The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Is time an illusion?  (Read 11640 times)

Offline yor_on

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 11993
  • Thanked: 4 times
  • (Ah, yes:) *a table is always good to hide under*
    • View Profile
Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #25 on: 26/12/2009 15:29:39 »
This one was actually more brain feeding than most of the links I've seen recently.

So?

What do you think.

Is God one of those nerdy guys with big glasses, running around mumbling untellable things?

Was he mobbed at school?

---
Sorry missed that I had wrote 'unintelligent' when meaning 'untellable'. There is a difference you know. :) I'll blame it on me using 'software' when I couldn't remember the correct spelling. I will punish it (the software:) They won't succeed taking over my world at least.

Wha...@{[ !!!! Dieeee. . .
« Last Edit: 30/12/2009 22:45:07 by yor_on »
 

Offline yor_on

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 11993
  • Thanked: 4 times
  • (Ah, yes:) *a table is always good to hide under*
    • View Profile
Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #26 on: 28/12/2009 20:04:35 »
---Originally posted by Laith---
Time consists of:
Past Time - which no longer exists
Future Time - does not yet exist
Present time - takes no time at all
-------------------------------------------


What exists is dependent upon that which we perceive to exist.  We cannot know of any absolute existence, only of our perception of existence.

The past exists because we perceive of its existence (i.e. we remember it existing).  In fact, it is the present that cannot exist, because we cannot know of anything until some small fraction of a second after it has happened.

Ofcourse, there are degrees of past, some closer than others.


Well reading you I think that time do exist even though we are pretty bad 'eyewitnesses' as you state. Life is all about times arrow, if we stop trusting in it makes no difference. it will still move us 'forward'.

As for 'past', 'present' and the 'future' I agree on that the 'present' alway will be an 'after construction' made after the facts. So in a way no biological system can be 'there'. Not while obeying physical processes.

But we have this strange idea about consciousness and meditation. when you stop your 'thinking' sort of, it seems that this is a state needed for 'enlightenment', although there might be other ways too?

Why I drag it up :) is because consciousness is a little like those smallest constituents in physics, nowhere to be found, no matter how good we will become on seeing its effects and the predispositions craved for it to exist. Maybe I'm wrong but I expect consciousness to be very like those constituents? There but not 'there' at all.

As for the future it can only be said to exist as long as we don't know it. If we by some fluke, would be able to know it, predetermination would have won and we would no longer have that 'free will', as I see it that is. To me you can't have both a knowledge of 'all things to come' and your free will. Not as long as we are talking about only one SpaceTime at least.

This is a very interesting thread to me in fact :)
« Last Edit: 28/12/2009 20:08:18 by yor_on »
 

Ethos

  • Guest
Is time an illusion?
« Reply #27 on: 28/12/2009 21:50:42 »
Regarding this issue of time:

It's common to hear comments about the past, the present, and the future. I'd like to stir the pot just a tad by offering the following thought experiment.

The concept of, "the past" is comfortable for us because we talk about history and how it has influenced "the present". We construct plans regarding "the future" to insure that our common goals are met. Now, I'd like to think for a moment about "the present". The moment we speak about "the present", it's already become "the past".

"The past" lies 13.7 billion years behind us, according to cosmologists, and "the future" lies a possible infinity before us. Where does that leave "the present"? I submit that there is no such thing as "the present". Only "the past and the future".
« Last Edit: 28/12/2009 21:52:13 by Ethos »
 

Offline questioner

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 22
    • View Profile
Is time an illusion?
« Reply #28 on: 28/12/2009 23:06:30 »
Aren't we all time travelers the past is our memories, our present is as we perceive it and the future is in our imagination.
 

Offline yor_on

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 11993
  • Thanked: 4 times
  • (Ah, yes:) *a table is always good to hide under*
    • View Profile
Is time an illusion?
« Reply #29 on: 29/12/2009 01:53:22 »
Nicely put.

Almost poetic in fact.
 

Offline LeeE

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3382
    • View Profile
    • Spatial
Is time an illusion?
« Reply #30 on: 30/12/2009 14:18:23 »
Yup, this is one of the more interesting old threads to resurrect.

The question, as posed in the thread title, cannot be answered definitively, although I think it's fair to say we've got quite a lot of insight relating to it.

First of all, we can show that clear relationships exist between space and time, hence the emergence of the concept of a unified space-time.  However, while we these relationships indicate that space and time are essentially the same, our personal perspective indicates that they are fundamentally different, and I think this is where and why the entire issue arises.

The most obvious difference seems to be that we can move in any direction through space but can only move forward through time.

One way that this can be explained is to look at the phenomenon of time dilation due to spatial movement i.e. the way that time appears to slow down as one moves faster.  Now the Lorentz solution that describes time dilation due to spatial movement is a simple adaptation of Pythagoras's right-angle triangle solution, where Lorentz uses it to sum the movement vectors through space and time.  The solution indicates that the sum of the two vectors is always equal to the speed of light 'c', so that the rate of movement through time reduces as the rate of movement through space increases, and visa-versa (when you normalise the rates of movement along both axis to the range 0 - 1 and then plot the curve you end up with a quadrant of a circle  ;)).

It also seems that, in accordance with Relativity, it is not possible for anything with a non-zero rest mass to be accelerated to 'c'.

The consequence of this is that anything with non-zero rest mass must always exist on the circular arc between the two axis but can never actually reach either axis and just as nothing can be accelerated to 'c', so that the rate of movement along the time axis reaches zero, the implication is that the same holds true at the other end of the arc and nothing can ever be absolutely stationary and move at the temporal equivalent of 'c' through time.

In short then, to change our direction in time would need us to cross the axis, which we can't because we can only ever approach it.

Just going back to that circular plot is also instructive; we seem to only exist along that arc in the quadrant between the two +ve value axis, but the implication of a complete circle is clear.

Also consider how what we view as three spatial dimensions and one temporal dimension may well be transformed into, let's say two spatial axis and two temporal axis.

Imagine a cylinder: we perceive it as a three spatial-dimensional object that exists in a single temporal dimension but we could just as easily define it as being a two dimensional disk that exists for a period of time where the length of the cylinder represents its temporal duration i.e. its life time, but because it has two temporal dimensions we can see its entire life time all at once instead of serially.

So no definitive answer, but I don't think we're entirely devoid of ideas and insights.
 

Offline yor_on

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 11993
  • Thanked: 4 times
  • (Ah, yes:) *a table is always good to hide under*
    • View Profile
Is time an illusion?
« Reply #31 on: 30/12/2009 22:36:20 »
Weirdly nice LeeE :)
That one take some time assimilating.

I've seen you present that idea before but here you made it clearer to me. I will reread it when I slept.
 

Offline yor_on

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 11993
  • Thanked: 4 times
  • (Ah, yes:) *a table is always good to hide under*
    • View Profile
Is time an illusion?
« Reply #32 on: 31/12/2009 17:23:36 »
"Just going back to that circular plot is also instructive; we seem to only exist along that arc in the quadrant between the two +ve value axis, but the implication of a complete circle is clear."

So, do you have any diagram showing this possible circle?
With some examples of how you see that it could be used, ordinary and more 'imaginative' like your example with the cylinder?

(Well I slept a little so I should be able to understand something?:)
 

Offline Make it Lady

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 4050
  • Hands-on fun for everyone!
    • View Profile
Is time an illusion?
« Reply #33 on: 31/12/2009 17:34:34 »
If time is an illusion, how comes David Copperfield, Paul Daniels or David Blain never use it as part of their act?

I find it interesting that we have no linear time memories before the age of about 4 years old so the perception of time is obviously a learnt thing.
 

Offline LeeE

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3382
    • View Profile
    • Spatial
Is time an illusion?
« Reply #34 on: 31/12/2009 18:28:12 »
"Just going back to that circular plot is also instructive; we seem to only exist along that arc in the quadrant between the two +ve value axis, but the implication of a complete circle is clear."

So, do you have any diagram showing this possible circle?
With some examples of how you see that it could be used, ordinary and more 'imaginative' like your example with the cylinder?

(Well I slept a little so I should be able to understand something?:)

Heh - I've been meaning to make a diagram to explain it more easily as the time dilation thing comes up quite often - just haven't got around to it yet.  In short though, you just need to extend the axis to cover both +ve and -ve ranges to see where the full circular plot is implied.

However, although the implication of a full circle is there, I'm not sure that it means anything because what we're talking about here is spatial speed, which is directionless, so negative values of speed don't really make much sense.

Then on top of that, you have the problem of trying to find the square root of negative numbers when you're working in the adjacent quadrants.
 

Offline yor_on

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 11993
  • Thanked: 4 times
  • (Ah, yes:) *a table is always good to hide under*
    • View Profile
Is time an illusion?
« Reply #35 on: 31/12/2009 18:45:02 »
We won't know LeeE but it sure fires the imagination, and from there might a experiment come :)

"I find it interesting that we have no linear time memories before the age of about 4 years old so the perception of time is obviously a learnt thing."

Well, can't that be due to the time our brain needs to make all the synapses fire in the right order to place it in our 'long time storage'?
« Last Edit: 31/12/2009 18:49:18 by yor_on »
 

Offline yor_on

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 11993
  • Thanked: 4 times
  • (Ah, yes:) *a table is always good to hide under*
    • View Profile
Is time an illusion?
« Reply #36 on: 31/12/2009 18:55:50 »
You see, there is this experiment involving gravity and babies.

you have a screen, two magnets, on behind and one before the screen f ex. connected...

And then you film the babies eye movements.

You will find that if you change the magnets trajectory from following a 'normal' path of gravity to one 'impossible' for following gravity that the baby's eye movement still will track the path it should have followed.

If it didn't have any feeling for 'times arrow', that is ordered sequences in time, then that shouldn't happen.
 

Offline Make it Lady

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 4050
  • Hands-on fun for everyone!
    • View Profile
Is time an illusion?
« Reply #37 on: 31/12/2009 19:55:08 »
Wow, that's interesting. Put that aside and personally try to order events in your past. You can do it down to just before you start school. Before that events seem to be on a confused plain with no order. Maybe it has more to do with how our brains process memories but I feel that to a certain extent appreciation of time passing is a learnt thing.
If you do an activity that puts you in the zone time seems to pass faster than if you are bored or waiting for a train. Your appreciation of time can be altered in this way. 
 

Offline LeeE

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3382
    • View Profile
    • Spatial
Is time an illusion?
« Reply #38 on: 31/12/2009 21:34:59 »
Here's an attempt at a diagram:



This shows the relationship arc (in pink) between spatial speed and time dilation.  The red plot shows how the degree of time dilation is 0.5 when you're travelling at 0.866 'c', the green plot shows that the time dilation is 0.707 when you're travelling at 0.707 'c' and the blue plot shows that time is running at 0.866 when you're travelling at 0.5 'c'.
« Last Edit: 31/12/2009 21:36:54 by LeeE »
 

Offline yor_on

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 11993
  • Thanked: 4 times
  • (Ah, yes:) *a table is always good to hide under*
    • View Profile
Is time an illusion?
« Reply #39 on: 31/12/2009 22:32:15 »
You made it LeeE?
Very nicely done.

And now :)

The 'whole circle' please, that's the one I want to see..

(Don't mind if it's not 'proof able', I would just like to see how you visualize it)
 

Offline LeeE

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3382
    • View Profile
    • Spatial
Is time an illusion?
« Reply #40 on: 01/01/2010 12:03:14 »
Yeah, just knocked it up using my 3D software.  I've actually included the entire circle and you can see it extending through and past the axis (it was actually easier to do so) but just not bothered to show it all.  The origin of the axis is at the center of the circle, obviously, and all you need to do is extend them to cover the -ve ranges, but like I said, trying to work with -ve values doesn't make much sense.
 

Offline yor_on

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 11993
  • Thanked: 4 times
  • (Ah, yes:) *a table is always good to hide under*
    • View Profile
Is time an illusion?
« Reply #41 on: 02/01/2010 19:31:39 »
Maybe not, but it might help me see your ideas.
And ideas are always welcome.

I've seen the idea of time taking out 'C' a couple of times but I've never really seen it visualized. As for what kind of 'universe' that might lead too I don't know. It's the other side of the mirror sort of :)

My own idea of it has always been that 'c' is the 'wall'. But maybe there is something on that 'other side' even though I'm having problem seeing it?

 

Offline litespeed

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 419
  • Thanked: 1 times
    • View Profile
Is time an illusion?
« Reply #42 on: 08/01/2010 17:52:02 »
niel - You Wrote: "...perhaps God is a computer programmer!"  If so, then I will become an atheist. Back in the days of the pre-historic Intell 8088 we paraphrased shakespeare: "First, you kill all the programmers."  For instance, you might encounter a menu choice: Activate the Flux Capacitor [yes] [no]. Click on the help button and you get: "This turns the Flux Capacitor On or Off." Nothing much seems to have changed but the number of such choices presented. They seem to increase exponentially with every passing year.

Torquemada: where is he when you really need him. 

PS: The continuous flow of time IS an illusion in very much the same way a motion picture at 36 frames per second seems to show continuous motion. At the Quantum level, I believe, just about everything seems to move in vastly small increments.
 

Ethos

  • Guest
Is time an illusion?
« Reply #43 on: 08/01/2010 23:46:56 »

 At the Quantum level, I believe, just about everything seems to move in vastly small increments.
Exactly litespeed, and that's the very reason the "Present" is so elusive. The "Past" is history and the "Future" is that next increment. Never will we be able to capture the "Present" because those increments you speak of are limited to those from the "Past" and those from the "Future" ones to come.


There is no "Present"................................Ethos
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Is time an illusion?
« Reply #43 on: 08/01/2010 23:46:56 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums