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Existing in a span of time?

  1. Feb 6, 2004 #1
    i have come to the conclusion that the psychological present is not an instant. It is not a point in time.
    Our brains work in a certain way that lets us see more than one instant at a time.
    This can be proven. Take a pencil, and whip it back and forth. You will see multiple pencils. Why is this? Well, your brain processes information so that you see the world in a certain time span. So you will see the pencil in different positions at the "same" time.
    Now, with practice, you can manipulate your way of thinkisng so that you can shrink the time span of your conciousness and see only one pencil. Sort of a "keep your eye on the ball" type of thinking.
    Its sort of like this. Spatially, we take up volume, we aren't just a point in space. So why can't we also take up a length in time? It makes perfect sense that we take up "space" in all 4 dimensions(maybe more dimensions, who knows?)
    Now, some people may have really large bursts of conciousness time-spans. This would allow for precognition, or retrocognition.
    I just wanted to see what you guys think about this.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 6, 2004 #2


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    Here's another piece of evidence for that. EKG experiments with conscious volunteers have shown that our brains react to a decision we are going to take about half a second before our minds become aware of taking it.

    In a half second light travels 93,000 miles.
  4. Feb 6, 2004 #3
    This is not a span of time which your brain cannot 'break down' per se, but a mere matter of all processes taking a finite amount of time. For example, related to the pencil example, the human eye is only capable of transmitting approximately 30 images per second. Thanks to motion blur, we are able to deduce movements that are as short as one 60th of a second. Therefore, if a pencil is moving faster than that, it will all start blurring together. It is the same with the rate at which your brain processes information. The brain is just a computer, transmitting and receiving electrical signals. Those electrical signals take a finite amount of time to go from one node to another. There is no way to decrease this amount of time without somehow optimizing the configuration of your brain's neuron pathways. Even then, you would probably only be able to see a few percent gains in speed.

    Note that this still leaves room for variation. I've always been of the mind that everyone perceives time slightly differently because no brain is exactly the same. For one person who is more reactive (like myself) time moves relatively slowly because I am focused on the task at hand and the path is clear, so to speak. For people who are always getting lost in thought and distracted, time likely moves faster because their brain has more traffic and can't dedicate the fastest route entirely to the phenomenon that are happening around them.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2004
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