10 Timeless Conclusions.

A brief history of timelessness, conclusion.

Where did the notion of time start?

Our first reasons for even considering that a thing like time exists seem to enter our thinking as suggestions from outside, parents point to ‘clocks’ and saying the word ‘time’. From there we can chose to run with the idea without once checking if it is really valid, or look into each of its apparent components carefully ourselves, and if we do this where does it leave us? 

To say that the universe and everything in it is truly amazing would be a truly amazing understatement. Just as it is beyond me to understand how and why it could possibly exist, it is equally beyond me to understand how any why it could possibly not exist, because if all this stuff ‘came from somewhere’ then where could that place be, and if it is all going to vanish then where is it going to go?

This book doesn’t answer or address any such questions, the single point it is trying to make however is ‘don’t confuse the enormity and complexity of the universe as automatically being related to proving time exists’. Saying the universe was formed ‘over time’, ‘in the temporal past’, and ‘will change in the temporal future’, or even that ‘the universe has changed a lot in the last 13.7 billion years’, is only really us observing that ‘the universe exists and changes’, while happening to use words, or ‘sounds’ like ‘past’ and ‘future’ to describe this present and constant change.

But seeing and talking about how the universe constantly and presently exists and changes using particular words, is not the same as proving that ‘Time’ and any or all of its supposed ‘distinctions’, properties, and ‘locations’ (past and future)  exist.

The universe as a whole.

When we look at the nature of the universe as a whole it can seem to prove the existence of time, if you start with the idea that time exists, and not prove the existence of time if you don’t. And oddly enough I get the impression that laypeople, and scientists alike, seem to mix the size and complexity of the universe with the question of whether time exists or not, that is we seem to default to thinking something along the lines of ‘the universe is really, really big, so time must really, really exist’, or ‘the universe is really, really complicated, so time must really, really exist’.

As far as I can tell, it seems to make sense to say that everything around us seems to always just be here now. I can’t say how or why ‘everything just is here now’, or how and why it could not be, but it seems to be the logical conclusion that fits what we observe.

Oddly enough, we can still have the feeling that ‘stuff’ must come from, and go to somewhere, or that things must in general ‘appear’ and ‘disappear’, but surely this ‘feeling’ stems from a very limited childlike point of view, and assumptions.

Assumption like the idea that cats, dogs, uncles, aunts, and favorite teddy bears seem at first glance to ‘come from nowhere’ and ‘go to other places’. To a child these things even seem to actually appear and disappear, as opposed to just move in and out of sight, or to integrate and dis-integrate.

If the seed of the idea that things can appear and disappear, takes root in our child hood mind and is not rechecked by our adult reasoning, then we falsely hold the idea as valid, and we may extend the idea to see if it applies to the whole universe[1]. The error being that even when we see each of our original proofs discredited, we still hang on to the first assumption that we made, as if ‘our first guess’ has some default status of being right unless actively disproven. This is a human habit, if we hear one person tell a joke, and then someone else tell the same joke, we tend to think that the second person we happened to meet copied the joke off the first person we happened to meet.

It may well be that the universe started with the famous big bang, this makes a great deal of sense, observations of the motion of the matter in the universe seems to very strongly suggest the universe is expanding and thus must have started out being smaller and more dense than it is now, following that reasoning it may have initially been an infinitely small point of something that exploded somehow.

It may be that in the universe around us, various clumps or areas of matter collapse in on themselves to form black-holes of any size, which in effect take vast quantities of matter, energy and information ‘out of the game’ wherever they exist. All this stuff may be seen as being totally out of the game, or just moving and changing phenomenally slowly in its own isolated game, but only as an ice hockey player is out of the game when in the sin bin. He or she is still in the universe, still involved, just more isolated and ineffective than usual at that point.

Our understanding of what black-holes are and what they do is constantly evolving, but this doesn’t really have much effect on black-holes themselves, they just are what they are and do what they do, whether there are cavemen on Earth oblivious to their existence, or astronauts orbiting them on some fantastic mission.

 But from what I have read it seems that black-holes far from being a permanent ‘sin bin’ for matter and information, from which there is no escape, actually ‘evaporate’ extremely slowly, in a process discovered by professor Stephen hawking and known as ‘Hawking radiation’.

This is perhaps to be expected, because everywhere else in the universe we typically find that in any one place where an object or aggregate of matter exists, there will always be processes that govern its growth and its decay, and any object will tend to be both growing and decaying, integrating and disintegrating simultaneously.

What’s more, these two seemingly different things are the in fact the same thing as seen from different points of view, an apparently dead, old, rotting, decaying, disintegrating and disappearing piece of fruit, ‘is’ fresh, new, young, fungus, rot, mould, bacteria, insects, worms, maggots, fruit flies and so on. How you see such a single thing will depend on whether you personally are more interested in agriculture, mould and funguses, or insects.

Wherever you have these two processes, occurring together the rates of each process vary, so that at one stage the object will be growing far faster than it is decaying, such as the creation and growth of a puddle during a rainstorm, and at another stage it may be decaying faster than it is growing, such as the same puddle evaporating as the rain stops.

So when one process slows down, or even completely runs out of whatever it needs to keep going then the other process is free to overtake. Here on Earth we see this as mountains being formed very rapidly or buildings being built extremely rapidly while natural erosion is also happening constantly though very slowly.

Thus each mountain and each building is being eroded or ‘dismantled’ not after they are completed but both are always constantly being created, and destroyed, that is the disintegration is happening while, and where, the integration is taking place.

In other words the Parthenon on top of the acropolis in Greece CHECK DETAILS, did not ‘start becoming’ the ruin we see today some ‘time’ shortly after the opening ceremony had finished, or even after a few hundred years, but the stone it is made of was falling apart as the design was being drawn up, while it was still in the quarry, while it was being transported to the building site, and as each stone was being hoisted into place. Integration and disintegration, construction and erosion don’t wait patiently for each other to have a turn, they both are simply, physically, happening constantly everywhere at varying rates, depending on local conditions..

The moment that the rate at which a thing is being deconstructed overtakes the rate it is actively growing, or being built up then the thing, be it a person, a tree, or a building etc, may be said to be disappearing.

The beginning of a new beginning.

It is said that as black-holes form and evaporate, no matter how slow this evaporation process is, it means that the nature of the object is changing, and at a certain point whatever is left trapped in it may be free to gracefully start playing with all the other matter in an orderly way again, or apparently some black-holes, may even reach some critical point of imbalance and explode with tremendous ferocity changing the location and distribution of all the matter, energy , and information remaining in the object far more dramatically and rapidly than gentle evaporation..

So it may be that throughout the universe matter is being sucked into creating countless super dense objects which then always bounce back into the game appearing and disappearing like bubbles on the surface of hot stew, and it may be that eventually the rates at which these things form and decay are such that the universe as a whole is heading to become trillions of black-holes which all collapse entirely back in on themselves and become the single most massive individual object that can ever possibly exist comprising literally of absolutely everything.

From here everything may disappear forever, the universe may have been a universally one off event. Or it may be that the creation of this single black-hole leads inevitably to another big bang and the entire process starts again. Einstein tells us that E=MC2 or that mass is energy and energy is mass and in fact the one thing ‘matter’ can be stretched or squashed so matter becomes released in the form of energy as in a nuclear explosion, or energy becomes matter as in a high energy particle collision were energy seems to disappear in particle impacts and new genuinely existing physical particles seem to appear from nowhere.

In this sense perhaps the entire universe could be seen as constantly swishing between being entirely in the form of ‘one big lump of pure mass’ and entirely in the form of ‘only pure energy’ while between these two extreme states any ratio of both states exist (always adding up to one universal quantity though). Thus, perhaps, the state of the whole universe might be compared to the state of the motion of a swinging pendulum, which always holds the same amount of energy, but at each end of its swing this energy is seen to be entirely potential energy, and in the middle of its swing entirely kinetic energy, changing smoothly between the two states as it oscillates.

If we see a simple pendulum as repeatedly being pure ‘potential energy’ at each end of its arc or swing, and swinging through a state of ‘pure kinetic energy’ at the centre of its motion,  then perhaps the universe as a whole ‘oscillates’ endlessly from a state of ‘pure mass’, through ‘pure energy’, to pure mass and back, or repeatedly, from a state of ‘pure energy’, through ‘pure mass’ to pure energy.  Or perhaps there is no to-ing and fro-ing but the cycle just constantly ‘leapfrogs’ itself through the extremes without beginning or end.  

If the universe folds back on itself either in a one off event, where everything spectacularly disappears, or as part of an endless flow or oscillation, it is interesting to guess whether it may fall back on itself in an absolutely ‘perfect reversal’ of the way it exploded outwards. But how this might look to us humans as the integral parts of the universe that we are, is hard to imagine. It might even be that everything is ‘happening backwards’ now but because we too are ‘happening backwards’ it all seems to be ‘happening forwards, normally’. And it seems completely normal to you or I, just as the language we speak every day seems ‘normal’, how could we know things could be different?

It may be that in falling back on itself the entire universe always does so in a unique way, or one of trillions upon trillions of possible ways and it may be that we only consider the possibility of it ‘reversing’ because we wrongly think we have see other things in the universe reverse on a smaller scale. For example we may consider the motion of a pendulum or seesaw to be constantly repeated and reversed but this is a poor observation, each thing is just moving and moving along a similar, but always significantly different path, to how it previously moved.

You may consider that the piston in a parked car is rapidly moving up and down in the same location, repeatedly reversing its path, but even in this carefully manufactured environment the piston is always rattling around in a slightly different way, and always in reality taking a slightly different path up and a different path down. The piston and the cylinder themselves are of course also changing losing minute fragments of metal and gaining carbon deposits from the burning fuel and so on.

Even if you try to carefully reverse your car out of a driveway making sure you don’t run over the cat, this isn’t really re-verse, it is just ‘verse’ the cat sitting safely on the wall just sees the car move, or even move forward if you prefer, because to move forwards means to move into what is in front of you, and as you move, whatever you move towards becomes ‘in front of you’, the ‘R’ on the gear stick really is just an ‘R’ indicating a different selection of cogs has been chosen, it does not really prove the existence of ‘reversing’, or any other deep metaphysical point.

If the universe does restart from a new big bang and either in the same or some different way intelligent life forms again it may well be that it is a theoretical and scientific fact there simply is no way to deduce what happened ‘before’ or ‘behind’ the big bang. However we try to understand the universe we do so by looking around us and making deductions from the physical formations in the matter that we see here, now, but as the philosophical entertainer Alan watts said ‘in the end the trail always fades out’.

By this I believe he meant that if you look up at the vapour trail left in place as an airplane moves forwards, and the similar trail left by a boat moving in water these trails are decaying, and thus they must fade out as the limited amount matter that forms them gets ‘employed’ by nature to be other things and other trails.

It may be that there is an ‘infinite’ amount of matter in the universe, whatever that might mean, but from any location in the universe it might make sense that it must look limited even though it also looks absolutely colossal. It may be that matter really can spontaneously ‘appear’ from nowhere, in open space, if the vacuum becomes perfect enough in one particular infinitely small location, and it may be that particles of matter can spontaneously ‘vanish’ at a faster, slower or absolutely identical rate.

So, who knows,  it may be that the amount of matter in the universe grows forever, or steadily vanishes until none is left, or is constantly changing but always the same amount, or that the universe flows or oscillates between different extreme states, or between existing and not existing, and so on and so on. And as you can see we can wonder and speculate about the nature of the universe in many different ways, and make no mistake it is a fascinating and rewarding thing to do, keeping your head down and paying your bills makes sense but you don’t want to miss the big show.

But do our speculations prove or disprove Time?

Speculating about the state, and direction of the universe may be fascinating and enlightening, and all of our observations, ideas and speculations help to show us how incredible and amazing the universe is, but they also show us how every observation we make about the universe, is based on us understanding that information which physically ‘arrives’ at our location for us to examine ‘now’.

The light from distant stars, that we see, here and now, is just and only that, light that we see because it is here now. The light may have travelled from a star that is some distance away or that is completely burnt out, and now is just an expanding shell of photons, but the light that you and I see on a starry night is still just here now.

And it may be true to say that the light has travelled from those stars ‘at a finite rate’, but I wouldn’t say that it had travelled ‘over time’, unless you can experimentally prove the existence of ‘Time’, and describe what it ‘is’, and clearly explain what you mean by ‘over’ in this context.

As far as I can tell all our observations of the universe do prove that matter exists and can move. Our observations tell us that ‘events are happening’, and therefore we can legitimately conclude that ‘in a sense’ events have ‘previously happened’.

But here we need to be very careful here, and realize that even if we say ‘events have happened’ we are saying this now.

We should also bear in mind that although when we analyze the world around us and we put our memories and our external observations together, we can reach some amazingly deep conclusions, but the conclusion that ‘anything other than the presently existing moment exists’, is, (as far as I can see), never backed up by any evidence.

Even though this present moment physically contains ‘echoes of past events’, these echoes really just exist here now, and are in forms no more mysterious than the fading ripples in a pond caused by a falling raindrop, or the patterns of ions and electrons in a human brain caused by anyone watching an event, or watching any ‘thing’.

We get the idea of some fundamental force that flows and flows nonstop in one direction because we see ourselves and other grow, and change, and die, we see vases smash and not reform, we see the Earth always spinning in one direction and orbiting the sun again always in one steady forwards motion.

(we see the sun rise, and call this direction forwards, we see it set and again call this direction forwards, we see clouds drift through the sky, always forwards, and we assume that every raindrop is travelling forwards as it heads for the ground, and that all the ripples it creates, that head outwards in all directions are also all heading ‘forwards’. A bit of thought tells us that all over the globe rain must be travelling in every direction relative to us, but we will never see rain heading in the direction of our feet to our head, because it will always be too far away, and the Earth itself will always block our view. (DEL ? TOO SURREAL ?XXXX) )

But these observations just prove that things form and deform, move and change, integrate and disintegrate. They prove that big heavy objects like the Earth, set spinning and orbiting continue to spin and orbit, their motion changing only very slowly. Other observations prove that  you can mix up clay to make a vase and if you smash it on the ground, it, and the ground, will interact in a very complex way that is as impossible to ‘reverse’ as it would be to do again in the same way forwards.

So it seems to me that we live in a universe that is ‘unfolding’, not over time, but just unfolding. Unfolding in a incredible way, and as it unfolds it creates ‘echoes’ of its motion in the right kinds of caves, the caves in this case being our own incredible minds. As we observe the stars around us all accelerating away from a common point it is an echo formed literally out of existing matter, and ions and electrons, happening on a minute scale and in our minds ‘now’ that imagines them all back together, and realises that this means they must have once been in a single place. But being able to imagine and understand this happens ‘now’, and comprehending the ‘big bang’ may prove it ‘happened’ but does not prove that any record of it or any other event is ever made. It only proves that we can deduce from ‘now’, that ‘things move and change’, and understand in detail how they move and change.

So the universe runs with ‘some matter’ leaving tracks and trails of its motion in more deformable, stable and less energetic matter, be this as footprints in mud, growth rings in trees or chemical in our brains. But all things seem to be caught up in one grand universal washing machine with everything spinning around and mixing up into so many ‘new’ formations that it looks like it is always a new day or new moment, while in fact it is just the same stuff appearing to be new and different[2]. And so it seems to me that Einstein was correct when he speculated that the distinctions between the past the present and the future were just persistent illusions. Or to state this more accurately there are no such things as distinctions between the past present and future because neither the past or the future exist, there is only the (constantly changing) present, parts of which we mistakenly think point to these things (the past and future) and so mistakenly suggest distinctions between them and the present exist. XXXcheck wording

Even if we discuss what we call ‘thoughts that Einstein’s had in the past’ we are really discussing what actually exist here and now, in our minds, or on screens and in books, but always really just here in some form now.

Before his friend Michele Besso died, everything he could learn in his lifetime must have either existed, or had the potential to exist because all of the matter and rules of nature for it to exist must exist[3]. As he lived some of these facts and this information arrived at his location and was condensing or integrating in his mind.

 As Besso died and his heart stopped beating, then like a candle running out of wax the process had to end. At that stage the contents of his mind, the matter in-formation will have been free to interact unhindered with the matter in the outside world and disappeared like smoke from a sheet of burning printed newspaper.XXXreword

All every word in this book proves is only that a person can look at the world around them and in trying to understand what they see, press keys on a computer to express their observations in a different form and all this is just the condensing of information in one location. This information can be replicated but no matter how many copies of a book you make, they are not attacked by nature trying sequentially to disintegrate them one by one, in the order they are printed, but they are all attacked at once. So whatever information is scooped up out of the universe into one or many distinction piles or collections, ‘book’s, records, CDs, DVDs, memory cards or whatever, they are all also slumping back down into anonymity in their surroundings.

From where we are now it seems that the universe will either continue expanding forever, slow and stop, or slow, stop and start falling back in on itself in what is known as the ‘big crunch’.

The ‘only’ problem, and admittedly it is in fact an absolutely massive ‘only’, with the timeless view is that it does require an entire universe filled with matter, energy and all the laws of nature to exist !

However, just because a problem is massive it doesn’t mean either view is right or wrong. ‘time’ not only also requires an entire and identically populated universe to exist, but it also insists on all its extra invisible, redundant, un-provable and un-disprovable elements to exist. And make no mistake here ‘time’ does not solve the problems it creates, time does not ‘need and explain’ the creation of the universe, if you have followed the story so far you will know that (after guessing that time exists just by looking at the one and only present moment) time is at best said to have been created with or in the universe, and when we write down statements like ‘ the universe is 13.7 billion years old’ we are just doing interesting calculations, comparing some examples of existing motion (the earth’s orbit and the speed of receding stars) and using existing energy to move existing ink to make letters on existing paper.

So does ‘timelessness’ do any better when it comes to explaining the entire universe? the answer is an unashamed no !

I can no more explain or imagine how the universe and everything in it can possibly exist anymore than could explain how the universe could possibly not exist ! All I can say is that it ‘just’ seems to.

Conclusion, the existence of the universe.

Failing to explain the existence of the universe is not the same thing as failing to disprove the existence of time. Just as proving, or simply looking around and pointing to the clearly existing universe, while failing to ‘point to and show’ the future and failing to point to and show the past, is not the same as proving the existence of an invisible, flowing ‘fourth dimensional’ thing called time.

But agreeing the universe exists and showing ‘time’ to be an irrationally founded, completely unobserved and also redundant ‘notion’ meets the general requirements of scientific exploration, and follows the principles of Occam’s razor, so for me constitutes as close as we can get to proving that ‘a thing that does not exist’, ‘does not exist’.

Timeless, unless we can prove…

As far as this book goes there is no grey area, either time does not exist at all (other than as a mental notion) or Time does exist in some form. And no matter how vague, weak or hard to show or define that form may be, if time can be shown to exist in any real way then I completely concede that the premise of this book is fatally flawed i.e. wrong.

To be clear, in my opinion, for Time to be said to really exist then I propose that at least one, and preferably all, of the following beliefs, distinctions or properties that time is generally said to have is experimentally proven to exist.

 

  • Our basic reason for suspecting that time may exist is show to be well founded, - as opposed to us just seeing constant motion and misunderstanding this because for example it makes the Sun seem to appear and disappear.
  • The need for time to exist – as opposed to just matter and motion, for us to be able to account for what we observe.

  • The real existence of the past – as opposed to just our (over)interpretation of our ‘memories’ that exist here, now; and our (over) interpretations of formations in the matter around us, that also exist here, now..

  • The real existence of the future – as opposed to just the thoughts we may be having, and may be calling ‘the future’; and our interpretation, and mental  ‘extrapolation’ of the movement and change we see around us ‘now’, which may be orderly or chaotic.

  • Proof that ‘clocks’ display or measure Time, - as opposed to just displaying motion, as a result of the steady release of some stored energy.

  • The flow of time. – As opposed to just the observation of matter in motion, now.

  • The way time causes the one way direction of events – as opposed to just the observation that the laws of nature make some motion and action easier and more likely than others.

  • The one way existence and direction of time – as opposed to just an interpretation we arrive at when watching and counting examples of periodic or regular motion, e.g. counting pendulum swings, or watching the regular motion of a ‘hand’ pointing to symbols around a dial.

  • The reality of a ‘fourth dimension’, as something that really exists, and could be (even theoretically) travelled in - as opposed to just a useful and functional piece of mathematics.

  • That the ‘present moment’ is in some way really, ‘an infinitely thin 3 dimensional slice through the constantly passing forth dimension of Time’, - as opposed to the ‘infinitely thin present moment’ just being a ‘mathematical’ idea that arises when we use the symbol ‘T’ in equations.

  • (REP XX_ That the ‘present moment’ is in some way ‘an infinitely thin slice of constantly passing time’, in which everything happens in order, as dictated by time. As opposed to  ‘just’ (as in only) the entire 3 dimensional universe with all its 3 dimensional ‘objects’, pressures, and forces within it, constantly moving and changing, and interacting, in all directions at different rates, now.

  • The ability of nature to warp time - as opposed to just ‘mass’, ‘motion’ and ‘gravity’ being able to warp ‘space’ and so affecting the ‘distances’ and ‘rates’ in which different things, in such warped space, move, change, and happen, ‘now’.

  • That we are travelling through time (at ‘C’) – as opposed to the observation that objects, effects, ‘information’ or ‘consequences’ in the universe travel at up to the speed of light, and can simultaneously travel towards and away from any particular location we choose to consider.

  • And the existence of ‘something’ that drives, or powers time and time’s functionality,- as opposed to this being a misunderstanding of the effects of the very real, visible, tangible, measurable and storable ‘energy ‘ that we can see and control in its many forms, being the sole reason that things move and change in different ways and places throughout the universe. (or a reason why Time does not need to be powered or driven).

 

 

If these ‘demands’ can be shown to be unjustified, or, if one or all of them, or if some other distinction relating to time, can be experimentally proven then I would say the theory of time has credibility, otherwise it seems to me that it makes sense to say that the universe is for want of a better word, ‘Timeless’.

M.Marsden.



[1] An error similar to setting out in search of ‘magic’ to see if it exists, instead of happening to realise that our reason for even suspecting magic exists was unfounded before we set out on our search.

[2] If we create a sealed area in which we just have two mice and a good supply of food and water then inevitably more mice seem to appear, and the original pair seem to disappear but in reality nothing has been added or taken away from the room.DEL ?obscure?

[3] If we make a new lottery machine and paint 22 numbers on so many Ping-Pong balls, then also those balls have never been lined up very particular orders on the machines final ramp, the sequences that ‘have not happened but are possible’, must be possible. 

Subpages (1): Time Travel
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