meaning up a mountain—a higher altitude at the same physical location. North can mean latitude or altitude. North can meaning going from 12th street up to 14th street. Or north can mean staying at 12th street and going up in a high-rise.

That is the pivot that interests me.

That pivot does something interesting to perspective. The wider space gets—the more city blocks you travel in the same amount of time—the easier it is to see there is another kind of north. Speed can “flatten” space. When I am in an airplane, the size of my “Now” has increased. It takes you time to go from 10th street to 14th street. For me, that distance has become negligible.

The faster I am, the more I flatten space. The more I flatten space, the more I allow a new north to emerge: time. As time emerges, I am creating a new vertical axis that is perpendicular to space the way a quasar is perpendicular to a galaxy. So, to go back to New York City, if I am going up in a high-rise, that is my new north. The “old north” (12th street to 13th street to 14th street) becomes flat from my perspective.

My body, especially my brain, is always trying to grapple with time, to feel its dimensions. How “deep” is time? How “wide”? I feel this in many ways, including with my balance and proprioception. But I feel it most profoundly with my blood. With menstruation. My blood, more than anything, limits my ability to move around in time. Because there is only so “thin” and so “thick” that a single set of blood can be.

In order to take advantage of the time axis, the vertical axis, first I have to widen. To dilate. I can do this by retaining water (e.g. pre-menstruation). I can also widen/dilate with a little niacin or a little alcohol. But it’s tricky. If I widen too much, my mucus starts to get too thick, all throughout my body. I can also get the feeling of excess estrogen/copper, a pinching feeling in my calves. I want to be able to get wide enough so the vertical axis opens up, but the viscosity of my blood limits me. I don’t want to get so wide in time that my blood clots.

The viscosity of my blood limits me. When I say this, in a way, I am speaking of porphyrins. I am speaking of the viscosity both of blood and of light.

I am not dealing with scales as large as galaxies and quasars, obviously. But I don’t have to be. My frame of reference is much smaller, but the same principle applies. My body wants to menstruate, but in order to do so, it has to widen enough to be able to feel the vertical axis. As it retains water, as it uses niacin, I can start to feel the vertical axis, that downward pull, emerge. The places in my body where I have stored iron (e.g. my womb) feel it first. But after 50 years, I find it’s difficult to widen enough to get there. I am already up at 50th street, so to speak, so to shift perspectives and see “north” as vertical means I have to render quite a bit of spacial distance as flat. My car’s navigation system can do it much more fluidly than I can.

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