Update: 15th Aug 2020. I originally wrote the “Does Time Exist” article on a site called Wokenmind round about 2013. It received a lot of attention and with almost 200 comments, it is the most popular piece of content on this site. When I read it now, it seems poorly written and almost naive. However, it has its place and it was a decent effort for the time and place I found myself. My thoughts on matters of life, work, existence, time, space and reality haven't changed much fundamentally, only today I would probably write about them slightly differently.
Notwithstanding this, the truth remains unchanged for me; time, as an objective container for the universe does not exist. It has no independent reality outside my perception. Instead, time is a function of our relationship with the physical world and although we might rely on it in our everyday lives, it does not exist outside us. Like a ruler or a weighing scale, clocks offer us merely a symbol of reality, not reality itself. Time changes and shifts depending on both our physical and psychological state and we influence those states, therefore, we create time. And so, as Whitehead cautioned, we must be wary that our concepts of reality are not substituted for reality itself.
Does Time Exist?
In today's article I'm asking; does time exist? Is time merely an idea, an apparent function of relative experience, an arbitrary measurement of an illusory thing? Does time exist only in our minds, or is it something real, that we should spend carefully?
OK, that's several questions, but you get the picture…
Some scientists such as quantum gravitational researcher Carlo Rovelli and physicist Julian Barbour seem to believe that time is not real and should be removed from the equations of physics so that we can move forward with a unified theory.
Maybe they are correct, maybe not.
Regardless, time is sold to us as a precious commodity, something real and tangible. Society has taught us the idea that we live along some invisible line from birth to death and that it holds some invaluable currency that we must spend wisely.
I think it's a dumb idea and it doesn't fit for me. It's like a square peg round hole kind of thing. For me, it's merely a concept, one that has been afforded far too much relevance in modern life.
Time seems more like a tool to me, one that we should use to get things done in the relative world and be willing to put back on the shelf when we're finished with it.
Like a ruler or other measuring device, the clock and calendar are tools to gauge our position relative to other things and each other.
Time can be helpful, allowing us to arrange our affairs, plan meetings, go on holiday, celebrate events like birthdays and such, but we've become slaves to it.
We see the effects of something we have labelled “time” and state with assurance that it's real. However, I've explored this at length, and I'm in no doubt about its unreality.
Mind you; there are times when I forget, like when I get up late, and I'm firing the kids out the door to school. But when things quieten down, it becomes apparent.
If time is precious and valuable, then it looks like most of us are in trouble, because we seem to spend it like we have no regard for it whatsoever.
According to Science
Quantum Theory and non-locality goes something like this (in simple terms); Take two particles, A and B (photons or electrons for example). Pair them, then separate them, and put them on either side of the planet. Stimulate particle A, and particle B will react without any perceivable time delay.
In other words, both particles act at the same moment in time regardless of distance. A remarkable discovery, right? How can this be? We need to have a physical connection; we need to observe some interconnecting frequency waveform or something! It also means we’ve got an interaction between particles happening way beyond the speed of light
Well, not really.
Quantum studies are showing us, at the fundamental level, that our concept of time as we think of it of as a linear passage of events is wide of the mark, and in fact, there is no mark.
All points of reference are arbitrary; they are conveniences, they are non-existent in fundamental reality.
What's happening when we denote a point in space is we are collapsing a fluctuating field of vibration into solid form.
Renormalisation: Another Convenience
Take any point of reference in the universe, it can be a particle of matter or whatever, it doesn’t much matter (lol). The further you zoom in on the point the fuzzier it gets, the less defined it becomes and the less it seems to make sense, at least from a physical standpoint.
Science has a big problem with this. In its inability to define things absolutely, it comes up with another convenience to explain the indefiniteness of things.
Enter; Renormalisation. Renormalisation is science's way of solving mathematical problems which occur when we try to define the universe. It's a rounding up and down of the figures.
This inability to define things ultimately is not only observable at a quantum level, but also we can see this in everyday life too.
Let's talk about the room you're in, the floor, the carpet, the walls, the paint, the ceiling, the things in the room, how they look, where they came from etc.
We can talk about them forever, until the day we die. There is no end to the level to which we can delve into detail about a particular subject. On and on it goes.
Everything Is Consciousness
It's the same reason why world records are continually broken, and why ultramarathon runners can keep running further and further, and why scientists keep finding smaller and smaller and bigger and bigger stuff.
The reality is there are no points that exist in the universe; therefore there is no time. Time only becomes viable when we perceive there to be points of reference, and a distance travelled (by the observer) between those points of reference.
Time becomes especially real when we perceive these points of reference to be life events. All things are of a fundamentally psychic nature. Physical things are merely the collapse of psychic things into physical reality.
We’ve got this nervous system that perceives vibrational things as reality, and in using it, we become part of the scene, part of the experiment, part of the dance.
We can never indeed be separated from it, and that’s because we are it, a consciousness that is. Everything is consciousness either psychic or that same psychic stuff objectified.
In other words; it's the collapse of the field to what we call matter.
See more on the now famous Double Slit Experiment for an explanation of the seemingly contradictory behaviour of light as waveform and particle.
Well, I Remember Yesterday So Explain That!
Some would like to think that time is real and they’d say “well, I remember yesterday, and that was before, and here I am now, so there, that’s time that has passed”.
Let me explain what that is…
There is only now. We experience everything now, not in the past, and not in the so-called future, only now. If you can get with that, then you will understand. Yesterday is a memory of previous experiences, and our experiences don’t exist in a linear pattern, there is no line, no points. Remember the earlier paragraphs?
Some would say “well if there were no such thing as time then we would not die, there would be no decay, everyone would live forever”. This is another misunderstanding. What there are, are cycles of energy, not a single or multiple passages of linear time.
How it is that we perceive as we do, is because our consciousness is a single point of attention, a singularity you might say, and we are watching the movement of the energy through that single point of perception.
It is by our perception only that things appear to be, and not to be, to live and die. In fundamental reality, there is merely everything existent in a single moment, no movement.
Movement only becomes apparent when consciousness decides to fix itself in what we call reality. It’s a dimension of reality called physical reality, and it is our playground.
The following gif is a fair representation of what you are.
All there is, is now. Everything exists in an ever-present moment from which everything in the perceivable universe comes forth from. Things only seem to be separate by virtue of our relative experience.
It is accurate to say the point of creation is our point of focus, otherwise known in astronomical terms, as the Singularity.
The Singularity is the point from which all things we experience arise, and eventually, fall back into. I believe it is where consciousness itself dwells in a state of readiness.
What you see in the above simulation is a black hole/white hole pattern of the universe. When we try to define the singularity, the centre of the torus, we find we can not.
What is created passes through its cycle and then falls back into nothing, available again to become whatever it wants.
It is impossible to define the singularity in ultimate terms. Nassim Haramein has found that the centre of the torus is infinitely dense, or in other words, it contains the entire universe.
Fundamental reality has an infinite number of answers or possibilities, it has any number of possible outcomes. When the future comes about it does so now and is directly related to how we focus our minds.
The future does not exist until we create it. We are the factor, the parameter that decides the outcome whether our conscious waking mind realises it or not.
We can not isolate ourselves from the universe, we form part of the equation, always.
Mechanics Or Ecology?
The word “Mechanics” used in the term “Quantum Mechanics” indicates a machine like predictable, buildable, knowable thing. The Quantum Universe in which we live, whether we want to accept it is that or not, may seem on the surface to be mechanical and linear but it is not.
It is probably better to describe the Universe as an infinite number of spherically shaped universes one contained within the next. The Universe is better described as a self-replicating fractal system.
If we must give this still mystical system a name let's call it “Quantum Ecology” rather than “Quantum Mechanics” because it is built from within its self.
Everything comes out of the invisible, just the same way as you, me, and every other living organism does.
Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real. – Niels Bohr
The Shortfall of Scientific Understanding
The current predominant world paradigm that exists says that if a thing can not be explained, detailed, analysed and documented by linear scientific thought processes then it’s mumbo-jumbo. If you have a spiritual explanation for human existence then you’re crazy, you’re in dreamland.
The traditional scientific mindset says everything in the universe must be capable of explanation either now or at some point in the future by scientific analytic methods alone.
Except for the most advanced scientific thinkers such as Nassim Haramein, common thinking suggests that in the absence of scientific proof it’s not worth the time discussing. If it can not be put in a box with a label then we're not interested.
The game I play is an interesting one, it's imagination in a tight straitjacket – Richard Feynman; Theoretical Physicist
To me, although the current system of measurement and verification is actually moving in the right direction, it has a large portion missing.
Quantum particle behaviour cannot be explained in terms of science alone. That is to say, it can not be explained in terms of the waking mind because the waking mind by its nature functions on the basis that our reality is physical.
Our reality consists of things that cannot be broken down into individual bits. It cannot be explained in a linear mechanical fashion, so at some point, we will need to bridge the gap.
World & Personal Challenges
The concept of time is akin to the old world idea that the earth is flat, and we seem completely ruled by it. To expect to solve world issues by means of this linear thought is shortsighted at best. It merely reproduces the same problems over and over again.
Scientific research is the accepted modern leader of thought in the world, and that's a good thing. However, it needs to adopt a wider and deeper acceptance of the link between mind and matter. That is if it is to influence significant change towards a better world.
I recognise that science is incredibly valuable to us. It has provided the basis for all the technological advances in the world. But is this how we are to measure success as human beings on this planet?
I don’t think so.
At a micro level, at the level you and I function at, we need to stop putting off living. Stop racing around trying to get ahead, chasing our own tails.
The things we make important are really not. We spend the best years of our lives slaves to the clock, to employers to organisations and institutions.
In so doing we sacrifice our relationships, then rationalise our behaviour by telling ourselves we have no choice.
This western world behaviour is ultimately self-destructive and serves no one. We teach our kids to do the same thing and so on and on it goes.
Someday, we'll need to stop the clock.