"This is the main point - measurement of duration depends on the persistence of matter - one cannot separate duration from persistence - when we allow the latter to fluctuate, the former becomes problematical. Conservation of matter cannot be separated from the concept of duration but they are separate ideas."
Can "matter be frozen out?" No matter how small we go, even to strings, with their external vibrations and internal dimensions, it seems we are describing process as the basis of matter, so that if "matter" didn't fluctuate, it wouldn't exist, have "duration," in the first place.
"Renouncing such a successful common-sense absolute as the point-event in space-time leaves an emptiness which can be experienced either as empowerment and liberation or anomy and nausea, depending mainly on one's prior practice in coping with emptiness and relativity."
It seems the coupling of time with space over-reaches, when it ascribes "points" to time. As a measure of "duration" a point would have none. Zero. So "matter" wouldn't exist, since there would be no motion, or fluctuation.
I think time is an property of motion, not the basis for it. It is hard though, to consider motion, without first considering the space, ie, potential for motion. So it would seem that space is the basis for motion, which is the basis for time.
My essay was making the point that time, as a property of motion, goes from future potential to past circumstance, as opposed to traveling along this fourth dimension from past to future. So while physical reality goes from past to future, as it creates and consumes "states," these states are information which travels from future to past. So energy and information go opposite directions of time. I bring this up because it seems that laws amount to a form of information. As such, they would not be Platonic ideals dictating reality, but emergent properties, as Finkelstein seems to be concluding. As emergent properties, they form the basis for further emergence. Laws organically growing from previous manifestations. Not a mechanical universe of immutable determinism.