In the past I have pretty vehemently stated that I don’t believe time is relative. That matter is relative, time is stable, and sometimes we mix up our perceptions or our lack of understanding of matter with our understanding of time, and as such get erroneous results when we perceive time to be relative.
However, I sometimes look over at the abandonned lawn on the other side of the fence and wonder why its still growing so well and still looks trimmed.
I’ve started to think about, assuming that time is relative, how or why that could or would be. In the past I have stated that I think of time as an all encompassing cube of advancing time. Whatever the size of the universe, time completely envolops it. Further more, at the time, I was talking about the universe as we know/perceive it today. From the big bang, to our current understanding of a constantly expanding universe. However, from this point on, when I say the beginning of time, I mean from the very first moment anything happened, at all. Which would probably far predate the big bang. When I say the end of time, I refer to a state in which time might actually still occur, but in which there has been an absolute break down of everything else, and there is no matter whatsoever left in the universe.
Assuming my cube of time analogy is correct, I have two potential explanations of why I think time might seem or even be relative.
If the complete universe is fixed. (This means regardless of whatever is happening in the universe, there is a fixed and finite edge that can be reached at some point in time.):
If the unviverse is fixed and finite, then there can only be so much time that can fit in the universe. Just as you measure the volume of a box in terms of L X W X H you would add X Tcbe (the complete length of time from the beginning of existance to the end) to get the complete volume of existance. Now, assume that time marches on regardless of the existance of matter. If that is the case, the amount off time that matter exists actually starts to get relatively smaller per second in the total scheme of time the universe can generate of ongoing time. Think of it this way. If you had a timeline bar, and that timeline bar is exactly one foot long no matter what amount of time you are presenting on it, then any event on that bar gets pushed closer and closer to the beginning of time as more time adds to the end of the bar. As this happens all the events and time instants on the bar compress and get smaller and smaller in perspective. Now imagine that everything that has existed in those time instances are overlapping the timeline. Those items are affected by time, can perceive time where conciousness is available, but might not realize that every second they live, they don’t get closer to the end of time, but to the beginning of time. If we can never divide anything in half to the point where we run out of material, perhaps time works off the same limitation. As the amount of time keeps growing, the smaller the time has to physically be in order to fit in that complete timeline. If we can’t run out of matter by eternally cutting it in half, then perhaps we can’t run out of time by eternally doubling it. But if we keep doubling it, it still has to fit in that timeline, and as such, which each tick of the clock, time actually becomes a smaller increment. The total amount of time double, the physical space in the over all timeline that time inhabits halves. So, if you were to go somewhere at a high rate of speed, and then return, its possible that you have gained some time, because every second you were traveling, time actually got smaller and smaller from the perspective of the moment of time that you returned.
As an example, if you had five quarters lined up as a representaion of five units of time, and for now lets pretend that you would go to a smaller coin in order of coin size each time you moved forward one second in time. Now put your finger on the first coin, and that is second number one. Move your finger to the next coin In the second second,but you’d replace the coins with however many nickles fit in the same space that the quarters did and put your finger on the last of that coin denomination that woud match where the second second would end. Repeat the process: in the third second you’d have however many pennies fit in that same space, in the fourth second however many dimes would fit in that same space, and in the fifth second, some other smaller coin. My point is, you traveled five seconds, but in that time, you created more increments of time by simply increasing the amount of time. If you made the return trip, the coins that fill that same time line would get smaller still. Physically time will seem the same to us. But some objects (including us) may actually age faster as a result of this effect. So thats my first explanation.
Next, lets assume that that the universe is not fixed. That it is constantly expanding and growing.
Technically if the universe/space is constantly expanding, growing, increasing… Then time would have to follow suit. The more space there is, the more time there would be to envelop that space. But in this case, time does not have to get smaller. In fact, the size of time may be constant in this case, because there is always more matter to accomodate the extra time. However, space becomes highly relative to time at that point, because for every increment of time that is created, a certain amount of space is (just to keep it simple) uniformly created at the edges of the universe, and in spots that need to be filled in in the stretchmarks of the universe (which is what I picture dark matter to be). The extra “space” that that time takes up as that matter is created is still representative of one tick of times clock. So for every tick of times clock the universe gets bigger, the size of an increment of time stays the same, and there is significantly more matter. As a result, time may actually seem to get larger and larger every tick of time from the perspective of matter. Because just as before time got relatively smaller the more there was too it, now matter gets relatively smaller the more there is too it.
Before I used coins as an analogy, but in this case, I want to use sticks. Imagine that you have your time line and you have however many sticks representing how much matter there is in the universe at any given point along the time line. Physically, you can keep adding sticks, there is plenty of room to add sticks, and the sticks can all be the same size. But if you want to keep a complete view of matter, you’d have to pull back a bit to see it all..now all the sticks will seem to get smaller, even though they didn’t. Pull back further, and you can see the length of the time line.. Again, time will continue past the existance of the universe. So the more time there is, the less amount of space on the time line that matter will take up and the smaller the time of existance of the universe will seem to be. Another analogy might be that if you could write your life story in a book, it might amount to a few hundred or even a few thousand pages. Earth’s story might fit in the entirety of an encyclopedia set. But time would have to occupy every book ever to exist. Imagine someone tried to tell you to read every book ever created in the same time you wroie your book. Wouldn’t the work in front of you seem impossibly and frustratingly infinite? No matter how long the universe exists, I strongly suspect time existed long before, and will exist long after the universe. From the universes’ standpoint, time is a constant march of , “But wait! There’s more!” So if you move in space, every moment you move, there is more space, and even more time in existance from the beginning of time.
As I type this last thought process, I can tell my analogies are not really holding up. But I think you’ll still get the general idea. Actually, one last analogy, maybe this one nails it.. Imagine the complete time as a bucket. Now imagine the existance of the unviverse as a bucket that is once size down. Now in this case, if I fit the universe bucket in the time bucket, it doesn’t quite make it to the bottom and the brim of the universe bucket is a few inchest from the top/brim of the time bucket. Now lets fill both buckets with water. Everything below the universe bucket is the beginning of time to creation. Everything above the universe bucket is the end of existance to the end of time. If the universe bucket is expanding, the time bucket has to expand to allow space for the universe bucket. Assuming they expand univerally together, each time the brim of the of buckets grow there is more and more waters in both buckets. But if you take it as a whole, there will always be considerably more water in the time buck than there is in the universe bucket. Now depending on how you are epanding the buckets you can actually keep the bottom of the time bucket the same size, and its just the brims of both buckets that get bigger and bigger. If you do that then the universe bucket will always seem closer to the bottom of the time bucket, or closer to the beginning of time than the end of time,. But if the bottom of the time bucket were also to grow as the brims grew, and the bottom of the universe bucket were doing the same, then your universe bucket would actually seem closer to the top of the time bucket, or closer to the end of time. Again, ,this analogy isn’t perfect, but I think it’s closer to the point than my first two were. No matter how big the universe bucket gets, the time bucket will always be considerably larger. The water in the universe bucket is also the water in the time bucket. But there is more water in the time bucket than can fit in the universe bucket. Now imagine being a fish swimming back and forth in the universe bucket. Each time you travel back and forth the amount of space and the amount of time it takes you to complete the journey gets longer and longer. But time will be more perceptably longer than space. Yes, I think that covers it. Finally.
So, now that you’ve read through all of this.. Which do you think is more likely? Which do you think fits the math? For now, I’d appreciate if just these options are discussed, but after a few days or weeks, whichever point this thread slows down (if it picks up at all) you can enter other options in too. I just don’t want to make this issue too confusing up front.