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Offline Xin

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The Concept of Time
« on: 17/03/2006 04:15:52 »
Time is a bizarre concept, and that intrigues me, especially what happened BEFORE time. Can there be such a thing as "before time"? Some people believe that the Big Bang was the very moment that our Universe was brought into existence. But what happened before that? And how long was there a "nothing"? Did Time not even exist at that point? But if that's the case, then how could anything exist? I think there are really only 3 possible answers to these questions:

1) The Universe and Time simply always existed, created by God who also always existed. Personally, I find this answer a cop out.

2) Just before the Big Bang, the entire mass of the Universe was a point of infinite density, like a singularity. And there simply was no Time before that point because the Universe in this state is dimensionless and the infinite gravity warps Spacetime greatly.

3) Time is infinite and has no beginning or end. In this model, if we had the ability to travel backwards in time, we would travel backwards for an infinite amount of "time" and never get to a beginning. This is a hard idea for me to accept, because how could anything have been? There has to be a beginning of Time, yes? It's cause and effect. I exist because my parents created me who exist because their parents created them and on and on. I mean, how does Time or anything exist without something to CAUSE it to exist, which implies that at some point, it didn't exist.

Maybe I'm thinking of Time as linear. What if Time were spherical - a circle that doesn't have a beginning or an end? But in this model, if we travel back in time far enough, we'll eventually reach the future and then back to the time where we started our journey. And perhaps the Big Bang is that point of the circle where the past and the future meet - the point of repetition.


 

Offline average guy

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Re: The Concept of Time
« Reply #1 on: 17/03/2006 11:53:32 »
Space is 3 dimensional.

Time is the indexing of equal increments to other increments of MOTION.

Time is entirely man-made.

Time is indexed to a stable motion.

There is no such thing as time, just motion.

If you stopped the universe and reversed the direction of everything I do not think we would go back in "time".
 

Offline DocN

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Re: The Concept of Time
« Reply #2 on: 17/03/2006 21:49:03 »
In a 2005 paper, Professor Daniel Greenberger of City University of New York and Karl Svozil of the Vienna University of Technology proposed that quantum theory gives a model for time travel without paradoxes. In quantum theory observation causes possible states to 'collapse' into one measured state; hence, the past observed from the present is deterministic (it has only one possible state), but the present observed from the past has many possible states until our actions cause it to collapse into one state. Our actions will then be seen to have been inevitable.

Since all possibilities exist, any paradoxes can be explained by having the paradoxical events happening in a different universe.

Would such a condition be found when the intelligent observation of our present day universe (a collapse into one state), caused the past event of the big bang (resulting in its creation in the first place)?
Doc
 

Offline Soul Surfer

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Re: The Concept of Time
« Reply #3 on: 18/03/2006 11:31:04 »
Time is what stops everything happening at once.  Read Julian Barbour "The end of time" if you want to get really confused or maybe a bit more insight.

In the quantum world it appears that all possibilities are explored and every so often the universe settles on one of these possibilities and it is the sequence of the possibilities that we are aware of is time.

The timing for the big bang is measured by extending the timelines of the things that we can see (notably galaxies) back into the past and they all appear to come from a point.  This is a bit like saying when you look into the distance the railway lines come to a point.

If you follow railway lines into the distance they usually look much the same when you get there but the surroundings are different.  Its probably a bit like that with the universe.

Before what we see as a big bang and the expansion of space there was probably some sort of coming together a bit like the formation of a black hole (in fact it could well BE the formation of a black hole) but we ga'nt see ore measure what it was  we can only inferr it by looking at what happens in our universe and very carefully modelling what we can see,measure and understand and try to make an overall model that works.

Learn, create, test and tell
evolution rules in all things
God says so!
 

another_someone

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Re: The Concept of Time
« Reply #4 on: 18/03/2006 12:21:45 »
quote:
Originally posted by average guy

If you stopped the universe and reversed the direction of everything I do not think we would go back in "time".



Whatever time might or might not be doing in such circumstances, one memory of time would still be only in the past.

Time is that which one remembers, or an extrapolation of that memory.  If one's memory were to go in the opposite direction to some abstract notion of time (i.e. rather than new events being added to our memory, we would start by remembering everything, and gradually forget things as if they had never happened), then we would still see that which we remember as being in the past.



George
 

Offline Xin

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Re: The Concept of Time
« Reply #5 on: 18/03/2006 19:09:37 »
quote:
Originally posted by average guy

Space is 3 dimensional.

There is no such thing as time, just motion.

If you stopped the universe and reversed the direction of everything I do not think we would go back in "time".



What happens if we are able to reverse motion...would there be a beginning? If we could speed up motion, would there be an end? If Time really is just the measurement of motion, this would make "time travel" a pretty daunting task...because you'll need to simultaneously alter the motion of EVERY single atom in the entire Universe.

Would this alteration affect memory? If we reverse motion and then move it forward, would our memories ALSO move backwards? IF so, "Time travel" would be useless, since we wouldn't KNOW or remember that we did it. And therefore could not produce any paradoxes because we'd be forced to move forward in the exact way before we moved back. There'd be no way for us to purposely change the "future" motion. And so perhaps, life is predestined and Free Will doesn't exist.
 

Offline Xin

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Re: The Concept of Time
« Reply #6 on: 18/03/2006 19:10:29 »
quote:
Originally posted by Soul Surfer

Time is what stops everything happening at once.  Read Julian Barbour "The end of time" if you want to get really confused or maybe a bit more insight.



Thanks! I'll check it out. I like being confused :)
 

another_someone

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Re: The Concept of Time
« Reply #7 on: 18/03/2006 19:33:00 »
quote:
Originally posted by Xin

What happens if we are able to reverse motion...would there be a beginning? If we could speed up motion, would there be an end? If Time really is just the measurement of motion, this would make "time travel" a pretty daunting task...because you'll need to simultaneously alter the motion of EVERY single atom in the entire Universe.




Would someone tell me what they mean by motion?

Is not motion merely the measurement of change in one or more of the other dimensions that occurs as we move forward in time.

If you measure the change of something in the horizontal as it changes in the vertical, how is that different from measuring something in the horizontal as it changes over the dimension of time?

We have a perception that time is different, in that it appears to have a preferred direction, but even this I would ask, is this an aspect of time, or merely an aspect of our visibility of time (i.e. that we cannot look forward into time, but can look backwards into time)?

quote:


Would this alteration affect memory? If we reverse motion and then move it forward, would our memories ALSO move backwards? IF so, "Time travel" would be useless, since we wouldn't KNOW or remember that we did it. And therefore could not produce any paradoxes because we'd be forced to move forward in the exact way before we moved back. There'd be no way for us to purposely change the "future" motion. And so perhaps, life is predestined and Free Will doesn't exist.



What do you mean by time travel?

When most laymen talk of time travel, what they are actually talking about is creating discontinuities in time, so they are talking about jumping instantaneously from 2006 to 2046 or 1966.  We do, and will, travel from 2006 to 2046, but it will be without any discontinuity, because we will pass through all the intervening years along the way.

Whether we can travel in the opposite direction, I would ask firstly, whether you are talking about a discontinuity in the opposite direction or simply a reversal of direction?

If you are talking about a reversal of direction, this could only be perceptible if time in your local vicinity was going in the opposite direction to time outside of your local vicinity (i.e. you were still moving forward in time, and adding to your memories, whereas the time outside your locality was moving backwards – ofcourse, this would be indistinguishable from a scenario where you were going backwards, while the universe outside continued to go forward).

Ofcourse, one question one must ask, if you suddenly reverse the local direction of time, then how do you stop yourself colliding with yourself as you were moving forward in time just before the reversal of direction happened?  Now, there's a notion that's never been investigated in science fiction – a traffic accident in time travel, a traffic accident with yourself coming in the opposite direction. :)

OK, to be fair, one has to ask whether the term 'travel through time' is pertinent, since travel is a notion relative to time, so it may be more pertinent simply to say we will exist is a particular time.  I suppose what people really mean by revering time is a reversal of causality, as we regard that the future is only dependent upon the past, and the past is never dependent upon the future.  The question I would ask is, is this distinction real or illusory?

If we had a brain condition that only allowed us to view a scene from left to right, then would it not be reasonable, that as we viewed a scene to the left, we would try and guess what came to the right of it.  The scene, in this example, is totally static, but our view of it is moving, from the left to the right.  As we get ever better at guessing what is going to become visible what is immediately to the right of our field of view, based upon all we have seen to the left, would we not begin to infer a causality of what it to the right based upon what is to the left?  The causality is not a physical reality, but an illusion caused by our changing view of the image, and by the way our understanding of the image must be based only upon the changes as we see them..



George
« Last Edit: 18/03/2006 19:58:40 by another_someone »
 

Offline neilep

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Re: The Concept of Time
« Reply #8 on: 18/03/2006 21:45:11 »
Would ' time ' have had to be created first as a precursor for the Universe to commence expanding ?
 

another_someone

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Re: The Concept of Time
« Reply #9 on: 18/03/2006 23:44:26 »
quote:
Originally posted by neilep

Would ' time ' have had to be created first as a precursor for the Universe to commence expanding ?



The question is, does time exist, or is it only a view we have of the universe?  Would time exist, excepting that we interpret the universe as if it had time?



George
« Last Edit: 18/03/2006 23:46:11 by another_someone »
 

Offline realmswalker

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Re: The Concept of Time
« Reply #10 on: 19/03/2006 00:14:30 »
well i believe time is simply the expansion of energy across reality and the increase in chaos.
At the time of the big bang all things existed in 1 point, not very much chaos then.
Now however there is lots of chaos and its increasing as the universe expands (more places for things to exist in, more chaos)
 

another_someone

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Re: The Concept of Time
« Reply #11 on: 19/03/2006 02:07:41 »
quote:
Originally posted by realmswalker

well i believe time is simply the expansion of energy across reality and the increase in chaos.
At the time of the big bang all things existed in 1 point, not very much chaos then.
Now however there is lots of chaos and its increasing as the universe expands (more places for things to exist in, more chaos)



Do not the notions of expansion and increase (whether it be of chaos or anything else)  presuppose a notion of time existing independent from them?

Increase and expansions may be legitimately regarded as consequences of time, but not causes of time.



George
 

Offline realmswalker

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Re: The Concept of Time
« Reply #12 on: 19/03/2006 02:22:08 »
well no actually.
If nothing moved at all in existence, and the universe was totally static, would time exist? No of course not.
Therefore for time to exist there MUST be change and motion
 

Offline JimBob

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Re: The Concept of Time
« Reply #13 on: 19/03/2006 03:12:38 »
Perhaps, it is jut the point of observation. All of us have experinced time slowing down - in a car crash, for example. Things happen in slow motion. You know it is coming but it takes foreveer, or so it seems, for this to happen.


If I only had a little humility, I'd be perfect.
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another_someone

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Re: The Concept of Time
« Reply #14 on: 19/03/2006 03:15:16 »
quote:
Originally posted by realmswalker

well no actually.
If nothing moved at all in existence, and the universe was totally static, would time exist? No of course not.
Therefore for time to exist there MUST be change and motion



This is partly true, but even insofar as it is partly true, it only pertains to the necessity of movement, not for the specifics that expansion be a part of that movement.

I say it is partly true, it is so insofar as the universe can only be perceived to exist (in any dimension, in both space and time) by virtue of the interaction of its component parts, and this predicates motion.  The motion that is predicated is that required for the interaction of its component parts, and not inherently that of expansion.  In fact, one could envision and expanding universe where its component parts never interacted, and each component part moved as if it was the only part, and thus formed the totality of, the universe.  Clearly, such is not the universe that we live in, but it is one that could be imagined.

The point is that this motion in no way causes time to be any more of less created than it does all four dimensions, the three of space and the fourth of time.

But, again, this also assumes (not itself an unreasonable assumption) that the universe (in both space and time) exists only insofar as we observe it to exist, and that which is unobservable cannot exist.  This goes back to what I was saying that time is a manifestation of the observability of the universe, and is not something innate that goes beyond out observation of it.



George
 

another_someone

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Re: The Concept of Time
« Reply #15 on: 19/03/2006 03:28:37 »
quote:
Originally posted by JimBob

Perhaps, it is jut the point of observation. All of us have experinced time slowing down - in a car crash, for example. Things happen in slow motion. You know it is coming but it takes foreveer, or so it seems, for this to happen.


If I only had a little humility, I'd be perfect.
    ----Ted Turner



I think the following is a more basic representation of time, not only the rate of time, but even the sequence of events, and thus the nature of causality, being relative to the observer.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_relativity
quote:

Simultaneity


Special relativity holds that events that are simultaneous in one frame of reference need not be simultaneous in another frame of reference.
Simultaneity can be seen by considering the second term of the expanded Lorentz equation for t'. Here as the velocity v varies two events move forwards or backwards in time relative to each other if they are physically separated in space. This can be observed in Diagram 1; some events may be observed moving from the past to the future and back again as acceleration between reference frames occurs and time passes.
Lack of simultaneity implies that, for example, the two ends of a moving rod actually are not equally old — so for example, a cast radioactive rod would be older and have lower activity at the trailing edge than the leading edge. Indeed, lack of simultaneity explains why Lorentz contraction occurs — the rod is partially tilted along the time axis as it accelerates, giving a foreshortening in the spatial dimension.
According to a paper by Los Alamos scientist James Terrell, the observability of the Lorentz contraction from the single point in space is impossible by optical instruments. For example a distant spherical galaxy moving across the Milky Way with velocity 0.99c would appear as spherical object in our optical instruments. Lorentz contraction of distant galaxies cannot be observed from Earth. [ see "Invisibility of the Lorentz Contraction" in Physical Review 116 (1959) 1041 ]. Lorentz contraction is nevertheless a real physical effect. Its measurement by widely spaced instruments used simultaneously in the given frame is possible.

Causality



[img=left]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/2/24/Light_cone.png/180px-Light_cone.png[/img=left]In diagram 2 the interval AB is 'time-like'; i.e., there is a frame of reference in which event A and event B occur at the same location in space, separated only by occurring at different times. If A precedes B in that frame, then A precedes B in all frames. It is hypothetically possible for matter (or information) to travel from A to B, so there can be a causal relationship (with A the cause and B the effect).
The interval AC in the diagram is 'space-like'; i.e., there is a frame of reference in which event A and event C occur simultaneously, separated only in space. However there are also frames in which A precedes C (as shown) and frames in which C precedes A. Barring some way of traveling faster than light, it is not possible for any matter (or information) to travel from A to C or from C to A. Thus there is no direct causal connection between A and C. However, many points in spacetime would be in the light cone of both C and A and can be causally related to either or both of these events, and similarly both C and A could have been caused by an earlier event.
Since the set of points of spacetime that is in any events light cone is completely independent of reference frame, then causality is absolutely assured.





George
 

Offline GB Randolph

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The Concept of Time
« Reply #16 on: 14/08/2010 22:42:22 »
The concept of time has been debated for centuries, but can briefly be summed in 2 ways:

1) time as an OBJECTIVE phenomena - existing independent of any observer. This was most clearly delineated by Newton. Einstein's Theory Of Relativity was simply a new way of attempting to understand time as objective.
2) time as a subjective phenomena - a psychological concept existing in the minds of men. The German philosopher Immanuel Kant proposed this in his iconic work The Critique Of Pure Reason.

There is a NEW understanding of time which combines BOTH concepts: that time is peculiar to a material physical universe containing space, matter and energy, which was CREATED by non-spatial, non-material eternal spiritual beings, continues to be unwittingly be created BY AGREEMENT and without such an agreement, would not exist.

The following is an excerpt from my booklet The Fifth Component which explains this concept of time:

The Concept Of Eternity

   When I try to enlighten people that they are not their bodies but are, in fact, eternal spiritual beings, one of the difficulties they have is trying to comfortably conceive the notion of eternity or eternal time, or forever.

   The idea of living forever can be pretty mind-boggling and even over-whelming. Trillions upon quad-zillions of years.  But this is a misunderstanding of the correct viewpoint of time. Time is considered to be a force, a phenomenal dimension not unlike matter and energy. But time is no more than the movement of mass (which is condensed energy) through space, from one location to another. The measurement of the moment of matter moving from one spot to another is time, be it a minute sub-atomic electron whizzing around a proton nucleus or a galaxy orbiting around the universe. Time is one of the four basic components of the physical universe, the other 3 being space, matter and energy. One might also add the FIFTH COMPONENT – spiritual beings – the authors of this universe, without whose agreement there would not be a physical universe.

   Thus time, like the other 3 components of the universe, does not exist without beings to create and perceive it. Time only has relevancy to life and living things. And as time is only the measurement of the condensed energy (matter) created by spiritual beings moving through the space created by spiritual beings, time exists SOLEY and ONLY because you, me and thee made it so and CONTINUE to make it so. Are you trying to tell me that I created time, and continue to create it, and time --- as well as the other 3 components --- doesn’t exist if I don’t create it? Seems hard to believe, but it happens to be true. The Buddhists had an inkling of this. For most of us Time rules our lives like an almost unforgiving authoritarian god: we’ve got to be to work on time, to school on time, to bed on time, taxes have to be filed on time and we all have our birthday and date with the grim reaper. But the question is, who’s in control here? Does time control you or do you MAKE time?

Now, the universe and all the beings and things in it don’t need your permission to continue to exist but YOU need to acknowledge their existence for them to exist in YOUR universe and to be a partner in the physical universe. And this you automatically do without even a second thought. That acknowledgement IS the constant creation, and without it, there is no matter, energy, space and time. I guarantee you that if all the beings in this universe were to somehow agree that at such-and-such time the universe would cease to exist IT WOULD! And all the mighty suns and stars and planets and all material things attached to them would disappear! And as there would be nothing to move about in any space there would be no time! Amazingly, that’s how ephemeral and transparent this knuckleheaded physical universe really is and how potentially powerful YOU are. Of course, in our current condition, when you miss the nail and hit your thumb with a hammer the physical universe is not some wispy illusion but very real -- painfully real. 
Time is felt, as a perception --- which is quite a subject in itself --- and in your own little or big universe you are constantly changing your relationship with time. Some people get impatient standing in line at the supermarket and for other people it’s not a problem. The occasions when you were under the influence you will recall you had very different perceptions about time. When you were a child before being indoctrinated into the world of clocks and watches there was lots of time, and, seemingly, as you age, time seems to shrink. But perceiving time is NOT the same as CREATING time.

   When you DO something, YOU CREATE time. When you agree to and with the motion of other beings and things you create time. Time is a constant create. So the correct way of understanding time is that it is always NOW. Hence there really is no “then” or “before”. Neither is there “later”. Of course one can conceive of the past and future but that is all dependant upon what you have done or what you plan to do. When you DO it, that is time. So time is always NOW. The mistake in considering eternity is viewing it as movement, a change (in space) with a beginning, and always moving, changing to a far way end that is never reached. That is conceiving time as an effect – motion through space – and its effect (“aging”, etc) on you. But eternity is actually the forever NOW that YOU are constantly creating by your actions, inactions (same thing, really) or your agreement with the motion of other beings and things.

   Think of eternal time as ALWAYS NOW! It never really begins. It never really changes. It never really ends. So long as YOU are there to create space and condensed energy and move it. Then, and ONLY then, can you agree to the idea that things and events have a beginning, go through change and eventually end. This cycle of time and action is, of course, one of the powerful illusions we all agree to and with, making life a surely interesting game. But actually, it’s always now, wherever you are, wherever you go, whatever you do. That’s forever. Forever is eternal NOW. It’s what you create. And as you are always creating something all the time (no pun intended), you are always creating forever.

Hope this helps.

   
GB Randolph
 

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The Concept of Time
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