Thursday, November 8, 2007

A Question of the Mind

Suppose you had an opinion, or perhaps a concept, a model of the world.

Could you ever just get rid of it and replace it with nothing?

This has a little bit to do with the idea that many of us are inordinately attached to our own ideas, but it goes a bit farther than that, because people can figure out that they were wrong about, for instance, what causes inflation. The new information can replace the old, and people can get on with their day. There may be various levels of emotional response- for instance, when people finally realize the government actually causes inflation, they could become conspiracy theorists or something- but it's much easier to replace one idea with another.

The things is, I don't know if its actually possible to remove an idea that has no replacement. The idea is there in response to something, so when that something shows up the idea gets triggered. Then we have to modify the idea in some way, and being human we often like to do this by creating what we perceive to be the opposite idea. This doesn't actually get us any closer to the truth, and since the starting point is the original idea, our thinking is still influenced.

To try and make what I am saying almost entirely, but not quite, clear, let me expound on the nature of time. We all appear to have this impression that time moves forward. Let me make a suggestion: time does not move forward. We move forward, but saying time moves forward is sort of like saying space moves forward.
Forward is a direction that can only be accomplished in time, so time itself can't be moving forward at all.

So, can you successfully remove the idea that time is moving forward from your mind? Even knowing that time is different on each planet, and different for different bodies travelling at different speeds, etc... It may not be the best example because their could be strong psychological or physiological reasons we feel time moves forward, but hopefully you get some sense of the question.

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