Social Question

jackm's avatar

Do you think time is a construct of our mind?

Asked by jackm (6205points) October 21st, 2009

Or do you think it exists independently of us.


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20 Answers

five99one's avatar

I think that time is relative, but it exists. Time is the 4th dimension, if I remember correctly.

poisonedantidote's avatar

It exists independently and is a objective tangible thing. Evidence for this would be some of the predictions of special relativity coupled with observations.

For example, if you travel close to the speed of light, time slows down for you. This cant just be a trick of the mind, when you consider that a stationary second and third party would be able to confirm this.

EDIT: not that anyone has ever traveled close to the speed of the light. the closest we have is astronauts who have orbited earth a lot. some of them are technically a few millionths of a nanoseconds or so younger than they should be. they are technically just slightly from the past.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Time is a concept we created to abate the turmoil in our minds. As far as it being a tangible object you could probably argue convincingly in either direction. There are facets of time that are constructs of our mind and facets that aren’t.

deni's avatar

If you fly one atomic clock around the world and keep one in a stationary position, the one that has traveled around will be the tiniest bit slower than the one that stayed still. Time is real…but it’s way beyond my mind. And like @poisonedantidote said, an astronaut that has been in space for a year or so will be technically a few seconds younger. It is whack.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

yes. I think time only exists because we as humans have a finite existence.

Qingu's avatar

If time were a product of the mind, things without minds would not be affected by time’s passing.

Which obviously isn’t true.

You can say time is a “reference frame” but mindless things like rocks and hydrogen atoms have reference frames.

Harp's avatar

My intuition is that time is the human mind’s way of accounting for our perception of change. It’s an entity that we presume must exist in order to make sense of our perception that things were different “before”. Like space, it’s an organizing principle of our perception of reality, a feature of the architecture of our consciousness.

I’m no physicist, and I wouldn’t begin to know how to reconcile this intuition with modern physics, but there are physicists who share this biocentric view (and here’s a recent Discover article that elucidates this view). They seem to feel that quantum mechanics can quite comfortably do without time as an independent reality.

I don’t base my view on these or other scientific findings, and I wouldn’t know how to convince anyone that this view is correct.

lloydbird's avatar

I’ve got a really good answer to this Q. But I’m really busy.
So I’ll get back to you in about an hour.

jackm's avatar

Are you trying to point out that time is real by telling me you’ll be back in an hour?

Barnaud's avatar

Time is a creature in philosophy. It means that we are accountable of the use we make out of it…

RedPowerLady's avatar

I believe that how we choose to use time is a construct of our minds. For example modern culture believes in linear time. Whereas many cultural groups believe in time as more circular.

lifeflame's avatar

Yes, time is a construct. We parse up what is continuous into seconds, minutes, hours, days and years.

The fact that it is a social construct does not make it more “objective.” For example, we have a general understanding of “blue”, which helps us communicate. (Or, for that matter, those funny black marks have social meaning.”

I do think there is something objectively there beyond our social constructs; a flow of things. But because we need to make sense of it and function, so we give it names and units and metaphors.

LostInParadise's avatar

I must be missing something in this discussion. Suppose I put a roast in the oven and I set a timer to go off when it should be done. The timer goes off and the roast is ready for eating. Could somebody explain this coincidence without resorting to time?

deni's avatar

@LostlnParadise Well it really isn’t the time that makes your roast ready to eat…it’s certain amounts of heat and all that but of course time plays into it because time plays into everything…

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

I think we have an incomplete understanding of the nature of time.

jackm's avatar

Thats how I feel also. I think when we have a complete understanding of it, we will look back at how we felt about it today and laugh.

higherground's avatar

Both Einstein and Newton, who are both highly recognized physicists made similar conclusions and even made dramatic advances toward a timeless perspective of the universe. Yet, even having done so, they were still not able to change the temporal mentality done to the mainstream of physics and society.

I’d have to say yes to this question .

higherground's avatar

I wish people will discuss about this one , I think this is a really good question ! (=

ninjacolin's avatar

the phenomenon of observing (that which we refer to (in english) as) “time” is itself a necessary part of the universe or a part of what the universe looks, feels, sounds, smells, and tastes like in “reality.”

“time” is as real as “red” or even as real as the fact that you either are or aren’t 7’11”

ninjacolin's avatar

the phenomenon of observing (that which we refer to (in english) as) “time” is itself a necessary part of the universe or a part of what the universe looks, feels, sounds, smells, and tastes like in “reality.”

“time” is as real as “red” or even as real as the fact that you either are or aren’t 7’11.” time is as real as the mind… so, the question is a false dilemma in my opinion.

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