Actual Time, Detached Time and Controlled Time:
Physical Paradigms and Energy Constructions

by Robert Kovsky

(...)  The current version of the "Times and Paradigms" project (May, 2017) is available for download [.pdf file, 4.5 MB].

Part I of the project focuses on foundational elements of actual life, which are muscular movements and bodily feelings of human beings and higher animals (fish, birds, squirrels). Large-scale views present a new unified physics and psychology of freedom. In these views, the whole body of an animal – and each and all of its parts – participate in generating and selecting movements. New constuctions aim to model itching and scratching of a person or preening of a bird.

Standard physics paradigms of Conserved Energy are shown in Part II to be tethered to curves of continuous equipoise and stabilizing equilibrium. An example of Conserved Energy equipoise is shown in a Figure below on this page. The tethers are short and do not extend to the domain of actual life.

New paradigms of Virtual Energy in part III aim to emulate exercises of freedom during movements of actual life. "Wavemaker" paradigms are a step along the path.:

Below are some extracts and summaries from Part I.

One goal of the project is the design of engineered organisms that exercise freedom, e.g., moving like a fish.

Suppose that we start with propulsive movements of a fish that are produced by a spine made of an ordered array of vertebral modules. Movements are produced by the whole body of the fish and exhibit complex patterns with balances, rhythms and flows. In models of patterns, movements of one module are influenced by ongoing movements and feelings in its neighbors, as well as by a triggering wave that travels down the spine. In birds and mammals, spinal structures retain capacities for complex flows like those of fish; and new forms of flow occur in a flock of birds landing on a field, in a squirrel climbing a tree or in a human swimmer. Athletes skillfully co ordinate limbs, feet and hands in flowing patterns, e.g., gymnasts, ice skaters and basketball teams. Other kinds of flowing patterns appear in movements of musicians and dancers.

This project investigates flowing movements of a whole body made of many parts.

Movements of material bodies occur in actual time. Of first importance here are muscular movements of animal bodies, including my own body, which is a basis of my pyschological constructions. Muscular movements of animal bodies and related bodily feelings make up the domain of actual life that defines standards and goals for the project. In contrast, rational processes and mental operations typically occur in detached time, which has a character very different from that of actual time. Movements that occur in rational processes in detached time can be postponed, decomposed, recomposed, repeated, re-ordered and even reversed. Only limited and special kinds of actual movements have features like those of movements in detached time, such as movements produced by steam engines and electrical motors. See Part II of the project.

Actual life is a materialist domain with a "real" or "objective" actual time based on presumptive agreements among persons — thus defining a common actual time that is the same for everyone. In contrast, there is no "common detached time." On the contrary, rational acts and operations in the minds of different persons occur at different rates and in different ways.

Scientific methods treat time as a numerical quantity that can be perfectly represented by a mathematical variable and precisely measured by standardized clocks. Such a shallow and rigid treatment ignores the rich flowing texture of temporal forms and rhythms that personal experience continuously weaves from memories of the past; from movements, feelings and perceptions of the present; and from anticipations of the future. "Permanence" and "reversibility" of the mathematical variable are contrary to the character of actual life where "the moving finger writes; and, having writ, moves on." (Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.)

Principles of freedom distinguish my materialism from scientific materialism. Science seems to be committed to a materialism in which "theories of mechanics" (Newton's, Einstein's, statistical, quantum) and "mechanisms" (chemical, computational) are presumed to describe and control all movements of and changes in material bodies. Such mechanical commitments exclude freedom. I hold to contrary principles, like those stated in Truesdell's Rational Thermodynamics (2d ed. 1984) at 424: "Different models have different uses;" and doctrinaire commitments "reflect a failure to come to grips with the real complications of nature. Beyond the easiest and long-mastered special cases, nature is too intricate for any inclusive theory."

I suggest that movements and changes of actual life - e.g., itching and scratching - confound all-inclusive theories of mechanics. While seated, I bend down; my right index finger precisely scratches an itch on my left ankle, which lifts to meet the hand. I suggest that such itching and scratching is produced in my spine through an exercise of freedom and that all the vertebra in my spine participate in such productions. Preening of birds provides a more pointed example. I suggest that the feeling of an itch is needed to guide scratching. In contrast, no thought or "will" is needed, although thought and will may block scratching when socially mandated. Similarly, a visual goal guides walking movements of the body.

I suggest that, while producing whole-body movements in their spines in actual time, animal bodies of fish, birds, squirrels and human beings exercise freedoms that are excluded from computational or mechanical theories of science. During an exercise of freedom, an animal body is ready and able to produce multiple possible movements (perhaps including maintenance of a stationary position or steady movement). In my models of such bodies, cyclical operations generate recurring critical moments. During a critical moment, multiple possible movements change into a single actual movement.

Outline of the Project

"Using sweeping terms and ignoring exceptions, we might say that every possible feeling produces a movement, and that the movement is a movement of the entire organism, and of each and all of its parts." Williams James, The Principles of Psychology (1890).

Overview of the Project

Part I    Introduction: Forms of Freedom and Time are Based on Movements of Animal Bodies.

  1. A unified psychology and physics of freedom is based on muscular movements of actual life.

  2. Multiple kinds of time are generated when muscular movements of actual life are coordinated with detached reason.

Part II    Actual Time, Detached Time and Mimed Time Paradigms of Conserved Energy

  1. Atwood's machine and Hooke's Law

  2. Ideal gas and perfect gas

  3. Carnot cycles and Clausius-Clapeyron relations

  4. Ising model, critical point and critical opalescence

Part III    New Controlled Time Paradigms of Virtual Energy

  1. Pulser devices

  2. Force devices and bursting devices

  3. Timing devices

  4. Quad Net devices, critical moments and Shimmering Sensitivity

Part IV    Foundations for the Construction of Virtual Energy

  1. Movements and feelings of animal bodies occur in actual time and make up the domain of actual life that establishes foundations and standards for constructions.

  2. Constructions in rational domains, such as numbers, initially arise in actual time but then operate in detached time, sometimes co-existing with the independent domain of actual life that is based on muscular movements.

  3. The modern scientific view erroneously presumes that there is full and automatic integration of rational domains with the domain of actual life.

  4. To initiate and develop a new approach, three kinds of energy are constructed: actual energy, conserved energy and virtual energy.

(...)  The current version of the "Times and Paradigms" project (May, 2017) is available for download [.pdf file, 4.5 MB].

Equipoise system with ramp
(movements occur with "easy glide")

In the paradigm shown in the adjacent figure, all the moving parts (pulleys, piston in the cylinder, weights on the ramp, ramp hinge) operate without friction and without sticking. I say that such movements have easy glide. At every position, the weights are in equipoise with the force produced by the spring. Movements occur with an adjustment force applied to the ramp that is much smaller than the force of gravity on the weights.

A similar arrangement uses an Ideal Gas instead of a spring. The reversible adiabatic process that mystifies students of thermodynamics is an equipoise system that closely resembles the adjacent Hooke's Law system.

Detached time operates in such equipoise systems. Movements can be postponed without changing results. Movements can be decomposed, recomposed, re-ordered and reversed. Movements can be organized by a mathematical group within the range of movement. Conserved Energy is described by mathematical groups. Such convenient mathematics is not available to describe muscular movements of animal bodies.

Please see a web page with an extract from the Times and Paradigms project:

...), "Conserved Energy in gravitational paradigms conflates actual time, mimed time and detached time operations."

Constructions of Conserved Energy (CE) in gravitational paradigms use three distinct kinds of energy: (1) kinetic energy carried by a moving body; (2) work performed in moving a body upward against the force of gravity; and (3) potential energy that is stored in a relationship between the body and a presumed "gravitational field" during such an upward movement.

Kinetic energy occurs in actual time and causes changes in actual movements of colliding bodies; such changes directly depend on the relative speed between bodies. A work process [W = ∫ F × dx] occurs in mimed time; time does not appear in the formulation and the speed of movement can change without affecting the result. Potential energy, detached from movement, exists in a "field" structure described by a mathematical group. Movements in the potential energy structure occur in detached time or mimed time as needed..

The Times and Paradigms project explores new Virtual Energy device designs that are never in equipoise and that are always moving and changing. I suggest that flexible movements produced by Virtual Energy designs more closely resemble movements of animal bodies than movements of rigid-body robots operated by computers.

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(...)  The current version of the "Times and Paradigms" project (May, 2017) is available for download [.pdf file, 4.5 MB].

Please see also:

  1. How to solve "free will" puzzles and overcome limitations of platonic science (2016)   (...)   [.pdf file, 1.9 MB]. A large-scale view of actual life that consists of movements and feelings of animal bodies. In the modern scientifc view, in constrast, the fact that animal bodies move on their own is attributed to mental operations of will.

  2. ... )  Web page discussing the free-will puzzles essay.

  3. The bursters project provides more detailed designs for force devices and bursting devices than the section in the Times and Paradigms project. Please see ( ... ) a web page and the original bursters report, (.pdf file (889 kB)) (...).

  4. ... )  Opening page for the Quad Nets website.

  5. ... )  Site map for the Quad Nets website.

  6. (...)   prior version of the Times and Paradigms project (March 2017) [.pdf file, 4.5 MB]

  7. (...)   prior version of the Times and Paradigms project (July 2016) [.pdf file, 4 MB]

  8. (...)   prior version of the Times and Paradigms project (May 2016) [.pdf file, 4 MB]

May 2017

Copyright © 2017 Robert Kovsky