The Meaning of 'EXIST'

Derek Jacobi as 'Hamlet'
(Derek Jacobi as 'Hamlet')
"To BE or Not to BE?" - That 'seems' to be the question, but surely every atom that makes up poor Yorick is always just somewhere, and always doing something...i.e always 'just 'being'?

The meaning of 'EXIST', as in 'Does time exist?'..

My position is that I think I may have a point of view which logically, and scientifically, shows how the theory of time is unfounded, unproven, and unnecessary to explain the world as we observe it around, and within ourselves.

In other words `time does not exist'.

First please note in stating my position that I choose my words very carefully and sparingly.

Wherever I explain this possibility to people many questions are asked. Among the most common are

-`what do you mean by time?' and

-what do you mean by exists?'.

In the ensuing discussion people often rapidly try to draw numerous certain valid and invalid correlations and points of reason. Often questions come at such a rate and with such variety that one cannot feed people the answers such that they understand my pov at a matching rate, especially because they tend to be thinking of other questions to ask while `listening' to the answers. Or more accurately, often while being certain any supplied answers must be wrong, and so probably aren't worth considering too deeply... as they think of more `unanswerable' questions.


- Isn't the question `does time exist?' unanswerable, like `does god exist?'

-(or 'circles', 1/0, zero, etc )

-How can we be sure that anything really exists?

-how can something not exist?

-you can't prove the `non-existence' of something, can you?.

-isn't it obvious time exists, everyone knows that..

-isn't it obvious time doesn't exist it's just a useful man made idea, everyone knows that

-Surely you're just arguing 'semantics'

-whether time exists is a 'philosophical' or 'metaphysical' question, not science.

-'Time' is used essentially and successfully used throughout science, and science works, so time must exist.

-Speed = distance over time, so time must exist.

-we remember the past but not the future so time must exist.

-how could things move if time doesn't exist?

And so on. So many people have a lot of questions, some leading some coming with their own assumed answers, and few people have the inclination to carefully consider a tangential set of reasoning concerning the issue of time, which starts from a step behind most starting points.


" `Philosophically', or `metaphysically' existence is....."

And there starts a sentence, about `existence' itself, which could launch an endless pointless chaotic ever expanding wandering and conclusion less discussion in the right/wrong minds.

Modified to be about the existence of something simple, e.g. a brick, the discussion would have even more fuel, and probably be even more endless. Modified to be about something more complicated, like a photon, the human soul, or `time', and the question might be even more endless again because existence alone and time alone are tricky enough, but together ?: )

I personally have no big issue with `what exists', go into the street with a philosophically possibly non-existing dustbin lid, and similar hammer, bang the two together until a non existing neighbor angrily gets right in your face and calls the police. To me, you the lid, the hammer, the moving areas of compressed air you generate and release (noise) and the police, and your jail cell etc etc etc all exist.


As an aside, I also don't see how the concept on nonexistence is valid,(i.e to me it is an 'invalid opposite', that is just because we have the idea of 'somethings having opposites' - why should this necessarily apply to the existence of things). Why?, because surely no one has seen, or has any evidence to do with any'thing' that does not exist. Surely things can 'only' exist, even the `idea' of nonexistence exists. And I am not being metaphysical etc in saying that.

I have a problem with the term nonexistence from the outset.


Does `time' `exist'?

Well hold on, rather than mix two complicated things, let's isolate the factors.

How about just asking

"does the TOOTH FAIRY exist?"

Now, again , in the wrong hands this could lead to the kind of endless, conclusion less `metaphysical' ,`philosophical' discussion that give the honourable fields of meta physics and philosophy a bad name.

(For the purposes of this argument `the tooth fairy' is assumed to be nothing more than a `story' passed from mind to mind by humans)

The simple, basic, answer is that beyond any reasonable doubt `the tooth fairy' does not exist.

Logically and scientifically the reasons for this are

1- We don't even have a `valid reason' to even `suspect' that extra to what we directly observe there may also be a thing/being such as `the tooth fairy'.

2- We don't have any evidence, or experiment, that backs up the possibility that the tooth fairy is a valid concept or possibility.

The point here being, that in this case it transpires that we don't sensibly or reasonably need a 10 page essay or definition on the meaning of the word or concept of `existence' if we are talking about something that can reasonably be shown to be unfounded from the outset.


`PHLOGISTON' and the `AETHER' are `words' coined to name concepts or `things' that certain scientist proposed may be features of the universe, aka `exist'.

Phlogiston - WIKI "the existence of a fire-like element called "phlogiston", which was contained within combustible bodies and released during combustion."

i.e Phlogiston was meant to be something that was in matter, and released as things burned, and the cause of burning. However practical repeatable experiments showed that things typically gain mass as they burn, and thus the suggestion that a thing called phlogiston `existed' was shown to be unfounded, unnecessarily unproven, and the effect it was meant to explain was shown to be completely explained beyond any reasonable doubt by other, clearly existing materials and processes.

Thus, without a philosophically debate on the deepest meanings of `existence', we can - beyond a reasonable doubt - scientifically, and logically, as backed up by repeatable experiments show phlogiston to be unfounded and redundant, with...

1-" no initial `valid reason' to even `suspect' that `phlogiston' may be anything other than a `word' for an `unfounded' and invalid `idea'
2 -We don't have any evidence, or experiment, that backs up the possibility that `Phlogiston' is a feature or property of the universe (other than as a word/idea).

In other words, without having to delve into the depths of what `exist' means, we can reasonably and safely say....

-`we have no valid reason to even suspect `Phlogiston' exists,

-Many reasons to think we are wrong to consider that it may `exist', and

-therefore we can safely say `phlogiston' almost certainly, beyond any reasonable doubt does NOT `exist' "

The point being, forgive me if I'm repeating it, but in my opinion, we typically need only go into depth as to what `exists' (or even `not exist') means, if we can show the thing we are talking about `probably', logically, scientifically, kind of, `exists' (as more than just an `idea') in the loosest, and most generally `obvious' or workably acceptable usage of the word.


Similar to `Phlogiston' `The Aether' was a postulated feature of the universe, proposed because it was thought something must exist in space, to be a medium through which light travelled. Light clearly does travel through space - and most anything else that travels from A to B (e.g. sound) needs a medium. Thus the Aether was suggested, but not experimentally found, and also the `idea' was shown to be moot, unfounded and redundant. I.e the function it was said to perform was shown to be unnecessary or performed by other experimentally verifiably means.

Thus, again , without needing an in depth discussion on what exists means we can reasonably safely, logically and scientifically say there is no reason to think this thing exists, and no proof it does.


'No matter how beautiful your theory, no matter how clever you are or what your name is,

 if it disagrees with experiment, it's wrong.'

Richard Feynman


My entire focus in simple words is to "show how time does not exist"

More accurately, and without using the distracting word `exist', it is to show...

-how we have no valid initial reason to even `suspect' there is a thing called time in the universe.

- how we have no evidence to back up the idea of time

-how it is logically and scientifically invalid to even `assume' time (eg as outlined in Wikipedia) `obviously' is a feature of the universe in some form whatever it may be. (while, it is imo, logical to `assume' something like `gravity' `exists').

-how the `idea' of time, (and its aspects, arrow, duration, flow, past future etc) being a features of the universe are scientifically unnecessary, unfounded and unproven

-how the assumptions that `time' its various features, `arrow', `duration', `intervals', `past' and `future' are based on invalid, over-extrapolations, of what we actually do directly and indirectly observe.

SO - I hope I have shown how a deep and distracting discussion on `existence' may for some topics turn out to be unneeded - and that I think I can show this to be the case with time.


These views on 'existence' are relevant because it is a key feature of my inquiry into 'time' that i do NOT start by asking (imo STUNNINGLY) leading questions such as

-does 'time' exist?


what IS 'time'?

but instead suggest we start from scratch and only ask questions like...

"What DO we ACTUALLY directly observe?


What can we logically, scientifically and sensibly conclude, and prove, 'exists', based on what we observe?"'

leading to - "what if things 'just' move and change as we directly observe?..."

>> See, the start of the investigation∆-3 The essence of Timelessness.