Is TIME the most powerful force in the Universe? Is it really an unstoppable river which carries us from cradle to grave?
What exactly is the 4th dimension – TIME?
Some people believe that time is some kind of illusion. After all time defies all our five senses. We cannot touch it, taste it, see it, smell it or hear it.
Yet there it is – determining the length of everything we do – here in the 3rd dimension at least.
For most people this fundamental element of the Universe – time and the 4th dimension, has become an inescapable part of life.
Physicists struggling to unify quantum mechanics and Einstein’s general theory of relativity have found hints that the Universe may be timeless.
Many believe that this idea should be taken seriously. Paradoxically, we might be able to explain the mysterious “arrow of time” – the difference between past and future – by abandoning time.
But to understand how to do this, we need to change radically our ideas of how the Universe works.
What is time and why does time flow? Is it just an illusion? Answering these questions is still one of physics’ greatest challenges.
Physicist John Wheeler once said that..
“Time is what prevents everything happening at once.”
Wheeler’s statement is as fair a summary of what time does as any other – especially given that our search for the basic ingredients of reality have left most of us a little confused about its status.
But what if the past, present, and future are all happening at the same time?
This astonishing new concept is known as the “block universe theory” and it suggests that time does not actually “flow like an unstoppable river”, but rather, the past, present and future are all in the same place.
However, this concept just doesn’t tally with our three dimensional experience.
So what is time really?
Here are some possibilities.
Time… just is
Quantum mechanics arrived after Einstein’s general theory of relativity but thus far has achieved little more than to reinstate our familiar notion of time.
The buzzing in the quantum world continues to play out an authoritative tick of a clock which continues to sit outside whatever system of particles is being reseached.
The Wheeler-DeWitt equations describe the quantum state of the whole universe. If this theoretical system happens to be everything we now know, then why is the quantum clock still ticking?
So for all it’s theoretical imaginings, quantum mechanics’ portrayal of time isn’t really persuasive.
Time is… an illusion
The independent physicist Julian Barbour thinks we might need to kill time entirely. His view is that space and time, which are united in Einstein’s theory of general relativity, should be decoupled.
He argues that the only way to define space is to consider it as the geometric relationship between observable particles – which means no reference to time.
This leads him to a picture in which the universe is a set of weird configurations in a three-dimensional geometry of space.
He says that each configuration is a “snapshot”, with each of them existing “in a space of possibilities”.
Time is not real, but merely something we perceive – an illusion that comes about because the Universe is constantly changing from one snapshot to another.
Time is… real
Professor Lee Smolin of the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Canada says the entropic arrow of time being linear (going in one direction) might not be the whole story
He points out that, if entropy constantly increases, then the universe at the time of the big bang must have been in a low-entropy (highly ordered) state.
There is no obvious explanation for why time would have started that way.
However it does raise the question of why our physical laws are all time-symmetric.
Perhaps we have the wrong laws.
Time is…. here and now
We all know it’s important to live in the present moment. However, with our current twenty-first century lives, that’s not as easy as it is said.
Lets face it there’s always something coming up which we need to take care of or to anticipate. This makes it very challenging to keep our focus in the “here and now”.
So what happens if we turn our attention towards the here and now and become more aware (and mindful) of what’s happening at this very moment, without getting distracted by the sorrows of our past or worries about our future?
As you may have noticed, focusing on the present moment, (the here and now,) gives us the power to transform the entire perspective of our life’s.
As the spiritual teacher and author, Eckhart Tolle once said:
“Always say YES to the present moment. Surrender to what is.
Say ‘yes’ to life and see how life starts suddenly working for you rather than against you.”
Yes, the Time is here and now. Surely that’s the key to staying healthy and happy?
Yes. It really is.
Thank you for taking the time (‘scuz the pun) to read this article.
I leave you with Deep Purple and Sweet Child in Time.
Peace and tranquility.
Author: Michael W