# what is time?

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I don’t know the math behind time, but I feel that time is something that is always changing. So to try to come up with the math that makes it work with all the others I feel is the lack of understanding. I want to look at it as if it was sound. Sound when it goes out and comes back gets weaker every time until a new sound is added. So can time change the same way as sound. If this is the case the more you are always from an object in time the less it effects time. The same as sound gets weaker as it moves as does gravity. So if you wanted to bend time would not you only have to mass the effects that objects have on other objects.

To me time is like a river if you place a rock in it it will just go around it.

So my question is how does this sound and if i am completely wrong just tell me.

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The most useful description of time is that it is a fourth dimension, along with the three spatial dimensions. So if you wan to meet someone you have to specify the spatial coordinates (x,y,z or latitude,longitude,altitude) plus the time. This is the basis for special relativity which is a very successful way of describing the world and also forms the basis of modern quantum theory.

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"What is time" is question of philosophy (metaphysics), not science, just as "what is length" would be. How time behaves and how it is measured are questions of physics.

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OK but you think it might be plausible to look at time as if it was sound the coming and going as the wave moves? Light can move as it bounces off objects so can sound so why can't time?

Edited by woodsong
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OK but you think it might be plausible to look at time as if it was sound the coming and going as the wave moves? Light can move as it bounces off objects so can sound so why can't time?

Are you looking for an analogy or an actual explanation? Time isn't a physical thing or interaction the way light and sound are. Time can't exert a force or impart momentum or transfer energy. It's an abstraction.

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Thank you, that is what I was looking for. Time is a tool, which is something i felt for a long time just wanted someone smarter than me to state it.

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Light can move as it bounces off objects so can sound so why can't time?

For the same reason that distance can't!

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Hi woodsong

“what is time”, is an interesting question... but it may be a trap in itself. Because the question begs the answer “time is...”,

i.e. it implies there is definitely some “thing” called time, and we want to know what it is.

This is fine, but this approach completely hides from view another possibility, which is, the possibility that the world may be just as you actually see it.

By this , I mean, consider what you personally actually observe...

1-matter(/energy) existing, and,

2- matter moving changing and interacting in all directions.

That seems pretty obvious, but the key question most people don’t seem to see , or ask themselves is this...

-What if matter just exists, moves, changes, and interacts... not heading into a “future”, not leaving a “past” behind it?... -would this be enough to misled us into thinking a thing called “time” exists?

That is the question I think anyone trying to understand “time”, or no time, should seriously consider, however, (with respect), I think the answers you will get here will probably be a lot of people stating “Einstein’s relativity tells us space and time are merged”, and making a lot of “time is...” statements. E.g. “time is another ‘dimension’ “

(ie opinions stated as fact)

But, with respect, they will probably contain no solid reasoning. ( i.e. just restating what is heard elsewhere ).

Though many people assume Einstein’s relativity in some way proves time exists ( and is merged with space), in fact very few people seem to check the actual paper “on the electrodynamics of moving bodies” itself.

If you do so, yourself...

you will find relativity itself only actually observes that there is “movement”, i.e the (translated) paper in actual fact says...

"Electrodynamics" "section 1 Kinematics

If we wish to describe the motion of a material point, we give the values of its co-ordinates as functions of the time...

If, for instance, I say, “That train arrives here at 7 o'clock,” I mean something like this:

“The pointing of the small hand of my watch to 7 and the arrival of the train are simultaneous events.”

This seems perfectly acceptable, unless you realise that the paper says we compare the co-ordinates ( location) of one thing to a thing called “time”,

But in fact the co-ordinates of one thing (a train) are only compared to the coordinates of another thing ( the location of a rotating pointer).

At this point you really have to think for yourself, logically

-if a thing called time exists, then a rotating point is a useful indicator,

but

-a rotating pointer does not prove there is a past, a future, or a thing called time.

(we cant just make a pointer rotate, call its movement "time", and claim we have proved movement, and another thing called "time" exists... otherwise with the same logic, i can get a dog, "call" it a dragon, and claim i have reason to believe dogs, and "dragons" exist and are related...)

So, imo, you and I don’t see any sign of a “future” actually arriving, or a “past” actually existing or receding, and Einstein’s paper only observes motion... but “calls” one example of motion “time”.

Therefore, the 'dimension' people refer to as time, may just be nothing more thatn the dimension, lit "measurable quantity", of the movement of the tip of a rotating hand on a numbered dial... and just observing motion, but concluding there is there for a fourth temporal/spatial “dimension” is not sound reasoning.

And if you check what you hear carefully for yourself, you should find that wherever anyone thinks they are talking about a thing called “time” they are always just looking at some example of regular motion, or thinking about the “idea” of a thing called time. And all the arguments you may hear to support the idea of time will in fact rest on ‘blindly’ just accepting the existence without question, of unobservable, and unproveable “phenomena” (eg a “past” or “future” etc).

You will hear that “time” has a “flow”, “direction”, “past and “future”.. none of which you will actually observe. And, imo, all of which exist as “ideas”, that we may convince ourselves make sense.

So can time change the same way as sound. If this is the case the more you are always from an object in time the less it effects time

Einsteins General Relativity does show us that moving/changing things , e.g. anything down to a vibrating, an atom and beyond, are indeed affected by gravity, and do slow down in a strong gravitational field... but it may be unwise to assume this also proves there is a past, a future or a thing called time that flows.

(I’ve written a detailed book on the possibility “ a brief history of timelessness”, Here’s a couple of youtubes if you’re interested)

All the best

Matt Marsden

more general aspects of 'time'

Timelessness, Downstairs at the Kings Head London (rt)

[Does Time exist? How 'Time travel Paradoxes' can't happen without "the past".]

Considering 'time travel'

Time Travel,Timeless Answers to Prof Cox's Science of Dr Who:

[Time Travel,Timeless Answers to Prof Brian Cox's Science of Dr WHO]

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Anytime someone posts a question about time ( happens a lot ), someone always comes along, usually within the first few posts, and claims that time doesn't exist. That we are mistaking motion for time, as we measure time using motion.

And while today's prize winner, Matthew Marsden, is more eloquent than most, he is mistaken as all the rest.

The big hang-up seems to be the notion that motion is needed to define time. This is totally ass-backwards, as the definition of motion needs two variables, a spatial variable X, Y, and/or Z, and a temporal variable T.

Mr. Marsden would then have you believe we define time using time ?????

Idon't wanna re-hash all the objections that have been made all previous times this has come up with this OP.

I suggest you do a search and read some of those threads.

Edited by MigL
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Put another way, your pointer can be directed at the "1" or the "2" but not both "1"and "2". The pointing also happens in a particular order. You need another variable to distinguish and order the two states. Time.

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For the same reason that distance can't!

what is distance really just a number to get from point a to point b which in most cases are also place into some type of time it can take to get to these places, but what if its wrong. Take the world clock this clock rules our lives based on the turning of the earth, but if we live on a different planet our days could be shorter or even longer. I feel that point A and point B can be at the same place at the same time. So the distance in fact to my understanding is movable. So opening that door here on earth to see mars on the other side can happen. creating a bridge you might say.

Put another way, your pointer can be directed at the "1" or the "2" but not both "1"and "2". The pointing also happens in a particular order. You need another variable to distinguish and order the two states. Time.

that feels like a 2-3 dimension what about the 4th or 5th i only state this because in space there is more than left right up down.

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that feels like a 2-3 dimension what about the 4th or 5th i only state this because in space there is more than left right up down.

There are 3 spatial dimensions (in your terms, L/R, front/back, up/down), so time makes it 4. Don't see how you could have a second time dimension.

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There are 3 spatial dimensions (in your terms, L/R, front/back, up/down), so time makes it 4. Don't see how you could have a second time dimension.

this is how i see it 1= front back, 2= front/back L/R, 3rd is as you stated, but time is not 4th. Time is part of the first. for I feel now after reading what has been said here that gravity = time. You can't have front or back with out something to hold it together, also time is 1 dimensional because past present and future are saying that are 1 dimensional. you can't have gravity without some type of mass and with more gravity the more time looks to change. When it comes to a black hole I feel also that its wrong. our sun pulls on its planets as well as the planets pull on the sun. an object in motion tends to stay in motion. So these black holes form not from gravity of the dead star but the gravity of what is left behind, and keeps going by shear force. Heres a thought when you fire a bullet it can or will change as it moves. So when something gets to the center its moving to fast to even be there anymore. So light is not stopped by some dead stars gravity, but the lack of it. Any light coming from it if able would blend into the background, because this is no up down life right in space. When it comes to time and gravity times looks to slow down because the many different types of gravity near the hole. So gravity = time

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Sorry, but that's nonsense.

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Sorry, but that's nonsense.

the same thing was said when they said the sun didn't move around the earth, but the fact the earth moves around the sun. My ideas might be out there might even be wrong, but even old ideas of science are always being made to be wrong that used to be right.

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the same thing was said when they said the sun didn't move around the earth, but the fact the earth moves around the sun. My ideas might be out there might even be wrong, but even old ideas of science are always being made to be wrong that used to be right.

But new ideas in science are based on experimental data, not just made-up stuff that makes no sense.

And, before you ask, no one is going to "prove you wrong".

Firstly, you haven't provided anything that could be tested or analysed in order to be shown to be wrong. You have made a series of statements, with no evidential or theoretical support that are contradicted by all known science (e.g. time=gravity). Most of these fall into the category of "not even wrong"; i.e. they are pretty much meaningless.

Secondly, it is up to you, as the presenter of a new idea, to provide some reason (evidence, math, etc.) for people to consider the idea.

You can't just say "but it might be right, science has been wrong before". Because on that basis, any random idea someone comes up with has to be treated with the same level of care. So if I say that the Sun is powered by invisible nano-dragons, should that be treated as seriously as your claim? Or should they both be dismissed as totally lacking any evidence?

Science tends to follow the latter course.

Edited by Strange
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the same thing was said when they said the sun didn't move around the earth, but the fact the earth moves around the sun. My ideas might be out there might even be wrong, but even old ideas of science are always being made to be wrong that used to be right.

That may be true, but it is a logical fallacy to conclude that calling something nonsense means it's correct.

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Or, to put it another way:

The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Carl_Sagan

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That may be true, but it is a logical fallacy to conclude that calling something nonsense means it's correct.

I never said I was right in fact i stated I more than likely wrong, but to think that what to see as well as hear is right doesn't make it so. I love science always have even wanted to get into physics, but made the wrong choices based off what was easier. Thats the past.... To me science greatest thing to love the we as a people can have. Every idea to me even if it seems wrong should be given a chance, for even if that idea is wrong it can lead to an idea that is right, and change our views what is right in front of our very eyes. If fact I want to be told if ideas are good or bad no matter if I like the answer, for it keeps me thinking also a closed mind is a mind with no ideas of their own. I have looked at your art work and know are a free thinker. i love to paint myself and to dream of space, but without someone trying to do something that can't be done nothing will change.

Or, to put it another way:

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Carl_Sagan

but in our world is there really anyway to tell if they are that clown or that genius. There are people who have done great things and never went to school.

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Every idea to me even if it seems wrong should be given a chance

Maybe. But how much of a chance? Many ideas can be dismissed almost instantly by looking at the amount of support the idea has or by doing some simple calculations or looking at the evidence or using Occam's razor.

Yours definitely falls into that category: it is meaningless, it has no support, there are no calculations and there is no evidence. Plus we already have a very good theory of space, time and gravity which is able to make accurate testable predictions.

but in our world is there really anyway to tell if they are that clown or that genius.

Yes. It is called "science". In other words, testing ideas against objective evidence.

There are people who have done great things and never went to school.

There is a great radio program on the BBC in England which interviews scientists about their lives. Recently there was one about Professor Christofer Toumazou who left school at 16 and trained to be an electrician. He is now Regius Professor of Engineering, Chief Scientist of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Professor of Circuit Design at Imperial College London; founder of Toumaz Holdings Ltd, CEO and founder of DNA Electronics Ltd. and Chief Scientific Advisor to GENEU.

He has done some remarkable things in his field. However, he went to university and studied to do this. He didn't just make stuff up.

Also, you seem to be making the same error that because a few (very few) people managed to rise above their circumstances, that somehow all random ideas should be treated equally seriously.

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Maybe. But how much of a chance? Many ideas can be dismissed almost instantly by looking at the amount of support the idea has or by doing some simple calculations or looking at the evidence or using Occam's razor.

Yours definitely falls into that category: it is meaningless, it has no support, there are no calculations and there is no evidence. Plus we already have a very good theory of space, time and gravity which is able to make accurate testable predictions.

Yes. It is called "science". In other words, testing ideas against objective evidence.

There is a great radio program on the BBC in England which interviews scientists about their lives. Recently there was one about Professor Christofer Toumazou who left school at 16 and trained to be an electrician. He is now Regius Professor of Engineering, Chief Scientist of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Professor of Circuit Design at Imperial College London; founder of Toumaz Holdings Ltd, CEO and founder of DNA Electronics Ltd. and Chief Scientific Advisor to GENEU.

He has done some remarkable things in his field. However, he went to university and studied to do this. He didn't just make stuff up.

Also, you seem to be making the same error that because a few (very few) people managed to rise above their circumstances, that somehow all random ideas should be treated equally seriously.

I can understand what you are saying, I have not done the math, because I don't know the math. Can only go by what I see as well as hear. This ranges from books to documentaries these things. I know what I state has no ground other than personal thought, but what if we are wrong. To this date we can't explain a black hole its all based on what we can see as well as read. Also you stating that we have a good understanding of space and gravity is not true for we still have not come up with a unified theory and to say that we have a good understanding seems like there is nothing more to learn. When I came to this web site I loved the idea to be able to ask these questions and to hear what people have to say about them. I know history where people have claimed many things but lacked anything to back up what they are saying. I am not claiming anything I just want people to just sit and think what if this could be true. To make people think outside the box. Right now anyone that has readied this more than likely don't even give it a 2nd thought. This is no body talking about something we know to be wrong. yes I can also understand that no one in their right mind would look at every idea and treat them equally. Even looking at my own writing I don't feel I wrote it right I have a hard time explaining my ideas in writing. So I thank you for taking the time to even write what you have written.

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As far as I know:

Time is the interval between any two events.

So you can use gravity to measure time, I could define a unit of time of 1 theta to be the time it takes for an object to fall from 3 meters to the ground.

My problem with theta however is that the gravitational force itself changes with elevation, so i'd have problems with measurements, since the time for the object to land will vary between sea level and a mountain.

The same problem exists with rotation around the earth, its not constant, so folks use atomic clocks that measure frequencies of microwave radiation emitted by electrons to determine time units.

Another problem you are going to run into is the fact that things can't be explained via gravity at the atomic level. It seems to be a world of its own, with its own rules guiding how electrons move around the nucleus and stuff. Which basically messes with the fact that for something to be fundamental, it needs to be observed everywhere. electrons have space, mass, time and energy, but they don't demonstrate gravity, and electrical stuff generally doesn't follow any gravitational rules.

Space as we knew it a hundred years ago was just distance-based. By space I don't mean just blackness above earth, but what we all live in. If all of it was black, measuring any distance is of no use, but unfortunately there's a few planets in it, and worse, a species thats curious about this which figured out ways to conveniently measure distance by creating 3-dimensional geometry.

If that wasn't enough trouble, in walks Einstein who starts figuring out this mischevious dude called light. The problem with light was that it was having trouble obeying laws of relative velocity. if train is moving at you at 100 mph and you were moving towards it at 100 mph, you'd measure the speed of the train as 200 mph. But, light was having none of this and moving at 300,000 km per second regardless. It didn't matter if you were moving towards it at 100,000 km per second. you would still promptly record 300,000 km per second. Something was messing with speed = distance/time in the case of light. since the speed was constant at 300,000 km per second and distance travelled always the same, Einstein figured that time must be the culprit and worked out that time stands still at the speed of light. Until they figured this out, satellite communication was getting messed up because nobody imagined that light was a disobedient dude.

Thats when we decided to upgrade the universe to 4 dimensions...3 dimensions of distance in each direction and time, because for objects that move faster, time moves slower.

Time travel is speculated at speeds above speed of light, but thats pure guess work and hasn't been observed or proved at all.

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Time and distance are described as ratios.

Time is the ratio between events. Any measurement of time we use, is relative to another event. Today we define a second to be a specific number of radioactive events detected from a cesium atom. We use cesium radiation because whenever we measure it (relative to some other event) the result is very consistent.

An event, is some action that takes place over a distance, but distance, like time is also a ratio. Every measurement of distance we use is relative to the distance of something else. Today we define a meter as the time it takes for light to travel some fraction of a second. We use light, because wherever we measure it (in a vacuum), we get the same value.

So we are describing time and distance relative to constants we observe in nature.

If you take two cesium clocks, sync them at some point on earth, and then take one of the clocks for a journey where you go a significant fraction of the speed of light, and then bring the clock back, and compare the clocks, you will notice that the cesium clock that took the journey has recorded a fewer number of events. So you could say that time has slowed down as you approach the speed of light, but you could also say that the ratio between the speed of light and the rate of cesium radiation has changed simply because of the underlying mechanism of nature.

So my understanding is there is nothing mysterious about time, it is just the ratio of events we observe in nature. However what is mysterious is the underlying ratios and why they change in cases like the one I describe above.

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Today we define a second to be a specific number of radioactive events detected from a cesium atom.

No we don't. Cesium-133 is not radioactive. We define the second in terms of the radiation emitted by the hyperfine transition for an unperturbed atom.

If you take two cesium clocks, sync them at some point on earth, and then take one of the clocks for a journey where you go a significant fraction of the speed of light, and then bring the clock back, and compare the clocks, you will notice that the cesium clock that took the journey has recorded a fewer number of events. So you could say that time has slowed down as you approach the speed of light, but you could also say that the ratio between the speed of light and the rate of cesium radiation has changed simply because of the underlying mechanism of nature.

What mechanism would that be? Relativity says that this "mechanism" is that time runs more slowly for moving frames of reference, and is a consequence of c being invariant.

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No we don't. Cesium-133 is not radioactive. We define the second in terms of the radiation emitted by the hyperfine transition for an unperturbed atom.

What mechanism would that be? Relativity says that this "mechanism" is that time runs more slowly for moving frames of reference, and is a consequence of c being invariant.

This is why i love science you never stop learning

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