Khethil
 
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2008 05:59 am
[CENTER]* Note: Please read-through my obvious frustration on this. Some of my language sounds inflammatory but I direct it at no one. On this issue I am admittedly the quintessential layman seeking some insight *
[/CENTER]

Good Morning all,

I have a question I'd like to pose; one I've long had. I believe that I'm missing a lot here - there must be something I'm just not getting - so I'm really hoping that some of you fine people can help dispense some understanding. I'm going to state this plainly: Laugh, hoot and hollar all you like but please help impart some understanding on this old guy. I'm very much looking for some insight that absent of pedantic, arrogant, "gosh look at my vocabulary that I can't use correctly", psuedointellectual tones. That being said, here goes!

Short Version: Time is a concept we invented to help structure event sequences. Then, I hear well-intentioned and intelligent folk speak of it as if it can be influenced, even traversed. What I want to say is: Wow, what a load of crap.

Long Version: Causality completely aside, we needed a way to reference the passing of night into day (which is inertia and gravity - completely separate concepts). We wanted to describe season intervals so we came up with terms to describe 'the year'. These were divided into minutes and seconds. We... invented this system to describe various phenomena. As silly as it seems I'd like to restate this: We invented this concept.

I'll go right to the cruxt of it: How can something we invented, in actuality be traversed? (time travel). How is it that we invent a system of description then treat it as if its an "objective and separate" concept? Let me illustrate where I'm coming from...

  • I've seen much of how space-time can be 'bent' via mass gravitational forces. I could see how gravity could 'bend' densities that influence particles, etc. But that's not "time" - Time is something we invented to describe sequential intervals.


  • I've learned a lot on speed and its effect on molecular decay (pale reference to relativity), but once again; that's not "time", that's molecular decay - or atomic activity, if you will - not "time". Time is something we invented.


  • Much ado has been made of Time Travel; we've seen a lot of it here on the Forum. When I read this, I want to say, "How absurd can we get?! Humans invent this *thing* then in a leap of utter arrogance start to talk about how to travel back and kill ones' father". I want to ask: Where'd legitimacy go? Did it, too leap out the window?


  • One of the most accurate measures of time we have are Atomic Clocks, which (as I understand it) return consistent intervals by measuring an element's isotope. These are still just 'intervals' of something happening. Not a separate and distinct element in the universe. We applied the term to this system of intervals, that doesn't mean the intervals themselves are evidence of another, distinct-objective-and-linked system, does it?


  • It's much like Mathematics being a representation of how all things fit together! I love this one... we take a single object and come up with the term "one", we put two objects together and come up with the term "two". Then we say that "one added to one equals two" and chills run up our spine. What grace! What fluidity and structure this universe has!! Hahaha! It's self invented!

Ok, so I've poured my guts out on this one. Can someone, who's not in the "mid-20's lemme try some to impress someone by my misused-terminology" -phase of life dispense some insight?

Thanks
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Holiday20310401
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2008 05:25 pm
@Khethil,
I personally believe that time comes with our perception and is unintentionally there, so not invented.

It makes values possible. It means we can come up with things like frequency acceleration, velocity, etc. To say that time was invented is to say that the universe is linear, in that its vector has no magnitude which doesn't make any sense.

But I suppose you'd be thinking that magnitude does not rely on time. And with causality aside I don't think I can elaborate.

But I will say that the only thing invented about time is its flow. What if flow is an illusion to an increase of its frequency as if time had quanta? And if time's essence is in quanta (you know, that sort of thing), then time exists in instances. And we are the observer of frequency.

Because flow implies frequency.

But thats absurd. Time has no subunits, no moment in time implies being inside or outside another moment of time. Therefore time has to be the most intrinsic thing in order to exist?
Now that I think about it I'd side with you on this.
de Silentio
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2008 05:50 pm
@Khethil,
It depends on how you define Time. If by time you mean reference points of successive events that we use to organize those events, then sure, we invented it.

But is that all time is? How abaout defining time as the succession of events apart from human experience? Do animals experience Time? If so, did we invent it for them. Do things have beginnings and ends? If so, is not the flow events in between Time?

Just some thoughts.
0 Replies
 
BrightNoon
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2008 05:55 pm
@Holiday20310401,
Holiday20310401 wrote:
I personally believe that time comes with our perception and is unintentionally there, so not invented.

It makes values possible. It means we can come up with things like frequency acceleration, velocity, etc. To say that time was invented is to say that the universe is linear, in that its vector has no magnitude which doesn't make any sense.

But I suppose you'd be thinking that magnitude does not rely on time. And with causality aside I don't think I can elaborate.

But I will say that the only thing invented about time is its flow. What if flow is an illusion to an increase of its frequency as if time had quanta? And if time's essence is in quanta (you know, that sort of thing), then time exists in instances. And we are the observer of frequency.

Because flow implies frequency.

But thats absurd. Time has no subunits, no moment in time implies being inside or outside another moment of time. Therefore time has to be the most intrinsic thing in order to exist?
Now that I think about it I'd side with you on this.


Correct me if I'm wrong Khethil, but isn't this explanation demostrative of the problem you're talking about? To have vector without magnitude makes no sense in the system of our invention which includes vector and magnitude! Holiday's was a self-validating argument, and that is no complement H....:bigsmile:

In my view, to seperate time from the phenomena of life (or, in the language of physics, from space, motion, matter, etc.) makes the concept 'time' utterly meaningless. I agree with you khethil; time is nothing but a symbol for change, ordered or measured in various arbitrary ways. The issues presented by relativity, on which i'm admittedly no expert, are, I think, the result of having previously assumed that time was something actually existent, like matter. If it hadn't been treated in this way and been understood only as the idea of change, there would have been no suprise in learning that change appears to occur at different rates from different perspetives.

Incidentally, I brought up this issue in the thread titled 'beginning of the universe, you don't say', as often I hear scietifically minded people, laymen, explain that the problem of ultimate causality which seemingly precludes a 'beginning of the universe' can be solved if we posit a period without time at the beginning, so that causality is not neccessary. That whole idea smacks of Kant's practical reason as the basis of a critique of pure reason, if you get my point. In any case, time cannot be removed from the world as it is not anything, but rather a symbol of the world, whose essential nature is change.
Holiday20310401
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2008 06:05 pm
@BrightNoon,
Yeah I know bright moon. I like to write it out as I think, so I change my opinion so often and quickly.

But change requires a separation of events. There has to be displacement between events. We can have nothing in between relative events and change is identified from those events. So if time had essence then one instance of time implies another instance of time (in its essence). But since that doesn't matter because in potentiality we only rely on change, I guess I agree with Kethril.

But I admit, originally I had considered time to be deductive in its nature, but it is not a part of nature.
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 06:28 am
@Holiday20310401,
Thank you very much for your replies. It gives some insight, but doesn't quell-the-fire (so to speak).

So many well-meaning and vastly intelligent folks (scientists, mostly) speak of "time" as a force (entity? phenomina?) that exists separately-and-distinctly. Most of these people are far more intelligent than I, yet when I look at it: Time is a useful concept we apply to sequences or rates. We can look at a notion and say ".. yes, this describes time" yet Time doesn't exist as a separate entity; at least that's what it seems.

It's a useful term; needed term! But bent, traversed and objectively measured (that isn't *really* measuring something else), I'd really love to hear it.

Thanks again for your posts
astrotheological
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Sep, 2008 12:38 pm
@Holiday20310401,
I believe that time exists because without it nothing would exist.
0 Replies
 
Arjen
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Sep, 2008 02:29 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil wrote:
I'll go right to the cruxt of it: How can something we invented, in actuality be traversed? (time travel). How is it that we invent a system of description then treat it as if its an "objective and separate" concept? Let me illustrate where I'm coming from...


Say, did you ever consider that it is not in actuality that this 'time' can be traversed, but in potentiality? I'm just asking because that is the entire theory as opposed to your actuality. It will flabbergast most people though; the empiricists amounst us for instance.

Just to be completely tuned in here:

You don't know what paradoxes are, do you? Don't worry, you're not alone. I actually promised some others to write a small explanation of this in the very near future. Just be warned that it might eliminate any and all links to what 'the general public' (<--empiricists...those people who swallow the lies) percieve as 'reality'. You'll be completely lost and everybody will continuously try to convince you you are a raving lunatic when trying to explain what you percieve. It'll take a lot of stamina not to end up in the nut-house once it fully sinks in. An example might be that I, in the first period after gaining this insight, hung a sign on my front door saying: "Nuthouse", with an arrow pointing out. I am very sincere in stating that indeed just about every person is mixing up their thoughts with what exists in reality and is therefore, literally, insane. Not that it isn't an endearing quality or anything...

Anyway, just a warning...is that what you don't see?
That might be difficult to answer if you don't know what I am talking about...Let's put it this way: Could you follow the above?
Holiday20310401
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Sep, 2008 10:00 pm
@Arjen,
Yes exactly. Actuality implies nothing except itself, which is nothing.
Bracewell
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Sep, 2008 12:40 pm
@Holiday20310401,
As I understand it, time is a dimension. It only has a local meaning in that, the rate at which events happen is influenced by gravity and speed. This explains that when the speed of light is measured locally the speed is always the same no matter what the circumstances of the measurement are. However, it can be seen that light is bent by distant large gravitational masses and therefore it can be safely assumed that the rate at which events happen in that location will be different, and that means all events.
I hope this helps.
0 Replies
 
BrightNoon
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 12:02 am
@Arjen,
Arjen wrote:
Say, did you ever consider that it is not in actuality that this 'time' can be traversed, but in potentiality? I'm just asking because that is the entire theory as opposed to your actuality. It will flabbergast most people though; the empiricists amounst us for instance.

Just to be completely tuned in here:

You don't know what paradoxes are, do you? Don't worry, you're not alone. I actually promised some others to write a small explanation of this in the very near future. Just be warned that it might eliminate any and all links to what 'the general public' (<--empiricists...those people who swallow the lies) percieve as 'reality'. You'll be completely lost and everybody will continuously try to convince you you are a raving lunatic when trying to explain what you percieve. It'll take a lot of stamina not to end up in the nut-house once it fully sinks in. An example might be that I, in the first period after gaining this insight, hung a sign on my front door saying: "Nuthouse", with an arrow pointing out. I am very sincere in stating that indeed just about every person is mixing up their thoughts with what exists in reality and is therefore, literally, insane. Not that it isn't an endearing quality or anything...

Anyway, just a warning...is that what you don't see?
That might be difficult to answer if you don't know what I am talking about...Let's put it this way: Could you follow the above?


No, the words gobbledeegook and hulabaloo come to mind while reading your post. I love a good paradoxical, deliberately vague statement as much as the next guy, but I would like an explanation. Essentially, here is my objection, which addresses your premise, not your point, as I don't know where that is; what is the difference between actuality and potentiality; from what perspective are you dertermining what is actual and what will shortly be actual; if from the individual perspective (the only persp. in my view), I would say that potentiality never exists except as an idea, while everything (experiences and ideas) is actual. In other words, actuality I define as experience, which is everything and potentiality is only one idea amoung many, such as 'masking tape', which are all part of experience.

Any thoughts?

P.S. BTW, I agree with you that most people don't quite get it; they confuse there ideas for the context in which the ideas are occuring. I can hardly bear the subjuntive these days, unless the person who uses it is really a ****. I vainly call myself a realist. :sarcastic:
nameless
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 03:15 am
@BrightNoon,
The 'nature' of 'time', is 'thought'.
Without 'thought', there is no 'time'.

"An attempt at visualizing the Fourth Dimension: Take a point, stretch it into a line, curl it into a circle, twist it into a sphere, and punch through the sphere."
Einstein, Albert

Here's something that you might find interesting. I did not write this, but found it on the net. Please excuse the length, but it does provide some food for thought;

The Nature of Time
0 Replies
 
validity
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Sep, 2008 05:09 pm
@Khethil,
hello Khethil

Khethil wrote:

Short Version: Time is a concept we invented to help structure event sequences. Then, I hear well-intentioned and intelligent folk speak of it as if it can be influenced, even traversed. What I want to say is: Wow, what a load of crap.


Short response: It is certainly possible for a chain of events A>B>C to be viewed as C>B>A if there is appreciable speed differnece between two people viewing the events see special relativity ie the chain of events that you see is not absolute. If the event sequences that formed your concept of time were A>B>C and the sequence is not absolute, why do you think that the sequence can not be influenced ie the sequence must be able to be influenced if the sequence is not absolute.

Quote:
Long Version: Causality completely aside, we needed a way to reference the passing of night into day (which is inertia and gravity - completely separate concepts). We wanted to describe season intervals so we came up with terms to describe 'the year'. These were divided into minutes and seconds. We... invented this system to describe various phenomena. As silly as it seems I'd like to restate this: We invented this concept.

True, but we did not invent the motion of the earth around the sun. What we did was to look for a precisely periodic chain of events so that a standard interval of motion could be assigned.

Quote:
I'll go right to the cruxt of it: How can something we invented, in actuality be traversed? (time travel). How is it that we invent a system of description then treat it as if its an "objective and separate" concept? Let me illustrate where I'm coming from...

From Special Relativity the sequence of events are relative and if our concept of time is built from the sequence of events then an arguement exists for the comment "time is not absolute, but rather relative". if time is relative then there must be mechanisms to influence it.

Quote:
I've seen much of how space-time can be 'bent' via mass gravitational forces. I could see how gravity could 'bend' densities that influence particles, etc. But that's not "time" - Time is something we invented to describe sequential intervals.

It has been experimentally shown that gravity slows down time. GPS must acknowledge this phenomena in order for the GPS to work. See General Relativity

Quote:
I've learned a lot on speed and its effect on molecular decay (pale reference to relativity), but once again; that's not "time", that's molecular decay - or atomic activity, if you will - not "time". Time is something we invented.

Do you mean muon decay?

Quote:
Much ado has been made of Time Travel; we've seen a lot of it here on the Forum. When I read this, I want to say, "How absurd can we get?! Humans invent this *thing* then in a leap of utter arrogance start to talk about how to travel back and kill ones' father". I want to ask: Where'd legitimacy go? Did it, too leap out the window?

The travel back and kill ones' father paradox does certainly exposes a flaw in the idea of travelling back in time. There are no paradoxes however in travelling forwards in time. See Twin Paradox

Quote:
One of the most accurate measures of time we have are Atomic Clocks, which (as I understand it) return consistent intervals by measuring an element's isotope. These are still just 'intervals' of something happening. Not a separate and distinct element in the universe. We applied the term to this system of intervals, that doesn't mean the intervals themselves are evidence of another, distinct-objective-and-linked system, does it?

I apologise, I do not know what you mean. PS Atomic clocks do not work in the way described above.

Quote:
It's much like Mathematics being a representation of how all things fit together! I love this one... we take a single object and come up with the term "one", we put two objects together and come up with the term "two". Then we say that "one added to one equals two" and chills run up our spine. What grace! What fluidity and structure this universe has!! Hahaha! It's self invented!

Mathematics describes what is possible and Physics decides which possibility is a true representation of the universe.
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2008 04:13 pm
@validity,
Thank you Validity...

... without getting into the muck of all the intriguing issues you bring up, I'd like to focus on the existence of time as a phenomena separate from those used to measure it.

validity wrote:
Short response: It is certainly possible for a chain of events A>B>C to be viewed as C>B>A if there is appreciable speed differnece between two people viewing the events see special relativity ie the chain of events that you see is not absolute.


This might help, can you expand or perhaps give an example? It could go a long way to understanding the basics of this (that time isn't something else, it's its own animal).

Thanks
validity
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2008 07:00 pm
@Khethil,
Hello Khethil

I will start by adding a clause (or correction if my ego would allow it :surrender:) to the short response I made earlier. The clause of causality and rather simply if A>B>C can be viewed as C>B>A then A is not the cause of B and B is not the cause of C. So unrelated events can certainly be rearranged based on the observers perspective.

Khethil wrote:
Thank you Validity...

... without getting into the muck of all the intriguing issues you bring up, I'd like to focus on the existence of time as a phenomena separate from those used to measure it.

This might help, can you expand or perhaps give an example? It could go a long way to understanding the basics of this (that time isn't something else, it's its own animal).

Thanks


Wow. I do not think there can be any short responses to your request to discuss the existence of time as a phenomena separate from those used to measure it.

An idea that I ask you to keep in mind is that a system can not be reduced into its parts, the parts seperated and expect the parts to function as the system did.

So, what is a clock measuring? A clock is a machine that is constructed to produce precise periodic output. Then what period is it set at? Well a clock can be set to any period by tinkering with its construction or as I have heard the hour hand of Big Ben travels faster from 12 to 6 then it does when travelling from 6 to 12 (gravity sucks). So a clock really does not measure anything, but it is rather set to a universally accepted standard definition of a precise period ie the duration of 9 192 631 770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium 133 atom*, which is known as a second.

Now remove all the caesium atoms from the universe (or stop all caesium atoms moving). What do we use now to define a second. We know the earth orbits the sun at approx 365 days in one orbit, so all we need to do is divide the shape of the orbit into equal parts and redefine the second based on the movement of the earth. It is inaccurate but still possible.

Now remove the earth and the sun (or stop them from moving)and you just keep looking for anything that moves to constructed a device to produce precise periodic output. You then remove all things that move in the universe (or stop every thing from moving). Then how do you tell the present from the future if nothing changes? I say you can not and I go one further and say time is nothing more than the allocation of a standard interval of motion.

It would seem that by removing the phenomena that is used to measure time, or reduce the system to its parts, you in effect remove time.

* Second - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Holiday20310401
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2008 07:29 pm
@validity,
You cannot remove time by removing your measuring tool of time. Or can you? What if time was like this random oscillation. Oscillating in a pattern that recognizes duration, and random in that it actually can be divided into parts.

Actually thats silly.

Maybe time is random and flowing but in relation to different environments that we don't have perception to. We really only experience the macro world, and so time seems to flow at a constant rate. And maybe time can be conveyed as a bell curve. Its randomness increases when perceived farther away from the the maximum point, being the normal macro reality we normally perceive or have adapted to. As we get more into the micro world, and to the macro macro world there is therefore going to be more randomness in space time. Flow is a perception of order and so if it becomes more random to our perception as we get more into micro/ macro macro worlds then we do not have all the variables to see that order, "intrinsicated". Laughing

A way around this is by adding more dimensions that are not as 'strong' in our normal reality. Laughing

Subjective time must therefore be the answer if time is represented through flow/randomness via bell curve.

And objective time must therefore be the answer if time is represented through flow/randomness via exponential/linear trend.

But I guess that doesn't really answer the question. Surprised
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Sep, 2008 01:21 pm
@validity,
validity wrote:
It would seem that by removing the phenomena that is used to measure time, or reduce the system to its parts, you in effect remove time.


Holiday20310401 wrote:
You cannot remove time by removing your measuring tool of time. Or can you? What if time was like this random oscillation. Oscillating in a pattern that recognizes duration, and random in that it actually can be divided into parts.


Hrmm... that does sound rather unfair, doesn't it: "Prove to me an orange exists without referring to sight, touch or taste". But then again, we didn't make up that object, did we?

Let's backtrack a bit; Validity, you spoke about sequences of actions in defining time. I hate messing with this browser so I won't re-quote, but you brought up the point that a particular sequence of events (A>B>C) could be viewed differently by someone else (e.g., C>B>A); thus, it is therefore relative and therein must be influence-able via some mechanism. This doesn't define what time is at all (since, the order of events doesn't define time, but rather the frequency or rate, if I'm not mistaken). Nonetheless, I'm curious, how might someone perceive a sequence of events differently than another? Have you an example perchance?

More Clarification on the Question: I suspect time is a word we came up with to describe the frequency with which actions occur. In some cases it's quite constant while in others its not. We needed a conceptual notion to describe these intervals, so we came up with this word. Gravity, molecular decay, complete revolutions of the earth and repetitive actions within physics all can generate actions/events with regular intervals and we describe these as "time"; yet, it exists as a concept only - cannot be traversed, bent, warped or traveled. If this isn't correct, I'd very much like to understand what... it.... is. If it is not a force that has some descriptive or common, objective manifestation except by clues from other principles, then it is just that: A concept with no independent substance or force on its own.


[CENTER]Action A, <No Action>, Action A, <No Action>, Action A

The human animal looks at this and says, "Hey! This is a useful concept... I need a word for this pattern... quick! Someone come up with one"
[/CENTER]


I can throw a rock, I can slow down a rolling ball, I can shield my eyes with my hands; these actions are quantifiable influences on speed, intertia and light. If I make up some new term and apply it to all three of these actions that doesn't make it something else that really exists and can be bent, slowed, sped or traversed. It just word used to describe a common thread in a collection of other observed phenomena.

Again, thanks for engaging me on this. I fear we've become so hopelessly accustomed to thinking within this conceptual box that we've allowed it to somehow be spontaneously-borne into objective reality.

But I truly do hope to understand this more fully.
paulhanke
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Sep, 2008 03:29 pm
@validity,
validity wrote:
Now remove the earth and the sun (or stop them from moving)and you just keep looking for anything that moves to constructed a device to produce precise periodic output. You then remove all things that move in the universe (or stop every thing from moving). Then how do you tell the present from the future if nothing changes? I say you can not and I go one further and say time is nothing more than the allocation of a standard interval of motion.

It would seem that by removing the phenomena that is used to measure time, or reduce the system to its parts, you in effect remove time.


... in so removing "time", have you also effectively removed "space"? ...
validity
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Sep, 2008 04:18 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil wrote:
Let's backtrack a bit; Validity, you spoke about sequences of actions in defining time. I hate messing with this browser so I won't re-quote, but you brought up the point that a particular sequence of events (A>B>C) could be viewed differently by someone else (e.g., C>B>A); thus, it is therefore relative and therein must be influence-able via some mechanism. This doesn't define what time is at all (since, the order of events doesn't define time, but rather the frequency or rate, if I'm not mistaken). Nonetheless, I'm curious, how might someone perceive a sequence of events differently than another? Have you an example perchance?


An example of reordering events is taken form the man who worked it out

Chapter 9. The Relativity of Simultaneity. Einstein, Albert. 1920. Relativity: The Special and General Theory

I would like to ponder the remainder of your post befor I offer a response Smile
0 Replies
 
validity
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Sep, 2008 04:25 pm
@paulhanke,
Hello paulhanke

paulhanke wrote:
... in so removing "time", have you also effectively removed "space"? ...


I would say that depends on how time was removed.

If time were removed by removing the objects that are moving then you would end up removing all but one object. The question then is what meaning does the concept of space have if there is only one object?

If time were removed by stopping everything from moving the notion of before and after becomes redundant and impossible to define. The concept of space still holds meaning though.
 

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