[OPE-L] transcending/eliminating time, dynamics, life, death?

From: Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM
Date: Sat Jan 22 2005 - 09:26:43 EST

> It partly depends on the level of abstraction you use.
> At the level of everyday experience we think of prior events
> as causing future events. At a deeper level though due to the
> symmetry of the laws of mechanics it is as valid to think of
> future events constraining past ones, or past configurations
> constraining future ones.

Paul C,

I can see how past configurations can constrain future ones,
but how can future events constrain past events?  What
are you thinking of here -- Einstein's theory of relativity?
Putting aside various fictional possibilities -- such as some
'Star Trek' episodes and 'Back to the Future' scenarios --
isn't the past ... well ... the past?  (NB: we are not referring
to _interpretations_ of what happened in the past, but
whether the past itself can be changed, i.e. whether time
is reversible.)

[-life, death-]
[I am reminded of the rhyme:  "All the King's horses and
all the King's men can't put Humpty-Dumpty together again."

I am also reminded of a Utopian line from _The Dialectic of
Sex_ by Shulamith Firestone (who lives in the apartment
directly above my own!).    She refers to the "Eventual
Elimination of Childhood, Ageing and Death" (William Morrow
and Co., 1970, p. 217.    Well, I can see how the concepts
of childhood and ageing are culturally determined and can thus
change over time, but can someone tell me how there will be
the eventual elimination of death?   The only context in which
it makes sense to me is a bleak one whereby there is a gradual
elimination of life and, obviously, if life is eliminated death is as
well.   Note that the reference here isn't to "postponing" death
(which is certainly possible, and indeed has already resulted,
from advances in science and medicine), but to the
eventual  "elimination" of death.]

> In the context that I raised in the post - Sraffa's theory,
> this could be criticised as a-causal in the sense of being
> a-temporal. There is some justification in saying that it
> is an a-temporal theory and may be unreal in that it does
> not have dynamical laws. But I don't think that per-se there
> is anything wrong with exploring theories that involve
> a temporal constraints. Provided that is that one
> recognises that the whole system operates as a whole.
> If you relax one constraint you can not assume that the
> others hold - for instance if the rate of profit
> is not equal then what one can say about other things
> may be more limited.

The questions that come to mind are:

-- can a theory based on comparative statics be transformed
    into a dynamical theory?  Is it enough to simply _assert_ that
    a linear production theory can become transformed into or
    wedded to a dynamic theory or does this have to be _shown_?

-- if the subject itself is dynamic how can a theory _limited to_
    comparative statics grasp the system itself as a whole?

--  if  it is asserted that there is an equilibrium mechanism in a theory
     for a subject which is non-linear, doesn't a non-equilibrium mechanism
     have to be shown (rather than merely asserted) for us to accept
     the theory as a fuller, more concrete, explanation for the

I don't see how recognizing that "the whole system operates as a
whole" avoids these questions.  At best, it simply means that these
questions have to be put in context of a particular theory of a
specific subject.  That is, by explaining -- in the context of a theory
of the whole which grasps that subject and its interconnections
more concretely -- how a mechanism which is appropriate for
explanation at one level of abstraction must be modified or
surpassed at a more concrete level of abstraction.

In solidarity, Jerry

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