Time is the measurement to differentiate one point in time from another. Just like distance is a measurement to differentiate one location from another. The problem with understanding time is that we move through time at basically a constant speed (in before relativity), and so don't have control over time the way we do over location. (or the way we appear to have more control over our location)
Part of Einsteins' General Theory of Relativity states that both gravity and velocity can change the rate at which we are traveling through time. I put 'in before' so some smart ass wouldn't try argue my statement of traveling through time at a constant speed with a fringe case that does not occur often in our lives.
This is an interesting video. It's a clip from Through the Wormhole, awesome show. I've seen the episode and one of the ideas they try to explain is that time is just a concept we humans create, and it really doesn't exist. Blew my mind.
Time effectively is man's way of identifying changes in what we observe. We think we see a leaf fall from a tree, and need a way of relating the leaf attached to the tree to a leaf on the ground.
Assuming that every moment is fundamentally unrelated (so the state of an object, or observed object has no past nor future) there is no time. The "need" for things to relate to each other, to have cause and effect, is tied to "higher organisms".
If you pull in string theory, effectively meaning everything we think we see (or not see) is in its smallest form, the same thing just resonating/vibrating at a different frequency, time has a justification. There can be no vibration without time (in that it defines one state being related to another state). Apart from this theory not being "complete", it is still a referential model for reality.
So back to: there is no cause and effect. We, humans, van only see a minuscule part of what we are, and what is around us. We see about 1% of all spectrum of waves (i.e. visible light), and observe (see, feel) solid objects even though everything is 99% nothing. Even our thoughts are not born from a single thought process, so your "consciousness" is a distributed and semi-arbitrary event.
So, time is a human invention, based on the observation of things related to our physical composition, depended and limited by that composition, allowing us to "make sense" from the world around us, and granting us the ability to survive.
For those that like to say that time doesn't exist, "because black holes!" (surprised they haven't shown up yet): black holes make time irrelevant "to them" (i.e. in the black hole). t disappears from the equation. It doesn't prove its non-existence.
What about Einstein's theories of relativity? If time really is a concept in our heads then how does the universe change the speed of time when we reach light speeds or are near an object with massive gravity?
We actually have to set our GPS satellites to account for the change in the rate of time difference that's here on earth where the gravity is stronger, than in space where it's much smaller. If we didn't account for that rate of time difference, our GPS systems would not work as they're very very time sensitive.
Well basically Einstein's theory of general relativity states that as you get closer to an object with a massive amount of gravity, time slows down for you. So lets say you are watching your friend fall into a black hole from a safe distance, for your friend he/she will simply fall into a black hole pretty instantly and be ripped apart atom by atom. However, in your perspective, as he gets closer to the black hole (as gravity gets stronger) he will fall for what seems like an eternity to you. Time is moving much slower for him compared to you (who is moving through time normally.)
Now normally when you're around object like the mass/gravity of earth, the amount of time slowness is so miniscule compared to "proper time speed" it doesn't really matter (unless you deal with time sensitive instruments like GPS satellites.)
How does it work technically? Well that's really complicated...become a physicist like me will help you understand though!
I think you have your example flipped. The person falling into the black hole will fall "for an eternity", the observer will see a normal disappearance.
As to your question on the principle or relativity. My simple answer would be that assumed relativity is observed as part of our expectation of cause and effect. If you remove the assumed relationship between "then" "now" and "future", similar to the state of the universe at the "time of the big bang", you can't argue a defined comparable result between the two objects, or even of the object "at the start" and "at the end" the experiment. At best, you could argue that we perceive that the object have experienced time differently - the frequency of the atoms have been (temporarily) different.
I think you have your example flipped. The person falling into the black hole will fall "for an eternity", the observer will see a normal disappearance.
That doesn't make any sense. Time dilation is in terms of relativity. Time cannot exist "for eternity" (or a really really long time) for you, only to the person observing you. For example if you were to travel 99.999% the speed of light in a space ship for 1 year (in your time) time would slow down for you, but you wouldn't experience it any differently. For you time would still seem normal. However to the rest of us still on earth you would be gone for much longer than a year. Gravitational time dilation works the same way, there's no way you can experience time slowing down. Only the person observing you can tell you that time was moving much slower for you than it was for them.
As for everything else you said...I don't really understand the concept. I might be too tired and have to give it another read later, but the theories of relativity pretty much prove that time is woven in the fabric of space. (Hence the word "space-time"). If what you said agrees with Einstein's theory, then I suppose that concept of "what is time" is possible.
I understand there hasn't been a response in a few weeks, but being new to the forum, I couldn't resist answering. On a religious level, time has been a point of contention since the legalization of Christianity in the fourth century. While time had always been present in arguments and discourse on a philosophical and religious level, this was the first point where it became such a deterrent to social and religious matters that Roman emperors felt the need to intervene.
Nicene theology, which is the foundation of the now "Catholic Church," was the victor of this argument. As such, centuries (actually millenia) of Nicene influence have infilitrated history, philosophy, and religion to distort the actual nature of this fourth century argument. Those who were defeated in the discourse are now known as "Arians" and are promoted as believing that the Father and the Son (Christ) are two different gods. The greatest opponents of the day, St. Athanasius of Alexandria, St. Hilary of Poitiers, and St. Lucifer of Cagliari all showed Arianism to be a new idea that was created by Arius, an Alexandrian priest in A.D. 318.
The truth of the matter was that the "Arian" ideals were very traditional and were commonly practiced throughout the Eastern Church since the institution of Christianity in the first century. While Arians would be promoted as heretics for centuries for their theology, the real issue at the foundation of the argument was their philosophical conceptions of time.
The main issue where Nicene and Arian Churches disagreed was on time and eternity. The Nicene argument suggests that the Son was begotten of the Father, and the two shared a common existence in eternity. The Arians could not accept this, because it was illogical to them. The eternity of the Son was supported by the Nicene argument using the Gospel of John, where "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God." However, as the Arians so correctly pointed out, the simple use of the term "beginning" indicates a point in time, and therefore is not suggestive of any eternal existence.
To them, the Son was created by the Father. It was their suggestion that the Son was created before God even created time, therefore the Son's existence appeared eternal, because it was before any temporal node that could be comprehended by the human mind.
In the fifth and sixth century, the question of time was further explored by the Christian philosopher Boethius, who contemplated its intricacies awaiting his execution in A.D. 525. The question of an eternal, omnipotent, and omniscient God gave rise to the philosophical question: If God knows what is going to happen before it happens, is there any such thing as free will? As it appeared on the surface, the answer seems that there is not free will, because we are fated to act as God has seen, and can not change those actions.
What Boethius found was that eternal beings are outside of time and so experience it different than temporal beings. As temporal beings, we experience time in a linear fashion. One thing happens, then the next, and so on until a string of moments eventually comprise a lifetime. To God, however, time is cyclical. He is outside of time, and Boethius posits that the actual construction of time is circular. All of time, from its beginning to its end, exists in a circle of moments, that God experiences continuously. So God's knowledge of a future action is only future as it appears to us. Something that happens 5 minutes from now is in my future, but it is in God's past, present, and future all at the same time.
Therefore, free will can exist with a greater being still having omniscience of the "future." And surprisingly, the great Boethian philosopher Caboose was correct when he suggested that time is made of circles!
Note: I do not have any real religious leanings, one way or the other. I'm not particularly attached to a theology, or supportive of these arguments. I simply respect them from a scholarly opinion, and find them incredibly interesting. This is the inspiration behind my wanting to become a historian.
I hope this post provides some food for thought and maybe wakes this thread back up, as it is a great topic for discussion. As you can see, "what is time" also raises the questions "what is eternity" and "is there a such thing as free will" along with dozens of other questions. As such, there's really no way of going off topic on this unless you start speaking really outlandishly.
Interesting stuff, never really thought about approaching it form a non-scientific way. However in my personal opinion none of that can be valid. Proving things like time philosophically or religiously isn't possible. Any theory anyone has about time now needs to be backed up by math and follow the standard model of physics we currently have for everything. Back when people took philosophy seriously, science and math weren't developed enough so the best way to figure things out was philosophically or religiously. We now know better.
True. But don't forget the basis for modern science and math began with Aristotle. A philosopher. While his math wasn't very sound, it is the foundation from which modern science is derived. Same can go for Hippocrates and Galen, two ancient doctors. Their medical practices are not very sound, but they are still the precursors to modern medicine; doctors still take a Hippocratic Oath before being conferred their degrees.
Here's something to think about too. There is no arguing with mathematical theory. But philosophy is at the very heart of math too. Numbers and other concepts are just philosophical constructions. What is the number two? Can you put two in your pocket and take it home? It is a philosophical conception, not a tangible thing. The same can go for time. Yes, there are mathematical equations for calculating time, space, etc., but when it comes down to it, the very existence of time is a philosophical phenomenon. In modern times, arts and sciences have been separated into distinct fields; this seems to be a characteristic of our society. I believe, however, that they are very intertwined, and this is often neglected by both fields. Scientists feel the need to discount philosophy, and philosophers discount science. They explain the same things from different (or not so different) perspectives.
I think Science and Philosophy are very different. Think about it, Science answers the question of how. How does gravity work? How do celestial orbits work? How does time work? Philosophy on the other hand answers why. Why are we here? Why do I exist? That's why Science is taken more seriously than Philosophy. They can sometimes explain the same things but have very different methods of doing so. The way science explains things we as a society agree on how strong the validity of the explanation is.
On a side note, I think of math and numbers (even the number two) as a language as opposed to a philosophical conception. Math is the universal language for explaining the universe for the human race. You can't really take a word from the english language and put it in your pocket either. It's not tangible, it's a form of communication. Same thing with math.
In a theorectical sense time is the driving force behind things aging and eventually breaking or dying. But this raises the question, does time actually exist? Or is it something made up by humans the give reason to the aging process. I personally agree with the latter seeing as how it is impossible to travel backwards in time, by any means that don't interfere with reality itself.
I decided to re-read this thread to grasp some understanding; you stated how time is a measurement to differentiate one point in time with another. You then related this to distance, but this doesn't seem to make sense for me. For example, if there are two locations that are of same distance from a certain point, then one cannot differentiate one location from another.
Time is, by human standards of measurement, actually a form of explaining distance between objects in relation to each other. It is impossible to seperate, in our 3rd dimension, time from movement.
In the most basic way of explaining, a year is a measurement of how long it takes the Earth to blah blah blah Sun. This is a cycle of time determined not only by the movement of the planet, but also out perspective as being on it. To a further body, or looking at one from our position, is to distort the time and space actually active when in the position of that body... essentially, because light takes time (ugh, give a definition without using the word, right?) and must cross a distance filled with variables... mostly pertaining to the very existence of said space, our perspective is skewed, the further away the source is.
When you look up at night, your eyes and brain flatten out the sky so that you can better observe (based on hunting techniques we picked up looong ago for use in our simple, 3-d up-down gravitational plane-world), but what you're really seeing is a fucking mess of ancient, royally manipulated lightwaves/particles. I may be only making this more confusing, but the distortion that we can't see, which is ever present, is the result of having to travel said space.
Oh, I see now! Time becomes rather inaccurate if you observe from a great distance; all about perspective. By the way, I loved your choice of words in, "a fucking mess of ancient, royally manipulated lightwaves/particles" :D