There is no time

© February 2004, Graham R. Little


This paper presents a view that there is no time, that it is exactly equivalent to length, which is known and understood as the distance between points, so ‘length’ does not ‘exist’ in the physical universe, what exists are distance between points and length is how human kind has come to measure and describe that distance.
The logic of the paper is as follows:

The paper discusses aspects of the model, and introduces the idea of a matrix of events to describe the universe, with distance between events (space) being one axis, period between events (time) another, and ranking into conceptual levels (cause) being the third.



Abstract 1
Time and the problem of ‘ground’
  What does this mean?
    General and particular
    Psychology and cause
    Use of conceptual diagrams
    Strategic human resource management in the firm
  The problem of the nature of science
  What is the ground in the analysis of time?
Understanding ideas, theory of knowledge, general theory of cause, and defining the ontological structure of the environment
  The affect of the physical environment
  Structure and definition of an event and an idea
  General and particular
  Conceptual level
The general theory of cause arising from the mode
  Cause in summary
  Is cause always proximal?
  Determinism and freewill
The nature of time
  States and nature of Reality
  Links between space and time
  Time in a matrix of events
There is no time

Time and the problem of ‘ground ’ [1]

Strategic thinking is an under-rated issue in philosophy social science. To ensure meaningful contributions of intellectual substance the topic in question must be related to the conceptual landscape, the “ground”, within which the topic is merely a detail. Failing to make these links results in work of little or no value[2] .

The relationship of any detail to broader considerations is what I call ‘strategic thinking’. So in short, one cannot conduct philosophical enquiry that will be in any way meaningful unless that enquiry embraces adequate strategic thinking and review. To best understand this hypothesis and its implications requires a review of ‘strategy’, what it entails and what it means.

The notion of strategy has been fully and widely discussed in the business literature. For my own part, I have had twenty years of experience as a consultant assisting senior management teams to review and recreate and in some instances create strategy from scratch. In that time, and arising from that experience has emerged some understanding of and insight into business strategy.

First, and crucially, overall business strategy is an intellectual position for top managers whereby activities, tactics and plans today are grounded within the overall long-term direction sought by the firm. While much strategy is written, often in comprehensive documents, I find the true living force of strategy is not the document, rather the process of working through whereby the document was devised, and then the living system of thinking whereby the top team ‘see’ where they want to go and the steps to best get there. Important managers not involved in the processes of the strategy then must be ‘educated’ and bought ‘up to speed’ if they are to play any significant directional role in the firm.

I have come to see ‘strategy’ as a mind-map consisting of two crucial components. First, a framework of linkages between the critical aspects that include the market and its size, competitors, competitive advantage of industry and competitors, product features and manufacturing capabilities, distribution capabilities, market segments and market channels, market and social trends, customer expectations and profitability. This list is not intended to be exhaustive, and any particular strategy will have some or all and often other factors, all interlinked. It is complex, which is why it is strategy. It is this mind-map that provides the landscape within which is then placed the firm, with the whole, that is map and the firm being dynamic and moving and evolving through time. Locating the firm within the conceptual landscape (the ‘ground’, as I often shorten it to) provided by the strategic analysis is the second component, with a likely third component being the movement and development of the firm’s position and the overall strategic circumstances of the firm through time.

In summary, within the business strategic model, there is the conceptual landscape, the map of the overall strategic circumstances with this changing and developing over time; then the location of the firm within this dynamic landscape. Actions today are then related and rooted in the understanding provided by the background thinking so giving multiple actions by many people over time integrity in relation to the conceptual landscape such that the desired position of the firm progressively emerges. Without the integration afforded by the strategic analysis the efforts of multiple people over time is likely to diffuse and inhibit any competitive advantages sought by the senior team, which merely reinforces the view that strategy brilliantly written and poorly disseminated will work less well than strategy adequately written but effectively disseminated.

What does this mean?

Before answering the question ‘what is the ground for time?” directly, I wish to illustrate the issue using examples from previous an earlier paper [3]. The following are details of specific examples, I have not researched actual papers that illustrate the lack, it would be most easy to do, I see little or no point, what is needed is direct judgment of these issues and the courage to act on them. I highlight the issues likely to impact the topic, and by so doing emphasize the conceptual landscape in which the issue is embedded.

None of these lists of questions is exhaustive, they are merely intended to illustrate the manner in which the conceptual landscape (ground) of a topic is formed and its impact on the considerations relating to that topic. If in any paper, any of the questions is not addressed and answers in relation to the topic framed, then the paper must make the statement “… in the absence of understanding of … we speculate that…” for it not to do so is little more than fraud.

General and particular


Psychology and cause


Use of conceptual diagrams

Strategic human resource management in the firm

This topic is different, and less fundamental to the others, but the topic illustrates the point most dramatically.

To gain even the remotest insight into strategic human resource management, the ground as I call it, is not just significant, it is crucial, and there can be little or no understanding until pre-existing crucial issues of a most general nature are resolved so creating the ground, the conceptual landscape within which a valid theory of strategic human resource management is in fact possible.

Works that do not develop the priority factors needing resolved in the ground before a theory or serious comment on the topic is possible are at best premature, and at worst, no more than intellectual rubbish. Work that does not relate the ground to the topic and vice versa, establishing what is and is not possible, what is and is not resolved, what is and is not contentious is not worth consideration no matter how stylish, how popular or how well written.

The problem of the nature of science

If some person or persons holds, for example, a quite inadequate view and understanding of the law, they would hardly be expected to do well in legal discourse. Now, what if the common and typical perception of science was equally inadequate across a large cross section of social science and philosophy. Would it be expected that effective science would result?

I do not wish to pursue the point here, merely highlight that there is no real agreement on the nature of science, there is no theory of science rooted in a general theory of knowledge in turn rooted in a general theory of psychology. If these relations do not exist, then we have no valid theory of science. This statement is worth repeating.

If any theory of science is not rooted in a general theory of knowledge, in turn rooted in a general theory of psychology, then that theory of science is not valid, it is no more than naive speculation and guesswork.

The only theory of science that even seeks to achieve the above is the one developed by myself [4], I leave to you to judge the extent it succeeds.

The practical consequences follow immediately: in the absence of an effective theory of science, and in the more complex domains of science, those that respond less to the power and modelling of mathematics, there will be confusion and serious inconsistencies of effort and effectiveness.

Many papers stress an empirical effort and focus, this itself showing a serious shortfall in appreciation of and understanding of the very nature of science. There is significant naivety in the view that an empirical bent will somehow ensure the quality and substance of the thinking.

What is the ground in the analysis of time?

1. All we can know of time is via our knowledge of it. I have endeavoured to sustain alternative arguments, but find it quite impossible. I cannot see any way, in any reasonable sense that in anyway could offer itself as science, where we can know anything of time directly. We only know time via our knowledge of it.


I follows: that if we understood clearly the nature of our knowledge of time so that we understood how and in what way the variable time relates to those aspects of the universe that we measure as time, and then we would be a step closer to understanding of time.

It then also follows that any such understanding of our knowledge of time must and can only be a specific example of how all knowledge relates to that it represents.

Finally it follows; that for us to fully understand time, then we need a general theory of knowledge such as to give insight and understanding of how our knowledge of time, a detail within the general theory, relates to those aspects of the universe it measures.

2. People create knowledge, therefore to build a general theory of knowledge we need a general theory of psychology that embraces that which humans can know and describes how all knowledge comes to be.


As a detail within this theory we must determine a general theory of perception to show how humans derive knowledge of the universe.

3. As an aside to these problems, if we build these theories and models, and if in so doing we do not encounter and resolve the issue of cause, and then we must surely question that which we have created. In the analysis above I have not immediately implicated the problem of cause, however, elsewhere I have clearly shown that the problem of a general theory of psychology cannot be resolved without resolving the question of a general theory of knowledge and of cause [5].

4. This analysis gives rise to the proposition that in the first instance the question “what is time?’ is not a problem of physics but a problem of epistemology.

5. A similar line of argument follows the question ‘does time exist?’. This cannot be addressed without addressing the general question of ontology, defining that which can and does exist. Related to this question and to the analysis above there is also the question of the existence or otherwise a reality beyond our senses, and the question ‘does time exist?’ really is asking is there something in the universe, within the Reality[6] beyond our senses, something we need to label time, and measure it as we do, and is this thing we measure actually ‘time’, or is it something else we perceive as time?

By any measure the ground to a theory of time is complex, spanning and embracing a large number of the most significant scientific and philosophical questions known.

I have found through systematic effort, failure and success that the only way to resolve such interlinked problem systems is to adopt an iterative process, assuming some form of solution and working that solution around all linked questions to ensure all are appropriately addressed, and if not, start again.

The effort is scientific in that one can only start with a the problem situation, then assume a theory, then elaborate that theory to every linked question, and then research the empirical data associated with each question to ensure the emergent solution from the overall theory matches or maps adequately onto the empirical data. I have found no way to arrive at theory and justify it in any manner a priori. It is all, as they say trial and error, mind though, a few trips with some theory around the questions and problems and one develops a ‘sense’ for what must and must not fit, a sense of the ‘shape’ of things.

Understanding ideas, theory of knowledge, general theory of cause, and defining the ontological structure of the environment

Below I outline the key issues and models that together create a necessary ‘ground’ within which time is understood and seen for what it is, namely a tool created by human like intelligence that measures the periods between events. For more detailed discussion on these topics and development of the background models see the web site

The affect of the physical environment

The question[7] of how events in the environment affect, impact and otherwise result in perturbations in our sensory receptors turns out to be extremely significant because it is this question that leads on to a clear definition of an idea, and lays the foundation for understanding of cause, knowledge and to the construction of a general theory of the person. This result was not understood prior to the analysis, upon reflection it could have been understood, since if we see ourselves as a species as not only existing in the environment, but having developed as a part of that environment, then full and thorough analysis of how the environment can and is and did impact us as a species would obviously open up insight into the way we are as species.

The steps and analysis of the affect of the environment on a species is summarised below[8] .
1. The first step is to see and understand every species in a process involving several steps, first, there is the generation of the perceptual field, then the impact of that field on the perceptual physiology of the observing species, then the processing of that perturbation by the physiology of the species and finally the interpretation of the events by the specific observer.

1.1. To enable discussion the terminology adopted is as follows: Reality is the state of the environment behind the perceptual field; perceptual field is the set of physical circumstances able to interact with the perceptual physiology of the observer; finally the interpretative elements in the observer, for a person, their psychology[9] .
1.2. Perceptual fields are typically generated by Reality; however, modern virtual reality is testimony to the fact that a perceptual field is not always an image of Reality. Similarly, clear air white out is not an image of Reality.

2. Studying perception in ‘normal’ circumstances is to study it at its most complex, so a simpler situation is sought.

2.1. Clear air white out circumstances represent a state of the environment where perception just fails. In fact, perception does not ‘fail’ at all, for clear air white out [10] is not loss of perception, rather it is the absence of depth perception.
2.2. This is a not merely ‘blind spot’ phenomenon, since the occurrence occupies the whole perceptual field. This is typically the forward perceptual field, so by turning away from the forward field, the person may “see” with full depth perception, and so not be aware of depth restrictions in the forward visual field.
2.3. Second, the occurrences can be studied and have been in the laboratory, and are called Ganzfeld effects.

3. The research established that for perception to be possible then the perceptual field must not[11] be constant with respect to the perceptual mechanisms of the observing species.

3.1.1. This situation, that is, of a constant input into a system having he same result as zero input, is fully explicable under systems dynamics, and underlines that fundamental physical nature of all perception[12]. Looking to the side in clear air white out the person may ‘see’ normally. At some point in turning back to the front, the perceptual field becomes uniform with respect to the perceptual systems of the observer, and at that point there is loss of all depth perception. This is not a psychological mistake, nor is it a function of our physiology, such as blind spots, it is solely a function of the field being uniform with respect to the perceptual modality, and in the absence of experience, and the person will be fully deceived by the events.

3.2. If perception fails when the perceptual field is uniform, then it follows for perception to be possible the perceptual field must be differentiated with respect to the perceiving modality of the species.

4. We can now ask: in what way can the perceptual field be differentiated [13]?

4.1. The technique is to imagine a scene, say a summer beach scene, then visualize two small squares, well separated in the scene, and each uniform; in what way can these squares be different? There are three ways in which the squares are differentiated.
4.2. The squares are in separate parts of the scene they are spatially differentiated.
4.3. The squares may differ in colour, or texture, or density, I have called this aesthetic differentiation.
4.4. Finally, one of the squares may change; I refer to this as dynamic differentiation.
4.5. I can think of no other manner in which the squares can differ, with all forms of differentiation able to be catalogued under this scheme.
4.6. It is possible to further subdivide aesthetic differentiation into many subsets, however, this does not alter any argument, and I see little or no point for sake of this discussion. Note that all forms of scientific property, other than change and location, are grouped under this category, but again I stress, this has no bearing on subsequent argument.
4.7. Spatial differentiation describes location in space, and dynamic differentiation describes change and movement.
4.8. Without movement, the environment in which we live would be as a painting. It is dynamic differentiation that gives rise to a changing world.

This effectively completes the analysis of the impact of the environment on our perception. More aptly, it must be said that our perception and these circumstances exist in an evolutionary interaction, with these circumstances driving the development of our perceptual systems enabling our survival as a species.

As I will show, it is these circumstances that leads to definition of an event, and also to the definition of an idea, and it is ideas resulting in our ability to predict events in the environment that provides the most profound opportunity for emergence of homo sapiens as a the dominant species.

Structure and definition of an event and an idea

We have now reached the point in the discussion where we must consider what is occurring within the observer. First, and crucially, we do not perceive generalities, in fact no perceiving of any event can or is able to be identical, the reason being that for us to have a second perceiving of some event requires at very least there was a duration between the two events, and given the manner and definition of the differentiation of the universe essential for perception to be possible, then follows the events we separate, singular, although similar, at least, similar as to their affect on the observer or observers. (The terminology of discussing time, as ‘duration between events’ is cumbersome, so I will use ‘time’ as the shorthand for this.)

It follows that all perception is of unique, particular events defined by their properties: aesthetic, and location in space and time.

The neurological system summarised above is able to record and remember events and their properties, and equally, to develop sensitised neurons in relation to certain events, so that certain response occur under circumstances of those events.

One of the issues now is determining a suitable definition of an event. There are four possibilities.

1. Changes in Reality alone.
2. Changes in Reality accompanied by changes in the perceptual field.
3. Changes in Reality, perceptual field and changes in the perceptual systems of the observer.
4. Changes in Reality, perceptual field, perceptual systems plus an interpretation by the observer

The problem with the first two definitions is that we do not discuss events in any abstract way, say a wedding, for example. We tend to use terms that already carry some degree of ‘borrowed knowledge’[14] . The problem with the last is that it has gone too far, and has already included all interpretation, and leaves no room for unconscious perception. I suggest that three is the most satisfactory, that is an event is defined as the change in the perceptual field combined with the immediate perception in the observer.

The consequences are as follows.

The analysis leads immediately to the definition of an idea as the classification of events according to their properties.

In everyday life, this remains a loose framework, for example, we may sit on a table and refer to it as a chair, and for everyone to know exactly what we mean. The analysis explains this as the table having some of the properties of the chair such that referring to it as a chair is accepted and common. Referring to a short, sharp sword, point up, stuck firmly in the ground, as a chair is not acceptable and inappropriate since the sword in that circumstance does not share enough of the properties of a chair.
For science, such loose definitions are not acceptable, and for the development of science more effective and tighter definitions of variables is needed, but is beyond this discussion[15] .

General and particular

Ideas are defined as classifications of events according to their properties they are generalities. Given a dynamical differentiated environment each and every event is necessarily unique. We do not perceive generalities, and can only perceive unique instances of any and all generalities. The necessary relationship between the general and the particular is then defined by the essential definitions of ideas, events and the nature of a differentiated universe (I use this term to emphasis that it is a general proposition).

Conceptual level

An observer has evolved a given set of perceptual systems by which they observe the environment. This level of perceptual system gives rise to the natural level of perception of the observer then interpreted by way of ideas. So, it is accurate to say we do not see a horse, we see an example of horse, and that white horse is not a horse. All of which are merely playing on the necessary distinctions between general and particular, ideas and unique events as examples of ideas, all from arising and well defined in the model above.

No observer can perceive beyond his or her natural perceptual systems. So for any observer to perceive beyond this level requires machines that take perturbations in perceptual fields not able to be noted by the observer and convert them into perturbations that can.

Generally, perceptual processes do not differentiate between events at the natural level of perception rather it is the intellectual processes that afford differentiation. For example, we perceive a tree, and by research we come to understand it roots and growth rings, and other fundamental aspects of its development. Perception does not, cannot distinguish between these elements, it does not nor cannot place them in any sensible order or sequence. Perception is what it is.

Conceptual processes can afford differences, we can intellectually come to understand the flow of nutrients from roots into the tree, and come to understand the relationships of the tree foliage, to roots and cells and sun light. Intellectual we are then able to differentiate the tree, from mechanisms whereby the tree lives and grows. Such processes gives rise to conceptual hierarchies, called conceptual level, whereby intellectual effort complements perceptual systems providing understanding of the environment based on the knowledge (ideas) of it.

The general theory of cause arising from the model

1. Defining an event: the base of the theory of cause is events.

1.1. Events are defined as the factors of immediate perception that is a change the perceptual field resulting in change in the perceptual mechanisms of the observer.
1.2. So defining an event necessarily defines the observer.

2. Classes of events.

2.1. Being immediate perception, any event is not necessarily interpreted by the observer, but could be so interpreted if noted by the observer.
2.2. Single unique and unrepeated events are of little interest, they do add to knowledge, but do not advance understanding.
2.3. Repeated events of similar nature become grouped by the properties of the event and are so classified.
2.4. Classes of events are ideas. Ideas are used to interpret the world, with the idea (generality) being used to classify the particulars of the world, so, to paraphrase Eastern philosophers, a white horse is not a horse; it is an example of ‘horse’.

3. Constant conjunctions.

3.1. After Hume, it is understood that events that occur regularly together are constant conjunctions and give rise to causal expectations.
3.2. Causal expectation is not cause, and is not reason to assume cause.

4. Types of constant conjunction.

4.1. After W Ross Ashby, constant conjunctions can be classified into those whereby the effect of any perturbation is immediate, and those whereby the effect of any perturbation is an ultimate conjunction known to go via other, immediate conjunctions.
4.2. Ashby’s ultimate and immediate effects model the structure of constant conjunctions.

5. Classes of relation.

5.1. Given two types of constant conjunction, then there are two classes of relation between events. First, classes of immediate effects, second, classes of ultimate effects.
5.2. It then follows that there can be a relation between these classes of relation.

6. Definition of cause: follows as a relation between classes of relation between classes of events.

6.1. That is, when we ‘see’ an event, say the sun rising, we label it according to previous experiences either personal or social so it is called ‘sunrise’.
6.2. We know it (the sun) will travel across the sky; we call that ‘day time’, and will eventually set. This is all at a conceptual level, at one set of ‘relations between classes of events’.
6.3. If we now add the understanding of the world and solar system, we get a quite different set of relations, these relations form the underlying mechanisms of the previous set of relations, so we come to see the ‘sunrise/sunset’ classes of relations between events as the ‘ultimate effects’ of the ‘immediate effects described by the mechanism of the solar system, gravity etc’.
6.4. Without understanding the underlying mechanisms, simply accepting the uppermost set of classes of relations, then we have no cause, the sun rises and sets driven by the Gods, or some other notion, there is little or no choice but make such prognostications.

7. Conceptual levels: arise as a consequence of the relation between classes of relation. So events perceived belong to different conceptual levels, and that this is not perceptual, this is intellectual; left solely to perception all events are at the same conceptual level.

8. Natural perception: Every species has a level of ‘natural perception’ that is a natural level whereby changes in a perceptual field are able to produce changes in the perceptual biological structures in the species.


8.1. To note changes in perceptual fields outside this range of natural perception requires the species develop machines for converting changes in a perceptual field that cannot produce changes in the perceptual modalities of the species, into changes that can.
8.2. Any species without such machines will have restricted causal insight and understanding of the universe, bounded by the level of natural perception of that species.

9. The universe contains definite mechanisms: After Little[16] the hypothesis is that all constant conjunctions are ultimate effects. This is called the universal mechanistic postulate.

9.1. This means that immediate and ultimate effects (or immediate and ultimate constant conjunctions) are only so in relation one to another, with the conceptual level defining which is immediate and which ultimate. There is no absolute level of constant conjunctions, so there is no absolute level of immediate effects; there is no mechanistic base to the universe.
9.2. The summary and effect of the universal mechanistic postulate is that there is always a mechanism.
9.3. The consequences of always having a mechanism is that such interpretations of modern physics as reflecting the probabilistic nature of the universe is rejected, and quantum electro dynamics is seen as a powerful technology that does not grasp the or reflect the underlying nature of the universe, and does not reflect the mechanisms underlying the events it so accurately predicts, it merely uses powerful mathematical tools to get the right answers; but that in part the mathematical nature of science is not a reflection of the universe, but a reflection of the very nature of our knowledge of it.
9.4. The universal mechanistic postulate also has profound impact on the view and understanding of epistemology, but this brief note is not the place, see the papers and supporting papers for some of these issues to be introduced.

Cause in summary

Two elements are needed to accurately say we know the cause, first we need know the mechanism at play whereby one thing becomes another (and that in the instance under study, we need to know there are not factors outside the mechanism able to alter the mechanism), and second we need to know the starting values of the variables able to influence the system under study. Knowing the start point, and knowing the mechanism and all factors able and likely to influence it, then the result is predictable. That’s cause.

Is cause always proximal?

Can it occur at a distance? Cause revolves about events, defined by the observer; the fact that two objects that affect each other are not apparently able to interact does not mean they do not so interact. It only means that we do not know nor do we perceive the mechanism whereby the two interact, but under the universal mechanistic postulate, we need look very, very hard, because it is most likely there is a mechanism. So, two events on opposite sides of the universe, that occur as constant conjunctions, and our initial instincts suggests they are related, or evidence suggests so, then we have an interesting scientific problem of uncovering the mechanisms whereby the two interact, for the working assumption is that there is always a mechanism. Do all mechanisms of the universe work only at close range? This is too big an assumption, it can and must be concluded that we do not know.

Determinism and freewill

The model of knowledge on which the general theory of cause is based presents a deterministic view of the physical environment. This is counter to much modern philosophy, but is a deductive consequence of the theory, not an assertion prior to the theory. Freewill, human spirit and consciousness are not affected by this deterministic view, since these social and psychological elements are shaped first and foremost by the ideas we hold, and not by the neurological substrate of those ideas. Given good neural health, then our being is shaped by what we think not by the mechanisms of how we think.

The nature of time

We are now able to understand how we exist in the universe, in the immediate environment it poses for us, how we interact with it, how ideas are derived by us from that environment, and what those ideas are, and what they represent in the environment.

Science, all science is a human act, giving rise to intellectual understanding of the environment, we can now say that we understand the links whereby that result is realised.

Ontologically, the universe contains two sorts of ‘things’, namely the physical reality, and ideas. The term physical dualism has bee coined to describe this situation where physical things move physical things, but that the social world of humans is dominate by what we think, by ideas, but the solution to the body mind problem does not propose ideas can produce physical results by moving physical things. Ideas emerge to our consciousness on what I call the ‘scratch pad’, and we know the internal states of our minds where by we can move our limbs and otherwise control our bodies. So we can move from ‘scratch pad’ idea to action. The Ashby tools of ultimate and immediate effects then enables and legitimizes the statement that ideas cause behaviour, but I stress, I see the statement as valid only within the framework of Ashby’s tools.

States and nature of Reality

An important factor emerging from the theories and models is the understanding of the nature of the universe that must be if perception is to be possible. The universe must be differentiated, and that there can only be three types of differentiation.

These aspects of Reality embrace all that physically exists. The type of consciousness of humankind introduce ideas to the universe, they do not of themselves exist in Reality, and are created by the conscious species (but one similar and equivalent to humans).

It is crucial to note that there is no mention of time, it does not emerge and is not needed for the resolution of the problems linked in this problem situation. The crucial implication is that time emerges as an idea that measures some aspect of the universe, not immediately seen as time.

Imagine what it must be like to live in a painting. Then time only exists in our mind and measured via our actions. So, at some moment a, we are doing A, and another b, we are doing B. We can then assess the gap between A, and B, and have some form of time. For this to be so, then there must be photons travelling between our eyes and the environment. Now imagine if that was not so, that there was no change at all, then all would be black, temperature of absolute zero. In a truly static universe there is only the void.

If in the painting we now allow change, then we have the definition of events as we experience them. It then becomes the universe, as we know it, with the local environment within which we live, and with which we interact with understood pathways and mechanisms.

1. We use the multitude of variables describing the properties of things derived from aesthetic differentiation.
2. We use length and spatial axes to locate events in space.
3. And we note dynamic differentiation observing change, and that some things follow another regularly (Hume’s constant conjunctions), but know that causal expectation is not reason to assume cause, and we use our intellect to create conceptual hierarchies that rank events in sequences offering causal explanation. With change this does not follow. And without change we have no time, life as in a painting, or worse, no life, nothing but a void.

We use length to measure the distance between events; in the same way we use time to measure the period between events. So the aspects of the differentiated universe become properties of things, space and time.

Links between space and time

Events by definition define the observer. And also, those same events define location in space. Relativity is introduced to the philosophy and the model at the very beginning; it is integral to the definition of an event, with all and any event by definition being relative.

The system also defines space and time as the distance between events and the period between events. It then also follows that space and time is observed to be linked; but that this in the greatest part arises from our perceptions not necessarily from any state of Reality.

Time in a matrix of events

We can locate any particular event into a matrix of all events. Each event then described by its properties, and located in relative distance and relative sequence from other events. Each person would then have their own individual matrix within which the same events occurred for them. The two matrices would then have a relationship, this relationship defining the relativity between the two observers: The relative distance between events is space and length the relative sequence of events is time. The events can also be ranked according to ultimate and immediate effect tools of Ashby, this is structuring the matrix along yet a third dimension of causality.

This matrix is not symmetrical about any axis, since each and every event is unique, the events reflecting the universe following its own inherent mechanisms. Several points follow immediately.

This analysis of the universe presents a view that there is a Reality beyond events, that we perceive it differently, each person; each culture seeing it through their own eyes, but not all of these reflect the Reality as it is, not all are equal, and not all are accurate. Part of the ethic of science then emerges as the social sharing of our insights, scientific laws, and conceptual understanding so that from the multitude of views so judgment is improved and there emerge images of Reality, of the universe more apt and accurate than any person alone, any culture alone, and any intelligent species alone (unfortunately, for now, we are alone as a species) could hope to achieve.

I suggest that the equations of physics could be recast removing time, and replacing it with a matrix of events. It would be most interesting to see how our understanding of the universe changed, and whether the ‘big bang’ and the ‘implosion’ at the end remained the valid picture.

There is no time

Time does not exist; there is no aspect of the universe that in any way represents something we would call time.

We create and use time to measure the period between events. As such time is exactly analogous to length, which is a created system to measure the distance between events.

The past does not exist anywhere, in any form. Events past are past and events predicted in the future have not happened, and depending on our understanding of the mechanisms and the factors affecting them, those events may never occur.

The analysis of time could apply to other parallel universes, however, there is no evidence anywhere of such universes, and while they may be possible in theory, so Zeno predicts the bullet to never reach my chest, ‘…yea right!’ as said in the local beer ads. Math is able to turn creative numbers, and while at times such math may lead the conceptualisation of the universe, those events so conceptualised also must be congruent with other ways and images of the universe, and in this instance, the theories of ‘parallel universes’ are not congruent, they are incongruent, and find no link or evidence in the emerging image of this universe.

We have now, we have a past that got us to now, and bounds our choices now, but beyond that we can create that which we choose.


1. Little, G.R., Strategic thinking in academic judgment and editorship,, 2003.
2. Little, IBID.
3. Little, IBID.
4. See the papers at
5. See the papers at
6. Little, G.R., Paper 1: A theory of perception, in Why We Do What We Do: A paradigm for social science, Social Sciences Press: Division of Self Help Guides Limited, Auckland, NZ, 2003.
7. Little, G.R., Paper 1: A theory of perception, in Why We Do What We Do: A paradigm for social science, Social Sciences Press: Division of Self Help Guides Limited, Auckland, NZ, 2003.
8. Ibid, Paper 1: A theory of perception
9. Little, G.R. Paper 2: Perception and a general theory of knowledge, in Why We Do What We Do: A paradigm for social science, Social Sciences Press: Division of Self Help Guides Limited, Auckland, NZ, 2003. The term ‘reality’ with lower case ‘r’ refers to the reality perceived by the observer. So for clear air white out, reality is inconsistent with Reality, and that this is not a psychological mistake, nor an act of our neurophysiology (as with blind spots).
10. See, Little, Paper 1: for the references to clear air white out and Ganzfeld effects.
11. Cohen concluded: “It may be conjectured that the perceptual mechanism has evolved to cope with a differentiated field, and, in the absence of differentiation, there is a temporary breakdown of the mechanism". Cohen, W. Spatial and Textural Characteristics of the Ganzfeld. Am.J.Psych., 70, 403-410, 1957.
12. Ashby,W.Ross Design for a Brain, London: Chapman Hall 1960, and Introduction to Cybernetics. New York: John Wiley, 1956.
13.Note: that it must be the perceptual field, since it is this field that influences the perceptual receptors of the observing species.
14.Ibid, Ashby.
15. Little, G.R., Paper 3: A model of knowledge and tools for theory creation, in Why We Do What We Do: A paradigm for social science, Social Sciences Press: Division of Self Help Guides Limited, Auckland, NZ, 2003.
16. Ibid, Little, Paper 3.
17. Little, G. R., The fundamental of all human experience, on offer to Journal of Phenomenology and Cognition.