I’ve been doing some deep meditation about time, from an intuitive point of view, not subjecting my thoughts to the physics and math–though trying also not to violate what we currently know.
I have had an impression since a very young age that space-time doesn’t quite work how we think it does–namely, Einstein’s theories, plus quantum mechanics. Sometimes after exploring the complex route, you end up learning in the end that the simpler explanation is better. Not strictly Occam’s Razor but a pragmatic approach.
We think of the first dimension as a line of infinite length but no width. But isn’t a line made of points which occupy no space at all, just theoretical estimates of a location? No, it turns out, a point is a vector and is easier to think about in 3D terms.
Next, the second dimension is a plane, flat surface, which might be viewed as made up of parallel lines, infinite in all four directions but flat, having no height.
The third dimension rises upward from the 2D plane, as if there are infinite planes stacked upon each other, and you end up with a cube shape–as a visualization. But it’s not really a cube, as all 6 sides have infinite length. But we think of 3D in terms of objects, it can be viewed abstractly.
What, then, is the 4th dimension, which is commonly misunderstood to be TIME? To understand time, I began thinking about the other three dimensions. When we move around, we are in 3D space, and one dimension of Time, according to Einstein. But time is not MOVING. That’s the misconception I feel intuitively (again, if I were a math/phsics major, these thoughts would have been culled in order to survive), that time does not move of its own accord.
To move in the first dimension requires the second. Why? Because, if you imagine yourself a point, you cannot move along a line without the second dimension pushing you along–there’s no driver, or engine, so to speak. You can’t rise up and choose the location along the line where you wish to be, and place yourself there, without the second dimension–the plane/surface.
Likewise, you cannot move through a 2D plane without the third dimension as a driver. Physicists will call me a dullard here for not understanding basic geometry or Cartesian math. Except I do, as a computer science major, and probably understand it far better than any theoretical mathematician for having rendered things with these tools. They are trained to shut down such divergences of their beloved theories, ignoring the fact of history, how the status quo has always been wrong. Copernicus. Galileo. Einstein.
Movement in 2D occurs mathematically via transforms, and we estimate such movements with geometry and matrix math. I know that. But rise up above the algorithms… see these concepts from a higher perspective, not down among the dimensionless points… To move in 2D required the third. Thus, to move in the third requires… the 4th. Incorrectly labeled TIME.
What is the 4th dimension? It is the driver of the third. When you move in the third, the first and second are encapsulated and move with it, like the air in a wheel attached to a bicycle. You CAN potentially use them individually, but not out of order–you can’t adjust within the third while ignoring the first or second. But how do you actually MOVE in the three dimensions? Again, that is where the 4th comes in: Like the 3rd is required to move in the 2nd, so the 4th is required to move in the 3rd.
Why? Why is that required? Is there a theory? Don’t throw theories at me–that’s why we only figured out so late that the Earth rotates around the Sun. But I’ll explain as I perceive it.
If you are within the 3 dimensions, you may perceive yourself as a point. Nevermind that your body has volume, imagine your center of mass being at one point in the universe, defined as X,Y,Z, for the dimensions 1,2,3. You can be a point in that 3D volume. But can you move? NOT without the 4th dimension. It is not time, it is the engine or mechanism by which movement is possible in the 3rd.
If there was no matter or energy anywhere in the universe, just the structure of space, say–would the 4th dimension still exist? It surely could not be measured without matter or energy, but assuming you have an omnipotent awareness and are looking at the universe from outside, would there be time? Perhaps. But it is not an “object” the way our culture perceives it. Time is a misnomer. the 4th dimension is like the 3rd, and the 2nd, and the 1st, but it contains them all, and makes it possible to perform transforms in space–say, vector based movement, to get a bit mathematical. Choose a direction and begin moving, by whatever means you can–walking, rocket engine, etc. The 4th allows those translations to occur. But it is not a separate “thing” that can be manipulated. It is one dimension beyond the third.
The reason science still does not understand time, and must use analogy and abstraction, is due to viewing it as a thing separate from space. “Space-Time”. Yes, if you define space as merely 3D, but it is not, because movement occurs in space, movement of matter and energy. Even the orbit of electrons is movement, requiring the 4th dimension, without which everything would be frozen. “frozen in time”. No, think of the 4th not as time, but as moving in the 3rd.
From that view, is Time truly a LINE, as explained by popular theorists, so neck deep in academic brainwashing that they can’t think straight? How can “time” be a “line” if it is merely the dimension that allows movement in the lower three? The 4th dimension IS ALSO part of space. It does not begin or end or go backward, it is merely movement in the 3rd. And as such, there is no time travel in the past. Into the future, yes, because time slows down near gravity. But not reversal. Why?
To answer that question, again, look at the lower dimensions. With the help of the 2nd–the PLANE–can you travel backward on a 1D line? Think about it… (Jeopardy music)… Can you go backward with vector math? By negating the vector, you can go “backwards”, but that is still just movement opposite to your point of view. A line has an origin (0) and infinite length in both + and – in two directions. IN TWO DIRECTIONS. It is the 1st dimension, but moves in TWO WAYS. See what I’m getting at?
Think of going “backward in time” in 2D… Say you’ve moved a chess piece 10 inches across a table. That movement has a vector, a position, etc, on the “table” (e.g. a 2D plane). How many directions can you move in on that table? More than TWO! You can go left, right, forward, backward, relative to the surface of the table. That’s FOUR directions.
Taking this argument further into 3D, you can move around in a total of SIX directions, by visualizing vectors moving outward in all 3 dimensions, + and -. That’s where we get the idea of a cube, only the cube’s edges are infinitely far away (and in fact do not exist as there is no boundary). Again, visualization is required for human comprehension.
Can you then go forward or backward in “time”? How? That question implies that time is a line, forward and backward, + and -. It is not! Time has EIGHT directions. How do you visualize that? First, note that you can’t use that sort of movement without a 5th dimension, and I haven’t given that any thought whatsoever. 4D is hard enough. To understand this, recall the lower 3. Can you move in a straight line in 2D or 3D? Sure! Can you move diagonally across a 2D plane in 3D space? Sure! Just move in precisely that direction. You exist in 3D while moving in a more limited manner, emulating 1D or 2D.
Likewise, in the 4th, you may move in 3D terms without making use of the 4th. That is what makes movement possible–even if there’s more to the 4th that requires more thought. In any event, it is not a line, does not go merely forward and backward, + or -, as on a 1D line. Could we move in the negative direction in “time”? No. Like moving “backward” in 1D or 2D, you are merely moving forward in a negative direction. That does not reverse the flow of events.
And if one were to take this logic a step further, there is no such thing as “the past”. The “past” exists merely as our memories of our state previously. If nothing changes in the universe–if everything is standing still and you do not move, then you will have no memory of having changed your state, and the “past” will be indistinguishable from the present, which is all that truly exists. Nothing exists in the past. It is a misnomer, a fault of logic, a misunderstanding of the universe.