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Eotemporal (was Re: Noun tense)

From:Tim May <butsuri@...>
Date:Tuesday, July 23, 2002, 17:53
Peter Clark writes:
 > On Monday 22 July 2002 19:08, Tim May wrote:
 > > * I have no idea if this is really correct usage of the word
 > >   eotemporal, but I felt a powerful urge to make use of it somehow. I
 > >   mean the 3+1 dimensional object of the noun-referent considered
 > >   across its entire lifetime.
 >         It's a very fine word, although I keep wanting to see it as a-temporal. On
 > the other hand, are you sure that eo- means what you want it to mean? As far
 > as I understand it, eo- means oldest or earliest.
 >         :Peter

Well, now, I have seen it used a couple of times, but not enough to be
sure of its exact meaning (it's not in any dictionaries I can find).
"Eo-" comes from _eos_, dawn, so it's certainly often used to mean
earliest (as in _eohippus_, "dawn horse") but I'm not sure if that is
the sense implied by "dawn time".

The first place I encountered this was in the _Helliconia_ trilogy, by
Brian Aldiss.  It's used to describe the consciousness of the phagors,
who perceive time differently than humans.  I may as well transcribe
what Aldiss says in the appendix:

|A major distinction between phagor and human lies in brain structure.
|A phagor brain is uni-hemispheric, unlike a human brain with its two
|hemispheres.  There is no equivalent of the hypothalamus, overlaid
|with a kind of cerebellum controlling motion.
|It may be said in consequence that phagors live in their own
|perceptual Umwelts.  Theirs is an eotemporal consciousness (Eos was
|the goddess of the dawn, sister to Selene), where endings and
|beginnings cannot be distinguished from one another.  For them, time
|is no indicator of progression as registered in a human mind.  Events
|are monitored as a series of milestones from which direction has been
|obliterated; thus a trail is indicated, without an arrow of perception
|to point direction.  A rudimentary nervous system permits only action
|and reaction. [...]

I found this description fascinating, but maddeningly underspecified.
So, I looked up "eotemporal" with Google, and found not much.  There's
some mention of philosophy of various types of time, in different
physical and psychological contexts.  Eotemporal seems to refer to the
large-scale time-symmetric Newtonian/Einsteinian viewpoint, but the
information available is both limited and complex, so I could be

All in all, it seems like it might be appropriate to describe a
"timeless" view of an object, but I can't really say for sure.