The local

Beltane                                                                            Sumi-e Moon

breathe thich-nhat-hanh-calligraphy

breathe thich-nhat-hanh-calligraphy

Forgot how exhausting real studying can be. My goal was to finish Rovell’s book, The Order of Time, before qabbalah last night. I did it. But I had to read and ponder for several hours over the last two days. Much of the work is clear, even if challenging to understand. Some of it, especially about the quantum world, was  damned difficult. Some of it I didn’t get. That’s o.k. Confusion is the sweat of the intellect. A lot of sweat in that small text.

My reward? At kabbalah last night I found the discussion needed the insights Rovelli offers. But I didn’t understand them well enough to add them to the discussion. Result? Cognitive dissonance. The question last night was, does the future exist? Rovelli answer: at the quantum level, no. No past, no present, no future. No time. Just events occurring in no particular order. Kabbalists answer, no. The past and the future only exist in the present. Sounds similar, but it’s not. No time is no time.

And, Rovelli established to my satisfaction that there is no present, even at the Newtonian level. The easiest example is a moment, A, happening on earth. Is it in the same present, a universal present we assume exists for the whole universe, as an event on Proxima, three light years away? No. It is in the same moment as an action on Proxima three years from now. In this example, thanks to distance we can see that our present does not match up to Proxima’s.

present_moment_wonderful_moment-300x224Here’s the real trick in Rovelli’s book though. The present is highly local. The present is a construct meaningful only within the part of the universe with which we are in direct relation. So my present here on Shadow Mountain is different than the one down the hill in Aspen Park or down the hill even further in Denver.

We can only know the present through direct relationship. Why? Well, consider this. Let’s say I want to know what’s happening right now in Aspen Park. How can I do that? I’m not there. I could call, but dialing takes time, so by the time I’ve connected with Aspen Park, the moment I’m reaching is no longer the present about which I wondered a moment ago. Even a reply takes time to reach me from Aspen Park over the phone. It’s the same problem as Proxima, just on a different scale.

localPicky? I don’t think so. The present is just that. Now. But I can discover no other present without encountering it after mine has already disappeared.  This highly local nature of the present unhinges our assumption of time as a constant, the same everywhere. No, in fact it’s exactly not the same everywhere. You have to let that trickle in, at least I did.

And, there’s more! But I need to re-read the book to get it. Not right now. Not enough energy.

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