What is Time?

Video Transcription:

Introduction

This is probably one of the most difficult questions you can ever ask a physicist or philosopher… I am not a physicist – yet – nor a philosopher, but here I am, little old me, not only wondering about the nature of time, but also making a first ever Youtube video about it. My aim is to make you think, to create discussion… And of course, I hope you enjoy the video!

The answer to what time is may be as simple as "Time is what the ticks of a clock measure" or "Time is what keeps everything from happening all at once". But let's dig a little bit deeper and make this video a bit more fun!

Newtonian Time versus Relativistic Time

Let's start with Newtonian time. Newton's view of reality implied that time was external and absolute. Newton's time is a kind of container, where events take place in a completely deterministic way, linearly and independently of the observer.

Then came Einstein. His theory of special relativity, and then general relativity, both led to the conclusion that time is relative to the observer. Time depends on where you are and how you move relative to others. There is no such thing as universal time. Space and time are constrained by c (the velocity of light) in such a way that the "now" of one observer is not the same as the "now" of another observer. Mass, equally, can also distort space and time.

Time dilation and length contraction are not just theoretical constructs within an elegant theory. These effects have been tested again and again without failure; at macroscopic scales, Einstein's theory has been shown to be a very good model of reality.

Let's talk about time dilation with an example. We have the elementary particles called muons, which have a half-life of around 1.5 microseconds. That means that if we have, say, 100 muons in the lab, after 1.5 microsecond has elapsed, we will have, on average, 50 muons left. The other 50 will have disintegrated. After another 1.5 microsecond, we will have, on average, 25 muons left… And so on.

These particles are produced at the edge of our atmosphere due to incoming cosmic rays hitting air molecules. They are constantly produced so there is a constant fall of muons towards the Earth's surface, travelling at nearly the speed of light. What is observed experimentally is that more muons are detected than one would have expected, when we consider their average lifetime.

This fact can only be accounted for when we use the model of time and space given by Einstein's special relativity theory, where time and space are constrained by c, the velocity of light, and so times and positions are relative to the observer. In this case, from our point of view, the muon's own time appears dilated. More of them can reach the earth's surface, from our perspective, because a second of their time lasts longer than a second of our time.

So we can see that from the very beginning of last century, the concept of absolute time was shattered, and time was understood as being completely dependent on the observer. Newton's absolute time is only a good approximation, when speeds are low and when we can effectively neglect the effects of nearby masses.

A and B Theories of Time

Now, let's take a look at the concept of time from a philosophical point of view. We have what is called the A theory of time and the B theory of time. These were introduced by the philosopher John McTaggart at the beginning of last century as well.

The A theory of time says that the only "real" time is the present; the past is gone and the future exists as just a probability distribution, a potentiality of possible things that can happen. There is no set future – on a kind of imaginary line "laid out there" for us – just waiting to happen. Therefore, the future is not "real".

On the other hand, the B theory of time says that past, present and future all co-exist, and are as "real" as each other. The B theory says that the distinction between past, present and future are just an illusion of consciousness.

One of the consequences drawn by many orthodox physicists as a result of either Newtonian physics or relativity theory is that determinism is a fact. That the past completely determines the future, and hence, all what has happened since, say, the big bang, was determined by the initial conditions, including you and me and our actions, thoughts and feelings. There is no room for free will, which is seen as just an illusion, when we take this deterministic point of view.

Hence, it seems that it is the B theory of time, not A, the model of time that most closely agrees with the classical equations of physics.

So… It appears that common sense agrees with A Theory, but classical physics agrees with B Theory. Could it be that time is a bit more complicated than what A or B theories of time suggest? That reality is a mixture of the two ideas? Could it be that a linear model of time is not a good approximation of reality? We will explore this issue in a bit when we talk about Quantum Physics.

My Personal View on the Nature of Time

Now – before going into quantum physics – let's take a little break. How do I personally think of time? What is my own experience of time?

On a personal level, I intuitively feel that time is not some mysterious external dimension or construct that flows in the forward direction, that kind of dictates in what order events can happen, but I feel that it is rather a much much more fundamental concept, even more so than space.

I see time as a concept that is intricately linked to the individual's perception of change. I think of time as "the perception of duration, of change and the ordering of events" by a living entity or, in fact, you could say, by a conscious entity (here I'm defining consciousness in line with awareness, hence animals and primitive organisms would have their own concept of time, depending on how they perceive change).

On the other hand, I do not see time as a strict illusion either, nor as a block of events completely determined beforehand.  I see it as a pliable tool which, when used within this particular universe, it enables our experience of 3D space and the perception of the ordering of events.

In this way, I often ask myself that, if time can be thought of as the perception of change… what happens when there is no change and no perception? Imagine you are somehow still conscious, but confined in a universe where nothing ever happens and you have no perception of any change whatsoever occurring (this reality would obviously be nothing like our physical universe).

What are you left with? The first thing that comes to mind is that time does not make sense in such a universe, it does not exist, unless change can be perceived by some sort of being or beings that populate it so that some order can be assigned as to what goes first, what goes after, etc. Maybe time could be thought of as a perpetual "now" under those conditions.

And all these thoughts obviously bring up the idea of universal versus relative or, we could say, individual time. However, here we are talking of ideas beyond Einstein's relativity theory. We are not talking about time and space in our physical universe obeying certain rules, whereby c, the velocity of light, and mass, restrict how space-time behaves… but in addition to this, we are talking about time being something that is meaningless in the absence of an entity / a being (or a consciousness, an awareness) who is able to perceive change, therefore being able to assign a "before" and an "after" to events that occur.

Are Space and Time Fundamental?

The other idea that I often wonder about, and that I feel is very important too is: are space and time fundamental? If so, are they equally fundamental? Could it be that one is more fundamental than the other?

I intuitively see time as more fundamental than space. I can sort of picture a reality, a state (let's say a state outside of this universe) where space does not exist but time does, where only patterns of "states" exist and there is a chronological order that can be perceived between them (this is analogous to, say, my thought space, when I meditate for instance…and I reach certain states, where there is no feeling or perception of space, but there is definitely a perception or distinction between different states and a perception of which one preceded which).

So time can be thought of as a fundamental structure that allows perception of order between changing states or patterns (that is, order as in before and after).

A property can then be added so that there isn't just order between states, but there is also a rule that regulates the basic fundamental tick between events, beyond which change can not be perceived. In our physical universe, this fundamental duration could be the Planck time. I will expand on the concept of the Planck units in other videos.

On the other hand, I cannot imagine the perception of a 3D physical space, existing independently, without time. The way we perceive physical space is dependent on the time it takes for light to reach our eyes. Even if we talk about non-visual perception, all other types of physical senses are constrained by the velocity at which information within space can be transferred physically to our senses. So any successful perception of 3D physical space is tied to the existence of time.

Computer Simulations

This is of course, my own interpretation of time. But what does current science have to say about this? Well, recent research carried out by a particular quantum gravity research team, involving quantum universe simulations, seem to indicate that time is fundamental (not emergent), that it existed before space, and not only that, but their theory says that time has no beginning nor has it got an end!

(For references, please see the video links at the bottom, in particular, the talks by Renate Loll, a professor of theoretical physics).

As computer simulations get better and better with time, it will be fascinating to see what kind of universes can be created and what we can learn about the nature of our reality.

Existence of an Objective Reality / Consciousness

All these concepts are inevitably linked to the debate of whether the world exists out there, independently, without needing aware or conscious entities to perceive it. It seems that my particular interpretation of time, as I have discussed so far, does not make sense unless some sort of consciousness is involved (be it a consciousness perceiving our universe from within it or from outside of it).

So, is there an objective reality out there when there are no conscious beings to perceive it? This is a fascinating subject that quantum mechanics brought to the surface within the context of science, at the beginning of last century; a subject which was by no means new and which many religions and philosophers had already debated for thousands of years. But the fact that this can now be studied within physics is very very exciting.

When it comes to consciousness, unfortunately, many physicists cringe when they hear this word. However, this debate was NOT started as a kind of new-age idea, but rather, it started within the context of experimental science (for example, when discussing the possible interpretations of the double-slit experiment results).

It seems to me, that it is partly due to some new-age ideas that flourished later on, which use quantum mechanics as a kind of platform to support their theories about reality, that today many scientists feel uncomfortable when having to consider consciousness as having a fundamental role in the way the physical universe works (let me clarify, this is independently of the validity of these new-age ideas… I personally have no problem with any kind of ideas, as I try not to have any prejudices or pre-conceptions). The important thing to remember is that these ideas were initially brought to the surface by many of the eminent scientists who were at the forefront of quantum mechanics at the time.

Einstein, Bohr, Schrödinger, Heisenberg, Wigner, Bohm, Wheeler…. The list goes on. These are not new-age quacks (a word that pseudo-skeptics seem to over use these days, in my opinion) but the very brilliant minds who laid the foundations of quantum mechanics.

Most of these scientists didn't just shut up and calculate (a very famous quote by Feynman) but they discussed the philosophical, metaphysical and physical interpretations of quantum mechanics. Consciousness (or mind), the existence of objective reality, the illusion of time… These were not new age ideas, but very important ideas about reality that originally came from the bunch of brilliant scientists who created quantum theory.

I find it very unfortunate that many mainstream scientists today seem to want to distance themselves from any discussions involving consciousness, because they associate it with new-age, spiritual or religious ideas of the universe. There are too many links with eastern philosophy or religion for their taste….

Not to mention the incredible difficulty of introducing something as immaterial as consciousness into a purely materialistic view of the universe.  I find this quite sad, because when science finds something that challenges the current paradigm, and there is enough evidence, in my opinion, that maybe we are actually missing a very important part of the equation, we should strive to think outside of the box to explain it, rather than trying to make it fit into our existing (materialistic) view of the universe.

Time and Quantum Physics

Ok, so let's go back to the concept of time, and explore how it can be perceived from the point of view of quantum physics. I will try to be brief here, as I will make plenty more videos on quantum physics in the future, including all its different interpretations.

Quantum physics provides a view of the microscopic world which is based on probability distributions. Particles do not seem to be actual physical particles as we think of them, unless they are observed. In the meantime, they seem to exist in some sort of probability realm, in a superposition of states that obeys a particular wave equation, that is, Schrödinger's equation. When a measurement is made – meaning that information is made available and retrieved in the macroscopic reality regarding some property of the particle – then the wavefunction is said to collapse.

The otherwise deterministic probability wave, suddenly jumps from a superposition of possible states to just one. It seems that the observer has a very fundamental role in the "now" moment when reality is observed, when a measurement is taken. So reality appears to be a deterministic flow in probability space, until, voilà, somebody decides to look, and one particular state is picked from this probability cloud (seemingly randomly), and then reality takes a definite form. Both the "now" moment in time and the observer seem to be crucial in the description of reality.

Now, let's talk briefly about the arrow of time, entropy and the deterministic equations of physics. Ok, so it is a fact that, within our physical universe, we observe the arrow of time to point in the direction of increasing entropy – increasing disorder. Causality is preserved, yet it does not seem to appear as a fundamental thing within our equations.

The arrow of time is not found within the fundamental equations of classical physics. There is nothing in these equations that says that "now" is different from "two hours ago" or "4 hours into the future", or that past should precede the present, for that matter. On the other hand, the (statistical) 2nd Law of Thermodynamics shows that the arrow of time points in the direction of increasing disorder; and this emerges from the study of macroscopic systems.

On the other hand, I find the work of Renate Loll and her team very interesting in this respect. Their work points in the direction of a very fundamental role for the arrow of time in universes like ours, when we look at the problem from the perspective of a microscopic universe, using quantum gravity, studying space-time at the Plank scales (using simulations).

A Classical Universe Versus a Probabilistic Universe

But let's rewind a little bit now in order to compare the classical perspective with the probabilistic perspective. The classical equations of physics do not differentiate between "now" and "before / after".

There is also no possibility for free will in the deterministic equations of physics. In fact "now" only takes centre stage from the point of view of an observer who can be aware, possibly with free will, that experiences only the "now" moment, who can somehow influence reality by the very act of observing.

So I can't help but conclude that no wonder the classical equations of physics cannot explain the importance of the "now" instant of time. The observer and the effect it has on reality have no place at all in classical physics.

In fact, even the Schrödinger equation in quantum physics is inherently deterministic, until observation / measurement takes place, precisely at the "now" moment, the present. And it is precisely then, as if by magic, that collapse takes place, and determinism ceases to exist… The collapse of the wave function (the collapse of determinism) takes place at the precise "now" moment when "knowledge" or information about the system is retrieved in this reality in a macroscopic way (an observation takes place).

So a way to look at this is to see the deterministic part of quantum mechanics (Schrödinger's equation) as a model that describes what goes on in the background (that is, outside our space-time, in a probabilistic realm) when we are not actively retrieving information from there into our space-time.

The "now" moment is also crucial because it is the moment when a conscious observer's free will can actually operate, if we assume consciousness and free will not to be an illusion, but a real entity that is fundamental in the way we describe our reality.

It is not the case, in my opinion, that we are forced to go from a deterministic view of the universe to one based on a mixture of determinism and pure randomness, as some physicists and philosophers seem to extrapolate from quantum mechanics. It is true that simple double-slit experiments do not explicitly show conclusive evidence of an interaction between consciousness (including free will) and the quantum realm. They can be interpreted in different ways, for instance, using just explanations which regard information or "knowledge" as the key factor.

However, there are numerous other experiments that not only show that things are actually a little bit more complicated than what I have described so far, but that consciousness (and free will) can indeed influence the outcome of a quantum experiment, by having the power to alter the probability distribution that describes the system in between definite physical states.

In this way, what would be an otherwise deterministic Schrödinger's equation (which is the probability cloud going on in the background) can be affected by consciousness and intent. There are several experiments that provide evidence of this fact, including those that involve quantum random number generators (for instance, those performed by German physicist Helmut Schmidt).

Experiments such as these are the ones that provide conclusive evidence that our world is neither deterministic nor completely random, and that consciousness and free will play a central role. I will talk about these experiments extensively in other future videos.

The Free Will Debate

I would like to stress something that I feel is quite important here.  This is not a video where I discuss the existence of free will. This is a very old debate which turns out to be mostly based on assumptions related to where consciousness originates from (and this includes our decisions, choices)… It is also usually based on whether consciousness is an illusion or not, on whether consciousness is just a result of purely physical interactions, and often, on the assumption that linear physical causality can provide the answer to all events (including our decisions). The problem sometimes is simply that people don't even agree on the definition of free will!

Most consciousness and free will debates these days become a battle of egos, to see who comes up with the cleverest logical argument… Those who deny the existence of free will tend to use quite a few flawed assumptions in my opinion, completely ignore personal subjective experience and common sense, as well as all the relevant experimental evidence that is already out there (and no, the evidence does not come from logic-land nor the belief in purely linear physical causality, and it doesn't come from your typical quantum physics book either nor from the study of neurophysiology…!).

Time and the Importance of "Now"

Going back to the topic of time, I am simply stating that, considering the central role that the observer plays when we look at the universe from the quantum physics perspective, we can conclude that the present, the "now" moment in time is precisely when the universe can arise from the probability realm, as a consequence of our observation, non-deterministically, and equally importantly, it is also the moment when our free will can operate, assuming it exists.

From this perspective, the 3-D universe we experience, and the passage of time we experience, are not only relative to the observer but cannot be considered as separate entities, independently of the observer, their consciousness and their free will.

Nested Time (Nested Realities)

The concept of a probability realm computing outside of our space-time, the concepts of entanglement, of non-locality… All these are ideas that make me wonder if this other realm out there also operates within time, and if so, if we would be talking about a time-frame that is a larger subset than ours, while including our own. So in this way, at the Planck scale of time, below which we can't detect any more physical change (not even in principle), we would still have the other realm, where a lot of stuff would still be going on in the background. Whether we call this non-local realm another dimension, reality, universe, or whether we consider it part of our universe is just a semantics issue really. The fact is, this realm is intimately linked to ours.

This idea is in fact analogous to that of nested-time. This is the concept of generating nested realities, each new reality having a fundamental time duration (analogous to our Plank time) which is equal or larger than the fundamental time duration belonging to the reality it has been created from. This is a fascinating idea that, along with many others, was introduced to me by Tom Campbell, a physicist and consciousness explorer to whom I will be forever grateful, for opening my mind and helping me get rid of dogmatic believes (and I am not talking about religious believes here, but believes within the context of science!).

Backwards Causality (Retro-Causality)

I would like to finish this video, with another fascinating topic. I will present it with this question. Can the present change the past? Can our choice of what we do now affect the outcome of what we perceive to be in our past line of causal events?

Well, it turns out that certain double-slit type experiments in quantum mechanics seem to provide evidence of backwards causality in time; for instance, the delayed choice quantum eraser. While I won't go into the details of the experiment here, the idea is that my choice of how to observe reality "now" appears to change the events in a particular part of the quantum system, events which could only have occurred in the past.

I will outline the basic ideas that we are dealing with here and why the way we interpret our reality makes a huge difference when it comes to resolving issues such as that of apparent backwards causality. This in turn will influence how we interpret the nature of time and the arrow of time.  

It all boils down to this. If we think of reality as a physical objective reality existing out there, independently of us, where events that were not observed in a macroscopic way still did happen, really, physically, in our space-time, then we have to accept backwards causality as a fact. On the other hand, if we think of reality as a construct linked to observation, with a probability realm operating in the background, whereby information is not really physically in our space-time unless we retrieve it in a macroscopic way at the "now" moment in time, then turns out that backwards causality is just an illusion and can easily be explained rationally.

In other words, if reality is not objective, events that we consider to be in the past timeline corresponding to a certain part of a quantum system whose information has never actually been retrieved in this reality, that remains in probability space (that is, nothing really happened in a past objective physical reality, which was consequently changed at a posterior moment, whereby the present changed the past, violating causality in time).

When nobody has ever retrieved the information, or when we erase any possible existing information which would otherwise have enabled an actual observation within our own space-time, then things remain in the probability realm; nothing physical ever happened in our past (it all remained in probability space outside of our space-time).

So what we eventually observe, when we finally decide to retrieve information in a macroscopic way, cannot be causally associated with another assumed event that we have, erroneously, tracked back linearly in time, as if it had occurred within our space-time earlier on (when in fact it didn't, it remained a probability cloud, because it was never observed in the first place).

I know this may sound very confusing now, but I will make other videos in the future were I discuss this in more detail as well as other quantum mechanics issues, including non-locality and entanglement. The important thing to remember here is that a linear arrow of time, viewed from the deterministic point of view of an objective reality, does not make much sense, particularly when we deal with quantum systems.

However, this does not imply that causality within our physical space-time is violated. On the contrary, when we do observe both the cause and the effect AT THE TIME they happen (by observing I mean we retrieve information macroscopically), then causality is always preserved. When parts of a system remain unobserved at certain times (as it would be the case in the context of a quantum system), then the illusion of retro-causality or, in more general terms, the illusion of a violation of linear physical causality arises.   

Conclusion

Summarising, what we think of as time in our physical universe is, the way I see it, defined by the perception of the "now" moment (the present) by a conscious, free-willed entity, who actualises probability space, it brings information into their own space-time reality, by the act of observation.

In addition, the concept of the existence of an information flow between our reality and the probability realm lying behind it is what can help us expand the idea of causality and the idea of the arrow of time, by understanding that unactualised events (that is, hypothesized unobserved events) within our reality cannot be fit into a linear description of a causal chain of events.

As Tom Campbell describes it, past and future can be thought to exist simultaneously, but not within the context of a deterministic physical reality, a linear space-time, but as multiple branching timelines of events existing within probability space, in a sort of database, constantly being actualised, outside our space time.

The past database is made of the information describing all actualised events (what did happen, that is, what was observed, experienced) as well as all the information related to events that did not happen (and their corresponding probabilities that they could have happened). Similarly, the future database includes all the events that can happen and the probabilities that they might happen. The main ingredient that makes this a non-deterministic reality is the presence of conscious entities, aware entities (in an shapes and forms), which can navigate this branching probability maze, by using their free will (the ability to choose among a set of perceived options) at the present moment in time.

I find this way of describing reality absolutely fascinating – and we are not talking just about quantum systems here, but about the whole of our reality being probabilistic in nature, with consciousness or information being fundamental in its description. 

Let's not forget that physics was originally a very clear subset of metaphysics and philosophy, until materialism took over. If it is indeed the case that our space-time is constantly trading information with a dimension or realm which is outside of it, we will need to re-consider our scientific method, how we define science and what its limitations are.

Well, we have reached the end of this video. I hope that you have enjoyed it. Don't forget to give it the thumbs up, comment and share, if you have liked it! If you disagree with any or all what has been said, please post as well and let's discuss!

Please be always respectful to others; I do not appreciate rude, angry, disrespectful or non-constructive comments. Have a lovely day and see you in the next video!

References / other suggested videos:

Philosophy Theories of Time

Renata Loll videos:

Quantum Origins of Space and Time

What is Time?

Tom Campbell video:

Virtual Reality: Why it is a Better Physics Model

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47 comments on “What is Time?
  1. bob nesler says:

    Sophia,

    Your video is delightful and very educational.  I enjoyed it so much that I copied my

    oldest son on it – and I know he'll like it too.

    Do you know about the discussion of quantum conciousness during the Copenhagen

    conference of (I think) 1933?

    Also, do you know the work of Jim Bower (neurophysiology at Texas University) or

    Stuart Hammeroff at the University of Arizona?  I don't know Dr. Hammeroff personally,

    but Jim was a pretty close friend when he had his lab at Cal Tech here in Pasadena.

    Both are researching the possibility that long term memory may not be stored in the

    brain at all, but that the brain may be an encoding/decoding device for information

    stored somehow in quantum space-time.  Hammeroff goes further in suggesting that

    microtubules are a part of the actual mechanism.  ( This all reminds me so much of

    Jung's "collective unconsious" )

    Personally, I have no idea – I'm just a simple-minded cartoonist.  But I love to hear the

    theories of those more brilliant than myself.

    Once again,  good job!  Keep up the good work. 

    Bob Nesler

    • Dolors says:

      Hello Bob! 

      Welcome and thank you for your comment; I really appreciate it. I hope your son enjoys the video too! :-)

      I know about the Copenhagen conference, but I must admit I have not read enough about it (is there a transcript available somewhere? I will have a look), although I am familiar with the view on consciousness by a few of the scientists involved.

      (By the way, my name is actually Dolors. Don't worry! It is my own fault that you thought my name is Sofia. Have not yet been able to work much on the website - life got in the way… you know what it's like - so have not sorted the "About" page yet! Will do soon! Sofia is a lovely lady who has written a guest post for me - and there's more on the way!)

      I am familiar with Hameroff and Penrose's work on consciousness, although I have not read their theory in detail. Never heard of Jim Bower, but what you say sounds very interesting; will definitely take a look into his work! Sounds like they are all working on ideas that could eventually take mainstream science away from the purely materialistic view it holds today. We need more and more scientists like them.

      I also love to learn from the theories and experiments of those who are more brilliant than myself. And sharing the information! This is what I am trying to do, with my videos :-)

      Just today I saw that Sam Parnia has released his new book. Will write an entry in the Blog section right now. I think you may find his work very interesting too!

      Dolors

       

       

      • bob nesler says:

        Dolors,

        Sorry I got your name wrong!

        Here is an interview with Jim Bower: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ljvr-BeXNxY  I see he has also given a TED lecture recently.  He may have backed off a little on public speculation about memory stored in quantum space-time lately because of funding issues.  What I mentioned before is based on private conversations over dinner and such.  The mystery of the mechanism of long-term memory storage remains.

        Actually, I agree with Jim that the internet is growing to become THE planet-wide communication device.  Google is experimenting with animated cartoon series for the internet now.   However, the greatest numbers are still with television.  One successful tv series I'm involved with is distributed world-wide and each first-run episode is seen by at least a quarter billion people.  If we want to actually affect the conciousness of a significant percentage of the audience we need to reach them in those kinds of numbers.  It's the difference between a puppet-show in the street and a Broadway production, more or less.  ( For example, you and everyone you know have probably seen many of the cartoons I've made.)  The famous mime, Marcell Marceau told me a while ago that, for art to be great, it must (among other things) be universal.  That is, it must appeal to those common human characteristics shared by all of us.  And also reach a vast audience, of course.  The entertainer of today plays much the same role of the Church in former times:  he/she points the way – defines values.  Big responsibility.

        Bob N

         

        • Dolors says:

          Hi again Bob,

          Just checked Jim Bower on Youtube and I found him to be a very cool guy. His way of thinking resonates with me, and I find his ideas very interesting.

          The future is the internet, absolutely. Or shall we say, what comes after it. It will evolve into something we can't even imagine right now. It's funny you mention how important TV is nowadays, when it comes to reaching the masses. I personally don't watch TV; it's been many years now. I don't like to be fed anything. It feels like I am not in control at all when I watch TV; quite the opposite, there is not much freedom at all (a bit like the books Jim talks about in his TED talk). I know I am in the minority (99.9% of houses in western society have a TV set)… So you are right; TV is the place to reach people… altough I think that right now, most TV stations are a far cry from what they should be. We all know who is in control of what is said and what is not. Fear-mongering, control of the masses and spoon-fed marketing are the main things that make me say no way, this is not for me, thanks very much. As you say, it is a big responsibility. Being misused right now unfortunately (in general). 

          So at home the only thing we use is the internet. We watch what we want when we want. I love Youtube because you can  choose not to watch the majority of ads (around 65% of them or so you can skip if I remember correctly). There are many things that could be improved, but right now Internet screams freedom to me. I hope governments don't end up ruining it.

          You are a professional animator then? That's fantastic; I imagine I may have watched your cartoons at some point then! My son is 4 and we watch things everyday on Youtube. He chooses what he wants though… lately we just tend to watch the classics (Chip and Dale, Mickey Mouse and so on) :-)

          Back to the subject of this post, time appears to be ticking, and I need to get some work done. 

          Dolors

          • Bob Nesler says:

            Dolors,

            Well, yes, there is a lot of junk on TV (and in any of the great Art Galleries for that matter) but it's not all bad.  I just had lunch with Larry Huber today about a new (wonderful) show I created which Larry will Produce (eventually).  Bill Burnett and his family are probably our closest friends. Bill and Larry and I have made many terrific animated cartoons together, like this one for Nickelodeon ("MerryChrishannukamas"):http://www.billburnettsongmine.com/

            (You may have to scroll down to find it) Also, check out "There you are" (Another one I directed for Bill and Larry)

            Anyhow, The point is to reach the largest possible audience with a good pesuasive humanitarian story/message.  Children are the best audience because they have fewer prejudices than adults.  This has proven to be a very powerful tool for positive cultural change – in the cold-war environment of the Soviet Union – in pre-internet China – and all sorts of other places.  In fact, though I've woked in many remote parts of the world, I've never met anyone (that I know of, anyhow) who hasn't seen at least one of my cartoons.  Google my name and you'll see what I mean.

            Forgive me if this sounds like bragging.  Maybe it is, a little, but really I'm just trying to say that it really is possible to change attitudes of  large populations and, in doing it, to generate cultural change. Entertainment is a great tool for creating grass-roots revolution – like we did during the cold-war in the Soviet Union. Long before the wall went down, people like me were there modernizing Russian studios like Mosfilm and Soyuzmultfilm so that joint productions (which we organized later) were possible.  But that's a very long story.  And ancient history.

            Right now I'm working on a Scooby-Doo and a Justice League for Warner Bros and I start a new Tom and Jerry in a few weeks.  I love entertainment and I can't imagine doing anything else. It has allowed me to go to wonderful places and be involved in historic events like no other profession I can imagine. 

            But of course, it's not one thing or another.  You must pick the tool best suited for the need. 

            Now, about TIME… why does it appear to us to move from the past to the future?  And what do you think about causality?  A Caltech Graduate Astronomy student and I taught a two-year algebraic astronomy high-school class (Gausian statistical  analysis with no calculus) and came up with some diagrams/thought experiments tohelp the kids envision things like the Hubble Constant and Enstien'sLambda equation.  They were based on good math and deal with the "arrow of time". I'll share some of them if anyone is interested.

            Bob N

             

          • Roc says:

            Hi Dolors,

            I totally agree with you on your ideas about TV and Youtube. Your words precisely explains why I throw the television from my dinning room to the balcony.

            I just wish I could get the freedom to choose what information I want to get from within the country where I live in. It is just sad that we can barely visit any public websites like youtube, facebook, even google in this poor country. And I am determined to free myself from it, no matter what.

  2. Tim E. Augur says:

    Hi Dolors,

    Excellent discussion on time and its nature,one of the best so far that I've heard on time. I have a "total" theory on time, requires further emergence of time. You've covered >90% of the same view points I have on time (and I have worked independently), so I think the emerging the nature of time is the next big hurdle in the emergence of reality. 

    Here are a couple of questions that I would like theoretical physicists to consider: Q1: What is the single thing in the Universe? and Q2: is it possible for energy to become aware of itself?

    My quick answer to these two are Q1: Single thing = energy-time (not a single mathematical formula that theoretical physicists are looking for), there is an inherrent duality in energy-time that one can't have one without the other (energy in motion/creation). Meaning the singularity or SuperSymmetry would be a potential state of energy in motion, not a static state. Suggesting a time before our broken symmetric space-time Universe, so that space-time is a product of broken symmetry, and SuperSymmetric time preceds our broken symmetric space-time (by Planck time). Not leaving SuperSymmetry behind 13.7 billion years ago, rather SuperSymmetry would be preceding our current broken symmectric space-time (and why we have a future in the past-now-future). 

    Q2: is it possible for energy to become aware of itself? If theoretical physicists were honest, they would say "we human beings" are proof that energy can become aware of itself, but then the next question is are we the first? And if we are not the first, does mind go back to the Planck time at 13.7 billion years ago? And/or, could mind be possibly preceding our current space-time? (based upon my theory)

    Regarding free will, and the arrow of time, both can be easily understood and can make sense from my theory, but it challenges the dogma and nature of the relationship between mathematics and mind and energy, in which most theoretical physicists describe fundamental reality as that which can be calculated or measured, but does not take into account that "mind" is essential to calculating and measuring reality we are saying may exist. But theoretical physicists have not established mind or mathematics is "real" so at some point the discussion has to go back to the relationship of energy to mind, mathematics and reality. 

    My theory discusses this. You say you have an open mind, then would you be interested in hearing about my theory of time? 

    Timothy E. Augur

     

    • Dolors says:

      Hello Timothy,

      Sorry for the delay in replying. 

      What you are saying sounds very interesting. There are so many alternative descriptions of the universe that are valid. That "mind" or consciousness needs to be put into physics, I have no doubt. It will take time though, for mainstream science to get there. We need to be patient.

      I would love to read about your theory, but unfortunately right now I am very busy with work and studying. However, I will soon create a page where other authors can post their articles (as guest authors) and I will select the ones I like / find most interesting, to publish here on this site. 

      Rather than articles with equations and full theories, what I am looking for is the spread of new ideas and concepts, in a way that most people can understand. It needs to be engaging, encourage critical thinking and of course, it has to be very interesting (out of the box).

      Will let you know when that is done, and you could then write an article where you discuss your points of view on these topics. As I say, I can't guarantee I will publish, but it's an option that will be open in the future :-)

      Dolors

       

       

       

  3. Names are tags and mine is irrelevant says:

    Hello Dolors, thanks for your video!

    In response to one of your comments at YouTube (where there's little room for replies), and with the sole constructive purpose of mutual understanding, and that of whoever may also read these lines, I must say that I do not quite agree with the statement "information has no intrinsic meaning without interpretation". I suppose it all depends on what each of us understands by those terms, so I would like to ask you what you mean by "information", "meaning" and "interpretation". I am not that interested in the formal definitions, which I can look up myself, but what you understand those terms to convey when you use them, in simple words that maybe I can understand.

    Looking forward to reading your answer, but realising that you may not have the time to write it, I wish you a good day and thank you once again for your valuable contribution to our common culture.

    • Dolors says:

      Hello and thank you for your kind words.

      In response to your question… Guess what the video I am currently working on is titled? I did not want to reveal it to anybody yet, but I will do here just for you.

      Drum Roll……

      It is titled: "What is Information?" :-)

      Trying to answer this question (your question!) has taken me so far over a month of reading and reading and reading. A month of thinking and thinking and thinking…lol

      So! Even though I won't give you an answer right now, rest assured that your question will be thoroughly answered. In the form of a 30-60 minute video, absolutely packed with information about information. How's that?

      You are right, I have no "time" to answer your question here, but all the "information" will be released soon! 

      Dolors

      • Names are tags and mine is irrelevant says:

        Thanks for the treat!

        I must confess that I am very curious about your thoughts if one of your conclusions will be that information has no meaning without interpretation. From my point of view, much of the information in the universe has meaning per se, without involving any kind of living object or device built by one.

        For example, consider the presence of a massive star located very far away from this planet in whatever direction. Consider also a large -relative to our scale- lump of matter that results from the collision of two larger objects in the outer rim of a third stellar system, somewhere else altogether. Due to its initial location relative to the massive star, and to the course and rate of its motion, the lump happens to be in the region where the gravitational effects of the massive star are intense enough to deflect its trajectory; possibly even locking it in a highly elliptical orbit around it.

        However, had the star not been there (had the initial location of the lump, or the course or rate of its motion been different), the trajectory of the lump would have continued unaffected by it.

        From my point of view, then, we can say that the presence of the star means that the motion of objects located close to it will be influenced by it; it means that an object cannot travel in that direction and at that speed, coming from that initial location, and remain traveling in a straight line.

        Of course, there are no living beings in this argument; the only living beings that we know of are here, on this planet, very far away from the imaginary events described. But should those circumstances arise somewhere within this vast universe of matter in motion, the stated meaning would emerge regardless of the presence of living beings capable of learning, and possible making use of, the situation.

        Living beings are a subset of the huge set of information that is the universe, but living beings are not required for the universe to be a huge set of information. In my opinion, answering "what is information" is quick & easy, as it can be done in one word: everything. Even the lack of information is information.

        But not all information is real and that is where the fun begins. In my opinion, understanding the difference between what is real and what is not helps a lot in clarifying the implications derived from it. However, I've already been extense enough for a comment. I apologise.

        Thanks again for your time; looking forward to reading your thoughts. Until then, take care & have fun.

      • Tim Cumper says:

        A definition of "information" found on the Wiki entry fro this word – which I find sits comfortably – "Difference that makes a difference" :-)

         

        • Dolors says:

          Tim, you wouldn't believe the amount of paragraphs I have dedicated to Gregory Bateson's statement. Right this moment I am recording the audio for my next video, where I discuss this definition and I modify it twice until it fits what I think the definition of information should be. Video should be ready within the next 2 weeks hopefully :-)

      • Bradford Bell says:

        Oh, I get it. Information is the interaction between the perceiver and the perceived, actualizing the perceived from probability while continuing to actualize the (very alive) perceiver… I think!

  4. Adnan says:

    Hey Dolors,

    Very nice video and was very informative, considered me as a permanent fan of yours. I would like you to consider a following hypothesis and please comment on it. What if the whole reality is not out there as most of think and have no control over it, rather its inside us, we create everything, every single second. Life creates the reality and everything around us, rather everything around us has played a role in our creation.

     

    I am involved some experiment and at the moment I can not disclose the results because I don't have enough data to formulate a theory,  however, so far I  have seen, that we do have a free will which allows us to create or 'manipulate' events in time.

    Hopefully to see a new video from you soon, till then take care and all the best.

    • Dolors says:

      There are many ways to explain reality (many models). We need to be careful not to confuse the map with the terrain, though. It appears that many scientists do forget this. 

      The model of an objective reality that is out there, independent of us (realism) has long been shown to be just an approximation of what really is going on. This is mainly thanks to the experimental results of quantum mechanics. It's not that we are the creators of reality but are active participants in its creation. By observing reality, the otherwise fuzzy probabilistic world becomes defined (when not observed reality can be thought of as being in a superposition of different possible states).

      Regarding conscious, free-willed intent being able to modify reality via means that cannot be explained by current science, yes, there is plenty of evidence of that. The effects are usually small, though significant. Dean Radin's books, for instance, summarise pretty well the research that has been done.

      Good luck with your experiments :-)

      Dolors

       

      • Adnan says:

        Hey Dolors

        While I was studying this effect earlier, I came across the reference of Erwin Schrodinger's statement which Jim also mentioned around 46:42 in the video, There is a very good Book written by Robert Lanza and Bob Berman called "Biocentrism", its the theory put forward by these two and they suggests in their view the only life and consciousness are the keys to understand the true nature of Universe.

        Now new Ideas comes some time from very unlikely sources, many years ago, I was reading a Book from an individual Jose Silva, the Book has no direct link with the subject of reality,  but the effect he was talking were similar to what we see in for example in a double-slit experiment, the only difference he proposed that he has in his theory found a way to effect on the results by being an intelligent observer, what I mean is the if we put an intent during the experiment, it has an effect on out come.

        I wonder some time what if we put a 'Bio-Observer' instead of a electrical detector in a double-slit experiment ? what you think ? what will be the outcome then ?

        However, its an interesting subject and need a lot of new data, I say we just started to look the outer boundaries of reality, hopefully we will be able to understand it soon.

        Adnan

  5. Adnan says:

    Just watched Jim Al-Khalili's video on Quantum Life, its very interesting, I hope you like it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwgQVZju1ZM

    • Dolors says:

      Thanks Adnan,

      I really like Jim. The video is very interesting. Science advances in very small steps… It usually takes many years for edgy ideas to be accepted, even when the evidence is there.

      Mainstream science is only now starting to consider the possibility that quantum effects are not just restricted to the realm of subatomic particles, but that they affect matter at all levels (including of course, robins, dna and human beings).

      Studying quantum effects in robins and DNA seems to be acceptable now…. See how long until they feel comfortable talking about non-local effects experienced at the human scale. They'll get there, eventually :-)

      Dolors

  6. Henry Dusausoy says:

    Hello Dolors,

    Very interesting presentation. I unfortunately do not have the required intelligence and knowledge necessery to understand and/or challenge your thoughts in a way that could benefit your educated readers.

    But I'll add some personal considerations to the "feeling" of time from a human perspective. To me, the present is permanent. It is the moment in which I exist. It is the place where causes of past events lead to present consequences and present consequences in their turn become causes to future events. Whether it is probabilistic or deterministic is beyond my senses to analyse and comprehend.

    A funny fact about time is that I am a prisoner of the present. My thoughts, my biological processes, etc. are all happening now, as I'm typing this answer. There is no way I can shed myself off of time.

    Anyway, your presentation took my mind to interesting places and new considerations. Thank you.

  7. Zalmen Rosenfeld says:

    Hello Dolors,

    First of all let me congratulate you on a beautifully presented video.

    I am sympathetic to the idea that information is more fundamental than what we perceive as reality, though the eternal skeptic in me prevents me as yet from fully embracing Tom Campbell's model. My choice, for now, is to reject the de-Broglie-Bohm model, which leads to many worlds, and adhere to the Copenhagen interpretation of 'collapse at detection'. As both Antoine Suarez and Nicolas Gisin contend, taking Copenhagen seriously – and we must as violation of Bell's inequalities are being confirmed in experiments that are very close to eliminating the problem of relatvistic frames of reference – then we cannot avoid the breakdown of a purely materialistic worldview, if materialism is defined as that which is within relativistic spacetime. For Bell's inequalities to be violated, there must be influences that come from 'outside' relativistic spacetime, assuming only 'collapse at detection' and, implicitely,  free will.

    It is astonishing how far scientists will go to save materialism, to the point of positing the wildly extravagant many worlds model and denying the thing that we are, perhaps, most certain of — our freedom to make choices, without which consciousness is meaningless.

    Keep up the good work. The pardigm shift begun with Einstein and Bohr is moving slowly, but thanks to science popularizers like you using the internet to reach a larger audience, the shift will begin to walk rather than crawl.

    Zalmen

       

    • Dolors says:

      Hello Zalmen,

      Apologies for the delay in replying! I completely agree with you. In fact, I could not agree with you more. Copenhagen (not the "shut up and calculate" version though) mixed with the informational view is where I am heading myself. Bohm had amazing ideas (I love the idea of the "Implicate Order") but the deterministic model he developed does not compute with me at all.

      I have read Suarez (and listened to him – with patience! lol) and I really like his work. I love Zeilinger's work too. In fact, it was because of Zeilinger that I became aware of the recent experiments violating the Leggett-Garg inequalities. This is fascinating because it is the evidence that leads to the complete fall-down not only of a local reality but also of realism. I am planning to make a video covering this after my next one (so it will be in the third video where I cover the topic of realism, quantum mechanics, delayed choice double slit, collapse of the wavefuncion, etc).

      Yes – I also see the emergence of the de-Broglie-Bohm model, many-worlds, decoherence, etc, as desperate attempts to rescue either determinism or realism… or both. 

      Regarding consciousness, while it is not correct to say that "consciousness collapses the wavefunction", the informational approach used to explain double-slit experiments, including delayed-choice, is very enlightening in showing how, ultimately, consciousness and free will are somehow involved.

      Dolors

  8. Thanks, Dolors!  You've thought deeply and freshly about some topics that are dear to me.    Some of your thinking parallels my own.  I have often thought that there is a "quantum arrow of time" based on collapse of the wave function that is the real source of the asymmetry we perceive between past and future.

    It seems that you have up your sleeve a refutation of the time that is bequeathed to us by general relativity.  In particular, I'm fascinated by the claim that: "recent research carried out by a particular quantum gravity research team, involving quantum universe simulations, seem to indicate that time is fundamental (not emergent), that it existed before space, and not only that, but their theory says that time has no beginning nor has it got an end!"  This, of course, runs counter to the view of time in Big Bang Cosmology.  I can't find the reference to Renate Loll, but Google took me to this video.

     

     

    • Dolors says:

      Hello Josh,

      I apologise for the delay in replying. Not enough "time" to do everything these days! 

      I do not have anything up my sleeve, really. I am not involved in research; I am just an undergraduate student. However, I am very interested in spreading ideas of all kinds, including ideas that emerge from the current research being done, both within what can be considered mainstream science and also fringe science. 

      Big bang is, in general, compatible with this new research. Relativity is also compatible with it. To give you a flavour of what time is, viewed from different angles which all converge to the same conclusion, here are some ideas (I am half copying some questions and answers directly from my youtube comments section).

      Q: "I worry about the duration of the thing we are calling the present. If it has duration then it has past and future in it. In order to be the present it seems to me it would then have to have no duration, in which case I don't know where in time we would be able to find it."

      A: "When we say "now" and "present" in everyday language, we use a definition that we understand from the human-being perspective. But "now" or the "present" are just metaphors. Many physicists, mathematicians and computer scientists today think that it is quite likely that time is quantised (in the context of our universe, we talk about space-time being quantised). When you watch a movie you do not see the individual frames. Imagine that you gradually slow down the speed; you will reach a point where you will see the movie is made up of still frames. Time is the perception of the change between these frames, the perception of them being ordered in a particular direction, and the perception of duration (how many frames you have perceived would be equivalent to duration). Now, what is there in between frames? Nothing. So "now" is the perception of ONE frame. Ok… so now think of our physical reality as if it was a movie. Space-time would be quantised in a similar way."

      Here, again, think of "now" as a metaphor. We obviously cannot perceive how granular time is, hence our human-being perception of "now" is inevitably composed of quite a few of these quantised "frames", but you get the idea… The quantum of time is called Plank time and I will cover this idea in detail in other videos. But the important concepts are these: Time is the perception of the change between these frames, the perception of them being ordered in a particular direction, and the perception of duration (how many frames you have perceived would be equivalent to duration). Notice the emphasis on "perception".

      Here is another comment from youtube and my answer… which may help you:

      Q: "Time began WITH the universe though, and I can't see we avoid succesive moments between objects, thus time I think."

      A: "That time began with our physical universe at the moment of the big bang is just a theory – a theory out of many. In addition, the big bang theory is compatible with the view that time existed before it; just think of our universe's space-time as a construction that applies to our universe only. There may be many other universes with their own space-time rule-sets as well as many other types of realities where space does not exist, just time. Here is Renate Loll (mentioned in the video) explaining what their research is finding. (Her speach is in English so don't worry about the introduction). I find her work fascinating:

      http://131.211.194.110/Site1/Play/c49f2147276c4ed7a56e445232b6c7fe  "

      In the above video (towards the end) she stresses the importance of:

      1) Time being fundamental, not emergent, and existing before the Big Bang, without being tied to space.

      2) The importance of understanding how perception of time works (that of course involves the study of time from the perspective of consciousness).

      More info on her work: http://www.hef.ru.nl/~rloll/Web/press/press.html

      Finally, another question and answer from my youtube comments section:

      Q: "You mentioned that time could be considered more fundamental than space. I am extremely curious to to learn more about this notion. It may be a tendency caused by perceiving time in classical (non quantum) sense."

      A: "This fundamental notion of time I refer to does not necessarily have anything to do with a "quantum sense" of time. It means that time does not need space to exist, while our 3D space needs time to exist, it a space-time construct (linked by a constraint: the velocity of light). In addition, space and time are not "out there", but they are a construction of the mind. Einstein, in his later years, was looking for the unified field – he didn't succeed but he seemed to have ideas that were  going in the right direction. Einstein: "I wished to show that space-time is not necessarily something to which one can ascribe a separate existence, independently of the actual objects of physical reality" & "If we think of the field as being removed, there is no space which remains, since space does not have an independent existence". This field may be non-physical and somehow associated to consciousness (D. Bohm, Einstein's colleague did indeed make the link between consciousness and reality)."

      Well, I hope this can help you put the pieces of the puzzle together. I feel I can almost grasp how they could fit together… It seems so simple in a way when one uses intuition, but so dificult to describe with maths… My guess is that maths can't describe it all, although it can help us to a certain point.

      Dolors

  9. Matjaz says:

    Hi!

    Very important topic and I think very good mosaic of current ideas and understanding of time and mind. I have been tinkering with this since my elementary school days, that is about 25 years. It is fascinating to run across the some of the thoughts I've had along the way, as well as many I've never thought about. I dont' mena just your presentation but the works of Penrose, Chalmers,.. and many who dare to venture into the realm of consciousness which I've always thought is the central problem of modern science. Time and consciouensss are tightly linked and I think the next big breakthrough will come in this area. The time has come, however ironic that may sound, for this idea to emerge. Maybe even the way it comes about will somehow demonstrate itself. How the moment comes about. How 'now' happens? When you focus upon it, it does. Is seems funny that it may be so simple, but all great ideas are simple.

    I'm getting interested in the topics as of late and will be checking your thoughts here :)

    BR, Matjaz.

  10. Dear Dolors,   I really, really enjoyed your video "What is time…". I can't explain why I'm so drawn into this, but I've spent the past 6 years on it, non-stop.   I know everybody and his brother have a website for you to look at or a book for you to read, but in my case, you might be one of the only people who understands what I claim.   I have a rightious reason for doing it all as well, and it is NOT religious.   (I noticed someone really spewing out the scripture in the video comments… hehe) My approach is based upon the realistic computability of a simple Theory-Of-Everything using all-integer data and simple, step-by-step arithmetic algorithms. I present my entire case about at the same difficulty level of your video, all at TheTruth-machine.com. Several JAVA demos are included to help visualize the concepts. I believe that I have a solid approach that answers all of the questions about everything (including  spooky action), and it hinges on something you suggested… thinking outside the box.   PLEASE look it over, you'll at least walk away with some alternative points of veiw!   If you reply to me, that would really make my day!!!! Thanks for your time marty 

  11. Dear Dolors

    A good discussion & video.

    Please check this linked in Discussion titled"What is Time?".And join the discussion ,please.

    http://goo.gl/BGeKW

     

    Thanks

    Best

    Ilangho

    Dr.R.P.ILANGHO MD FRCP(Glasg) DTRD

     

  12. Stephen Paul King says:

    "Summarising, what we think of as time in our physical universe is, the way I see it, defined by the perception of the "now" moment (the present) by a conscious, free-willed entity, who actualises probability space, it brings information into their own space-time reality, by the act of observation."

    Apply this to each and every separable QM system then consider interactions between them. An observer is, ultimately, a QM system.

    • Dolors says:

      Hello Stephen, and welcome :-)

      I link the concept of time as we know it to conscious perception. However, nowhere in my video do I state that "consciousness collapses the wave function". I am very aware that the measurement problem is far from being solved, and I very much like the informational approach, where availability of information is pretty much the key to collapse. 

      One needs to question though this availability of information. Whom is this information available to in the case of a laboratory experiment such as the quantum delayed choice experiments (plus those that have added erasers too)? It has been shown that the information stored in a memory system, if unobserved by a conscious entity like us, even though it has in essence been measured by the apparatus, it can still remain in a superposition of states (as shown when erasers are used). Hence all this evidence indicates that this information is available only to those entities who are capable of interpreting it (in this case, human beings, as there is nobody else, on this planet at least, who can interpret the information stored in a computer system). So even though human consciousness may not directly cause collapse of the wavefunction in the DQE experiments, we can say that collapse is linked to human consciousness.

      What I am saying is that, even though stating that "consciousness causes collapse" is incorrect, the informational approach points quite clearly in the direction that conscious observers do have a saying in shaping both the past and the future of reality (at least in the context of a laboratory experiment such as the delayed choice erasers). In this sense, my approach is in line with Wheeler's participatory universe. Yes, decoherence plays a role in narrowing down superposition, but ultimately, the evidence shows that unobserved reality can remain pretty much indeterminate until information has entered our space-time reality frame (be in human memory, a computer hard-disk or another apparatus) and it is thus available for observation. As long as this information is available to a conscious observer who can interpret it, interference disappears (collapse takes place). When exactly and how exactly collapse occurs, is a mystery still today.

      Observation by a conscious observer and measurement by an apparatus are not always synonymous, although I admit that I tend to use these terms interchangeably when the context allows it.

      Here's an interesting interview. I like both John Wheeler's and Andrei Linde's open minded approach. Doesn't mean I agree with all what they say, but I think recognising the fact that conscious observers play a role in the shaping of the universe is crucial so that science can move forward.  http://discovermagazine.com/2002/jun/featuniverse

      Dolors

  13. JoeB says:

    Dolors,

         Thanks for the Fantastic Video !….I await a next like a kid for Santa on X-mas.
    This is exactly what the net is(should be) for….Man if only they had this when I was a kid. There is quite a bit of fascinating content readily available nowadays, and that is great. I'm not a physicist (with some regret) But am somewhat of a fanatical science enthusiast….mainly in fundamental physics and cosmology. I always loved science as a kid but unfortunately never felt challenged by our public school system.
         I was blown away several years ago when I stumbled upon Walter Lewin's priceless
    physics lectures from MIT. And have since been following all of the related content I can. Such as Leonard Susskind's CE videos and sites like KIPT as well as all the books I can afford etc. I've even reread the dusty "Relativity" book on my shelf several times. I just love all of this stuff. And although my computer science is fairly solid(by profession) I even find myself learning calculus at 45 thanks to khan academy & others….mainly to model more accurate sims and to better understand the more advanced stuff.
         Anyway, 4give the babble…it just seems you'd be interesting to communicate with.
    I think I read or just assumed you're a physics/Philosophy student. If so check out Gavin Wince's Theory of "existics"(time permitting), it makes slight corrections to special relativity as well as many other things by introducing a 3-D construct for time. He even claims to have predicted the faster then light neutrino results at the LHC with it. The logic & math seem pretty solid to me. I'd just like to hear someone else's opinion…I think it's pretty cool & one of the more interesting of my random youtube findings….. there's another one by David LaPoint called "Primer Fields" its a good one too….as is yours…just thought I'd share in case you're interested.
         I see you're into OBE's and LD's as well….far out !…Man have I got some questions and things to share for you. Catch you in that blog forum soon.

    JoeB 

  14. JoeB says:

    Hi again Dolors,

    I'd like to add to something I've read above regarding
    the apparent near "zero" duration of the "Now" moment.
     I don’t think that its the only "time" that "free will"
    (if it exists) and/or awareness operates. Well it is…but 
    I don’t think it is "fixed". I also doubt it has anything
    or much to do with the Plank "Time" either, except of
    course as a limiting minimal duration. the relatively slow
    electrochemical nature of our brains ignored & not that
    that’s necessarily where awareness originates. One must
    also ignore "C" and any bio reaction times. One thing that 
    remains confusing is the fact that if you believe special 
    relativity(a monster elegant & tested theory); not much
    room is left for free will. Yet I believe in both. I think 
    that somehow "QM" provides an out. Yet those details remain
    hidden. So as far as the "now" duration, consider the notion
    that a shared experience can somehow seem more significant.
    Think of that significance as being related to the duration.
    For example, say you've been working long and hard on a
    project like say the Apollo mission and the time finally comes
    to launch. At that moment of awe & celebration the now is
    stretched to include your notion of the past hard work & the 
    wonder it may hold for the future. I just think that there is
    something to be said about the subjective perception. Like in
    time flies when your having fun or that perfect moment when
    time just slips away. I just mean that the "now" doesn't seem 
    to be of a fixed duration. I strongly agree with Tom Campbell
    that a "TOE" must include consciousness & "information" is key.
    I'm blown away by Loll's quantum sims. Both physics & 
    philosophy must be included though I favor the straight-up math.
    I think its been quite sometime since philosophy brought much 
    of anything very significant to light. That’s why I find that 
    "existics" theory I mention in my last post so intriguing. It 
    mathamatizes(?) a philosophy based logic concept by expressing
    linear time as 3-D; period, passage & present. slick if correct.
    I don’t have the resources/ability to prove or disprove it but it 
    could be right down your ally so to speak. http://existics101.com 
    An info tidbit: last night I heard on the radio show coast to coast
    that had not Max Plank liked Einstein, his papers may never have 
    been published. He was considered a "crack-pot" by most of his peers.
    And twas Plank that suggested the Ideas interesting to the community. 
    So everybody just get your ideas out there!

    JoeB

  15. Hi Dolors,
     
    This is a well-made video on an interesting topic.

    I've written a number of articles on the nature of time and the nature of mind. Please take a look at my website:

    http://time-mind.net/intro.html

    Target Article 61
    http://www.kjf.ca/61-TAAND.htm
    http://www.KJF.ca

    Adhanom Andemicael

  16. Bill Miller says:

    Hi Dolors,

    Thanks so much for creating the videos and forum! I've been meaning to do something similar around an alternative theory of cosmic emergence, but haven't yet gotten around to doing so. Maybe you'll inspire me. I'm on board with much of what you posit, and would enjoy discussing the rest.

    To begin, as a counterpoint (or maybe just a corollary) to your view of time as fundamental, I point to a statement by Ernst Mach: "It is impossible to measure the changes of things by time. Quite the contrary, time is an abstraction at which we arrive from the changes of things."

    If I understand correctly, you're suggesting that time is fundamental because it can occur in mental experience, which has no dimensionality. I suggest this is not time in the conventional sense (which is also a dimension) but rather is a sequence of experiences. That these are different phenomena is illustrated by the fact that the former can be quantified whereas the latter cannot. (Confusion between these two is the cause of the classic puzzle "Zeno's Paradox".)

    My belief is that time, space, and matter are all "user illusions", collectively created in consciousness by perceiving subsets out of an underlying pool of all-potential – which itself is timeless and unchanging. (Doubtless that needs further explication, and I'll be happy to do so if there's interest.)

    Best regards and keep doing what you do,
    -Bill Miller

  17. Hello Delors, (and fellow commentors)

    I recently authored an essay that takes the reader through a thought experiment on how time might be viewed as the 4th spatial dimension.   Just a blog post to get the idea out there and see what others think of it.     I stumbled upon your most recent video on Youtube today, and thought my ideas were strikingly similar to the "B Theory" model described toward the beginning of the video, yet my model does not attribute the illusion of the present to consciousness, per se, but to an energy wave propogating through the block universe.

    I invite anyone to read it, and comment.  It's relatively short and to the point:

    Here is the Article

    http://wp.me/p3v4xf-x

    Have a nice day

    Jeff

     

     

  18. Roberto says:

    Hi Dolors:

    Have you read the philosophy of Henri Bergson? His views on time and consciousness complement very nicely some of the things you say. Also, have you checked this Youtube video called Athene's Theory of Everything? It would be interesting to know your opinion on it.

     

    Regards

    Roberto

     

  19. Robert K says:

    Great video.  I am trying to further the interest of my son and daughter into these topics, and have succeeded somewhat.

    One comment about "B" time.  It would seem that if Einstein was correct, that is, if there is no disctinction between the reality of past, present and future; that all time just "is," then does it not follow that free will is an illusion?   Paul Davies' "About Time" is the best book i've read on the topic, and he gives a great example to demonstrate the concept of block time.

    The notion of time being basic is interesting.  It also seems to square with at least one of the ideas of string theory, that is that strings vibrate in various ways to produce what we perceive as different particles.  Vibration, if the word is being used in its common way, is also a change over time.

    However, I will need some convincing that time can exist without consciousness.

    • Robert D says:

      Block time is an illusion. Strict determinism is an illusion. Free will is real, and quantum indeterminacy is real. You may disagree with these statements, but they are at least as valid as yours.

  20. Dear Dolors,  I am one of the masses that grew up with TV, 51 yrs old. Always been contemplative of the connection between the revelations of modern physics and conscious awareness. Not swift at math at all! But, it seems that it's time to move to an applications phase. Creating new products and advances based on this stuff. Blast the media and the powers that be. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. And all that! Anyway, loved the video. Expect to view more. I sincerely hope that "when life happens", it includes a beer. Or better, perhaps you can vacation in one of our few "green states" like Colorado, if  you get my drift!                            Bill                                              

        ps –  My conclusion was that life (intelligent life) evolved to deliberatly and purposely discover how to defeat death (eventual entrophy)

  21. stefan U. says:

    hola Dolors, que t'al? how are U? i am stefan, a photographer(from germany!)-very much interested in physics (cern-a.m.s. in particular!) and things about time and its nature.. first of all, i wanna say, that U'r vids (i got U'r nice channel in youtube!) are really good!!  nice picture-worX and a lot of  info!!  so, now the reason why i write U a comment onto this post TIME:  i wanna show U a perspective, which i found out to work-on when i was living in Marbella.  on the computer, with the little help of photoshop, i did work on photos of mine–doing graphiX.. in this process, i found out, that I can make out of just only 1 photo with lots of information (best, if U have the most megapixel, and no compression) with mirroring out of the diagonals and various cuts and squeezing and so on…  depending how much TIME, i invest in just 1 original-photo!!- it might be possible, 2 produce out of 1 ten's/hundrets/thousand or more different looking photos, but with similar patters!   i posted in the website of mine, where i show U other TIME-experience, in building a small smooth changing website, with graphix, which are just done in small time-periods.  for me, its the variation process of the chaotic theory (or the workon the photos) which makes the time 2 count, and 2 recount – to show multiple variables!  – i spent before i lived in spain 3 months in Senegal near the equator, working in a holiday club, 12 hours day, and 12 hours night…my perception and feelings was like i wasn't for not only 3 months there. i thought, that half a year passed, or even longer!!  –last but not least, i wanna confront U with some thougts of mine about the experiments in Geneva.  as tine passes, the lhc- ring gets updated 4 the quantim TeV-amount, which will be possible 2 produce 4 mankind —and that all on this shallow ground, our mother earth(which is already out of even the normal kinda nature, when in see all the eruptions and the lots of quakes hitting everywhere since 2011–timescale-first-runs and collisions of the accelerator..) how about when i say, TIME is relative at the end of this civilisation…  we, the physicist will eventually produce a maybe small big bang, and eventually, TIME will evolve or maybe not…-just, few days ago, i have seen a doku on youtube about time after the big-bang–was a interesting 1 (i will add a comment with the link 2 it in youtube 4 U- when i find it!!) hope U do not mis-understand me, i am just sceptic about the whole project in the lhc, with the full possible power!  i would rather wait, till news about particles from outer  space with the a.m.s-experiment will be collected and countable results layed on the worldwide table, to be dicussed, if the lhc-beams really would float at maximum energy here on the crust of our mother earth.  nice, reading from U, maybe 2 start a nice conversation or discussion. now i will have your Schrödingers-thoughts-vid… greetings from germany, from stef. – and sure i have 2 say–i am not a physicist or math-genius.. i am a simple earthling and picture-maker, who thinks a lot about a lot…buena ispiracion artistica..

  22. Just want to say your article is as amazing.
    The clarity in your post is just nice and i could assume you’re an expert on this subject. Well with your permission let me to grab your feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the rewarding work.

  23. Peter says:

    Thank you for a thought provoking video.. Both time and space are perceptions or constructs of the brain off man and probably other animals that have awareness. Whether self awareness or some degree of self awareness is needed is uncertain.
    That time may have some greater significance for me is doubtful. Time is the perception of change. Changes in our perception of space. Early methods to measure time was by changes in the motion of the sun eg the shadow cast by a sun dial. From Einsteins work we talk of the Fabric of Space\Time as if it has some kind of physical reality. Although useful in explaining certain aspects of  our perceived world is very misleading.
    My problem with Quantum Mechanics and the Cophenhagen interpretation  with the collapsing of the wave function by an observer to create reality 

    1. Philosphically we are back to an ego centric Universe

    2. Why do we all collapse the wave function in the same way in other words we all agree on the same Reality  well most of us 

    3.The Human Brain only recently evolved, if that has any meaning, so if a brain with some degree of self awareness is necessary to create reality we have a chicken and egg situation

    But As Bohr and Heisenberg summed it up 80 years ago and which Einstein could never quite come to terms with Physics must confine itself
     to the description of the relationship between perceptions. To ask whether there is a real Universe independent of our perceptions or observations would seem to be meaningless.

     

     

  24. Gene says:

    Dolors, I found the video very well done and most helpful.

    I'm at a point in my life in which I am seeking a better understanding of the bigger questions.  I am making progress, but at a snails pace.

    I was out walking, and the questions of time arose.  I did a web search, and your video, "What is time?" caught my eye.  It was just the right information, at the right time.  I had already thought of most of the issues presented; and this, before any research into the matter.

    Some things about me: 1) When in my pre-teens, I regularly had lucid dreams, had on occasion seen apparitions, and had experiences of traveling outside my body, 2) Was involved in a major motorcycle accident.  The night before the accident, I dreamt it in vivid detail (but quickly dismissed the dream).  My physical body reacted to the accident during the dream, my sheets were litterally soaked with perspiration.  During the accident, time slowed down markedly.  I did not panic, and I had a dejevu experience which brought the dream and current events into one.  The slowing of time may have saved my life.  Decisions I made in a split second determined the difference between the serious injuries I sustained, and death., 3) While in my mid-teens, I went to a Billy Graham revival and was so moved I had an OBE (out of body experience), 4) In my teens, twenties, and thirties (when I was much more athletic), I had several unusual events occur.  Before several key events, I experienced that slowdown in time again.  Each time some very unusual events transpired.  One example: Before a relay event, in which my team was by far and away the underdog, I was tossed the baton just prior to the race.   I remember the baton's flight into my hands in very, very slow motion.  The race started momentarily afterwards.  I remember my leg of the race as if I was extremely animated and my competitors to be in slow motion.  In actuality, I won my leg handily, probably being twice as fast as my better conditioned and experienced competitors.  Where is the stopwatch when needed?,  5) I at times became addicted to running.  When in my best conditions, I often caught second, third, …, winds.  Runnning often put me in a very relaxed state.  Each time I would catch a new wind it was as if all weariness would just disappear.  Most of the time, these events happened quickly, without notice (but regularly when in very good condition), and I could go into a much faster pace, even a sprint if I so chose.  Sometimes, I would feel a peacefulness and partial detachment from my body., 6) At one point in my life, I was involved in Scientology.  Some of their technology was beneficial for me.  At several points during events, I was able to achieve OBE .  For a period of time, I was able to achieve OBE's on demand.  One example: During an exercise, I was directed to touch inanimate objects with my left hand, and then touch my right hand.  I had a cognition. The inanimate objects and my body (through touching my right hand) became equivalent and seperate from "me".  I immediately went OBE.  The experience happened suddenly.   I had the feeling of expanding into the room, eventually assuming a position above my body and looking down.  I had many other interesting experiences with Scientology.  Many of these experiences have made me question time, and the relativity of the observer, time, and even reality.

    I don't know if I will find the answers to the bigger questions in life.  I am seeking.  I am a strange bird: I classify myself as a Christian (as I believe in Christ), I can not deny some of my experiences (which makes me question much of what some consider orthodox), and I have researched other religions and Gnosticism, and have found much to be of interest.  Much of what would seem to be dissimilar actually is surprisingly supportive.  This includes science and religion.

    Thanks again, for the work you do.  I will be watching and reading your posts and videos.  I would love to hear if you have anything which could make my journey easier or faster.  Thanks in advance.

  25. Jeffrey says:

    Hello Dolors, I love the video and as you stated at the end, I am having a lovely day, thank you. I’ve always been fascinated by time. I do believe that though time may be real, it is something that is perceived differently in each of us. One example could be when a child is in preschool, time seems to last forever. On the other hand, as adults, there never seems to be enough time.

    As an adult now, my own concept of time is that the past, present and future are all connected. Even more than that, the past and future cannot exist without each other. For example: take the concept of motion. Forward can only be if there is a backwards, up, down, etc. Light and dark, and so on.

    My theory of time itself is that there are events that exist it in, and all of these events have happened already, but it is our existence in these events that add to what would be different in the events, but not necessarily change what has occurred in these events.

    That be said, I too believe that the future is no different, those chains of events have already happened, we’ll just be there to experience them. But even events in our minds have already happened. To make them a reality, would be to simply put these mental events into action.

    In closing, I absolutely loved the video, the A, B, theory is amazing. I happen to believe that not only is time real, but that it’s a living organism.

    Jeffrey

  26. Jeffrey says:

    Hello Dolors, I love the video and as you stated at the end, I am having a lovely day, thank you. I’ve always been fascinated by time. I do believe that though time may be real, it is something that is perceived differently in each of us. One example could be when a child is in preschool, time seems to last forever. On the other hand, as adults, there never seems to be enough time.

    As an adult now, my own concept of time is that the past, present and future are all connected. Even more than that, the past and future cannot exist without each other. For example: take the concept of motion. Forward can only be if there is a backwards, up, down, etc. Light and dark, and so on.

    My theory of time itself is that there are events that exist it in, and all of these events have happened already, but it is our existence in these events that add to what would be different in the events, but not necessarily change what has occurred in these events.

    That be said, I too believe that the future is no different, those chains of events have already happened, we’ll just be there to experience them. But even events in our minds have already happened. To make them a reality, would be to simply put these mental events into action.

    In closing, I absolutely loved the video, the A, B, theory is amazing. I happen to believe that not only is time real, but that it’s a living organism.

    Jeffrey

  27. Hello Dolors.

    I am fascinated by the concept of time, and found your video outstanding. Superbly presented, and a joy to listen to.

    I have a background as an electrical engineer so I can follow arguments in physics to a degree. However, my passion is photography, and it gives me great pleasure. I have always felt that when looking at old photographs, I am entering into a dialogue with time, and that there is more to time than what physics and math can tell us.

    Best regards, Leif M. Sørlund.

    ,

  28. leslie says:

    Thankyou for making the video. It explains concepts that I suspected and even thought are 'real', in better language than I could use.

    One thing I would like to add and this concerns the idea of a person in a vacuum having no concept of causality and therefore no concept of time. My question is – isn't this the same idea when the temperature of matter reaches absolute zero? Nothing moves, so no events happen and therefore no way to measure time. So does time actually exist absolute zero? (How to travel anywhere into the future instantaneously perhaps.)

  29. tom ladig says:

    Unable to fathum the mental contortions others bring to the table. I simply think of it as the continuence of change

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