Thursday, June 14, 2018

Time and its Structure (Chronotopology)


intuition |  MISHLOVE: I should mention here, since you've used the term, that chronotopology is the name of the discipline which you founded, which is the study of the structure of time. 

MUSES: Do you want me to comment on that? 

MISHLOVE: Yes, please. 

MUSES: In a way, yes, but in a way I didn't found it. I was thinking cybernetics, for instance, was started formally by Norbert Weiner, but it began with the toilet tank that controlled itself. When I was talking with Weiner at Ravello, he happily agreed with this. 

MISHLOVE: The toilet tank. 

MUSES: He says, "Oh yes." The self-shutting-off toilet tank is the first cybernetic advance of mankind. 

MISHLOVE: Oh. And I suppose chronotopology has an illustrious beginning like this also. 

MUSES: Well, better than the toilet tank, actually. It has a better beginning than cybernetics. 

MISHLOVE: In effect, does it go back to the study of the ancient astrologers? 

MUSES: Well, it goes back to the study of almost all traditional cultures. The word astronomia, even the word mathematicus, meant someone who studied the stars, and in Kepler's sense they calculated the positions to know the qualities of time. But that's an independent hypothesis. The hypothesis of chronotopology is whether you have pointers of any kind -- ionospheric disturbances, planetary orbits, or whatnot -- independently of those pointers, time itself has a flux, has a wave motion, the object being to surf on time. 

MISHLOVE: Now, when you talk about the wave motion of time, I'm getting real interested and excited, because in quantum physics there's this notion that the underlying basis for the physical universe are these waves, even probability waves -- nonphysical, nonmaterial waves -- sort of underlying everything. 

MUSES: Very, very astute, because these waves are standing waves. Actually the wave-particle so-called paradox isn't that bad, when you consider that a particle is a wave packet, a packet of standing waves. That's why an electron can go through a plate and leave wavelike things. Actually our bodies are like fountains. The fountain has a shape only because it's being renewed every minute, and our bodies are being renewed. So we are standing waves; we're no exception. 

MISHLOVE: This deep structure of matter, where we can say what we really are in our bodies is not where we appear to be -- you're saying the same thing is true of time. It's not quite what it appears to be. 

MUSES: No, we're a part of this wave structure, and matter and energy all occur in waves, and time is the master control. I will give you an illustration of that. If you'll take a moment of time, this moment cuts through the entire physical universe as we're talking. It holds all of space in itself. But one point of space doesn't hold all of time. In other words, time is much bigger than space. 

MISHLOVE: That thought sort of made me gasp a second -- all of physical space in each now moment -- 

MUSES: Is contained in a point of time, which is a moment. And of course, a line of time is then an occurrence, and a wave of time is a recurrence. And then if you get out from the circle of time, which Nietzsche saw, the eternal recurrence -- if you break that, as we know we do, we develop, and then we're on a helix, because we come around but it's a little different each time. 

MISHLOVE: Well, now you're beginning to introduce the notion of symbols -- point, line, wave, helix, and so on. 

MUSES: Yes, the dimensions of time. 

MISHLOVE: One of the interesting points that you seem to make in your book is that symbols themselves -- words, pictures -- point to the deeper structure of things, including the deeper structure of time. 

MUSES: Yes. Symbols I would regard as pointers to their meanings, like revolving doors. There are some people, however, who have spent their whole lives walking in the revolving door and never getting out of it. 

Time and its Structure (Chronotopology)
Foreword by Charles A. Muses to "Communication, Organization, And Science" by Jerome Rothstein - 1958