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Who says we can't perceive time as linear...



Who says we can\'t perceive time as linear...

Reading through some of these postings I have come across several messages which state how we must perceive time as not being linear but I don't personnally see a problem with this.

We tend to think of the linear aspect of time as a long tube(the space time continum) but take this example. I'll use a 2-D universe for simplicity. It begins with the first indications of matter. A single dot of light. After one second this universe has a radius of 300000000m.
One second later the radius is 600000000m in length, another second and a radius of 900000000m and so on. Therefore it is possible to perceive the space-time continium of this 2-D universe as being a 3-D object resmbling a cone. Our problem does not lie in the fact that time is simply not a linear form but that we do not have a suitable 4-D object to define the 3-dimensional universe with the presence of time.

So I do not want to hear that time is not linear, we simply don't understand what a 4-D cone would look like. Personnally I take the continium to resemble several spheres of increasing radius superimposed on each other.

Hope I haven't bored anyone but I would appreciate some response
PS I apologise for my probable mis-spellings of continium, I never bothered looking it up(not very proffessional)
Re:Who says we can\'t perceive time as linear...

Nice analogy.

We started calling "time" the forth dimension when we accepted relativity.

It still doesn't make it any easier to percieve 4 dimensions tho does it.
Re:Who says we can\'t perceive time as linear...

If you're referring to any of the messages that I've posted, I think that you've misunderstood the point that they were making.

Is time simply the term that we use to describe our natural 'linear perception'?

Or is it some actual 'physical' property or law of the universe?

If it is the former, then it is effectively an illusion in
universal(astronomical) terms. It is the 'sense' through which we perceive the universe, rather than an observable property of the universe. You remarked about "not seeing time as linear". 'Time' is a phrase that means 'linear', they are the same thing. To not perceive in linear terms, you would actually be perceiving outside of time (or under it, around it etc..) 'Time' is a catchy label for 'linear perception.

Just think though, if 'time' is simply the nature of our perception, it would explain why we find it so difficult to quantify the exact nature of it. It is like we are conducting a search for an elusive something, that unbeknown to us is actually the means through which we are searching.

IF this is the true nature of time, then trying to apply physical universal laws to it is meaningless. PLEASE don't get offended, notice that I stressed IF. It's just another possibilty.

In one sense, you have stated a similar point to one that I have proposed - Your statement about not knowing what a 4D cone would look like.

I have suggested that if 'time' is merely an illusion created by of our perspective, then it is inherently 'obscuring' the true nature of the universe. If time is meaningless from a universal perspective, we are limited in what we actually see of the universe. To see the ultimate true nature of this universe, we would need to perceive beyond 'time', in other words to overcome the natural limitation that we are born with.

I'm not necessarily saying that I don't believe in your particular approach, I'm just offering a different angle on the same problem.

Maybe you could keep that in mind the next time you decide to get all dismissive..

Oh, and the best way of avoiding hearing things that you don't want to hear, is to stay away from open forums..
Re:Re:Who says we can\'t perceive time as linear...

I didn't mean to sound dismissive. I like to tackle 'facts' set by others.

Anyway I know time is not exactly what we would expect as linear as it completely relative to our position. Time is the dialation in which our senses perceive the universe. It is not exactly outside our limitations because we do understand how it works. We know that what we did yesterday is in the past and what we will do tommorrow will be the future. This is where I base the theory that time 'may' be a measurable quantity and has a certain flow in a certain direction.

I hope I'm still making sense because this posting has taken on a mind of its own, anyhow I digress.

The meaning of that obscure remark I made a few lines ago about time being relative to our positions is based on the possibility that black-holes do exist(remember they are still only theory) and that they do possess event horizons where time moves slower due to the light emmitted by an object beyond the horizon is slowed down.

That's about it(by the way I do sometimes reply to replies...)
Re:Re:Re:Who says we can\'t perceive time as linear...

Thanks for the reply.

I really believe that all of our 'supositions' are equally valid (even the wildest imaginings), at least until they are disproven, but who knows 'when' that will be?

I honestly feel (without being po faced) that this site has greater value than simply the escapist fun that it was designed to provide. We all seem to have differing opinions and theories, some diametrically opposed, yet some of us actually manage to 'feed' off this opposition to improve our mutual understanding of the enormous complexities involved. (Read some of the ongoing discussions that Lee and I are conducting to see what I mean). Surely this is in the best spirit of scientific and philosophical development? Sorry, I didn't mean to get too heavy..But this area is not the domain of physicists alone.

Anyway, I'll only get defensive in cicumstances here if I feel that someone is being closed minded and dismissive as a result. Anyone guilty of that needs to step back and look at the topic that they are addressing. It's time travel and it's COMPLETELY uncharted territory, so it can only be counter productive to not be open minded to the infinate possibilties that lie within..
Re:Re:Re:Re:Who says we can\'t perceive time as linear...

Just to add..

As you pointed out, perception of 'time' obviously does differ widely depending on your relative perspective. Imagine if you could perceive 'time' as a fly for example. Relative to us they have incredibly short lifespans, due to there much higher metabolic rates (this differing matabolic rate of course applies to any creature other than us).

From the perspective of a fly, you obviously wouldn't perceive the passage of 'time' in the same way as a human, but at an incredibly accelerated rate. Your perception of the passage of time is though, presumably similar to a human's, relative to your 'fly self' but not relative to humans. This must be why fly reations are so much faster than ours, as you'll have noticed if you've tried to swat one. (Flies don't possess sentience, so have no comprehension of the matter, but you see the point).

I feel that these differing metablic rates(if I'm using the correct term), illustrate perfectly the theory of 'time' being relative to your perception, as you've stated.

I go a bit further and ask "what if that is all that time is? What if it is purely a perception of the universe, relative to whatever being is able to contemplate the concept of it's linear existance?, the 'eyes' through which we view our existance and is no more a 'physical' reality than that?". This would mean that the concept is only applicable to sentent beings and not the universe itself. That it is not a universal property, but simply the way that we perceive the universe.

The bottom line is though, that we are not sufficiently advanced to prove or disprove such fundamental 'truths' of our existance. Maybe we never will be able to while we physically occupy the universe..it comes down to "what do you believe ?". This is why science and religion are so closely interwieved. (I don't follow any 'organised' religion however, so I'm not bringing any of those distractions into the debate..)

Thanks for reading my extended ramblings..
Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Who says we can\'t perceive time as linear...

Heres some of my ramblings...

What I really meant to say that time must have a direct phisical property and extend into a particular direction. Otherwise it would simply exist and therefore all 'time' would be contained within a single moment of existance where we would everything that has happened and will happen in the universe. Personnally I can't see absolutely everything that has been or will be so I don't believe this to be true.

Also with the analogy of the fly, they have a greater percetion of the time we don't notice passing because they use instinct as a guide and so do not need to analyse events as they happen. We always have to think what we're doing so we need to have a different perception of time.

That's about it, pointout any flaws if you will...
Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Who says we can\'t perceive time as linear...

You say that 'time' must be a physical property of the universe with a specific direction, because that is what we perceive..

Well, I say again, how do you know that this 'supposed' direction of 'time' is a 'real' property of the universe, and not actually a property of our perception of the universe? I see no solid evidence either way..

You are right that we obviously are only able to perceive 'past' events and not 'future' ones, but this does not PROVE that only the 'past' events exist in the sense that you are speaking of.

What I am suggesting, is "what if 'time' as you understand it is the way that we percieve the universe, a human concept, thus a concept which in 'universal' terms is meaningless?" What if the evidence that you believe 'proves' that it is a physical property (it's 'direction'), is in reality evidence of our limited perception instead(unknown to us)..

If this were to be the case..(IF), then imagine the universe without the 'limitation' of time. There is no 'when' something occurs. Everything exists simultaeniously. The universe has no 'beginning' or 'end'. The order in which events/interactions occur is as meaningless as 'time' itself. If you think about it, this would make the universe a much simpler mechanism than we tend to believe..

I really don't see why this 'timeless' concept of the universe is any less credible than any 'multiverse' theory that is going around. Lets face it, there's bugger all evidence of any such theories.

As for your comments about the fly...

It is purely hypothetical thinking, because flies aren't sentient beings and are thus unable to contemplate their existance as we do. Therefore I was speaking as if you were able to sense 'time' through the perspective of a fly, but with human intellectual capacity. From this point of view, humans would appear to move very slowly compared to yourself and other flies.
This is because of a fly's much faster metabolism/bodyclock or whatever you want to call it. As far as I am aware, this is biological fact, not supposition (but don't ask me how..) "Humans having more on their minds" is obviously true, but in this context, irrelevant.

Actually, this has some parallels with Lee's theorising about perception of time dilation(the astronaut at high velocity, observing the Earth's orbits around the sun etc..) As an 'intellectual' fly, would you witness the passing of 'human' years relative to yourself at the accelerated rate of a fly?- at a different rate to humans? Presumably you would.

If instead you percieved 'time' at the same rate as humans, you would be lumbered with the realisation that your new fly body has only got a week to live..

Do you see what I'm getting at??
Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Who says we can\'t perceive time as linear...

Just to point out (and I'm not trying to sound cocky because I'm not exactly up on the complete studies of quantum physics) I read in some explanation on quantum mechanics about the way in which when a particular quanta is diffracted and then diffracted again at two more slots only one is actually detected. I think this had led to some speculation on the possibility of a parallel universe where the second quanta is detected raher than the first...

Of course I do agree with the fac that our percetion of time is limited after all we rely on the orbit of the earth around the sun as our means of determining time. There is no actual unit of time which can be related to all other units.