In the same way that the third dimension adds volume to what would otherwise be a flat plane, time adds dimensionality to the three spatial dimensions, enabling persistence. Without time the spatial dimensions would flash into existence for an infinitely brief instant. This discussion is not about the nature of time, but rather how Living Things engaged with the temporal dimension as they evolved to utilize the more complex spatial dimensions. Like the spatial dimensions, qualities of time can be experienced and described, but a full understanding may exceed our human potential.
The dominant means with which one engages with time reflects that individuals level of maturation of the evolutionary layers described in this website. Insight into this regulation/dysregulation can, therefore, be used diagnostically and as a guide to therapeutic strategies.
ALL LIVING THINGS AND ANIMALS
The qualities of Living Things are those attributes which express through time.
The All Living Things and Animals evolutionary layers, from the perspective of the temporal dimension, live purely in the present moment, responding to stimuli in predefined patterns that enable persistence. Awareness of the passage of time has no utility.
Movement opened up the possibility of predation and prey behaviors. Dimensionally foundational movement is primarily along a line. The ability to do this has no utility without some sense of where to go in relation to where you are. This requires a rudimentary sense of the presence of the temporal dimension. IE: If I go there, then “X” will happen; Based on experience (of the past), if I do this, then I can anticipate that(X) will happen. This linear progression of past to future uses awareness of the present moment as a key for planning. The vast majority of human considerations and actions are based on this primitive cognitive tactical mechanism. Individuals whose cognition is dominated by this tactic are challenged to experience themselves in the present moment, and have a strong sense of a linear timeline, from past to future.
Mammals are masters of movement over the horizontal plane. PLACE MEMORY CELLS
Mammals developed complex neurology to enable usage of the passage of time, collecting rich memories of their experience over the course of their lives. Primates took this further, collecting knowledge that would otherwise be lost first in oral and eventually written histories. This treasure trove of information has enabled us to build on the work of our forefathers and thereby discover that the earth is round and circles the sun (600 years ago), that the speed of light is a constant (100 years ago) and to map our genetic code (20 years ago), as well as innumerable other bits of useful knowledge.
BUILDING TOOLS WITH TOOLS / BUILT ENVIRONMENT
Living in the present moment is challenging for most people. Many of us feel that the quality of our lives would be better if could could experience them more directly, instead being caught up in processing what has passed and worrying about the future. This inability to access the now stems from domination by our vertebrate neurology, which is an innate layer of cognition more complex cognitive processes are built on top of.
There are a couple of excellent methods for tuning into the present moment. Our gut neurology has no sense of the past or future, living purely in the present moment. Tuning into how our guts feel, or our breathing connects us with parts of ourselves that are here. Another tactic is to notice how we are being pushed into the earth by gravity. The sensation of this pressure is information for us about what is happening now.
UP ONE LEVEL