1. A single frame or cross-section of a movie. A snapshot or still image of the Universe. The static
universe. A location of one or several objects with respect to others.
Syn: moment, photograph, frame, still image, existence, static.
Instantaneous: Conceptually, the limit of motion. A vain attempt to synthesize displacement and
location – the dynamic with the static. Syn: spontaneous, short while, flash, twinkle, wink, rapid, fast,
It is strange that the Wolfram site does not regard the word instant to be relevant. Perhaps they implicitly
replace it with the word event. Therefore I will analyze event here.
The word instant is typically defined in terms of an extremely short moment or as an event that happens
so quickly that the passage of time is imperceptible to the observer. Unfortunately, this notion cannot be
used in science because we already have an expression for it: interval of time. Hence, it is immaterial
whether the witness experienced time ‘pass’ or whether the mathematician can measure the duration of
an event. From a conceptual point of view, all events occur in an interval of time, in two or more frames of
the universal movie.
If an interval involves two frames in a movie, an instant involves only one. An instant is a cross-section of
time: a photograph of the universe. An instant ultimately has nothing to do with time, but with existence.
An instant is not a when, but a where: it is timeless. Of course, it can be put in its correct chronological
sequence in a movie, and in this sense an instant can be associated with time. But we shouldn’t lose sight
of the fact that an instant is a scene and not a film. An instant contains only static objects at specific
locations from each other.
Copyright © by Nila Gaede 2008