To Craig Callender - Introducing Time.

To: To Dr Craig Callender                                                                                               July 21 2010

From: Mr.M.Marsden ,London


For we convinced physicists, the distinction between past, present and future is only an illusion, however persistent                -Albert Einstein.


Dear Mr Callender

First of all let me say please Don’t Panic!

I apologise for the size of this completely unsolicited package, please understand I don’t mean to impose on, or inconvenience you, so please don’t think I ‘expect’ you to do anything with the enclosed draft, or even to respond to having received it unless you care to. I am sending this document to you because I very genuinely think you may find it interesting, significant or hopefully even fundamentally revealing.

If this draft has arrived at a bad moment or it doesn’t take your interest I will fully understand, so please feel free to forget, and  ‘recycle’ it (either literally, or possibly by handing it to anyone you know who may read it). I am simply sending out a few copies of this draft to selected Authors whose works I have read on Time and science, on the off chance that it might strike a chord with one or two, and the hope that I might get some useful feedback or contacts while I look for an editor and publisher for the piece.

I have sent this book draft specifically to you as the (co) author of ‘Introducing Time’, and after finding a number of your articles about Time on the internet. Including ‘What makes Time special’, ‘Finding ‘real’ time in quantum mechanics’, and in particular ‘Time’s Ontic Voltage’. So I can see you are an expert in the field and philosophy of Time. The enclosed draft ‘A Brief History of Timelessness’ is the work I produced following what I hope were a few significant realizations about the world around us. And (although of course I fully realize I may be wrong) I believe that the book completely untangles the apparent mysteries of Time as typically described in your own, and numerous other books and articles.

The Point.

My biggest fear with this work is not that it is wrong, but that the more succinctly I make my point the less its scope and significance will come across. Nonetheless it is a relief to be writing to yourself because I can see from your papers that I don’t have to oversimplify things to be understood, therefore…

My fundamental point in a brief history of timelessness, is the proposition that, “without exception, everything we observe around, and within, ourselves and that we attribute to be related to, or evidence of, ‘Time’, can in fact be completely explained in terms of - Matter existing, moving, and interacting with itself ‘now’ (for want of a better word)”.

I imagine at this point you may have already concluded I am just restating the ‘presentist’ view, and that this letter and the entire draft will just be reworks of points you have heard before, and you may be about to tune out. But I think I can show you that this is not the case (I actually only heard of the term presentist after completing the entire draft and while looking at your papers online).

Reading ‘Times Ontic Voltage’ I see that the views of the eternalist, possibilist and presentist are all explained and compared. But (I believe) the problem is that from the outset they are explained in terms of ‘Time’, as in ‘Time’ being a thing that in some way exists, and our problem is to discover ‘in what way does time exist’.

I believe that this starting point is flawed and only unnecessary confusion and complexity can follow from it. Logically, I have taken a step back in my analysis and (I hope) fully examined a critical possibility that I believe every work on ‘Time’, including with respect your own ‘Introducing Time’, has completely overlooked.

This is the possibility that there is only matter and motion in the universe. In other words, without loking for answers by discussing ‘the possible nature of Time’, or, for example, ‘whether the eternalist, possibilist or presentist views of Time are right, wrong, the same, or different’, I am asking whether every single bit of evidence that we think suggests that ‘a thing called Time might exist, and could be examined’, can be completely explained away without any need for Time to exist at all.

In other words,

‘If matter just existed and moved and interacted with itself, would that be enough to mislead us into thinking that Time existed, and was needed, in the universe?’

What I think the answer to this question reveals is hard to convey quickly and comprehensively (hence the size of the enclosed draft), but consider the following. A child who believes that magic ‘may’ exist, goes to a stage magicians, or rather ‘illusionists’ show. If the child watches the show with even the vague assumption that something like magic ‘may’ exist, then what they see may come across as proof that their assumption is possibly correct. This may happen even though we as adults know that the child will not have seen any actual proof of this at all!

I am not relating time to magic, but I am saying that perhaps if we look at the world with ‘even the vague assumption that Time may exist’, we may think we constantly see significant proof of this assumption, when in fact we have not seen any proof at all.

This may seem naïve, but consider the question ‘Why, fundamentally, do you personally even suspect that a thing called Time might exist?’

Most people would answer something like, ‘My parents gave me the idea’, and then ‘The contents of my own mind (my memories) prove the past at least happened, and the complex state of structures in the world around me (stars, planets, mountains, buildings, highly evolved life etc) do not, and cannot just appear, but must grow and evolve, which proves, and confirms, that at least the past happens, and thus that Time must in some way exist’.

Now ask yourself the questions…

·         “If, in the universe, matter just existed, moved and interacted, not ‘over a thing called Time’, but if it just existed, moved and interacted, could the contents of the matter in my mind be as it is?’


·         “If, in the universe, matter just existed, moved and interacted, not ‘over a thing called Time’, but if it just existed, moved and interacted, could the matter in the world around me appear just as it does ?’


A first, and rapid response to these questions might be ‘No’ to both. “Obviously time is needed for things to move, and my memories and the world around prove that things moved in the past, and that ‘the past’ happened’. But this response may be born by us unscientifically forcing back into the questions the insistence that time exists and is needed (if only that time is needed for motion). And thus not giving the questions a fair trial.

My point is that if we examine the facts in and around us, very carefully without any presumptions, we can see that while the physical contents of our minds, and the state of the world around us seem to prove that ‘matter’, ’motion’, and ‘Time’ exist, in fact they only prove that matter and motion exist.

The state or formation of the matter inside of us, within our heads, our ‘memories’ is directly affected and arranged or organized, by what happens around us (an object that is seen can drive a change in the formation of some ions and electrons etc in our brains). And the state of the matter in the world outside of us is directly affected, arranged, organized, by what happens to it (a shoe pushed into mud changes the formation of the mud to a footprint).

I believe that the trick/con/misunderstanding or as Einstein put it ‘illusion’ here is that separately and/or together, both these internal and external effects can be seen as ‘records of what happened’, and separately/or together, they can seem to be proof that there is also another ‘record of what happened’ ie a ‘record of past events’, a third record that is ‘the temporal past’.

So it seems to be confirmed in two distinct and different ways that we have very good reason to suspect that the temporal past, and therefore Time may exist, and thus that we should move on to discover its nature.

But, (if you’ll excuse the repetition), I believe if we look carefully we can see that there is no fundamental difference between the way our minds seem to interact with the world and change to create and hold ‘records of events’, and the way the world around us seems to interact with itself to create ‘records of events’. And critically while these ‘records’ of events - be they formations of atoms that we call ‘memories’, or formations of atoms that we call planets, mountains, fossils etc – seem to be proof that another ‘record of events’, namely a ‘Temporal Past’ may also exist, they are not such proof. They are only proof that matter exists, moves, and interacts.

Resting on the idea that the above reasoning is sufficient reason to at least consider the idea that as opposed to ‘Time existing’ perhaps ‘only matter and motion exist’ - the enclosed book is my attempt to scientifically see if this idea fits and re-explains all of the observed facts and well proven theories we have of the world around us and attribute to time,  but without time.

As I mentioned I believe this is a critically different position than even the presentist view, because the presentist view seems to be a view about ‘a thing called Time’. And what I am saying is that although at first glance it may seem otherwise, in fact there is absolutely nothing in the world that really gives us any reason at all to consider that a thing such a s time exists or can be discussed.

Therefore any discussion about time as anything other than a human ‘notion’ that is useful for understanding, comparing, and coordinating motion and change, is invalid, and will lead to confusion and apparent illusions or paradoxes etc.

Perhaps the smallest and most subtle  distinction I am trying to expose is that, what our minds and the world around us show us, and what we have correctly deduced from them is that ‘things happen. And therefore that it is logically correct to conclude ‘in a sense’ that ‘things have happened’. (e.g. world war 2  did happen). But that the absolutely critical error is to then assume that this means that ‘the past’ is ‘a’ thing that in any way at all, actually exists. If this idea can be seen then suddenly I belive that we can realize that there is no need for all the extra apparent (hidden) complexity we think may be in the universe.

The world and ourselves are just and only as they appear to be. Things exist, move, change and interact. For example the universe may start with an explosion of ‘nothing’ which became everything and expanded to what we see now, but this does not prove that this, or any events, are ever recorded anywhere, in any ‘past’ or that there is also a thing called time.  It is only our assumption that time may exist that may seem to lead to the conclusion that time must exist.

Therefore I suggest for example that, what we see and think of as ‘the past’ is in fact just structures in our minds, or structures in the world around us, being looked at and thought about in a particular way, as if it is the past. And what we see as the future, or the future arriving, is just the orderly or chaotic motion we see around us, being looked at and thought about ‘as’ the ‘future arriving’.


I`ll leave it there. If you have followed any of this without dismissing it before this point then you may think i have left many other obvious proofs of times existence unanswered (not addressed relativity etc), but hopefully the size of the enclosed draft and the index etc will show you that I have tried to apply the idea to many areas and that it seems to work.

As I say, I hope receiving this hasn’t been an imposition, if it has please accept my apologies and just dispose of it, I just thought you may be interested in the work. If it is of interest to you id love to heare from you. Im looking for any advice, critically any proof that I may be wrong, and if not any contacts in the industry so I can get this book closer to the publishing stage.


Yours sincerely,

Matthew Marsden

58 Cecile Park

Crouch End, London N8 9AU.            

PS if possible please drop off the enclosed post card so I know at least the package arrived. Many thanks. MM




‘Timelessness’ M.Marsden, Bibliography.

I recommend all of the excellent and highly informative and educational books I have read on time. However, It seems to me that unless any such book has a section explaining how the complex structure of the world outside of us, our ‘memories’, and our thoughts, only actually prove the existence of matter and motion – and also a section giving some other reason to believe that the ‘past’ the ‘future’, and therefore ‘Time’ exists, they should be slightly reinterpreted.

This reinterpretation being only that we see all the things we attribute to happening ‘over time’ as just happening everywhere, ‘now’. And that all references to the warping of ‘spacetime’ be seen as referencing the way that ‘space’ and the matter within it can be stretched, dilated, and warped. And how the rates at which things move and change within space, wherever it is warped, change as Einstein described… but these things are always just moving and changing and interacting in these ‘unintuitive’ ways ‘now’.