Abstract Details

Time is the Key to Physical Laws of Consciousness  John Sanfey (London, United Kingdom)   C7

The observation of movement in real time is a paradox between two fundamental principles of physics: physical causation and the continuum of time. The paradox is this. Observable physical properties are processes. In order to explain how something known to be a process, can be observed as existing beyond an observer's mind, there must be some point when a past and future part of the trajectory of the process are observed together. This is impossible. Every point in the spacetime continuum is an interval that can be divided into past and future, and when causally related, the past and future cannot be observed together no matter how short the interval between them. Therefore, matter cannot be observed in spacetime: a paradox. Most paradoxes are illusions. The illusion here is that observation is neutral. The paradox proves this false. Descriptions of observable physical properties have to reflect the process of observation. The argument is as follows. For the continuous movement of A to B to be experienced as the presence of something external to the mind, A must be an instant memory when B exists. The method by which this instant memory is created is the physical mechanism by which the mind operates. The observing mind creates intervals of time, or more accurately, trajectories of spacetime history. This distinct property of observation is mistaken for a feature of observed reality. The lesson of the causality-continuum paradox is that we don't perceive the world through a transparent device. The act of observation knits the past and future together in a deliberate process that enables the continuous and causal movement we observe to look like entities and events that occupy intervals of time: the now of consciousness. The equivalent of the now in physics, can be seen in various abstract devices, which manage the paradox by allowing the past and future of continuous causal processes to be treated as entities, events or points. It took two thousand years after Zeno presented the first paradoxes of motion before solutions began to emerge, beginning with Galileo's definition of velocity, then infinite series equations, calculus and more recently, field theory. These abstract workaround devices manage the paradox in various ways. Intervals of the continuum can be treated as points, or in the case of field theory, functions are attributed to empty space. These techniques are effective at managing the paradox pragmatically but they ignore the fact that there is an underlying conflict between two fundamental principles, the causality of physical motion and the continuum of time. The conflict can only be resolved by a principle of observation. Observation must re-create an immediate record of past trajectory, without which, matter would be indistinguishable from nothing. This establishes an inseparable link between mind and matter, which allows us to deduce the physical properties and laws of consciousness. Mind and matter belong in the same physics.