What's the driving force that keeps "time" moving forward Watch

callum9999
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#21
(Original post by EiMiS)
I agree it's a scary thought, but not one that you can rule out completely. Also time is perceived differently by different people. I understand your point, but I for no plausible explanation believe it's a man made thing used to keep order.
It being perceived differently doesn't stop it from existing. Two people can read the same book and walk away with completely different interpretations of it - does the book therefore not exist?
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EiMiS
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(Original post by callum9999)
It being perceived differently doesn't stop it from existing. Two people can read the same book and walk away with completely different interpretations of it - does the book therefore not exist?
At the end of the day it's just an idea. A book is a physical thing whereas time isn't. Just like the past or the future.
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the mezzil
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(Original post by EiMiS)
At the end of the day it's just an idea. A book is a physical thing whereas time isn't. Just like the past or the future.
Energy isn't physical, yet it is proof of time. As I said, the transfer of energy (e.g combustion of wood) proves time exist, since it is a transfer of energy from one species to another. I can't be bothered to explain the chemical principles, but you learn this at uni if you study chemistry or physics.
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dragonkeeper999
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I always thought time was best described in terms of the rate of the whole universe moving from a state of low entropy (disorder) to one of high entropy. Which is why chemical reactions which increase the overall entropy of the universe are favoured, indeed I believe these are the only ones possible - which is why we have exo- and endo- thermic reactions. Those which would normally lead to a decrease in entropy, such as forming fewer molecules of product than of reactants or solid products rather than gaseous ones, are exothermic - although the entropy of the particular chemical system has decreased, the energy released to the surroundings overall increases the entropy of the universe and thus making the reaction possible.
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Jimbo1234
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(Original post by AK12W)
Every second on the clock that ticks, every car that passes by your house, every single beat of the heart, and every single thought that passes through your mind as you read this post, every single day followed by night as the earth rotates, the light which reaches us from distant celestial bodies - everything seems to move "forward" consistently, through this phenomenon known as "time".

But fundamentally, what is it that keeps things in motion?


I reckon it's god. Bless my simple mind lol.
It's called energy :facepalm:
How do you differentiate between different moments in time? Somethings position. Nothing will be in the same place.
Why?
Because it has energy.

That is all.
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EiMiS
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(Original post by the mezzil)
Energy isn't physical, yet it is proof of time. As I said, the transfer of energy (e.g combustion of wood) proves time exist, since it is a transfer of energy from one species to another. I can't be bothered to explain the chemical principles, but you learn this at uni if you study chemistry or physics.
Fair enough then.
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miser
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(Original post by AK12W)
Every second on the clock that ticks, every car that passes by your house, every single beat of the heart, and every single thought that passes through your mind as you read this post, every single day followed by night as the earth rotates, the light which reaches us from distant celestial bodies - everything seems to move "forward" consistently, through this phenomenon known as "time".

But fundamentally, what is it that keeps things in motion?


I reckon it's god. Bless my simple mind lol.
Time is an intrinsic property of the space-time that matter exists in.

My full thoughts on it are expressed in the following:

The Nature of Time

Something I thought about a lot when I was living in France for the year was the nature of time. This was probably because it naturally went hand in hand with frequently considering how long I had left until it was time to leave and revert back to my old student life. The year was sort of like a long countdown.

When considering the nature of time, there seems to be two approaches. The first is philosophical: questioning our perceptions of time; the second is physical: questioning what can be said to be fundamentally true about time. In other words, the philosophical study of time can tell us about our experience of time, and the physical study of time can tell us to what degree our experience couldn't be any other way.

Physically speaking, space-time is the 'canvas' upon which matter and energy can exist, and so the existence of physical entities such as us implies (at least in our universe) their placement somewhere in space-time. But when we try to get more specific and separate the two concepts of space and time in order to create time-only concepts, we run into problems. For example, the concept of 'now' has no physical definition because time is relative and necessarily attached to location in space. Physical time, it seems, isn't linear like we're psychologically geared to believe.

This idea, it's fair to say, was groundbreaking when it was first suggested and it's part of the reason why Einstein's become so revered — the people who shatter our world views tend to get remembered. The understanding of time as a 'fourth dimension' is also traditionally attributed to him, but this isn't accurate — H.G. Wells' The Time Machine published in 1895 clearly talks about time its own separate dimension, parallel to the three spatial dimensions. What Einstein did do, however, was publish his theory of special relativity in 1905 where, in his paper "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies," he introduces, among other things,[1] a model of 4-dimensional physics where time and space are interconnected.

Today we've progressed further and have discovered Planck time — the shortest physically possible unit of time. Such an idea easily evokes the most vigorous of head-scratching, as it immediately takes us back to one of Zeno's paradoxes, which had up to then been being quite comfortably ignored. When Zeno of Elea[2] offered up these riddles, they caused a great amount of confusion among the Greeks, who thankfully had the sense to label them "paradoxes" and wait for some discovery to come along to expose the trickery involved, rather than conclude that their systems of logic must therefore be wrong and start over.

Wikipedia explains Zeno's arrow paradox in the following manner:

In the arrow paradox (also known as the fletcher's paradox), Zeno states that for motion to occur, an object must change the position which it occupies. He gives an example of an arrow in flight. He states that in any one (durationless) instant of time, the arrow is neither moving to where it is, nor to where it is not. It cannot move to where it is not, because no time elapses for it to move there; it cannot move to where it is, because it is already there. In other words, at every instant of time there is no motion occurring. If everything is motionless at every instant, and time is entirely composed of instants, then motion is impossible.

Zeno's Paradoxes — Wikipedia
With the discovery of Planck time, we really have discovered that time is a series of points rather than a smooth, continuous transition. This is not the only quirk of time, however.

The philosophical approach raises different troubles. From a philosophical examination we might say that the experience of time is purely subjective. Our experience of it leads us to believe that time moves 'forwards', but in actuality this is meaningless. Time might move 'backwards', but our experience of existence would be the same as it is now. Douglas Adams understood this point when he introduced in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy the race of aliens who believed everyone moves through time facing the wrong way round because we can only see what's already passed us by, rather than what's approaching us.

From a position of scepticism, there is no evidence for the existence of time except the existence of the present moment. There is a Cartesian doubt about whether a demon[3] may be playing a trick on us, having simply brought us into existence with false history and false memories, perhaps only to subsequently send us all back to the void. If this (or any comparable scenario) were the case, we would have no way of knowing.

Certainly, we're able to say that, subjectively speaking, 'now' exists, but we can't extend this to infer that either subsequent or previous instances in time have existed or will exist. We can't truly know that the past existed, nor that there will be a moment after this one. It feels obvious that probably the past did (or does or will) exist, and the future will (or did or does) exist, but I couldn't feel confident in saying anything about the actual order of those events; all I can be confident about is my own perception of the order of those events.

Time may not move in a line at all — perhaps it happens all at once, and every experience is just a different perspective of that one instant. Perhaps the universe is a temporal singularity — such a scenario could potentially explain why we can have different definitions of 'now' for different locations. The point here though is that we can't tell.

So, if we can't tell, why should we want to know? Because, if time did move backwards (or indeed, if it happened all at once), one implication would be that we had no free will; the outcome of the universe would already be set — it would already exist — and so the 'future' would be pre-ordained.

In any of these cases, our experience in each moment would be the same as it is now, no matter what order each one actually happened in. The picture on the puzzle box would already be filled in — all the pieces would exist somewhere, only not assembled yet. Free will would be an illusion.

Near the beginning of my time in France I imagined being able to 'fast-forward' through time to some point in the future. I then immediately wondered whether I'd already done it. There would be no way to tell — all we have to go on are our memories and our 'sense' of how long it took. Indeed, upon following this idea, I soon realised that the 'speed' of the progression of time was ipso facto meaningless.

In order to measure something, it needs to be measured against something else in order for a comparison to be made. With time, our only point of reference is how many 'events' happen in between two set temporal points — we're unable to then invoke a time-measurement again to measure the duration of any of these events, because the duration is always whatever we defined it to be. If time was moving 'fast', or 'slow', we wouldn't know.

We feel time plodding along, but since we couldn't ever notice if the duration of the events composing a unit of one second changed, we have no reference points to judge it. Indeed, what would it mean for God to change the length of a second if the number of events that could happen in a second remained the same?

Time is an extraordinarily peculiar phenomenon. Whenever I think about it, I take a moment to notice how old I am, and then I immediately feel thankful that the answer is still relatively young. The answer to the question of how old I am, on its own, is after all arbitrary — the answer could be any value within the range of 0 to however old I will happen to be when I die. I'm always pleased therefore when the answer turns out to be in the former half of the range,[4] because there's nothing that says it has to be. Many times when I ask the question, I expect that it won't be.

Notes

  1. Other major contributions included in special relativity are lightspeed as a fundamental physical constant and the equivalency between matter and energy (E=mc2). This formula, it should be noted, is not the complete version, which is unfortunately much more complicated.
  2. Zeno of Elea is generally credited with what are named "Zeno's paradoxes", and is thought to have lived between 490 and 430 BCE.
  3. René Descartes, when proposing his famous cogito ergo sum argument in what has now been termed 'Cartesian doubt', explained the scenario of a demon tricking one's senses. The modern-day equivalent of this would be the idea of being plugged into The Matrix, which doesn't seem so bad when one considers all the kung-fu.
  4. Of course, no one has the luxury of knowing when they're going to die, so I have to estimate. I also choose the word 'luxury' on purpose; while many people probably don't want to know when they're going to die, I have the idea in my head that it would probably be quite motivating.


Taken from my website: http://journalofinterest.com/essays/nature-of-time/
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mmmpie
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According to general relativity, it isn't always possible to determine whether two events take place in any particular order - it depends on the separation between the events and the relative position and motion of the observer. So, in a sense, time is only tending to go in a particular direction, it's not moving in that direction uniformly.
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the mezzil
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(Original post by dragonkeeper999)
I always thought time was best described in terms of the rate of the whole universe moving from a state of low entropy (disorder) to one of high entropy. Which is why chemical reactions which increase the overall entropy of the universe are favoured, indeed I believe these are the only ones possible - which is why we have exo- and endo- thermic reactions. Those which would normally lead to a decrease in entropy, such as forming fewer molecules of product than of reactants or solid products rather than gaseous ones, are exothermic - although the entropy of the particular chemical system has decreased, the energy released to the surroundings overall increases the entropy of the universe and thus making the reaction possible.
Spot on!
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chapmouse
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I have recently started Vectors and Scalars in physics, and the argument started brewing, "Is time a vector or a scalar?" Does time have a direction?
So, do you consider time a vector or a scalar?
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RunningInHeels
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Time doesn't exist. Only clocks exist.

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AK12W
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#32
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#32
(Original post by Jimbo1234)
It's called energy :facepalm:
How do you differentiate between different moments in time? Somethings position. Nothing will be in the same place.
Why?
Because it has energy.

That is all.
You're missing the point.
Of course things have "energy" but what triggers the energy in a physical system to transmute or move matter from point A to point B?

Assuming time is a physical system at all.
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nugiboy
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Time as we know it is just a man made construct and a social convenience. All that truly exists is the present moment. Events which are happening in the NOW.

This doesn't mean that we need to forget about time and completely disregard our clocks and watches. Just remember that memories of the past take place in the present moment and so do our thoughts of the future. They all occur now!

If you're not immediately writing me off me as a mad person and this notion idea piques your interest then I'd really suggest looking up an western philosopher called Alan Watts who teaches zen buddhism amongst other ideas. He really explains it beautifully and much more in depth than I did.
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AK12W
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So many different perspectives on the matter lol. Interesting nonetheless. Great read folks.
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Jimbo1234
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(Original post by AK12W)
You're missing the point.
Of course things have "energy" but what triggers the energy in a physical system to transmute or move matter from point A to point B?

Assuming time is a physical system at all.
Because it is mass - mass is merely a form of energy and everything in the universe has energy. It is the most important underlying rule of physics. Why? No idea, but it does.


(Original post by nugiboy)
Time as we know it is just a man made construct and a social convenience. All that truly exists is the present moment. Events which are happening in the NOW.

This doesn't mean that we need to forget about time and completely disregard our clocks and watches. Just remember that memories of the past take place in the present moment and so do our thoughts of the future. They all occur now!

If you're not immediately writing me off me as a mad person and this notion idea piques your interest then I'd really suggest looking up an western philosopher called Alan Watts who teaches zen buddhism amongst other ideas. He really explains it beautifully and much more in depth than I did.

Utter crap. No it is not and it is a physical part of the universe. Units of time are made up, but time itself exists.
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hello calum
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(Original post by AK12W)
Every second on the clock that ticks, every car that passes by your house, every single beat of the heart, and every single thought that passes through your mind as you read this post, every single day followed by night as the earth rotates, the light which reaches us from distant celestial bodies - everything seems to move "forward" consistently, through this phenomenon known as "time".

But fundamentally, what is it that keeps things in motion?


I reckon it's god. Bless my simple mind lol.
Well, are you talking about your time, or mine?

Time doesn't move forwards at a constant rate for all observers.

Think about a black hole, where time stops!
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nugiboy
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(Original post by Jimbo1234)
Utter crap. No it is not and it is a physical part of the universe. Units of time are made up, but time itself exists.
Physical part of the universe? Really? Define it then. It most certainly is not physical.
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the mezzil
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(Original post by AK12W)
You're missing the point.
Of course things have "energy" but what triggers the energy in a physical system to transmute or move matter from point A to point B?

Assuming time is a physical system at all.
Instability of ions, isotopes, molecules etc triggers energy movement between species. Everything in the universe wants to become stable, to do this they must react with other unstable ions, isotopes, molecules etc, but this isn't just a one way reaction, once one atom of an element becomes stable it 'replaces' the stability of another atom thus that becoming unstable and the reaction occuring in a domino effect.
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RunningInHeels
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(Original post by nugiboy)
Time as we know it is just a man made construct and a social convenience. All that truly exists is the present moment..
Kant said that time was one of the necessary categories in his synthetic a'priori. We have conceptual schemes, which are present from birth, that help us make sense of experience.

It's like when you go and watch a film in 3D and you need to wear those abnormal glasses to see the film clearly. Without them the entire film would be chaotic and unorderly

However, as with all philosophical arguments, there are flaws. Kant also believed that cause is a necessary a'priori category yet discoveries of non-Euclidian geometry has disproved that too. Perhaps there is a world out there that is completely different to how we percieve it, but we cannot possibly see it in the way that it is because we are only human.

Similarly, maybe time only exists in this world. On earth. In the universe time is completely different but we can't understand it because of how limited our minds are.

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natninja
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(Original post by AK12W)
Every second on the clock that ticks, every car that passes by your house, every single beat of the heart, and every single thought that passes through your mind as you read this post, every single day followed by night as the earth rotates, the light which reaches us from distant celestial bodies - everything seems to move "forward" consistently, through this phenomenon known as "time".

But fundamentally, what is it that keeps things in motion?


I reckon it's god. Bless my simple mind lol.
Reading list: Einstein Theory of Relativity
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