• TiredThinker
    82
    Now Einstein says time is an illusion but we still assume it has some basis is reality? In the movie, "Doctor Strange" he goes to a universe where time doesn't exist and creates a time loop. Now fiction aside, can we imagine a place without time? Would any events occur? Can memories form? Or do all possible events occur simultaneously? What is the lay of the land?
  • Outlander
    869
    Now fiction aside, can we imagine a place without time?TiredThinker

    Becoming one with light (or in a capable ship) and traveling and its speed through the vaccum of space at 186,000 miles per second. Not quite the same thing but probably as close as we'd be able to get.

    Without time as in never existed/outside of the laws of time or just say "frozen" in time, etc? It's a curious question that probably has a simple enough answer. I don't know it, though.

    If it has intelligent or even any form of life or has beings capable of consciousness obviously they'd have to move or at least think. Wouldn't they?
  • Kenosha Kid
    2k
    Now Einstein says time is an illusionTiredThinker

    He said absolute time is an illusion, caused by the fact that everyday speeds are negligible compared with the speed of light. Time itself isn't an illusion, rather it depends on one's frame of reference. Time has equal footing with space in Einstein's theory.
  • magritte
    191
    ... but we still assume it has some basis in realityTiredThinker
    We would have to assume that I am real so is my experience in flowing continuous time. But I am not so sure about other people whose experience is obviously different from mine and from one another therefore cannot be absolute or even just objective.
  • Athena
    1.1k
    All cultures do not experience time the same. We can have serious communications with indigenous people when we assume their sense of time is the same as ours. This is explained by Hall in his book "Beyond Culture".

    I found a link that gives an example of the culture/time problem that in effect does make time stand still.

    https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1046/j.1038-5282.2003.02009.x

    In India some may think it is rude to set a specific time for a meeting because that sets ourselves above all else, making gods of ourselves instead of seeing ourselves in the flow of something much greater than ourselves. We could agree to meet at 3:00 p.m. but we better add to that "God willing".

    Time as we have created it with our 12 hour clocks is an abstract concept that we treat as tangible reality. It is now 7:50 a.m. where I sit but this moment in time may be different for you.
  • Athena
    1.1k
    We would have to assume that I am real so is my experience in flowing continuous time. But I am not so sure about other people whose experience is obviously different from mine and from one another therefore cannot be absolute or even just objective.magritte

    It depends on which side of the bathroom door are you? Inside or outside. :lol:
  • Mww
    2k
    can we imagine a place without time?TiredThinker

    No problem for me at least. Just imagine no recording or measuring of change.
  • Rafaella Leon
    59
    There is no such thing as a world "without time", that is nonsense. How long a time where nothing happened would last? It is inconceivable. The time that is independent of what happens is the time that is independent of duration; so it's not time at all. Also, the idea of space without things inside; that is, space as pure measure is impossible, because, as there is nothing within the space, there is also no measure.
  • SophistiCat
    1.5k
    Now fiction aside, can we imagine a place without time? Would any events occur? Can memories form? Or do all possible events occur simultaneously? What is the lay of the land?TiredThinker

    I don't see any conceptual problems with a timeless world. We routinely construct such worlds in our minds. One of the subfields of mechanics is actually called Statics, and there are plenty of other theories and models in which time does not figure. Frankly, I am surprised that anyone with any exposure to science and abstract thought in general would have a difficulty with this concept.
  • Mr Bee
    387
    Now fiction aside, can we imagine a place without time? Would any events occur? Can memories form? Or do all possible events occur simultaneously? What is the lay of the land?TiredThinker

    Sure. Time is often conceived as a series of moments in a 1-dimensional line so a world without such a time is simply a 0-dimensional version of that, which would be a single moment. I wouldn't say that events "occur" given that that seems to suggest that they come into being or come to pass which implies time, but they do exist within this solitary moment. There are no other versions of the world and in that sense everything is "simultaneous". Such views about time are often called temporal solipsism for obvious reasons.

    One can do the same thing with space just by reducing the amount of spatial dimensions to a single point. In that case, there is no "there", only "here" and our sense of direction ceases to be. Like time this is a solipsistic view with respect to space.

    I guess a more interesting question would be what multiple time dimensions would be like if it were possible. We often understand space as being multi-dimensional, but in most theories (even in string theory with it's dozen dimensions), there is only one time dimension.

    In the movie, "Doctor Strange" he goes to a universe where time doesn't exist and creates a time loop.TiredThinker

    Never watched that movie but frankly that just sounds like a load of sci-fi mumbo jumbo.
  • jgill
    987
    Motion without time? Look at a photograph. Think of the universe as a dynamical system, forever changing. Time is a way of perceiving change. A tiny iteration of a process in space could be interpreted as a tiny step in time. No change = no time.

    Just a thought. :roll: My attempts at philosophy are shallow.
  • Rotorblade
    16
    Regardless it is absolute or relative time is a dimension where the energy is conserved.
    For example you could have a one dimensional universe plus time. The x dimension have be a series of field values from 0 to A, and can consist of discrete positions form 0-X. All along the time axis the sum of the field values in each point is constant.
    The illusion of motion is observing new values for each position along the t axis.
    Now let’s introduce another space axis y and remove time. Now, You can have any pattern of values everywhere or you may set some rule but scanning along x or y the total energy is not conserved otherwise it would be a time axis
    What if we remove space and add two time axes?
    The energy would conserve on both axes and there will be some symmetrical patterns possible like a line at a 45 deg but this restricts the possibilities substantially
  • Joshs
    948
    Can we "imagine a place without time"? Is the imagining a process that unfolds sequentially? That's time. "Would any events occur?" An event is a difference made, a coming into presence of something from out of a past.. That implies time. "Can memories form?" Formation is creation, which is temporal. "Or do all possible events occur simultaneously?" At the same time? Why is time built into the structure of the word simultaneous? Because there is still an unfolding implied.
    Einstein's shunting aside of time is now increasingly recognized as an attempt to abstract out of physics what may in fact be the key to its understanding (See Prigogine, Smolen ,etc).
  • Mick Wright
    12
    Einsteins point was that the passage and memory of time, is persistent but an illusion but that there is in fact an actual process that we called time before relativity but in the aftermath must now be redefined. I think that's his point.

    Time of course is not an illusion since as Einstein knew if I travel away from you at an extreme acceleration and velocity and then travel back... well I'll still have experienced 60 seconds per minute... just as you have, but when I arrive back more of those minutes will have passed for you than I. That's not possible in a universe of illusory time.... only in a universe of illusory static or solid state time.

    Either way we have moved on just a little bit from Einstein. I'm sure he was onto a lot of things and all, but Einstein is not the worlds Oracle of Delphi and we know that in many cases, including with quantum mechanics he was just plain wrong.

    Many current theories and in fact lots of cosmology and physics ignores time since its irrelevant. Time is also not a property, or a requirement for many known processes in the universe such as quasi-particles. In the quantum world the primary mover is probability, not time.
  • Garth
    112
    Please refer to Aristotle's Physics, Book 4 part 10.

    Aristotle defines time as the measure of motion. I think this is a perfect definition. It is something we imagine to help us understand motion.

    Now to mix in my own opinion: We cannot have any awareness of time without memory, because memory gives us awareness of motion, which allows us to describe that motion with the construct we call "time".
  • jgill
    987
    We cannot have any awareness of time without memory,Garth

    There was a movie some time back in which the central character had no short-term memory, but solved some sort of mystery, taking copious notes continuously. Anyone recall?
  • Garth
    112
    I mean memory in a more radical sense. Even the capacity to be aware of an object in motion requires the eye to take in a series of images. The nervous system must not immediately discard one image as the next one arrives or there would be no impression of motion. Indeed there wouldn't even be awareness of change in position, continuous or instantaneous.
  • Manuel
    70
    I believe, and I may be miss remembering, that when Einstein wrote that, he wrote that letter to the wife of a friend who had died, so he was trying to offer some consolation. That's different from current suggestions in physics who argue that time is an emergent phenomena, and not fundamental, as is currently thought.

    From a philosophical view, in one attempts to consider the literal existence of time, as could be imagined in manifest experience, it would be impossible to describe. One could wildly speculate that, absent time, nothing happens, and something like totally "flat surface" in space would exist, lacking any characteristics, including spatial characteristics, so we would be imagining an "flat-extension", with nothing to differentiate anything from anything else. And something like that would be all there is. But this would be an exercise in transcendent metaphysics, because any notion we have of "flat surface" could not be imagined by our cognitive faculties. It is only when you bring forth space-time, that you could even talk about a flat surface as we understand the term.

    But in short no, a world without time is inconceivable to us.
  • Luke
    1.2k
    I believe, and I may be miss remembering, that when Einstein wrote that, he wrote that letter to the wife of a friend who had died, so he was trying to offer some consolation.Manuel

    I believe the relevant quote - or, at least, the one I am familiar with - is this:

    Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.Einstein

    The above link gives the source as "Letter to Besso's family (March 1955) following the death of Michele Besso, as quoted in Disturbing the Universe (1979) by Freeman Dyson Ch. 17 "A Distant Mirror", p. 193".
  • Manuel
    70


    Thanks for the source. Within that context, I doubt he meant it literally as if it time were an actual illusion. I may be wrong, but using that as an argument that he thought time didn't exist can be misleading.
  • Joshs
    948
    Many current theories and in fact lots of cosmology and physics ignores time since its irrelevant. Time is also not a property, or a requirement for many known processes in the universe such as quasi-particles. In the quantum world the primary mover is probability, not time.Mick Wright

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention current dissenting views in physics, like Lee Smolen, who argues that the presuppositions that have dominated the field concerning the understanding of time are holding it back.

    He says the currently accepted physical description of reality is hampered by its reliance on a static model that sees time as a superfluous construct.
    Making time central to physics and reenvisioming it as a science of evolutionary process unites it with living processes and points the way to an eventual conciliation with the new mind models. Such models also dissolve the divide between the strictly physical and the mental by seeing self-organizing informational processes as fundamental.
    Ilya Prigogine is another who would argue that a revolution of philosophical worldview within physics is necessary to keep pace with where philosophy has already gone after Darwin . with respect to temporality. This shift in thinking would not necessitate the invalidation of any of the prior empirical results , but rather a re-envisioning of the significance of those results within a metatheoretical framework that would open up new horizons of discovery.
  • TheMadFool
    8.4k
    We already have such a world and it's logical argumentation. All arguments take place outside of time or if that seems too far-fetched in a temporal limbo. Words can't change in meaning when you formulate an argument and that, in a sense, is like time coming to a halt insofar as the argument is concerned, no?

    I'm assuming, of course, that for time to exist, there has to be change. No change, no time
  • god must be atheist
    2.5k
    Image a world without time.

    You have five minutes to get it done.
  • synthesis
    116
    Now fiction aside, can we imagine a place without time?TiredThinker

    Thinking is time.

    Therefore imagining is time. If you wish to do without time, do without thinking.
  • Ignance
    23
    Thinking is time.

    Therefore imagining is time. If you wish to do without time, do without thinking.
    synthesis

    sounds very like meditation?
  • synthesis
    116
    sounds very like meditation?Ignance

    It can be meditation. It can also be death.
  • Tobias
    72
    It is impossible, I think Kant was very right here. we simply cannot have any experience without structuring it in time. So time is not an illusion. It is an a-priori condition for experience. Whether this experience resides in the subject or the object is as such a meaningless question, because it does not matter.
  • Ignance
    23
    It can be meditation. It can also be deathsynthesis

    death is ceasing, meditation is being
  • synthesis
    116
    death is ceasing, meditation is beingIgnance

    What is being? What is ceasing?
  • Ignance
    23
    What is being? What is ceasing?synthesis

    ceasing is when life is no longer “animate”

    being is nothing but you “are” on this plane of existence
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