Friday, July 08, 2011

The Passage of Time

I never cease to marvel at the passage of time.  It feels like I am located at a point in time, but is time really anything but the collective change of things?  It seems to me there is no such thing as time.

I don't know the physics.  I know that if I speed up near the speed of light, I slow down in relation to everything else.  But this is just a change in the manner of my changing relative everything else. There is no jumping from one time to another because time is not a place.  If one could move backward in time, it would mean you changing forward as normal relative to everything else "unchanging" itself. You could only "get to the past" by "passing through" each previous moment of change for everything else.

And if you weren't in the vacuum of space, you would alter the "future" of the rest of the world as your molecules moved through space previously occupied by other molecules.  Your moving forward into previously occupied space would displace those molecules, creating an alternative path of change for them going forward.  "Time travel" thus, unless it took place in space never occupied, would inevitably change the "future" irreparably. It would alter the path of changing for any molecules into which one came into contact.

I imagine what I just wrote is gross ignorance.  I just marvel to think of my former self and to know something about my future self.  I will grow old and die--or die early.  I see people I knew in a different form decades ago, and now they are different people.  I am in this room but soon I will be home.  How I got here and how I will get there "in time" I do not know. Each moment, a new me appears and an old me disappears.  Where they all come from and where they all go, I do not know.


Jared said...

ah...but time and space are so highly intertwined that they cannot be separated; thus "spacetime." You might enjoy reading some general relativity.

Ken Schenck said...

I wish I understood relativity. The thing is, am I not suggesting that time and space are so linked that you cannot pass back through time without also passing back through space?

Angie Van De Merwe said...

It is interesting that our very understanding of "time" is a human creation; hours, days, weeks, months, and years.....these were named for "gods", as they were understood to "hold time in their hands", whereas, today, we try to understand such things by science!

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Some might argue that "God created" not man....but that is only a speculation about ontology. What we have is an understanding of "day/night" that is cyclical observations of the sun/moon....astronomy, not astrology....

What "is" (observations of astronomy) says nothing about the "future" (destiny of individuals, or purposes of the order of the universe, which were gauged by sun worshippers to "predict" the future pre-determined by "the gods")

Random Arrow said...

Ken, you did a great job.


“... there is no jumping from one time to another because time is not a place ...”

Sure, time is a place. Eienstein. Space-time are one.

Newton didn’t see this. We use Newton for most everything anyway.

But the heart of your felt-intuition – “you would alter the ‘future; of the rest of the world” – yes! Not quite at the molecular level. At the sub-atomic level. Molecules are too big – they would have a hard time!

Written for a layman – no fancy hifalutin equations – Victor J. Stegner, “The Unconscious Quantum: Metaphysics in Modern Physics and Cosmology” (1995), see chapter, “Nonlocality, Holism and the Arrow of Time.”

The arrow – of time – can redirect and seemingly go backwards so that effect comes before cause! Or effect precludes typical notions of causation.

Give it a go!

You’re on the right track – intuitively.



Random Arrow said...

... ah, Jared already touched on space-time ... peace to an antiquitist in his own myth of the eternal return! Cheers, Jim.