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Tue Mar 11, 2014 13:15

My definition of time is: that ethereal essence by which we detect, measure, record and predict change in matter in the amphitheater of space.

***A worthy effort. I'm sure you also meant energy (in addition to matter). I would say that Time is a process of events with associated durations (measured by your clocks), some of which being regular, but these durations and measurements thereof, are not the same for all viewpoints identified by relative speed and presence of a gravitational field. Essentially derived from Special Relativity.***

~~~Yes, my definition of matter presupposes energy therein (and I should have been clearer on that ... I shall incorporate that into my definition at a future "time"), the energy to effect change over time and in space. I would agree that the duration and measurement of a given event may differ according to different vantage points taken at different relative speeds and gravitational fields, but the event itself and its actual duration are what they are in an absolute sense .... they have an existence of their own, devoid of observation. I feel like I am chasing my tail on this sometimes, for it is difficult to separate the event from the observer. :)~~~


Note that I said "we".

Our sense of "time" enables us to put things into the perspectives of the past, present and future.

***I would say that our psychological sense of past, present, and future enables us to derive a notion of time, for without those temporal categories all
we would have is continual change (which in a sense is what we really have anyway) which would make an understanding of time shallow and threadbare.***

~~~Aha!, perhaps I got my subject and object reversed. I was perhaps attempting to say the same thing, but your phrasing is more precise. Thanks.~~~


Because some changes in matter are more or less constant, we are able to predict the change in matter at a future time, the quickest and perhaps most obvious example being a clock ... my clock will say 10:00 AM CDT in exactly one hour.

***Some events do have a regularity to their patterns of duration, but those regularities are not the same for two individuals traveling at different velocities or within different gravitational fields. Again, just Special Relativity.***

~~~Agreed, as noted above.~~~


The fundamental foundation of our notion of time is entirely dependent upon the rotation of Earth on its axis, the revolution of Earth around the Sun, (and, to a much lesser extent, the movement of our Moon, other planets and other entities in space). We have created an analog simulator of Earth's movement in the form of a mechanical, electronic or atomic clock.

***I agree that the primary temporal experience is the Day (Earth on axis), but I would place the Moon's effect (a month) before that of the year (Earth around Sun) simply because in an agrarian society paying attention to a monthly cycle is more important to successful harvests than a notion of 'year' is. Also used for subdivisions of a year are noticeable changes in the apparent constellations in the sky.***

~~~Perhaps, but our months (28, 29, 30 & 31 days) do not tie to the cycle of the moon (28.25 days more or less), and I suspect that most urban people pay little or no attention to the lunar cycle ... in Beijing, they probably are not even aware of the moon because of the air pollution. :)

As an aside, think of the effect on our lives and commerce if Earth slowed its axial rotation and/or solar revolution by 50%~~~


Again, my definition of time is: that ethereal essence by which we detect, measure, record and predict change in matter in the amphitheater of space.

***Yes, and you already know mine.***

Our notion of time is principally based on change in the matter of Earth.

***Matter and energy, in this case, solar radiation.***

The realization of "time" is dependent entirely on sentience. There has to be an observer of the change in matter for the phenomenon of time to exist.

***So the tree doesn't fall if there is no one present to hear it? That rings a bit too solipsistic to me. Also sounds like a statement from one who has recently been exposed to quantum mechanics, and the measurement problem described therein.***

~~~Although my idea conjures up the notion of the tree falling in the forest, I think there is a fundamental difference. I find it hard to conflate sound waves with time. How do we do that?~~~


Without sentience to note change in matter, I submit that there is no time ... only eternal and timeless change in matter.

***But change in matter is the key feature in you base your nascent theory of time on! If change in matter occurs, time must exist. 'Our measurement' is a verb; matter(energy) is a noun. We can measure till the cows come home, but without the change in matter displacements no time will be realized. The 'change in matter' permutations are what the whole shebang is dependent upon. I don't believe that the flipping of the 'quantime deck' is dependent on anyone's noticing that it is flipping.***

~~~I have some preliminary reflections, but they are like waves on the sea, bobbing up and down, so I got'ta think more on this before I formulate a response. I will be back on this one.~~~


Our yesterdays exist only due to our sentience and memory. When we are gone, there are no yesterdays for us, and any trace of us would exist only if someone takes the steps to preserve the memory of us.

***This is exactly what I (and certain professional physicists) are arguing against. Once manifest, each now continues to exist as part of the 'cosmic loaf' (with apologies to Greene), and will continue on eternally. I think you place far too much emphasis on human presence for these things to exist, but hey, that's just me.***

If we are unknowingly lost at sea, it could be that nobody ever remembers us, so we and any memory of us vanishes forever, as if we never existed. It could be that we pass into an "afterlife", and I would certainly hope so, but the notion of an afterlife is based principally on religious faith, which would be better addressed in a separate thread.

That's where I am in my journey to an understanding of the nature of reality.

***The journey only ends when our bodies die. But I now believe the journey, such as it was, will always be that journey, forever etched into the fabric of that particular sequence of NOWS in the great cosmic loaf.***

~~~I cannot "buy" into the "cosmic loaf" theory as such. For me, each event is what it is, and when it is over, it is over. There is no slice in the loaf to go back to. The reality, or better, lack of reality thereof bears this out. We may remember the event, but we cannot go back and resurrect it ... it is gone forever.~~~


I shall look forward to more discussion on this. Thanks for your much-valued thoughts and time. There's that word again: "time". :)

  • u ~ u, Tue Mar 11 13:01
    My definition of time is: that ethereal essence by which we detect, measure, record and predict change in matter in the amphitheater of space. ***A worthy effort. I'm sure you also meant energy (in... more
    • v ~ v, Tue Mar 11 13:15
      • Re: v ~ Anonymous, Wed Mar 12 13:53
        • test ~ Anonymous, Thu Apr 24 10:48
          • test ~ Anonymous, Mon May 19 12:56
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