Our brain is like a time machine

7566x 27. 11. 2018 1 Reader

Our brain is like a time machine. There is an interesting difference between how animals are oriented in time and how in space. Why do we have to talk about time? From space-time to how the mind keeps its time. It is more complex but enriching. Nervous circuits connect with external stimuli to maintain time. This is written in Dean Buonomano's new book.

"Time passes without bifurcation, intersections, departures or turns."

It does not apply that different time and space simplify the role of time comprehension, as evidenced by Buonomano:

"Physicists' words about the nature of time ended in time, but it seemed to me that it took a long time."

This captures the different concepts of time - natural time, time on the watch, and subjective time. (Chronos' time is measured by the timekeeper, chronos', subjective time, kairos')

Natural time

Natural time is what physicists are researching. Is time real or is the time of illusion, and all the moments exist essentially at the same time as there are still all the coordinates of the universe? Neurologists, on the other hand, also talk about time in lessons and subjective perception of time. In order to explain the concept of natural time, physicists and philosophers speak of the notion of eternity, according to which the past, the present, and the future are equally real.

Buonomano writes:

"There is absolutely nothing special in the present: time is eternal as well as space."

The second major explanation of natural time is the notion that real moment is real from the point of view that reflects our sense of subjective time. The past is gone, the future has not happened.

"Neurologists are implicitly time-guides. Despite its intuitive attraction, the concept of time is irrelevant ... in physics and philosophy. Subjective perception of time is human ability, but biology must first figure out how to stop time. "

The book called Your Brain is Time Machine by Dean Buonoman

Buonomano decided that time is both physical and subjective. The title of his book is derived from the idea that our brains are prediction mechanisms. Whenever we perceive something, his theory says that what we perceive is not an objective reality, but rather a brain construction of what causes bodily feelings. Popular theoretical considerations often ignore one dimension of anticipation, which is time.

Ability to predict

Buonomano points out that the brain continually presents real-time predictions not only about what will happen but also about when it will happen. To make this possible, the brain needs complicated mechanisms to perceive the time. In order to predict not only what happens during a fraction of a second, but what can happen in the next seconds, minutes, hours and even days, weeks, months and years.

Our brains can do wonders!

This ability to predict a long-term future depends on memory. In fact, it is the major evolutionary use of memory, as a store of information needed to predict the future. With memory and knowledge, our brains became time machines as if we could travel back and forth in time. This mental journey is a human ability that distinguishes us from other animals and hence from the title of the book. This ability seems to indicate particularly similar capabilities in animals, but evidence of animal foresight is still difficult to find.

(The author contradicts this because many animals have the ability to predict natural disasters, unfortunately the scientists do not know how animals do it.)

To use mental pathways over time, biology first had to figure out how to store subjective time. Unlike pendulum clocks. Christiane Huygens' powerful shuttle clocks were the first to keep time more accurate than hours in the human brain.

Buonoman's book is full of good details about innumerable ways how cells (neurons) in our bodies are time-consuming. For example, the complex crossing of a group of neurons in the hypothalamus that regulates the main circadian (day) rhythm. Circadial clocks depend on the harmonic oscillation of the levels of specific proteins. One of them is melatonin. Unlike our watches, which can recognize time in a wide range of values, the brain does not have a single clock. For example, chiasm kernel damage does not affect the ability to recognize time intervals in seconds, therefore there is a different subjective perception of time. If there is a clear theory of perception of time in neurology, it is precisely that the nervous circuits can react to regular external stimuli. In other words, they can be time-consuming, all the way.

The brain is a timekeeper

When we read the Buonan book, it is not difficult to wonder how the time and its measurement penetrate our existence, whether in the form of timer instruments we create or through the mechanism of our own brain. Buonomano creates an amazing sense of how complicated the timekeeper is the brain and what an awesome task. Buonomano writes comprehensibly, almost as a literature of fact. He chose a crystalline form over the flowering prose.

He occasionally puts funny examples, for example, when he writes:

"The hummingbird's heartbeat is as hidden from our sensory organs as the continent drift time."

Buonomano's unambiguous expression is obvious when he writes about the physics of time. Because his expertise is neurology, it's no negligible performance. His explanation of why Einstein's special theory of relativity suggests the existence of a four-dimensional universe and the diversity of space in which everywhere exists past, present, and future, makes a master case for the concept of eternity.

In particular, relativity destroys the concept of concurrency: the idea that two observers who move at different speeds can not agree on the time of events. When the speed approaches the speed of light, the time intervals of the events can be seen differently by different observers.

Buonomano writes:

"If we assume that all events that sometimes occur or will ever occur are permanently placed at a certain point in the universe ... then the relative concurrency becomes less interesting than the fact that the two objects in the universe can look the same. Whether they are identical or not, depends on the spot of the observer. The two telephone poles along the road seem to be in hiding if you stand on the same side of the road, but not when you stand in the middle of the road - it's a question of perspective. "


Eternity interferes with our subjective experience of the passage of time - in other words, physics is struggling with neurology. So far, we perceive the flow of natural time, and we instinctively support this concept. Buonomano points out that our notions of subjective time are complexly linked to our ideas of space.

It shows using the metaphors we use when we talk about time:

"We'd be studying for a long time ... looking for a backward look was a terrible idea."

The time gauge in the brain co-opts the nerve circuits that are used to present the space. Similarly, we perceive time and space, in a curious analogy to the special theory of relativity.

The most interesting question

This leads to one of the most interesting questions raised in the book:

"Can our physical theories be made up of the very architecture of our brain?"

Now that we know that the brain itself shortens time in space, it is also worth considering whether the concept of eternity benefits the fact that it resonates with the architecture of the organ responsible for the choice between eternity and present. Could our physical theory be formed by the very architecture of our brain? The state of scientific knowledge about time is such that we have no direct answers.

The book, which is mostly convincing, looks at the end of more questions than answers. Of course, this is because "our subjective sense of time is somewhere in the middle of a storm of unresolved scientific secrets - what is consciousness, free will, relativity, quantum mechanics, and the nature of time. Our brain is like a time machine. This can be worrying, for we can find consequences, for example, in the universe, where all time moments currently exist. The book eventually leads to inner peace when we realize that all the major scientific discoveries of the last century, in one way or another, are fighting with a common enemy - in time.

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