TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

What is time?

Wasting time makes you think what time is... How everything is connected... After long contemplation you realize that time is everything around you! Gravity, matter, space, energy... All of it cooperate together to make time pass.

Actually, why do we even say time? Everything in the universe orbits a bigger object, the Earth and the rest of the planets orbit the sun at different speeds but they all move around the center of the milky way at the same speed. That galaxy floats around some bigger object etc. at some point we will realize that everything in the universe floats through it at a constant rate, then space = time! We all float through this space-time and each second passed can (theoretically) be measured in kilometers if only we had a point of reference (we can't find it as everything we know moves at the same rate). The theory that we can travel through time when reached over-light speeds seems not so realistic to me after tonight. There is something missing, we just accept that everything is relative. Each object in the universe is influenced by a bigger object, but the universe as a whole is influenced by something even bigger and it floats at a constant rate around it...
What do you think?

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb

    Gail . 50+

    • +1
    Jan 8 2013: What is time? That was the most interesting question and search that I have had in my life. In fact, my perceived world and thus my life changed dramatically for the better when I found the answer to that question.

    Conventional assessment says that time is like a parade, marching ever forward, but the evidence disagrees with that in so many ways. For me, the most profound difference is this:

    If there was a Big Bang (the singularity explosively expanded allowing its component parts to be known/experienced) then all that is, is entangled. What is entangled?

    If you take a photon and split it in two, you make two smaller photons. Send each of those photons along different courses (in a box using mirrors) and reunite them at the end. The reunited photon has two very different pasts at the same "time".

    When you split a photon, the parts are entangled. This means that each of the parts are still part of a greater, unseen whole, whose "frame" of time is so dissimilar to that which most accept as legitimate that it often makes little sense to people. As the two entangled photons are traveling along their assigned paths in the box, the unseen photon that is in superposition is experiencing both photon's experiences as happening "now". It's present includes more than one present. Its past - more than one past. From it's point of view, that makes utmost sense. If you are one of the photons, it makes no sense at all - if you have been "taught" that there are no such things as probable pasts, presents, and futures.

    Extend this thought a little. Consider the Twin Slit Experiment (TWD). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ElSXo1HWS4
    Rather than having intents/observation collapse the wave function, consider that the wave pattern announces probable or potential futures that the photon(s) chooses from. (This assumes that the photon is sentient - and if all are entangled and the singularity is sentient - as I believe it is/was - then it is).

    Out of space. sorry
    • thumb
      Jan 9 2013: You speak of photons as if they were observable objects which have been isolated, experimented upon, split, measured, and proven to be capable of making choices. None of that is so. I guess you are speaking hypothetically?
      • thumb
        Jan 9 2013: Because photons can be measured, they can be observed. As to inserting sentience, there is no way that I know of to test for that (yet), but if the Big Bang occurred, then all are entangled. If I am sentient, and I am entangled, then it only makes sense that you are sentient and the unseen whole(s) is/are sentient.

        The splitting of photons is common practice in experiments. Same with electrons. Even a C60 molecule has been tested in the Twin Slit experiment. (the largest molecule so far) So no, I'm not speaking hypothetically. If my experience (as an entangled "being") is part of a greater experience of "now", then the greater "now" includes my sentience.

        There are a host of scientific experiments that include splitting of sub-atomic particles. The photon in the box with mirrors is one of the least important, but it is used to substantiate the knowledge garnered from the Twin Slit Experiments and Bell's Inequality experiment and the mathematical theorem (Schroedinger's) upon which the Schroedinger's Cat thought experiment was derived.

        It is because of experiments that a majority (though not all) quantum physicists are asking if they have found god (the god equivalent). Its exquisitely logical and simple compared to what conventional assumptions are today.
        • thumb
          Jan 9 2013: Would you please support your assertion that "a majority of quantum physicists are asking if they have found god?" I interpret your use of the term "quantum physicist" to refer to people with professional training who do research in that field. If you mean something else, could you clarify that as well?
        • thumb
          Jan 9 2013: A photon is energy which, of course, has no mass. How do we split energy? How do we observe energy? We can observe, measure, experiment on, and predict, the effects of photons, but the photons themselves cannot be isolated, measured, split, and cataloged like butterflys. Also, as Heisenberg said, what we observe when manipulating photons varies with the method used to manipulate them. We cannot document their actions by watching from afar because watching them alters their actions. Do you disagree with this explanation, or do you ignore it?
        • thumb
          Jan 12 2013: The experts don't all agree.
          "The question “What is your favourite interpretation of quantum mechanics?” had 12 possible answers. The most popular answer was the Copenhagen interpretation with 42 per cent but 18 per cent chose the many-worlds interpretation. 21 per cent admitted to having switched their interpretation several times with one respondent writing that he sometimes switched interpretations several times a day. "
          http://www.technologyreview.com/view/509691/poll-reveals-quantum-physicists-disagreement-about-the-nature-of-reality/
      • thumb
        Jan 10 2013: Photons are both particle and waves. If you work with the particle, it can be split. Nearly two years ago, photons were split into three parts (rather than two) for the first time. The experiments referred to in previous posts are actual experiments.

        http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100728/full/news.2010.381.html

        Heisenberg was at the forefront of quantum physics, but so much has been learned since then! What we have learned in the last two decades is nothing short of stupendous.
        • thumb
          Jan 10 2013: Ah, but for one word we mostly agree. That word is "learned", which signifies accumulation of truth. In the last two decades we have "conceived" new theories and conducted actual experiments giving us new POSSIBLE explanations for our universe, not necessarily truth. You reject Heisenberg's Principle? Alas, Time is simply the unit of measure for change. Change cannot be defined or described without Time. Thanks for the link.
        • thumb
          Jan 10 2013: This is true, and what scientists will likely learn within the next few years as the Large Hadron Collider ramps up to full energy may be even more so.
      • thumb
        Jan 10 2013: No - learned has to do with FACTS - not with interpretations of them or theories developed as a result of them. So I repeat - what we have LEARNED is nothing short of stupendous
        • thumb
          Jan 10 2013: BAM! We run into that wall of disagreement about what parts of science are fact-based and what parts are theory. Too many folks categorize virtually everything science says as fact. Evolution; Big Bang; Dark matter; Higgs Boson; Super symmetry; String THEORY; etc. It may be that future discoveries will render some, or all of these false. They exist now as possible explanations of our universe, not as natural laws/proven facts. Time is the unit of measure of material change.
      • thumb
        Jan 11 2013: I don't see the disagreement you see. If I say that a photon was split and each part sent along fiber optic cables in different directions, and the spin of one photon was changed causing the other photon to instantaneously change it's spin, that is a FACT because it is easily repeatable. Parts of what that fact means is a subject that can be debated, because the meaning - such as the Big Bang THEORY, String THEORY - are not facts. They are extrapolations from facts. But if you ask how one photon miles and miles away from its entangled photon can know in zero time that the other's spin was mechanicallly changed, certain explanations are rationally supported by the facts, thus they are the most probable explanations and legitimate grounds for a new theory and/or legitimate supporting evidence for other theories. If you add different facts from totally different experiments, and all show the same type of behavior, and the same most probable explanation, the theory grows - just as evolution grew into a theory which is the most probable explanation "at present". (I happen to think that the Theory of Evolution is incomplete, but I agree that it is the most reasonable explanation so far, and I think that if more evidence comes out of QM, the day MAY come when that theory becomes a law.
        • thumb
          Jan 11 2013: Well said sir. However, the photon is thought to have the feature of exhibiting a high-level and a low-level of energy within itself. The two levels have been separated in the experiments of which you speak, but it is always a "single photon" being acted upon by a force through a distance, not unlike gravity or magnetism. Iron filings are not proven to be sentient by responding to a magnet.
    • Jan 13 2013: Actually, for a photon traveling at the speed of light, the passage of time has no reality. In the "life" of a photon, all events happen at once and all distances shrink to zero.
      But i love your metaphoric description; it sounds like, one Being is experiencing different states of becomings at Now.
      I am not sure that what i like is exactly what you meant :)
      • thumb

        Gail . 50+

        • +1
        Jan 13 2013: Of course, a photon experiences only the present, but if, just for the sake of argument) after you split a photon, and the two parts go in different directions, and one side of the box is red while the other side of the box is green, the analogy remains the same. The super-positioned observer would experience white because red and green (that are compliments to one another) = white and - if it could remember - would remember its own component parts experiences as its self.

        What worldview/explanation do you like?
        • Jan 14 2013: I don't define my worldview, don't think i should.
          " Time is the theater of God's becoming "
          It speaks volumes to me... i have nothing to add or alter.Your picture is somehow 'in tune', the instrument is different, but the melody is pretty much the same.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.