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dryan

Time is an Invention

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I got this t-shirt for my birthday that says:

TIME IS AN INVENTION

 

I get people asking me what this means, so what do you think? How should I respond to their inquiry? smile.gif

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Measurements of time are inventions. Time is not.

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There is some really fascinating thought coming from a young man named Peter Lynds. I haven't yet read his papers but here is an article that got me started on the subject:

 

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2003-07/icc-gwi072703.php

 

and a pertinent paragraph from it:

 

Addressing the age old question of the reality of time, Lynds says the absence of an instant in time underlying a dynamical physical process also illustrates that there is no such thing as a physical progression or flow of time, as without a continuous progression through definite instants over an extended interval, there can be no progression. "This may seem somewhat counter-intuitive, but it's exactly what's required by nature to enable time (relative interval as indicated by a clock), motion and the continuity of a physical process to be possible." Intuition also seems to suggest that if there were not a physical progression of time, the entire universe would be frozen motionless at an instant, as though stuck on pause on a motion screen. But Lynds points out, "If the universe were frozen static at such an instant, this would be a precise static instant of time - time would be a physical quantity." Consequently Lynds says that it's due to natures very exclusion of a time as a fundamental physical quantity, that time as it is measured in physics, or relative interval, and as such, motion and physical continuity are possible in the first instance.

 

Another interesting avenue of thought is provided by Brian Greene in The Time We Thought We Knew. I don't have a link for that as I read a review in Nature about it, but worth following up, I think.

 

I have long believed, but not be able to prove, that time is only a function of the human brain, and specifically of the European mindset.

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Measurements of time are inventions.

 

In what sense?

 

I have long believed, but not be able to prove, that time is only a function of the human brain, and specifically of the European mindset.

 

And all those physical processes are just falling into our way of thinking, yes?

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And all those physical processes are just falling into our way of thinking, yes?

 

Actually, no.

 

We are conscribing the physical processes by the limitations of our instinctual mind/cultural conditioning.

 

That is what those two referenced papers are essentially about as they explore the math and physics of "time".

 

It is terribly difficult to absorb concepts outside of the parameters of learning that develop by about age seven. The mind will consistently alter input to fit into known categories.

 

Time is not a physical reality, it is a mental function that allows us to order input sequentially. There are other human cultures without this mental function who appreciate reality in a far different way.

 

Lynds and Greene (separately) and others are working in this area now.

 

It is very interesting to follow.

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...

 

We are conscribing the physical processes by the limitations of our instinctual mind/cultural conditioning.

 

...

 

It is certainly reasonable to consider any one concept of time as a human invention

different fields of science (and even different fields within physics) use rigorously different concepts of time----and the psychological time we experience is arguably different from the time defined in any branch of physics

 

this year (supposedly in October 2004) Cambridge University Press is

bringing out a major book by Carlo Rovelli, called

"Quantum Gravity"

 

The draft version is already available---it has an interesting discussion of time including

"Ten kinds of time"

 

the draft of the book is free for download

at Rovelli's homepage at the University of Marseille institute

of theoretical physics

 

rovelli himself says the book is, to a large extent, about time

(the idea of time, and how time evolution is handled, is central in

quantum gravity, which is about the evolution of the geometry of

space----since gravity = geometry)

 

A non-technical discussion of time is around page 50-52 in the draft

 

If you go to Google and say

Carlo Rovelli

you immediately get his homepage with the link for downloading

the PDF draft of the book.

 

It is a fascinating book with a lot of non-technical sections and discussion

as well as a lot of highly technical stuff intended for people interested in

getting into Q.G. research.

 

rovelli is one of a halfdozen top experts in his field worldwide (to be precise, this is background independent, non-stringy, Quantum Gravity) and this year in May there was the biggest so-far Quantum Gravity conference, which he and two other people organized, at Marseille

 

Q.G. is likely, I think, to have a large impact on the concept of time

 

before choosing to assume that there exists in physics one unique, dominant, all-prevailing notion of time is might be good to have a look at that short section of Rovelli's book around page 50 in the draft version

 

 

there are also writings by Chris Isham and others on this, but Rovelli's discussion is more for general audience---shorter and less technical

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The better question is "How aren't they inventions?" You think that seconds, minutes, hours, ect. are natural?

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you think that seconds, minutes, hours, etc. are time ?

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you think that seconds, minutes, hours, etc. are time ?

Beaten to it :-(

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the topic of time is of special current interest

because 18 July (in around a week from now) there is

the GR17 conference in dublin

 

and Stephen Hawking recently made a surprise announcement that he would be coming to the conference to present a resolution of the

black hole information paradox.

 

the BH info puzzle is closely bound up with the notion of time

and resolving the paradox will probably require people to clarify

how time should be understood in a quantum context

 

the GR17 conf. is the 17th triennial conference on General Relativity and Gravity (the big world conf on GR that they have every 3 years, last time was in Rio Brazil 2001)

 

since gravity = geometry

quantum gravity has to be a quantum theory of spacetime---and in particular a quantum theory of time

 

the info paradox can be interpreted as being about the apparent decay of information over (typically) very long intervals of time------suppose info falls into a BH which then gradually evaporates by thermal hawking radiation----finally the BH has evaporated, where did the information go?

one solution is proposed by Gambini Porto and Pullin recently, that

there is a fundamental rate that time becomes uncertain and a fundamental rate that non-unitariness grows and quantum states change from pure to mixed---so information itself "evaporates" with the passage of time

 

it may decay faster for one reason or another but it decays at a rate which is at least the Gambini-Porto-Pullin rate.

 

At GR17 hawking will propose yet another resolution of the info paradox based on his own "Path Integral" model of quantum gravity

 

many issues of quantum nature of spacetime seem to be coming to a head now

 

what the person starting this thread said about time = invention

broaches an interesting subject

what is time (in particular physical models)

and which physical model gives the time concept that is the best approx of nature's "real" time if that actually exists

 

BTW Gambini Porto and Pullin's paper, that came out at end of last month (28 June) is just 3 pages and I think it is a gem:

 

http://arxiv.org/hep-th/0406260

 

it uses general-purpose reasoning----kind of thought experiment-type arguments----rather than a lot of formulas

 

times are expressed in terms of the Planck unit of time tP

but otherwise not a lot of arcane notation. the paper's title is

"Realistic clocks, universal decoherence, and the black hole information paradox"

 

it will be interesting to see what Hawking says at GR17, in contrast to this paper

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I never said that. Read the thread again.

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I got this t-shirt for my birthday that says:TIME IS AN INVENTION

 

Better (but not necessarily best) might be TIME IS A CONVENTION

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I thought Time was a magazine... :rolleyes:

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I thought Time was a magazine... :rolleyes:

 

Time is money.

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Guest Cells R Us

People get confused all the time and think that time was invented by humans, but really the measurement of the time was invented by humans.

 

The speed of an object determines how fast time passes.

When you get close to the speed of light time passes faster.

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Obviously our measurements are made up, obviously time is however real. Relative but real. Its so fricken simple, i swear anyone who says time doesn't exist is just saying it to make themselves feel like some kind of radical genius. It takes certain amount of time for something to move from one place to another. If the force acting on the moving object is greater at an instant, it will get to the other place faster. THAT is a matter time. i don't know if to call time a force of a dimension, but its just stupid to say it doesn't exist. why is the speed of one runner greater than the speed of the other runner. Because it takes less TIME for the faster runner to transport from point A to point B. How can you argue with this. Excuse me if no one has actually said such things, but thats what it seems like when when ya deny the existence of time.

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Obviously our measurements are made up, obviously time is however real. Relative but real. Its so fricken simple, i swear anyone who says time doesn't exist is just saying it to make themselves feel like some kind of radical genius. It takes certain amount of time for something to move from one place to another. If the force acting on the moving object is greater at an instant, it will get to the other place faster. THAT is a matter time. i don't know if to call time a force of a dimension, but its just stupid to say it doesn't exist. why is the speed of one runner greater than the speed of the other runner. Because it takes less TIME for the faster runner to transport from point A to point B. How can you argue with this. Excuse me if no one has actually said such things, but thats what it seems like when when ya deny the existence of time.

 

This is an interesting conversation ...NavajoEverclear don't be so quick to raise hell. As for the runner and the other examples you've given, more energy was spent by what we might conveniently term the fastest - that is all. Energy is arguably the only fundamental in the Universe - all other measurements are mere mathematical conveniences that fail when applied outside their scope.

There is so much magic and voodoo in modern physics that it takes a lot to see beyond the veil, we are mentally trapped by our conventions and traditions (for instance, what does zero mean? Books can be written on that).

Please take time to view a peer reviewed paper I authored; Matter-Space Potential, published at http://www.acadjournal.com/Articles.asp?article_id=90

The arguments made above are thoroughly dealt with. I have other (yet to be published) papers that deal with gravitation, Nuclear Physics and beyond; they are all built on the same foundation.

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Dude, like i said i don't see what or how you are arguing. I do agree with you about the veil to a degree, but time is not included in that. I know energy is the difference, i think i mentioned that, but seriously if you say time doesn't exist, you say speed doesn't exist. How do you explain the difference between the arrival of of the runners at the finish line? The got there at different times. If there wasn't time, everything would be at the same time. I really am open to other perspectives, give me them, i don't want to read your article, it's too smart for me, or something.

 

OK so i'm sorry this is pretty stupid for me to care so much about such a trivial matter, so don't be offended by my opposition. So i have a simple request, on my first post, take each of my points one at a time, and show me how they are disprooved.

 

Also this argument could be due to misunderstanding of what i'm proposing. I don't know if my concept of time coresponds with the popular scientific idea, i explained my understanding on the subject, perhaps the property of the scientific idea of time why you oppose, is something i don't support. I couldn't tell you cuz i really don't get what you are saying.

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Actually, things can move from one place to another without speed or the 'taking of time'. It depends entirely upon gravitational changes and/or extrinsic pressures. Even Feynman was toying with this concept in the 60s.

 

Where experiental time exists is in the midplane, our actual time/space. We, therefore, extrapolate it into micro and macro time/space instinctually.

 

BTW, thank you very much, Martin, for the link. I am planning my weekend around that draft!

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... I am planning my weekend around that draft!

 

glad you like it!

around page 7 if I remember right there is a metaphor of animals on the back of a whale

 

the gravitational field because it is the geometry of spacetime in a certain sense IS spacetime and is a good place on which to define the fields and particles of matter

 

this can be a hard idea to grasp, I found that metaphor or parable, although very simple, helped me and so it remains one of my favorite parts of the book

 

I like the history of attempts since 1940s or so to quantize general relativity (in effect to quantize gravity since GR is the prevailing theory of gravity)------the history section is at the end in an appendix

 

a lot of the book can be read without attending too much to the formulas

and it still conveys insights--I think he's a good writer

 

anyway, hope you enjoy it!

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Guest jm5k

Speed exists but it requires a concept of time. Time is only used to describe things moving and speed is a calculation of the measure of movement within the concept of time.

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