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Alan McDougall

What is Time?

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POSSIBLE DEFINITION OF TIME

Time can be defined from many perspectives. From perception view point time is an emergent concept which our mind creates. Present is the consciousness or awareness of recording of memory into the brain. Past is just a record while future does not exist. From point of view of physics time is presence of motion and forces in the universe.

What is your take on time, is it an illussion or a reality?

Edited by Alan McDougall

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POSSIBLE DEFINITION OF TIME

What is your take on time, is it an illussion or a reality?

This is simple...time is a con trick invented by the swiss to sell their watches

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If we didn't have a concept of time, I think life would make more sense. Because we'd live life, even if we were still working in an office, we just wouldn't feel the strain of timed-order we give ourselves.

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I'll post here what I recently posted in another forum.

There's a light trying to switch on in my head regarding time.

Time is continual but it's absolutely subjective. It's also universal. There is only one rate of time that can be subjectively experienced. Different rates of time can be objectively observed but only when comparing them is it obvious that there is a difference in transition. The difference in transition would depend on the object's mass.

Time therefore is rate of change that only exists when there is rate of change. Assume there is probability of change. Once there is probability of change then time must exist as those probabilities. If there is an objective clock to some state then many eternities could pass for the clock before a change occurs for said state however subjectively change would appear to be continual and absolute for the state. There wouldn't appear to be any hiccoughs.

In other words time is the word we coin to something that has change. It doesn't actually exist as it's currently understood. It's only a physical result of there being matter. And it HAS to exist if there is more than one probability of a state. It's a consequence of there being matter. (In my opinion)

Edited by PsiSeeker

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Time therefore is rate of change that only exists when there is rate of change. Assume there is probability of change. Once there is probability of change then time must exist as those probabilities.

Are you saying time is only change, or that time is the cause of change, or the result of change? If time only exists when there is a rate of change, then what is this time that you say exists in these circumstances?

If time is only change, then time itself doesn't exist as an existing dimension. Is this what you mean?

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If we didn't have a concept of time, I think life would make more sense. Because we'd live life, even if we were still working in an office, we just wouldn't feel the strain of timed-order we give ourselves.

So there would be no concept of past, or causality? That sounds pretty nonsensical actually.

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a little after eight

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Posted (edited)

Are you saying time is only change, or that time is the cause of change, or the result of change? If time only exists when there is a rate of change, then what is this time that you say exists in these circumstances?

If time is only change, then time itself doesn't exist as an existing dimension. Is this what you mean?

I think time as it has been defined is incorrect. I think all that time is is rate of change. Time is just the word we use to describe subjective rate of change.

Change is inevitable, change HAS to occur as that is all that CAN occur. The curious thing with time is that it doesn't matter how sporadic a state when observed from the outside actually looks. It will appear continual and at a constant rate from the inside.

Anyway, the reason I still use "time" as the word is because rate of change can be noticeably sporadic where as time can only be noticed as sporadic when comparing different states.

Edit: Maybe I should reword

Time therefore is rate of change that only exists when there is rate of change.

to

Time therefore is rate of change that only exists when there is probability for change.

Edited by PsiSeeker

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Posted (edited)

I see the dimension of time as being divided into subsets, or sub-dimensions. These sub-dimensions, named for convenience's sake 'past', 'present' and 'future', are occurring at precisely the same time; that is, any event occurring in the past will also be occurring in the present and the future. This would allow for changes in one to not necessarily affect the other, i.e. a time traveller killing Hitler in the 'past' will be cancelled out due to the fact that in both the 'present' and 'future', Hitler was/is/will be still alive and well. This would all be relative to the observer.

And yes, this is based around insomniac musings late at night and early in the morning.

Edited by Chaldera

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I like the ball/mattress metaphor. The mattress is space, or the universe, in totality; the balls are various masses and bend the mattress accordingly. If you put a bowling ball on a bed, it'll make an impression, and you could "orbit" other balls around it if they get caught in the curve of "space".

When I think about it, I have often imagined time to be a part of the structure of the universe, a part of the mattress. Imagine if the mattress had a coating of flowing snow/foam over it, meant to represent time in this example. This is not really snow, it's a hard to visualize concept. It's always in a constant state of movement, variable based on your location in the universe. Anything with mass causes a measurable impression in space. That's gravity. But you also make a measurable impression in space by moving; your speed can determine the rate at which you move through time. The faster you move, the faster time will subjectively flow, and the greater your impression on the "snow" will be.

Time, then, in this thought experiment, is almost a substance of its own (well, as physical in its own way as space is), something which will flow at variable speeds around different objects with different masses and velocities. Moving fast makes you move through or interact with the snow more rapidly; you create a wake in the waves of time.

Perhaps flow is not the best way to describe the movement of the snow, but more a background vibration. When you interact with time you move through it faster, and cause the vibration of the time to increase.

So for the average person, time flows at a steady rate. Earth and our solar system are moving through space and vibrating time as we move along. So is everything else. And the faster mass moves, the more intense time vibrates. Time is built directly into the universe, tied with space to make space-time. When you experience the passage of time, you are merely observing changes in the vibrations of space-time.

If the universe is composed of strings, then its scaffolding is what we experience as space. These strings generate space for us to move in, through their inherent structure. Vacuum possesses less strings than non-vacuum; mass is also composed of strings. When many strings come together, they effect each other merely by existing; and more so through movement.

I don't know, but it's fun to think about. I didn't really have time to explain more about this extremely-tentative model of time; but I enjoy it. Sorry if I didn't describe it well enough, I tried to keep it very simplistic so it would be easier to relate. Also, sorry if I didn't finish developing all of my ideas here, I was trying to rush... I'd love to read other metaphors that try to describe time.

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How did time flow out of the singularity big bang?

As we know from physics, astrophysics and astronomy the faster one moves the slower time moves and also moves slower and slower in the vicinity of colossal gravity forces, such as a black hole where time almost stops in its almost infinite gravity force.

Let’s move onto the moment of the emergence of the universe out of the big bang singularity. Here the forces must have been much greater than around a black hole and the gravity field must have been infinite. We know from physics that in an infinite gravity field TIME CAN NOT MOVE, yet somehow, luckily for us it did allowing spacetime and the universe to emerge

So during the creation event of the big bang what we call the physical or fundamental laws of the universe did not apply and it seems the impossible became possible.

What do you guys have to say on the matter of this enigma

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Time is simply nature's way of preventing everything from happening at once.

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Time has multiple meanings.

In an objective sense, time is a perception of change. In a subjective sense, time is how that change is measured.

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If time is an illusion that must mean distance is an illusion too, doesn't it ?

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any event occurring in the past will also be occurring in the present and the future.

I like this idea. In this way everything is happening at once, which in a way simplifies time.

But what does this do to space, since there must be every space for every time?

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Time has multiple meanings.

In an objective sense, time is a perception of change. In a subjective sense, time is how that change is measured.

Not to disagree with you Leonardo, as i always have the utmost respect for your intelligence and perspectives. Upon reading your interesting response i did what i often do to clarify things in my mind.. i looked up the dictionary definition of words used.

objective |əbˈjektiv|

adjective

1 (of a person or their judgment) not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts : historians try to be objective and impartial. Contrasted with subjective .

not dependent on the mind for existence; actual : a matter of objective fact.

The point i'm trying to make is... That TIME.. whatever it is, must exist independently of it's being perceived , or measured, by mind.. because, the Universe , according to present prevalent thinking, Began and proceeded to develop (change) for a very long time before perception or measurement by Mind?

Unless one happens to believe as i do... that MIND preceded Physicality.

... to respond to the topic... i tend to view time as what happens as the physical universe constantly and instantaneously REcreates itself. That might be entirely inaccurate .. it's just my interpretation of time.... and physicality.

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I like this idea. In this way everything is happening at once, which in a way simplifies time.

But what does this do to space, since there must be every space for every time?

Think of it as time and space being the very same thing. All time happens at once, just as all of space exists at once. Theoretically, if you could find a way to do it, you could visit other times too, and see what exists there. But that other time wouldn't spring into a new "space". Rather, any coordinates in space and/or time are constantly available. We are merely limited by being a lowly three-dimensional life form, with absolutely no ability to perceive higher dimensions.

www.tenthdimension.com has a decent visualization for how all things exist at once.

Really, what we experience as time doesn't exist. It's only relative to our severely limited perception of reality. We only get thin slices of time at once, rather than have it all happen immediately, see all times at once. Even for just your life that would be impossible.

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Love your posts, most of the time, Leonardo.

Time has multiple meanings.

True, but what of a meaning without incorporating human cognition?

In an objective sense, time is a perception of change. In a subjective sense, time is how that change is measured.

These things seem obvious. Yet these answers bely the nature of the question: "What is time?"

We know how we perceive time. We know how we measure it. But what is it, exactly, that time is, in the grand scheme? How does it fit in with other dimensions? What is it, and answer without invoking things that are emergent from human cognitive functioning?

Time is not just a perception of evolution or a way to measure that evolution. It is a fundamental part of reality that we simply lack the capability to fully perceive and understand.

To me, the question is not "What is time, to a human (or mammal, or any animal)?" but, rather, "What is time, to reality/the-universe?" Without any observers at all, without any internal reference point (such as your brain, thinking right now) what is time?

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Posted (edited)

Not to disagree with you Leonardo, as i always have the utmost respect for your intelligence and perspectives. Upon reading your interesting response i did what i often do to clarify things in my mind.. i looked up the dictionary definition of words used.

objective |əbˈjektiv|

adjective

1 (of a person or their judgment) not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts : historians try to be objective and impartial. Contrasted with subjective .

not dependent on the mind for existence; actual : a matter of objective fact.

The point i'm trying to make is... That TIME.. whatever it is, must exist independently of it's being perceived , or measured, by mind.. because, the Universe , according to present prevalent thinking, Began and proceeded to develop (change) for a very long time before perception or measurement by Mind?

Unless one happens to believe as i do... that MIND preceded Physicality.

... to respond to the topic... i tend to view time as what happens as the physical universe constantly and instantaneously REcreates itself. That might be entirely inaccurate .. it's just my interpretation of time.... and physicality.

Time is a label, a concept. 'Time' has no existence outside of our conceiving of it, although change does. To use an analogy (albeit, a poor one), we call a certain species of animal an aardvark, but does it know itself as 'aardvark'?

Our label for something is not the thing.

Things change, and our perception of that change we call time. That things change is an objective fact, so time - in this sense - is objective time. Any being able to abstractly label a sequence of change is perceiving 'time' - whatever they might call it.

Love your posts, most of the time, Leonardo.

True, but what of a meaning without incorporating human cognition?

These things seem obvious. Yet these answers bely the nature of the question: "What is time?"

We know how we perceive time. We know how we measure it. But what is it, exactly, that time is, in the grand scheme? How does it fit in with other dimensions? What is it, and answer without invoking things that are emergent from human cognitive functioning?

Time is not just a perception of evolution or a way to measure that evolution. It is a fundamental part of reality that we simply lack the capability to fully perceive and understand.

To me, the question is not "What is time, to a human (or mammal, or any animal)?" but, rather, "What is time, to reality/the-universe?" Without any observers at all, without any internal reference point (such as your brain, thinking right now) what is time?

See above...

Your question "What is time to the universe" is meaningless unless you are suggesting the universe is aware.

Edited by Leonardo

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Your question "What is time to the universe" is meaningless unless you are suggesting the universe is aware.

Well, actually, I know the universe is aware (not the way you mean it) to some extent because we evolved out of it. We're not separate from the universe, so it is aware and thinks through us and any other potential sentients.

And it's definitely not meaningless. Can you not postulate the existence of a universe where no sentients ever evolved? Where no observers came to be? In such a place, what is time? Does it only spring into existence when an awareness experiences it, IYO?

We can imagine we never came to be and try to determine what time would be like outside of our experience. We're not in the only universe. Some don't have life, if there is an infinity of universes. Is there no time in such a universe, simply because it cannot be perceived by a consciousness within it?

If I'm interpreting you wrong, blame me being up for a good 44 hours...

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Things change, and our perception of that change we call time. That things change is an objective fact, so time - in this sense - is objective time. Any being able to abstractly label a sequence of change is perceiving 'time' - whatever they might call it.

Whether you perceive it or not, I still say time exists as something outside of a being's perception of change as it occurs. We perceive its passage, and call this time, but really it isn't. It's like calling the images on our retinas to be the actual objects we see, simply because we perceive it that way. The light waves still exist without our perception, much like I assume "time" would too.

I believe time is a slippery term to be using for this, too. But that's because it's really space-time, and time definitely makes up some of the fabric of this basic foundation of reality. Or do you believe that there is no space-time; just space?

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Posted (edited)

POSSIBLE DEFINITION OF TIME

Time can be defined from many perspectives. From perception view point time is an emergent concept which our mind creates. Present is the consciousness or awareness of recording of memory into the brain. Past is just a record while future does not exist. From point of view of physics time is presence of motion and forces in the universe.

What is your take on time, is it an illussion or a reality?

I've come across some interesting comments on these forums and as I result I dont believe the past, present or future exist nuts as that seems.

Saying the past or future doesnt exist is one of the big time theories in philsophy so there is no problem there. The difference comes with my opinions about the present -

1. A photon is emitted by my fire, enters my eye, triggers a retina cell, an electric signal goes to my brain and is turned into what I see. That takes a short amount of time so what I experience happened in the past not the present. There is no way to experience the present and nothing to indicate it exists.

2. Scientific Experiments provide data which we read. Again time delays thanks to our senses and brains means we experience the past not the present.

Edited by Mr Right Wing

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I've come across some interesting comments on these forums and as I result I dont believe the past, present or future exist nuts as that seems.

Saying the past or future doesnt exist is one of the big time theories in philsophy so there is no problem there. The difference comes with my opinions about the present -

1. A photon is emitted by my fire, enters my eye, triggers a retina cell, an electric signal goes to my brain and is turned into what I see. That takes a short amount of time so what I experience happened in the past not the present. There is no way to experience the present and nothing to indicate it exists.

2. Scientific Experiments provide data which we read. Again time delays thanks to our senses and brains means we experience the past not the present.

I think you're right, there is no past, present, or future. Anything that can happen will happen, has happened, and is happening right now. That's all there is. But you only experience small snapshots of our infinity, not the entirety at once. You, at one minute ago, still exist now. But your conscious viewpoint, limited as it is, only experiences a single frame of time at once, the one just prior to the "present".

If we were 4th dimensional (assuming time is fourth, not fifth dimensional) then we would perceive all of our lifespan at once, timelessly (to us). But we evolved to function in 3D, not higher dimensions. We can't even imagine higher dimensional movement because our brain is simply not equipped to handle it.

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Posted (edited)

Could 'time exist in completely empty space.. In Total Nothingness , if there was such a thing? Or does "something" have to exist for, time, CHANGE, .. or soup, ... to HAPPEN?

i KNOW that change can occur without my perception, measurement, or permission. :lol:

*

Edited by lightly

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