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What is time?

To me there are two different conceptual ways to think about time: micro and macro levels.
As a musician, (percussionist moreover), I study "micro-time" daily. We play "in time," "in tempo," which means beats are going by at a predetermined rate. Within those parameters of time, we use all sorts of subdivisions of time and can get quick creative and advanced with how we mess with this thing called time.
The macro-time is how we feel how long a class has been, or a long day, semester, relationship, phase in our lives and so on.

Is there a relationship between studying time in the musical sense and studying conceptualizing much longer pieces of time? Time gets very exciting in the 4th and 5th dimensions and I would love to hear what philosophers, psychologists, and musicians think about this topic of time itself.


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    Jun 27 2011: Time is an illusory nearly non-existent meme that breathes life into music and makes love and life possible. Time is a collection of silences as the negative space that supports the meaning of speech.

    Time is a left hemisphere phenomenon, I'm sure.

    Excellent question.
  • Jul 3 2011: Time is that which is.
  • Jun 30 2011: Time is an artifact that arises along with language/thinking. The use of internal linguistic structures that attempt to map to the "real" world require some form of causality. You know....things point to things and things lead to things. Cause and effect cannot exist without then and now. Throw in the art of predictions and you got the whole shebang or something like that.
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    Jun 29 2011: If I have to be absolutely and utterly philosophical, then I say time is the side-effect of human (and maybe animal) activity. As long as you are acting, there is time.

    When you cease all activity, there is no time. When you think a thought, it changes - either slowly or rapidly. This is when you sense time. Change is time. When your thought changes, you say "it was not THEN, what it is NOW." In fact, when you cease all activity, the universe ceases to exist for you. No universe, no time.

    That said, older philosophers have always said there is an underlying vibrational energy that sustains the universe in its form. I guess the reproduction of that rhythm is music. When we listen to music we feel most alive, because we are consuming that energy.
  • Jun 27 2011: I asked the same question to a friend years ago and he saids me: "I think there is no time. There is memory." Think about it.
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    Jul 8 2011: I think that time is an experience of possibility. Because the immediate succession of immediate moments is like some "space" to do things. Time is a measure as you point, in music is very clear, without time it would be difficult to manege music composition, and in other hand, you play with time to create!!! That´s great!!
    In daily life, time is the only way we can organize ourselves. And if some one say that time is not a real thing, I can agree that is difficult to see it, but all of us feel it, and in a way, see it in the degradation of things, and in age, etc.

    That way I like to propose that time is an experience of possibility.

    Great question.
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    Jul 4 2011: Hi Isaac Zuckerman,
    Time in many ways is an emotional connection to life. On the micro scale it is the space between words, breaths, beats, strums, rim shots, heart beats, and foot falls. If you live in the micro scale of time fully, the dread of the macro scales of time in human life almost disappears, overwhelmed with the vitality of being alive, in the moment, now. When you share time, you share something precious, you share life.
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    Jul 1 2011: Isaac Zuckerman
    Time is an infinitely stretched dimension that stretches from NOW all the way back to 13.7 billion years ago. In a black hole, there is no time dimension. I love that. That's like saying, if it were possible, that if you fell into a black hole, time would stop for you. Is that cool or what? I hear 4/4 time and I can say it's different from 3/4 time. But I still don't know exactly what it is that I am measuring or counting. So if ignorance is bliss I must be a very happy person!

    Multiverse. Hmm. OK. "Sum over histories" implies time takes different paths. On the scale of the very small (quantum-mechanics small) it can probably go backwards or loop back. Time is relative to a frame of motion, but we usually don't see these effects because everything around us is not moving relative to us at near the speed of light. But some things, like TV screens, have particles emitted at about 1/3 the speed of light and its dimensions and "timing" for the image are constructed so that we see all parts of the image at the right "time" and it appears "normal."

    Time is the distance traveled per rate of travel. That's like saying every mile traveled at 60 MPH on the highway is the same as a minute. That's weird, that we need two parameters in order to measure or observe one.
    Excellent question. I know but I don't know.
  • Jul 1 2011: Time may be observable change.
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    Jun 29 2011: Time does not exist. It is just a conception of human mind as it tries to encompass everything happening around to a linear frame of reference.
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    Jun 27 2011: I watched a series on Science Channel...all about time and whether it is possible to travel through time.
    There were so many questions asked and many solutions offered, none of which worked. It seems that we experience light that is 8 minutes old when it gets here from the sun and when our telescopes look into the distant universe we see light that originated eons ago. Also the farther away from gravity we get we find that time slows and we do not age as fast as the people who are in a gravitational zone. I cannot help but wonder if we could reach a place where time does not exist? How would this affect us ? As for me, I have problems getting to appointments on time. The whole concept is mind bending.
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    Jun 27 2011: the momments between the transfer of energy
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    Jun 27 2011: Looks a very difficult question for me. Maybe it is something that is only associated with itself.
  • Jun 26 2011: Time is brake. We can't ignore it and we just can go with it, behind him. If we will reach time, it will stop us. Time is excuse.