My father was a man obsessed with time. He was a master watchmaker and an engineer. His specialty in life was measuring time and matching events to the ticks of the clock. In practical terms he recorded when earthquakes occurred. I think for him time was a real thing, like heat or water.

I never thought about the nature of time. Does time exist? Now that is really quite a profound question. You and I exist. We go through life a day at a time. There was yesterday, here is today, and there will be tomorrow. But, in what sense might those moments have some form of reality. A rock is real. I can see it, pick it up, throw it at a window, and break the window. That is real. But, what can I do with time?

My ruminations about time were stimulated by an article in the American Scientist by Sara Walker and Lee Cronin (2023). They explain how Albert Einstein described time. For Einstein, time “is measured by the ticking of clocks; space is measured by the ticks on a ruler that record distances.” This is the essence of Einstein’s concept of space time. “Space is infinite and all points exist at once.” Time too, “has this property, which means that all times – past, present and future – are equally real.”

Now, we have the notion that time is physical, it exists, it can be counted. What does that imply about the universe. How about the universe is not random? If the universe were random then all things could pop into existence randomly and immediately. Maybe not. There is an idea called Assembly Theory, that asserts it takes time to assemble complex things like planets, people, automobiles, etc. So, time is what enables complex things to evolve. No time and the universe is just isolated atomic particles.

Another interesting quality of time is that the ticks get further apart the faster you go. If you could reach some indeterminate speed (speed of light) would the ticks come so infrequently that for all practical purposes time stood still? Could time ever go backwards?

I have a jar, that in reality is filled with sand, but the label on the bottle reads, “Extra Time.”


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About Author

Deepy (Deepthinker Oh) is an educational psychologist with a long standing love of journalism and previous experience as the editor of MANIERA magazine. Deepthinker Oh's use of the SLBN logo does not constitute approval by or a representation or endorsement from Linden Lab.

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