Is Time an Illusion?

Is Time an Illusion?

@sociaIrate is an insightful account to follow on X.

This post, "The passing of time is just an illusion," is thought-provoking and motivated this article.

Interestingly, the idea that time is an illusion is popular among both philosophers and physicists. What do they mean by it?


One argument is that all phenomena exists simultaneously, so there is no real "passing" of time. However, for things to be different from each other, there must be some degree of change and separateness. Time is intended to represent a measurement of change. Human measurement of time isn't perfect because awareness is limited, often resulting in misrepresentations and illusions, but is it fair to claim there is no real change or transformation underlying the illusion or motivation to measure time?

To say time doesn't exist, in a way infers there is no real distinction in existence. Activity, motion, and transformation are all illusions as well. Therefore, the processes used to track or trace steps of transformation are likewise illusions or misrepresentations, and nothing really changes.


Not only does this seem contradictory to nature's behavior, but it also eliminates magick or reduces it to illusion. Magick is the design of transformation. Transformation depends on state change, and change is present in the process of illusions, an ability to process a misrepresentation. A process is a sequence of steps, signifying state change in cognition including encounters with illusion.

Human awareness is limited, so misrepresentations are evident in our perception of time. Human awareness is naturally riddled by illusions. Is this reason enough to believe there is no underlying activity or transformation in nature that supersedes the illusory human or conscious awareness? How do we avoid the signs of transformation within an illusion, such as the state change of perception and misrepresentations?

"Time is an illusion," put to the extreme, infers there is no real change in creation, no evolution, no magick.

Dr. Lee Cronin, chemist and inventor of the chemputer, is sharing information  about "assembly theory" in recent publications like Nature journal and podcasts such as Lex Fridman. Assembly theory is the idea that the complexity of any object can be measured for the number of steps required to create it, and evolution can be determined based on the number of copies of a subject. Cronin has made the argument that time is a physical object.

Time may be better understood as a representation of nature's fundamental capacity to transform. 

Perhaps you wonder, "what's the space between us, then?" It's tough to say what the initial act of distinction that led existence to creation was. JJ is also curious. What are the forces or bonds that comprise the interactions that make us distinct? That's a job physicists and chemists like Lee Cronin are working to explain.


Recommended Watch

Lee Cronin explaining assembly theory on the Lex Fridman podcast.


Time is a Step Before a Passage

Zooming out too far or too closely in can make the apparatus of time appear fuzzy, fixed, and unchanging. Comparing parts, however, is there no evidence of distinction? Even if the appearance of distinction is an illusion, doesn't the illusion of distinction exhibit contrast? Disconnect, dissimilarity, and dissolution are embedded in the magick of transformation and time. Meanwhile, they are bound to connection, similarity, and solutions via interactions made of forces and exchanges in question.

Measuring time is obviously difficult, but physicists like Cronin and lab are exploring methods to measure change and the mechanics of time. The sun's revolution, the metamorphosis of species or seasons, the anatomy and aging of the human body — all of these are processes rich with state change that is distinguishable, measurable, but also malleable. Where there is time, there is magick.

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