And some other things you believe in don’t look too healthy either.
Let’s have a look at a few things we take for granted. The following concepts are the stuff of string theory, super string theory, M theory, a few other assorted theories, and have baffled physicists for years. Do you need your calculator before we get started? Trust
me, you don’t. But keep in mind, when physicists talk about these things, we
think they are geniuses. When the rest of us talk about such topics, people
think we’re nuts. Why is that?
1. Time. It has been said that Einstein’s theory of
relativity does not require the existence of time. Though an intriguing thought, this alone does not prove time to be imaginary. The theory of relativity also does not require the existence of elephants, and yet I am relatively certain they are real. Time is deemed so crucial to us it has been labeled the fourth dimension, and it is easy to understand why. In these days of GPS, a satellite’s exact location can be precisely pinpointed by latitude,
longitude, altitude and the time it passes a certain point.
So, how does one prove time does not exist? I am neither physicist nor mathematician.
I have never taken calculus. I cannot explain it by those means, and those two disciplines have not yet resolved this issue anyway. Although, here is one article that offers some tantalizing thoughts on the subject. http://discovermagazine.com/2007/jun/in-no-time
This did not come to me via a chalkboard of
equations, or by any great brainpower of my own. It was a spiritual epiphany. I believe the proof is straightforward, and simple enough to be easily understood by almost anyone.
If time truly does exist, it should exist everywhere. If we can find a place it does not, then I maintain it is not real. Now, you might say this argument is false, for surely time does not exist in a black hole, and yet it seems present outside of it. I maintain this reasoning is flawed. In spite of much theoretical work, there is no empirical way of knowing what is inside of a black hole.
Time is routinely used in terms of the entire universe. We often hear the universe is some 13.7 billion years old (the amount of time since the Big Bang). Scientists confidently declare they know what happened 10-37 seconds after the big bang began. Based on this broad use, it seems fair to say that time is considered to be ubiquitous. Hold that thought.
Over the past fifteen years, astronomers have found literally hundreds of planets orbiting other stars in our galaxy. (see links at end of article) These amazing discoveries have shown us dozens of different variations in types of planets. Please bear with me as I introduce you to imaginary planet Z, a world whose existence is entirely plausible.
A. Z circles its star at a distance similar to that of earth, in a roughly circular orbit.
B. It has no wobble, meaning it does not tilt back and forth on its axis. Thus, it has no seasons.
C. Z has no moons, and so its inhabitants have no way to note a monthly cycle.
D. And lastly, it orbits in “tidal lock”, meaning it always has the same face toward its sun. This is actually a rather common phenomenon. We see it in our own moon. It always presents the same face towards us.
Let’s say you live on Z, on the side of the planet that always faces the sun. You were born there and lived there all your life. What time is it? Here, this is a meaningless question. Every time you look up in the sky, the sun will be in exactly the same location. There is no day, no night, and no seasons. There is nothing in this place; no marker you can use, to note the length of the interval between two different events. Without such an anchor, a day might seem as long as a week and there would be no way to prove otherwise. Indeed, even the terms “day” and “week” are meaningless. Our minds rail against such a scenario, grasping at straws; trying to make sense of a senseless situation.
On Earth, we use the environment to mark time and the calendar and clock (based on that very environment) to reinforce the environmental event. Sunset is supposed to occur
at 8 PM. Sure enough, at 8 PM, the sun sets. Amazing, right? No. With our various time keeping devices we note and record the patterns of events we see in the sky. With those same devices, we accurately “predict” when those events will recur.
However, the sky on Planet Z tells us nothing, and so we can come to only one conclusion. Time does not exist here. And I maintain, if time does not exist on Planet Z, it is not ubiquitous, and therefore, must not exist anywhere else. It is nothing more than an artificial construct designed to help us make sense of our environment.
Speed can be defined as distance divided by time (d/t). If time does not exist, then dividing distance by time would be like dividing by zero; it gives a meaningless answer. Therefore, it must also be accepted that speed does not exist.
You can see where this is going. Consider the old term of measurement; the league. Originally this was the distance one could walk in an hour. Thousands of years ago, it was only natural to think of distance, especially long distance, in terms of the time required to navigate it.
If speed = time/distance, then, by the principles of mathematics, distance = speed x time. So, if neither speed nor time exists, then neither does distance, since it is the
product of two meaningless values. And since distance is merely another name
for expressing height, width, and depth; this gives us pause to consider the entire world around us.
And at the risk of repeating myself; lest you think all of the above is nothing more than the
meaningless ramblings of someone who forgot to take their meds today, rest
assured that physicists get paid for contemplating this stuff.
So, what is the point?
In the movie ‘Men in Black’, K tells J: “Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow.”
Do you accept things at face value? Do you embrace something as true because someone told you it was? Don’t be lazy. Find out for yourself. Never stop learning. Never stop asking questions.
Fifteen minutes ago, because you’d never given it a bit of consideration, you probably would’ve bet the farm on your rock solid knowledge that Time was real.
Imagine what else you think you know.