Reflection 235: Time & Space

February 23, 2012

Copyright © 2012 by Steve Perrin

While working on CONSCIOUSNESS: The BOOK (, 2011), I came to see that my actions amounted to moving things around in space, while my perceiving the world resulted from the world altering my awareness. At one point I had the sudden insight that my actions took place in space and my perception took place in time. Here’s what I wrote:

In waking life, space is the medium in which I act; time is the medium in which the world makes its response to my acting. Round and round we go, my world and I, always testing each other in trying to achieve some kind of accord in time and space, the here and now. Wherever I am, I am always here. Whatever time it may be is told by assorted worldly agents as they affect my presence in the now. Space is a measure of my acting in the world; time is a measure of the world acting on me. Both modes of consciousness giving me a sense of being in the world, of the world being in me. Eureka, my spatiotemporal reality (p. 115).

That is my ongoing, looping, phenomenological, bioenergetic reality, which is spatiotemporal in nature because it couples sensory input to behavioral output in a continuous stream from one to the other, uniting them within one coherent system of awareness, which it is my job to maintain.

That realization came to me in a fraction of a second, joining what seemed like two parallel systems into one serial system. It was an intuitive thought rather than a rational deduction. It just struck me, and I immediately took that thought to be true.

Was I out of my mind? Or was I looking truth in the face? From the moment of that realization, I acted as if I’d had a revelation of the way my mind actually works, surrendering to what came to me as an obvious solution to one of the mysteries of my conscious mind. Without my acting on the world, I would have no realization of space. Without the world changing on its own, I would have no sense of time. It was patently obvious to me in one instant.

My looping engagement with the world generates the possibility of time and space. To actualize it, all I need is some kind of calibration in appropriate units so I can measure space and time through comparison against respective standards, and so talk about relative distances, dimensions, durations, motions. When I die, all that will die with me. Others will act in my stead, and the world will keep changing on its own. The world will go on its way without me, but I will know nothing about it because my looping engagement has ended. I can no longer act or perceive.

When I was born to the world, all that was before me. Time and space are products of my calibrated, conscious mind. My culture gives me the calibration; I do the rest by activating my first-person loop of engagement. The calibration belongs to my culture, the rest—actions, perceptions, and consciousness itself—are my contribution.

Once it came upon me, that realization changed my life. It may sound crazy to you, but that’s who I am—the guy who saw things that way by introspecting his own mind.

As ever, yours truly, –Steve


One Response to “Reflection 235: Time & Space”

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