No Temporal order.

Diagram -Considering a strip of filim, or some thoughts in our minds, it seems obvious that a 'temporal order' must also 'exist'.
But logically if the universe does not actually create and store a record of all events in a 'past'... then that order, or 'sequence of events' does not actually exist.
And if in fact there is not a sequence of events, then there is not a sequence of events... just everyhing doing something somewhere... including us thinking otherwse.

Another way of seeing this is to realise that while physical 'records' of events do physically exist 'now', firstly around us, and secondly in our minds, there is no proof that a third ‘Temporal’ record, (i.e. the ‘past’) also exists.
Logic shows us that this is just a false ‘assumption’ many people wrongly draw, by extrapolating what the physical evidence actually proves.

How could it possibly be that there is no 'temporal' order in the universe?

It seems blindingly obvious that there is a 'temporal' order. Stars, planets, mountains, trees, babies, and everything else, are formed, grow, and die, always in that order and never the reverse. But if you look at the following reasoning you may see how we have got two concepts tangled together, and reached a confused conclusion.

It is critical that we are clear as to whether there is a 'temporal' order to events or not - because many if not all modern scientific discussions about time - being a real thing - are based on the assumption that Einstein's work proves the existence of Time, and so all that is left to do is to work out times nature. 

I think it can be shown that Einstein assumed the existence of time in some way, then wrote Relativity in the language of time. But at no point did he for example prove , 'the past' exists, the 'future exists' or that Time, its flow, and its order exist.

This is not to dismiss relativity, but only to suggest that (If time does not exist, then, ) relativity explains accurately and in great detail not how things move and change in warped space 'over time', but just how things move and change at various rates in warped space 'now'.

Einstein's own book 'The meaning of relativity' starts with the following statements

The critical statement 'Cannot be analysed further...' is not correct.

This introduction suggests that Einstein assumed time existed, and the assumption was directly related to things we 'remember' and order (in our minds) in terms of 'earlier' and 'later'.

And it is suggested this 'cannot be analysed further', but this is not the case. 'the single events which we remember'  - i.e. 'the contents of our minds' can be analysed further. And it can be shown that the 'ordered', physical contents of our own minds - existing now- do not prove time and a 'temporal order' really 'exist'. Therefore, any other theories that build on the idea that Relativity proves time, have to actually demonstrate their own proof of the existence of time.

(If I am wrong and time does exist, this should be very easy for any scientist to do - if I am right and time does not exist, then it will lead to a lot of drawn out and circular, 'self referring', arguments.).

The crazy camera experiment.

Imagine we go to a football match, and I decide to video the game. Near the end of a very dull game the score is 0-0. 

But then right at the end, a ball comes in high, its trapped by a player, who takes a great shot, the goalie dives in the right direction but not far enough. And a spectacular goal is scored just as the whistle goes - makes it 1-0.

And the action is captured by the camera in the sequence below.

Figure 1- A normal camera sensibly stores a sequence of frames.

So, luckily we recorded the game. And anyone looking at this sequence of images would be able to tell that a player ran up to the ball, took a kick, then the goal keeper started a dive, but the ball was too fast and made it to the back of the net as the keeper fell to the floor.

But what if the camera I used to video the game had an unusual fault, or only had enough memory left such that it could only store 2 frames of action?

A camera that had a fault, or only had enough storage to hold two images of action, might do its best by constantly overwriting its 'oldest' image with whatever was happening now.

Figure 2- What if a camera only stored the last 2 frames of action?

With such a naff camera, trying to do my best, I stop it recording just as the player takes his best shot. This way at least I get a record of the kick, and the ball heading to the net.

But anyone looking at these two frames (effectively from the centre of the main sequence taken by a good camera), would have not have a clue as to what happened before the kick, to set the goal up. Or what happened after the kick, e.g. did a spectacular save, or goal follow?

They would not be able to tell what happened outside of these two frames, because of course that action was not recorded.

Figure 3- Worse still, what would a camera that only ever stored a frame of the last bit of action tell us?

Lastly let's consider the worst version of the video camera.

In this case, the camera has a serious fault, and can only ever store a single frame of action!

So it's an odd mixture between a video, and stills camera. Because In record mode, it does record the action, but it keeps writing over the previous single frame that it stored. 

So with this camera, the best we could do would be to stop it running, just as something interesting started. And we get the single frame shown above, taken from the middle of the main sequence.

Now we can agree this is a pretty useless camera because anyone not at the game, looking at the single frame of 'film' it produces can't tell anything much at all about what happened before or after that frame.

Very careful examination might show some deformation of the ball, and motion blur on the image, which would give some clues as to which way the players and the ball were heading at that moment. 

But even a photographic expert would not be able to tell if a goal had been scored just before this frame, or if the ball had gone high just after the frame. Or anything else about what may or may not have happened before or after the moment.

The reason for this being of course that the order of events either side of the frame was simply not stored

So although there clearly was an order to the events in the football match, (and whether time exists, and the order is stored in 'the past' or not) this order has not be stored, i.e. recorded on film.

No stored Temporal order = No temporal order.

To see the importance of this consider if, for example you took the film to a newspaper editor, and tried to sell them images of the spectacular goal, the conversation might go like this.

You     - I filmed a spectacular goal, would you like to buy the film.

Ed       - Yes, but this is just a single frame of a ball in the back of the net.

You     - But there really was a spectacular goal - I personally have a memory of the order of events leading to the Goal.

Ed       - Yes, but those memories or images exist in your head, were other frames of the Goal actually filmed and stored?

You     - No
Ed       - So in actual fact, there is no filmed record of the events leading to the goal. Thus there is no 'filmed order of events'.

You     - True.

Ed       - So I cannot buy and publish the frames of film because they literally do not exist.

So the order of events happened so to speak, but it wasn't filmed and stored, so a filmed order of events does not exist.

If we loosen the analogy here and talk about reality, the question is, 'does nature create and store 'film' of all the events in the universe as they happen or not?' By 'film' here, I mean 'record' in any sense, a record of events not on 'film', but 'in the temporal past'.

As we shall see, It's OK to talk about 'the temporal order of events' - but the question is, is this temporal order of events actually, really created? And does it actually really exist? - Because... 

-if a record of events is created and it does exist, then there is a temporal order.


-If it is not actually created and 'stored' some how, some where, then, (like the film that is never made), a 'temporal order of events' does not exist. And instead, perhaps, everything is all just happening constantly now. Which may sound odd to some people, but it is all that we ever observe.

In the case of 'Time', the question is, 

Do we have any proof at all that as events happen, some kind of 'temporal' record (or 'film' if you will) is made?

This may seem to be a naive of factious question, surely the 'temporal order of events is by definition 'the order in which they happen'.

But, what I am asking is, is that order of events actually recorded, or is nature more like the camera that only stores one frame of action. Or to be more precise, bearing in mind the 'one frame camera' is just a thought experiment,

 'Does nature simply not store any record, any 'where', at all of what happens?

Do we have any real reason at all to assume that 'Time' exists. And if not, then while there may be an order 'in a sense' to events - if this 'order' is not recorded in any way shape or form, any where, by any thing in any 'temporal' way, then there is no 'temporal' order.

I.e. the words 'temporal order' are just a useful expression, but the thing 'temporal order' absolutely does not really exist.

Memories don't count either.

When talking to our editor, trying to sell no existent 'filmic' records of 'the past', we may have been frustrated because we know for a fact, as sure as we can know anything, that the goal was scored, and we say it happen. What's more, although we know our video camera 

Hopefully the simple experiment 'X'plaining away the past showed that physical evidence of the order of events that exists 'here and now' only proves that things can exist, move, change and interact, here and now. 

So what we call 'remembering the past' is not quite what it seems to be, and very specifically it is not proof that 'the Temporal past' exists.

Hopefully this crazy film experiment has shown that 'if there isn't a record of the order of events - then there isn't a record of the order of events!

And if there isn't a record of events, and instead everything is just happening 'now' (for want of a better word) then the world is just like the camera that constantly only holds one image. 

No other record is created or stored, and so there is no other record. So no 'temporal' record of the order is created and stored, so there is no 'temporal order'. Just as while the events of the football match indeed happened in an order, someone looking at the single frame of video and asking to see the other frames would be disappointed simply because the camera did not create them and thus an ordered collection of film frames does not exist. 

Logically it makes sense to consider that I may or may not be right in suggesting time does not exist. 

But if I am right, then the only way to see how it might make sense that everything is just here now, is to consider that possibility, and consider if you ever see anything that violates the possibility that everything is just here now interacting as it exists. 

But if you insist on trying to understand a timeless world in terms of time existing, then you won't be able to get the point. This would be a bit like listening to an illusionist explaining how there is no proof that magic exists, while holding on to the assumption that it must exist.

And if the world is timeless, but we insist on forcing the concept of time into our understanding then we will come up with endless theories about how to manipulate or travel through time which will always have some small failing detail in them. Or require fantastic explanations to make them 'scientific'. Such as there will be no causality problems because 'there will just be a law that stops people doing paradoxical things in the past if they go there'. Or at every moment where anything happens and infinite number of new parallel universe are formed' - so if you go back in time and kill your grandfather, then this will have happened in another parallel universe.

(To be honest, if we are allowed to consider that there may be 'an infinite number of parallel universes' as a fix to problems with the idea of time travel, then it sounds like we are allowed to make up any idea to fix errors in theories. Surely if you have a theory (e.g. that a thing called time exists, which may be travelled through) and if a s a result of perusing that theory to its logical consequences you end up concluding that 'an infinite number of unseen parallel universe may have to exist for your theory to be right - then this is an indication that your theory is possibly very wrong indeed. Because its not scientific for a theory to depend on the existence a single undetectable particle for it to be considered valid, let alone an infinite number of other universes).

So while we may live in a world full of constant change and interaction, logically it could all just be happening now. And if the order of events isn't recorded in time, then the order isn't recorded in time - and thus while there 'is in a sense' an order to events - e.g. dinosaurs were clearly alive before us, and you can't put the roof on a house before the walls have been built - these examples are still only proof that matter exists and interacts, and not that a record of all interactions is also created and stored outside of memories, fossils, or in X's on sheets of paper. And thus not proof that time exists.

(This is not to deny that entropy exists, and exists on the grand scale of the entire universe - but even this entropy can 'just' be happening. I.e.  Merging entropy and time instinctively, or even so automatically that there is no thought involved, may not be the logical thing to do.

Summary -

 I'm trying to reveal a false and circular argument here, specifically...

  1. We assume that a fourth dimension of 'Time' exists,
  2. We perceive the contents of our minds as a record relating to Time.
  3. So we think we see evidence of the temporal order. 
  4. Then we assume that the existence of a temporal order also proves our assumption that time exists. 
  5. And if time exists... then there must be a temporal order.
  6. And so on back to 1.
Whereas, the 'not presuming time exists' reasoning is.

  1. We assume that only what we directly perceive probably exists.
  2. We see that things can exist and interact 'now'. 
  3. Then we can see how evidence of the order of these interactions does indeed exist...(fossils, memories etc).
  4. But all the evidence of the order of events just exists here, now, in the matter around and within us.
  5. This confirms that matter just existing, and interacting, here and now is enough to explain all that we observe.