Nowhere does the the linear paradigm - which defines Conventional Science - dominate so much as in our understanding of the nature of time.
So just as this linear paradigm - by definition - is 1-dimensional, so likewise is the conventional understanding of time.
Thus from this perspective time appears to unambiguously flow forward in a single positive direction!
Now I will offer an utterly distinctive conception of the nature of time in a moment.
However initially it may be of value to stick with the conventional notion and explain carefully its nature.
Fundamentally all reality is governed by the interaction of opposite polarities that dynamically interact in a phenomenal manner. As we have identified before, two of these polarity sets are of paramount significance.
Thus from one perspective what is external (in any context) interacts with what is - relatively - internal; likewise from an equally valid perspective what is deemed whole (in any context) interacts with what are - relatively - parts.
Now the very basis of the conventional scientific paradigm is that it attempts to clearly separate what is external from what is internal. Whereas it is true that Quantum Mechanics raises strong question marks regarding the validity of this assumption, the fundamental paradigm of science has not yet been altered as a result.
So physicists approach Quantum Mechanics, despite the crucial philosophical difficulties, as if its findings can still be filtered through a paradigm that is based on the clear separation of external (physical)) and internal (psychological) aspects.
With regards to the second polarity set (wholes and parts) the position of Conventional Science is unashamedly reductionist in its attempt to view this relationship in a merely quantitative manner. Thus though the true relationship of whole to parts (and parts to whole) is - relatively - of quantitative to qualitative (and qualitative to quantitative), Conventional Science attempts to view this in a merely fragmentary manner (where parts are literally viewed as quantitative fragments of a larger whole).
It is interesting how this approach leads to the conventional appearance of a world comprising three spatial and one time dimension.
As we have seen from this perspective, the external aspect is separated (from its dynamic relationship to the internal) as existing independently "out there" in physical space and amenable to quantitative investigation; Likewise the whole is separated (from its dynamic relationship with the parts) with both aspects likewise viewed as independently existing "out there" in a physical quantitative manner.
Thus clearly from this perspective, space appears to possess three quantitative dimensions. The remaining fourth dimension - which relatively - has an invisible qualitative appearance is then separated as time. However indirectly time though appearing somewhat invisible - is amenable to quantitative measurement!
So in our conventional understanding of the world, which conforms directly with the linear paradigm, the fundamental poles governing all phenomenal interaction are viewed in an independent manner. So here spatial understanding is 3-dimensional (with visible physical attributes) and time 1-dimensional (with somewhat invisible physical attributes, though indirectly amenable to quantitative measurement).
Now it is true that Relativity Theory changes this conventional picture in some important respects.
For example once again in the common sense view, the three dimensions of length width and height are understood in mere spatial terms. However strictly in Relativity Theory we could express these likewise in temporal terms.
Thus here the speed of light is absolute with the length - say - of a certain building expressed as the time it would take a beam of light to move from one end to the other. Likewise the width and height of the same building could be expressed in the same manner (i.e. as the time required to traverse these respective distances by a light beam). Now of course these distances would be extremely short (from a time perspective). However in principle it should be easy to accept such alternative measurement!
Also there is an appreciation in Relativity Theory that time in some sense can be treated as an imaginary spatial dimension.
However once again there is the attempt to filter such understanding through a conventional paradigm that is fundamentally unsuited to the intuitive (qualitative) appreciation of such findings.
Thus though the real message of both Quantum Mechanics and Relativity Theory should be that we are now urgently in need of a new enlarged paradigm that can properly incorporate both quantitative and qualitative type appreciation, this key issue has yet to be addressed by the scientific community.
So the belief that time necessarily flows in a positive (forward) direction and is thereby 1-dimensional in nature, simply entails the conventional scientific manner of viewing reality through independent polar reference frames. Once again this crucially entails that we attempt to treat the physical aspects of reality (viewed externally) as independent of corresponding psychological constructs (that are viewed internally). Likewise it entails that wholes (in any context) be treated as independent of parts (and vice versa) with both viewed in a merely reduced quantitative manner.
However even momentary reflection on the matter will show that such assumptions are strictly unwarranted for at a certain level we have to accept that external and internal aspects are to a degree necessarily interdependent; likewise quantitative and qualitative aspects of phenomena are in some measure necessarily interdependent.
Thus though the two fundamental pole sets, governing all phenomenal reality, in truth enjoy a certain independence (of a relative kind) equally however they necessarily possess a certain interdependence (that is also relative).
However the conventional scientific paradigm in formal terms is based on recognition of the mere independence of these poles.
Therefore it crucially misrepresents the true nature of our experience. And this flawed paradigm leads - par excellence - to a crucial misrepresentation of the true nature of time, which we will investigate more closely in the next contribution.