REALITY, SPACE, TIME, MOTION & CAUSALITY.
Modern scientists avoid defining terms precisely. The give only an operational definition which can be manipulated to mean even two opposite effects. For example, they do not define a particle precisely, so that they can talk of wave-particle duality. Particles can be counted – waves not. The only way to describe something other than ourselves is by i) its characteristic or signs described through a name or a word and ii) its interaction with us (संज्ञा कर्म त्वस्मद्विशिष्टानां लिङ्गम् – Kanada 2-1-18). Because, nomenclature and interaction follow from direct perception of something not created by us (प्रत्यक्षप्रवृत्तत्वात्संज्ञाकर्मणः – Kanada 2-1-19). Interaction needs at least another. We can only define something other than us - nothing can define itself. We have seen horses galloping and birds flying. But we have not seen flying horses. Hence flying horses are not real and cannot be defined. It is not an object, but only a relation - we have taken two different aspects from two different sources and made a mental picture by relating both. Since it is not different from ourselves (our mind), it cannot be defined as an object. Hence it has no existence. But an airplane, which is different from us, is real and can be defined.
What is reality? Some say reality must be well defined according to nonhuman entities that lack any understanding of human concepts like particle, observation, etc. For some there are two views of reality: external or the bird’s eye view like the overview of a physicist studying its mathematical structure and inside or the frog in the well view of an observer living in the structure. They confuse the external factors affecting reality with the first view and the functioning of the instrument or sense organs with the second view. Ever-changing processes cannot be measured other than in time. Since we observe the state and not the process during measurement, objects under ideal conditions are as they evolve independent of being perceived. What we perceive reflects only a temporal state of their evolution.
Reality is related to perception which has three components: the object of perception (दृश्य), the observer (द्रष्टा) and the mechanism of perception (दर्शन - includes instrument). The mechanism of perception is affected by two factors: its mechanical functioning and the external factors that introduce uncertainty. Since the external factor is as important as the mechanical functioning of the measuring instrument, reality has to exist independent of observation. Process malfunctioning distorts perception. For example mirages are seen, but are not real. Color blind persons do not perceive some colors. To know their true state, we must consider a large number of observations and accept the mean value as representative of reality. This is done in most measurements – especially in time keeping measurements. The same principle should apply to reality. Reality is the description that remains invariant under similar conditions during proper perception at all times. This description is possible only if it satisfies three conditions.
A description of objects cannot be completely abstract because reality has no meaning unless its existence is perceived as such. The relationship between objects is secondary and can be purely imaginary. When we describe imaginary objects, each individual component of it must exist and have been perceived by us even though a combination of such components may not be possible. If we imagine a flying horse, we must have seen a horse and something flying. Thus independent discreet existence, i.e. confinement is a criterion of reality. When the field set up by our sense organs interacts with that of any object, the impulse is measured - compared with the memory in our brain. If there is a similar previous experience, we describe the experience as similar to the other. In other words, the content of our perception is: “this is like that”. If there is no previous experience, we store the information (without perceiving it clearly) for future reference. The “this is like that” part, i.e. knowability is a criterion of reality. It plays an important role in the double-slit experiment and entanglement.
Reality is defined as that, which fulfills the following three characteristics: 1) knowability through mind (ज्ञेयत्व), 2) describability in spoken language (अभिधेयत्व) and 3) physical existence (अस्तित्व). Here the last condition is of special interest, because it is universally applicable to everything (महाविषय). Since everything exists at different places for different periods of time, how do we apply this condition uniformly to everything that is real? The same question can be raised for the other two conditions also. The answer is, as has already been pointed out above, definition is applicable only to objects not created by ourselves.
Concepts of both space and Time arise from our concepts of sequence and interval (परत्वापरत्व). The ordered (क्रमान्वयी) interval (अवकाश) between objects is called space and that between events is called time. These are real, because these fulfil the three conditions for being defined as real.
Space is characterized by observation of egress (निष्क्रमण) – ingress (प्रवेशन). Objects enter or occupy a position in space or leave a position in space. But the space itself does not change or move. If we accept space-time curvature as real, then we have to explain why only the apple fell to the ground and why a branch under it or Newton sitting under it, got squeezed. No one has explained it. We only describe the objects that are markers of space, but we cannot describe space itself – it has no markers. Similarly, describing events as simultaneous (युगपत्), slow (चीर) or fast (क्षिप्र), are the signs of time – they occur in time but they are not time itself. These concepts of simultaneous, slow or fast etc., cannot be applied to space, but are applicable to created objects (नित्येष्वभावादनित्येषु भावात् कारणे कालाख्येति – Kanada 2-2-9). Thus, time is related to causality.
If we arrange a set of events and say: “A is simultaneous with B”, “C is anterior to D” and “E is posterior to F”, then the entire description becomes relative to the frame of reference – here B, D and F respectively. Without these, A, C and E have meaning, but their markers: “simultaneous”, “anterior” or “posterior” have no meaning. These markers are not fixed nor do they describe time itself – they describe events. The events occur in time, but they are not time itself – time is their base and it has no markers. Since space and time have no markers (स्वरूपलक्षण), these are described through alternative symbolism (विकल्पन) by the two boundary markers (तटस्थलक्षण). Thus, the boundary objects are used to describe the interval as space and the boundary events are used to describe the interval as time. Thus, time is actually not a particle or a body, is a mental construct, perceived through realization of a concept, which appears as a physical entity (स खल्वयं कालो वस्तुशून्यो बुद्धिनिर्माणः शव्दज्ञानानुपाती .... वस्तुस्वरूप इव अवभासते – योगसूत्रम् 3-52, व्यासभाष्य). Hence curvature of spacetime is utter nonsense.
When we say: Time is a manifold of moments: seconds, hours, days, months, years, yuga, kalpa, etc., what we describe is the different qualifying adjuncts (उपाधि) of time – not its inherent characteristics (विशेषण). The former is not inherent but emergent (स्वल्पकाल स्थायी), whereas the latter is inherent (अन्वित) and natural (चीरकालस्थायी). The attributions of multiplicity is due to the divergence of effects (कार्य्यविशेषेण नानात्वम् – Kanada – 2-2-13), i.e., what we call a day is one rotation of Earth on its own axis, year is one revolution of the Earth around Sun, and others are its subdivisions or multiplications. Thus, they are related to events – not time.
What we call motion is a continuous change of certain perceptions in their relation with space and time. Hence one form of thought – our own mind – runs parallel to and is concomitant with another – universal – form of thought, which we call as matter (द्रव्य), their physical characteristics (गुण) and interactive potential (कर्म). Here the term matter includes energy, as there is nothing like bare charge or bare mass. Energy confined is matter and matter released is energy (द्रव्यगुणकर्मणां द्रव्यं कारणं सामान्यम् – Kanada 1-1-18).
Time, space, and the other quantities like number, velocity, position, temperature, etc. are not “things” – not material. They are only perceptions of the changes or transitions of matter, through a universal mechanism, that puts everything into perpetual motion due to inertia. Motion is perceived as a sequence in four steps: a) application of force on a body (क्रिया), b) displacement of the body begins due to the applied force (क्रियात् विभागः), c) decoupling of the body from the position previously occupied by it (विभागात् पूर्वसंयोगः नाशः) and d) then coupling of the body with the next position (ततो उत्तरसंयोगः). This motion takes place in an exterior body independent of us, but is perceived in our mind as change of position as a whole or by part in the above process. Our experience shows that there is no motion without application of force by a conscious agent or due to inertia generated by such an action. Hence, some conscious agent must have initiated the first action in the universe, which is continuing through inertia, modified by actions of others. Thus, ultimately, it resolves into (our) mind perceiving transitions of another (universal) mind that applies the force leading to motion. This is because, these are knowable, describable in a language and exist. This makes space and time real. Since these are real, they must be perceived directly in our mind.
Some may point out to the Zeno’s paradox relating to Achilles and the tortoise, which say: “The slower, when running will never be overtaken by the quicker; for that which is pursuing must first reach the point from which that which is fleeing started, so that the slower must necessarily always be some distance ahead”. Suppose, Achilles runs at 10 meters per second and the Tortoise moves at only 1 meters per second. And suppose, Achilles gives the Tortoise a head start of 10 m. If we calculate mathematically, Achilles should pass the Tortoise after 1.11 seconds when they have both run just over 11 m, so Achilles will win any race longer than 11.11m. But in Zeno's argument, for covering the distance of 10m between them, Achilles would have to cover half of it – 5 m first, keeping a gap between the two. Then he would have to cover 2.5 m, keeping a gap between the two. This would continue as infinitum. Hence, he concludes, that Achilles would never be able to catch the Tortoise. In an opposite format, it implies that, since to move half distance, one has to first move a quarter distance, and for that he has to move 1/8th distance, etc. ad infinitum, one would not be able to move at all – no motion is possible.
What is to be noted here is that, the term “slower” or “faster” are related to time, which has no intrinsic meaning without a reference frame. Here, the reference frame for time is common to both Achilles and the tortoise, whereas the terms “slower” or “faster” are related to their relative motion over finite interval in space. Without any reference to the “proper time” in this example, we cannot take it to be universally relative, i.e., both motions would have to be measured against fixed intervals of time cycle, say, in or per seconds. Since measurement is a process of comparison between similars, “space covered in time” will be different for both. It has nothing to do with a midpoint, which is related to the fixed space and same for both for any distance. Hence, the fixed space of midpoint cannot be related to different relative motions, which will show that the slower one moves, the less space he covers and the more time he takes to cover equal distance. Further, theoretically, a fixed space can be subdivided infinitesimally. This does not make the fixed space infinite. However, Zeno treats it as infinite, which is not only misleading (प्रमाणाभास), but also invalid mathematics (न्यायाभास). Thus, it is no paradox at all, but a wrong comparison of unequals.
Mind has no dimensions. Dimension is spread in a given direction. Since we perceive through electromagnetic radiation where the electric field, the magnetic field and their direction of motion are mutually perpendicular, we have three mutually perpendicular dimensions. But mind has no spread. We cannot measure length, breadth or height of mind. Thus, it has no spatial transformation. But spatial transformation is applicable only in the case of objects with parts. The fundamental particles are indiscernible. However, they can have motion, which is temporal transformation of position. Mind has temporal transformation relating to objects at different positions. Thus, though all actions take place and are perceived as such only at “present”, we can perceive time both when it exists (वर्त्तमान) and when it does not exist (अनागत), and at other times, which can be either past (अतीत) or future (भविष्यत).
Present time is said to be the fleeting interface between past and future. But since past and future cannot be directly perceived, how can their interface be perceived? Then what is the duration of that interface? If it is infinitely large or infinitely small, it will not be perceived. If it is intermediate, then what is that duration and why? There are no scientific answers to these question. Hence duration of time as past, present and future are not describable – hence not real. Such description (त्र्यध्वाकाल) is related to causality. When the events that describe time are operational, so that it can be simultaneously described (स्वव्यापारारुढ), the interval between the limiting events are called present time. When the events that describe time are not in existence (not operational), but we can describe it through our experience (अनुभूतिव्यञ्जक), it is called time past. When the events that describe time are not in existence (not operational), but we can only predict a possibility based on the present state (भवितव्यव्यञ्जक), it is called time future.
Since objects in space don’t continuously change their position, space is differentiated from time, which is associated with continuous change of position, i.e. application of external force. If we measure the spread of the objects from two opposite directions, there is no change in their position. Thus the concept of negative direction of space is valid. Time is related to change, which materializes because of the interaction of bodies with forces. Force is unidirectional. It can only push. There is nothing as pull. It is always a push from the opposite direction. (Magnetism acts only between magnetic substances and not universally like other forces. It has a different explanation.) Consider an example: A + B → C + D.
Here a force makes A interact with B to produce C and D. The same force doesn’t act on C and D as they don’t exist at that stage. If we change the direction of the force, B acts on A. Here only the direction of force and not the interval between the states before and after application of force (time) will change and the equation will be: B + A → C + D and not B + A ← C + D.
Hence it does not affect causality. There can be no negative direction for time or retrocausality.