Time is believed to be important because it is thought to be the underlying process of reality that brings about change, without time nothing would alter, nothing would come to pass, nobody would grow old, the seasons would stay the same, days would have no meaning… we’d be trapped in a change-less state of same-ness.
But first, we must ask, what is time… is it as important as described in the above paragraph, does it warrant the ‘starring’ role given to it by relativistic physics over 100 years ago, or have we made a mistake about the nature of time?
Broad definitions of time are generally distributed in scientific terms without a care in the world, for example, time is seen as a fundamental part of reality, historically it was accepted as a fourth dimension – but this is where reasoning becomes hazy because time is not some-thing that can be defined as a dimension, and when explored, one can determine that time is not a fundamental part of reality, but of our “perception” of reality.
In physics and mathematics, the dimension of a space or object is informally defined as the minimum number of coordinates needed to specify each point within it.
If you stand in front of your house you can see dimension with your own eyes because it’s defined by numerous shapes and sizes and angles that represent the design of your house. Likewise, on a clear night on the Northern hemisphere one can gain a perspective of galactic-sized dimension by looking at the backdrop of the Milky Way as it arches across the vast expanse of space. These are empirical examples of dimensions that you can perceive.
Time is not something we can observe directly. When we perceive reality change we are watching an effect manifesting from motion, which we then interpret as time passing. We don’t see an object (representing time) passing us by in the same manner we can observe the non-stop London to Glasgow thunder through a station, instead we witness the environment transform from one state to another.
When we look out into space on a clear evening and ponder space is it reasonable to attribute three-dimensional qualities to some-thing which can’t be measured spatially because it has no beginning or end. We can’t say space has any dimension unless NASA has sent probes to the end of the universe and discovered where it comes to an end.
Likewise, space cannot be empty because that would imply space can exist as some-kind of three-dimensional void. If you remove everything from the universe, space doesn’t become akin to an empty room, instead it remains a dimensionless medium that is void of any perceivable motion. Space is a mass-less energetic medium in which concentrated focus points of energy (in motion) define three-dimensional objects to give the impression space is three-dimensional.
When Albert Einstein combined ‘time’ with ‘space’ to create the so-called space-time dimension he essentially took two intangible aspects of reality and re-defined [combined] them into something else, but unfortunately, new definitions mean nothing beyond the gedanken’s [thought experiments] they are.
As far as we can be sure [because we are yet to measure it] space has no finite coordinates, it has no measurable ‘roof’, it has no measurable ‘floor’ and it has no measurable ‘sides’ – just as time has no meaning whatsoever without the pre-requisite ability to ‘perceive’ fundamental motion. This pre-requisite is provided by ‘consciousness’ which is dismissed as unimportant in science. Go figure…
Time is a ‘tool’ to quantify motion… any changes in the condition of any-thing – be it a change in season, a change in Sun cycle, a satellite orbit, or whatever, change is instigated by motion.
Motion is inherent in every part of the universe.
[A recent discussion I had with someone on facebook about space]
For space to be ’empty’ doesn’t it require that space has measurable dimension like that of a ‘finite’ container, where stuff contained therein defines space as being occupied and when stuff isn’t contained therein defines space as being empty. It is working on the assumption that space is finite and measurable – not infinite and immeasurable (without end).
On earth we can define 3d qualities because we have innumerable reference points that feedback our position (in relation to other objects) at any given time. So in essence, perceiving and thus getting a sense of dimension appears to be dependent on perceiving the 3d qualities of other objects rather than perceiving (3d) space itself.
If we move from earth and float in outer space and look back at earth we can perceive our position (in relation to other objects) based on reference points on earth, that is, if we are from the UK and we can see from our position of observation in space that the UK (point of origin) is not upside down according to our vision, we can conclude that we are not upside down. However, this is relative because a person from Australia for example, who might be floating next to me would conclude that they are upside down in relation to their point of origin and the position of earth.
Now if we remove earth and everything else in space but ourselves we only have each other as reference points to determine what we understand to be up or down. If I move away from you and you decrease in size I can conclude I am moving backwards and you are getting farther away from me, likewise, side to side, and up and down.
Together, we define 3d qualities because we have objects (each other) we can measure against. Now, if I remove myself from space and leave you there on your own, how can you define three dimensions? There is only one feature at this point that you can be certain of and that is three dimensions become unperceivable, I’m not even sure if one can perceive motion in this state because that would require drag or resistance and other objects as reference points to give you a sense of moving between these objects.
Essentially, in my humble opinion – you would be suspended in a one dimensional medium because it doesn’t matter where you move there would be no means to measure your movement – therefore space cannot have 3d qualities unless it is filled with innumerable objects which we can ‘perceive’ to have width, length and height.