During the last lecture (lecture 2 on The Arrow of Time ; 2/4/14) I had the thought summarized by the following:

P1. The experience of time is the change in entropy of brain chemistry.
P2. Meditation is the active reduction of brain biochemical commotion (reduction of thought activity).
C. The experience of time is actually slowed by meditation.

Like a snail from a copper strip i recoil in horror: this sounds way too new age! But I’d be very interested in people’s responses, particularly from those who might have open-mindedly tried a little meditation.


That's a very nice chain of thought for people who believe P1, but I doubt that you do. Do you?!

I don't believe P1 (although lots of people do). What I've been saying in the lectures is not that the experience of time IS brain chemistry but that the experience of time somehow is determined by brain chemistry (at least approximately), which i think is either definitely true or at least a fairly safe guess.

I don't believe P2 either. I know meditation changes brain waves, and I'm sure that's important, but that doesn't mean it slows down the chemistry.


Phew! im glad that was wrong about…. everything! i'm think i'm becoming accustomed to this epistemic state!

i was kinda hoping to stimulate some response with my outlandish comments…. but yes, upon reflection perhaps P1 should have read something like:
The experience of time corresponds to a change in entropy of brain chemistry.

However, should i read into your response, Jason, that you are implying a dualist stance (a mind-body interaction explanation is plausible? ) ?

The P2 response is, if i am reading into it correctly (big if !), VERY interesting - is this to say that brain waves can change without a corresponding change in biochem? if true, that seems to me profound! this organ just generates a wave that influences experience , or perhaps is affected experientially by a wave that is generated….. with no change in neurotransmitters or even axon potentials? i must be missing something here… and its way off topic…. but hugely fascinating.

for what it's worth, i am familiar with the experience and practice of meditation and i'd love to know more about what it is and how it can assist Philosophy of Mind…. not while meditating of course…. that would be contradictory to it's method!


The whole topic of entropy in cosmology and human experience is actually fascinating - might it be fair to say that all of human experience, especially the formulation of life, chemical reactions and the entire passage of time are all down to entropy? I suppose everything related to the passing of time would be due to the flow of entropy - like the change of entropy in our skin proteins would lead to our ageing appearances. And this eventually leads to our death. A very convoluted argument, I know, but if it were possible to reverse entropy we could reverse the ageing process and perhaps halt death?

This line of enquiry gave me the thought that, to me at least (maybe I'm wrong), everything objective in life could be analogous to a smooth function, in that the way we age and develop is continuous. And it seems that cosmologically this is the case as well, with the passage of time and the expansion of space. But the intersection between life and death seems so sudden, almost like a point of discontinuity. Is this a fair case to make?

Harriet Farlow