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The Brain

··2 mins

The brain is a specialized organ for the perception of time.

Our organs each serve a very specific purpose, working in concert with one another to survive and “experience” creation around us. This is especially true of what we refer to as our “sensory organs.”

The eye perceives light, but light “as it is,” at a particular moment.

The ears perceive tiny movements in the air around us that we call sound waves. But not all movements, just those movements at a particular moment.

The nose, molecules of smell 1, the tongue, flavors of what is placed against it, and the skin, the feeling of pressure and texture.

All of these things are perceived by the organs, but they are not understood.

In order to be understood, these sensations must be processed by the brain. This processing is the essence of our experience of time.

Even though our “experience,” of understanding seems coincident with reception of these different impulses, the understanding follows after the impulses which the brain interprets have passed away. That is, (even though it is mere milliseconds) the brain is interpreting stimuli that occured in the “past.” They are gone, never to be recovered.

A particular bounce of light, off a particular surface; a singular sound, reverberating in your ear, they are received, and are no more; existing only in the memory of experience.

Not only this, but the brain brings memory to bear on the interpretation of these signals. It understands the current input in light of similar inputs it has received before.

As if this were not enough, the brain also finds connections between things that have tenuous connections. How is this? We invent things that never existed, by assemblage of experience (either first or second-hand).

Out of this assemblage of disparate pieces, springs what we would commonly call “creativity.”

All of our experience of life is, in essence, experienced ex post facto. We swim in a river that has passed.

The construct of “the present,” is a tenuous and fluid concept built completely within the mind.

Understanding just how important, then, memory is in our experience of temporal reality, consider what effect dementia or memory loss has on our experience of time.

Could time travel be experienced completely in the mind?

  1. I’ll never forget, a friend of mine, Brian Fleeger, who referred to these as “smellerons.” :) ↩︎