The foundational dimension of organisms is Time. Organisms persist. Like all of the time/space dimensions, the nature of time itself is incompletely understood, and most of what we talk about when discussing time is describing it’s effects. In this model, when we discuss time, and the spatial dimensions, we are using the perspective of how living systems mastered time and then migrated into the spatial dimensions.
Time is a very challenging dimension for us to grasp. Our more complex animal neurology utilizes time in a linear progression creating the impression that time flows in a specific direction. Additionally the artifact of our engineered environment masks time’s fundamental character with an incremental metric – the ticking clock. However, just as is more easily apparent with the spatial dimensions, time is only present in the present moment – there is only just the present moment – and the way we think about time is mostly artifact and assumptions which are validated and reinforced by their great utility.
For foundational organisms time has a cyclical quality, which is observed in our metabolic processes, as well as in the cyclical responses of an organism to day/night, phases of the moon and seasonal changes. These cycles are more accurately described as spirals, as the organism never returns to exactly the same starting state – there is always the result of having cycled, that is fed back into the new starting conditions. This concept is as important as the concept of selective mutation to understanding evolution.
Organisms evolved in a liquid setting, where neutral buoyancy afforded them the ideal opportunity to work out the mechanics of metabolism. When organisms migrated onto land, they had to confront the additional issue of gravity.
Gravity is perhaps the most direct way for us to experience time in it’s most distilled nature. Gravity is an ever present, unchanging force acting upon us.