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Author Topic: Gods and Time  (Read 3701 times)
Melamphoros
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« Topic Start: August 11, 2008, 08:21:03 pm »

This thread was inspired by conversation in this one.

How do you think the Gods perceive time?  Do they perceive it the way we do or do they perceive it differently?  Do they exist within time as we know it or do they exist outside of it?

And while I'm at it, I'll throw this one in:

Is time linear or cyclical?
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« Reply #1: August 11, 2008, 08:33:38 pm »

This thread was inspired by conversation in this one.

How do you think the Gods perceive time?  Do they perceive it the way we do or do they perceive it differently?  Do they exist within time as we know it or do they exist outside of it?

And while I'm at it, I'll throw this one in:

Is time linear or cyclical?

The way I've always seen it, They exist "outside of time" as such, but can "peek in" at various intervals to observe, intervene, or whatever.

What do you mean by time as cyclical?  I've always thought of it as either linear (not usually my view), or all occurring somewhat simultaneously.
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« Reply #2: August 11, 2008, 09:04:04 pm »


I'm reminded of a quote (but forget the attribution): "The only reason for Time is to keep everything from happening at once." (Might be Douglas Adams, actually...)

I tend to lean toward the "cyclical" camp. Although, time is always moving--the Buddhist proverb explains, "You can never step in the same river twice." The water that was there a moment ago isn't the water that's there right now.

But perhaps if you could travel backward/sideways, you could find that very same river again. Perhaps. Not in Buddha's time, though. :-)
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« Reply #3: August 11, 2008, 09:06:29 pm »

How do you think the Gods perceive time? 

[...]

Is time linear or cyclical?

If you've ever read Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun tetralogy and it's brilliant Coda Urth of the New Sun, I believe that the gods do exist outside of time.  To them, Time is somewhat similar to a road.  They can walk any direction they please in time.

That said, I do tend to think of time as somewhat linear, but the universe itself as somewhat cyclical.  It makes sense to me that the universe is cyclical, since I see nature itself as going through cycles of life, death, and rebirth, so why shouldn't the universe itself go through some cycle of rapid expansion, evolution, and eventual contraction to a new big bang?  Yeah, yeah...it's pulled from fantasy literature; I don't care...it still struck me as making sense. Cheesy
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« Reply #4: August 12, 2008, 12:25:28 am »

It makes sense to me that the universe is cyclical, since I see nature itself as going through cycles of life, death, and rebirth, so why shouldn't the universe itself go through some cycle of rapid expansion, evolution, and eventual contraction to a new big bang?  Yeah, yeah...it's pulled from fantasy literature; I don't care...it still struck me as making sense. Cheesy

 Shocked

That's exactly how I view the universe. I've never before come across anyone who has thought along the same lines.
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« Reply #5: August 12, 2008, 10:04:24 am »

Do they exist within time as we know it or do they exist outside of it?

Is time linear or cyclical?

I believe that the Gods are within time as we know it, largely because I believe time is an intrinsic property of existence. That is, if something exists at all, it exists in the flow of time.

I view time as linear and chaotic; I don't believe in the Many Worlds theory of probability, for one thing. I don't think the future is knowable with certainty, and I doubt that time travel is possible even for the Gods -- changing the time property of an existent object would be as difficult as changing the gravity exerted by a specific mass (and as pointless, IMO).
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« Reply #6: August 15, 2008, 10:35:16 pm »

This thread was inspired by conversation in this one.
How do you think the Gods perceive time?  Do they perceive it the way we do or do they perceive it differently?  Do they exist within time as we know it or do they exist outside of it?
And while I'm at it, I'll throw this one in:
Is time linear or cyclical?

Some Gods are in sequence with our perceptions, some are out. Some are time itself.

I think of time as being more spiral actually. But I have discussed that at length in other posts so I won't go into it all again here, only to say that at various points on the spiral you are closer to other points (in time.)
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« Reply #7: August 16, 2008, 02:26:00 am »


How do you think the Gods perceive time?  Do they perceive it the way we do or do they perceive it differently?  Do they exist within time as we know it or do they exist outside of it?



I don't think gods exist in the time we perceive. They are time. They make time. They can speed it up or slow it down. They have control over time, manipulate it. They are not subject to its rules.
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« Reply #8: August 30, 2008, 08:09:57 am »

How do you think the Gods perceive time?  Do they perceive it the way we do or do they perceive it differently?


I thing it varies from deity to deity. I conceive of deities as conscious physical systems at differing scales. I think that the perception of time is related to scale because I think it is related to the experience of events by a consciousness. Very small things experience very small events that may be more closely spaced in time than those experienced by things at a greater scale. At its ultimate level I am a panentheist and believe that the conscious universe experiences all of time simultaneously.

A point on which I am far less sure of the details is the extent to which a consciousness is able to appreciate things that are internal to its physical manifestation. I know that I do not apprehend the molecular processes within me and so cannot claim to perceive time on the scale that these events take place. They are internal to me and opaque to me conscious exxperience. Is this the same for all consciousnesses? Really not so sure on that one.

Quote
Do they exist within time as we know it or do they exist outside of it?

I would say yes. I am a materialist and do not believe that anything can be said to meaningfully exist outside of time, as I understand time to be integral to physical manifestation. Things can be timeless to the extent that they are unmanifest (eg. ideas), but not outside of time IMHO.

Quote
And while I'm at it, I'll throw this one in:

Is time linear or cyclical?

At its final level I see time as an indivisible unity, neither linear nor cyclical. An individual consciousness's experience of time would appear to be necessarily linear (on the basis of my limited understanding of complexity theory and its related mathematical expression)
, but I'm not sure I would fully comit to that assertion. Certainly, my experience of time is arguablely linear. Arguable to the extent that the past and future are both perceptible to me with decresing accuracy as the distance in time from the conscious now increases. Mind you, none of this precludes the existence of a finite number of cycles within that ultimate frame of reference.
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