Sacrilege; You'll be burned at the stake for saying
such things! Recant now before it's too late.
How can this be you ask?:
I've been running around saying time does not exist for many years (since high school (back in 1980?)). There are a few books out there that do a good job of illustrating this belief, and I thought I'd write a silly little web page about my 'No such thing as time/or motion' belief. I guess you'd have to say it's a belief. It can't be proven or disproved in accordance with scientific theory (or can it?), so it's not a theory. Can you 'prove' a negative?
I'm going to try and explain the nonexistence of time (and coincidentally the nonexistence of motion)) in simple terms. Sure you can read about quantum physics and chaos theory in a book. But trying to understand it is no simple task. I promise not to make you do any math.
Origins of this 'Theory':
First and foremost, my beliefs on the nonexistence of time began very early. In grade school math class, I did a project for extra credit. I described a four dimensional cube to my class. Not all that difficult; hypercubes have been part of math, physics, and geometry for hundreds, if not thousands of years. After the extra credit project, I began wondering about higher dimensional objects. I started thinking about shadows and lower dimensional objects. As I made my way through high school, I read a few other books about metaphysics. Eventually I formulated a few wild eyed ideas of my own. Nothing I could prove, but something I've been describing to anyone who would listen for many years.
Time simply does not exist. I guess you could call me a materialist. If you can't sense something with your senses does it really exist? Try to describe time, without using time as a reference. We can't see it, can't smell it, can't taste it, etc, etc. Are there any machines that can measure it? A clock? really? What does a clock measure? The movement of its own hands? That's time? What does a clock really measure? Is time defined by the motion of our planet around the sun?
Let's get a little more interesting. If time does exist when was it created? Did it always exist? Did it exist before man came along? Does time really slow down if an object approaches the speed of light? I seriously doubt it. Where does time slow down? Does all time slow down? Just the time around the object moving near the speed of light? I thought time or for that matter the speed of light were supposed to be universal standards. On with some explanations...
I'm not all that good at math, so don't expect me to recite formulas, or provide any type of mathematical proof for my hair brained ideas. Others have already tried that. I tried to follow their math, but all it did was give me a head ache. If you want proof, you might want to try a simpler subject.
The basis of my crazy little ideas can best be defined through the basics of quantum mechanics and theoretical physics. Once again, I'm not going to try and provide mathematical proofs or formulas of any sort. If you'd like to see that sort of thing, I suggest you check out a good quantum physics book. These theories about time not existing rest primarily on the belief in the existence of Multidimensional Universes, and the Simultaneous Coexistence of these Multidimensional Universes.
First off let's start with what we know. You know that you exist, right? O.k. that's good. If you're not willing to admit this, you've got some bigger problems to deal with. Next you must admit that you are a three dimensional person/object. You have height, width, and depth. O.k. were on a roll here. Objects in our immediate plane of existence can be defined as having 3 dimensions. Humans can detect objects that coexist in the same dimension (multidimensional universe) as them. We exist in a universe which is defined by 3 specific dimensions. Let's call them X, Y, and Z. Everything in this universe can be defined through expressions of these 3 dimensions. Are you with me? Good. I'll take it that you believe, and understand what I'm saying.
Let's expand on this a little bit. Solid objects in our universe exist within a 3 dimensional framework. They have varying X, Y, and Z dimensions that define their existence. Can we sense objects that do not have 3 dimensions? Sure we can, we can see 2 dimensional objects. We define 2 dimensional objects as having only 2 of the 3 dimensions that we can sense. So, Humans can detect both 2 and 3 dimensional objects. We can detect objects that are not fully 3 dimensional. We've just begun the journey. We can detect objects that are not fully 3 dimensional; objects within a multidimensional universe which overlaps ours, but we cannot detect objects that exist wholly outside our subset of 3 dimensions.
2 dimensional, and 3 dimensional objects can coexist simultaneously without interfering with each other. If something casts a shadow on a 3 dimensional object the two coexist simultaneously. The shadow occupies the same physical space as the solid object without displacing it (No sidetracking on the other effects at this point). So here we can see that multidimensional objects can coexist simultaneously within the same space. A 2 dimensional object and a 3 dimensional object can occupy the same physical space.
Time to expand on that simple fact. Are there more dimensions than X, Y, and Z? I believe there are. We humans are simply not capable of sensing these other dimensions. We have no biological capability to sense these other dimensions. Perhaps shadows are objects which consist of dimensions W, X and Y, but we can only sense the X and Y dimensions of these objects. They overlap our universe in dimensions X and Y, yet exist fully in a different universe. One that is slightly offset from the universe that we exist in. Overlapping, simultaneously coexisting, multidimensional universes.
You may have noticed that shadows are duplicates of 3 dimensional objects in all but one aspect. They lack a 3rd dimension, or that 3rd dimension cannot be detected by us. This adjacent, and partially detectable universe is nearly identical to ours. What if these coexisting multidimensional universes differed from ours in relation to their dimensional divergence? Nearby frequencies/universes are nearly identical, while highly divergent universes are much different.
Our universe overlaps these other universes, but we cannot detect them. They coexist within the same framework, but are separated by dimensional frequencies. Our universe resonates at dimensional frequency XYZ (With the separate dimensional components mixed as a whole), and other universes resonate at different dimensional frequencies. So we've got overlapping, simultaneously coexisting, multidimensional universes. How many are there? I don't know. I believe that the number is very large, but I do not believe that it is infinite. We're now closer to the basis of the theory that time (and motion) do not exist.
What is time?:
If time doesn't exist, what is it that we sense as the passing of time? I'm glad you asked. Alright, let's talk about human experience for a minute. Humans perceive the passage of time as a continuous, contiguous series of linear experiences. We experience time as being continuous. It doesn't appear to stop, slow down, or speed up at any point. We experience it as contiguous. We don't jump over pieces of time. Skipping forward or back to the points that interest us. Humans also experience time as being linear. We can only experience things in a linear fashion. Moving continuously in one direction, without the ability to reverse direction.
Without time how do you explain human experience? I explain it in the following terms. It is a linear progression of one's consciousness through simultaneously coexisting, multidimensional universes. A series of experienced, but simultaneous nows. Your consciousness travels in one direction down a specific probability path. Your life experience is the contiguous progression of your consciousness from one simultaneously coexisting multidimensional universe to another. Each node in the probability tree is a different multidimensional universe. This experience is also continuous (or experienced as being continuous). Our consciousness is in constant motion. A continual state of experience (Or is it? What are dreams?), as it traverses a probability tree through these simultaneously coexisting multidimensional universes. The human mind/consciousness is not capable of processing/experiencing all the nodes in any probability path simultaneously, so it orders them into a linear series.
A critical component of this 'No Time theory' is the non-existence of motion. Several definitions of time express it as 'measurement of change'. The measurable change of matter or energy. Change is motion. Without change there is no motion. Without change there is no time. My/the theory of a static and non changing multidimensional universe, removes change from the equation. All possible positions of a physical body/object simultaneously exist in a dimension/universe that is slightly offset from the physical universe/reality which 'we' currently inhabit. There is no physical movement of objects/bodies in this universe. All things/states of mater/energy simultaneously coexist. The beginning and the end are static unmoving/unchanging events. It is the processing (in a linear, continuous, contiguous fashion) of these differing static nodes that creates the illusion of motion, and thus the illusion of 'time' as changes appear to occur. In my model of 'no time', there are no physical changes, thus 'No motion'.
Probability paths:(See illustration at left)
What is this probability tree that I mentioned? 'For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction' The reaction to any action is not the only possible reaction. There are many possible reactions to any action. A probability tree is a map of all possibilities for any given event.A probability path is the path followed down a probability tree in order to reach your current multidimensional position (the 'Now').
Try to envision the probabilities inherent when a coin is flipped. The first node of this probability tree is the point where the coin is flipped. After the coin is flipped three new probabilities (at least three) branch out from the initial node. There are three possibilities with regard to the outcome of the coin flipping (in a simplistic/illustrative sense). Each of these probabilities necessitates the existence/creation of another node. One for 'Heads', one for 'Tails', and one for the less likely result of 'Edge'.
The probability tree shown at the left is a crude illustration of a very small subset. It maps out a very small number of possible events. In order to expand it to the ultimate conclusion, you would have to take every conceivable event, and map a probability tree for every possible outcome. Doing so you would create a highly complex (but not infinite) probability matrix. A map of all possibilities/existence within our universe. Now imagine each possible outcome/node in the probability tree as being a separate reality/multidimensional universe. A separate static universe. Static indeed. Each possible event is an instantaneous Now. A single node within the probability matrix. Now overlap all of these realities/universes in the same space. Now you have those simultaneous, coexisting multidimensional universes I've been talking about. A 'Multiverse'.
The Human experience:
Now let's use the illustration above in order to explain some of what I've been saying about human experience. Each event in any such probability tree is static. Event A; Car runs a red light, Event A1; Car hits another car in the intersection. Event A2; Car passes through the intersection safely. Each and every node within the probability matrix constitutes a separate and unique multidimensional universe. A singular 'Now'.
Humans are only able to experience existence in a linear fashion. Our consciousness moves from one static (yes static and unchanging) multidimensional universe to another in one direction only. You cannot go from Event A2 to Event A. We lack the ability to experience/process this experience in total/instantaneously. Our consciousness/mind orders the journey through the nodes in a linear fashion. Our mind interprets this ordered linear progression through the probability matrix as the passage of 'Time'.
Humans are only able to experience existence in a contiguous fashion. We can only move to adjacent universes. Ones which overlap ours. Our consciousness is not capable of jumping to multiverse threads that are not adjacent to the one we are currently in. You cannot jump from Event A1 to A2, nor can you jump from Event A11 to A11113 without first experiencing Events A111 and A1111.
Humans are only able to experience existence in a continuous fashion. We cannot stop, slow down, or speed up the progression of our consciousness from one node to another.
We can actively control our progression through this probability matrix. We can steer the progression of our consciousness from one node/event to another. Provided the next event that we choose follows the linear, contiguous, and continuous rules I've described above. This is 'free will'. There is only one restriction on our free will. We can only direct our consciousness down our probability path. That path that we have mapped before us. If the node we wish to experience is downstream, and within our probability path, then we may visit that node.
Consciousness and free will:
Based on my 'theory', and the tenets of it. You may be saying that their is no individuality or "I" in regards to the physical sense. I'd agree. The way I see it; "I" (or self-consciousness) is continuity of consciousness from node to node within the matrix. You do not so much exist as a singular physical entity as you do a consciousness, a non-physical presence within the 'Multidimensional Universe'. Your consciousness roams (but not in a physical sense) this multidimensional universe. Moving from node to node, your experiences are formed as you select which node to process.
You might also conclude that there is no 'Free Will'. There is an illusion of free will in selecting the branches of the probability tree. In fact, there's no selection at all. Every branch is selected, but just one at a "time" is observed or processed. This second point also follows from the first point. When there's no-one implementing the free will, there's no sense in claiming that free will exists.all nodal branch selections are made simultaneously. In a timeless model, that's the only way they could be. I do not agree that the selections are made without choice. The choice in selection is free will. Choice is free will, regardless of whether all choices are made simultaneously (universe with no time), or in a manner more consistent with a traditional model (universe with time). Another way to think of it...
While it's true that all nodal choices/connections within the probability matrix have already been made, and the results mapped into the probability tree. "I" (self-consciousness) decide which nodes/choices to experience/process. This constitutes the free will portion of the equation, which in effect creates the "I" or self-consciousness. Only by selecting a series of nodes to process, a path so to speak, is self-consciousness realized. Until a path through the matrix is chosen, the self does not exist. Self comes into being once a path has been chosen.
If you are believe that someone else (god) chooses the path for you, then you have come to the conclusion that "your" destiny has been pre-ordained, and you are simply an observer. A side effect of path processing. You are destined to visit/experience/process each node in a pre-determined sequence. Each 'supposed' free action that you take has been mapped out ahead of time (so to speak). For example; if you decide at this moment to exercise free will by deleting this email, your choice to do so, including the supposed belief that it is by your free will, is all mapped out ahead of time.
I would argue that we do have free will. That the self is responsible for the nodal selection/processing (free will), that it is through nodal selection (mapping of our path through the probability matrix) that we realize free will, which in fact constitutes the self. We experience these nodal selections in a sequential manner, which is construed as the passage of time. The nodal selections are in fact instantaneous, but we do not experience them in that way. Selection and processing of the/a path through the probability matrix constitutes the self.
So; Once again time does not exist.It is simply our mind applying an understandable framework to the progression of our consciousness through a series of static, overlapping, and simultaneously coexisting, multidimensional universes. The progression of our consciousness occurs in a linear, contiguous, and continuous fashion.
I hope that my explanation/theory has provided you with some answers regarding the true nature of time. Perhaps it's also provided you with some additional questions. What is an 'out of body experience?'. Can other paranormal phenomena be explained within the context of simultaneously coexisting multidimensional universes? Why do we have physical forms? What is time travel in the context given above? Do higher dimensional beings exist? Is there someway to see these other nodes? Can I learn to surpass these human/consciousness limitations?
After the initial publication of this 'theory', I had a thorough debate/discussion with some friends (and interested persons) of mine. The debate took place via email (From Feb 19 - March 30, 2002 (and a little bit beyond)), and covered various points of the 'no-time' theory. Through this discussion, some of the theories finer points were clarified, some parts were expanded, and an exploration of the theories ramifications was pursued. Here you will find a copy of the emails which compromise the bulk of this dialog on the non-existence of time (and motion). Perhaps it will help you to better understand what this theory means, and how it could impact scientific study. If nothing else, you might find it somewhat humorous.
The Mailing List:
In July of 2015, a particularly well worded and insightful email (on the topic of 'No Time') inspired me to finally go ahead and create that 'No Time' mailing list I've always promised myself that I would eventually create... So I did! Over the years, numerous people have expressed strong interest in this topic. So much of an interest, that they actually send me email messages. Now there's a way to continue that conversation, and extended it to a broader audience.
I've set up a mailing list where we (as a group) can discuss the concepts of 'Akinetochronism'. We can continue the discussion that you and I previously engaged in. We can invite a large group of others to participate in that conversation. If you are so inclined, you can join the mailing list and participate in a broader and more extensive conversation on the topics of 'no time' and 'no motion'.
What is 'Akinetochronism'? Well, it's a coined word based upon Greek linguistic roots: A - Against or Antithesis of; Kineto - Motion; Chron - Time; Ism - Philosophy or ideology. Put it all together and you get 'Against the notion of time or motion'. It's not just a word. It's a crazy idea that 'Time' and 'Motion' simply don't exist. Not just that they don't exist in the physical sense, but the idea/belief/philosophy that they don't exist at all. That they are simply illusions 'created' so that we can more easily comprehend a far more simple and at the same time more complicated reality.
The mailing list is a place where a group of us can come together in order to discuss the concepts and ideas regarding the rejection of these illusions called time and motion. Since you've previously written me regarding this subject; a topic I'm interested in, I thought you might like to join the mailing list in order to continue the conversation or re-engage in that discussion.
This theory isn't completely mine. It's the result of reading a lot of books, watching late night sci-fi, and an highly overactive imagination. Some of the books I've read that helped formulate the ideas presented above:
Godel, Escher, Bach: An eternal golden braid - A metaphorical fugue on minds and machines in the spirit of Lewis Carroll - By Douglas R. Hofstadter
Metamagical Themas: Questing for the essence of mind and pattern - An interlocked collection of literary, scientific, and artistic studies - By Douglas R. Hofstadter
The Planiverse - Computer contact with a two dimensional world - By A. K. Dewdney
Flat-land - The classic speculation on life in four dimensions - By Edwin A. Abbott
Sphere-land - A continuing speculation on an expanding universe - By Dionys Berger (Translated from the original Dutch)
The Illuminatus and Schrodinger's Cat trilogy's - A series of conspiracy riddled sci-fi novels, inspired by, and inspiring science - By Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson
About Time. Einstein's unfinished revolution. Another book about
time. This one was written by Paul Davies. An excellent book, with
a lot of insightful stuff about time, cosmology, astronomy, and philosophy.