The standard interpretation of Special Relativity is that of the "space-time block," where the past, present and future are laid out in a vast, frozen structure. The origins of the "block" rest in Langevin's 1911 announcement of the twin paradox, the validity of this paradox also invariably being included as part of this standard view. The view is ubiquitous, is described repeatedly, and is completely misguided. This book explores the fundamental contradictions in this interpretation, its inconsistencies in the assignment of ontological status to time dilation versus the opposite for space contraction, its failure to properly factor the reciprocity of systems, the ultimate non-ontological status of the "block" and thus the non-status of relativity as a theory of time. In this, the work explores the problems for a theory of consciousness and perception inherent in the "block," the extensions of certain of the inconsistencies into the foundations of the General Theory, and the origins of relativity in the classic metaphysic of space and time - now outmoded. In contrast to the classic structure, the temporal metaphysic of Bergson is described with its indivisible or non-differentiable flow of time, where "objects" are simply transferences of state within the global motion of the universal field. In this framework, we see Bergson's remarkable model of perception with its natural marriage to that of the great perception theorist, J. J. Gibson. It is a model which generates a testable contradiction to the standard interpretation of relativity, and it is a model of conscious perception that relies on the reality of the simultaneity of flows of events - a fundamental feature of the fabric of time that relativity and the relativization of simultaneity cannot incorporate. This little book, it should be noted, for those who have read Time and Memory: A Primer on the Scientific Mysticism of Consciousness, is a modified version of a chapter or so in this earlier work.
About the Author
Stephen Robbins received his PhD in educational psychology/psychology from the University of Minnesota in 1976, with a focus in computer simulation of thought. His doctoral thesis critiqued the computer model of mind then just emerging, describing a theory of consciousness based in Bergson's theory before the problem of consciousness came into vogue. It was in attempting to reconcile Bergson's concepts of time to relativity in this thesis that he was drawn into the problem of relativity's interpretation. He gravitated from academics into software development, working thirty-three years as an executive in bank data processing and banking software firms. With the emerging awareness of the weaknesses in the computer model of mind in the mid-1990's, particularly in the area of consciousness, he began publishing aspects of his theory - more than a dozen articles in academic journals along with several conference presentations. He and his wife, Susan, live on a small farm in Wisconsin.