The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What Is Time?

If time were not a moving thing
And I could make it stay
This hour of love we share would always be

There'd be no coming day
To shine a morning light
To make us realize our night is over

["It's Over" - Jimmie Rogers]

If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day till eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you

["Time In A Bottle" - Jim Croce]

Time, to me, is a river down which we all float. Caught in the current, we are at the mercy of that river. I was young when I first began to think about time, about the age I first was told about our world (reality) being a three dimensional one. I decided, just about that time, that it wasn't, that it was a four dimensional one and time was that fourth dimension. Think about it: we have height, width, and depth but nothing exists unless it exists for some amount of time. That time might only be a nano-second (or even less) but time must pass for we mere humans to perceive it.

We don't think much about it, though. Collectively, that is. I am sure physicists and many others do but not so much the average person. We are aware of time, of course, especially when we seem to be running out of it. When we are running late, for example, or as we grow old. And, occasionally, we contemplate the vagaries of time. You get into a traffic accident. If you had arrived at that point on the road, a few seconds later or a few seconds earlier, you might have not been involved except as a witness. A couple of miles an hour slower or faster might have saved you a lot of grief, or just spending a little less (or more) time getting into your car. Stretch those seconds into minutes and who knows?

A fatalist might think it wouldn't matter, that circumstances would wait for your arrival or happen earlier depending on when you arrived at the scene. But I am no fatalist. I do not think our lives are predestined, I think we have some control (call it "free will" if you like) over what happens to us but we cannot predict the future so we may as will not have that control.

I wonder, how many of you have contemplated that paradox of time travel: If you traveled back in time, say 100 years, and killed your grandfather before your father was born... would you cease to exist immediately? If so, then you could not have traveled back in time and killed your grandfather and, therefore, you would not exist. It came to me when I first heard that one that it would be silly to even contemplate killing one's grandfather at all. Maybe by accident but certainly not with intent. But any change you made in the past would eventually alter the future in some way. The further back in time, the greater the impact on the future.


Vagabonde said...

This concept of time can drive one crazy. Here is what happened to me. I was attending a 3-day seminar in downtown Atlanta, about 30 miles from my home or a 45 to 50 minutes drive when traffic is OK (going through 2 freeways.) The second day I realized that I forgot all my notes at home. We had a 30 minutes lunch. I had read that one can “compress” time if you really believe it and do not look at a clock at all. So I went to the parking lot (5 minutes) drove home, got my notes, and drove back to Atlanta. I came back to the conference before the 30 minutes lunch was over… I was so surprised and shocked that I could hardly follow the conference – it had worked, and I had compressed my time.

MattMars said...

Hi Blogger, Re: "What IS time"

Let's be clear and logical here. Whether it is In fact valid or not,"What IS time" is a leading question.

It implies "time" is something that is proven to exist (as more than just a useful idea), and that therefore "it" "is" something.

If this assumption is incorrect, and this is not noticed from the outset, then all subsequent attempts to answer the false assumption will be vague, conflicting, self referential, speculation or conjecture,(this can be confirmed or not for oneself, by cross checking countless other posts on this topic).

If the assumption is correct, and time "is" something that has been proven to exist, then we should find out who has the proof and ask them "what is time?". But, because the question is being asked openly and randomly, this indicates that the question may be based on an assumption whose foundation is just assumed.

Therefore, I suggest a better, less leading question might be

'What do we actually observe?'

to this i would say we seem to observe

1- That matter exists, and,
2- that matter is moving and interacting.

From there, I think a sensible question to ask what I call "the key question of time", I.e...

"If matter JUST exists, moves, changes and interacts... Would this be enough to *mislead* us into "wrongly assuming", that there is a 'past', 'future' and thing called 'time' "?

if this is the case, logically, we are left with precisely what we actually see..

a universe full of constantly changing matter giving us the misunderstanding there may be a thing called time.

so, imo - (having written a very detailed book on the subject) -
'A Brief History of TIMELESSNESS'

'time' IS a useful "idea", and system of understanding and comparing examples of motion, (similar to "money" being a useful idea and system), but ,IMO, not something that actually IS a genuine phenomena.

Relativity does suggest, and it is confirmed, that any moving oscillator will be oscillating more slowly than expected, but this observation does not prove in any way that there is also an existing phenomena called "time", that exists, and is dilated, where objects are moving.

Logically, and scientifically, unless anyone can experimentally show otherwise, it thus seems that matter just exists and is moving and changing, not heading in to a "future", not leaving a "past record of all events" behind it, and therefore the answer to the question...

"What is time?"

'May' be ,

"Time, IS a useful idea and system for understanding and comparing examples of motion, but probably NOT also something that exists. Although most people seem to assume otherwise because they assume without any proof that there 'is' a 'past' and possibly a 'future', and assume without actually checking, that Einstein's Special Relativity, proves the existence of 'time', as opposed to just showing how relatively moving things are changing more slowly than expected".

Anyone interested in understanding the "theory of time" in more detail, please take a look at one of my powerpoint talks...

Matt Marsden

(auth 'A Brief History of Timelessness')

A couple of Videos...

YouTube: Timeless answers to Brian Cox's Science of Dr WHO.

" Time travel cant happen without 'the PAST' "
(complete with LEGO intro :)

Douglas said...

Vagabonde, that explains, somewhat, why I often arrive too early. Never mind that I usually allow myself plenty of time to get to a destination, I pay no attention to the clock in my car during these trips. I think you are describing the "a watched pot never boils" phenomenon.
Mark, excellent take on time. I do not agree, of course, but that does not mean you are incorrect. Time, to me, is something we can measure (fairly and led to the invention of clocks)but cannot grasp in our hands. I described it as a "river." We can measure it but that does not prove it exists. However, without time, I do not think anything else can exist. Thus, time has to (in my mind) exist for anything else to exist. Yes, that sounds like circular logic... BTW, loved the Lego "Mark."

Douglas said...

Sorry Matt, I misstated your name.

mattmars said...

Hi Douglas dont worry about the name,

the key thing to realise is exactly wehat a clock is , and what they actually displey, which is just accurate motion ( imo)

this may help


Douglas said...

We can only pretend to measure time, that's true. But I think it exists. And I think this universe, this dimension, would not exist without it. In fact, I think it is critical to all existence.

Douglas said...

The problem with Welcome's theory is that he uses words that exist only if time exists... "when" for example. He also says that we "see" the image on the back of our eye. However, we do not see at all, we interpret the impulses sent to our minds by the receptors at the back of our eyes. He is engaging in a mental slight-of-hand. Entertaining and funny but not especially useful.