Friday, January 12, 2007

Things are more like they are now than they ever were before - Dwight Eisenhower

I like generating axioms or heuristic phrases, some are pretentious and others pithy. I don't live up to them, or even really aspire to, but they have a certain soothing quality.. and I like to leave them behind in places (like scrawled quickly on the underside of a floorboard I'm installing, for example). 4 or so years ago, one hit me with some force: Time is not a measure of distance, but of consequence. The whole point of it was to convey the primacy of evolutionary progression to -and through- consciousness, now today, I read about something called The Law of Accelerating Returns in The Age of Spiritual Machines by Ray Kurzweil (I've wanted to cut out some portions to place here for some time now). Here's the thought provoker (or relativity resetter..):

"What determines whether time speeds up or slows down? The consistent answer is that time moves in relation to the amount of chaos. We can state the Law of Time and Chaos as follows:

THE LAW OF TIME AND CHAOS: In a process, the time interval between salient events (that is, events that change the nature of the process, or significantly affect the future of the process) expands or contracts along with the amount of chaos.

When there is a lot of chaos in a process, it takes more time for significant events to occur. Conversely, as order increases, the time periods between salient events decrease. We have to be careful here in our definition of chaos. It refers to the quantity of disordered (that is, random) events that are revelant to the process. If we're dealing with the random movement of atoms and molecules in a gas or liquid, then heat is an appropriate measure. If we're dealing with the process of evolution of life-forms, then chaos represents the unpredictable events encouraged by organisms, and the random mutations that are introduced in the genetic code.

Let's see how the Law of Time and Chaos applies to our example. If chaos is increasing, the Law of Time and Chaos implies the following sublaw:

THE LAW OF INCREASING CHAOS: As chaos exponentially increases, time exponentially slows down (that is, the time interval between salient events grows longer as time passes).

This fits the Universe rather well. When the entire Universe was just a "naked" singularity -a perfectly orderly single point in space and time- there was no chaos and conspicuous events took almost no time at all. As the Universe grew in size, chaos increased exponentially, and so did the timescale for epochal changes. Now, with billions of galaxies sprawled out over trillions of light-years of space, the Universe contains vast reaches of chaos, and indeed requires billions of years to get everything organized for a paradigm shift to take place. We see a similar phenomenon in the progression of an organism's life. We start out as a single fertilized cell, so there's only rather limited chaos there. Ending up with trillions of cells, chaos greatly expands. Finally, at the end of our lives, our designs deteriorate, engendering even greater randomness. So the time period between salient biological events grows longer as we grow older. And that is indeed what we experience."


Pretty sweet, eh? I've got a few problems with it being called a 'law', as there's at least one cosmoverse of unknowns among us arrogantelope. Also, found this and it could be mildly construed as related but DEFINITELY worth the buffer time to load. It's awedropping!


Sparky said...

It's the Giambattista Vico effect...the inventor of the modern philosophy of history, had the image of the slowly twisting spiral of historical time, although as one reaches the point, Omega or otherwise, the effect is certainly accelerated. You can picture it, no, smaller and smaller spirals....Cool...I think you're on to something.

Jordan said...

Call Jordan

Signed Jordan