[ExI] Problem with time travel WAS Faster than light??

Jeff Davis jrd1415 at gmail.com
Tue Sep 27 22:58:10 UTC 2011

Have to make this fast.  The wife and I are heading out for our winter
home in Baja, and I have packing and other errands to do.

I can't explain why it should have happened so suddenly, but I had one
of those light bulbs go off, this time with a somewhat disconcerting

The FTL thread has provoked comments on causality and time travel.
The first was by Eugen, in response to Dennis May, to wit:

On Fri, Sep 23, 2011 at 08:40:14AM -0700, Dennis May wrote:

> I would not be too concerned about any Earth shattering
> consequences if it were found that neutrinos were found
> to travel slightly faster than the speed of light - or other
> means of signaling faster than light were discovered.

Eugen: "I'd call retrograde signalling in time (which can be
indefinite via a chain of routers) and causality violations
pretty Earth-shattering. ..." <snip>

The instant I saw "signaling in time" the light bulb went off.

YOU CAN'T " signal in time".  "Time", in the sense used here DOES NOT EXIST.

Let me explain.  The three spacial dimensions -- x,y, & z -- all have
a "back thataway", a "here", and an "up ahead".  There is the notion
that time has something similar, in the form of "past. "present", and
"future", but this is not the case.  The past and the future are
abstractions.  Mental conveniences.  They exist ONLY as ideas; ideas
that arise because the internal narrative of subjective experience
involves memories (ie abstractions) recorded and then ordered in a
sequential context, which then "fattens" the concept of time with a
bulk character that it does not in fact possess.   We most certainly
exist -- cogito ergo sum -- but this truth is exclusively immediate.
The "now" is real, but the past and future are exclusively, entirely
mental objects, ie abstractions. Consequently, you cannot "travel"
backwards or forwards in time.  No such realms as past or present

Having suddenly noticed this "problem" -- confusing the mental notion
of "bulk" time with the "now-is-all-there-is" reality -- I looked at
the new  "reality" to see what I could identify in the way of
reality-based features.

                             ***********SHORT DIGRESSION***********

Lately, I find myself running into an odd, yet oddly friendly, sort of
bemusement.  Oddly friendly because it conforms almost precisely to
the "point" of an old conceptual joke that I have repeated and
chuckled at countless times over the years.  Here's the short form:

As the years pass, I learn more and more.  As what I know increases,
so does my awareness of the growing bulk of what I do NOT know.  To
all appearances, the unknown seems to grow substantially faster than
the known.  The outcome of this progression?  "The more I know, the
less I know, until at last, when I know everything, I know nothing."

The universe has a bitchin' sense of humor.  Life is good.  Can't get enough.

                            ***********OK.  Back to it.****************

So I hauled out my mental model of spacetime, hooked up my
peta-eta-yetta-scale probe, dived down mentally to the Plank level,
and began my search for a new version of "time".

My picture of ***3D space*** at the Plank level is a 3D collection of
contiguous points.  The universe as a bag of beads.  Now, what happens
to these points? Presumably, at any given "now", each point has its
own set of ten (or eleven, or ?) parametric values for the
corresponding ten "dimensions" of the Standard Model.  Then, after
what we refer to as the Plank "time interval", these parameters
achieve their next value in the next iteration of the "now".  Care --
better yet humility -- must of course be embraced when toying with
such notions.  Characteristics of matter and time at the
macro/classical scale differ qualitatively from characteristics at the
atomic(or sub-atomic) scale. (Well, duh!) I

So the iterative progression from the current now to the next now
becomes the basis for experiential flow in the macro experience.  And
what we call time is the illusion of duration created by memory's bulk
sequential record of experience.

It always embarrasses me to attempt this sort of conjecture because I
feel so utterly out of my depth. (Ever closer, as implied by the
**joke** above, to comprehensive cluelessness/humility in the face of

Best, Jeff Davis

"That's the whole problem with science. You've got a bunch of
empiricists trying to describe things of unimaginable wonder."
           --Calvin (& Hobbes)

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