Indigo cantor

commander in chief, Satori International

This conversation is closed.

How could we relate to the world around us without the concept of time?

I have often wondered about what life would be like if I could not include the concept of time. It is in EVERYTHING we do, think, talk about, it is a component of life that is completely man made, it seems to me it is the glue that holds everything together? without it... what do we have? how do we explain? where do we stand?
what is NOW?
So, how would you explain " life" without time? the universe without Time? all your thoughts without implementing time?

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    Mar 5 2011: We are time, and time doesn't exist. This paradox drives me totally crazy too.
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      Mar 5 2011: Agree. We are time and time is our creation. "To live between memory and potentiality is to live in creative space... with unexpected... the womb of constructive change... JP Lederach. Timelessness could mean living in the present where the past and the future meets -- the moment of complete conciousness.
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        May 13 2011: well..I'll be sure to check out JP your comment
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        May 13 2011: JP Ledrach..fascinating..will go more deeply there..thnaks for pointig the way, Hannes
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        • Jul 17 2011: But you need to let go of the notion that the single moment in time will pass. Ultimately when our consciousness is freed from this ride there will be no passage of time, only unity.
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        Jun 6 2011: Aboli......................Living in the moment makes sense to me. The past we cannot change ...the future for us may never be.
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      May 13 2011: yes gabriela but also liberating and exciting???
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      May 13 2011: I love paradoxes like this :)
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      May 14 2011: The reason of your heart-beats is the time. If you have some timeless reason which gives excitement to ur beats, it means you're time. If not, time doesn't exist for you. Because you do not have a timeless reason to live for. That's all. = )
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    Mar 6 2011: Very interesting topic Indigo, and you ask some great questions! I agree with you that time is a "man made" concept, and in my experience, life goes on just fine without being tied to time. I have not worn a watch for 20 years. I have a clock in the home, but very rarely look at it. I eat when I'm hungry, sleep when I'm tired, and often get lost in projects, especially the gardens, in a "timeless" way. If I have to catch a plane or something like that, I set an alarm, but usually wake up just before the alarm goes off. After not being dependent on the clock for awhile, the body, mind and heart adjusts, and I usually know within a few minutes what time it is. I've never had a challenge with "jet lag" because when I arrive at my destination, I am immediately in that time zone mentally and physically, and not concerned what the time was at the place I departed. I live in the moment, and that time is only NOW. So, you ask how would you explain life without time? SUBLIME!

    Being attached to time seems to cause quite a lot of stress. I often hear the complaint that there is not enough time. Time is what it is. Why stress over something we cannot change? What we CAN change, is our relationship with time. I highly recommend playing with the idea of not letting time rule your life. Try it on a weekend or vacation when you have no time committments. Let go of the clock and an attachment to time for awhile. It may be a little uncomfortable at first, but after the initial detachment, it feels very liberating:>)
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      Mar 13 2011: :) Love this post thank you Colleen
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    Mar 7 2011: Time is the invention of consciousness. Consciousness requires Time to follow the never-ending changes happening around it and inside it. Every conscious mind - from the germs to the humans - has a sense of time. We the humans, who have highly developed consciousness, have quantified the time giving it units like seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, centuries, millenniums. Time is inseparable from change. If there will not be any single change in the universe, including in our consciousness, time will dissolve, meaning, time will be meaningless. Time is the measure for the rate of changes. Time is the mean for consciousness to make order in an otherwise chaotic phenomenal world of changes. There's no such a thing – time as a stand-alone entity. Time is a concept produced by living minds to lay down a common scale to the infinite number & variety of changes occurring around us constantly, by giving them sequential order.

    No time means no change, no evolution. Meaning, it is the ultimate death of the phenomenal universe.
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      Mar 7 2011: Yubal: I'm curious as to your response to the question - "why does does it only go forward?"
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        Mar 7 2011: When you say it goes forward, you base your argument by watching different processes which move or occur from A to B and then you ask why these processes never occur in reverse. The fact you don't find processes going from B to A, make you to come to the conclusion that time only go forward.

        What I argue is that the reason we don't see processes occurring in reverse is that this is the very nature of the processes. The changes occurring within the process or within the constituents of process make the process moving from A to B and never vice versa. The scale of time we use to measure the timing of the process and it's other features, has nothing to do with the direction of the process. The scale is constant and what's moving is the process itself. Saying scale, I mean to time measuring instrument, suppose a watch. Saying the scale is constant, I mean that the watch pulses in a constant & known rate as designed by its manufacturer and what changes in an unknown manner is the process which is the very reason we are measuring it. Now, consider the watch itself. It is also based on a certain constant change occurring within its mechanism which we agree internationally to take as a standard. But still it (the watch) is nothing but a change.

        I have other imaginary scenario of a different nature to show you how in my opinion we mix between human made subjective scale (time measuring) and the objective reality (processes in nature). If you are not convinced yet, I shall give it.

        But first I want to ask you to try imagining at least one time-measuring of any kind – not necessarily by watch, but by even any arbitrary mean you choose like Sun, Atoms, etc, or even by your own memory or mind -- that any type of change is NOT involved with that time measuring. If you find one time measuring without requiring absolutely any change, I shall be glad to know.
        • Mar 7 2011: Your argument was quite stimulating,

          In regards to this statement- "What I argue is that the reason we don't see processes occurring in reverse is that this is the very nature of the processes."

          why does the directionality have to be the nature of the process rather then the nature of the observer and the system that the observer and process occupy? I think a great deal of emphasis has to be made to the frame of reference in which time is being observed in and how the concept and the day-to-day perception of changing states is embodied within the observer. I think this is the nature of human interpretation of time, or at least the soft-wired idea that we have of time and change. Think of a ball moving across a table- although in your brain the cognitive process simply adds several picture frames temporally, more complicated processes interpret it as a fluid motion with directionality. If that is true, we may simply be extrapolating the directionality of time because of the functional utility it serves in our lives, rather then it being an absolute truth of the universe. What do you think?

          There is nothing so stable as change
          -Bob Dylan
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          Mar 7 2011: Thanks for your response Yubal.

          I think I understand your point about change being an essential element of time and that it is quantified by correlating it to some oscillatory event.

          I'm wondering if your statement

          "The fact you don't find processes going from B to A, make you to come to the conclusion that time only go forward."

          is leading to the opinion that at a different location in space/time it might be observed as moving in the other direction (that is the processes would reverse).
        • Mar 7 2011: Has anyone mentioned entropy as a direction of time? Order toward disorder. Drop an egg, it breaks, and all the king's horses...

          It has been offered that what we perceive as disorder is actually the very process of information we need for arranging things in newer forms. Time, order, and disorder. Entropy and information.
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          Mar 8 2011: ralph - Is life a counter-entropic process?
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          Mar 8 2011: @ Tim

          Yeah it is for the system which is evolving into a life form. But not for the universe as a whole. The entropy of the universe constantly increases.
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          Mar 8 2011: Again, taking Yubal's description, in our context we have always observed the entropy constantly increasing, but need that always be the case?
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          Mar 8 2011: For the purpose of discussion, let's assume an oscillating universe.

          Starting with a singularity (which must be the point of minimum entropy) the big bang occurs and the universe expands, thus increasing the entropy. At some point the process reverses and we arrive again at a singularity. Between the reversal point and the singularity, doesn't the entropy have to decrease?
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          Mar 8 2011: That's a good question. I really can't answer that. If the universe indeed compresses and it is cyclic that would mean it also compresses towards a less entropic state.

          I just know how to describe earth bound entropy. It's really a matter of probability, the only reason why it occurs is because entropic states are a lot more probable. These are states which we concieve as being random.

          So the law is not like causal law of nature. Like gravity for instance, it is based on probability. Things could entropically reverse but it's highly unlikely.
        • Mar 28 2011: I believe most modern quantum physicists, of which Michio Kaku would be probably the foremost proponent, believe entropy is forever increasing (in fact at faster rates through time) and that eventually energy is so distributed that that life would not be able to exist due to the eventual inactivity of all stars within the the galaxy and eventually universe. Dwarf stars, due to their low energy burning rate would probably be the last celestial bodies that would be able to generate energy. It is inevitable that within this system there will be *random* oscillations that promote negative entropy (as some call it syntropy) and so do the potential for star and planet formations, molecular synthesis, and eventually... life. In that sense I do believe that entropy is oscillating within systems of the universe (this is more or less proven) but ultimately increasing. Life is definitely counter-entropic due its ordered nature and composition and even individually we try to go against the entropic surroundings that are often presented to us, in other words we try to control our system in order to keep our highly ordered selves. As far as time and entropy are concerned, I definitely feel as though they must be intimately connected on a very fundamental level (i.e. one creates the other or something similar), but I am having trouble expressing those thoughts in words. I feel like the topic of quantum consciousness is the next logical step in connecting these two topics. Hope this was helpful to someone :)
      • Mar 10 2011: That time goes "forward" is, by the way, is simply a construction of your language. There are others where the future is "backwards".
        • Mar 28 2011: But isn't the construction of our language a parallel to the beliefs of society at large at that point? Do you know where the 'future is backwards' phrase used?
    • Mar 9 2011: Linking time to consciousness and classification seems to take us back to Hume and Berkeley, and finally Kant, proposing the mind as the "a priori" process by which we can know. What is "order"? That which we perceive as "right". "Disorder" would then be perceived as "not right". (I'm not imposing "rightist" or "leftist" here).

      Making things "right" would then be an attempt to alter things as each perceive they ought to be, and that produces increasing disorder. Ideas follow entropy the same as the universe. Add to that Godel's theorem, which tells us that in any consistent axiomatic formulation of number theory(of sufficient complexity) there exists undecidable propositions. The most formalized method of imposing order will also reflect a measure of increasing disorder.

      Which leads me to speculate on some conclusions below. If life is a tendency to combat entropy, it can do so only by enlarging its understanding of all things in relation. If it seeks to maintain its own integrity at the expense of surrounding systems, it contributes ultimately to its own entropy. I think it rather strange that when Shannon developed his mathematical concept of information, it was similar, if not identical, to the earlier mathematical presentation of entropy. If events in "time" are ordered by consciousness, then consciousness must reflect the very disorder of perceptions from diverse sources.
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        Mar 11 2011: Interesting. Can you elaborate on the last sentence - "If events in "time" are ordered by consciousness, then consciousness must reflect the very disorder of perceptions from diverse sources."?

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        Mar 13 2011: oooooooooooooooooooo !@!!!!!
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    Mar 6 2011: In classical Chinese philosophy there are actually three kinds of time: linear the kind we most of think of and is referenced here; cyclical; and no time. There are in fact people currently and throughout history that experience the world in a way that transcends the concept of time. It isn't easy to convey, this is why there are Zen koans designed to trick us to perceive the world differently.

    My question is, is there anything wrong with having the concept of time as part of our frame of reference?
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      Mar 7 2011: Indigo, cool post. A little scary and daunting.

      Adam, fascinating. How would you describe Cyclical and no time? I'm not familiar with these concepts of Chinese philosophy.

      As we learned at TED this year from David Christian, we humans have the unique ability to not only learn in real-time but pass those learnings from one generation to the next. It seems to me that all of these learnings need a reference point in order to build on each other. Without time I don't see how learnings can transcend generations in this way. I'd love to hear the Chinese perspective on this and how that relates to cyclical time. Thank you.

      Indigo, I'm not an expert on modern physics but I believe that the concepts of gravity and light require time as a reference as well. Otherwise the Universe as we know it breaks down to something that would be immeasurable.
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      Mar 7 2011: Good question Adam: "is there anything wrong with having the concept of time as part of our frame of reference?" Personally, I think it provides a valuable reference, as you and Bill state.

      For me, it is only a reference, when/if I need a reference point for something, and as I stated in a comment below, I am one of those people who is not attached to the concept of time. If we did not have the reference of time Bill, the information passed down through generations could still exist, and I don't agree that "gravity and light require time as a reference or the universe breaks down". It is humans who like to have the reference, and that is probably why we created the concept of time, don't you think? It gives us a frame for our lives. I think that's great, depending on how we use it. Sometimes, I think it is limiting, as when people take on the belief that they do not have enough time for example.
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      Mar 13 2011: Wrong? I cannot answer right and wrong.. I do think we could literally go insane without the concept of time... although I have to admit I have tried and the only way I could get close was out in nature. I do believe that my mind no longer carries the innocence to experience a world without the concept of time... but I still like to try !! :)
      plus.. it is just so much fun thinking about it.... but ... is that a waste of time?
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    Mar 5 2011: My answer might sound crazy from scientific perspective, however let me tell it from real perspective.
    Time is actually just a concept in our minds, a feeling that occurs as an effect of things happening in the universe. But, what is actually happening is that things that are supposed to happen will happen instantly without any time passing in between, and this would not make sense to human brain without a feeling such as 'time'.
    Human mind is trapped in concept called "time", which is crucial for human mind to understand whats happening.
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      May 13 2011: that..right there with is more and more of science..
  • Jun 10 2011: I have thought about this question, but to be in this universe is to be in time in some sense. Of course thats what Einstein confirmed. But I suppose thats not the end of it - new physics sometimes apparently treats all time as being present simultaneously. Indeed if you study Feynman diagrams you can see some interactions that work backwards in time (as we think of it).

    Clearly better men than me have grappled with this issue. TS Elliot for example in Burnt Norton.

    And of course there are the Tralfamadorians in Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse 5"

    Tralfamadorians say that human perception of time as linear and flowing with only one moment existing at 'once' is erroneous. (quoting here!). All moments exist concurrently and it is only an illusion if they appear to have any linearity. Tralfamadorians see people not as a single image but as a kind of wormlike manifestation that runs from the past into the future - from cradle to grave.

    I have often though something similar - that, at each present moment, all past and future moments are present but the future exists as a kind of set of possibilities. As the quantum wave function collapses, as it were, the many potential futures crystalise into one definite present that creates our history-line. Thus free will and cause and effect both exist in what would otherwise be a deterministic universe.

    About 20 years ago I had an experience that drove this home to me. I was sailing on a yatch in a storm when the main sail was accidentally and violently jybed onto me by the helmsman. I felt the boom brush my head and I was stuck by the traveller which flung me down and seriously fractured my arm. Even a half step more and I would have been in its direct line and without question I would have died.

    At that instant, even as I flew thru the air I had the most distinct feeling that the universe had split and in the other universe I had been killed. This was such a strong physical feeling I still feel it today,
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      Jun 13 2011: Oh, the Tralfamadorians! Hello past reading experience, nice to see you again!
      It feels, though, that if you want to be treated with respect, not seen as a crazy dreamer, you are supposed to believe in time as a straight line. They say your life starts when the sperm meets the egg and ends when your brain shuts down. I can't believe that, and never will. Which makes me uncomfortable in some situations, but what to do?
      • Jun 14 2011: Much prefer to be a crazy dreamer :^)
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      Jun 17 2011: By the way, Peter, I also had a experience long time ago (when I was almost 21). I was sleeping in my bed. I dreamed on a setting where everything was exactly as my room was. Each detail was as I knew by that time. The only exception was that there was another guy identical to myself, but his name was very extravagant, an alien-like one. He started a conversation with me, telling me everything about me and my own world. He knew it all. Then, he told me that he was living into a parallel universe, where everything was almost exactly the same way it was in this universe, but dimensions in that new universe were millions of times less than the universe I was living in (i.e., this one). Till this point, anyone can say that this is a simple self-suggestion of mine. The amazing thing here has to do with other things he told me too. He asserted that a train of events will happen to me the next 180 days starting the day after. Each of his predictions were fulfilled exactly the way he said it will have been happen, including location, time, people and circumstances from which I have had no idea at that time.

      I think this experience taught me that there's something wrong with quantum-wave function, because there exists (at least this is the way I read that incident) some location in universe (or multiverse) that has our destiny stored in some kind of hard disk drive and, therefore, when any one of us do something, here and now, it's because that teleological HDD is reading at once any bit of certain information that is reflected in the way everything displays as a process or an event. Let's remember that HDD has a random access to its registers, and the strong implication of this has to do with a very uncommon kind of non-linear time: the CLUSTER INDEXING TIME. That's it. Time would be just a random number associated with any pre-allocated position of the register containing the experience you are about to live in short. So, time could be anything but real positive NUMB3RS.
    • Jun 19 2011: WOW !! Everyone here at TED is a modern day Einstein (especially Peter) !!! To be very honest,I did not understand a word what you said (or trying to convey),Peter.It is maybe because I do not know much regarding this subject.Nevertheless,I am very happy that I am a part of the forum where I can get to learn so much(I really mean SO MUCH) from my fellow TED members.
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    Mar 21 2011: This line of dialogue blows my mind!

    I teach a physics class and spend part of class nearly every week talking about time and speed. I think to have a well-formulated approach to time and the universe we have to take into account how fast we go, as Einstein did in his famous Theory of Relativity. We do now travel faster and faster than we ever did before, so according to relativity we are experiencing time very differently than our ancestors did. I love the fact that the faster we go, even though to our frame of reference seconds are ticking by in the normal way, to those moving more slowly time passes by more quickly! But we cannot tell the difference between our frame of reference and theirs, although I can imagine like in some forms of fiction that characters can move so fast that everyone else appears to be standing still.

    Still, something bothers me. If, as Einstein posits, we travel faster and faster, approaching the speed of light (which is about three milllion football fields a second) we experience time more slowly, doesn't it seem like we would be catching up with time? How does one experience time differently through speed if they do not have a unit or component in common? An head on collision hurts all the more because your frame of reference says that the car is hitting you at your speed + the oncoming car's speed. Wind's effect on us is dampened if we are running with it at our backs because it's speed is then wind speed - our speed.

    What if time is not separate from speed, less like a controlling continuum that a quantity with its own, constant speed? It would make sense then that we could experience it more slowing, by traveling fast with it, or more quickly, by running into it head on. Then the truly limiting factor to the universe would not be the speed of light or energy but the speed of time.

    So then, how do we measure the speed of time?
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      May 13 2011: Mary love your inversion..your students are lucky to have you for a teacher..there are questions now about whether the speed of light is the fastest thing possible in theuniverse and also whether the speed of light has been the same through all time ( kronos time). Does the idea ( now losing ground) that time may actually be grainy and not continuous appeal to you? Also I would like to understand more about your inversion..that our understanding of the euniverse owuld be most fruitful if we could measure the speed of time? Doesn't that assume a linearity of time? Or could it be acceleratimg and decelerating and influenced by other forces?
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      May 13 2011: I few years back I spent a lot of thought on the speed of time, it was shortly before I decided that time does not exist outside of our perception. The speed of time has to do with the path of least resistance through the possibility field of the multiverse. Light travels the speed it does due to the frequency of parallels it passes through. The thing about the speed of light is it changes when it passes through different scenarios. These scenarios can include extreme gravitational fluctuations and things such as Bose-Einstienian condensates ( These are scenarios I also can see affecting the ratio or pattern of parallels in that vicinity. Light travels so fast because it's wavelength is so smooth, but there is a wavelength still. The "speed of time" would be the straight path, with no curvature to the wave, there essentially wouldn't be a wave then. The thing is how do you measure something without any movement? The answer is you do not. Time as a force does not exist, it is a concept created by us to make up for our inability to focus on multiple possibilities at once. In the multiverse all scenarios are present, time is our perception of moving through them.

      Have you yet thought of the time wave? That one is fun.

      Or at least that is what I have come to understand with absolutely no formal training. I actually have never even take a physics class, so if I am fundamentally incorrect about something please inform me.
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      May 16 2011: I shall try to answer to your question: "How does one experience time differently through speed if they do not have a unit or component in common?"

      If I take Einstein's postulates, one is not supposed to experience time differently at any speed if he is found in a perfectly closed system. This is the very essence of the relativeness within the Theory of Relativity. What do I mean by that ?? First the meaning of "closed system" must be understood properly. "Closed System" means that absolutely any single piece of information from outside is not allowed to enter into that Closed System. Not even a single photon from outside. Einstein claimed that in this case, any experiment carried out inside this closed system cannot ever reveal whether this system is moving in a constant speed or is in complete rest.

      This means, in such a closed system, one is not supposed to experience time differently. This has great implications even beyond just pure Physics. This has Philosophical implications and I guess others like moral, too.

      So, how one would know his time-elapsing was slowed down due to his speedy journey ?? This will happen ONLY if & when he will get into contact with another frame which was in rest, and receive (external) information from that frame. ONLY then, by COMPARING his own frame with another one, the traveller will know (experience) that his time was lagging, that he remained younger than, suppose, his twin brother who remained on Earth. Without this interaction beteen the 2 frames and the comparsion between them, the time-lagging in any frame is absolutely meaningless.

      All this shows how deep is the concept of Einstein's Relativeness within his Theory of Relativity. It shows that when we say things are relative and that they depend on points of view, it's not just game of our mind, but that the relativeness is a fundamental property of the physical world. That there is need for a real interaction (COMPARING), in order to have meaning for relativeness.
  • Mar 6 2011: My thoughts might be slightly off topic but I think worth mentioning.

    What if we are frozen in time? What if that is what life is?
    The rocks and earth and atmosphere that slowly shift and erode away could be living in what is really time,
    but what we call time is just are accelerated movements and thoughts.
    What about the ever expanding universe? What if it is just an explosion that only lasts a second?

    Its all relative. Time is an irrelevant factor to everything.
    I wish that was a commonly believed thought because I am often late!
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      Mar 13 2011: Whoa! Interesting!!!
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      Mar 13 2011: I can identify with your perception Eddie!
    • Mar 20 2011: Time is an irrelevant factor to everything: I've listened to the same Bach organ piece twice - one organist played it in 6 minutes, the other one in 12. Parts of the last Beethoven piano sonata can be played slowly like a meditation or crazy like children playing wildly. (I have heaed and liked both versions) In Beethoven the time (speed) difference is probably even bigger than in the Bach piece. And this difference changes the world!
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    Mar 6 2011: If energy is linked to time through the speed of light (e=mc2), then as long as the universe is a manifestation of energy, and we are part of this universe, all of our experiences will be related to time - moving forward or backwards. But if we can step outside the universal manifestation of energy, then there is no time, no...?
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    Mar 5 2011: What I want to know is - why does it only move forward?
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      Mar 6 2011: I think it's got something to do with entropy and the second law of thermodynamics. If that law could somehow be broken, where entropy globally decreases, we could move in both directions.
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          Jul 20 2011: I could not begin to fathom what the world would be like if entropy was to globally decrease. It would be so strange a universe.
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      Mar 13 2011: Does it? I remember? and when I remember I feel.... Like the moment my daughter was born. That is a space in " time " I can have right here in this moment in time. Great question!!
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        Mar 15 2011: You can go back in time but only as a spectator, you can experience that moment again, see it, but you can't change it and while you experience that moment you had time keeps going forward.
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          Mar 15 2011: What about those weird moments when you kind of get a glimpse of the future and then return back to now? That would be going back in time would it not? So in reality you can also only go FORWARD in time as a spectator. We are not moving forward IN TIME, we are always in the here and now, but because of movement in space (some part of us is always moving, at least on atomic levels) we also move in time....
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          May 15 2011: Hi Pascal..nice to meet you. Do you know Lynne McTaggerts work, the Intention Experiment? A series of experiments meant to xplore the implications of qunatum mechanics ( in qunatum mechnaics it seems that all things exist in infiite possibility until fixed by the observer through the act of observation) Her work has been much challenged, and her experiements, so I am not putting forward as gosepel..just "mind candy" of her expereiments involved "changing the past" participants were each given , as I recall, a pre-recorded pattern of sounds. Some were asked to form an intent for that pattern..others for a difernt pattern and apparently in many cases the different pattern was actually on the pre recorded ( apoligies Lynne if I have blown this description) . My point in sharing it with you isn't to refute what you say about time travel that is what science says in logically extending relativity) but to inviye a journey of the mindand spirit where that might not be correct. I love imaging that forgiveness actually corrects and changes.the past.
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        Jun 7 2011: Hi Lindsay, thank you for your reply. Honestly, I didn't understand much of what you said (quantum mechanics and I broke up a while ago). I did some research on Lynne McTaggart and The Intention Experiment and I find it very interesting, I think I'll buy the book.

        Even though I didn't understand much of your reply at first you had me with you your last sentence! I wouldn't go as far and say forgiveness can change the past but it certainly can correct it. What is done is done but by accepting it and forgiving it you change your perception and that makes place for a better future. I have the feeling people underestimate the value of making peace with the past.
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      Mar 17 2011: credo sia scientificamente possibile viaggiare nel cosa ke ci resta difficile è la velocita' della luce cn cui le nostre cellule dovrebbero spostarsi...esse si distruggerebbero...e si ritorna cn qst al concetto ke finkè saremmo in qst dimensioni legati al nostro corpo...come ancorati alla terra cio' nn ci sara' possibile...kiss
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      Mar 19 2011: I don' t think it is the time that is moving forward. Instead, it is the process of the universe, say chemical and physical process, is moving forward. If we had the ability of reversing the whole process, the time would be moving backward. But I don't think it possible.
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      Mar 21 2011: Does it only move forward?

      Simply because our species has not discovered the concept of reversing time or going back in time is not proof that time only moves forward.

      What we know today is only a miniscule fraction of what we will know in the future.
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        May 15 2011: agreed, John..and very few on the leading edge ofscience in exploring what time also are in excellent company!!! On the mor efruitful side of human endeavor, I think, to be very very wary of those who speak about time with any certainty.
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          May 15 2011: i agree Lindsay ... we're sitting in a gigantic pool of time trying to get an overview .. doesn't make sense unless we can lift ourselves outside of it to get some perspective
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        Jun 7 2011: I would love to be able to go back in time and do some things differently or just not do them at all. But wouldn't be too much of a hassle of one could go back in time? By going back in time and changing something you change the future but every action has an effect on uncountable different things so you might not even realise what you change. By going back in time to secure your own happiness you might cause somebody else a lot of harm without realising it.

        And to be honest, going back in time would be to easy. We need to take responsibility for our actions and learn from them.

        I would say that time as we defined it only moves forward but time (to me) is relative. By going forward in time (getting older) you can go back in time (midlife crisis and act like a teen) so as time is moving forward you're moving backwards... I think it depends of your own view on what time is if time is only moving forward.

        I realise this might sound confusing so I hope you understand what I'm trying to say.
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      May 13 2011: Hawking uses a paradoxical example: If a mad scientist were to create a wormhole one minute into the past and then from the future shoot his past self from through the wormhole who shot him? How could he be in the future if he was dead in the past...

      He says that paradoxes like this cannot exist so this proves that time only flows in one direction. Although his conclusion may be correct there is a fundamental flaw in this paradox. That is a wormhole going forward in time will not send a projectile backwards through time.

      If the scientist were to create a wormhole going one minute in the future and shoot through it he could hit himself one minute before he shot the gun. That would be a more accurate paradox. Being that the wormhole would then be flowing from future to past.
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        May 15 2011: thomas do you happen to have a citation or link on what hawking said?
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        May 16 2011: Great link, Thomas, thanks for taking the time to find and post it for me..and here is a quote from it for all who have been thinking baout time travel back in time"Physicists have been thinking about tunnels in time too, but we come at it from a different angle. We wonder if portals to the past or the future could ever be possible within the laws of nature. As it turns out, we think they are. What's more, we've even given them a name: wormholes. The truth is that wormholes are all around us, only they're too small to see. Wormholes are very tiny. They occur in nooks and crannies in space and time. You might find it a tough concept, but stay with me. "..Stephen HawkingRead more: guess the part that hangs folk up, according to Brian Cox, is the idea of causality...that once an actionhas caused another action that is fixed in time and unlike all other dimensions which we can travel two ways (up and down back and forth) lowwiing that in the dimension of time poses all kind of complexities. But apparently Stephen Hawing isn't allowing that to stop him for considering time as two ways ( or perhapsa continuous loop?) Thankss again for your great courtesy in finding and posting the links
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      May 13 2011: it is only in a linear concept of time that time moves only forward..many are moving away from linear concerpts of time..I no longer feel any resonance with the idea that time is linear..that it has a beginning and an end.
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        May 14 2011: Yes thank you, What I also should point out about the paradox above if the future self whacks the past self then the present self is still. And as soon as you fired that event would be in the past.
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    Mar 4 2011: There is no "life" without time by definition. "Life" is (basically) something that performs actions to change and sustain itself. "Actions" being the keyword here - an action is something that occurs over time, including actions like "standing" which is not moving thought space for a certain time.

    And without "life", nothing of what we and other living beings experience and do can be described.

    As for the universe itself... well, I can't imagine it without time, but I can imagine it fixed at a certain time, in the same way that a two dimensional grid is actually a three dimensional grid with the third dimension always being fixed at a certain position. And so, without time... the universe would be like a (3D) picture.
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    May 14 2011: Please explain why time is not a physical property of our universe.

    If you are to deny the concept, I wouldn't try and make an appointment with you ;-)

    Or would you re-invent a concept that can explain age-ing, the direction of experience, causality, prediction,...

    To me, this question is an interesting thought-experiment, but in real life, there has always been a 'before' and 'current'.
    even if we humans cease to exist, the universe would keep on unfolding in it's way,
    the direction in which it unfolds (from low to high entropy)

    You might just as well imagine a fourth spatial dimension perpetual to depth, length and width... or try to imagine a 2-dimensional universe...

    In short: I don't see the point...
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      May 14 2011: well actually many leading scientists believe there are 11 dimensions..have you not heard of M-theory?, String Theory, Parallel Universe? The 11 dimansion superstring theory is a leadaing contender for explaining the irreconcilable diffrences betwee Quantum behavior and physics. Time, our concept of linear time is often a bit of a fly in the ointment in understanding the universe..multiverses.kronos..chronological time..our human invention for markimg the passgae of the seasons, the phases of the moon, what makes a day what makes an bound to our tiny little solar system and how it works within that solar systemearth bound as it arises from is perceived from earth of the sun & moon..It is apparently not all that reliable when we speak of things a great distance from our soloar system or want to understand how the universe works. Also when you stop and think just logically about time as having a speficic beginning, measureable in speficic constant units..well I have trounle with that just instinctively. It is kronos, our invented earth bound system of time, that lets us keep appointments, know when to plant seeds etc. etc. but kronos is a very earth bound, solar system bound idea.
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        May 17 2011: As a matter of fact, I do. Time is one of those 11 dimensions... I thought you knew that.

        Time might be relative, that does not mean it doesn't exist (which it clearly does).

        and if i assume our concept of time is somewhat earthbound... aren't we earthbound as well?
        So for all practical reasons, we can apply time as linear during our lifespan... and it is sufficiently approximative to what scientists use as time in their more detailed theories...
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    Mar 30 2011: Life without time is like living in the Garden of Eden. It is like going back in time before humanity was given a deadline.
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      May 13 2011: love that Francisco and isn't that where we start..we aren't born with this kronos time awareness we are born with a different sense of 'time"
  • Mar 30 2011: Without time, it is impossible for us to relate to the universe. It is absurd to try to think about the universe without time, just try to imagine the universe without any space and you get the idea.

    That said, time and space go beyond our ability to conceive of in anything but an arbitrary sense. Indeed, time and space are irrelevant concepts in anything BUT an arbitrary sense. A micrometer is the same as a light year without two relative objects to compare. Likewise, without some point of reference, a second might as well be 100 billion years.

    I'm sure I borrowed the idea from some source I can't credit, but to me, this means that there is only one space, and only one time, here and now. This seems bizarre at first glance, because obviously "over there" exists, so there must be two spaces, the one you are in, and the one over there. But you will notice that if you go over there, you're still always here. Likewise with time, it appears that the future is off in the distance, and the past is back there. But the past was NOW, and the future will be now, and no matter what time you think you might be living in, I can guarantee that as long as you occupy 3D space/time, you will only ever experience one instant. This infinitely divisible one you're in right now.

    So, space = 1, time = 1, and this idea of separateness is just our consciousness' way of making sense of everything going on within that infinite 1x1. That's my take on it anyways, thinking about this stuff makes my brain feel like a noodle twisted into a Mobius strip...
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      May 13 2011: love that neon..and for the record, the leading edge of science has given up this idea that time is linear..that belief has blocked much understanding of the universe..abandoning it has opened up all kinds of fruitful avenues of pursuit. I love your phrase"you will only ever experience one instant//this infinitely divisble one you're in right now"You are a teacher here..but I hope you are a teacher in the customary sense.. you have greart charisma..
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      May 13 2011: The the moment in space time is an incredibly complex shape. As you look at the center you see one moment, as you look on the outside you see one moment, as you look at any particular point you see one moment. You can see one moment perfectly made from many scenarios. Each and every possibility ads a corner to the shape. It's so far been mind boggling to me to the point that I have had to take a long reprieve from this train of thought being that I couldn't spread the understanding I had achieved because it was near impossible to put into words. It was hard to expand on it because I had an increasingly difficult time to record in any way my discoveries, being once I diverted some focus to write I would loss the full focus on the issues and the highest ideal of understanding and it would slip away. So I carried around a little black notebook constantly in my back pocket where that I could jot something down. Many times in that note book the same senteces would appear as I would try to write the understanding, or at least build a gateway to it, and it would slip away at the same point. After a few months of intensely thinking of it all I could flip through the pages and start to see my idea emerge, it was elating. Also without being able to discuss it openly it became hard to gain further insight. On top of those things once you get far enough into the ideal there are other ideals seemingly non-related at first that come into play.
  • Mar 16 2011: In my opinion, time does not exist as a separate caracteristic, or value, it is only a part of a concept: space and time, together. We are experiencing a perpetual moment NOW, nothing else... in this NOW we can have remembering of other moments of NOW or we can immagine moments and place them in a not yet experienced NOW. So, except of one perpetual NOW! the rest - past, future are just mental constuctions, in order to give us an idea of order and of difference between experiences, but nothing else. The proofs of past are existing NOW, photos or whatever...
    I think we are experiencing a reality in wich we are sorting experiences one after other, and the space and time are interchangeable, so you can have two events in the same point of space, but in different moments of now, or the same two events can take place in diferent points of space but in the same now, so we are experiencing a reality full of events! And we looked at it and described separately, invented concept of time with no relation to space, so events have to be described as succesive, in a time line. So, time and space are two components, two dimensions that allow us to experience diferent moments of now and construct the reality. So, time itself does not exist, is not moving, not passing, not causing anything, we established a convention to sort experiences. and if a heart is beating, there are two diferent events, time is not the diference betwen them.
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      Mar 17 2011: condivido in pieno cio' ke scrivi...cio' ke tempo è solo presente....è un eterno esserci al presente. x sempre..kiss
  • Tova P

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    Mar 7 2011: I agree with Yubal. I used to think that time was this thing that was a human creation, that we defined the way it ran, it's direction by our limited brain capacity. I changed my outlook recently when I listened to this talk that was about how time, and it's movement in a linear direction is related to entropy - time runs in one direction because you can't get an ice cube from water in a room temperature environment. You'd have to reverse time and reverse entropy as well.

    While we humans are serial processors, i.e. our left brain likes things that run in a nice clean line, time is also part of the fabric of our universe. For this reason I think that trying to get away from it as a part of existence in this universe is futile, and takes too much energy better spent on understanding and changing instead our relationship to time. In my mind, if instead of trying to get away from it, we did things like take a much longer view on all our decisions, we would do better for ourselves and future generations as well. I also think we would worry less about the decisions that will have little to no impact on our lives further into the future, a big boost to the mental health of western civilization!

    This is the talk: There's also a video version available through itunes podcasting (TVO big ideas).
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    Mar 5 2011: I LOVE these Responses.... I love that Tedsters make me FEEL my mind!
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    Mar 5 2011: When time is about change, all objects defined are defined relatively. That is why an object has no nature of itself, by itself, when we deprive it of property of time. If we remove time hypothetically, everything in all its expressible forms will exhibit itself (all the time, because it won't be a human if there's no time, we have this compulsory measure for kind of life we have). But nothing of "this world" can even exhibit or express without taking objective form without time. It will be what it might have been when there was nothing...but it was never.
  • Mar 5 2011: To begin with, every component of life is man-made. So I do not think you can single out 'time'. Everything, it's arbitrary, so time is not the glue holding everything together. Because this is a hypothetical question, and there can be no answer (because we DO have time), I wonder what the point of asking a question like this is. Everything, if picked apart to the extent of asking, "What is life if ____ does not exist?" is going to end without an answer. Thus it will not end.

    Without time we do not have the concept of ephemeral life. We do not have the concept of Heaven, because at what point do we die and enter Heaven? We do not have Hell, for the same reason. There are no deadlines, nothing. Red is still red in association with blue, winning is still winning when contrasted with losing. So there is still 'meaning', if that's what you define it as. Time related issues are out of the picture, and thus the theoretical is destroyed. But the present is not.

    If this does not make sense, and it might not, considering my present state of mind (and what is a state, without the concept of time?), then it is because I've drunk too much. Questions like these, the 'hypothetical' notions of what could be, but are not, are irrelevant. We have these things, and thus they incite questions. If we did not have them, there would be no question; we would not know what they were at that point, and therefore would not know what to ask. There is no solution. What's the point of a question?

    You know there's no answer. You just live it and hope for happiness.
  • Mar 5 2011: Well lets define time.

    Time in practicality is synonymous to change.
    We experince time because somethings change.

    But, our perception of time is only relevant to our ability to affect and effect change.

    Let me explain in clearer terms.

    We can move our hands as fast as we can follow them. (just about)

    So if our ability to percieve something was much slower then our ability to move, we would hurt ourselves from moving our body faster then we could keep track of ourselves.

    And, if our ability to percieve movement was much faster then ability to move we would get tremendously bored doing nothing half the time waiting for our body to catch up to our intentions.

    So our ability to percieve the flow of time is designed around our ability to affect it.
    One goes hand in hand with the other.

    So what happens when u remove time.

    Everything in the universe happens all at once, but so do we, we would then experience our entire lifetime (or mulitple) and we would only be able to look back upon our actions remembering the reasons we had for taking them without the ability to reflect upon them in any way but in retrospect.

    Is this what "God" feels like?

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    Mar 5 2011: The universe as we know it couldn't exist without time. Change is a function of time. Without time, everything would be frozen in the moment.
    • Mar 7 2011: agreed. and there's a reason it's called spacetime. time is the 4th dimension, and a fundamental part of the fabric our universe. and you have to remember the effects of motion and gravity on time. Extreme gravity has the effect of slowing down time (to a stop at the event horizon of a black hole, relatively) and lightspeed travel would have the same effect, relatively.
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      May 13 2011: yeah but its turning out that our idea of linear time has actually put some road blocks to our understanding of the our ability to reconcile quantum mechnaics with physics to even ubderstanding what we see out there with hubble . Many leading edge scientists are thinking they understand more of what we can observe by abandoning this idea of linear time..
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    Mar 4 2011: Maybe if we just lived in the moment without the baggage of the past or the pressure of the future, the world would be a more authentic place. Note that I do not mean the memories experienced are not remembered or that we do not have a will to move us from place to place. I'm simply suggesting that past and future loose their control of our minds in the present moment. Total freedom?
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    Jul 22 2011: Very interesting all.

    Would it be safe to say then that:

    1) The phenomena we call time defines in an inextricable manner the nature and state of all energy or matter.

    2) Entities of sufficient insight create and explore measuring systems reflecting their preoccupation with and concepts of the value in a particular moment?

    Just looking for some feedback and trying to paraphrase our collaborative interpretation.
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    Jul 12 2011: I've very much enjoyed reading this conversation and the many different and interesting views, one can have loads of fun debating about concepts like time for days on end -- great question by Indigo! I, however, after reading all this and debating in my mind, am unable to reach any other conclusion than the most pragmatic for me: TIME EXISTS ONLY BECAUSE WE ARE FINITE. I have been trying to remind myself of this conclusion these days as I battle the fear of making some important and potentially "risky" decisions that will change the current direction of my life.
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    May 15 2011: maybe if we could live just in the present moment we could transcend time to do that though ....what can take our concentration and hold it where we are at any particular time .... it won't be a thought will have to be an experience i reckon.....
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      May 15 2011: That's it!!!
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        May 15 2011: i can't think myself through these time issues too much i'm afraid, Lindsay ....this is the closest i can get and when it happens it feels great..... it doesn't stop my ageing process (damn) though which i've been told is programmed into my dna somewhere ...
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    May 13 2011: Lets remove time. How? First we would define a minimal possible time interval. Then we would take a snapshot of reality in each of these intervals. We could visualise the time snapshots as a chain of circles containing one reality. Now lets take all those realities and spread them in one big plane of space without overlapping. There you have it - a model of the world without time in it with all other causality relationships preserved if we want them.

    It means that one can "participate" in his own birth and death. It would also mean there is one of us for each snapshot we have taken and we would be identical but slightly different looking.

    This is not something new. In some TED talks a software that creates space-time worms was used as visualization aid. The difference with the current idea is that it does not have to be a worm - the "next me" could appear anywhere in the space.

    And now we could begin to do weird things with the model.

    For example, because there is no time we would observe people and things popping in and out of existence anywhere and it may look random to us until we realise, for example, that breaking a nut would cause many broken nuts suddenly to appear each would be the same as the one we just broke but slightly different.

    Also all words that imply time relationships would not exist (like next, now, before, waiting, etc.)
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    May 13 2011: My current photography/art work is working with this concept, although I didn't state it as not having a concept of time, but rather I ask, don't all moments from the past present and future exist in this moment? The place where I think of time not existing at all is in space although I haven't quite wrapped my head around the concept. I do think about it all, a lot.
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      May 13 2011: how beautiful & how insightful..Iyour photography and art work must be exhilarating if you start from here.
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        May 13 2011: is where the project lives for the moment!
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          May 13 2011: lovely..I will feature at my personal blog and also post at my facebook..lovely work
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          May 13 2011: Wonderful pictures - thanks for sharing!
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    May 1 2011: I just saw a brilliant comment on YouTube related to this that I simply must share:
    "Time is an abstract concept created by carbon-based lifeforms to monitor their ongoing decay."
    (user name calvinthedestroyer, 1 month ago)

    I never would've put it better myself :-D .
  • Mar 26 2011: Life without the concept of time leaves you with life and time. I suspect you subtract time itself from the equation, then you disappear too. Just a notion, for what it's worth. Attempts to back it up with reason have sent me spiralling into a mental worm hole with no foreseeable hope of re-emerging.
  • Mar 24 2011: Living life minus the concept of time would effectively be what is popularly called 'living in the moment’ only its popular usage is really about living ‘more’ in the moment. To live in the moment in the truest sense you’d have to suffer complete loss of memory and chronic lack of imagination; no sense of past or future. In fact, it would be akin to de-evolving to a more primitive state; closer to that of an animal. The more evolved a species, I would suggest, the less ‘ín the moment' its members actually live. And while it's true, many of us could probably afford to live a little more in the moment, to do so in the fullest sense would not only be near impossible short of giving yourself major head trauma, but a regressive, self -destructive act that would greatly compromise quality of life. People lying comatose in hospital with head injuries from car accidents are about as close to living in the moment a human’s likely to achieve. It wouldn't be much of a life. I think you ideally strive for a delicate and workable balance between the past, future and present; strive being the key word because you never get there; life is constant motion and change and as such, acheiving balance is an ongoing, lifelong process.
  • Mar 23 2011: kant (a philosopher) deals with this

    we can think of everything without time, but we cannot EXPERIENCE anything without time because everything must be experienced IN TIME (duh). so you are asking what yellow tastes like basically
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    Mar 19 2011: If there was no concept of time then there would be no urgency.
  • Mar 17 2011: "Time", by your topic definition, as near as I can tell, is a concept that is a result of industrialization and commerce. 150 years ago farmers and shop keepers, dress makers and bakers, didn't have a clock to tell them when to go to work. It was done on the sun-up/sun-down premise, tied in with the basic biological function of eating. This is of course a realtively simplistic explaination, but if spend some time in Europe, you will quickly realize that the european life style is in no way as hectic as our life here in North America. We put such tremendous pressure on ourselves to meet the deadlines of the tick tick tick of the clocks and watches that we have allowed to run our lives. "Time is money", therefore the more effective we use more of our time, the richer we will be. It's insane that we have become slaves to something that didn't exist 200 years ago (there-abouts). And the worst part of it is, we are disconnecting from the world around us, the people in our lives, our own family. It's so much easier to text your children that dinner is ready, as opposed to walking up or down the stairs to their bedrooms to let them know. I know because I myself have done it, and instantly realized just how idiotic and lazy that was. Why was I so lazy? Probably because I've been attempting to move at near-light speed all day, attempting to maximize my 'profitability' for the social standards. I believe that social media is fast becoming a double edged sword, if it isn't already. While direct communication is instantaneous, which can have such a huge impact on the world in general, if you need proof, take a look at the Japan crisis that is happening right at this moment, how would the world have responded to this (natural) disaster 100 years ago? We would most likely be just learning of it now, and then not necessarily the general population. I don't think that right now the general Japanese population is overly concerned if it's 6pm or 6:19pm.
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    Mar 13 2011: I have not read all the posts here.
    The question you ask Indigo, reminds me of a book I once read about Hopi indians. If I remember correct they had a concept only of time and space together. No way of describing a phenomenon without including both time and space. That way of looking at it helps me to ground myself in my body here now, while contemplating the eternity.
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    Mar 11 2011: Very interesting All.

    Would it be safe to say then that our perception of the phenomena we call time, defines in an inextricable manner the nature and state of all matter?


    Consequent to this, entities of sufficient insight create measuring systems reflecting their preoccupation with and concepts of the value in a particular moment?

    I am trying to paraphrase our collaborative interpretation of time.
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    Mar 10 2011: Time is relative to whether it is important to "you" functioning in your world. Eg, to the average person who interacts with others, time is a general concern..Mum's need to know when it is time to pick up their kids etc. To someone else, perhaps a world class athlete time is measure in milliseconds..and that seemingly inconsequential lapse to the average person..would be the difference between a Gold medal...and just being second.

    On the other hand..a hermit who lives in the wilderness on his own..needs really not to bother with the concept of time that we have become familiar with, as his time is only measured in seasons perhaps.

    A moment is a medieval unit of time equal to 1.5 minutes or 1/40 of an hour, so they say.

    My wifes "moment" however, can be very much longer than that (in particular when I am waiting for her). She alone has managed to prove that time is indeed relative to each individual.
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      Mar 13 2011: I agree about the wilderness... I have experience a sense of timelessness in that ... but there was a start and an end. I measured " things" that happened to me by " when" I worked on certain tasks at a " time " of day when it was condusive.... or was it all because I created that pattern and point of reference
  • Mar 10 2011: Without time there would only exist one moment. That before creation. I have a feeling some physicists might like that.
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    Mar 10 2011: I'll repeat a relevant idea explained to me some time ago, in reference to the problem in Australia of aboriginal deaths in custody, at least some of which are apparently suicides. I have no idea how true it might be, but it's interesting, I think. I was told that due in part to the relatively unchanging nature of the traditional environment, lacking a harsh winter that requires preparing for, the traditional aboriginal view of time is much weaker than is common to most westerners. Without needing to plan for winter, one does not need to focus on the flow of time to the same extent. (I realise this sounds like 'pop anthropology'.)

    Thus, events that have happened are all lumped together into the past, including those personally witnessed at some (relatively undifferentiated) point and those related by others for everyone to learn from, and purportedly this is 'the dreamtime' which includes stories from last year and 1000 years ago.

    Without time, there is no conception of the future, or of changes to come or to be made, but just the present - and things are just how they are now. The sad part is that if you have no conception of changes to come (beyond the seasons' cycle, I guess), you also lack 'hope.' So when someone with this perspective is put in prison (for more than a year, I guess), there is no hope that things will eventually change - making suicide a more real option. If change depends on time, and hope depends on change, no time means no hope.
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      Mar 13 2011: Thank you for this... very interesting provoking
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    Mar 8 2011: If were talking about time at a more significant level. We start to look at magnetic frequency the origins of the planets structure. We see often depicted from NASA images the magnetic structures of the planet emerging from the planet much like an atom. The idea of time is only relevant to the how we perceive mass. Much like atomic clocks people develop in the same way. Those of us who can grasp specific concepts including molecular weight perceive time on a more precise basis and likely creates the perception of different operation amongst, in some cases actuality. It is possible based on human structure and likely homeopathic stability, the interactions we perceive in one another at a subconscious levels we can use location based partical mass, we call geostrings. The are typically dependent on the structure and inspiration of any one given area. This is why continuous building within a vision is significant as it produces productive occurrences amongst one character attributes. The balances of time as it relevant to people is creating diversification application such as New York City intricate business amongst an area of more uniform structure such as Denver.

    As for time as a material, we would have to assume all structures are created and held within people and is nothing we should concern ourselves with. Time as a material means dedicated resources and unless a structure encompassing incredible vision is first produced and people spend their overall capability to allow resources to be dedicated to faster space travel and time travel.. This therefore makes it major risk at times to allow an abundant amount of resources to progress without the overall progression to move forward. It still make myself wonder if over population divides the mass. With our current population rate we must presume that there is nearly an abundance of material mass energy and we are playing with in a game of reality to create more and therefore never short ourselves as people.
  • Mar 8 2011: I would think that If we exclude the concept of time, it means that everything exists all at once. An analogy would be say, a novel. In this novel, the story exists all at once, but it unfolds page by page as you read it and so appears to take place over time. I guess we process only in the forward direction because as humans, we are equipped with many filters to avoid overload ( for example we see only visible light from the much larger electromagnetic spectrum, we hear only a specific range of decibels and so on). We do not have the capacity to process all that exists so the filters allow us to live an existence to carry out our purpose - whatever that is. But this does not mean that you couldn't read the novel backwards, it's just more comprehensible in the forward direction.
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    Mar 8 2011: Some of the descriptions of the 9 or 11 dimensions of the universe, and multiple universes make me think that THIS universe is a time/space universe, but that there could be parallel universes that consist of dimensions 5, 6 and 7, which are curled up, and so have no dimensions, and therefore no time or space. In that universe we would be nothing but energy, and our whole life would be simultaneous.

    Talk about sensory overload, or underload, I'm not sure which.
  • Mar 7 2011: Thank You For Giving The World --TED Talks.
  • Mar 7 2011: Life without time in a sense would be dull. Remember when you had those moments where you were "living life" ? If time was ignored as a factor in our lives and the universe, we would never have had or will have those awesome moments.
    Feelings are relative.
    i feel that you feel happy because you have felt sadness before. You are however unaware of this as it is in your sub-concious. When you find yourself in a situation where you are happy, it occurs as a result of your mind in it's sub-concious state comparing this current moment with past sad moments.
    Without the consideration of time, your mind would not be able to do this and moments would just be..well moments..with no emotions...numb.
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    Mar 7 2011: I'm sure that my inklings about time resonate with many here: I used to ask whether time exists if we do not count it, but some thought on the subject brought me to the conclusion that time as it permeates the universe (i.e., as a dimension, not measure) is rhythm. In isolating rhythm as a structure within the smallest organic being, to the largest interstellar body, I believe it is integral to life. (I imagine the world collapsing in on itself without the rhythm of life, which must include space, to hold it together.) As for perceptions of time, these change according to a culture's needs and desires. There is no single view of time on this earth, and incongruent perspectives of time have led to conflict and exploitation.
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      Mar 7 2011: Aside (from wikipedia):

      Musical tempo terms reflect levels relative to resting heart rate; Adagio (at ease, at rest) is typically 66–76 bpm, similar to human resting heart rate, while Lento and Largo ("Slow") are 40–60 bpm, which reflects that these tempi are slow relative to normal human heart rate. Similarly, faster tempi correspond to heart rates at higher levels of exertion, such as Andante (walking: 76–108 bpm) and the like.
  • Mar 7 2011: Time is really a concept that comes from movement! Movement and space is what is our reallity. You could not stablish a cause-effect relation without it.
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    Mar 7 2011: I think time falls in two categories; one governed by nature and the basic rhythm of all life i.e. earth rotation; the other is a man made concept of time or the metric tool we depend on to account for the moments of our existence. We keep track of seconds, years, etc. because we have a need to measure age, capture history, plan for the future, schedule family events dates, meetings, adhere to schedules, etc.

    We put a monetary value on time, or at least on the time of some of us, and time becomes a simple commodity, more precious to some than to others. Nevertheless, all of us are more or less affected and influenced by the finite amount of time, measured or not, allocated to our existence.

    Both, measurable time and money are artificial, fabricated concepts, without which modern life as we know it would collapse. Conversely, in the future time may become less relevant as technology already provides us with much more flexibility and freedom to transcend through time in both work and private life.
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    Mar 6 2011: Time is part so many fundamental units in nature for instance force is kg m/s^2, energy is kg m^2/s^2 it is certain that everytime we measure time we are measuring something that we can't directly perceive. We infer it through motion but attempting to explain time is impossible I can't imagine how it would look like.
  • WQ Ong

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    Mar 5 2011: Does life exist without time? Or does time exist without life? If humans do not exist to question the beginning of time, will there be time?
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    Mar 5 2011: Given that general relativity tells us that time and space are parts of the same thing, could we really talk about the absence of time without also talking about the absence of time? I think we'd be pretty helpless without an inner concept of time as you've suggested.
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    Mar 5 2011: That is a fun question to think about!, ummm I'm just thinking of that top of my head but what if we classify everything as a change, a reaction between objects resulting in a change. In a sense everything would become more relative than we perceive it to be currently...but the notion of time would not be needed. I wake up, I change from closed eyes to open eyes, a reaction occurred. But then again, through evolution no memory is required.....and no pretty much everything! hahah okay fail answer!
    New answer!
    If time didn't exist We would all be a point, 0 dimensions.
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    Mar 4 2011: Deja Vu.
  • Mar 4 2011: We wouldn't be able to. Without a reference to time we would not know if we had met someone already or be able to build on the past ( a time concept ) or move to the future ( another time concept). Alzheimers is the disease closest to a world without a concept of time.
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      Mar 5 2011: interesting you bring up alzheimers....I was thinking about that the other day...about how to people with it.. it seems as if there is no time.... maybe that is why it is so uncomfortable
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        May 13 2011: the absence of time for people with alzheimers may be only a problem for others..I'm guessing not a problem at all for the alzheimer's person.
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    Jul 12 2011: ME too Alex... Pretty amazing Brains here!!!!
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    Jul 11 2011: I think time is a property of space-time. Yes, so what? It's not "visible" or able to be sensed by human beings. Why? Because there is a chance that space-time is not as mild and continuous as anyone could imagine. Space-time could be as a wool-cord fishing net, where holes are so tiny that there is no physical object with those infinitly little dimensions. Therefore, time cannot be detected alone, except by intersecting two o more space-time hyperplanes, which are themselves representations of several pointwise events in living experience of two or more people, in a manner of speaking. Only in cases like that time may acquire its seeming "vectorial" look. I wonder whether there are other ways of making a geometric or topological operation with these space-time hyperplanes that can show to us time in a way completely different we look until today, that is, as a point in life of someone (the "present moment").

    The key and trick lies on geometric nature of space-time. But time could be so different from the positive real axis, and more likely to be as a fractal 2-dimensional figure. One possible way for "watching" time is by means of some kind of "fractal gravitational microlens" made of overlapping space-time hyperplanes curved in a way that, for some observers, it would seem the trigonometric circle. Only then it would be possible to contemplate time in all its extension and true nature.

    So, we cannot separate time from our daily experience due to we are not able to design a physical device smaller than Planck time whose purpose were to slice this peculiar space-time, a result of a blending of continuous and discrete, two different scales-of-measure dimensions not compatible with our fuzzy, quantum brain. Indeed, time could be the bridge between man and universe. Or maybe brain could be the link between macro and microcosmic worlds.
  • Jul 2 2011: Time exists (although as Douglas Adams famously wrote : "Time is an illusion - lunch time doubly so."

    But he just meant that while time exists - it does not apparently "flow" in the way we perceive it to do. As human beings living in 4 dimensional spacetime we are trapped in the eternal present. But this is not how science views time - all our past present and futures are hanging around - somewhere.

    Indeed the concept of some things happening backwards in time is perfectly OK with theoretical physicists (when dealing with quantum events.)

    Here is a quote about this dealing with the way Richard Feynman thought about it and the way his Feynman diagrams (pictorial representations of quantum interactions) work..........

    "Feynman used the idea of motion backward in time when he invented his famous diagrams in the late 1940s. Dirac had developed his fully-relativistic quantum theory of the electron in 1928, and discovered that it contained negative energy solutions. These solutions were identified as anti-electrons or positrons. Positrons were observed as predicted in 1932. Following Stückelberg [Stückelberg 1942] and Wheeler, Feynman re-interpreted positrons as electrons moving backward in time [Feynman 1948, 1949a, 1949b, 1965b]"

    In other words the math which explains this stuff is based on time reversibility being a part of it and so scientists know that some things work both forward and backwards in time. I gather that without this concept - the numbers do not add up. Its all heavy going and way beyond lay people like me so at some point we just have to accept that we either have to go back to school and complete post doctoral work in quantum physics or just trust that they know what they are talking about - I opt for the latter. :^)
  • Jun 25 2011: The concept of time was created so that one could remember and talk about events. Without the concept of time, events could be confused and people may not be able to talk about past events so they could share the information they learn with their children or others around them. I believe the concept of time is just as fundamental to the teaching processas language. Change does not need time, we just talk about the changes with the concept of time. The sun does not rise because we think it is 8, we think it is 8 because the sun rises.
  • Jun 19 2011: The baffling questions of Physics are: Is 'TIME' truly fundamental?

    Moreover, is space-time fundamental ? I think it is impossible to dicuss time using Physics as a tool, rather than our mental drive.
  • Jun 19 2011: First of all , I think it is necessary to know that the Physics of today vehemently opposes our common sense.

    When a person (or any living being) is born , there are three obvious things which come as a package--the body of the newborn , an abstract thing which kindles life in that body(I would refrain from using the word 'soul') , and a more abstract concept of personalised time.So,I think that it is that very abstract concept of 'time' which sets our life going.It is a permanent adhesive without which there can be no order in this world . It makes life more interesting,because you have something to do every moment,and we prepare ourselves to meet life as it comes by,needless to mention , as 'time' passes .

    I suppose this is what our intuition says.

    If we look at it not as something abstract but something which requires deeper insight , Physics says that , probably the concept is completely devised for our convenience.Maybe the universe was born without time embedded in it . Maybe it is for our convience that we say " the universe was born billions of years ago " or " 24 hours make one day " and so on.

    Unlike what we experience , the laws of Physics are symmetric with time . If we assume a law to be a man , he would be indifferent to what had happened or what happens next , because he does not know anything like-'had happened' or 'will happen'.It is impossilble to define an ' arrow of time ' for the laws of Physics.

    But look at the flip side of the coin. There is a certain fabric defined to be space-time.There is a limit upto which the sensible notion of time is valid,the limit defined to be Planck time.Discussing the concept of time beyond this limit becomes meaningless.It is impossible to describe the universe at a time lapse smaller than the planck time.Note that this is a part of Physics.

    This completely contadicts the declaration of the non-existence of a clock for Physical laws.It is indeed tough to comment on time using Physics.
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    May 31 2011: Time is a temporary interuption in the concept of eternity! This side of heaven, time and life are inseparable. Have you ever thought about the word 'lifetime'? It means as long as you have life, you are going to have time! You simply can't help it! Time is the only factor on earth that you will always have as long as you life! Think about it! That makes Time more important than every other issue, even money. So stop saying Time is money, because it isn't! Time is Life!
  • May 22 2011: To move away from time we could look at why we invented it in the first place, it being a concept. Time takes us from the now. Now is the moment of self-realisation. So, time came into being the same time we did, or at least knew we did. To lose time we must lose ourselves.Some people lose themselves in their work or their play or their meditation, when the concept of time dissapears (you lose track of time).
    So, to answer the question, we could hve a great time (pun intended) without time but we'd be lost
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    May 16 2011: So the thing we allow to rule our lives is just an invention of western man and many people find great peace and relaxation in stepping outside the tyranny of time if only on weekends or vacations. . Life in community, as much of civilization lived for most of human history, was not governed by time and did not involve clocks or measurements of time. Today, life in monastic communities continues that way and it is common practice at ccntemplative retreats to have no watches, no clocks. We move from activity to activity at the tolling of bells. Freedom from the clock brings peace, rest, calm and most importantly allows a centered place within, a place of equanimity from whihc to be fully prseent in each moment.People like me who love wilderness camping, fishing, long distance ocean sailing or just quiet days managing my meadows, beaches and gardens here on my island don't live on the clock..the clock is meaningless. With freedom from the tyranny of time comes peace, real enjoyment, real presence in the moment
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      May 17 2011: The concept of time has been around awhile. Obelisks are thought to be used for time around 3500 BC, surely the idea of time was around much longer then that.
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    May 15 2011: Theoretical Physicist , Brian Cox', five part series on time is just fascinating and we we should all take comfort in the fact that while all physicists agree that time is not kronos..not what we measure on our watches that no one yet has come up with what time actually is. Einstein thought he knew..for a few months in 1915but recanted in 1916. I believe it was Cox would did a time experiment to explore the oft reported experience of time standing still during an accident or drowning..heroes who recount split second life saving decisions often recount often recount time slowing ..that every thing is very slow motion. The expriement involved a digital display of a single number flashing so quickly it appeared to people in normal time that the dispaly screen was blank. They had people jump from a great height onto a trampolene and attempt to read the dispaly in free fall. They all saw the number clearly. ( I will try to find the cite..may actually be one of Brian Cox's 5 part series).
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    May 15 2011: CONTINUED from my previous comment……….

    1: Today’s belief in External Time is similar to the belief in External God. What’s common to both beliefs is the expectation for some extrinsic entity which governs the universe, the life, the phenomena. But as the idea of extrinsic God is in constant retreat for centuries, the natural human tendency is driving us to find a substitution to that idea. So here we have a created a new, very powerful concept of an extrinsic Time running and dominating us and the universe from outside. This extrinsic Time has became a kind of new God for some, not just in their daily life, but also as a concept, as a thought, as an all-around ruling entity.

    2. I mentioned above that time is a kind of a scale. So let’s take another scale which is less abstract and easier to grasp. This scale is used by us to measure the space and the changes in it. We call this scale “Distance” and its units are Centimeters, Inches, Meters, Kilometers……. .
    But, would anybody say that the distance is not depending on the space ?? It’s obvious that it does. The distance is made of space. The distance is just our mind’s definition to the difference between two points’ locations. This means it’s a scale created by minds to make an order in space, giving the distance units mentioned above. But we all agree that the units themselves are nothing but a space of different sizes which we accept globally as a standard. The units and the distance have no independent existence, because without the space existing, there will not be distance nor units of distance. Now all we have to do is to replace the word Distance with the word Time.
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    May 15 2011: IMO, the confusion with the time concept occurs because people turn it up-side-down. People who seek independent existence of time and think it’s a kind of stand-alone entity, think that the phenomena and changes are occurring because there’s a very fundamental entity which is running constantly and endlessly and all the things have to obey that entity. The confusion they make is this: They think that the changes in the universe and in our lives are the outcome of the time, while I think that it’s exactly vice-versa. It’s the time that is the outcome of those changes. The interaction of those changes with any living mind, creates the urge in that mind to make an abstract scale within that mind which helps it to make an order in those changes occurrence. We call this scale TIME.

    Now I shall make one challenge and two analogies to demonstrate this.

    I want to ask those believing in an independent existence of time, to find even one time measurement which does not includes utterly any change – even any change in the time measurement device (watch, atoms, stars, sun….) or mean (like our consciousness). Because if there’s a stand-alone entity of Time, it should not be dependent upon any sort of change.

    The Analogies: First, Please keep in mind that I do not mean to offend anyone, particularly with the first one. But I think the analogies will help to see what I think is a wrong pattern of thinking.

    CONTINUED on my next comment………..
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    May 14 2011: Time as we came to accept it (the way we measure time) was just away for us to measure suns and moons and star placements with math.

    Now this time is only relative to us, humans. The universe does not concern itself with our acceptance of time because we need to exist in order for that time to exist. A year to us is one planet rotation around our star. Mercury has a shorter year, Jupiter a longer one. This is how we measure time, you are asking if we need it to live life, and yes we do or else things would not get done as orderly. Chaos in order, and order in chaos. Having no structure is chaotic but the order comes naturally in universal ways (we call these laws of nature). Order in structure creates chaos but on a more comprehensive level, kind of. Therefore time creates order in which we can handle chaos. We need it, it is an organizing tool. Indeed we wrap our lives around the usage of time, but this isn't a bad thing by no means it actually proves how advanced we are, to bad we have no other intelligent species to compare ourselves too.

    Check out space-time. Time = space (sort of).

    To explain life without time is easy. Survival. The meaning of life to me can be explained as simply survival.

    Example: Ants do not know time, all they know is how to multiply, build and organize; survival. Time doesn't matter, ants understand how to survive and only worry about survival, their lives are no simpler or greater than any other creatures. The result of such survival is proven in numbers. Estimation of one million ants per human. If ants ever mutated into intelligence, we would be in trouble. Sorry getting Science fiction here..

    Anyways life will continue on in the universe with or with out structures of time and/or any measurements for that matter.

    How to explain my life without time? Impossible. I was born into time, I grew up in this system of measurements. To explain my life without time is to say I am a spec
  • May 14 2011: I do believe that time doesn't exist. It is a most awesome thought! When I think of deja vu, for example, when you are experiencing a moment that seems to have happened before. I can only equate that to an understanding in which, either you have already had this moment before and that you are exactly where you need to be. So the fact that time doesn't exist, in my opinion, means that the past present and future are all happening at once. So therefore, when you experience deja vu, you have the sense of already living that moment because that moment has always happened. Obviously there are scientific explinations for all of what I am saying. But science I think is only now catching up to spirituality and what many have understood for years. There is most certainly an order to things, a process. So i don't want to say that because of what I'm saying, that what is going to happen in our future has already happened and there is n changing that. I'm not sure, I am confusing myself now, lol! But, to me, time is just like everything else we know, an opinion an idea, a perception and what is most certainly real, I don't even know. Because we cannot measure time, we don't know exactly when the universe was created, we can't pin point anything. So whatever present moment we may be in, is not present at all. There is just so much going on now to create the illusion that a present moment is actually happening. I dunno, this is a great topic though!
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    May 14 2011: Quite apart from the science of time, there is great mercy in the idea of non linear time,,it would mean that out of the present monent we can both grow the future and heal the past.
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    May 14 2011: Timeless means; limitless, borderless, freedom... It means in any situations, any type of characters, any group of creatures...

    I think the only thing which balances timelessnes is `heart`. A heart's stop working is equal to moment without time.

    We should live heart-centered to make our lives to produce somethings which could exist in the time tunnel.

    Do you need a starting step? Just look at people(strangers to you) eyes and do some favor to him/her without response/expectations. You'll get your response from the time tunnel endlessly.
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    May 14 2011: just a journey going on till the end
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    May 13 2011: Did anyone listen to or already mention, a recent NPR program that briefly talked about adapting back to a normal (for him) perception of time from living with and studying somehow (the time thing is the only thing that stuck from that interview) indigenous peoples who have no concept of time except from night and day. The thought interested me and there was a funny story too that eludes me.
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    May 13 2011: Time exist to us because we can only focus on one reality . Time is then the passing through different point in the grid that is the multiverse.
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    May 13 2011: if we live in kairos time kronos time stretches infinitely to accomodate everything that needs doing.The way to escape the tyranny of chronological time..linear time (Kronos time) is to be fully present in the moment where kairos time..natural time takes over. The way to escape the tyranny of kronos ( Chronological time) is through mastery of will. Rudolf Steiner has written much about this and offers some excellent and very accessible practices about stepping outside the tryanny of kronos time. here is a silly sounding and tiny example of great power in the excercise of will that everyone can practice..set an arbitrary time and commit at the tme to do something completely outside your agenda of priorities for that day..e,g at 10:17 am move look at the tip of your tie, remove an object from yur pocket or prse, look at it then put it away. Try to do that 4 or five times a day the first few days ok to have the time and action the same each day . The activity has tobe something you can do wherever you are at that time. Amazingly by about the thrird or fourth day you wont need a watch to know it is 10:17 will just know it..and then you will know that through will you can escape the tyranny of kronos and live in the freedom and timeless possibility of kairos. The point is a simple but powerful one.. it is through will that we are free of the tyranny of kronos time. By excercising will we can move from time ruling us to us ruling time..making time accomodate everything we need to do..
  • Apr 13 2011: Time is the name we give to our understanding of change. To describe a world without time is to describe a static freeze frame.
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      May 13 2011: oh but that is only artifical time..kronos time..that isn;t the time you were born into..that is the time you were taught...
  • Apr 5 2011: It's possible that the concept of time is culture-relative. I remember Pinker mentioning an indigenous culture in his book "The Language Instinct" which had no linguistic symbol for time (or perhaps it was for the past and future tenses, I can't quite recall), anyways, they conceived of "time" as an ever-existing, present state. It's impossible for anyone raised in Western society to conceive of time in this way, I'd say much of our linear perception of time comes from the extent we rely on the calendar and time itself in our everyday lives.
  • Mar 27 2011: Go to hawaii and experience it sloooow way down.
  • Mar 27 2011: Time and space are parts of every beings.
  • Mar 27 2011: I believe our own Bioclock would help us to function without a uniformed system of time. We would retune to nature and as a collective functionality would exist.
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    Mar 23 2011: This is a fairly odd question that I think Steven did a good job of addressing with "How does Yellow taste?" but there are a couple of points to mention.

    First, as a practical matter no one living is going to experience a noticeable relativistic timeshift (yes I know we can measure one with good clocks but it's not going to change your life) so getting too deep into the woods there is an odd way to answer you, Indigo.

    Second, it's worth looking at some ancient cultures for a point of reference here. It's not uncommon in mythology to find examples of peoples living in "the long now". A time when nothing much is expected to change because the cosmic battles between good and evil are so long ago finished or so distant that no one expects change. In this kind of society the biggest difference is that there is typically little innovation. Societally, people have just accepted that what is, is.

    Third, assuming instead that you COULD have progress but that time was actually gone or relegated to a non-issue one can imagine the world as a kind of stop-motion photography where nothing happens but where things simply jump from one state to another. It's worth noting that we actually DO experience the world this way but that our minds filter it out because it's less useful. (If you calculate the average blink-duration and blink-rate a person watching a feature film misses 15 minutes of screen time but the mind filters that experience out.)

    But if for some reason you DID experience the world that way I think you'd be a prisoner to what you saw. Studies show that still images are much more powerful at transmitting emotion and emotional bias to a subject. In short, you become a slave to perspective.

    I suppose this means that I believe the answer to your question has more to do with what is happening in the mind than anything else.
  • Mar 22 2011: Imagine what your life would be without a watch? without knowing the time especially in the world we live in this moment: news from the world, finance, timing, stock exchange etc. ... well I do not think that humanity is really ready to say goodbye to the time since every minute is worth gold!
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    Mar 21 2011: Time is but a unit of measurement to help identify / track what we have done, are doing or will do.

    My explanation of life without time is simply that it would be life. With the exception of wanting to be at certain places at a certain time my life progresses with or without time. We are born, we live, we die - time is but the measuring stick for the period between birth and death. All history and all future is based on our perspective from the living phase.

    In conversation it would simply be using the phrases I have done, I am doing and I will do. The exact date and time of the doing is rather irrelevant.

    The universe exists with or without time. And again, it was created, it presently exists and at some point it may or may not exist.
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    Mar 17 2011: Il Mondo Intorno a Noi lo SI potrebbe riguardare Senza il Concetto di tempo, solo liberandoci della materia ... e guardandoci attraverso l'Aspetto della Nostra Energia ... Facendo Nostro il Concetto veritiero ke l'ìenergia NN SI crea ..., NN SI distrugge ma SI Trasforma .... per questo tutti gli esseri viventi continueranno il loro Viaggio cn un 'Identità Composta da solo energia ... ... Noi dunque Eterni O Meglio, ci saremo x SEMPRE ... e senza limiti di tempo ... lasciando la materia ke ci Lega Alla Terra come un'ancora e viaggeremo all'infinito in nuove dimensioni ... Buon Viaggio a tt noi ... bacio
  • Mar 17 2011: I think the world will be no longer fun.
  • Mar 16 2011: Very interesting discussion. A heartbeat takes time. Cellular processes take time. If there would be any form of life without time, it would be very, very different from what surrounds us. Apart from this physical appreciation of time, then there is the perception of time, which others have spoken to as being highly subjective. For me, another interesting thing is the language we use. Every time we utter a sentence we implicitly accept the passage of time. In my writing here, for example, the verbs "take", "be", "surround", "know", etc, require time. All actions take time, even if only a split second. If we want to take a step closer to experiencing life without time, we can try eliminating those verbs from our discussions. Even the notion of "experiencing" the lack of time is in itself something of an oxymoron.
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    Mar 13 2011: Very interesting all.

    Would it be safe to say then that:

    1) The phenomena we call time defines in an inextricable manner the nature and state of all energy or matter.

    2) Entities of sufficient insight create and explore measuring systems reflecting their preoccupation with and concepts of the value in a particular moment?

    Just looking for some feedback and trying to paraphrase our collaborative interpretation.
  • Mar 13 2011: Time is eternal! I want to grow up day by day
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    Mar 12 2011: No one seems to want to talk about physics too much. It reminds me of my intro to philosophy course where we are talking about physical phenomena and leave out the physics.

    I keep reading that time is just made up. Its an abstract construction, an artifact of our consciousness.

    Well I say that time is real. It has to be. It is what separates the strokes of a clock. But we have made a lot of mediocre clocks. There exists a perfect clock. One in which you never see 'the hands' move but it is never in the same arrangement more than once. And the clock only exists in each permutation for an infinitely small length of time, each piece oscillating with perfect precision. But thats getting off topic. The real answer to the question is that we cannot relate to the world around us without the concept of time.
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      Mar 13 2011: LOVE this. Love the Trap of the lower mind concept....
      This question has been on my mind all of my life... I love your thoughts and input..... and your Rumi quote... :)
  • Mar 6 2011: We couldn't The Universe was created with Time not in Time No words can fit to the image and we'd better put up with this, otherwise we are under the risk to drown in the pool of clever, sophisticated empty talks. Sorry,but that's what I think.
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      Mar 13 2011: Getting it right now!!! thank you for the suggestion!!
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    Mar 6 2011: How could you define progress if there were no concept of time ?
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      Mar 7 2011: Progress in itself should be criticized as a concept. Progress, in the societal context, is a succession of choices, not necessarily improvements or necessary change, as often implied, and should not be treated authoritatively. Very generally, these perspectives can 'authorize' the domination of cultures who have not 'progressed' according to the standards of a society at the 'peak of progress.' That culture defines it's own history as progress and rules it as an objective measure of another culture's existence.
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      Mar 13 2011: I love this makes my mind tingle. Thank you all so much for this input!!

      I would say as for progress, it is also a concept. and how do we define progress, again a man made concept, is it really progress? without infinity how can we measure? you could say that the " progress" we have made in the last 100 years is not actually progress. We may very well have destroyed our ability to evolve and taken away our ability to progress any further in such a short period of time as 100 years.
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    Mar 6 2011: Time doesn't exist, of course, like many other things, for example money (value of it). (Sidenote: I find it funny that the 2 most precious things today in the western world, money&time, are the two things that do not exist unless we give them a value. they are a creation of our mind)

    However, that being said, time is a measure - a tool to explain the world around us (like religion a bit) and organize it. It's a social convention, just like languages are. Easier to say: meet you at noon, or 5pm or on the 23rd of august, instead of having ''nothingness''. And we would still have seasons, and day/night, and all of it even if the concept of time didn't exist or wasn't named yet. Those are sort-to-speak ''physical'' realities that are bound to happen. And the repetition of them made us tag them and measure them, I guess.

    So, what would we have if there was no money? Bartering? Maybe, but money has also an added value that's even more unreal than that, in the sense that you can win money out of thin air, and countries can issue money with less and less ''gold'' or value based measurements. And then it becomes worthless paper.

    In that optic, time is a bit more ''realistic'', but equally flawed (daylight saving time anyone?) - taking it away would just mean maybe (and really, MAYBE) taking it one thing at a time, today. Or postponing everything indefinitely. And if math would exist, then we could just say: meet you in 3 sunsets.

    I find that not time, but language defines everything around us. Language is meaningless... yet we find beauty in words and reward talent in writing.
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      Mar 6 2011: It sounds like you've given this some thought. The idea that time doesn't exist causes some problems, however. For instance, without time how do we account for the difference between simultaneous events and non-simultaneous events? If two objects try to occupy the same space simultaneously the result (like a car wreck in an intersection) is much different than when objects occupy the same space non-concurrently (like cars passing though in order). It seems that the only way to reconcile these real differences in the world are with time. If time doesn't exist, how else do you explain this behavior?
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        Mar 7 2011: Well I think those are 2 separate questions, no?

        I mean, there are 2 ways to see the question: 1) time does not exist in our vocabulary, the one I was talking about or 2) time simply doesn't exist and the universe happens all at once.

        I took the question more as ''if the concept of time didn't exist'', not as ''what if time didn't exist at all''. If we go down that road, I am not even sure we can imagine the outcome, being so used with time as part of our life.
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      Mar 7 2011: This is a reply to Codruta Marin's original comment here.

      I agree with the central theme of what you say about time and think the same, although your analysis is different. Time doesn't exist, but I would add, independently, as a stand-alone entity. It's indeed just a measure to explain the world around us. I also agree with the similarities between time & money which are human creations and how we have became slaves (my term) of both of our inventions.

      I would just say that it's impossible to run away from time within the scope of our given life and in the scope of our today's perception and understanding. What we can do is to perceive as much as possible its real nature, as we are trying to do in this forum, and try to regard it in a proportionate manner without letting it to overwhelm our lives.
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      Mar 13 2011: Codruta! :) At least I will have something to think about now... forever... if there is a forever :) ha !!!!
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    Mar 5 2011: There would be no change or causality or force or energy. The universe would probably not exist as it exists now without time. It is questionable as to what it would look like without energy present or forces that contribute to making macroscopic objects. At one point what becomes feasible in physics does not become feasible for common sense.

    I had a particle physicist tell me that particles like quarks don't have a radius. I don't know if that's true or not but it sounds fairly bizarre from a common sense interpretation.