Social Question

rebbel's avatar

How long does now last?

Asked by rebbel (31549points) January 16th, 2012

Now as in present, at this moment.
Does it exist at all, the now?
When I think about it I come to the conclusion that when I have a thought, now, it has already gone by the moment my thought ended, thus being part of (my) history.
I understand that this appears to be (probably even is) a vague question, maybe even unanswerable, but still it is something that comes to mind every now and then.
Fluther being the site it is (and populated with the Jellies it is) I thought: “Let me throw this one into the smack”.

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19 Answers

digitalimpression's avatar

Funny that you should ask about the present, but .. in the past.

Zyx's avatar

I suppose technically now is forever. In quantum mechanical terms (if I understood what I read correctly) the wave function of the universe won’t collapse until the end of time.

Charles's avatar

1/infinity seconds.

mazingerz88's avatar

Anywhere between .. . . .

mangeons's avatar

“Now” occurs at the exact moment you are doing something. By the time you even think about it, now is over and it’s now a new now.

SavoirFaire's avatar

The thing about “now” is that it does not last. It is a knife’s edge between “was” and “will be.”

PhiNotPi's avatar

Now is forever. There will never be a time when I could truthfully say “The time is not now”.

Dog's avatar

Now!
Nope.. it is over…
Now!
Nope.. it is over…
Now!
Nope.. it is over…

Mariah's avatar

Compare time to space. One might intuitively conclude that theoretically, bits of space could always be chopped in half until they were infinitely small. This is not true, however. Space is quantized. There is a smallest possible size called the Planck Length. That’s what quantum physics is all about.

Time and space have many similarities, so perhaps time is quantized too. But nobody knows, not yet.

So “now” might be infinitely short or might be a specific smallest possible length of time.

Berserker's avatar

Now exists as a simple definition merely for people to be able to pinpoint something that isn’t significantly linked to the past or the future. Logically thinking about ’‘now’’ though, it doesn’t actually exist, if you accept that time as we usually define it is constantly going on.

judochop's avatar

Right now will be earlier this evening if you see this again today. If not, right now will become yesterday when you read this. Now is a specific time frame, specific to an instant.

Berserker's avatar

@judochop Whoa. Dude that’s totally true, never looked at it like that. Cool.

gondwanalon's avatar

It is now.
It has always been now.
It will always be now.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

According to Ernst Pöppel, now lasts three seconds.

“...the experience of continuity is based on an illusion. Continuity arises through the networking of contents, which in each case are represented in a time window of three seconds. We reconstruct temporal continuity based on what is represented in the individual islands of consciousness….” (source)

SavoirFaire's avatar

@hiphiphopflipflapflop But surely now and the experience of now are separate things, yes? We never actually experience the now because the speed at which the external world impinges on our senses is finite. So while the now includes our present experiences, those experiences themselves are (often? always?) of the very recent past. This is not to deny any of Pöppel’s claims, but only to clarify what they are properly about: our experience of now.

Paradox25's avatar

Now never lasts because time is always moving. By the time your senses perceive now it is already in the past tense. I’m thinking that now can only be relative to a conscious observer to even be aware of the very concept of it, otherwise there is no such thing as now like I said because time is always moving and there are infinite fractions of a second that never freeze.

mattbrowne's avatar

10^-43 seconds.

Until quantum mechanics is proved to be wrong.

kritiper's avatar

Now comes and goes in the blink of a eye. It is always here, not there.

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