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**These are excerpts and elaborations from my book "The Nature of Consciousness"**

In classical and
quantum Physics, equations are invariant with respect to time inversion. Future
and past are equivalent. Time is only slightly different from space. Time is
therefore a mere geometrical parameter. Because of this, Physics offers a
static view of the universe. The second law of Thermodynamics made official
what was already obvious: that many phenomena are not reversible, that time is
not merely a coordinate in space-time. In the 1970's
Prigogine showed, using Boltzmann's theorem and thermodynamic
concepts, that irreversibility is the manifestation at macroscopic level of
randomness at microscopic level. Prigogine then attempted a microscopic formulation of the irreversibility of
laws of nature. He associates macroscopic entropy with a microscopic entropy
operator. Time too becomes an operator, no longer a mere parameter. Once both
time and entropy have become operators, Physics has been turned upside down:
instead of having a basic theory expressed in terms of wave functions (i.e., of
individual trajectories), he obtains a basic theory in terms of distribution
functions (i.e., bundles of trajectories). Time itself depends on the
distribution and therefore becomes itself a stochastic quantity, just like
entropy, an average over individual times. As a consequence, just like entropy
cannot be reversed, time cannot: the future cannot be predicted from the past
anymore. Traditionally,
physical space is geometrical, biological space (the space in which biological
form develops) is functional (for example, physical time is invariant with
respect to rotations and translations, biological space is not). Prigogine's Time aims at unifying physical
and biological phenomena. Back to the beginning of the chapter "The New Physics" | Back to the index of all chapters |