Jump to content

The nature of time ( question).


Elendirs
 Share

Recommended Posts

Greetings to everyone, i am new here so please excuse any errors i did in posting this thread. ( Please also excuse my english ).

First off i would like to say i am just a young science lover with no deep understanding of anything in physics, which i love and try to explore in every way possible. 

One concept i've always been interested in is time. Initially, as everyone i suppose, i viewed time as an absolute and costant background in which events happened. After reading many books about Einstein and the theories of relativity my newtonian view changed and time started for me being "something", i immagined time as a texture of reality and of space (to be honest  i could'nt immagine time existing without space, which i always represent, probably in a wrong way, in my mind as made of Calabi–Yau extra dimensions described by string theory ). In the past couple of years however, i started questioning the existence of time itself : 

1) How can time be described without movement or changes ? A white ball in a black space with nothing else made for me impossible to describe time if not as a curvature of the einstein fabric of space-time. I would need 2 balls to describe time properly by having reference points.

2) If time exists, it would need to be composed of something let's say a particle which i call "Timeon". Well that particle of time would need to exist in a time in order to be described as existing. How can that  happen ? The same thought can be applied when viewing time in the Einstein way.

Seems to me now that time dosen't exist, it is just a model which our brain uses to describe changes. This would mean Einstein and its incredibly empirically proven theories would be a wrong description of something else , which is a big sentence to say and one aspect i can't resolve.

 

What am i missing? 

Sorry for any blasphemy i might have said, i am just trying to understand. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, Elendirs said:

Greetings to everyone, i am new here so please excuse any errors i did in posting this thread. ( Please also excuse my english ).

First off i would like to say i am just a young science lover with no deep understanding of anything in physics, which i love and try to explore in every way possible. 

 

Lot's of folks have these sorts of misgivings at some time or other.

:)

 

I am only going to  comment upon one thing you said , for now.

The ancient Greeks discovered a lot of Mathematics and Science.
But they did not know about zero and (although they did not realise this) it was a great hindrance to them.

Zero is very important to modern Mathematics and even more important to Science in general.

Partly as a result of not understanding zero, the ancient Greeks had many philosophical difficulties which the expressed as paradoxes.
The most famous are Zenos paradoxes

 

9 minutes ago, Elendirs said:

How can time be described without movement or changes

 

So don't throw out zero time duration or zero events in a non zero time duration.

The Science of stasis or statics is very important in our world.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 minutes ago, studiot said:

So don't throw out zero time duration or zero events in a non zero time duration.

The Science of stasis or statics is very important in our world.

Thanks, i understand what you mean and it's something i haven't considered too much. What are your opinions on the composition orthe structure of time ?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

27 minutes ago, Elendirs said:

1) How can time be described without movement or changes ? A white ball in a black space with nothing else made for me impossible to describe time if not as a curvature of the einstein fabric of space-time. I would need 2 balls to describe time properly by having reference points.

Relativity uses a "block" model of time where nothing moves, but objects are represented by their "worldline" that shows how they move through time and space.

Time (in relativity) is a coordinate. If we just consider one spatial direction and the time direction, we can draw a graph with space (x) along the bottom and time as the vertical (y) axis. Then an object that is not moving will be represented as a vertical line with a constant x value. A moving object will be represented as a line at an angle that represents its velocity. So we are showing time, and changes in position, without any movement.

33 minutes ago, Elendirs said:

2) If time exists, it would need to be composed of something let's say a particle which i call "Timeon". Well that particle of time would need to exist in a time in order to be described as existing. How can that  happen ? The same thought can be applied when viewing time in the Einstein way.

Because time is a dimension, anything you can say about time applies to the other dimensions, eg. length. So does length need to be composed of something? A "lengthon"?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, Strange said:

Because time is a dimension, anything you can say about time applies to the other dimensions, eg. length. So does length need to be composed of something? A "lengthon"?

Honestly i don't think lenght exists outside our brain. The problem i can't understand is how can time be something, like it must have a composition in order to exist, it must be made of something right ?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Elendirs said:

Honestly i don't think lenght exists outside our brain. The problem i can't understand is how can time be something, like it must have a composition in order to exist, it must be made of something right ?

If you think length only exists in the brain, then the same is true of time (and perhaps everything else). This is a perfectly respectable philosophical called idealism (there are lots of names for subtle variations of the idea). 

I see no reason why time should be made of anything.

I thought I needed some diagrams to explain my previous post. Some examples here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_line#World_lines_as_a_tool_to_describe_events

I would add that the "nature" of time is not really a physics question. In the mathematics of relativity, time is a dimension. This allows us to build useful models to describe how the universe behaves.

Whether that is an accurate description of what time is "really", is a question for philosophy not science.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, Strange said:

I would add that the "nature" of time is not really a physics question. In the mathematics of relativity, time is a dimension. This allows us to build useful models to describe how the universe behaves.

Thanks for your answer, i have a lot of material now to think about. On this last point i strongly disagree, i think the understanding of the nature of time should be central in understanding the context in which we live and i think there is much more to be discovered and described than just a mathematical use of it. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, Elendirs said:

Thanks for your answer, i have a lot of material now to think about. On this last point i strongly disagree, i think the understanding of the nature of time should be central in understanding the context in which we live and i think there is much more to be discovered and described than just a mathematical use of it. 

That may be true, but that isn't the job of science. Science may have different models of time now and in future, but they can only ever be useful mathematical models that describe how things behave. That is all science does.

If you are looking for some "deeper" explanation of time then you want the Philosophy department!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

32 minutes ago, Elendirs said:

Honestly i don't think lenght exists outside our brain. The problem i can't understand is how can time be something, like it must have a composition in order to exist, it must be made of something right ?

Do you accept that electric/magnetic fields exist?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

36 minutes ago, Elendirs said:

like it must have a composition in order to exist

What is a shadow made of?

Shadows certainly 'exist' - whatever that means.

A shadow is a prime example of zero something.

:)

 

I think the english language offers a good construction.

it  =  a thing is a noun.

Nouns can be 'concrete nouns' like an apple or water or well, concrete.

Or nouns can be abstract nouns like anger, a shadow, weight and so on.

 

Edited by studiot
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, Elendirs said:

Yes i do. 

https://www.researchgate.net/post/Is_the_electric_field_real_or_only_a_theory So to does time. There is no universal "now" Your now is different to my now. Time and space are also interchangeable in SR, and form the larger framework we call spacetime, in which we  locate events  in terms of spatial coordinates and time. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, beecee said:

Time and space are also interchangeable in SR, and form the larger framework we call spacetime, in which we  locate events  in terms of spatial coordinates and time. 

Good point. It makes no sense to think that time is real but distance isn't, or that time is "made of something" but distance isn't, because relative motion will swap (rotate) the length for time and vice-versa. When you pass through the event horizon of a black hole, the radial direction becomes time.

So they are both equivalent dimensions. Both equally "real" (or both constructs of the mind). And both "made of" the same thing (or nothing).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Elendirs said:

  1) How can time be described without movement or changes ? A white ball in a black space with nothing else made for me impossible to describe time if not as a curvature of the einstein fabric of space-time. I would need 2 balls to describe time properly by having reference points.

You have an ensemble of radioactive particles. Their decay is spontaneous, as far as we can tell. But there is no motion involved in any nucleus decaying, and nothing changes for that nucleus, until the decay occurs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, swansont said:

You have an ensemble of radioactive particles. Their decay is spontaneous, as far as we can tell. But there is no motion involved in any nucleus decaying, and nothing changes for that nucleus, until the decay occurs.

Does that imply  a different kind of cause and effect that what we might expect?

If something happens spontaneously does that mean it happened  without a  direct "cause" ?

As if it pulled itself up  by its own bootstraps...

4 hours ago, studiot said:

 

 

The ancient Greeks discovered a lot of Mathematics and Science.
But they did not know about zero and (although they did not realise this) it was a great hindrance to them.

 

 

 

So don't throw out zero time duration or zero events in a non zero time duration.

 

That seems interesting.You wouldn't care to elaborate at all (I can't see where that idea might go )

Link to comment
Share on other sites

31 minutes ago, geordief said:

Does that imply  a different kind of cause and effect that what we might expect?

If something happens spontaneously does that mean it happened  without a  direct "cause" ?

As if it pulled itself up  by its own bootstraps...

That seems interesting.You wouldn't care to elaborate at all (I can't see where that idea might go ) 

 

I gave an example of zero, right after I said that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, Elendirs said:

1) How can time be described without movement or changes ? 

In my opinion, it can't. Time is the highest abstraction of change.

12 hours ago, Elendirs said:

2) If time exists, it would need to be composed of something let's say a particle which i call "Timeon". Well that particle of time would need to exist in a time in order to be described as existing. How can that  happen ?

It is not as easy as you present here. Like the example of the shadow, we do not not need 'shadons' to explain the existence of shadows. 'Existence' is not just binary concept: something exists, or it does not exist, and nothing else. 'Things' can exist in different ways. E.g. I call 'physical existence' the fact that a thing plays a role in causal relationships. But there are many 'things' that do not exist in this way: orbits of planets (planets of course do exist), and even 'laws of nature'. Your 'timeon' would be needed if time would exist physically. But just that so many questions that are meaningful with physical objects (what is the color, what is the spin, what is the mass, etc) do not make sense when talking about time show that time has no physical existence. At most you can say that it has an abstract physical existence.

12 hours ago, Elendirs said:

Seems to me now that time dosen't exist, it is just a model which our brain uses to describe changes.

This cannot be: the brain exists in time and space too. Describing a change (or even just observing a change) changes something in the brain. You won't get out of this circle.

11 hours ago, Strange said:

If you think length only exists in the brain, then the same is true of time (and perhaps everything else). This is a perfectly respectable philosophical called idealism (there are lots of names for subtle variations of the idea). 

As explained above that is a self-refuting viewpoint. Idealism, as a serious philosophical viewpoint, does not talk about brains.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, geordief said:

The science of stasis?

Or do you mean the shadow?

 

 

Both.

 

A shadow is the absence of something (light, sound, rain....)

For most things this means zero as you generally can't have negative amounts.

 

Stasis is the absence of movement.

You wouldn't want your buildings to move would you?

So the Science of mechanical statics is employed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, geordief said:

Does that imply  a different kind of cause and effect that what we might expect?

It could, except people have tried different ways to affect the rate, and there doesn't seem to be one.

11 hours ago, geordief said:

If something happens spontaneously does that mean it happened  without a  direct "cause" ?

Nothing is required to induce the reaction. 

11 hours ago, geordief said:

As if it pulled itself up  by its own bootstraps...

More like rolled downhill.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

54 minutes ago, swansont said:

 

Nothing is required to induce the reaction. 

 

 

Something"  is required to set up the  collection  of reactions but the individual reactions cannot be shown to exhibit direct )causality as we (= I ,anyway )    would expect.

 

Is that fair?

 

*A  region of  spontaneous emissions has to be set up at the outset

1 hour ago, studiot said:

 

 

You wouldn't want your buildings to move would you?

 

Do you think the idea that the entire world is in relative motion around  a stationary observer has any (scientific) merit ? (we don't move at all; everything else does)

 

Does that work simply as  a model of little usefulness ? (isn't that idea brought into play with a spinning bucket of water?- not that I understand it)

 

Could that idea have any bearing on what you were talking about(stasis)?

Edited by geordief
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, geordief said:

Something"  is required to set up the  collection  of reactions but the individual reactions cannot be shown to exhibit direct )causality as we (= I ,anyway )    would expect.

 

Is that fair?

 

*A  region of  spontaneous emissions has to be set up at the outset

I don't know what you mean by this. A sample of radioactive material can just sit there. Nothing has to be "set up" before decay occurs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, swansont said:

I don't know what you mean by this. A sample of radioactive material can just sit there. Nothing has to be "set up" before decay occurs.

I didn't mean set up by human agency but by a chain of cause and effect (in the macro world at least)

The sample of radioactive material got there as a consequence  of those processes. 

Does that make sense?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.