the following is from my review of Greene's book. I know I don't get most of this stuff, but if anybody can explain to me, in terms that even I can understand, where my thinking is off (like right at the very beginning, maybe), in a reasonably respectful manner, I would greatly appreciate that. Others might find it useful, also.
I think time is pretty much a measure of the relative position of things. If nothing ever moved, then time would be meaningless. If everything moved, but always by the same distance and direction, then time would be meaningless. Maybe that's part of what is meant by 'space-time'.
So, for time to move in reverse, that would mean that everything in the universe would have to return to a former position - every electron, boson, lepton - EVERYTHING.
So 'time' can move in only one 'direction', which makes the discussion of the direction of time pretty meaningless - and time travel is impossible. Things happen, end of story. There's no way that everything in the universe is going to return to a former position, never mind an infinite string of them. No way-back machine is every going to make the entire universe, or the infinite series of universes, go back to a former position. Time isn't a separate thing, or force. It's a way of describing space.
Ok, the above seemed semi-logical to me at the time. I just came across the part in Greene's Fabric of the Cosmos, where he states that all objects have a combined speed of 186,000 miles per second through space and time. So. for every mph we're actually moving, that slows our motion through time. If we're dead still, unmoving spatially, then we're moving at light speed through time. Now, I have NO idea what that means, to be moving at varying speeds through time, except that the faster you're moving, the slower your heart/clock speed, so the longer you live. Makes me wonder how long we'd live if we could be absolutely still.
On the other hand, I have a clearer idea of what's meant by space-time. They're unified in some way so that motion through one directly affects motion through the other.
Who'd a thunk it?! What an amazing insight. I was never able to take that in well enough to even repeat it before, because I think I never saw it put that clearly.
This brings up another point. We're moving with the Earth, rotating and revolving, and the solar system is moving in the galaxy, and the galaxy is moving in a larger system. And, who knows if that larger system is part of a still larger sytem, moving through a system even larger than *that*. There may be quite a number of larger systems, of which we are a part, and through which we are moving. All that motion subtracts from our motion through time. Does that mean we're all living a lot longer than we otherwise would?
So, as when you repeat a word to yourself numerous times, and it starts to sound very strange and unknown, so thinking about space, motion, and time makes them begin to look very strange and amazing, perhaps stepping in a direction to begin to correspond to how strange and amazing they actually are.
Aren't most fundamental particles thought to be moving at, or near, light speed? Not sure. But, if so, would that mean that the universe, basically made of all those fundamental particles, may not be more than a few seconds old? Or, that the 13 billion (?) year-old universe is entirely composed of building blocks that have little or no age? If all the fundamental particles have no age, then something is causing new particles to be created every instant (whatever the @#$% an 'instant is' Hey, maybe time is made of some sort of quanta too!) to continuously replace the particles that have to stop existing every instant - if they didn't stop existing every instant, then they'd have to have age - ie. be moving through time. If most of their motion is through space, that leaves very little left over for motion through time.
So, if it were the case that all the fundamental particles last an instant and then disappear, so as to not move through time, maybe that has something to do with why we can only give a probability on the location of, say, an electron. What we're really seeing is really an infinite series of electrons, and not the same electron at all. The things don't last long enough to have any meaningful, single position in space.
Conversely, if an object would have to gain infinite mass to move at light speed, how little mass would it have to have to age (move solely through time) at light speed? Virtually none? If things have to lengthen in the direction of the motion as they approach light speed, do they have to shorten in that same direction as they approach an absolute stand-still? Would they just blip out of existence if they could completely stand still? Ok, this is dicey, but if pure space is an absence of mass, does that mean that pure space is something (?) that moves solely through time, and not through space? Space never moves, but is something through which things can move - and is infinitely old?
So that leaves us with infinitely old space, and matter that virtually has no age. So, there's something that has no age, so it doesn't really exist. And there's something that has no mass, and therefore no energy, so it doesn't really exist. Those two somethings may be the same something that simultaneously exists and doesn't exist, or keeps blinking in and out of existence - and thus the universe is made possible.
And, maybe it's not just 'space-time'. Maybe it's space-matter-energy-time.
It's always great when a book gets you thinking this much, imho. :o)
I'm not a physicist, but I think the concept of space-time (the two being different aspects of the same quality) came to Einstein when he realized that the speed of light (c) is the cosmic speed limit for anything with an initial mass (a moving photon does have a very small mass, when it isn't moving it doesn't have any. The other fundamental particles that have mass move slightly slower than c). But then he also postulated that a light beam would always be moving at c no matter what frame of reference its observers are in... even if you're moving at 99% as fast as light does, the light beam still is zooming ahead of you at c... and the only plausible explanation is that for you, moving at such high-speed, time itself had slowed down precisely enough to make the speed of the light beam zoom ahead of you at c even though you yourself are moving at only 1% slower its speed.
You wouldn't realize it, of course, everything looks and feels the same to you, but for an observer looking at both you and the light beam, he'd see you stretched out and very warped (space is warped as time slows down).... and if you look over at the stationary observer, you'd also see him 'warped' (while thinking that you are looking completely normal). So... with Einstein's General Relativity theory, time became known as the temporal dimension that is interconnected with the spatial dimensions (just as how energy and matter became known as two aspects of the same quality in his Special Relativity).
I think the latter part of your post concerns quantum mechanics... Which only applies to the subatomic world.... so better not apply that to the larger part of the universe. We aren't quantum particles and are finite. Space-time is thought to be finite and expanding (so not infinitely old.... unless you're applying Super Strings or other hyper-space theories that predict multi-verses).
The last part (space-matter-energy-time) was done, I think, and even bested with Kaluza-Klein Theory, using metric tensor to combine Einstein's theories with Maxwell's one that actually unify the 4 you mentioned with 'light' (electromagnetic force)... assuming an extra spatial dimension that we have no access to (4 spatial dimensions plus 1 temporal dimension AKA time). I think we're a bit stunted at this point since the experimental part is having a hard time catching up with the blooming theories... And the experimental part is the only thing that can verify which theories is more right than the others. :o)
Harmonics and Inter-Dimensional Phasing and it's Application to "Time Travel" Author: Capt Edward Sampson February, 2009
We're all used to the concept of an infinate number of dimensions all taking the same space, somehow. We concieve that time may move differently in those other dimensions. We speculate that time may be the "forth dimension" and ponder, but an overall picture of how all this works has yet to be drawn. Let me see if I can create such a working image. We have no way of "drawing" such a picture, because even using 3D graphics we can only represent one dimension at a time, and in our case, as say "X, Y, Z". But our minds are capable of so much more. This is the canvas of understanding.
Walk up to the keyboard of a piano and randomly strike three keys at the same time and likely as not the combination of those three notes wont be appealing. But there are many three note chords, within even that very narrow set of vibrations between the far left and far right ivories, that do have various appealing resonances when combined. Used properly such tones can be used to provoke various emotions, with quite varying successes. So it is in nature. With that as an Understood, we can move on.
As our dimensional space seems to extend "forever" in all directions, picture layers of dimensions all taking space in this same manner, somehow. Now, encase all but the outer reaches of the space that dimensions occupy (for mental visual example) with a force that reacts similar to an enormous "water bag". We'll call this area "Time". In it's resting state, Time is stationary. (That is not to imply a "null" harmonic. Those areas form particular phenomena of their own). Now that we have a similar mental image of this structure, let's look at the mechanics of how it works, and why.
Each "dimension", as we are capable of understanding the concept, exists as a harmonic. Each dimension is a harmonic. For simplistic example, I'll use the term "dimensional chord" to refer to the combination of the three harmonics needed for a three dimensional structure. Within this structure, 3 dimensional matter can exist, within the physical limits of the harmonics of that space. This spacial structure of ours emits it's own unique dimensional chord. This chord strikes the Time force, and Time reacts with a temporal wave, moving according to the influential properties of the dimensional chord. This "temporal wave" is what allows us to exist, as it gives us duration.
Using the above reference of our particular 3 dimensions as "X, Y, Z" axis, where each "letter" represents one unique harmonic, we can assign harmonics for reference. By replacing the harmonic of matter from "X" with a new harmonic, say "A", that matter would then exist in dimensional space "A,Y,Z", with it's own unique "dimensional chord" and the resulting temporal wave that that space is moving along. Further, realize that that matter still occupies the "Y" and "Z" dimensions. But how does Time react to that particular dimensional chord ? For my purposes, we "phase" into a dimensional space compatable with our life form, and it moves opposite of our temporal wave at an increased rate (higher frequency). "Phasing" into that dimension for a specific duration and then replacing that "A" harmonic back to "X" to "phase" back, would find you placed in our "past", again moving along our temporal wave at our normal rate. "Time Travel".
But what if the harmonics of one of the axis went null ? Just as one notices a passing auto's "thump thump" of the bass, the absence of the higher frequencies results in a different sound to those outside as those inside. If this were to happen to one of the harmonics in an area of our three-dimensional space, matter would collapse into a two-dimensional form. This new structure would have a differing affect on the Time element also, as the new unique "dimensional chord" is only two dimensional, there could be no temporal reaction within the physical requirements of our three-dimensional space. This would create a vacuum into a collapsed space unable to move in time.
Moving through Time.. or "Time Travel" as such, is a matter of knowing which harmonic to replace and what harmonic to replace it with, in order to phase into a dimension where time is moving "backward" to us. Phase back when the desired point is reached, and you've effectively traveled back in time. Since lower frequencies are more resistant to "muting", they would be the more stable of the three sides, so the higher frequency harmonics would be the ones to try to mute and replace. Also, the "muting" and replacing of a harmonic would have to be exact. A gap means a collapse of the structure due to one harmonic being absent, with unfortunate results. Opposite is an unintended overlap, trying to combine 4 harmonics within the structure of 3 dimensional space. Obviously, the former condition is the threat.
Obviously beyond our ability to prove, but the mind is capable of understanding the concepts outlined above.
Hey Space Time, I haven't posted here for a while, sorry to but in, but just to let you know, I`m doing a set of my talks on how time does not exist this august 1-13 in the Lion and unicorn Theatre, Kentish Town North London.
(this is a lego animation intro to the talks http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hESYuxrQYrU ) mm (timelessness.co.uk)