Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Is Time An Illusion? From The Buddha To Brian Greene

From NPR blog 13.7 - Cosmos and Culture by Adam Frank:

Can time be stopped, captured or even known? Does it exist, or is it all just an illusion?

Is time real, or is change just a kind of optical illusion resting on a deeper unchanging reality?

As finite creatures, with death hovering just out of our sight, the true nature of time haunts all our endeavors. Tomorrow, physicist Brian Greene tackles time's illusion in his Fabric of Reality PBS series. Science, however, is just one way we ask about the reality of time.

In the domains of spirituality, humans have also asked if there is more, or less, to time than ticking clocks or the march from birth to death. It is often the "now" which takes precedence in spiritual endeavor.

Buddhists, with their emphasis on meditation, have long seen the unspooling of time as an artifact of the mind. In Zen Mind, Beginners Mind, Shunryu Suzuki tells us:

"You may say, 'I must do something this afternoon' but actually there is no 'this afternoon' ... At one o'clock you will eat your lunch. To eat your lunch is, itself, one o'clock."...

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