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The Nature of Time

Discussion in 'Scientific Matters' started by Venetian, Nov 22, 2008.

  1. Venetian

    Venetian New Member

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    A very thought-provoking article in New Scientist of November ...

    Is the nature of time the central mystery to solve in order to understand the nature of the universe? (Or does it not really even matter?) Does time even exist? Or is it an illusion? Or maybe it pops into and out of existence?

    If it's an illusion, that has deep implications in support of the mystical view of reality.

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20026831.500-what-makes-the-universe-tick.html?full=true

    V
     
  2. Energylz

    Energylz Moody-rator ©
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    Hi V,

    I know we've had discussion on here before about time and time-travel, so it's good to bring this to the fore once again as they are always interesting. ;)

    I don't think we can say that time is an illusion as it is something we know exists, otherwise we wouldn't be able to measure it. However we also have to recognise that time itself can be considered a two-dimension thing in itself, not just a single thing. We have a) the measurement of the passage of time and also b) a point in time. These are two completely distinct things and, whilst they are related, we can also consder there to be an infinite number of points of time within any passage of time and so, by this respect, they do not directly relate in any measurable manner.

    This sort of thing can also be observed in mathematics, including the sort of maths we learn at A level, such as integration and differentiation equations. These types of equations are often formulated in terms of "delta time" which is a change in time and, for example, the process of integration, looks at what happens when time "tends towards" zero or towards infinity, i.e. looking at the whole or the single point.

    If we then look at quantum theories, we can see that it refers to particles coming into and out of existence and travelling forward in time and backward in time. Often people will scoff at the thought of a particle travelling backward in time, but these are known as Tachyons (a theoretical particle) and are particles that are travelling faster than the speed of light. If you get into it a bit more deeply you can realise that a tachyon travelling travelling faster than light backwards in time is identical to a counterpart regular particle travelling slower than the speed of light forwards in time. Perhaps it is just a case that our means of detecting particles is not sufficient yet for us to be sure that these are just one and the same.

    So, as I see it, time is very real, any maybe when it is understood more properly and in a less abstract fashion then it will enable a lot of understanding to come forward, but I'm sure it will not be the answer to everything. :)

    All Love and Reiki Hugs
     
  3. Venetian

    Venetian New Member

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    Yes, well, reading the article and pondering - as we have before - time exists ..... but isn't what people think it is or feel it to be. That's the illusion. Things can travel backward in time (tachyons). And according to some theories, time pops in and out of existence at the quantum level. It certainly slows or speeds up according to your physical movements in space.

    In the deepest meditation, is the suspesion of time just meaningless and subjective, or is it an actual escape from time, to a degree? Most people who meditate and feel 'out of time' still see that their watch has moved on an hour when they emerge. But it's possible to seemingly experience weeks of events, and discover that only a moment elapsed.....

    I suspect that consciousness is the most central thing to what the universe is about, and that consciousness is the doorway 'out of time' to a degree.

    V
     
  4. jamesk

    jamesk New Member

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    Not true. As I see it, time does not exist - it's an illusion. We can not measure it, not really. Time is measured relative to distance - "Time" is something that elapses when an object moves from point A to point B.

    However, this assumes that there is such a thing as a discrete object that can be moved from "point" A to B. I don't know if anyone has been following the "search" to find an object, something that gives mass, that has gone on now for several decades in places such as CERN - but to date, no one has found anything of substance in the universe.

    If there is no such thing as an object, then how can "time" pass when you move a non existing thing from one "place" to another?

    Space, empty space, (or emptyness or the void) though does exist - Time and Mass does not exist, and neither does anyting else that is based on concepts of time and mass. As the Buddhists/Yogis would say: Consciousness alone exists, everything else is an illusion.

    These points are correct, but as observations of how the illusion behaves: it, the universe, time, objects, particles behave as the observer expects them to.

    Your right in the last bit. It doesn't matter how many very clever clever mathematical theories are produced, and highly advanced technolgies developed to demonstrate or "understand" time "more properly" - the fact remains that you can not find a single object that exists independant of the observer.

    There's a Zen koan: "If the tree falls in the forest, and there is no one there to hear it fall, does it make a noise?"

    You could re-write that as: "I dreamn't that I saw a massive explosion, the building was demolished, the emergency services quickly arrived at the scene. If I was not there to hear it, would the explosion had made a sound?"
     
  5. Energylz

    Energylz Moody-rator ©
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    I think we're getting into the semantics game again. ;)
    We can measure time... I have a watch, it does that for me, therefore time exists. However as V so rightly pointed out in his comment "it certainly slows or speeds up" and as james has also pointed out, we can only measure it relative to something (James, you can't contradict yourself by saying "time does not exist" and then saying "time is something..." :D). However that is specifically referring to a measurement of time passing and not a singular point in time; which is where we really start to struggle in measuring it.


    This is where meditation allows us to move away from being in the past and future and recognising a passage of time between two point, but actually brings us to the present moment; a singular point in time, where we cannot recognise or measure time, hence we are not necessary moving 'out of time' but we are moving from the dimension of passing time to the dimension of singular point time. (the power of "now" and all that ;))

    Yes, conciousness; the true Self, is the one thing we can know to exist, and now we get onto the semantics of what we mean by illusion. I can tangibly touch this computer in front of me... it does exist, but it only exists in the way that I percieve it with my consciousness, and your own perception of it would be different and based around your own consciousness; although ultimately we are all one consciousness and we are all perceiving the same thing. So whilst it exists, the perception of it is illusory and likewise, whilst time exists, the perception to each individual is illusory.

    So time does exist and it can be measured, but it is illusory in that the measurement of it is bound by our own indivual perception relative to our own framework of the universe. Through understanding the interconnectedness of the consciousness of each of us we could then begin to understand the true measurement of time and then perhaps the single point of time.

    In my own perception the tree has not made a sound, but that does not mean that there was no sound. The perception relative to myself is different to the perception of the place where the tree fell. ;)

    All Love and Reiki Hugs
     
  6. Venetian

    Venetian New Member

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    Amen to all that, Giles. From all the posts above, it's almost enough (I just thought) as to make one think, "So what's the point of all these physicists and mathematicians theorising about and doing experiments on time, anyway?" Since we know time is both real and not real, or it depends upon frame of reference; and no billion-dollar particle collider or no conference is going to tell us what we know while in meditation.

    But hard science is maybe, in the end, driven by utility: to discover something that works and can actually be used, as in future technology. So it's like, never mind the ultimate reality, let's just advance our 'science' a bit more, maybe leading to a new technology. And, of course, heading all of that are these people for whom it's simply a career, with a salary based upon it. Nice to get paid for an intellectual hobby of interest!

    Still, it is interesting....

    V
     
  7. jamesk

    jamesk New Member

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    Yes, but only if the watch exists - how do I know that I'm not dreaming of having a watch that has hands that move?

    I'm not contradicting myself - I was trying to explain that our understanding or definition of time is faulty - the definition is only correct if objects exist, but they don't, they only appear to exist due to how our mind perceives things. Objects only exist because we think that they do - our thinking fools us. In terms of absolute reality, which the billion dollar colliders that CERN are trying to ascertain, there is no evidence that objects exist.

    If objects don't exist, then neither does time.

    Yes, but the notion of a "dimension of singular point time" is more mind stuff. There's a zen story about three monks, one seeing a flag says "the flag is moving". The second corrects him saying "No, its not the flag, but the wind that's moving. The third monks corrects them both saying "No, its not the flag or the wind, but the mind that's moving"

    Yes, that's true.

    No, it doesn't exist, not in terms of absolute reality - I could be tangibly touching this computer in a dream, but it would just be a dream. If I analyse this computer, i know that it's made from metals and plastic, which are made of atoms that are 99.99% empty space, just like outer space. So 99.99% of this computer and the hand that's typing this is just empty space.

    If I then examine the 0.001% of the empty space that I think is not empty (the nucleus), I soon find that 100% of that is empty space. It's just my thinking, the "moving mind" that fools me into thinking that the coomputer and the hand that is typig this exists.

    No, "it" does not exist, neither does the perception of "it" exist - both the object and the mechanism of perception (the eyes, the senses, the brain)
    are illusions - they dont exist. Only the thing that preceives exists.

    What about that explosion I heard in that dream, would it have made a sound if I was not there to hear it?
     
  8. hom

    hom New Member

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    Hello- what an interesting- and difficult- topic, although at 8.30 a.m. I kind of wish that I hadn't started reading it!!Bear with me if I'm going off the subject with this (and I have to confess that I've only scanned through previous posts) but when you say James, that objects don't exist, would it be more accurate to say that they are manifestations of energy? We know that energy exists even if we can't always see it ( we 'capture' its power in 'energy medicines' like acupuncture and homeopathy after all).
    Regarding time, can it not be seen as a measurement of the speed of light- which is variable- I think some of this was covered in the tv drama on Saturday evening re Einstein and his relativity theory. Need to go now but just wanted to drop in those (probably unintelligent) comments! Hom
     
  9. jamesk

    jamesk New Member

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    Hi Hom,

    For me this is a level of perception. When you think of all things as just a manifestation of energy, then that is a higher level then seeing photons, sub-atomic particles. This itself is a higher level of perception then seeing atoms, protons, electrons - which is a a higher level of perception then sticks and stones.

    Seeing everything as energy would be the "highest" level that would be possible when you rely on your senses and instruments to tell you the truth about life, reality and so on.

    Energy is a vibration, or moving particles. All our senses detect vibrations, as do all our instruments.

    Vibration, energy, however is an illusion - anything that moves is an illusion, an illusion caused by the "moving mind". It's not real because the thing that you believe "vibrates" or "moves" does not exist, it has no substance, so it can't possibly vibrate.

    How can something that does not exist, has no substance move from one place to another? It can't - its only the mind that fools you into thinking that it exists and moves.

    A higher level of perception then "everything is energy" would be to see everything as a holographic projection. A good book on this is "The Holographic Universe", which I consider essential reading for anyone that wants to know anything about the world.


    You can see time in any way that pleases you to see it - as the unit/time it takes the earth to spin once, the unit/time it takes the earth to go around the sun once, or the unit/time it takes light to travel through empty space.

    But this has nothing to do with absolute reality - the moment you talk about an object or particle moving, you lose it as it were. This is not how the world really is - there are no objects that move.

    Only the mind "moves", time is a perception of the moving mind, all our other senses are other perceptions of the moving miond - the same as in a dream. Everything in a dream feels real, things more, there are objects, persons, fights, passions and so on - but when you wake up, you realize that everything was manufactured by the mind.

    In the same way, the holographoc universe is projected by the moving unconscious mind. As the Hindu's would say its all a "Everything is dream of Brahman, who alone exists - everything else is Maya, an illusion".

    The only real thing is not what is perceived, but the thing or rather "no thing" that does the perceiving.
     
  10. Venetian

    Venetian New Member

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    The Nature of Time ...

    Is that it's not up to Einstein, or Stephen Hawkings, but up to how many hours or even days it takes for my posts to get OK'd by mods. Hi Giles. It's getting longer and longer, and not worth my while even trying to post anymore since I cannot be a part of any ongoing discussion.

    It's also my peculiar way of how I check my posts, call it right or wrong. I 'send' them and only then look at them for typos, or for whether I should word them differently. As it stands, I send them and never TBH see them again. So you are getting a sub-standard venetian.

    Is there some politics going on?

    V
     
  11. Holistic

    Holistic New Member

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    Hi V

    I'm responding on behalf of the mods, but informally ... ie not with 'hat' on ;)

    First, let me assure you that there is absolutely no question of 'politics'. It's simply that HP tends to be quieter at the weekends, and it has been so for years, which includes mods' online attendance. So if a matter has to be discussed, WE sometimes have to wait too for others to be available, and I do know that this can be frustrating.

    As for checking one's own posts, we all have our different ways of using the forums, but the Preview facility is highly recommended before 'Submit Reply' ... as you say, for accidental typos, as well as checking that what we've said looks OK from the POV of how others might read it. As has often been said, much is down to interpretation of typed ... as opposed to spoken ... words which is why we also advocate using smileys. :cool:

    Finally, the fact that you've made this post makes me wonder if indeed you did receive my PM of yesterday. I'm concerned that you may not have done so. Could you please check your inbox and let me know, perhaps best by reply PM?

    Many thanks :)

    Holistic
     
  12. Principled

    Principled Well-Known Member

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    Hi there, if I may butt in on this discussion between V and the mods….

    I’ve been meaning to add to this thread for ages, but have been so busy that it has been impossible to find the TIME so far. Ha ha!

    Anyway, fascinating thread – thanks for posting the New Scientist link V, and James, you sound just like a Christian Scientist! :D

    These are a few of Mary Baker Eddy’s observations on time:

    TIME. Mortal measurements; limits, in which are summed up all human acts, thoughts, beliefs, opinions, knowledge; matter; error; that which begins before, and continues after, what is termed death, until the mortal disappears and spiritual perfection appears. (Science and Health 595)

    Time is a mortal thought, the divisor of which is the solar year. Eternity is God's measurement of Soul-filled years. (Science and Health 598)

    Life is without beginning and without end. Eternity, not time, expresses the thought of Life, and time is no part of eternity. One ceases in proportion as the other is recognized. Time is finite; eternity is forever infinite. (Science and Health 468)

    There’s a brilliant little pamphlet I’m sure that everyone writing on this thread would find interesting, called
    Time, Space, Healing which is available here:
    http://www.spirituality.com/shop/catalog/product.jhtml?navAction=jump&rid=600004&pid=3000099

    New compilation of articles and testimonies written between 1983 and the present day. Articles are "More Understanding, Less Matter" by Laurance Doyle, "Conversation with Geoffrey Barratt" Interviewed by Jeffrey Hildner, "Beyond the Grapefruit" by Nathan A. Talbot, and "In Spiritual Healing, Matter Doesn't Matter" by Corinne Jane Teeter.


    I don’t make any money of out this by the way! In fact, if anyone wants the pamphlet without having to send to the US for it, I would happily send one as a gift to anyone who PMs me with their address.

    Both Doyle and Geoffrey Barratt talk about time and eternity. I remember Barrett says something like, “Eternity is not an endlessly long time, but is the absence of time.”

    As many of you old-timers will know, I’m a great fan of Dr Laurence Doyle, astronomer and a principal investigator at the SETI Institute. Here are some of his observations:

    Here are some excerpts from an article titled "The metaphysics of space and time" which was an interview with Dr Doyle. Here, he is asked whether there is a link between the eternal realm and what appears as a human state of material things and he replies:
    I was hoping to include some quotes about time from the Time, Space, Healing pamphlet, but can’t find it!

    Here is an article by Doyle on www.spirituality,com – not on time, but may still interest some of you:

    Do the spiritual math

    “But where did error come from?” A mathematics analogy we are all familiar with has always helped me better understand how to answer this question.

    Judy
     
  13. Energylz

    Energylz Moody-rator ©
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  14. Cirrus

    Cirrus New Member

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    Just watched the above link. Really interesting and thought provoking!:)

    I found it became quite profound towards the end when Prof. Brian Cox talked about Einstein’s space-time/past, present, future theories. I thought for a moment he was going to expand into a more philosophical approach to the question of what time is but then he launched back into quantum mechanics again. Oh well, such is the practical, scientific human mind, hey?

    Oh and I am not saying that quantum mechanics isn’t part of the answer, it is and is really fascinating, but it depends on what the question is in the first place as to its relevance. Anyway, I will leave you all to it. I just really wanted to say what a fascinating programme Giles link was and well worth a look if that is your thing.

    RxXx
     
  15. scommstech

    scommstech Active Member

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    Just like to add my simple version of this time thing.
    Time here is measured as related to going round the sun etc. how would it be done in deep space with no references.
    Second I've thought of time as ripples and we as a cork in those ripples. We experience the actual time ripple we are on but the future ripples and past ripples are all occurring at the same time, we the cork have to waite until the future ripples reach us.
    Spiritual energies appear to move effortless across the ripples, revealing events that are happening but not yet experienced by us.
    Could involve the infinite phases associated with some of the relativity theories.
     
  16. Energylz

    Energylz Moody-rator ©
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    Hi Scommstech,

    Just to pick up on the above point.
    Time, in ancient times was measured as the movement of the sun, the seasons in the year etc.
    Modern measurement of time is through the decay of atomic particles using an atomic clock, although science still refers back to the old ways of measurement when necessary. ;)

    All Love and Reiki Hugs
     
  17. Fadette

    Fadette New Member

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    I MISS VENETIAN POSTS!

    Why is he banned?

    Is a very interesting person, very cultured, and honest sounding. what the hell happened? Is Venetian a scientologist or what? (joking).
     
  18. Energylz

    Energylz Moody-rator ©
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    *** mods hat on ***

    Hi Fadette,

    As I'm sure you'll understand, we cannot discuss details about other members account either on or off the forum. Banning of a member is almost always done after discussion by the moderating team (except for obvious spammers) and we always aim to work with the member first to allow them to remain as a member without banning where possible, sometimes resulting in a temporary moderation until it is clear they are posting within the guidelines again. Banning is really the last option. Please also note that some bannings are done on a temporary basis to allow the member a "cooling off" period after which they will be permitted to return if they wish.

    So, please be assured that banning has not taken place without good cause and members will be made well aware of the reasons for their banning.

    *** mods hat off ***
     
  19. Fadette

    Fadette New Member

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    Ok. thanks. hope Venetian will cool off and be allowed to come back some day. I know Im ignorant of the facts behind the matter. He was feeding discussion with good points I thought, but personally I do not know him nor have researched his many posts to "judge"...

    thank you anyway for the reply.
     
  20. SeaWay

    SeaWay New Member

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    I hope to revive this interesting discussion, however because I don't have a scientific background and don't align myself with scientific points of view, I would like to look at the question of time from a different perspective.

    Usually when I meet a very difficult question, the first book that I reference is the most important book in the world (in my opinion), the Bible.

    If we are talking about what goes on in the world and accept that God created all of it, then we can look at Genesis I (first book of the Bible). Its easiest to find an example based on oneself, so lets start with how God created man.

    "The Lord God formed man out of the clay of the ground."

    Obviously at this point, man did not move, and man was not man at all, but a mere clay figurine.

    after God "blew into his nostril the breath of life and so Man became a living being."

    Now lets look at what happened. There was a biological mass that could live but was not alive. God transfered some of his spirit into the biological mass and the mass began to live and became man. When a person is born and begins to live it means that his biological body moves through time from birth to death. In my understanding, time is the spirit of God that gave life. When a person dies, their time ends, for that particular person.

    And now we can go to Chapter I of the first story of creation, it says that,

    "In the beginning when God created the Heavens and the Earth, the Earth was a formless wasteland and darkness covered the Abyss while a mighty wind swept over the waters."

    The same pattern as with a human being, first a formless, lifeless mass.

    "Then God said let there be light and there was light. God saw how good the light was and seperated the Light from the darkness. God called the light day and the darkness he called night."

    Obviously, God could not breathe his spirit into the mass that was to become the earth as it had no nostril and God had to do something else. Obviously that something else was that God put his spirit into the light that soaked all the matter created by him, except that which was left lightless and which he called darkness. In modern physics, this can be referred to as "Dark Matter".

    The phrase that Wind was over the water is a reference to God's spirit that was not able to penetrate the matter that was to become the Earth.

    From this moment, time began to run, it says in the bible that "the evening came and the morning followed - the first day." After this, time as we know it began moving, days, weeks, months, years etc.

    In my understanding, time is God's spirit that lives through the universe. One can say that the Universe itself is a living thing.

    This is why its very difficult to say whether time really exists or not. Maybe it all depends on whether you believe in God's spirit or not. Coming back to dark matter, it would be matter without time as we know it. Like a dead body of a living being, it does not act in the manner of a living being.

    Referring to how time can be measured, it will depend on who is measuring it. Speaking of measuring time, no one has measured time by itself, but rather measured its passage in terms of measuring some physical event.

    This is why I find it strange to relate time to a watch that was used by someone, somewhere at some point of time.

    First of all, if something can measure something else, that is not conclusive proof that whatever it is measuring actually exists. For example, I can make a claim that space goblins exist, for I have made a device that measures the amount of space goblins around me. Because my space goblin detection device exists, therefore, space goblins exist.

    On the contrary, it seems to me that every object, organic or inorganic has its own time that depends on the amount of God's spirit that is contained in that particular object. We can only try to bring all these "times" into one central "time" since we are all interconnected to each other through the same time spirit. Time, as God's spirit, is what brings us all to life.

    The same difference that exists on earth between "living" and "dead" organic matter, exists in space between matter and dark matter. The difference between them is time.

    :D
    Lastly, I dont know what relationship koan has to time, we see time from a linear perspective, but koan is a parable that is not linear. In the sense that koan never has enough information to solve it. For example, any linear question, 2+2= ? , there is everything present that is needed in order to solve it. There is only one action, addition, and you will get the answer.

    The aforemention koan reminds me of such a problem, if a room has a candle that has burned out and the room is empty, then there will there be darkness in the room? The answer is, not necessarily, no one said that when the candle was burning there was darkness, the candle might have been burning during the day. The amount of answers can be endless.

    At the above koan, one can respond that not necessarily, a tree will make a noise. No one said that the tree was large, maybe it was a tiny tree that was bitten by a rabbit and fell without a sound.
     

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