[time 263] RE: [time 259] What does an LS perceive?

Lancelot Fletcher (lance.fletcher@freelance-academy.org)
Wed, 28 Apr 1999 20:33:46 -0400

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-time@kitada.com
> [mailto:owner-time@kitada.com]On Behalf Of
> Stephen P. King
> Sent: Monday, April 26, 1999 10:05 AM
> To: time@kitada.com
> Subject: [time 259] What does an LS perceive?
> Hi Friends,
> Just a little question to kick things off this week.
> What does an LS
> use, as an observer to perceive itself, and what could it see?

Dear Stephen..

This is a good -- and difficult -- question. I will not attempt to
answer it here, but I want to start with a caution: The theory of
Local Times is a fundamental theory in the sense that it intends to
call into question, and transform, some of our most common assumptions
about the nature of things and about the nature of our perception of
things. So in asking a question in which you employ such words as
"perceive" and "see," you need to be aware that such commonplace words
often involve very complex, but normally unexamined, assumptions, and
to give an authentic answer to the question you ask may require that
the assumptions about the nature of perception and observation be

I would approach your question by quoting the following paragraph from
section IV "Local Time and the Unification of Physics,"

"We note that there is a considerable difference between our
definition of local times and the conventional understanding of the
notion of time. The common feature of the conventional understanding
of time, including Newton's definition of absolute time, is that time
is something existing or given a priori, independently of any of our
activities, e.g. activities of observation. In our definition, time is
not an a priori existence, but a convenient measure of motions inside
each local system. Our definition of local times mentioned above is
that a local time is a clock -- which measures, not time, but the
motions of the local system. Unlike the conventional understanding
where time is given a priori, the local clock does not measure time,
but it is time. Further, as we will state in section V, the proper
clock is the local system itself, and it is a necessary manifestation
of that local system. In this sense, "clocking" is the natural
activity of any local system. It follows from this that to be an
existing thing in the world necessarily involves clocking, without
which there is no interaction. In these respects, our position is in
complete opposition to the conventional understanding of time
measurement, where time is given a priori and clocks measure those
times, therefore the measurement of time is an incidental activity.
Contrary to the conventional understanding, our view is that all
beings are engaged in measuring and observing, and the activities of
measuring and observing are not incidental, but pertain to the essence
of all interactions. If we are permitted to express it somewhat
boldly, we have turned things completely around: It is not that things
exist and their duration is incidentally expressed by clocks.
According to our formulation, clocks exist and their operation is
necessarily expressed by duration."

Now, I am not always sure in advance that Hitoshi and I will agree on
the correct interpretation of what we ourselves have written
together -- although so far we always seem to end up in agreement.
Therefore, without presuming to speak for Hitoshi, let me say that my
own interpretation of this paragraph is fairly radical. When we say
that clocking is the natural activity of any local system, I mean that
literally. In other words, it is not that there is "clocking" and
then, independent of that, there is perceiving or observing or seeing,
etc. No. Clocking already IS perceiving. You might wish to say that
clocking contains "immanently" all that is expressed in perceiving or
observing. The wording is not important. The first important thing
is what I have just said, that clocking already involves perceiving
and, as such, perceiving is implicit in the natural activity, the
"being", of any local system.

The second point is that clocking is the the "form" or essence of
interaction. In saying this I may be going beyond anything that
Hitoshi and I have agreed on in our joint work, but I think this point
is not especially new and is consistent with things said by writers
such as Unruh. Again, this point is being made in contrast to the
conventional understanding according to which there is interaction and
then, independently, there is the clocking of interactions, which is,
at most, a particular subset of interactions. (Note that it is the
_expectation_ that there should be measurements that are not also
interactions that underlies most of the quandaries of quantum
mechanics.) The point of view from which there are interactions that
are not also clockings is not the point of view of a local system.
(This needs to be said more precisely, but it's the best I can do
right now.) The interactions of local systems are always, and only,
clockings. (Obviously this will need to mean, in order to avoid having
a description that is poorer than the world it is intended to
describe, that there are different kinds or complexities of

Thirdly, I note that your question asks about what a local system
"uses" to perceive itself. I don't have anything like a complete
answer to give, but my approach to this question is the same as in the
preceding points: I think that if we make a careful analysis of what
we mean by clocking, we will discover that this is an inherently
self-referential or reflexive notion. To use somewhat old-fashioned
language, we will find, I believe, that the possibility of
apperception is presupposed by the possibility of perception.

Lance Fletcher, President
The Free Lance Academy Foundation

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