The Peculiarities Of Time: A Pseudo-Scientific View

Want to try something cool? Check this out. Here’s something interesting in regards to time. You are reading this sentence. Now you are reading this one. And now this one. As you read this very sentence, I’m sure you think this moment – right now – is what is happening. Now, the moment in which you are reading these very words has already passed! That moment in time is no longer happening; this one is. Even as you read the word “peculiarity” which I placed in that set of quotations, it is already finished. Which begs the question, is there such thing as a present? Is there ever a period of time during which you can perceive an action and know that you are currently doing it, or will that period of time already be gone?

In short, is time ever actually happening, or is there only a past and a future, constantly updating themselves? Enough with the question marks. I’ll make a statement. Time does not exist.

The scientific outlook of reality is that we know things are real because our senses, which send messages to our brains, perceive them as such. We perceive our respective “realities” by that which can be known through the senses. The only way we can possibly describe those realities is through our senses. But what about that which doesn’t actually exist in the physical world? Things such as those can only “exist” within our minds, and we cannot sense them in any way at all. Therefore, we lack a way of perceiving them and then describing them. So it can be said that that which lacks a way of being perceived, therefore a way of being described, does not exist.

But what about gravity, one might ask? Gravity can’t be perceived, so by this logic, it shouldn’t exist. Seems like a conundrum, but not really. Gravity absolutely exists. It isn’t a material object that can be perceived by our senses, of course, but we know it makes objects fall. We can definitely observe that. We see the effects of gravity unfold in the material world. As such it is an accepted fact that gravity exists.

If time were to exist, we could prove it through something physical. How about a clock, though? Isn’t a working clock solid proof for time’s existence? Not really. A clock runs on springs and batteries, and nothing more. With the issue of gravity, a natural event occurs which, left alone, will always happen. It is an absolute law of the universe. We see that time does not work like that – the clock is a result of purely human intervention. We can’t perceive time and we really can’t describe it either. Conclusion: Time does not exist in reality.

Time, time, time. Side-thought: List as many songs you can think of about time, or with time in the title. I can think of several. Side-hint: Does time exist on the dark side of the moon? But maybe that’s a topic for a different day…

Regardless of whether or not time exists.

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7 Responses to The Peculiarities Of Time: A Pseudo-Scientific View

  1. dan says:

    random comments, relevant to your post or not:
    regarding ‘laws of the universe’, keep in mind that these are really ‘known laws of the universe’, as scientists can’t yet really explain, for example, the laws of physics governing the behavior of black holes. whether this supports your comments or not, i don’t know, i have to leave soon, sorry, but also, how about the fact that time works differently once you’re out the earth’s atmosphere. put a wrist watch onto a satellite & it keeps different time up there, which apparently presents difficult obstacles with gps satellites, which need to be re-synchronized for earth-time, to avoid instructing people to drive into trees. and the old stand-by: a broken watch is more accurate than a working one. a working watch can never be absolutely 100% accurate, it’ll always be off by at least some infinitesimal nano-degree, while a stopped watch is guaranteed to intersect the exact precise time at least once. much to learn still about this topic. and wood allen postulated that there’s an alien civilization far away, which is more advanced than ours, but only by about 15 minutes, which really just gives them a bit of an edge in getting to appointments on time. lastly, i could be wrong (about everything) but i don’t believe there’s really a jewish word for ‘am’, in the present tense; was & will be, yes, but there’s no real version of the verb for ‘i am, right now’, that’s used too routinely.

  2. resident of Earth says:

    Dear Jonathan,
    I shall begin by quoting you 🙂
    “that which lacks a way of being perceived, therefore a way of being described, does not exist”
    that’s what atheists say to prove the lack of existence of G-d/god/gods
    Since you believe in G-d (unless you secretly don’t. or not secretly and I just don’t notice…), there is an inconsistency in your logic.

    I, for one, do believe that time exists (for reasons other than those written above).
    For one, the idea that things just happen and are over kind of depresses me. If the past only exists because our minds allow the memories to exist, but in truth they really are nothing, well… life just seems somewhat meaningless.
    And my actual logic for why it does have to exist:
    matter can’t occupy the same space. correct? that’s pretty widely accepted as a solid fact. (possibly it’s completely accepted by everyone in the world, but chances of that are slim because, well, how often do you get a group of people that large to agree on something? no matter how correct it is…) anyways, picture the following: two objects in the same spot. same exact spot. how is this possible? well, that statement is only taking into account three dimensions. the fourth dimension, presumably time, is what makes it possible. the two objects are not in the EXACT same spot because it is a different time. only in the same location…

    conclusion: time certainly exists. Especially in reality. at least I think [and hope] it does…

    yours truly,
    resident of Earth

    ps. time is all around, that time, one more time with feeling (regina spektor), the longest time (billy joel), every time we touch (cascada)(i can’t believe I have that in my itunes), time (pink floyd)(side hint!), borrowed time (a fine frenzy), time (ringo starr), good time (counting crows), the time of my life (david cook), good time (the beach boys), when it’s time (green day), time is running out (muse), better in time (leona lewis), one time (justin beiber), change of time (josh ritter), a bunch of others but i got bored of searching for songs I recognized with the word ‘time’ in the title in itunes/the internet
    pps. the beginning part of your post kind of freaked me out. and the concept of time freaks me out enough as it it.
    ppps. presumably, time travel is possible according to my theory. just like it is possible to travel from one place to another, so to with time. that is, of course, assuming that we humans can develop a way to achieve it.

    • jonathanadam says:

      Dear resident of Earth (aren’t we all?),
      I appreciate such an insightful response.
      -First of all, my views on God are rather complex, hence aside from a few brief mentions in regards to his existence and the need for toothbrushes, I’ve avoided the topic entirely. Two theistic responses to your comment could be – God transcends the world of time so the laws of the natural universe don’t apply to him. Another might be that humans at one point “perceived” God to an extent, and they wrote of those perceptions in holy texts for us to live by. That’s what all religions do say. Perhaps he was perceived at one point in history but isn’t today. Again, these do not in any way express my own opinions on the nature of God; That’s a whole different story.
      -I really wish I did, but I don’t quite understand your logic behind why time must exist. Hopefully you can clarify it more…? Bear in mind, though, that you did state that the non-existence of time would “depress” you – could you perhaps have emotional motivations for concluding that there’s such a thing as time? No offense meant, just a thought.
      -In response to your a thousand P.S.’s (just kidding more like 3). If that list reflects your own musical taste, you have quite an eclectic one. From Pink Floyd, Billy Joel, Ringo and the Beach Boys to David Cook, Leona Lewis and Cascada to Regina Spektor and Counting Crows to Muse and Green Day? Now that’s diversity.
      -And finally, time travel – I’m skeptical of its possibility. Stephen Hawking once offered an interesting thought on the subject: the lack of time travelers from the future serves as an argument against time travel, because if it existed, wouldn’t some of them be here, or have been here at some point? Another famous scientist Carl Sagan pointed out that they could be, but could have disguised themselves or not be noticed as the time travelers they really are. But personally speaking, something tells me that if time travel was possible, we would have to know about it. There’s no way that people could develop and use time travelling technology without ever accidentally (or purposely) making their existence known to the places they travelled, assuming a lot of people were using the time traveling technology.

      • resident of Earth says:

        Dear Jonathan,
        ~I’d say that that first part really is a good rejection of my statement. job well done. I won’t defend my statement anymore for now
        ~when thinking this through, I really did try to separate my thoughts from my emotions. My emotions tell me time exists but my thoughts tell me why this can very well be true. No offense has been taken.
        ~second attempt at explaining:
        since matter can’t take up the same space, two things in the same location can’t really be in the same place otherwise, well, they’d be in the same place. but if the objects are at that place at different times, you and I both know from witnessing it many times over the course of life that it is possible. A book occupies counter space and then you remove it and put down a mug of hot chocolate where the book once was. That would mean that aside from the three dimensions saying where the mug is NOW, there is a fourth dimension saying when the mug is. That book can’t be where and when the mug is. It’s not possible. hence the necessity of that fourth dimension’s existence.
        I’m sorry if i don’t actually make sense. it works perfectly in my mind…
        ~i don’t actually listen to all of the music I listed. my list of “time” songs was very short, so I searched the internet for songs with “time” in their title and wrote the ones that I recognized at least somewhat. I do like billy joel, regina spektor, a fine frenzy, and josh ritter
        ~Why would people of the year 7235 have any interest in coming to the year 2011? Even if they did want to, I’m not sure they could. I only said it was possible theoretically, not practically. It may be that humans can never figure out how to build the machinery needed to travel through time. But then again, maybe they will in 7235. We didn’t think we’d end up landing on the moon, but alas we did. Maybe in 7235, some guy will finally figure it out and then go three years back and then come back to his “modern” time just so he can say he did. But by then no one will care about coming here to fix global warming or whatever, because any of our modern issues have been dealt with already.
        Or maybe I’m wrong. maybe time is just one barrier that simply can’t be broken. But I don’t think we have enough information to really know anything now anyways. Its all just a bunch of theories.

        ~resident of Earth~

  3. dan says:

    some more, as you say, rants & rambles:
    how does religion, judaism in particular, philosophically resolve the apparent conflict/paradox between believing that man inherently has ‘free will’, versus the notion that god is ‘all-knowing’? does one not contradict the other? if were are to believe that god already knows ahead of time, let’s say, what you will score on your sat’s, then it may seem useless to attend courses or to even study, as your grade has already been ‘pre-determined’, as has every fact pertaining to the rest of your life; family, job, health, etc. for that matter, so better to post on blogs than waste time with less interesting stuff, which is going to unfold per some already-written cosmic plan, regardless of your actions. well, can’t be that humans in no way have any power over their own destiny, we do believe in free choice, but still, we are told that god indeed does ‘know everything’, so how can these 2 notions exist side-by-side? so, without really addressing you ‘side thought’ for now, and to paraphrase from the bible as opposed to the byrds, “there’s a time for everything, under heaven”. can this be meant to imply that the restraints & laws of time are present only in the non-heavenly realm? if so, here’s an interesting concept. we know we are confined by what we call past, present & future. picture for a minute that not really existing. everything, ‘every-time’ is laid out on a single plane, not a start to finish, but one single event, all wrapped up with a past/present/future which is already known, was/is/will happen. kind of like a movie you’ve seen, where you know how it started & how it ended, and everything in between. a being not governed by time can simply ‘see’ how everything played out from beginning to end. can know what choices were made, how events transpired, how lives in general were, are and will be. this doesn’t in any way limit the choices & decisions we make, any more than knowing about a movie allows us to alter any of its details; we have simply seen the movie & know those details, because it’s not happening in our version of ‘time’, especially if we watch it more than once. so even though a movie or a book has a start & a finish, a kind of past, present & future, we already can know it beforehand, and if the movie/book takes place over 10 years, we can ‘see’ that whole period in just a couple of hours. so people are to movies as god is to people. well, maybe not, just illustrating a concept here. it can tend to boggle the mind a bit, but should not completely replace the tending to of daily necessities. in essence, we believe that god sees now what we will do then, because his awareness isn’t limited with the existence of time. but ours is. otherwise i’d put some good bets down on today’s football games.

  4. Peter Brown says:

    Dear Jonathan,

    This may be venturing into the realm of a theological debate, but it still it relevant to your piece over here: why is it that simply because something cannot be perceived or proven does it mean that it does not exist? Did atoms not exist before Aristotle and Democritus began postulating about atomic theory? Did light have no speed before its speed was calculated?
    With regard to your mention of gravity, gravity, too, cannot be proven to work the entire time although it can be mathematically derived. Scientists have no way of proving with 100% certainty that an object will fall if it is dropped. This may be totally wrong, but perhaps the reason why we are able to perceive gravity is because of this consistency — man can pick up on patterns, but not necessarily something that does not follow a pattern. Perhaps time is changing constantly, and because of this lacks a pattern which man can recognize and allow him to perceive time.
    Also, some food for thought: physicists have said that the modern theory of time is that time is static and that it is man who moves along time.

  5. Peter Brown says:

    (Sorry for not including this in my previous post)

    Sincerely,

    Peter Brown

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