Tuesday, January 25, 2005


Every now and again I take notice of the passage of time itself. Most recently I was drinking a sip of coffee and then suddenly the ephemeral, knife-blade like flow of time became the prominent center of my attention: I 'watched' myself take the sip, and then sat there and 'felt' that moment slide inexorably away - first the sip was just a few seconds ago - almost close enough to 'touch', and then it steadily drifted further and further away.

It then occured to me that it didn't necessarily have to be like that for a conscious being. Say you have physically downloaded all the neural patterns of your brain into a very advanced computer using some sort of fantastic futuristic nanotechnology. You could then change the programing of your own mind. In particular, imagine watching 2 movie screens right next to eachother, which are displaying the same events, only there is a small delay in the second screen. You could then have a huge series of such screens, perhaps each one delayed by one frame, so that you would be simultaneously experiencing an entire smooth chunk of time flowing into the future, instead of just the razor-thin 'present' that we have always been constrained to. Naturally we can't realistically follow more than a couple screens, but in this new malleable brain you could multiply the structures of your visual cortex a thousand times over, feeding each copy a slightly more delayed image.

And that would just be the beginning of the fun. Next, in order to further differentiate the different moments in time, perhaps you could derive whole new types of colors that would be used at different points in the segments of time that you simultaneously experience. Imagine watching a sunset, say with a cloud up high that reflects a deep red color that remains fairly constant during the time segment (say just a minute for now) that you are currently experiencing. You can then first imagine changing that red color continuously throughout the segment, so that the leading edge is the red we are familiar with, but it morphs into orange and then yellow, and so on so that it is purple by the end of the minute being simultaneously experienced - the color changes adding more depth to the range of time. But of course we can't steal from the other colors, so red would have to blend into some new color red2 which would become red3 further back in the segment and so on, with yellow and green and all the others also simultaneously evolving into yellow2 and green2 and so on.

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