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Author Topic: Is time an illusion?  (Read 54106 times)

Offline Ęthelwulf

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #75 on: 27/03/2012 08:22:01 »

Seriously dude, go learn some physics before you make statements you can't support. Time should not be physical. Just because it is part of an understanding Minkowski made years and years ago that by treating it as a dimension has left physics following a wrong path - a deluded idea that perhaps time is also physical, that it is part of the manifold we call space. Sure, calculationally-wise, time is very useful when thought of as a dimension. Other than that, it has no physical appearance. Time is not an observable. It is not tangible.
Is speed a tangible?

Observables, real tangible properties which can be measured are provided by Hermitian Matrices. I will leave it to you as a task to find out what uses Hermitian Matrices.
 

Offline imatfaal

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #76 on: 27/03/2012 10:24:10 »
Aethelwulf - please lose the superior attitude and keep it friendly. 


Seriously dude, go learn some physics before you make statements you can't support. Time should not be physical. Just because it is part of an understanding Minkowski made years and years ago that by treating it as a dimension has left physics following a wrong path - a deluded idea that perhaps time is also physical, that it is part of the manifold we call space. Sure, calculationally-wise, time is very useful when thought of as a dimension. Other than that, it has no physical appearance. Time is not an observable. It is not tangible.
Is speed a tangible?

Observables, real tangible properties which can be measured are provided by Hermitian Matrices. I will leave it to you as a task to find out what uses Hermitian Matrices.

On your above comment properties are not "provided by Hermitian Matrices" - that is well and truly putting the quantum mechanical cart before the horse.  Dynamic variables can be associated with a hermitian operator - which is not the same thing at all.

In quantum mechanics every variable (position, momentum,  angular momentum, spin, energy, and many tothers) is able to be represented by a Hermitian operator that can be mathematically manipulated in a way to describe an action on the state of the system and the eigenvalues of which will correspond to the possible values that the dynamical variable can take.   I would be interested on your take on momentum and energy which are well known and well used variables and associated hermitian operators - and how an absence of time would effect them.
 

Offline Ęthelwulf

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #77 on: 27/03/2012 11:55:51 »
Aethelwulf - please lose the superior attitude and keep it friendly. 


Seriously dude, go learn some physics before you make statements you can't support. Time should not be physical. Just because it is part of an understanding Minkowski made years and years ago that by treating it as a dimension has left physics following a wrong path - a deluded idea that perhaps time is also physical, that it is part of the manifold we call space. Sure, calculationally-wise, time is very useful when thought of as a dimension. Other than that, it has no physical appearance. Time is not an observable. It is not tangible.
Is speed a tangible?

Observables, real tangible properties which can be measured are provided by Hermitian Matrices. I will leave it to you as a task to find out what uses Hermitian Matrices.

On your above comment properties are not "provided by Hermitian Matrices" - that is well and truly putting the quantum mechanical cart before the horse.  Dynamic variables can be associated with a hermitian operator - which is not the same thing at all.

In quantum mechanics every variable (position, momentum,  angular momentum, spin, energy, and many tothers) is able to be represented by a Hermitian operator that can be mathematically manipulated in a way to describe an action on the state of the system and the eigenvalues of which will correspond to the possible values that the dynamical variable can take.   I would be interested on your take on momentum and energy which are well known and well used variables and associated hermitian operators - and how an absence of time would effect them.

This has nothing to do with being superior. This has to do with being right. Why spurt off something which makes no sense? I am shrugging my shoulders here.

Anyway, observables, things that we can measure are Hermitian Matrices. This is well-established in quantum mechanics, that is, they are always real. Let's just cover what it implies.

You must first check to see if 0cc175b9c0f1b6a831c399e269772661.gif and 92eb5ffee6ae2fec3ad71c777531578f.gif are complex conjugates of each other, 39ce834d15a5b2847a49a7fe100b2e71.gif. A less obvious case might be 6fc2aaa966d59cd551de65437a75dd59.gif. Take 69691c7bdcc3ce6d5d8a1361f22d04ac.gif multiplying it with the ket vector gives a new row vector. Take the inner product with ac9ad5465da4e5277a84b69937d21bc1.gif and it spits out a number. We might say then that f81bc580286d595371d0e0ccd8ea2c4c.gif is acting complex conjugate 8dab27a5fa70b3c9fab8512c92ec440c.gif where all rows and columns have been interchanged. Properly conjugated one has the form

46006b61bd495bd1f030e5169304b0bb.gif

However if it is Hermitian then

0a2dad26525917cec68f729cec43fac6.gif

where the dagger notation is removed. If we have our 7acaac15494e6820b1ed6d8b539af089.gif then a wee snippet to mention that it is simply the expectation 8303db461330294bb1339835bf0244bd.gif. So I am unsure what it is really you have an objection about. My statement is very scientific.
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #78 on: 30/03/2012 20:42:38 »
Let us play out your idea a little Wulf :)

Assume that 'the arrow of time' is a component that can be ignored for a complete description. Then assume that you measure a 'photon path'. You find it to exist as it must through your weak measurements, which here will be amassed statistics as far as I see.

Then that 'path' is no path at all, it's the probability of a path. And the fact that you also see weak measurements as 'eliminating time', if I got it right, then must become a statement of that light not moving at all. And if it is so, which I sometimes think too, what about the 'paths' not taken?
 

Offline Ęthelwulf

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #79 on: 30/03/2012 21:01:17 »
Let us play out your idea a little Wulf :)

Assume that 'the arrow of time' is a component that can be ignored for a complete description. Then assume that you measure a 'photon path'. You find it to exist as it must through your weak measurements, which here will be amassed statistics as far as I see.

Then that 'path' is no path at all, it's the probability of a path. And the fact that you also see weak measurements as 'eliminating time', if I got it right, then must become a statement of that light not moving at all. And if it is so, which I sometimes think too, what about the 'paths' not taken?

I mentioned weak measurements before because someone mentioned atomic clocks radiating away energy. I mentioned weak measurements because the zeno effect can in fact freeze the evolution of systems.

Anyway, as for paths, we describe them in relativity with worldlines. Wordlines don't make a distinction of past and future - perhaps just as important, you can view worldines as static.
 

Offline Pmb

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #80 on: 30/03/2012 23:00:16 »
This thread is too long to read all of it so I'm starting to read it here.

Question: There was an article in Scientific American entitled Is Time an Illusion? Would you like to read it? If so then I'll take the time to upload it to the web and modify my website to accomodate it.

Pete
 

Offline JP

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #81 on: 30/03/2012 23:02:54 »
Aethelwulf - please lose the superior attitude and keep it friendly. 


Seriously dude, go learn some physics before you make statements you can't support. Time should not be physical. Just because it is part of an understanding Minkowski made years and years ago that by treating it as a dimension has left physics following a wrong path - a deluded idea that perhaps time is also physical, that it is part of the manifold we call space. Sure, calculationally-wise, time is very useful when thought of as a dimension. Other than that, it has no physical appearance. Time is not an observable. It is not tangible.
Is speed a tangible?

Observables, real tangible properties which can be measured are provided by Hermitian Matrices. I will leave it to you as a task to find out what uses Hermitian Matrices.

On your above comment properties are not "provided by Hermitian Matrices" - that is well and truly putting the quantum mechanical cart before the horse.  Dynamic variables can be associated with a hermitian operator - which is not the same thing at all.

In quantum mechanics every variable (position, momentum,  angular momentum, spin, energy, and many tothers) is able to be represented by a Hermitian operator that can be mathematically manipulated in a way to describe an action on the state of the system and the eigenvalues of which will correspond to the possible values that the dynamical variable can take.   I would be interested on your take on momentum and energy which are well known and well used variables and associated hermitian operators - and how an absence of time would effect them.

This has nothing to do with being superior. This has to do with being right. Why spurt off something which makes no sense? I am shrugging my shoulders here.

Anyway, observables, things that we can measure are Hermitian Matrices. This is well-established in quantum mechanics, that is, they are always real. Let's just cover what it implies.

You must first check to see if 0cc175b9c0f1b6a831c399e269772661.gif and 92eb5ffee6ae2fec3ad71c777531578f.gif are complex conjugates of each other, 39ce834d15a5b2847a49a7fe100b2e71.gif. A less obvious case might be 6fc2aaa966d59cd551de65437a75dd59.gif. Take 69691c7bdcc3ce6d5d8a1361f22d04ac.gif multiplying it with the ket vector gives a new row vector. Take the inner product with ac9ad5465da4e5277a84b69937d21bc1.gif and it spits out a number. We might say then that f81bc580286d595371d0e0ccd8ea2c4c.gif is acting complex conjugate 8dab27a5fa70b3c9fab8512c92ec440c.gif where all rows and columns have been interchanged. Properly conjugated one has the form

46006b61bd495bd1f030e5169304b0bb.gif

However if it is Hermitian then

0a2dad26525917cec68f729cec43fac6.gif

where the dagger notation is removed. If we have our 7acaac15494e6820b1ed6d8b539af089.gif then a wee snippet to mention that it is simply the expectation 8303db461330294bb1339835bf0244bd.gif. So I am unsure what it is really you have an objection about. My statement is very scientific.

One should be careful not to assume that something must be an observable to be measured.  You can measure arrival times or duration times quite well, even though you can't write "time" as a Hermitian operator.  There's been a lot of recent advances in understanding how real-world measurements work in quantum mechanics (not the idealized types usually talked about in textbooks), and this has led to the idea of a positive operator-valued measure: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/POVM 

There's a lot of math there, but the gist is that you can define useful operators that measure different time properties of a quantum state.  These operators aren't unique, nor are they necessarily Hermitian, but within the POVM framework, they describe measurements of those time properties.
 

Offline Ęthelwulf

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #82 on: 31/03/2012 00:57:49 »
Well, if we are taking about something which can be measured, then we are talking about Eigenstates here. It seems quite simple enough that time is not an observable - it is not something we can see directly.

Assuming time can be measured because we can ''measure durations'' to me, is like falling back on that illusion we call time and once again projecting it on the world we tend to measure just because we ''think it exists objectively.'' There is however, no real evidence for this. In fact, I have found in my own studies that time more or less does not even exist within the modern framework of relativity. Physics also reshaped the idea that somehow time has a flow; which it doesn't.

Time isn't a ''state'' which comes about from a measurement. Hence again, it is not an observable.
 

Offline Geezer

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #83 on: 31/03/2012 01:25:35 »
Time isn't a ''state'' which comes about from a measurement. Hence again, it is not an observable.

States don't come about by measurement. States are observed through measurement. States exist whether you measure them or not.
 
Time isn't a state, but time determines the state of everything.
 

Offline acecharly

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #84 on: 31/03/2012 01:45:09 »
I think time is odd. I think its an illusion and also not an illusion. My mind tells me that every state of the universe is fixed. We see a continual rolling of these states which gives us a perception of change in the universe just like a film rolling through a projector showing individual frames. Our brains perceive this as a moving picture or "time". I believe time is simply a change of the state of the universe. If every particle in the universe were to stop momenterily then time would stop until some particle made a first move. My concern though is how to describe one of these frames if you dont use time i.e. between each keystroke i make on this keyboard for example how many frames have been taken? is it the combined number of every particle of matter moving through space between 2 events?
 

Offline Ęthelwulf

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #85 on: 31/03/2012 02:06:17 »
Time isn't a ''state'' which comes about from a measurement. Hence again, it is not an observable.

States don't come about by measurement. States are observed through measurement. States exist whether you measure them or not.
 
Time isn't a state, but time determines the state of everything.

I disagree.

According to the fundamental interpretation of quantum mechanics, objects exist in a superpositioning of states. Only upon a measurement can you pull a quantum system out of this superpositioning and create well-defined states.
 

Offline Ęthelwulf

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #86 on: 31/03/2012 02:07:44 »
Time isn't a ''state'' which comes about from a measurement. Hence again, it is not an observable.

States don't come about by measurement. States are observed through measurement. States exist whether you measure them or not.
 
Time isn't a state, but time determines the state of everything.

As for time is not a state, but determines states, who could argue with that? Still don't make it an observable.
 

Offline Ęthelwulf

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #87 on: 31/03/2012 02:10:27 »
I think time is odd. I think its an illusion and also not an illusion. My mind tells me that every state of the universe is fixed. We see a continual rolling of these states which gives us a perception of change in the universe just like a film rolling through a projector showing individual frames. Our brains perceive this as a moving picture or "time". I believe time is simply a change of the state of the universe. If every particle in the universe were to stop momenterily then time would stop until some particle made a first move. My concern though is how to describe one of these frames if you dont use time i.e. between each keystroke i make on this keyboard for example how many frames have been taken? is it the combined number of every particle of matter moving through space between 2 events?

If I was to believe in time, it would require some serious changes... past and future could not exist. Only an everlasting present moment, and inside the present sphere physical change occurs. I would also have to teach myself to believe that there is no flow to time as well. It does not extend from any past, nor to any future, because nothing exists in the past and nothing exists in the future.

But hey, I don't need to believe any of that, because I am convinced time is an invention and we keep attaching to the physical world outside, erreneously I should add.
 

Offline Geezer

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #88 on: 31/03/2012 02:19:12 »

As for time is not a state, but determines states, who could argue with that? Still don't make it an observable.


So the changes in state that we observe are the result of what exactly? Or are you saying changes in state are an illusion too?
 

Offline acecharly

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #89 on: 31/03/2012 02:30:07 »
I think time is odd. I think its an illusion and also not an illusion. My mind tells me that every state of the universe is fixed. We see a continual rolling of these states which gives us a perception of change in the universe just like a film rolling through a projector showing individual frames. Our brains perceive this as a moving picture or "time". I believe time is simply a change of the state of the universe. If every particle in the universe were to stop momenterily then time would stop until some particle made a first move. My concern though is how to describe one of these frames if you dont use time i.e. between each keystroke i make on this keyboard for example how many frames have been taken? is it the combined number of every particle of matter moving through space between 2 events?

If I was to believe in time, it would require some serious changes... past and future could not exist. Only an everlasting present moment, and inside the present sphere physical change occurs. I would also have to teach myself to believe that there is no flow to time as well. It does not extend from any past, nor to any future, because nothing exists in the past and nothing exists in the future.

But hey, I don't need to believe any of that, because I am convinced time is an invention and we keep attaching to the physical world outside, erreneously I should add.

You say..."in the present sphere physical change occurs" from which points do you believe change occurs though? We could assume that from the big bang to now could be that sphere or a kettle goin from cold to boiling. For change to occur we must have moved to the next sphere. Time is a consequence of physical change without it the universe would be impossible id have thought because all matter would be in every state it has ever been in and ever will be in if that makes sense. Isnt time similar to gravity? it exists as a consequence of warped space like a side effect.
 

Offline Ęthelwulf

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #90 on: 31/03/2012 02:36:28 »
This thread is too long to read all of it so I'm starting to read it here.

Question: There was an article in Scientific American entitled Is Time an Illusion? Would you like to read it? If so then I'll take the time to upload it to the web and modify my website to accomodate it.

Pete

To save you time, here is the article:
 <link redacted pending copyright check>
« Last Edit: 02/04/2012 13:18:46 by imatfaal »
 

Offline Ęthelwulf

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #91 on: 31/03/2012 02:37:50 »

As for time is not a state, but determines states, who could argue with that? Still don't make it an observable.


So the changes in state that we observe are the result of what exactly? Or are you saying changes in state are an illusion too?

Change is not synonymous with time. Changes can be decribed without a time evolution - these are just special ways of treating a new emerging physics.

The article, actually describes this above in my previous post. It is a good read, makes all the arguements I have made.
 

Offline Ęthelwulf

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #92 on: 31/03/2012 02:39:33 »
I think time is odd. I think its an illusion and also not an illusion. My mind tells me that every state of the universe is fixed. We see a continual rolling of these states which gives us a perception of change in the universe just like a film rolling through a projector showing individual frames. Our brains perceive this as a moving picture or "time". I believe time is simply a change of the state of the universe. If every particle in the universe were to stop momenterily then time would stop until some particle made a first move. My concern though is how to describe one of these frames if you dont use time i.e. between each keystroke i make on this keyboard for example how many frames have been taken? is it the combined number of every particle of matter moving through space between 2 events?

If I was to believe in time, it would require some serious changes... past and future could not exist. Only an everlasting present moment, and inside the present sphere physical change occurs. I would also have to teach myself to believe that there is no flow to time as well. It does not extend from any past, nor to any future, because nothing exists in the past and nothing exists in the future.

But hey, I don't need to believe any of that, because I am convinced time is an invention and we keep attaching to the physical world outside, erreneously I should add.

You say..."in the present sphere physical change occurs" from which points do you believe change occurs though? We could assume that from the big bang to now could be that sphere or a kettle goin from cold to boiling. For change to occur we must have moved to the next sphere. Time is a consequence of physical change without it the universe would be impossible id have thought because all matter would be in every state it has ever been in and ever will be in if that makes sense. Isnt time similar to gravity? it exists as a consequence of warped space like a side effect.

Time is a consequence of a subliminal feeling of some of time passing. To me, time is not a consequence of change, because time does not exist. Change does.
 

Offline acecharly

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #93 on: 31/03/2012 02:39:47 »

As for time is not a state, but determines states, who could argue with that? Still don't make it an observable.


So the changes in state that we observe are the result of what exactly? Or are you saying changes in state are an illusion too?

Haha i do love mindbogglers like this.....isnt it kind of yes and no here? the state changes but at the same time its a different state not the same state that we started with...
 

Offline acecharly

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #94 on: 31/03/2012 02:46:02 »
Hmmmm it seems a little bit of splitting hairs is taking place when you say you dont believe in time but you believe in change its a different word describing the same thing.
 

Offline Ęthelwulf

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #95 on: 31/03/2012 02:50:40 »
Hmmmm it seems a little bit of splitting hairs is taking place when you say you dont believe in time but you believe in change its a different word describing the same thing.

Well, I think there are serious problems if one cannot identify a difference between change and time. Will time still pass if an atom is frozen from evolving when measured (zeno effect)? See, an atom may be frozen from evolving by radiating away energy. Frozen in the sense no change happens, but we normally don't assume time itself has stopped, only the time evolution.

Change and time are really not describing the same things.
 

Offline acecharly

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #96 on: 31/03/2012 03:06:13 »
If we differentiate between time and change and go with change, the 2 states must be totally independant i.e the atom from one changed state to the other must be 2 totally different atoms almost another universe with an atom that is similar to the one from the previous universe though in a slightly different state and/or position and each and every change observed must also be this way and as we all observe these same changes we must all be moving into the same universe as each other unless their are an infinite amount of changes and possibilities of change taking place in an infinite amount of universes.
 

Offline JP

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #97 on: 31/03/2012 03:22:05 »
Well, if we are taking about something which can be measured, then we are talking about Eigenstates here. It seems quite simple enough that time is not an observable - it is not something we can see directly.

Assuming time can be measured because we can ''measure durations'' to me, is like falling back on that illusion we call time and once again projecting it on the world we tend to measure just because we ''think it exists objectively.'' There is however, no real evidence for this. In fact, I have found in my own studies that time more or less does not even exist within the modern framework of relativity. Physics also reshaped the idea that somehow time has a flow; which it doesn't.

Time isn't a ''state'' which comes about from a measurement. Hence again, it is not an observable.

Perhaps you should take a look at what POVM entails before dismissing it out of hand? 

It's basically reformulating the concept of measurement in QM in terms of operators that get you real-valued results.  The theory has showed (successfully) that the result of a measurement is not necessarily the result of applying a self-adjoint operator to your state.  Even in this theory, there are still no "time eigenstates," but that's beside the point--we know that we can measure arrival times and this theory explains how.

It's also been a lot of use in quantum information theory, and is a pretty active area of research. 

Here's a good link explaining how it differs from the more traditional view of measurables: http://www.springerlink.com/content/pmafpr8xt0cbve9b/fulltext.pdf
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #98 on: 31/03/2012 08:12:20 »
Time isn't a ''state'' which comes about from a measurement. Hence again, it is not an observable.

States don't come about by measurement. States are observed through measurement. States exist whether you measure them or not.
 
Time isn't a state, but time determines the state of everything.

I disagree.

According to the fundamental interpretation of quantum mechanics, objects exist in a superpositioning of states. Only upon a measurement can you pull a quantum system out of this superpositioning and create well-defined states.

And what do you do that measurement in?
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #99 on: 31/03/2012 08:19:35 »
Thanks JP, I will certainly read it for one :)

And in a way the arrow becomes 'hair splitting' as we have no certain definition of it. To have a 'change' there is needed a mechanism for something to change. That mechanism is the arrow. Then the question becomes, as I'm starting to wonder and Wulf it seems, as well as some others here, if the arrow only can be observed on 'what changes' or if there is a arrow for something not changing too?

If you like me think that the arrow is a very local process then if there is no change locally the arrow is 'suspended' as I see it now. If you on the other hand conceive of SpaceTime as being 'one whole thing' then it becomes trickier.
« Last Edit: 31/03/2012 08:21:10 by yor_on »
 

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