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How do you define Time?

 
 
Charon
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Jul, 2004 03:53 pm
JLNobody,
As soon as you start to put infinities into an equation the equations don't work unless you start to redefine the infinities, that's one of the things wrong with Zeno's Paradoxes. I don't like infinities.
One of the reasons why my above description of time is appealing is because of its lack of infinities. If time is as per my description then the universe is finite and unchanging.
Asherman,
You said "In a finite universe time would begin as zero became 1, and end at the terminal boundary. This is pretty much the classical model of time. " Please consider this:- As soon as you see time as a sequence of events you have to accept that something happened before time started (which is illogical) or that time (and therefore the universe it is part of) is infinite. This is actually the opposite of what you said.
If time is as I describe (i.e. there is no change in the universe) then the universe is finite in the same way any shape is finite.

What were talking about here is really different ways of describing a finite universe. Einstein understood very well the similarities between "time" and space. These similarities are the cornerstone of his theories.

There are arguments that can be used to contradict how I have defined time, but I believe Einstein's theories do not. I believe Einstein would agree with my description of time.

Thanks for the debate all, it's fun.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Jul, 2004 05:27 pm
Asherman is able to describe things very succinctly, but his theory about time can be understood only by people who understand physics and/or Einstein's theory of relativity. Illusions and reality topics goes beyond my comprehension level.
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extra medium
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Jul, 2004 05:31 pm
cicerone imposter wrote:
Illusions and reality topics goes beyond my comprehension level.


CI,

Let's see, illusion topics are beyond your comprehension, and reality topics are beyond your comprehension.

Doesn't that cover just about every topic there is? Laughing

(I'm joking...Sorry, I couldn't resist)
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Jul, 2004 06:05 pm
Just gotta admit, I'm completely confused about my existence. Laughing Laughing Laughing
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Asherman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Jul, 2004 07:46 pm
Charon,

I said "In a finite universe time would begin as zero became 1, and end at the terminal boundary. This is pretty much the classical model of time." That classical model is the serial unfolding of sequential events you seem to be referring to when you remark,

"Please consider this:- As soon as you see time as a sequence of events you have to accept that something happened before time started (which is illogical) or that time (and therefore the universe it is part of) is infinite. This is actually the opposite of what you said."

My comment was regarding the finite model, and if I understand your comment correctly, is supporting my contention that the universe is infinite without beginnings, endings, or boundary. Somehow, it just feels as if we aren't on the same page here.

If time is as I describe (i.e. there is no change in the universe) then the universe is finite in the same way any shape is finite. If the universe is unchanging, then time can not exist and that strongly implies that multiplicity and space are also illusory. Changeless, without beginnings, endings, or boundaries sounds more like you are describing an infinite model than a finite one.

One of the problems I have with finite systems, are the boundary problems. There has to be a beginning and an ending, what lies on the other side? When whatever existed prior to the beginning (zero) becomes existence (1) change has occurred. From nothing to something. My proposition is that that change in a finite system is the birth of time.

With an infinite model we escape all those boundary difficulties. There is no beginnings, nor endings, Zero=infinity. If, as I and other Buddhists suppose, the perceptual world of multiplicity is illusory, then it is possible that neither space (the relationship between "things"), nor time (the change in relationships) exist at all. Indeed, I think it probable that we are mistaken in believing that time/space exist. In the infinity model, where zero=infinity, all possibilities exist concurrently. Concurrently because in the absence of multiplicity, there is no "time". This is possible because none of the possible universes/realities has any "real" substance.

BTW, I enjoy reading your views.
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john-nyc
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Jul, 2004 10:33 pm
Idea
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Neoquixote
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2004 02:38 am
Tiaha wrote:
I read someone say this here:

time does not actually exist, at all.


how can you say this? things happen, right? so how can time not exist? unless things happening have nothing to do with time. ....

from my point of view, time is not a somewhat substantial entity, if it do exist al all. i think time is only a semantic creature by human beings for their intellectual expediency to cope with consequential relationships of events the observed. just like we create "direction" to cope with spatial relationship of objects. since it is more pellucid for us that direction is not a real entity, it would be easier to think about the matter of time by analogy between direction and time.
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Ghendo
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2004 06:50 am
He all, I liked the desription of time as a dimmention: heard it before, but it was a lot more confusing then. And i liked the analogy to the movie reel, very clever.

Stephen Haukins said that the passing of time is the universal increase in entropy. Now i know that i doesn't say what time is, but it's a good description.

As for the practical maters of time: i'm of the oppinion that the past and the future don't have to exist, for us they effectively don't. I suppose we've all heard the five minute universe theory: the universe came into existence fime or one or whaterver minutes age. There is no way that we can find out, but then again, it doesn't realy matter. And the future doesn't exist because of a quirk in the definition of future. Stuff that will happen at a later point in time (seeing it linearly) will indeed happen, but not in the future, rather in the present. So all we have is the present: make the best of it. Smile

Good discution
-Ghendo
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Neoquixote
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2004 07:23 am
Ghendo wrote:
...Now i know that i doesn't say what time is, but it's a good description...
Good discution
-Ghendo

i wanna say the same as this.
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john-nyc
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2004 09:44 am
Ghendo wrote:
As for the practical maters of time: i'm of the oppinion that the past and the future don't have to exist, for us they effectively don't. I suppose we've all heard the five minute universe theory: the universe came into existence fime or one or whaterver minutes age. There is no way that we can find out, but then again, it doesn't realy matter. And the future doesn't exist because of a quirk in the definition of future. Stuff that will happen at a later point in time (seeing it linearly) will indeed happen, but not in the future, rather in the present. So all we have is the present: make the best of it. Smile

Good discution
-Ghendo


I guess I disagree. We have no "now" we only have the past and the future.

First, time is a human construct. This idea harks back to the "tree falls in the woods" problem. Time exists only because there is an intelligence to perceive it. When the first human perceived time, then all time came into being. Including the time before that first perception and the time going forward.

The concept "now" is imperfect. The point at which we think of the concept "NOW!" ...whooosh... it ceases to exist. It is already in the past. Our perception does not allow us a present but only a past and a future.

If we were able to exist in a state of "now," then all time would stop. Perhaps if we could exist in such a state, we would be able to see all the past and all the future simultaneously: perhaps not.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2004 09:58 am
john of nyc, I agree with your concept of time. Wink
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Ghendo
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2004 12:08 pm
John of NYC

I don't intend to convince you that i'm right, but i can do a better job of expaining my POV.

A lot of the discution of this tread revolves arround time being dirrectly related to change: change of possition, state, order, relative change and the like. The reason i say that tha past and the present are of no consequense is bacause the in the past (or in the future) there can be no change). Note: not saying that they don't exist (because they do in our minds, they are constructs) but that they may as well not exist because they are not agents of change. Everything in the past and future is 'frozen', and no matter how hard you try or push or pray, our past and our future can't be changed. The present, however, is full of change, it is dynamic. In this case, no matter how hads you try, you cannot avoid change.

Using someones analogy of the movie reel: the frames that are pased are still, and the ones yet to come are still, but as they wiz by in front of the light, they are full motion. I guess that if you say that the present is only one frame then yes the present does go by aufully fast. But we still don't have the future or the past. If this is so, we need new definitions for 'past, present, and future'.

Any one else have thoughts on this?
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limbodog
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2004 12:31 pm
Time is a human invention. A unit of measure like the Yard or the kilogram. The units of time measure speed versus distance.

In my opinion, that is all. Nothing more.
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john-nyc
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2004 01:42 pm
Ghendo wrote:
Everything in the past and future is 'frozen', and no matter how hard you try or push or pray, our past and our future can't be changed.


I have a different view of the future. I agree with your view of the past.

The past is truly frozen and it is also the sum total of all the events that have taken place. The past is where change has taken place. The future is where will take place the effects of the changes.

The closer the future is to the events of the past the more predictable the future becomes, but not absolutely predictable. The further from the past is the future, the less predictable it becomes. It is not frozen.

I don't know if any of this stuff can be "proven," so Ghendo's guess is as good as mine.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2004 01:50 pm
The future is not "frozen." If the future is frozen, we would have no freedom to choose our actions and make plans.
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Charon
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jul, 2004 05:34 pm
I don't believe time has to be infinite in order for there to be no beginning or end,
Please read on in order to understand my logic. Also please read Asherman's post (788841) as a lot of what I say relates to this post and the posts I have made in this thread.

Asherman,
I think its intriguing how we both come to different conclusions from the same understanding that you cant have something happening before the beginning of time. We both agree that the universe is (and I quote) "without beginnings, endings, or boundary". I think I understand why you see this as showing a infinite universe and I see it as showing a finite universe.

You are saying that time must be infinite because if there is no beginning or end time will go on for ever.
You are seeing time as the measurement of a linear occurrence of events that happen one after another.

I say that Time is finite because its a dimension of space without beginnings, endings, or boundary. There is no before, after or change its all just there in the same way the other 3 dimensions are always just there. The human concept of before, after and change are imaginary.
The universe has shape.
There are many shapes without beginnings, endings, or boundary. In a 1 dimensional universe a shape without beginnings, endings, or boundary would be a circle. In a two dimensional universe it would be a sphere etc.
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Charon
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jul, 2004 05:36 pm
Viewing the universe from another perspective.
Imagine a being living in a 3 dimensional universe he sees 2 dimensions of space and 1 of time (his brain can't comprehend 3 dimensions of space). He can move forward and backward (dimension 1) and left and right (dimension 2) and time arrears to pass (dimension 3). He sets of in a straight line to reach the boundary of his universe and realises he has eventually come back to where he started. He concludes that the dimensions of space are curved and therefore that the dimensions of space are finite and have no beginning ending or boundary (like the surface of a sphere). After some thought he realises that the dimension of time is the same as the dimensions of space and concludes that this dimension of time has the same shape as the dimensions of space and also has no beginnings, endings, or boundary. He finally realises that time and change are just an illusion.

Someone from our 4 dimensional universe might perceive the above beings universe as the surface of a sphere with time but he must also understand that the sphere has no volume because that dimension dose not exsit in the 3 dimensional universe.
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Asherman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jul, 2004 06:09 pm
Charon,

Yes, I also noted with interest how different our conclusions were from elements that we seem to agree upon. I also referenced Flatland.

Time is the fourth dimension, on that we agree. The spatial dimensions have to do with physical relationships between two, or more point. That relationship can be measured by one scale or another. What is time, but the measurement of change between spatial elements? If we have A, B, and C, they define space by their position within three axis. If nothing changes in the relationship, there is no time dimension at all. When one of the three (or two or zillion) relationships change, time comes into being and can be measured by one scale, or another.

If the universe is infinite, without beginning, ending or boundary, it also equals zero. If the universe is finite, then there are beginnings, endings and boundaries. Before existence = zero, and afterwards must = 1, or many. In a finite universe model, time (the measurement of change) comes into existence with the beginnings of existence, but would thereafter remain static unless further change in spatial relationships occurred. How a finite universe and time would end is interesting, and may provide a partial, but unsatisfying answer to the boundary problems of the finite model. In this model, the entropy is triumphant. The temperature of the universe falls to really, really absolute zero and all cosmic motion stops, absolutely ... frozen, though the temporal clock would keep ticking into infinity. A beginning without a full ending. The "edge" of the finite universe is the distance it travels from the singularity that began it. Nothing exists outside, because there are no elements to define space, nor change to define time.

Exactly how the multi-dimensional figures that theoretically exist at the Planck scale might alter our notions of time and space remains unknown. I do think that what we regard as the material universe is somehow a product of what is happening on the Planck scale. As scale increases, smoothing of effects produces what we call energy and fields. From there it seems a short jump to particles, atoms, and upward to cosmic proportions. The laws Quantum physics segue into macroscopic physics of Einstein. To discover the "join" and relationship between the two sets of laws will be the crowning achievement of modern mathematics and physics. The Unified Field Theory, at least as desirable as the Holy Grail.

I look forward to your comments.
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BoGoWo
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2004 07:20 am
i am beginning to see time as the fourth dimension, in exactly the same way the other three dimensions are 'read'; that is as a co-ordinate assigning a spacial demarkation, similar to 'x', 'y', and 'z'!

We have x,y,z,t., and we know exactly where 'it' is!
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Asherman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2004 08:57 am
BoGoWo, I think you've got it. Its almost impossible to understand three dimensions when confined to two. Without additing the fourth dimension consideration of the nature of things in our universe is just as futile. To make things far worse, we are trying to understand four dimensions in a universe that has between 6 and 13 dimensions at the Planck scale. We can't see or experience them, so how do those extra dimenstions relate to the overall structure of the full universe beyond those four we experience every day?
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