Time Never Was, Never Is, And Never Will Be Our Ally

Time waits for no man. Unless the man is travelling at the speed of light.

So says the age old adage and Albert Einstein. (Referencing the aforementioned couple of sentences, and pun intended. Oh wait, was there a pun? Does my lack of self belief make it unintentional?)

Banalities aside, this being my first post, I thought I could write about a ‘thing’ or ‘commodity’ which it has become these days – as valuable as money – and probably more – TIME. It is time we talk about time. (Yes, pun intended.)

I will try to coin a few thoughts here – and there – no here so that it is befitting of the title of my blog – thoughtsthathavemass – and let me know if they are heavy.

A quick run up of the definitions of time would fetch us that ‘Time is the fourth dimension and a measure in which events can be ordered from the past through the present into the future.’.

A very rough comprehension of the first part of the definition yields this: Just like the spatial dimensions of x, y, z, time can also be used to define a body. Well, this is just me – as a layman – trying to get an overview. Let us suppose, that there is a universal origin for everything, yes, everything, somewhere in the universe. And I can be defined at (x, y, z) from this universal origin. I can, also be defined as {x, y, z, (October 4, 2014)} and {x, y, z, (October 5, 2014)} if I stay in the same place on both days. But, the time is variable, just like it’s spatial counterparts. Like I said, this is just my comprehension, as a layman. It might sound more like science fiction – but then again – fascinating nevertheless.

Now, a round up of the term ‘dimension’ would fetch this: In physics and mathematics, the dimension of a space or object is informally defined as the minimum number of coordinates needed to specify any point within it.

Time is a dimension. It is the fourth dimension. It is required to describe a body. Meaning, it is variable. Just like the spatial dimensions of length, width and depth, time can be altered. Time can be negative.

Wait wait. That is not right, is it? Or is it?

If we can have negative distance, like -10 from a hypothetical origin, can we not have -10 seconds from the same origin?

My point of argument is that we can. If the origin is not the beginning of time in itself, in which case, we do not know what was there preluding it.

That aside, if we can change or reduce the spatial coordinates of an object, can we not do the same for time? Let me vouch for this abstract thought with an example. I have a square box. It is 10 cm long, wide and thick. The hypothetical universal origin for this would be at the geometric center of the box, say. Therefore, a point on the face of the box can be described as (5, 5, 5), no? And this can be varied, if I can sufficiently apply enough pressure to sort of crush it. After which, the point would have to be described as (3, 3, 3), say. This goes to show that these spatial dimensions, that define a point can be altered.

Therefore, time, also being a dimension, can be altered? This brings us to the crossroads of the concept of time travel.

Actually, the term in itself is ironic. We are travelling in time, all the time. Seconds, minutes, hours, days are just human frameworks. Terms we use to satisfy and convince ourselves that this is how time is measured. Bah, us. Keeping our way of measurement apart, there has been a significant ‘lapse’ from the ‘beginning of time’ to ‘now as you are reading this very word’ so we know time has passed.

So, we are unconsciously time travelling, always. Hence time travel must be rephrased – can we time travel faster?

Einstein said yes, we can. If one were to travel at the speed of light, he would actually travel into the future. This was a part of his theory of relativity. I have always picturised this with a wild example blown out of proportion. A person should take two seconds to travel to the moon and back at the speed of light, unless he goes shopping on the moon. But, on returning he would have noticed that 2 years have passed by on earth. This concept is really interesting. I wonder – if I travel at a speed less than the speed of light, will I still travel into the future – only at a slower pace? Which points out that we are indeed always travelling into the future? Definitely food for thought. Ah, so thoughts do have mass (title of my blog). You can thank me later.

Is the reverse true? Can we go back in time? This is slightly difficult in my view. I ascribe the view to the fact that, we cannot affect the past, but we can effect the future. We cannot un-eat a cake already eaten, but we can plan to eat a cake in the future. This way, our present effects our future, but does in no way affect the past – something which is done and dusted.

Ah well, I am signing off for now. The more I try to understand this, the less understandable it seems. Hence, the title is befitting.

Time never was, never is, and never will be our ally. Literally and figuratively.

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4 Comments

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  1. Very deep 🙂 enjoyed reading it 🙂

  2. Nice.. Keep writing

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