The Time Percept

1889 Words8 Pages
The Time Percept Or, If a Clock Ticks in a Forest and No One is Around to See it, Does Time Still Pass? Time is the most elusive physical element. Despite familiarity with the concept, time is difficult to describe. Time is always the underlying assumption in our descriptions of the universe. In physics, it remains the largest barrier to the unification of relativity and quantum theory; some physicists believe time will have to be dismissed altogether if that unification is to occur (1). In more common experience, time appears to be an immutable and often lamented truth; who hasn't wished to "have more time," or to be able to "go back and do it over?" But does time exist, or is it the creation of a brain eager to render input…show more content…
Nonetheless, in the absence of hard scientific evidence, it can only be supposed that, since our concept of time involves a number of abstract components, this percept, like vision, is the result of coordinated activity in many parallel neural networks. To approach the question of time's reality, our survey needs to include other observations. Consider the argument with color. The key to the conclusion that color is "made up" by the brain is that the same light may be perceived differently in different situations or by different people (a "red" rose is not red in low light or to someone who is color blind (2)) and that different light may be perceived to be the same (a single wavelength or a combination of wavelengths may both produce "yellow" (2)). We may thus attempt to judge time's reality by asking the same questions: Can time be perceived differently? What would our experience be if we could not perceive time, or perceived it differently? Can our sense of time get confused? To start, one may ask, as with color, whether an individual may perceive time differently in different situations. The answer is yes. It is commonly reported by survivors of traumatic experiences that events seemed to occur "in slow motion," or that "time slowed down" (7) - if you've ever been
Open Document