Abstract Details

From Physical Time to a Dualistic Model of Human Time  Ronald Gruber , Carlos Montemayor; Richard A. Block (Clinical Assoc. Professor, Stanford University Medical Center; UCSF, Stanford, CA )   C7

There is a long standing debate as to whether or not time is 'real' or illusory, and whether or not human time (the flow/passage of time) is a direct reflection of physical time. Differing spacetime cosmologies have opposing views. The result is a failure to resolve this 'two times' problem. To resolve this issue we propose a dualistic model of human time in which each component (e.g. change, movement, and temporal order) has both an illusory and non-illusory ('real') aspect. The dualistic model provides experimental tests for all of the human time assertions of 10 chosen spacetime cosmologies. For example, the illusory aspect of the 'present,' i.e. a 'unique present,' was supported. An information gathering and utilizing system (IGUS) was constructed using a virtual reality (VR) apparatus allowing the observer to experientially roam back and forth along the worldline ad lib. In another experiment 'change' was found to be illusory at high frequency observation and non-illusory ('real') at low frequency observation, the latter phenomenon coinciding with the ?realistic change' referred to in Rovelli's 'Order of Time' view. Additional experiments are presented indicating that temporal order is dualistic. It is dualistic in that there is 'apparent temporality' analogous to apparent motion as demonstrated by our apparatus of reverse cinematography. There is also illusory episodic temporal order as we demonstrate experimentally. But, there are three 'real' aspects of temporal order: 1) semantic temporal order; 2) the non-simultaneity of two closely separated stimuli (commonly termed atemporality); and 3) Atmanspacher's quantum mechanical-like zone of non-sequential time. Within that interval, relations such as 'earlier/'later' are illegitimate designators of the system state. In sum, the dualistic model of human time allows for the existence of both illusory and non-illusory ('real') aspects of human time that are not in conflict with one another. Simply put, the brain has an illusory percept for every real percept of time. The model also provides experimental evidence for various spacetime cosmological assertions regarding human time. Finally, we explain the implications of this dual model for consciousness research in terms of the distinction between phenomenal consciousness and attention.