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Why Time Might Not Be an Illusion
Einstein’s relativity pushes physicists towards a picture of the universe as a block, in which the past, present, and future all exist on the same footing; but maybe that shift in thinking has gone too far.

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Calculating the odds that intelligent observers arise in parallel universes—and working out what they might see.

Sounding the Drums to Listen for Gravity’s Effect on Quantum Phenomena
A bench-top experiment could test the notion that gravity breaks delicate quantum superpositions.

March 17, 2018

CATEGORY: The Nature of Time Essay Contest (2008) [back]
TOPIC: Things Happen by Jim George Snowdon [refresh]
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Jim George Snowdon wrote on Dec. 4, 2008 @ 09:02 GMT
Essay Abstract

Time does not exist. Time, the past, and future, are illusions that prevent us from seeing reality as it is. We need to understand the nature of the illusion, and perceive reality without the illusion.

Author Bio

The author became interested in the nature of time in Astronomy 101, back in 1,974.

Download Essay PDF File

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amrit wrote on Dec. 17, 2008 @ 15:25 GMT
YES Jim, yes, you are right. Time is a mind model only.

yours amrit

attachments: 1_Physics_Without_Time_as_a_Fundamental_Physical_Reality__sorli_2008.pdf, 1_6._Consciousness_As_A_Research_Tool_Into_Space_And_Time.pdf

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Jonathan wrote on Dec. 31, 2008 @ 15:17 GMT
This essay is a rambling incoherent assertion, without argument, that time does not exist and that it is better to think of the world without time.

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thomas wrote on Jan. 1, 2009 @ 19:08 GMT
I think jims idea of time being an illusion is not that far off.

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amrit wrote on Jan. 1, 2009 @ 19:50 GMT
Jim right understanding of time goes step ba step, i see that in 7 steps

yours amrit

1. Time is what we measure with clocks: with clocks we measure duration and numerical order of motion of massive objects and elementary particles in space.

There is no evidence that motion happen in time; we can only observe motion in space. With clocks we measure duration and numerical order...

view entire post

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Jim George Snowdon wrote on Jan. 1, 2009 @ 22:22 GMT
Thank You Amrit!

Johnathon, I would agree with you that my essay is a strong "assertion" that time doesn`t exist. It`s not a new idea that time doesn`t exist, many people believe time is an illusion. I`m not trying to provide a proof in my essay. A kind of proof is available in the fact that we are engaged in an essay contest about the nature of time, in two thousand and nine. This strongly suggests that no one has ever found a shred of evidence that time exists.

I`m not sure I can agree with you about the essay rambling. After all, it`s only one long page, explaining a rather big question in Physics.

As for finding it incoherent. It`s a difficult subject.

I came across this essay contest only in November. I tried to take some advantage of my shortage of time, and wrote the essay in a summarized fashion that trys to tell the story in a clear distilled manner, devoid of unnecessary confusions.

Johnathon, if I might quote from your post, "and that it is better to think of the world without time." I hope I asserted myself more vigorously than that, on this important point! I stated a couple of times that we need to perceive reality for what it is. I asserted that we are blinding ourselves to reality, and so missing out on understanding obvious things, such as time travel. I made reference to removing the time variable from equations where it ought not to be!

I don`t think it`s better to think of the world without time, I think it`s imperative, that we begin to think of the world without time.

It would have been easier to understand the structure of the solar system, after people understood that the world wasn`t flat, rather than before, eh?

The same is true with time! It`s easier to understand Physics, and the world in general, once you know yourself, that time doesn`t exist!

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Narendra Nath wrote on Jan. 2, 2009 @ 13:17 GMT
Dear Jim & Amrit,

As you agree with Carlo to forget Time completely, how about the life being lived by humans without the Money, paper or coins. It was just Barter trade or fighting to snatch things by force. Might is right.

Sometimes i feel timelessness helps make your experiences eternal. But still wewho are born , are destined to die. Thus time is merely a parameter that helps us organize our living during our life. In order to enjoy totally, it is wise to forget time. therwise you are likely to curtail your enjoyment. In some posts here i found some of mentioning ' i must hurry i am late for....' we are always trying to be on the move, and there is no time to stand & stare!

As the essay posting time is over, but postings are still going on, i thought of puting this up on a lighter vein!

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Ken Sandhu wrote on Jan. 7, 2009 @ 18:58 GMT
I find your explanation of "time" very interesting and at the same time true. You have tried to explain a complex physics riddle in a layman's jargon and by giving a philosophical touch to it. I have gone through some of other essays as well, but my comments are - they are either too technical or pure non-understandable explanation.

You have done a good job !

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Narendra Nath wrote on Jan. 8, 2009 @ 13:14 GMT
Dear Ken,

Thanks for the appreciation. If i can lighten the 'burden' of life we all carry in our own ways, what more one may desire out of this short span of life in the context of teh age of the Universe!

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Narendra wrote on Jan. 8, 2009 @ 13:16 GMT
Dear Jim Snowden,

Your post on my essay has been responded there, may be that you see it at leisure.

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Jack King wrote on Jan. 14, 2009 @ 21:10 GMT
Consider for a moment a universe consisting of one indivisible particle; then ask ourself some questions: How big is it? One cannot say how big it is because there is nothing to judge it by. Which way is it going? One cannot say because there are no compass points and nothing upon which to hang a 3D coordinate system. Is it possible that it's moving? No, because anyplace it could move to could not be shown to be any different than where it supposedly was before it supposedly moved. Time is an abstract concept for measuring the motion of one thing in terms of another. If the other does not exist, and the particle cannot be shown to be moving, then time cannot have meaning. The earth revolves on its axis 364 1/4 times while it orbits the sun once. Hence the basis for days and years, and we can calibrate pendulums or quartz crystals or cesium atoms to vibrate in some direct relationship to days or years and divide those days and years up into hours or seconds or multiply them to denote decades or millenia or whatever. Time, while not possessing any substance that one can put in a bottle or hold in a hand is nevertheless a useful abstraction. It does not exist in the material sense, but then neither does space, beauty, justice, freedom, nor any other metaphysical concept.

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anthony wrote on Jun. 11, 2010 @ 01:18 GMT
i truly strugle to concieve time as nothing more than a measurement. time is not a force nor a phyiscal law.

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Jim George Snowdon replied on Aug. 27, 2010 @ 11:44 GMT
Hi Anthony,

The struggle to which you refer, is a barrier to every individual.

My own struggle began 35 years ago, when the professor asked us to write a definition of time. He then revoked the assignment, saying we would all give him different answers.

I recall standing motionless, while the large first year class listened to the assignment, and then it`s cancellation. The nature of time had never crossed my mind before, I had assumed it was clearly understood!

It became a passion for me, and over the following three decades, I didn`t see any serious questioning of the nature of time in the main stream media.

In this past decade, three major magazines have dedicated issues to the subject. Now, FQXi has seriously and openly challenged the question of the nature of time. I think they are going to succeed in communicating the answer to all.

Even so, each individual will still have the struggle of disassembling their own barrier.

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Jim George Snowdon wrote on Jun. 13, 2010 @ 05:13 GMT
Hi Anthony,

Time is a measurement system that actually measures duration elapsing. It`s measurement baseline is the duration that elapses while the planet rotates.

I recently wrote a post in the second essay contest, which I think, also pertains to the subject of your post. If you wish to read it, the post is entry dated May 10th, 2,010. The essay, to which thread the post is attached, is entitled, "Awakening of the Observer in Physics", by Amrit Srecko Sorli, entry dated July 17th, 2,009.

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tanxianjue wrote on Jul. 13, 2010 @ 03:58 GMT
organic life create the concept "time" to measure the complicated Universe.

time is static, universe is dynamic-by itself, universe does not need time to push it to be dynamic.

Let's go back to the "time" when organic life has not evolved out on earth ,let us assume that there exist a "god",this god know,and is cnotroling everything in the universe-maybe this god is universe itself, the concept of "time" does not exist in this god's view, everything in the universe is just "existing and changing" at "right now",there is no yesterday nor tomorrow, there is just existing ,changing and evolution, life evolves from few intelligence single cell organic life into intelligent lives ,such as fish,bird,dog, monkey, ape, gorilla, and till human being. The concept of "time" is created and existed for all organic lives in the whole universe,of course including earth ,and this rule also applicable for any other lives in the universe, if there exist lives on some other planets.

life,even intelligent life, such as human being, is not so capable to understand the whole universe--at least till now, we human being is still not understanding much rule in the universe.the concept of time is just created by lives to apply in their complicated enviroment.

in god's view ,there does not exist the concept of tens of millions of "years" ago dinosaur time, nor nowaday human being time,there just exist the concept of right now.

in my view :time is static-that is to say time does no exist,universe is dynamic-by universe itself.the whole universe does not need time to push it to be dynamic,time is just a measure tool for "stupid" organic lives(because these lives are not as capable as "god")to describe the complicated relationship among things

in the whole universe, so,time does not really exist

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tan xianjue wrote on Jul. 14, 2010 @ 03:32 GMT
How can the universe be dynamic just by itself,without time to push it.

first, time is a created concept, through enviromental experience by self-conscious organic life:such as fish, dog, monkey,human, I think even virus or single cell life has some kind of "time" in their sense to understand the

universe. time is just an artificial standard created and used in a piece of limited universe enviroment for its creater's convenience, just as "meter","kilogram"......

second, the universe is so big ,huge, complicated, so that it is really hard to understand. created life in the universe, such as animal on earth, their brain, intelligence, may not be capable to understand,hold, and control

the whole rules in the universe, these lives have to use some artificial standard to measure their limited enviroment for their living ,one of the most important standard is time for we human beings. I think for a child, it would not know the concept of time unless adult tell the child , there just exist many mysterious things in the world for a child.the world, the universe, is always existing , and changing. We can assume that the basic rule of the universe is changing, changing and changing;moving ,moving and movingexisting ,existing and existing.if this assume is right(we can not demonstrate this rule to be right or wrong at least under nowaday science and

technology), then the universe does not need time to push it to be dynamic,time is just an artificial standard under this assume.

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Jim George Snowdon replied on Nov. 28, 2010 @ 00:28 GMT
Hi Tan,

I agree with what you`ve said. We have motion in our timeless universe.

To quote from your post, "time is a created concept, through environmental experience by self-conscious organic life", I would add, that the environmental experience is greatly affected by our planet`s rotational motion.

If a planet`s rotational period was the same as it`s revolutional period, similiar to the relationship between the Earth and Moon, it might be that the conscious inhabitants of that planet, would believe they were experiencing duration elapsing, as opposed to time passing.

If it was always 2 p.m. in one`s town, it would be easier to appreciate that it`s actually a case of duration elapsing.

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vGare replied on Jan. 6, 2011 @ 10:19 GMT
What's the difference between duration and time?

Are you not perhaps putting but another label on the same unknown.

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Jim George Snowdon wrote on Jan. 23, 2011 @ 03:34 GMT
Hi vGare,

Duration elapsing, is an accurate description of reality. Time passing, is a description of the illusion people normally hold of reality.

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Bookmark and Share wrote on May. 28, 2011 @ 13:25 GMT
Both matter and energy are real, but just matter "exists". Energy just "happens", what is quite different.

As long as we know, the cosmos is filled with matter in motion.

"Time" just means that there happens motion. Exactly, it means that every particle or corpses occupies "now" a different spatial position than "before" or "after", related to a reference point (so, Einstein's relativeness is quite right).

I use to think that "time" is just the other face of the energy coin, because without energy, no time occours. It is like a 'side effect' of motion/energy.


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