"The future ain't what it used to be."

Time Travel - A Practical Approach


Time Travel - A Practical Approach
(Time as a By-Product of the Interactions Between Matter and Energy, Space and Other Matter)

Time has been described as the 4th dimension - as a component of the "space-time" continuum. In this scenario, objects exist at specific x,y and z co-ordinates in space at a specific time and may be though of as moving through space and time simoultaneously. However, this model has certain limitations due to the fact that travel along the time co-ordinate does not behave in the same manner as time along the 3 space-based co-ordinates. For example, objects may interact with energy and other matter to alter their position in space. Moving objects may be accellerated or descellerated. When two objects collide - arriving at the same space co-ordinates at the same time, their paths are altered in a predictable manner. If the masses, velocities, and directions are known, the resultant velocities and directions can be precisely computed. At least this is true on a theoretical level, assuming the number of particles and thier masses remain constant, the collision if completely elastic, and no energy is lost to distortional / rotational / vibrational changes or to the emmission of light / sound. This is also true in practice if all variables and properties of the matter involved are known and accounted for. However, these observations do not hold true for travel along the 'time dimension'. All known objects travel through time together at a relatively constant rate. There are no known observations of an object's rate of travel through time being altered by any known interaction with energy, space or other matter. In a collision between two objects, the time vectors appear to not interact in any manner at all. Rather both objects continue to travel through time at exactly the same direction and speed as they travel through their collision-altered space-based paths with their new space-based velocities. This model leaves open the possibility of some unknown form of energy, space or other matter that may someday be observed to interact with objects (matter) in such a manner as to alter their rate of travel or even direction of travel through time. Therefore time travel is possible but probably not very likely (because it requires a henceforth unknown exotic interaction) in this model.

Time has also been modeled as a interactions with time particles - chronons. In this scenario, chronons are essentially ubiquitous throughout space and collide and interact with matter in a random manner. The interaction of chronons with a particle of matter results in that particle experience the passage of a quanta of time. This model potentially allows for chronons to exist in slightly higher or lower concentrations locally do to random motions - that could result in matter in a specific location experiencing time to pass at a different rate than does matter at other locations. Therefore this model supports the idea that time-anomalies' could exist as specific locations in space, appear and disappear, or move through space. In this scenario it is also possible that a different type of chronons may exist somewhere or be produced in some manner that would result in a different sized quanta of time (corresponding to a percieved different rate of travel through time) or in a differently signed quanta of time (corresponding to a different direction of travel through time) to be experienced by the matter with which these funny chronons interact. The problem with this model is that chronons can only be observed or detected by the experience of time passing - and just how do we do that? Someone once offered as definition for time - that which is measured by a clock. This begs the question, how does a clock measure time? Ultimately, all clocks measure time by observing and counting the occurances of events which are through to occur at a constant rate with respect to time. So ultimately, chronons are dependant upon some event (interaction with energy, space or other matter) to form the basis of the experience of the passage of time that they 'induce' in matter - i.e. when a chronon interacts with matter to cause that matter to experience the passage of time, the interaction must be accompanied by a change in location or energy state relative to other matter, in order for the induced passage of time to be experienced. So, what happens if a chronon interacts with matter that is fixed (temporarily) in both energy content and location. Do these chronon interactions 'not count'? Also, what about changes in location or energy when a chronon particle is not available? Can these changes occur at all in the absence of chronons? What possible mechanism could exist to bind chronons and these events. If some matter undergoes rapid change, can the supply of chronons become locally depleted, causing nearby matter to experience a slow-down in time?

Rather than delve into these very challenging questions at this juncture, allow me to propose yet another model for the nature of time. Let us briefly think of time as simply a by-product of the interactions between matter and energy, matter and space and other matter. For the purposes of this discussion, let us refer to these interactions generally as events.

Consider a closed universe of fixed volume containing a single particle of matter. Let's assume the particle is not moving (or that the universe provides a wrap-arround effect at its boundaries such that it appears infinite to the particle). In this scenario time does not exist because or universe is constant. There is no concept or experience of the passage of time. Now lets assume that the particle is moving in a fixed universe with no wrap-around effect. Lets assume that when the particle reaches the boundary of the universe a completly elastic collision is experienced by the particle and the universe remains unchanged. When the particle moves the first distance quanta, a time point is created. The time point is defined by the movement event. There now exists the time before the move and the time after the move. As the particle continues to move additional time-points are created for each space co-ordinate the particle occupies. The universe of possible time points is now the same as the number of discrete locations that exist within this universe.

One interesting possibility that arrises with this simple universe is the existence of a time-loop. Let's assume that eventually the particle returns to the initial position with the same direction and velocity of travel it initially had such that a repeating cycle of travel is created. Subsequently, the realized universe of time points is a looping sub-set of all of the possible time points and the particle essentially experiences a time-loop as well as a space-loop. This isn't exactly the same as traveling to the past, but does involve re-living the past.

In this scenario, time travel corresponds to the ability to skip an event (a co-ordinate position) and move multiple distance quanta simoultaneously (travel into the future), or to 'undo' an event and move to the previous co-ordinate position (travel into the past). Now imagine that our universe contains many particles of matter, all of which are in motion, energy is transferring between them, they are undergoing innelastic collissions, etc. Each and every event in this universe creates a distinct time point. Furthermore, these timepoints correspond to the comprehensive state of the universe rather than to individual particles of matter. Time travel in this scenario would essentially require the entire state of the universe to be modified to correspond to a specific timepoint. The potential for any heretofore unknown exotic particle or interaction achieving this feat seems much more remote than in the other time models. Even is such a time-point shift should occur, it would probably not be percieved becuase it would occur on a global basis throughout the entire universe and our perception of time travel would probably be limited to our travel relative to the objects and events occuring near us.

On the other hand, it is still concievable that we might somehow temporarily reduce or eliminate these events (interactions that create timepoints) from happening to an individual or within a local area. Thus, we could possible manage to change (or age) more slowly than those around us, such that we eventually arrive at a time-point in the future that we might not have otherwise been around to see. Thus, time travel may only be possible in one direction - into the future, and longevity may be the only realistic means of achieving this time travel. While this model of time may seem pessimistic to some who support the idea of fantastic time-travel, it does appear (in this author's opinion) to be much more consistent with known time phenomena than either of the other time models discussed.

David Saylor
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