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The Deceptive Nature of Memory

There is no "past," "present" or "future"! What is really happening is that we are constantly undergoing "a change of condition." Apparently we are "being deceived" by those "impressions of the previous conditions" that have remained imprinted as our memories.

 

‚ÄúThe Deceptive Nature of Memory‚Ä?                       
[‚ÄúThe Deceptive Memory‚Ä?]
 
-Third edition-
 

Surely it is everybody‚Äôs belief that the past had once existed. It naturally is everybody‚Äôs belief too that the childhood period that we had once gone through did exist. It sounds as if we are passing our time sequentially, which consequently makes it sound natural for us to refer to time that has passed as ‚Äúthe past‚Ä? and time that will come as ‚Äúthe future.‚Ä? As it turns out, however, there is a lot of confusion about this.

Is it true that at the present what we always ‚Äúexperience‚Ä? is actually the past condition of our surroundings? Is it true that man constantly ‚Äúfinds himself to be in the present‚Ä? throughout his lifetime? Is it possible that the assumption that there is a ‚Äúpast‚Ä? and a ‚Äúfuture‚Ä? is but a mere result of the human ability to recall those memories on the previous condition imprinted in his brain? Could it be that there‚Äôs something about it that we have simply overlooked?

 

The Concept of Time Simplified

 

To answer these questions, it is indispensable that we trace the origin of the concept of time. In ancient times all people were able to say was that when the sun rose above them or when there was brightness then that would mean daytime; on the other hand, when darkness befell them, then that would mean night. Later, when they became more advanced, for the sake of accuracy in communicating meanings and by means of a device which they themselves invented, brightness or day was divided into 12, and so was darkness or night. Although such an initiative did not, it is believed, originate from some place at the equator, they somehow still managed to divide the day and the night equally into twelve hours. 

In conformity with the further improvements they achieved in communications, they then divided the hour into sixty minutes, and the minute into sixty seconds. It was since then that we have come to know such terms as hours, minutes and seconds, and even one-hundredth of a second. From the revolution of the moon around the earth and the earth around the sun we have such things as months and years. Apart from these units of time (second, minute, hour, day, month, year, century), we also have such adverbs of time as ‚Äúthe past‚Ä? to refer to any period of time that we have passed, ‚Äúthe present‚Ä? to the period of time we are undergoing, and ‚Äúthe future‚Ä? to any period of time that is to come. Our growth from being an infant to becoming an adult further confirms that we have always been undergoing a condition in terms of time, which leads us to acknowledge that such things as the ‚Äúpast,‚Ä? ‚Äúpresent,‚Ä? and ‚Äúfuture‚Ä? do exist. By implication, therefore, the ‚Äúpast,‚Ä? the ‚Äúpresent,‚Ä? and the ‚Äúfuture‚Ä? are what we shall inevitably be experiencing on and on for as long as we live.

 

What Do We Mean by ‚ÄúTo Experience‚Ä??

 

Considering the fact that we are consistently experiencing movements or changes of condition from time to time, it is perhaps worthwhile for us to spend some time discussing what we mean by ‚Äúto experience‚Ä? here. A sure and easy way to get a clearer explanation about the meaning of the word is, of course, by looking it up in a dictionary. In the Random House Webster‚Äôs dictionary, for instance, experience as a verb, is defined as to live through or undergo. The Collins Concise Dictionary Plus defines it as to be moved by or feel, and the Oxford Advanced Learner‚Äôs Dictionary defines it as to feel. In fact, there are as many definitions of the word as there are people who think about it.

But let‚Äôs now examine the limitations of the existing definitions. ‚ÄúTo experience‚Ä? in general involves two things: the condition of our external environment and that of our bodies. Because we have the five senses, we are certainly able to receive the various external stimuli, which are then instantly passed on to the brain so that we become aware of the presence of something coming from outside of our bodies. The phrase ‚Äúto experience‚Ä? is generally associated with our senses, particularly our sense of sight. As it turns out, not all external matter is felt by our senses. There are things that we are just unable to monitor, such as the electromagnetic waves, certain kinds of rays, magnetic fields, and certain pitches of sounds, etc. Apart from these, the failure to feel the presence of external matter can also be attributed to certain functional disorders or abnormalities of the receiving end. Now, what if our bodies receive external stimuli in a manner as described above: Could we still say that we have actually been experiencing something, even if we do not feel it? Are we entitled to say that we had just experienced an operation, despite the fact that we did not feel it because we were then anesthetized? What about those lepers, whose affected parts of their bodies are just unable to feel anything at all, because their nerves have become dysfunctional? Now, what if we are unable to recall certain memories stored in our brains due to amnesia or other causes? Are we justified in saying that we have never experienced such and such a thing? So blurry is the meaning of ‚Äúto experience‚Ä? that to establish an accurate definition of the phrase could be a really demanding job.

 

The phrase ‚Äúto experience‚Ä? in this article denotes a state wherein our bodies come into contact with anything external to our bodies; or a state wherein we are dealing with issues that occur within our bodies themselves; or a state wherein we are dealing with issues from within our brains, regardless of whether we feel it or not, whether we are aware of it or not, and whether we are able to recall it or not.

 

Let‚Äôs now see how this word ‚Äúto experience‚Ä? relates to the anomalies described below.

 

The Anomalies

 

1.   We always experience the past condition of our surroundings.

 

When we look up at the sky, especially at night, the stars we see in the sky are in their past condition‚ÄĒthe lights radiated by these objects need time to reach our eyes. If, for instance, the light of a star takes one year to get to our eyes, then the star that we now see is not what it really is at present, but rather what it was a year ago. The stars that we see at this very moment could be in their condition of one year ago, or ten years ago, or perhaps even millions of years ago. In fact, it is also possible that among these numerous celestial bodies that we see as tangible objects, some may have either utterly changed, or moved elsewhere, or completely diminished. Similarly, all those things around us need time to get to our eyes and further to our brain. An object a meter away from us needs 1/300,000,000 of a second to get to our eyes. Thus, we can say that this object that we see is in its condition of 1/300,000,000 of a second ago. This holds true not only for those external conditions transmitted by light but also for those transmitted by the air. When, for instance, a gun  two miles away from us is fired, it will only be about eight seconds later that we will hear the gunshot‚ÄĒnot to mention the time that the impression of the sound takes to reach the brain, which must certainly be also taken into account no matter how short it can be. Similar is the case with the feelings captured by the skin, the various compounds tasted by the tongue, or the various molecules that enter our nostrils. All these take time to reach the brain, don‚Äôt they? Viewed in the sense of experience as defined above, it could, therefore, be said that we are always belated in our knowledge of the external conditions, though this could be only as short as 1/3.000.000.000 of a second. However, since different people have different body conditions, the rate of this belatedness rightly varies from person to person. Other factors that are also determinative of this rate of belatedness are our locality and the medium being used in the delivery of the external stimuli. As such, whatever our definition of the word ‚Äúexperience‚Ä? is, we can still say for certain that at present human beings are always experiencing ‚Äúthe past of everything around them.‚Ä? It is as if we were experiencing/undergoing different periods of time, or a number of pasts and present, simultaneously. Apparently, compared with the other senses, our eyes are the ones that play a greater role here. This means that what we see around us at present is not the present state of things, which makes it reasonable for us to say that those things around us are but mere illusions. If according to the physicist these are just common natural phenomena, where then does this term ‚Äúto experience‚Ä? fit in? Doesn‚Äôt one of the definitions above imply that a man is said to be experiencing something when his eyes receive stimuli from some external condition? And that external condition is the image of the stars several years ago which we receive only at the present time. Why are we able to see the ‚Äúpast‚Ä? of the various celestial objects and also of our surroundings? Could it be that the word ‚Äúpast‚Ä? has all this time been misinterpreted and misused? 

                               

2.   Man feels that he always exists at ‚Äúthe present.‚Ä? 

 

It is said that because we are here as a form of ‚Äúexistence,‚Ä? we ourselves must, therefore, be able to feel our very existence. Is it not a fact that even at this very moment we feel that we exist? This is what we precisely mean when we say that we have ‚Äúthe feeling of existence.‚Ä? Please note that the ‚Äúfeeling of existence‚Ä? discussed here is by no means the same as those feelings produced by our senses or emotional feelings. A look at only one simple movement that man normally makes in his daily life could perhaps provide the reader with a clearer picture of the whole idea. Imagine that at this very moment our arms are at rest, hanging down by our sides. Now, the instant we raise our arms, what could possibly be said of them would be that seconds ago they were hanging down by our sides. Why is it that in either situation, arms up or arms down, our feeling of existence seems to tell us that we are consistently at the ‚Äúpresent‚Ä?? You can try this, if you like, and then take some time to ponder! Perhaps, because the time span between arms down and arms up is extremely short you may come to think that there‚Äôs nothing unusual about it and can readily accept such an explanation. The same thing holds true even for movements that require a longer time span, perhaps an hour or a day, or a year: You will always feel that your existence is consistently at the ‚Äúpresent.‚Ä?

 

It is only because we are constantly experiencing different conditions, and due to the fact that our external and internal conditions keep changing, that we feel as if our existence is being subject to the alternate periods of ‚Äútime.‚Ä? We are being carried by the rotation of the earth, now facing the sun so that we have day, then turning away from the sun so that we have night, yet still feeling that ‚Äúwe are always at the present.‚Ä? Since our childhood we have always felt that we ‚Äúconsistently exist‚Ä? at the ‚Äúpresent.‚Ä? Even with the entry of external substances into our bodies which turns us into adults, we keep feeling that we consistently exist at the present. To say that childhood is a condition of ‚Äúthe past‚Ä? would, therefore, seem to be contradictory to the existing ‚Äúfeeling of existence.‚Ä?  

 

It is an irony though that while on the one hand we are ‚Äúalways belated in our knowledge of the actual condition of our surroundings,‚Ä? on the other hand we feel or realize that we ‚Äúconsistently exist at the present.‚Ä? It sounds as if we are now being faced with a bigger question mark on the use of the word ‚Äúpast.‚Ä?

 

Concerning ‚Äúthe Past‚Ä?

 

Is it possible that we have all this time had a mistaken assumption of our surroundings? There are numerous issues that could, in one way or another, instantly lead us to some conclusive judgment.  To cite only a few: When we try to recall our past, the death of someone a year ago, and events a few hours back, are these not just a present attempt to retrieve the things stored as a memory? When we throw a ball from points A to B, for instance, we tend to say that the ball was at point A. Does this not mean that at the time the ball was at point A, the rays reflected by the ball left an impression or were recorded in our brains, and that it is this impression or record that we are trying to retrace at the present? Even a photograph of the past is no indication of the presence of the past, because what is considered the past, which is immortalized by the photograph, is a mere assumption we make at the present. Physically speaking, the photograph itself is in its present condition, though it may have by now been discolored, or faded. We feel that we have ‚Äúa past‚Ä? only because the past condition leaves a trace in our brains.

 

The ‚ÄúFuture‚Ä?

 

Is it true that what man calls the ‚Äúfuture‚Ä? is but a mere result of his ability to recall the memories of the previous condition that is imprinted in his brain? Is it not the common knowledge of all, particularly those who live within the equatorial regions, that we experience day and night alternately every day? Obviously, it is the very fact that after the morning comes the afternoon, and then comes the night, after which we have the morning again and so on, that has caused these constantly changing routines to be so strongly recorded as our memory. And it is this very fact too that makes it very easy for us to recall at any time the presence of the ‚Äúsequenced conditions.‚Ä? The fact that we have quite often kept saying such words as ‚Äúlater,‚Ä? ‚Äúafter that,‚Ä? ‚Äútomorrow,‚Ä? is proof enough that those conditions are so well preserved in our brains that we find it very easy to recall them. Thus, it is very natural if we insist that such things as ‚Äúthe future‚Ä? or ‚Äútomorrow‚Ä? do exist. As such, it could thus be said that all those plans for tomorrow are but an imagination added to the outcome of the recollection of ‚Äúthe presence of tomorrow.‚Ä? If, for instance, we say that we are going to New York City tomorrow, what actually occurs is that an imagination is being created at present of our going there tomorrow. This is so because our idea that there is ‚Äúa tomorrow‚Ä? has already been recorded in our brain, and we can recall it. However, since conditions keep changing and we continue to exist, we inevitably pass the night condition. During the time we are in our night condition, we tend to condition ourselves for our sleeping condition. Eventually, we arrive at our morning condition, that is, the time set for us to leave for New York. This is something that we experience daily in our life. Nevertheless, because we have the ability to recall the custom of having a tomorrow, we can at that time imagine what we expect to ensue the next day. Obviously, all these have been made possible because we are able to recall the memories that had once been stored in our brain, or we have been able to condition our selves into a position where we can relate our thoughts to the memories stored in our brain. In sum it could then be said that all those talks about ‚Äúthe past‚Ä? and ‚Äúthe future‚Ä? have been made possible only because ‚Äúprevious conditions‚Ä? have left traces in our brain, which at the time of their ‚Äúrecollection‚Ä? has enabled us to feel all ‚Äúthe past‚Ä? that we had once gone through, and all ‚Äúthe future‚Ä? following it.

 

Denying all the premises proposed above would not only imply that we are experiencing two different times simultaneously, i.e. the past and the present, but also contradict our own feeling of existence that we are constantly living in the present.

 

The Ancient Men with Their ‚ÄúPast‚Ä? and Their ‚ÄúFuture‚Ä?

 

Everything must have its origin. Now, how did those ancient people originally come to have the idea that  such things as ‚Äúthe past‚Ä? and ‚Äúthe future‚Ä? do exist? Long before the invention of the time scales, the cave men, uncivilized as they were, had already been in possession of memory. It is possible that in those days, whenever the sky lit up at sunrise, the only word they would say(of course, in their simple language) to refer to such a phenomenon was ‚Äúday,‚Ä? Similarly, whenever the sky turned dark after sunset, the only word they would possibly say to refer to this change was ‚Äúnight.‚Ä? Now engulfed by night, they would accordingly feel that they had passed the day. During the day, they would be well aware that the night would soon come. Similarly, at night they would also know for certain that the day would sooner or later return. That the cave men had such an awareness was an outcome of the very fact that these changes, apart from being their routine experience, had also been recorded in their brains. Later, however, with the advancement man made in his way of thinking, he began to divide the day into morning, the time when the sun rises; noon, the time when the sun is shining right above his head; and evening, the time after the sun sets.

Thus, whenever afternoon came, he would say, ‚Äúwe have already passed the morning, and soon we shall pass the evening too.‚Ä? It could therefore be said that even in those days men had already been familiar with such ideas as ‚Äúthings that have passed‚Ä? and ‚Äúthings that have to be passed.‚Ä? In their later development, these ideas were followed by the invention of a device by which they divide condition or measure time, that is, the Sundial. A sundial is an instrument composed of two parts: a gnomon and a dial plane. The gnomon is a metal plate set parallel to the earth‚Äôs axis. It is the shadow-producing part that constantly points towards the celestial pole. The dial plane is the flat surface marked with scales, representing the times of day. Time is measured on the basis of the location of the shadow cast by the gnomon on the dial plane. Since the sundial serves its purpose only in the day-time, when the sun is shining, the dial plane thus takes the form of only a semi-circle, on which are marked the time scales which begin at the western side of the plane and end at the eastern side of it. It was by means of this device that man observed that whenever the sun moves from the east to the west, the shadow of the gnomon that fell on the semi-circular dial plane would instead move from the west to the east, tracing the time scales on it. And it is on the basis of all these discoveries‚ÄĒthe time scales and the direction towards which the shadow moves‚ÄĒthat our present clocks and watches are designed. Thus, when morning comes and the shadow of the gnomon of our solar clock falls on the western part of the semi-circular dial, at the figure 7, for instance, any incident that occurs then is recorded in our brains and is said to have taken place at 7 o‚Äôclock. If, later, at 12 noon we happen to recall that incident, we are yet inclined to say that it happened at 7 o‚Äôclock this morning. And the reason for this is only that at the time we are at 12 o‚Äôclock, we say that the figure 7 is the past, and thus anything that occurs at the time represented by the figure 7 is said to have occurred in the past. Needless to say then, any figures after 12 that the shadow of the gnomon will pass will be naturally referred to as time to come or the future.

 

Because every change of time scale resulting from the change of the condition of the shadow of the gnomon on the dial plane is also a change in nature, which corresponds to the change that occurs in the surrounding natural environment, we thus feel that we are moving from time to time.

To put it another way: Correspondent to the movement of the shadows on the time-scales and to the changes in the surrounding condition, we thus feel that we are moving from time to time. What’s more, this has subsequently led man to think of the universe as moving from time to time.

 

Although he knows quite well that the use of time scales is, in the long term, no guarantee for accuracy, man yet looks upon any such defects as merely a result of his own lack of knowledge, and therefore continues to believe in the presence of the past and the future. Despite his awareness that in different parts of the world the time scales show different time, he still takes it for granted that the changes on the earth correspond to the changes in time. Again, that man can have such strong convictions is, in fact, a result of the recording of the ‚Äúimpressions of the past conditions‚Ä? in his brain, without his being aware of it. 

 

What seems to complicate matters is the fact that apart from having to face those changes of external conditions, we are also faced with the changes within our selves. During the night we find ourselves in a sleeping condition, while during the day we find ourselves in a variety of physical and mental states. Illnesses, emotions, the various brainwork, etc. cause us to be intensely influenced by all these changes. Further, the ability of man to move from one place to another also adds to the complexities. In the long term, we experience a physical growth, becoming an adult and growing bigger, which makes us come to feel as if we are moving from one period of time to another period of time. What seems to make matters worse is the fact that the various units of time‚ÄĒwith all those meanings consistently attached to them, such as the past, the present, and the future‚ÄĒhave, since long ago, been accepted as part of our culture.

 

A look back at the way the ancient people, by their memory, came to recognize the three periods of time may cause us to wonder: Is there something wrong with our memory, or have we been using time erroneously such that we assume that those three periods of time do exist?

 

Below is a simple explanation that may be worth comprehending.

                                  

Imagine that you have one hundred marbles with you. Now, arrange them in a row so that they form a circle. Next, change their configuration so that they now form a rectangle. Question: Where have the marbles that form the circle gone? The answer is, of course, that they have now turned into rows of marbles that form a rectangle. Similarly, if we rearrange these rows into ones that form a triangle, we will no longer have those rows that earlier formed the rectangle as they have now become rows that form a triangle.

 

If every line is made up of a row of dots, all these dots naturally move to other locations to form a new row or a new shape, or, to put it another way, to change their condition into a new condition. All past shapes have now turned into the present shape.

 

The example of the marbles above may serve to represent the change of places and condition man experiences as individuals; the atomic and the molecular changes that occur within the human body, which result in the zygote taking the shape of an adult human being; and the various changes that occur to the celestial objects.

 

As is the case of the circle illustrated above, which, by transforming itself into a rectangle, has resulted in its losing its circular shape, so is it with all the other conditions exemplified earlier. This is to say that as soon as a certain condition is past, this condition will undergo a change and turn into a new condition.

 

If you think this explanation sounds too difficult for you to understand, here’s another example which, hopefully, could help clarify matters:

Suppose, for instance, that at this very moment, there on the sand before us are tracks of a tiger. Such a sight will naturally lead us to believe that a tiger has ever been there. Why do we come to such a conclusion? The answer: We already have the records or ‚Äúimpressions‚Ä? of such tracks of a tiger in our brains, because we have ever seen them, either in real life or in pictures. So, as soon as we come across a similar sight, a contact is established between the ‚Äúsomething‚Ä? as the data-searcher and the ‚Äútraces‚Ä? as ‚Äúimpressions‚Ä? of the tracks of the tiger, so that we are consequently apt to say that a tiger has ever been there. Now, what about all the other phenomena in this universe? Is it not to be admitted that all these are but mere ‚Äútracks‚Ä? of earlier conditions, which consequently have led us to refer to them as things that have ‚Äúever‚Ä? happened? This explains why man has been able to talk about his past, write history, and narrate events dating as far back as billions of years ago. Here we learn that any assumptions about those impressions are things that apply to only living creatures having memory.

 

In short, the moment the brain is in a condition in which we ‚Äúremember‚Ä? a certain thing, we assume that this ‚Äúpast‚Ä? thing did once take place, though what actually happens is merely that we have managed to discover the traces of the past thing, which is now recorded in our brain as a memory. This explains why man, when not in a state of recalling things, feels that he is constantly at ‚Äúthe present.‚Ä? Thus, it is the very fact that man keeps recalling the past condition that has led him to assume that ‚Äúthe past‚Ä? does exist. Thus, in answer to the questions above, the writer affirmatively says that we tend to acknowledge that ‚Äúthe past condition was once there,‚Ä? because we, being humans, are equipped with memory.

 

Remembering the past is no more than just the moment’s condition out of the many conditions of a man’s body in general, and of his brain in particular.

 

The Time Span of ‚Äúthe Present‚Ä?

 

In the light of all this, Albert Einstein‚Äôs words, as once quoted, that ‚ÄúTime does not exist. The only ‚Äėtime‚Äô that exists is an eternal moment of Now,‚Ä? are indeed a lot of help to us in that they serve to generate our understanding of the contents of this article. Let‚Äôs now take a brief look at this thing that we commonly refer to as ‚Äúnow‚Ä? or ‚Äúthe present.‚Ä?

The fact that we have now and then been expressing the phrase, ‚Äúthe present‚Ä? may seem to be a confirmation that the three sequences of time do exist. Do we have an accurate definition of ‚Äúthe present‚Ä?? Actually, how long is the time span that we call now or the present? If we are to say ‚Äúfive seconds,‚Ä? this definitely means that the time prior to the beginning of the first second must be the past? If such is the case, how many seconds then is the ‚Äúnow‚Ä? or ‚Äúpresent‚Ä?? Is it one second, 0.1 second, 1/100,000,000 of a second, or close to 0 second? Considering the fact that no matter how short a time span is people can always split it into ‚Äúthe past‚Ä? and ‚Äúthe present,‚Ä? one can thus deduce that 0 second, being the point at which no more division could be made, would be the most accurate figure. In other words, at this point, terms such as ‚Äúthe past‚Ä? and ‚Äúthe present,‚Ä? as normally used by people, should no longer hold.

Apparently, as far as time is concerned, there are only two choices left for us in our acceptation of the term ‚Äúthe present‚Ä?: either to accept it as being eternal or to simply accept it as being non-existent. Admittedly, we have so far failed to appropriately determine the ‚Äúspan of time‚Ä? of what we really mean by ‚Äúthe present.‚Ä? What‚Äôs more, we have so far also been habitually associating ‚Äúthe present‚Ä? with ‚Äúthe past‚Ä? and ‚Äúthe future,‚Ä? despite the fact that whatever change we are experiencing is actually a mere change of condition. To put it another way, our very existence is one that is constantly undergoing a variety of changes without ever knowing time, whether this be a change of the condition of the past, the present, or the future.

 

Now that we have come this far, what is your opinion of ‚Äútime‚Ä?? Firstly, we are at present experiencing the past condition of things. Secondly, we feel our existence to be always at the present. Finally, we have failed to appropriately determine the ‚Äúspan of time‚Ä? of what we mean by ‚Äúthe present.‚Ä? Could it be that such incongruities are but a mere result of the simplicity of the concept of time as initially introduced by the ancient humans with all their limitations? If we are to argue that this man-made time is just an attempt to ‚Äúdraw a division‚Ä? between the changing conditions, as they relate to the rotation of the earth, why then has this meaning of ‚Äútime‚Ä? become so complicated? However, the claim that ‚Äútime‚Ä? does not exist may seem to require us to replace all our current conceptions about time with ‚Äúcondition.‚Ä? But what do we have to lose then? ‚ÄúTime‚Ä? and ‚Äúcondition‚Ä? are, after all, both terms coined by man. But unlike time, condition can provide us with a greater sense of closeness with the reality. Doing away with all those ideas about ‚Äútime‚Ä? will enable us to see things, either the ones that exist in our natural environments or the ones within our selves, as they really are, that is, more in terms of their ‚Äúcondition.‚Ä?

 

Conclusion

 

Finally, after a thorough reflection on all the above issues we may conclude that the emergence of such anomalies concerning time is apparently a result of man‚Äôs having memory, which consequently has led him to establish such divisions as ‚Äúthe past time,‚Ä? ‚Äúthe present time,‚Ä? and ‚Äúthe future time.‚Ä? It is all because of our ‚Äúexistence‚Ä? that we are led to feel that we have ‚Äúthe present.‚Ä? On the other hand, however, for as long as we have the ability to condition our selves by recalling the traces of all the memories stored in our brains from the ‚Äúprevious condition,‚Ä? we will consequently be led into thinking that ‚Äúthe past‚Ä? does exist. The changing condition that we go through every day, such as morning, afternoon, and night having been recorded as memory, we thus assume that we will inevitably undergo similar changes every day. This reasonably explains why we have always believed that ‚Äúthe future‚Ä? is there for us to undergo.

The essence of the whole issue lies in the presence of the elementary particles, the matter which, with its eternal ‚Äúfeeling of existence,‚Ä? forms the contents of the universe, and which apparently operates in accordance with the law of mass and energy conservation. It is all these that have made the whole content of the universe an ‚Äúalways present‚Ä? entity without ‚Äúthe past condition,‚Ä? ‚Äúthe present condition,‚Ä? and ‚Äúthe future condition.‚Ä?

 

It is only because man is destined to have memory that he, with his ‚Äúfeeling of existence,‚Ä? feels the presence of ‚Äúthe past condition,‚Ä? ‚Äúthe present condition,‚Ä? and ‚Äúthe future condition.‚Ä? In other words, only man himself feels those three conditions, although in fact what really occurs is merely a ‚Äúchange of condition‚Ä? in his brain.

 

That our brains keep receiving the various impressions of ‚Äúthe past condition‚Ä? stored in them as memory, despite the fact that there is no such thing as ‚Äúthe past condition,‚Ä? perhaps gives us reason enough to conclude, from a negative standpoint, that ‚ÄúMemory is by nature deceptive.‚Ä? In addition to this, man with the memory he possesses has, since the beginning of his life, always had the feeling that ‚Äúthe past‚Ä? does exist, although in fact it never does. That is why the writer has later muster up the courage to entitle this article ‚ÄúThe Deceptive Nature of Memory.‚Ä?

 

The Dilemmatic Problem

 

It simply doesn‚Äôt make sense if one should say that those genius scientists of the century are unaware of the errors concerning ‚Äútime.‚Ä?  It is also unlikely that they have all this time been ignoring the issue. There have been quite a lot of articles that have tried to expose these errors, but all these have ultimately found it difficult to make their way up to the surface. It seems that there is something behind the whole thing that has caused them to be in a dilemma.

This could be either that the writer refrains from continuing his efforts, because by now he is being debarred by what he takes to be his faith, or that the readers themselves have kept resisting the mass publication of such articles, as they are felt to be offensive to their beliefs. Thus, it should not be surprising that even Albert Einstein had confined himself to only one or two paragraphs, when talking about this issue. As to what would follow next, he seemed to have left it to the changing conditions to change the ‚Äúhuman mind‚Ä? later. And it is also possible that many, though they are well aware of these misconceptions, may yet be thinking that there‚Äôs nothing wrong about using time. ‚ÄúWhat after all do we have to lose?‚Ä? they may say. What‚Äôs more, any attempt to change things will certainly involve enormous costs,

not to mention the many advantages and disadvantages that the change is apt to bring about. On the other hand, however, how can we expect to resolve factual problems, if we continue to believe in things that do not exist in reality? It may seem as if we shall have to keep on running our lives in a world of illusions, regardless of the fact that the world in which we reside is real.

Besides, now that we have been using the word ‚Äútime‚Ä? with all ‚Äúthe meanings it conveys‚Ä? for more than two thousand years, we have become so accustomed to it, we don‚Äôt see any reason why we should change it. There is just no way by which we could free ourselves of the habit of using these adverbs of time.

Remember the case when we first began to realize the fact that it is the earth that revolves around the sun, not the reverse? So accustomed are we to the erroneous view that we had once held that it continues to survive. While on the one hand we acknowledge that the earth rotates on its own axis and revolves around the sun, on the other hand, we have till today kept saying that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Does this not imply that it is the sun that revolves around the earth from the east to the west? Admittedly, however, despite this syntactical error, we have yet the correct sense of the phenomenon. 

We could, of course, do the same thing here too: While we keep talking about things in terms of ‚Äúthe past time,‚Ä? ‚Äúthe present time,‚Ä? and ‚Äúthe future time,‚Ä?  we may as well  direct our thoughts to their ‚Äúpast condition,‚Ä? present condition,‚Ä? and ‚Äúfuture condition.‚Ä?

Obviously a similar case will recur here, but with our knowledge of these deficiencies concerning ‚Äútime,‚Ä? we could at least prevent ourselves from being led too far astray from the reality. Besides, by being aware of these mistakes of ours we would likely be geared towards a more realistic, critical, universal and holistic realm of thought. Such an awareness, it is expected, would bring about a positive impact in that it could result in the achievement of a ‚Äúcommon perspective‚Ä? as concerns our selves and this universe. An added impact could be that peace on the earth and unity among humankind would be further assured.  

 

Perhaps this is the most difficult moment for the world to decide its choice. This is particularly true of those creationists, who in their Holy Books have made so much mention about time. Hopefully, with the exposure of these errors concerning time, our persistence in deceiving our selves will not last for too long a time.

 

Reinarto Hadipriono  ‚Ķ‚Ķ‚Ķ‚Ķ‚Ķ‚Ķ‚Ķ‚Ķ‚Ķ‚Ķ‚ĶCopyright ¬© 2002    

www.deceptivememory.com

Please direct your comments to Reinarto@Hadipriono.com

 

Note:

A more complete and detailed version of this article will be published in the form of a book in mid-2004.

As I am fully aware that the readers may find this article to be too exacting and time-consuming to contemplate, I should therefore be very glad to accept the invitation of those who feel the need to have my presence to help them save their time and provide additional explanation about the subject in a forum.

 

 
 


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