As with many other philosophical questions, Elementalism has its own ideas about the question of time. Most people take it for granted that there is such a thing as time and that it just kind of ticks along. Upon thinking about it, though, things are no longer as straightforward. This essay explains the Elementalist conception of time.
Most people assume, as if naturally, that space and time exist and that we move around in them. Space is three dimensional (the x, y and z axes), and time adds another dimension of movement, so spacetime can be said to be the four-dimensional space in which we all live. We are born at one point in spacetime and, over the course of our lives, move through it.
This materialist conception of time brings with it a number of logical quandaries.
Quandaries such as: when did time begin? Time seems to run as an arrow flies, unstoppably from one point to the next, but when and how did it start? If time started some fourteen billion years ago, with the Big Bang, what happened before then? Did time exist? If not, how could the material universe possibly have started?
Is time an inherent property of the Universe or does it exist as the result of the will of some divine creator? If an inherent property of the Universe, what makes it progress at the speed it does, and not a greater or a lesser speed? Why progress at all? And – most frightening of all – if it begins and progresses then will it end?
All of these questions create a great number of logical dilemmas in the minds of materialists and non-Elementalists. But an Elementalist, who believes that consciousness is the prima materia and that it explores the Great Fractal to entertain the gods, has no such dilemmas.
To the Elementalist, time is an illusion. Simply put, it doesn’t exist. It’s an illusion brought about by the movement of consciousness through the Great Fractal at a certain rate. Because the perceptions that occur to consciousness appear to change in a rule-based manner, the impression is created that time exists and flows at a uniform rate. The reality is somewhat different.
The illusion of a moving picture, on film or on television, is made by displaying a number of frames every second (usually 25), in quick succession. If these frames are displayed rapidly enough, the image on the screen will appear like it is moving, an illusion known as beta movement. The images aren’t really moving – they just appear to, as if in a flipbook.
Our consciousnesses navigate the Great Fractal in a similar manner.
It sounds incredible, but the reality is that our perceptions cycle through a cosmically large number of static universes in extremely short order. Entire universes blink in and out of perception a such a speed that it feels like we’re moving through them fluidly. But in fact, this movement is no more fluid than that of a horse running in a motion video. It’s also an illusion.
The Great Fractal, in its unspeakably majestic, all-encompassing nature, is static. Because the fragment of consciousness that each of us possesses can only be aware of a tiny section of it, and because the tiny section that we are aware of keeps changing, it seems like time exists. And it does, in a sense. But not in the sense that most people are used to thinking of it.
In reality, there is only one ever-present and unchanging now, and consciousness exists there. In this eternal now, perceptions change, and that’s all that time is. The contents of consciousness are ever-changing, but consciousness itself is not, serving as an unwobbling pivot around which the entire drama of material existence unfolds.
This perception of time sounds entirely radical to the materialist mind, but for a Buddhist, a Taoist or a Hindu, everything written here so far is familiar. It has to be understood that the common Western perception of time follows naturally from the common Western assumption of materialism – and this assumption is neither accurate nor rational.
Dilemmas like the Grandfather Paradox are easily solved by the Elementalist. Not believing that time is one-dimensional, there is no “go back in time”. A world in which your grandfather lives and gives rise to one of your parents exists in the Great Fractal, and will always exist. Therefore, a life in which your grandfather gave rise to you is, and will forever be, lived by a fragment of consciousness somewhere in the Great Fractal.
Somewhere in the Great Fractal are worlds in which your grandfather is killed, but this doesn’t negate the fact that there are still an infinitude of worlds in which he was not killed. Therefore, you could kill your grandfather a million times and it wouldn’t change a thing. He would still exist in the Great Fractal, so consciousness would still be aware of him, and would still perceive lives in which he existed and gave rise to progeny.
Likewise, dilemmas about how time started and where it will end are easily resolved. To the Elementalist, there is only one eternal now, and in that now we navigate the Great Fractal. Knowing that time is an illusion, questions about how it started or where it will end are meaningless. Consciousness exists outside of time and is more fundamental than it. Therefore, time is a function of the contents of consciousness only.
In summary, Elementalists have an entirely different conception of time to that of the ordinary materialist. Not only do they not believe in time in the sense it is usually understood, but neither do they believe in any of the conclusions drawn by materialist philosophers of time. For the Elementalist, all these dilemmas really do have elemental solutions.
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