Jump to content

What is time


Recommended Posts

EDIT: trying to shorten and hopefully clarify my post :)


ParticleOne: Very interesting stuff.


Hope this makes some sense.

I agree with multiple definitions of time, one being

"that which is measured by clocks" which is quoted most often as a standard definition of time.

IN S.R. time dilates. (I'm still trying to understand time dilation clearly) but as you say that's another topic.


Anyway. I've seen it written in books, also heard it said on this board that time is "just a conceptual apparatus." And that's one of my favourite notions of time. I can't remember the sage that first said it on this board. Anyway...it's a good definition IMO


In the end I agree with more than one definition of time as they all work depending on the discussion or the area of science or philosophy or the area of everyday life one is taking part in. Not every definition works, but more than just one works IMO.


ParticleOne wrote: Then imagine a single point of energy, totally alone in space (universe) nothing else. This point was really full of energy but nothing to use its forces on. (You are not present) And there is no time, not even a little caesium atom.


If we are doing the imagining, then we are present. In the above quote you've said "you are not present" but you've put yourself right back next to that "single point of energy" as soon as you used the word imagine. One can't really say "(but you are not present)" then further analyse anything. Because if you or I are not present then “Who's doing the analysis? “


Not a big deal.


Repeating myself here, but again I think time does exist but only with respect to human existence and perception.


What you automatically think is: But time is passing and the little point is just sitting in space waiting? It is impossible for you to think otherwise. Now, if I removed all memory from your brain, would you know how long the little point has been in space? No. you would not know if time had passed or not, or if there were any time at all, and neither will the point of energy which has no memory.


One seems to need to stop any analysis as soon as one says

we are not there or our memory is erased.

A “not there person” or “erased-memory-person” can't discuss time.


"What's a clock?" without human cognition to provide a definition

"What's an atom?" without human cognition to provide a definition

"What is time" without human cognition to provide a definition.


I don't know. But I think without humans present or without human cognition, the best definition of "what is time" becomes unconcludable. Unknowable.


Took a shot at addressing your interesting thoughts.

I think I need to find another good book on "what is time" like one of the previous posters suggested.







PS. Hope my musings about time made some sense. If not, my apologies.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 61
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

The analysis presented is also appropriate to distance. Distance is also referenced in the imagination, yet is given the status of substance. Distance is fluid and we compare distance in relationship to standized distance. But even this would make no sense without light entering the eyes. Light is both wavelength and frequency or distance and time. If distance has substance and time only imagination, energy (d and t) would not always multiply to the speed of light. It should be different for each of us.


Even matter is part of the imagination and is based on touch as well as on sight. Current theory is trying to explain explain matter in terms of more basic things. But the equivilency of matter and energy suggests mass, distance and time interconnected in very quantitized ways.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think defining time as some sort of energy which can be "used up" in the same way as kinetic or potential energy just complicates things. If the amount of "time energy" something has is changing, then it has to be changing over time. It seems to me you still need a way for this time energy to change, otherwise it will stay constant, and you'll have no time. If it does change, on the other hand, then you'll need time for this change in time energy change to occur.



Edit: Having read a bit more of the thread, perhaps the phrase "time energy" in the above paragraph should be replaced with "time potential", although I don't really see what difference it makes.


Leaving time defined as a dimension seems a lot simpler.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If anything you are only able to see into time, not space. You can never now whats happening instantly, technically the photons hitting my eyes from the computer screen took time to reach it.


The guy who said that the shape of the universe will evolve as we evolve was very right. Say we evolve to be able to see something that is entirely invisible now? That would utterly change the view of the universe.


Time, Space, everything we see is produced from our senses. All of reality, the universe, everything depends on your reference frame.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Having time be a substance or quanta actually simplifies the analysis. Time potential quanta are used up by force. This causes a change of state. The object goes from one time potential state into another lower time potential state. The difference is energy. If we looked into the future or at a possible future state of an object, than so much time potential needs to be processed to reach this final state. No object is entirely isolated from the environment, such that interactions can happen along the way that shift the time potential processing distribuiton, thereby resulting in some variability within the predicted final state.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That sounds like a description of increasing entropy to me. You still need a time dimension for the change to occur in, though... If everything possesses a set amount of "time potential", but there's no time dimension, then the amount of time potential/entropy will never change.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is not entirely true. Time potential is the natural pull to the future as you define it. Going from matter to energy uses up time potential. The attractive forces of nature process time potential through matter to create energy. This processing makes time move forward toward lower time potential.


The contemporary idea of time is philosophical and not science. This blending of philosophy with science is causing problem for physics theory. That is probably one of the many reasons there are more than one set of laws of physics. This blend of subjectivity and the lack of its phsyical incorporation makes even fantasy reality seem possible.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This processing makes time move forward toward lower time potential.
So, there's still movement going on. But with the lack of a temporal dimension, movement through where?


How would you define the contemporary idea of time?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Instead of looking at time as a continuous stream' date=' another way is to look at time is as a quantified entity. In other words, time is a potential like a little packet of energy, but without distance or mass. The time potential of the universe will last its life time. After it is used up, it is gone. The universal time packet was distributed into common matter, i.e., lasts as long as the universe. It is then slowly used up or is expressed by everything that has time in its equation, i.e., energy, velocity, force, etc.


Relativity is not a problem with this orientation. Time dilation due to velocity is simply because velocity (ft/sec) contains time potential which is added to the existing time potential. If we decelerate from a relativistic reference the potential energy stored needs to go somewhere. The time potential is probably released as heat.[/quote']


First of all I could never see time as "running out" lol, and time dilation giving off heat... thats impossible seeing as time doesn't contain energy, its just there. A product of human consciousness :P

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I said that time was moving forward to the future I was speaking figuratively. A better analogy would be a hot object slowly cooling. The loss of time potential as heat moves (figuratively) the object into a future cooler state where its time potential has decreased. If it is windy out and there is good convection the future state will happen faster.


Time dilation contains potential energy. The potential energy is induced by the relativistic velocity. The same can be said for mass and distance. To decellerate from relativistic speed back to inertial needs to release the kinetic energy somehow.


Time is normally viewed as a concept to explain changes of state. But why would special relativity has an impact on a product of the imagination. Is special relativity 1/3 fantasy and 2/3 substance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thats if you belive in evolution of course, I dont think it has been proven as an axiom. Yes thats what many people believe, but the Big Bang theory is just that, a theory. I know what a clock is but thank you for simplifying the inner workings of one. I know what you mean, you can[/i'] set your watch to any time you want, but the 'right' time is still accurate. Accurate to what? What exactly defines the right time? And like I said, time is possibly different to each person since it "only matters in your own reference frame" then I suppose I can make it whatever time I want??


That is a question I always ask myself. The thing is, time can be measured in many ways, seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, centuries, but take a look at the second. I always compare time to a straight line in geometry. It goes on infinitely and it goes on in both directions. I always say that there is no such thing as 'choice' and if you don't already understand that or haven't heard of it, do some searching on the forum. Anyway, back to the other part. Time is a line, infinite in both directions. Take a magnifying glass and zoom in on the line (yeah, I realize it is impossible) and find a point where the line can be smoothly transitioned. Oh my god, this is gonna take forever.


Here is the best thing I can say to make it short and sweet. Time can be divided infinitely. You can have a second, half a second, quarter of a second, eighth of a second, and you could go on forever, sixteenth, thirty second, sixty fourth, and hundred twenty eighth, etc.... You could go on forever! And you can never find a break in the line! That is what makes it so mysterious. And the worse part is, you can do the exact same thing for space! Zoom in the magnifying glass on an atom, and tell me where it really does become the smallest possible unit of matter. Well you could divide the atom infinitely.


I just think it works, so I don't worry about it too much! By the way, I really didn't answer your question. I hope someone else does.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Time is normally viewed as a concept to explain changes of state. But why would special relativity has an impact on a product of the imagination. Is special relativity 1/3 fantasy and 2/3 substance.


Nothing wrong with SR or GR to date. Just because time

is a conceptual apparatus in no way negates SR OR GR.

Nor does it make time a fantasy or anything in the real world

a fantasy.


Time is real but is dependant on us.

Being dependant on us to congnize it does not make time an illusion.

As long as we are present then so is time. And times really important.


Time has a 50/50 relationship with us. That does not make it a fantasy.

Time and humans rely on each other to function.

Time is not an illusion even if it is not a substance.


It rides a middle ground that's real enough.


Like the observer needs the observed to be an observer.

Like an object needs an observer to recognize it as an object.

So to is time very real regardless of being a conceptual device.


So S.R and G.R are testable working theories that depend on us biological machines to be present, as much as we depend on them to work so that the GPS in my car works.


Why does everyone call time a complete illusion just

because it's a conceptual device? LOL. :)






PS. Try getting to your next dozen appointments or classes with out time. You'll miss all your lectures and meetings. It won't work. Time is no fantasy. Even if it is a conceptual device.


Feel free to disagree. I'm just taking up the conversation on what I think time is. I'm no expert on the nature of time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the confusion is that there are two different aspects of time. The first is the most common and is the human cogntitive perception connected to changes of state along a line of time. One needs time to drive to work or school. The other is what I call time potential. Special relativity is where the two aspects of time appear to separate. The faster relativistic reference takes more traditionally defined time for events to occur due to time dilation. However, the time potential of the faster reference, as I have tried to define it, will be the same in both references; special relativity is one aspect of time potential.


I guess I could have called time potential something else to avoid the confusion, like strings or springs, but this would require a new set of equations to make the variable work. Leaving the variable as time potential allows the existing equations of physics which have the time variable in them to be used as is. Only a slight change of orientation is needed to make the variable work.


Time potential, may be just a conceptual variable that may or may not have direct validity in physical reality, like strings, but it allows one to correlate the same phenomena with much less effort. It is part of a new physics system that can correlate particles, astro-physics, and chemistry with just three variables, mass, distance and time potential.


I am going to set up a new thread called the MDT Cube in the theoretical forum, which will use only these three variables to correlate the eight mathematical singularities of astro-physics, i.e, point, infinity, black hole, primordial atom, absolute zero, etc. This is an intro to the model. If there is interest, the model will be developed from this unusual foundation to integrate three light speed wave phases and the four forces of nature.

Once the model is fully developed, everything that is fundamental to the laws of physics will be integrated using only three variables and one diagram, i.e, the four forces, EM energy, heat, entropy, speed of light, space, eight singularites, particle states, the universe, zero reference, relativity, doppler shift and reference, etc.


The MDT model can also be used to predict six possible cosmology scenarios. There are two continuum expansions, two wave expansions and two quantum expansions. The lastest astrophysics data which has galaxies forming in 200Millions years from t=0, implies that one of the quantum models happened this universe cycle.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with Maioux, I believe that time is a fabricated illusion that humanity made to keep track of certain events or dates.Time in my opinion does not exist. We think of time and clocks are the most common relation we imagine. But when did time start, when does it end? What truely is the clock measuring? Also, time is perceived by everyone differently, 'time' stops when someone dies, but keeps going to someone else. Then theres the Atomic Clock, when did that start? How exactly did they know at what 'time' to set it? I really dont believe time exists, more of an aid to people everywhere.


I agree, but time has a lot to do with math and momentum too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi everyone. I'm a science journalist -- I write about astronomy and physics and cosmology -- all that fun stuff -- for newspapers and magazines. I'm just wondering, what do you think of the various books about "the nature of time" that have been written over the last decade or so? Any that you loved? Any that you hated? If someone wrote a compelling book that explored the enigma of time from various angles -- physics, philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, history, anthropology -- would you (possibly) buy it? Thanks for any comments / opinions!

Link to comment
Share on other sites



Haven't read the entire thread so maybe my point has been covered, here's a UK view. Time IMHO is a dimension. Dimensions are man conceived entities needed to determine the where and the when of events. In the Universe we inhabit and has locally devolved from the (presumed) conditions of the nano second post 'big bang', we find that we need only 3 spatial dimentions to determine the 'where' of an event in an inertial frame and one time dimension to determine the when. Relativity shows us that all 4 dimensions are relative and only substantive in our local frame. Time IMHO does exist and does not have our consciousness as a prerequisite for its existance.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does time have speed? In another word, what is the speed of time?:confused:


The speed of time can be measured simply by knowing that for each

second there is 60 miliseconds and for each minute there is 60 seconds

and for each hour it is 60 minutes..In other words, for the time it takes

for a minute it takes 60 seconds..So by measuring how fast a minute takes

and the speed at which the ticks (revolutions) travel..Example: If you are traveling to a place where it is 10 kilometres and if it takes 1 hour to get there, you can say your traveling at the speed of 10 (k)ilometres (p)er (h)our <--see the kph.. So intern to measure the speed of time, you must know the distance..Then you multiply the distance and the time it takes for the answer.


Hmm... So mabey the answer is (I)nfinity-distance (p)er (h)our

Which I think it is.

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

  • 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.