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Is motion an illusion?

  1. Feb 9, 2005 #1
    I am not talking about Zeno's paradox. Many philosophers debate the existence of time. Watches and clocks measure motion , so motion has something to do with time. So if time is an illusion then so is motion. I have no problem with this because I believe the universe is dimensionless.
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  3. Feb 9, 2005 #2


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    By any reasonable definition of dimension, the universe is certainly not dimensionless (by the way, does anyone know a simple experiment to empirically determine the number of (macroscopic) spatial dimensions? I was just wondering about that). As far as the ontological status of time, it helps in calculations, so as far as physics is concerned, time is no less real than space or mass. Of course, we don't know if any of these are really real, but I at least, have a hard time understanding what really real could even mean.
  4. Feb 9, 2005 #3

    As far as I know dimensions only exist in geometry and like mathematics and maybe even consciousness "It is out there or in here?" I agree with a lot you said. Time is a measurement which makes me question the validity of it.
  5. Feb 9, 2005 #4


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    You're denying the existance of dimensions? But you need dimensions to move or change in any way, so you can't be a non-dimensional thing.
  6. Feb 10, 2005 #5

    Then the question becomes how does one explore the concept of a dimensionless Universe? This would mean we can be at anyplace at anytime (sorry time is irrelevant now) a complete singularity...!
  7. Feb 10, 2005 #6
    A dimension is only a way of mapping out a set of coordinates.
  8. Feb 10, 2005 #7
    Without dimensions and time there could be no motion, it would have definition. The reverse holds true, if spacial motion exists, then so must time and at least one spacial dimension. So time actually does exist (but only in proportion to energy measurements, due to QT).
  9. Feb 10, 2005 #8


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    life could however exist as the expression of one singular thought from a degree of "life" greater than ours. almost analogous to a story book, and the person reading the story book. that we're being read. and that's all there is.

  10. Feb 10, 2005 #9


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    My belief:

    Time is a manifestation of a trajectory between stable states (like a vase falling off a table representing the whole of cosmic history). Our perception of time is a trajectory from the pre-existence to whatever final state the universe is evolving to. Yea, the wave equation ain't the electron. You guys just bring up interesting things here. I'm going back on the other side of the track now.
  11. Mar 7, 2005 #10
    I am really replying to the thread starting question (Is motion an illusion?), but chose to do so here so I could invite RAD4921 (and others) to come and participate in the thread that got moved from "generat philosophy" to the branch about mathematics and philosophy - Thread called: Time does NOT exist - Math Proof

    It is easy to show that perception of motion is an illusion, or at least sometimes is. In psychology there is a well-know effect, called the "waterfall effect" where a stationary object is perceived as moving. From a neurophysicological POV it is easily explained, and closely related to the fact that long stairing at a red spot and then looking at a white wall will cause you to perceive a green spot on the wall.

    Motion is one of the many "features" separtated out for evey object in the field of view. (If memory serves me correctly it is proccessed in a part of the brain caled V5, but it may be color that is process there.) The fact that many different features are processed in well separated neural tissue, is why I developed a non standard theory of visual perception. (No cognitive scientist has the slightest idea how we perceive unified objects as these "features" never are reassembled in one place in the brain. See thread I started on Free Will ("What price Free will")

    You can google "Waterfall effect AND fatigue" and should get good infro on how and why motion is sometimes an illusion, but basically the idea is:

    Suppose you have programmed a computer to continiously display a set of horizontal black and white bars moving down on the monitor, New ones appearing at the top as old ones disapear at the bottom. The way the motion feature is detected is that in V5? there are different cells that respond to both each specific direction of motion and to each specific speed of motion.

    If you look too long at one speed bars moving in one direction they become tired (fatigued, just like looking at the red spot too long). These cells are associated with their complement, which is not excited by the down going pattern of horizontal bars. Thus when the bars on the monitor stop moving, the balance between these two specific sets of "motion detectors" is not with equal activity.

    You will easly see that no new bars are being introduced at the bottom of the screen but simultaneously you will have the strong perception that the bars are steadily moving up. After a minute or so, this peception will fade as the fatigued "down cells" recover. If you hunt around in the net, you should be able to down load a program that will run the "waterfall effect" for you. (at east one was out there about 10 years ago.)

    It is a really strange sensation to preceive motion while looking at something that is not moving. - In my book that proves motion can be an illusion.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2005
  12. Mar 8, 2005 #11
    To Billy T

    Thanks for the invite to the thread. It sounds interesting but you failed to post the thread link so I cannot go there. thanks RAD
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