The Quantum World

Thursday, November 17, 2016

What does the Concept of Imaginary Time Mean in the Social Imagination?

Einstein and Hawking had different ideas about the concept of imaginary time. Both thinkers were about analyzing the condition of the universe in which we find our existence. But, in saying that, is our existence in the universe or the universe in our existence? Before answering that question, let us attempt to understand the concept of imaginary time. The concept of imaginary time, what is it? Let us start from what imaginary time is not... You see though imaginary time are sometimes used as a trick to simply some mathematical computations in statistical mechanics and quantum field theory, they do not have any physical meaning.

What is imaginary (or complex) time? If imaginary mass and similar imaginary quantities do not make sense in physics, why should imaginary (or complex) time make sense? So what is the point? That is the point. You see, imaginary time is a concept derived from special relativity and quantum mechanics, it is mathematically convenient in connecting quantum mechanics with statistical mechanics.

If we imagine "regular time" as a horizontal line running between “past” in one direction and “future” in the other, and imaginary time would run perpendicular to this line as the imaginary numbers run perpendicular to the real numbers in the complex plane. Imaginary time is not imaginary in the sense that it is unreal or made-up — it simply runs in a direction different from the type of time we experience. In essence, imaginary time is a way of looking at the time dimension as if it were a dimension of space: you can move forward and backward along imaginary time, just like you can move right and left in space.

What would this have to do with social quantum analysis? Good point. It has to do with imaginary social reality. You see, Charles H. Cooley observed that if a person has an imaginary friend, this friend is just as real as any other... hence even a part of the greater social reality as this imaginary friend carried by the ‘real’ person imagining this friend has somehow a presence. If you never saw the movie, Harvey, you should and would understand what I mean. But, you yourself can experiment with it and see what happens, I mean having an imaginary friend.

There are other dimensions and in the imagination what is real has a different kind of existence that seems to be eternal or having a condition of continuation. One can pick up wherever one left off and time has not passed... if you recall your childhood or even wild adult fantasy. In that case, where exactly is reality?
Society exists in the mind as the contact and reciprocal influence of certain ideas- Charles H. Cooley. It exists in your mind as similar group and so in every mind. Each person is immediately aware of a particular aspect of society; and so far as he is aware of great social wholes, like a nation or an epoch, it is by embracing in this particular aspect ideas or sentiments which he attributes to his countrymen or contemporaries in their collective aspect - Cooley pg. 119 in Human Nature and the Social Order- 1956.

You see, society then is a relation among personal ideas. In order to have society it is evidently necessary that persons should get together somewhere; and they get together only as personal ideas in the mind. Where else? What other possible locus can be assigned for the real contact of persons or in what other form can they come in contact except as impressions or ideas formed in this common locus? [ibid]

Imagination is generated in the life of communication, and so belongs with personal images by original and necessary association, having no separate existence except in our forms of speech. The ideas that such words as modesty and magnanimity stand for could never have been formed apart from social intercourse and indeed are nothing other than remembered aspects of such intercourse.

To live this higher life, then we must live with others, by the aid of their visible presence, by reading their words, or by recalling in imagination these or other symbols of them. To lose our hold upon them as for example by long isolation or by the decay of the imagination in disease or old age is to lapse into a life o sensation and crude instinct. So, far as the study of immediate social relations is concerned the personal idea is the real person. That is to say it is in this alone that one man exists for another, and acts directly upon his mind - Cooley pg 118 in Human Nature and the Social Order -1956.

Imaginary time also exists only in the mind. One can only suppose that something exists outside of the mind but how would one know it for sure unless there was imagination to begin with generated in the life of communication all of which takes place only in the human mind. It is the word (or words) created, remembered, referred to and used that hold it all together. Was Einstein or even Hawking trying to say that something is absolutely real about imaginary time or that it is as real as their imagination is. Is the universe in our imagination or are we in its? For Cooley, it is in ours.

But then we find ourselves asking what was there to imagine about? Was the universe there or did we imagine it? It is both, same as a particle of light is both a particle and a wave. It is all dependent on how you look at it and discuss it with others. And, looking at it alone is actually a social experience as much as what we think is a physical experience. Can we imagine imaginary time? Why not, we imagine everything else...

...after all, we were created in the image of the Creator!

No comments:

Post a Comment