CTD is Conscious Time Delay. It is the delay in time between that which happens in reality (in ‘real-time’) and that which happens in the conscious mind of the observer (in ‘conscious-time’).
We feel that we experience reality ‘as’ it is happening. We feel that our ‘present’ conscious experiences are in sync with the present happenings of reality. But, this is not the case. Because of CTD, everything that we are ‘presently’ conscious of, are of ‘past’ events. When we see a car traveling (at 40 mph) down the street, we fully assume this car to be where we see it, when in actuality, it is at least 9’ (3 meters) in front of where our eyes tell us.
Although we view ‘reality’ through ‘consciousness’ (our conscious experiences), our conscious view is ‘skewed’; it is a ‘time delayed’ view of reality. This means that ‘everything’ that we are conscious of has already happened PRIOR to our conscious awareness/experience of it.
There are at least 3 factors involved in our CTD; transmission, translation, and recognition. Using the above example, 1) the transmission delay is the time it takes for light waves to bounce off the object (car) and enter into our eyes, 2) the translation delay is the time it takes for the conversion of these light waves into the electrical signals that the brain can then understand, and finally, the most significant is 3) the recognition delay is the time it takes to match these signals/patterns to corresponding memory patterns so as to “know” what one experiences. Current science tells us that the average human takes 150-200 milliseconds to “recognize”.
Note: It is not necessarily the ‘amount’ of the time delay that really matters here. It is the ‘realization’ of the ‘time delay’ itself, and its effect on our understanding of “now”; i.e. on our present conscious moment/experiences.
To help better understand -- Imagine watching a “live-broadcasted” sporting event on TV. We believe that what we see (on the tv) is actually happening in ‘real-time’, but due to “network transmission delays” of up to 7 seconds, our ‘present’ view actually consists of ‘past’ events. While we may see the batter on TV going through his warm-up swings, but back at Fenway Park, in so-called ‘real-time’, he has already hit a home run, ...we just don’t know it yet!
We view live sporting events through the ‘time-delayed’ view of our TV. And likewise, we view reality through the ‘time-delayed’ window of consciousness. ...this being our ‘only’ view of reality.
The logic goes like this:
- P1. “Instantaneous” detection/sensing is not logically (nor scientifically) possible. This includes human conscious experiences (sensing/detecting). A ‘time delay’ is an unavoidable fact.
P2. None of our conscious processes are ‘exempt’ from this ‘time delay’, as ALL processes consume time.
C. Therefore, our ‘present’ conscious experience(s) are of ‘past’ events, and our ‘future’ (next) conscious experiences have already happened, (...we just don’t ‘know’ it yet).
We are, in effect, being ‘fed’ our conscious experiences. That which happens, ‘necessarily’ happens. This conclusion is a bit ‘chilling’, as it destroys any viability of conscious control (aka “free-will”, mental causation, conscious causation) or any form or notion of “consciously doing” anything.
So, contrary to popular belief, we don’t actually “consciously do” anything, ...we are only “conscious” of what we’ve “done”.