# The Naked Scientists Forum

### Author Topic: Is time an illusion?  (Read 52289 times)

#### Ęthelwulf

• Sr. Member
• Posts: 358
##### Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #125 on: 02/04/2012 11:20:47 »
Is it possible that time is not a measurable thing?  Maybe clocks were invented for practical purposes.  The projection of the future exist in our brains.  The memory of the past exist in our brains.  But the actual past and future never exist, right?  We are trying to theorize about something that doesnt exist.   Right now exist and everything that changes in the now only changes based on our perception, the universe doesnt know the difference between a glass and a shattered glass.

Indeed it is possible and yes, clocks really are an invention, the kind atleast we attribute to clocks hanging on walls.

#### MikeS

• Neilep Level Member
• Posts: 1044
##### Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #126 on: 02/04/2012 17:00:16 »
The energy may be nullified fundamentally. The arguement is, is that matter and geometry is not fundmental. Energy may also not be really fundamental, the reason why is because of the equation

When mass equals zero, energy is also zero and what you are left with is the metric. So when matter equals zero, this corresponds to the contention that matter does not fundmentally exist, what we end up with is energy going to zero as well. That is one solution.

Of course it does, but then you are left with "if time does not exist, mass cannot exist".

Does mass not exist?

Exactly but I would put it the other way around.  If mass does not exist, time cannot exist.

For time to exist it requires both mass (gravity) and energy.

The energy may be nullified fundamentally. The arguement is, is that matter and geometry is not fundmental. Energy may also not be really fundamental, the reason why is because of the equation

When mass equals zero, energy is also zero and what you are left with is the metric. So when matter equals zero, this corresponds to the contention that matter does not fundmentally exist, what we end up with is energy going to zero as well. That is one solution.

Of course it does, but then you are left with "if time does not exist, mass cannot exist".

Does mass not exist?

Well, this was a position Einstein held. In remarks to his famous E=Mc^2 equation, he often dictated that there was no such thing as mass, that everything was really just differential forms of energy.

That does not alter what I have said above.  Mass is a very concentrated form of energy.  So concentrated that it possesses measurable gravity and it is gravity that is important in both creating an en-tropic arrow of time and rate of passage.
« Last Edit: 02/04/2012 17:03:21 by MikeS »

#### Ęthelwulf

• Sr. Member
• Posts: 358
##### Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #127 on: 02/04/2012 17:52:33 »
Yes it would, are you under the impression I haven't considered this? In my spare time a while back, I even sat down and wrote a few equations which would describe a universal mass flow rate. But there are problems with just accepting this. The problem is fundamental.

When the universe came into existence, time could not exist. The reason why is because there was no geometry. This is a well established fact, that at some point there where little to no degrees of freedom. It wasn't until the universe grew sufficiently old could matter appear: matter can be thought about the organization space of particles. Geometrogenesis dictates that this is when geometry also appeared, that is, geometry itself is synonymous with the presence of matter.

There are more reasons now to think that there is no time and there is no matter fundamentally. It is only the high energy physics range we are interested in, the one universally-believed to be the way to unifying the forces of nature.

• First timers
• Posts: 8
##### Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #128 on: 02/04/2012 23:10:04 »
Time is the measurement of change as a metre is a measurement of distance.
They both exist just as much as the other...
If your asking does anything exist then yeh, 'I think therefore i am.' right?

#### Kalopin

• First timers
• Posts: 9
• obligated to examine the percentage of possibility
##### Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #129 on: 02/04/2012 23:26:37 »
I say time and money are only entities made up by man in an attempt to better organize chaos. What would either matter if there was no intelligent life to measure them?
Man thinks on such a much smaller and more accelerated scale of time than the activity in the universe. It seems a whole different level. Maybe philosophically speaking. ;)

#### steved1980

• First timers
• Posts: 8
##### Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #130 on: 02/04/2012 23:38:14 »
Is it possible that time is not a measurable thing?  Maybe clocks were invented for practical purposes.  The projection of the future exist in our brains.  The memory of the past exist in our brains.  But the actual past and future never exist, right?  We are trying to theorize about something that doesnt exist.   Right now exist and everything that changes in the now only changes based on our perception, the universe doesnt know the difference between a glass and a shattered glass.

Indeed it is possible and yes, clocks really are an invention, the kind atleast we attribute to clocks hanging on walls.

It's like a schizophrenic trying to come up with an equation that proves the voice in it's head is real.  His mind is creating the voice and his mind can create theories to explain it but outside his brain the voice doesn't exist.

It's funny that science is this complicated structure that can come crashing down if one little thing is removed, perception.

#### Ęthelwulf

• Sr. Member
• Posts: 358
##### Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #131 on: 03/04/2012 00:21:25 »
Time is the measurement of change as a metre is a measurement of distance.
They both exist just as much as the other...
If your asking does anything exist then yeh, 'I think therefore i am.' right?

As I have explained a few times, time itself is not synonymous with change. You can have frozen systems as well. There is no special relationship here.

#### Ęthelwulf

• Sr. Member
• Posts: 358
##### Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #132 on: 03/04/2012 00:22:06 »
Time is the measurement of change as a metre is a measurement of distance.
They both exist just as much as the other...
If your asking does anything exist then yeh, 'I think therefore i am.' right?

As I have explained a few times, time itself is not synonymous with change. You can have frozen systems as well. There is no special relationship here.

And Barbour has his own theory, where there is no time, only change. Seperate entities see.

#### yor_on

• Naked Science Forum GOD!
• Posts: 11731
• Thanked: 1 times
• (Ah, yes:) *a table is always good to hide under*
##### Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #133 on: 03/04/2012 07:03:43 »
All depends on definitions I would say. To me a arrow is 'what changes'. And I agree on the comments of consciousness too, although Science is restricted to what we can experimentally verify. That means that a lot of experimentally not proven phenomena falls out from the discussion. We know that we can think, we know that we 'exist'. But from there we first need to define what we experience as 'reality' and test, repeatedly, and at different locations keeping to the same circumstances.

Without that 'linear' consciousness, using a arrow, we only have indeterminacy. It's our primary tool for solving any and all mysteries :)

#### MikeS

• Neilep Level Member
• Posts: 1044
##### Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #134 on: 03/04/2012 16:16:00 »
Time is the measurement of change as a metre is a measurement of distance.
They both exist just as much as the other...
If your asking does anything exist then yeh, 'I think therefore i am.' right?

As I have explained a few times, time itself is not synonymous with change. You can have frozen systems as well. There is no special relationship here.

And Barbour has his own theory, where there is no time, only change. Seperate entities see.
I still think it is.  I can't see how you could have change without it taking place in time?

In a truly frozen system with the temperature as close to absolute zero as possible there is no 'usable' energy available and time has effectively stopped therefore there can be no change.

#### Ęthelwulf

• Sr. Member
• Posts: 358
##### Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #135 on: 03/04/2012 16:47:35 »
Time is the measurement of change as a metre is a measurement of distance.
They both exist just as much as the other...
If your asking does anything exist then yeh, 'I think therefore i am.' right?

As I have explained a few times, time itself is not synonymous with change. You can have frozen systems as well. There is no special relationship here.

And Barbour has his own theory, where there is no time, only change. Seperate entities see.
I still think it is.  I can't see how you could have change without it taking place in time?

In a truly frozen system with the temperature as close to absolute zero as possible there is no 'usable' energy available and time has effectively stopped therefore there can be no change.

Personally, I don't understand why people can't understand change without invoking time. Neither concept are even the same thing, in many demonstrations you can speak about time without a system even changing state which is evidence alone neither concepts are truely the same. Time is more of a parameter than being the same thing in normal circumstances, or if you like it provides freedom; but time is not change itself.

Secondly, the idea of it providing freedom is the idea it is also part of geometry. What part then also amuses me why no one picks up on the obvious truth that when the universe came into existence, there was in fact no geometry one could talk of... so time is not really a real artefect of the world. If time exists, it appeared late in the universes history when matter clocks where able to define time itself. Worse off, there is no evidence time actually exists ''out there'' so thinking it does is speculation - or perhaps worse than that even, that we are projecting our own experiences on the world outside thinking it exists objectively. This is most obvious when one realizes that memories of a past and feeling a future to be expectant are all illusions of the mind. Even Einstein once said, ''the distinction of past and future are only stubbornly persistent illusions.''
« Last Edit: 03/04/2012 16:49:24 by Ęthelwulf »

#### yor_on

• Naked Science Forum GOD!
• Posts: 11731
• Thanked: 1 times
• (Ah, yes:) *a table is always good to hide under*
##### Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #136 on: 04/04/2012 01:16:57 »
No Wulf, to me it's not the same. If you read what I wrote before it's perfectly possible to define it from locality, as you observing having a arrow, which you must as you're the one observing, although that what you observe is without change intrinsically, and so exhibiting 'no arrow' as defined from your observation. The problem comes when you want a undivided same SpaceTime, because in such a one there must be arrow encompassing both the 'frozen' object you observe, as well as yourself, and everything else existing.

And I, as well as you, use 'clocks' to measure time, where the best one must be radiation. But that is the 'arrow of time', not what I call 'time'. And you're perfectly right in that clocks came at a later 'time' :) but the concept of a arrow must have a origin somewhere. Possibly as a result of there coming to be a geometry?
« Last Edit: 04/04/2012 01:18:43 by yor_on »

#### MikeS

• Neilep Level Member
• Posts: 1044
##### Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #137 on: 04/04/2012 05:56:28 »
Time is the measurement of change as a metre is a measurement of distance.
They both exist just as much as the other...
If your asking does anything exist then yeh, 'I think therefore i am.' right?

As I have explained a few times, time itself is not synonymous with change. You can have frozen systems as well. There is no special relationship here.

And Barbour has his own theory, where there is no time, only change. Seperate entities see.
I still think it is.  I can't see how you could have change without it taking place in time?

In a truly frozen system with the temperature as close to absolute zero as possible there is no 'usable' energy available and time has effectively stopped therefore there can be no change.

Personally, I don't understand why people can't understand change without invoking time. Neither concept are even the same thing, in many demonstrations you can speak about time without a system even changing state which is evidence alone neither concepts are truely the same. Time is more of a parameter than being the same thing in normal circumstances, or if you like it provides freedom; but time is not change itself.

Secondly, the idea of it providing freedom is the idea it is also part of geometry. What part then also amuses me why no one picks up on the obvious truth that when the universe came into existence, there was in fact no geometry one could talk of... so time is not really a real artefect of the world. If time exists, it appeared late in the universes history when matter clocks where able to define time itself. Worse off, there is no evidence time actually exists ''out there'' so thinking it does is speculation - or perhaps worse than that even, that we are projecting our own experiences on the world outside thinking it exists objectively. This is most obvious when one realizes that memories of a past and feeling a future to be expectant are all illusions of the mind. Even Einstein once said, ''the distinction of past and future are only stubbornly persistent illusions.''

I think you are wrong.  You can't speak about time without a system changing state.  A clock requires energy to run.  No energy, or if that energy is frozen then the clock does not run.  No time.

Time is change.  If there is no change there is no time.

Without time, distance and hence geometry become pretty meaningless.  Without mass to both define the arrow of time and to give it a time dilation factor then time as we know it does not exist but that does not preclude change.  It does preclude causality.  The arrow of time without mass is double ended and everything happens all at once.

The question should be is this very early state before the creation of mass a state of the universe or its precursor?  Maybe it is just a very hot state within the quantum vacuum that cooled to become the Universe.

When the 'universe' cooled sufficiently for mass to form then it would meet our description of what we consider to be the Universe.  At that point 'Time' came into existence.

I agree that something happened before (whatever that means as 'before' is meaningless without time) that point but whether it is correct to think of it as within or prior to the universe is debatable.

We have no reason to believe that time would not exist out there.  Everywhere in the Universe there is energy and gravity so there must be local time. Thinking that time does not exist out there is pure speculation.

#### Ęthelwulf

• Sr. Member
• Posts: 358
##### Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #138 on: 04/04/2012 10:11:56 »
No Wulf, to me it's not the same. If you read what I wrote before it's perfectly possible to define it from locality, as you observing having a arrow, which you must as you're the one observing, although that what you observe is without change intrinsically, and so exhibiting 'no arrow' as defined from your observation. The problem comes when you want a undivided same SpaceTime, because in such a one there must be arrow encompassing both the 'frozen' object you observe, as well as yourself, and everything else existing.

And I, as well as you, use 'clocks' to measure time, where the best one must be radiation. But that is the 'arrow of time', not what I call 'time'. And you're perfectly right in that clocks came at a later 'time' :) but the concept of a arrow must have a origin somewhere. Possibly as a result of there coming to be a geometry?

Radiation fields are actually the worse kind, not the best. They don't act as clocks, which has been my point all along. The universe arose in radiation fields, not matter field. Only the latter here act as clocks.

#### Ęthelwulf

• Sr. Member
• Posts: 358
##### Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #139 on: 04/04/2012 10:25:08 »
Time is the measurement of change as a metre is a measurement of distance.
They both exist just as much as the other...
If your asking does anything exist then yeh, 'I think therefore i am.' right?

As I have explained a few times, time itself is not synonymous with change. You can have frozen systems as well. There is no special relationship here.

And Barbour has his own theory, where there is no time, only change. Seperate entities see.
I still think it is.  I can't see how you could have change without it taking place in time?

In a truly frozen system with the temperature as close to absolute zero as possible there is no 'usable' energy available and time has effectively stopped therefore there can be no change.

Personally, I don't understand why people can't understand change without invoking time. Neither concept are even the same thing, in many demonstrations you can speak about time without a system even changing state which is evidence alone neither concepts are truely the same. Time is more of a parameter than being the same thing in normal circumstances, or if you like it provides freedom; but time is not change itself.

Secondly, the idea of it providing freedom is the idea it is also part of geometry. What part then also amuses me why no one picks up on the obvious truth that when the universe came into existence, there was in fact no geometry one could talk of... so time is not really a real artefect of the world. If time exists, it appeared late in the universes history when matter clocks where able to define time itself. Worse off, there is no evidence time actually exists ''out there'' so thinking it does is speculation - or perhaps worse than that even, that we are projecting our own experiences on the world outside thinking it exists objectively. This is most obvious when one realizes that memories of a past and feeling a future to be expectant are all illusions of the mind. Even Einstein once said, ''the distinction of past and future are only stubbornly persistent illusions.''

I think you are wrong.  You can't speak about time without a system changing state.  A clock requires energy to run.  No energy, or if that energy is frozen then the clock does not run.  No time.

Time is change.  If there is no change there is no time.

Without time, distance and hence geometry become pretty meaningless.  Without mass to both define the arrow of time and to give it a time dilation factor then time as we know it does not exist but that does not preclude change.  It does preclude causality.  The arrow of time without mass is double ended and everything happens all at once.

The question should be is this very early state before the creation of mass a state of the universe or its precursor?  Maybe it is just a very hot state within the quantum vacuum that cooled to become the Universe.

When the 'universe' cooled sufficiently for mass to form then it would meet our description of what we consider to be the Universe.  At that point 'Time' came into existence.

I agree that something happened before (whatever that means as 'before' is meaningless without time) that point but whether it is correct to think of it as within or prior to the universe is debatable.

We have no reason to believe that time would not exist out there.  Everywhere in the Universe there is energy and gravity so there must be local time. Thinking that time does not exist out there is pure speculation.

First of all, as far as quantum mechanics is concerned - if your time evolution is frozen, nothing about the system is truely physically changing. Take the zeno effect. Observe a particle and you may freeze the system in time, so to speak, nothing physical is changing.

''When the 'universe' cooled sufficiently for mass to form then it would meet our description of what we consider to be the Universe.  At that point 'Time' came into existence.  ''

Then we essentially agree with something. Time only becomes significant if you like, later in the universes history. Be this as it may, it makes time geometrical and not fundamental. Anyone who knows the implications of those words will come to realize that what exists fundamentally is not time - that alone has serious implications on whether it truely exists.

As for thinking time does exist out there, I think that is speculatory. What evidence do we have other than our own subjective experiences? Can you give a working example?

#### Ęthelwulf

• Sr. Member
• Posts: 358
##### Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #140 on: 04/04/2012 10:26:38 »
In fact, think of time as being emergent of matter and geometry. It's a by-product.

#### Ęthelwulf

• Sr. Member
• Posts: 358
##### Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #141 on: 04/04/2012 10:28:24 »
In fact, think of time as being emergent of matter and geometry. It's a by-product.

Perhaps the technical term would be ''induced time''.

#### acecharly

• Sr. Member
• Posts: 171
##### Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #142 on: 04/04/2012 13:12:27 »
In fact, think of time as being emergent of matter and geometry. It's a by-product.

Perhaps the technical term would be ''induced time''.

so now your saying maybe some kind of time does exist then?

#### Ęthelwulf

• Sr. Member
• Posts: 358
##### Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #143 on: 04/04/2012 13:15:00 »
In fact, think of time as being emergent of matter and geometry. It's a by-product.

Perhaps the technical term would be ''induced time''.

so now your saying maybe some kind of time does exist then?

No.

Time is an emergent phenomenon. In other words, it's a psuedo-dimension. It's not really real.

#### acecharly

• Sr. Member
• Posts: 171
##### Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #144 on: 04/04/2012 13:19:38 »
In fact, think of time as being emergent of matter and geometry. It's a by-product.

Perhaps the technical term would be ''induced time''.

so now your saying maybe some kind of time does exist then?

No.

Time is an emergent phenomenon. In other words, it's a psuedo-dimension. It's not really real.

And do these emergent phenomina not add up?

#### Ęthelwulf

• Sr. Member
• Posts: 358
##### Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #145 on: 04/04/2012 13:25:31 »
In fact, think of time as being emergent of matter and geometry. It's a by-product.

Perhaps the technical term would be ''induced time''.

so now your saying maybe some kind of time does exist then?

No.

Time is an emergent phenomenon. In other words, it's a psuedo-dimension. It's not really real.

And do these emergent phenomina not add up?

they are not fundamental, the kind of science is primarily interested in, in an approach to unification of the forces.

#### acecharly

• Sr. Member
• Posts: 171
##### Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #146 on: 04/04/2012 13:35:22 »
Can you explain how you believe the order of what is  said to be 'time' takes place in the order it does. i.e why we get up eat breakfast then dinner then tea for example not just any random order.

Time only exists in the moment from what I can make out your saying.
Its almost asthough your not saying time does not exist but all time does not exist at once. Well it couldnt everything would have to happen at once and it doesnt from how we observe changes of our view of the world around us.

#### Ęthelwulf

• Sr. Member
• Posts: 358
##### Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #147 on: 04/04/2012 13:39:56 »
Can you explain how you believe the order of what is  said to be 'time' takes place in the order it does. i.e why we get up eat breakfast then dinner then tea for example not just any random order.

Time only exists in the moment from what I can make out your saying.
Its almost asthough your not saying time does not exist but all time does not exist at once. Well it couldnt everything would have to happen at once and it doesnt from how we observe changes of our view of the world around us.

Yes, order appears because of the psychological arrow of time. It is this specific arrow which makes us believe there is an essential physical arrow of time to existence, which it doesn't of course. Time if anything is not linear, there is no arrow. It has geometrical features. And no, not everything needs to happen at once. From our viewpoint, nothing does happen at once. Alone, we are bradyons stuck in time; these bradyons feels time pass. Other than a subjective feeling, there is no physical reality to time.

#### Ęthelwulf

• Sr. Member
• Posts: 358
##### Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #148 on: 04/04/2012 13:41:36 »
As I said, change can happen. Time just doesn't exist. This is the same as Barbours approach. He believes there is no time only change.

#### acecharly

• Sr. Member
• Posts: 171
##### Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #149 on: 04/04/2012 14:02:49 »
ah so maybe our perception of time is our perception of change which are exactly the same thing with a different title. Time is not the ticking of a watch it is just a change of state.

#### The Naked Scientists Forum

##### Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #149 on: 04/04/2012 14:02:49 »