has been on my mind here and there over the past year. When I was younger I never really thought about it. I always assumed time only happened once; you flow through the timeline and you’re done. The past is the past, and the future is what will certainly happen. Going back to the past, if ever possible with a future technology, would show you what happened to you or your ancestors at that time. But it would all be based around you. This one continuous flow from one generation to the next. One solid path from start to finish.
Now, I’m not sure that is right anymore. It certainly could be, after all it does make sense. But that’s not the only possibility that does, and thus my questioning.
So here’s what I’m thinking. (Hopefully I can word this in a way that makes sense.) Picture this. Time, like in my childhood ideas, is a timeline. Starting from wherever you believe it did, and ending at the scientifically possible eventual end of universe. This timeline has dates set throughout it just like any normal timeline does. However, the items flowing along this are not constant. I think of it like a conveyor belt. the belt is constantly funneling new things, however the machine stays in place. That is to say that nothing past or future is in accordance to their label. But rather, it is all in the present. In the present for the beings currently in that time period anyway.
Let’s say for instance, me. I was born in 1994, and have moved along this timeline up until the point I am currently in, 2012. Now, according to this idea 1994 is still in the present, and someone is just now being born. He/she, just as I did will continue to progress along this belt as I am. Just as I said earlier, the machine (dates) stay the same, but the belt (people) keep coming continuously.
Further in Depth
Here is where it gets tricky. See, according to my theory on well, the universe, matter and time are one. At this point I loose even myself in these theories. If matter and time were one, “time” would change along with the changes in the universe. In a sense, the changing in matter would be time. And if you think about it, this really is true. In a simplified version I will try and explain.
From a single cell to a mature human being you are comprised of molecules, or “matter” as it’s called. As you grow old, people assign labels to it in order to track your progress through life. Years, dates, numbers, they help us understand the world in which we live. But really all that it is in the end is a human made conception of tracking matter.
If matter and time are the same however, how does this theory I just presented work? Sure a timeline and people constantly coming makes sense. But not necessarily with matter included in the equation. Lets say for instance we start out with the earth. We’re in the “cave man” stages, and the earth is one generic blob. So if these cave men eventually evolve into city dwellers, how does their impact on the world relate back to others who are currently just being born in the “cave man” era? Honestly I have no clue.
You could assume that at every point on the time line matter is at the point it will always be for that time period. That is like saying the world in 1994 will always be the same no matter what people are born and go through that time period. But that doesn’t make sense. In order for that to be valid, at least in my mind, we’d all have to be the same. No matter who we are individually, the entire mass of the world population would have to end in achieving the same result at any particular period in time as the “group” before. I do not have a good solution for this problem, but I can try to rationalize this theory.
See, the problem with idea #1 is that time and matter are not treated as the same. Having matter continuously come while time stays the same does not in my mind make logical sense if time and matter are one (because in my mind they are). If time and matter are actually separate however, you could say that matter flows with time. Time does not have to be constant, as anyone in that particular state will not know the difference. Just as now, the last second could have taken millions of years to complete in comparison to the second before it. But I will never know. My brain functions in a direct ratio to that of time, and thus any difference in the speed of time I will not notice. So technically, mater could be ever changing with new generations constantly coming upon it. it morphs through this timeline like water flows in a river. Never the same, but always along the same direction. This could also mean that the entirety of the universe as it is today could change aswell. For a different point in this timeline, for example the kid born right now in 1994, the most basic functions of the universe could be completely removed from the ones we have come to know. Matter at that point, could be different from where “our” matter is now. Heck, life might not even be capable in 1994 at this moment. Anything is a possibility.
This brings me into my second theory, which is one where matter and time act as one.
If matter and time were as one this timeline time as we see it would not exist except in our minds so we could rationalize and try to understand what is going on. In reality, matter would be the “clock” of time. Matter would morph as it does (ex. a baby aging into an adult, or the earth forming from small fragments pulled together by gravity [in accordance to the Big Bang Theory]) and that would be the only real measure of time itself. Really, this is the same theory as the one I just spoke about. However, it is up to you if you how you want to view it. In the last theory time was separate, so a specific date like 1994 would always be there. Something would always be currently happening at that time. However, if you feel they are really one thing. 1994 does not exist, and so matter would change as in the last theory, but at no specific “time” we can apply it to. Sure, things could constantly be coming like in the “conveyor belt” idea of the first theory. New generations, or depending on how matter morphs, new organisms could always be coming. However, since there is no idea of time, there is no way to measure this. Thigs would happen whenever the morphing of this “blob” of matter decided to.
Personally though, I think of this idea better when you rid of the treadmill. Instead of it being a continuous stream, it’s more like a sphere that continuously morphs into different shapes. For those time lovers out there, this would mean that only one “generation” of beings could have ever been or will be at a specific point like 1994 for the universe is always changing and no point will ever repeat. New organism will arrive, laws of physics may change with the morphing, but no point ever repeats. Although matter is always in the present tense, the past is the past state of matter. And the future is what it will be. It has nothing to do with a legitimate timeline within the universe. If time by chance was to repeat it would be the result of matter and time aligning in the same way again, not due to a conveyor belt like occurrence.
In short, my childhood ideas were right on the most basic principle. At least in accordance to how I view time. I just have now realized that time and matter are one and there is no timeline except in our minds. =)
Posted on April 29th at 11:47 PM
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