Possible definitions of time outside of technical understanding

3 min read


Some philosophers argue that time is an illusion because it is a subjective experience that is created by our own minds. They argue that time is not an objective reality that exists independently of our perception of it.

Heidegger, for example, wrote extensively on the subject of time and its relationship to being. He argued that time is an essential part of our experience of being, and that it is not merely a linear sequence of events, but rather a dynamic process of unfolding. He also argued that time is marked by a tension between past, present, and future, and that it is our experience of this tension which forms the basis of our understanding of being. Heidegger believed that understanding time is essential for understanding being, and that by understanding being we can gain insight into the true nature of time.

One argument in favor of the view that time is in fact an illusion is that time is ultimately relative, that is, it appears to pass faster or slower depending on the observer's frame of reference. This suggests that time is not an objective feature of the universe, but rather a product of our own perceptions.

Another argument is that time is not directly observable but is inferred from changes in the world around us. We measure time by observing the movement of objects or the progression of events, but these observations are themselves subjective and dependent on our own perspective.

However, not all philosophers agree with this view. Some argue that time is a real and objective feature of the universe, and that our subjective experience of it is simply a reflection of this reality. They argue that time exists independently of our perception of it and that it is a fundamental aspect of the physical world. Ultimately, the question of whether time is an illusion or a fundamental aspect of reality is a complex and unresolved philosophical issue.

Physicists have a different perspective on the nature of time than philosophers. According to the theory of relativity, time is a fundamental aspect of the universe and is not an illusion. In fact, time and space are considered to be two interconnected aspects of a single entity called spacetime.

In the theory of relativity, time is not absolute but is relative to the observer's frame of reference. This means that time can appear to move slower or faster depending on the observer's motion and the gravitational field they are in. However, this does not mean that time is an illusion, but rather that it is a fundamental aspect of the universe that behaves in a way that may seem counterintuitive to our everyday experience. In summary, while philosophers may debate whether time is an illusion, physicists consider time to be a real and fundamental aspect of the universe.

In psychology, time is presented as an abstract concept, often described as a psychological construct. It is a personal experience, and psychologists often study the way people perceive, remember, and manage time. Time is also related to emotions, motivation, and decision making, which may explain why people have different experiences with time.

However, we should also consider that animals also have a certain relationship to time, which in turn seems to be tied to natural changes such as day/night or summer/winter, and that humans have also been primarily oriented to these parameters for the longest duration of their existence. So one could say that the psychological conception of time represents a middle way between a purely subjective interpretation of some philosophers and the technically determined conception of physicists.

Perhaps a completely different, a poetic definition is also purposeful: time as a gift. We received this with our birth and can also give our time to others - or sell it ... but I won't start with that now ...

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