The time, motion and coming to be we experience can be understood in two ways. First, according to their successive character, which is grounded on their impermanence. As mobile and temporal, things are continually ceasing to be, or, considered positively, they are continually reasserting their existence against its passing away. Second, we can consider motion and time according to their quantitative aspect, that is, so far as they “leave a trail” of quantity as they pass. This is the way of modern physics, and of science in general. Taken in this sense, motion and time are viewed as permanent and actual. It’s not that the scientist must judge them as permanent or actual- he in fact doesn’t need to form any judgment at all about their reality as such.
Both modes of considering time and motion are objective, but oddly enough for our contemporary sensibilities, the scientific mode is less objective than the other mode of considering the world. The quantitative mode of time and motion is dependent on us as observers for their existence. To get at the quantitative existence of time or motion we have to treat them as certain permanent things or states. We judge them as having some of the existence that they have in our own memory in order to understand them in a way that is most proportionate to our understanding. This explains both why we can gather so much more exact and precise knowledge according to the quantitative mode of understanding, while at the same time as seeing this kind of knowledge as essentially less objective than the awareness of the world as imperfect, inactual, and impermanent. This latter understanding is one essential foundation of the religious understanding of the world.
(this post dealt with time, motion, and coming to be, which are essential to nature as such. the should be read in conjuction with yeaterday’s post, which makes similar points about bodily existence.)