What is ‘time’ – exploring the fourth dimension.
To begin, ‘time’ and the fourth dimension are two completely separate ideas, unlike common belief. Before I begin discussing the fourth dimension, I want to clear up what ‘time’ actually is. Time is a subjective measurement created by humans to record, keep track of and plan events occurring in the universe. If another intelligent race exists elsewhere in the universe, chances are they have their own measurement of ‘time’, but their ‘second’ would be completely different to ours. Think of how both the imperial and metric system of measuring distance are both valid ways of doing so, but have very different intervals. But if these measuring systems did not exist, that doesn’t mean that distance would suddenly cease to exist. It is exactly the same with time in relation to the fourth dimension. The fourth dimension is ‘duration’ – i.e. the opportunity for the unfolding of events to occur, and time is simply our way of measuring it..
Almost everybody on the planet has come to believe that we exist in a three-dimensional universe, as that is what we perceive. However, this is not the case – we exist within the extended idea of the fourth dimension. I’m going to break it down and create a step-by-step guide to ‘reaching’ the fourth dimension.
Pi. π. 3.14159. A mathematical constant; an infinite number – the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Records of its use date back to Babylon and Egypt, as early as 1900 BCE, and both civilizations developed approximations within 1% of pi’s true value, and the number has proved infinitely important to both maths and science – whilst it’s use can be as simple as helping to calculate the diameter of a circle in a maths class, or for laying foundations to a circular building, we have been able to use the number for far greater purposes: in calculating the circumference of the earth, for example.
The most interesting thing about pi, however, is its irrational nature: it can never be expressed as a ratio of two integers – thus, it’s decimal representation never ends, and it can never settle into a permanent repeating pattern. As of late 2011, scientists have extended pi’s decimal representation to THIRTEEN TRILLION digits. That amount alone is incomprehensible to all but the most skilled mathematicians – I can’t begin to comprehend its enormity.
Colour. While nearly every human being on this planet knows what it is, it’s still a very abstract idea. For starters, let’s conduct a short thought experiment. Take a second to focus on the colours you see right now. Look at the clothes you are wearing (let’s assume you are not reading this butt naked). Try and describe the colour you see. First thing that probably pops into your mind is the word associated with that colour – in my case this would be grey. Now try and describe that colour without mentioning the word associated with it. How would I describe the colour grey? Well I could say that my t-shirt is the same colour as ashes are. Or perhaps point at something and say that my t-shirt is that colour. But no matter how long you try it’s nearly impossible to describe the colour you see without comparing it to something else or using the word associated to it.
Few days ago I was discussing this with Marais and Sims. This topic was always one of those ‘mind fuck’ topics which I love to think about and discuss with others. But in order for me to present you with my personal ‘theory’ I feel the need to explain briefly what colours really are.
Déjà vu – we’ve all experienced it; that weird sensation when an event or experience seems so familiar that you’re sure it has previously occurred, when in fact it hasn’t. A feeling so strange, in fact, that… well, that you can only say what it is in French.
As a rule, humans don’t tend to experience the sensation until the age of 8, though it can occur beforehand. Experiences tend to become more prevalent through childhood and reach a peak in teenage years, and early “tweens” – here, it seems, rates of experiencing déjà vu decrease with a steady growth in maturity. This, obviously, puts forth the argument that déjà vu may be connected to brain development. However:
In his 1928 book A Textbook of Psychology, psychologist Edward B. Tichener suggested déjà vu occurs when we catch a momentary glimpse of a situation, or object, before our brain has fully constructed a conscious, cohesive understanding of the experience, and this “partial perception” leads to a false sense of familiarity. He argued that déjà vu is merely a “false recall” of memory, an anomaly, and not an act of prophecy or precognition, as it was once believed.
We exist in the future; we perceive the past.
I was recently acquainted with this interesting, but fairly simple, idea – that we exist in the future of what we perceive.
To begin: light takes time to travel; one second to cross 299,792,458 metres, to be exact. Now take the stars in the night sky, for example; Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the sun, is approx. 4.2 light-years away. This, of course, means that the light emanating from it takes 4.2 years to reach us here on Earth. We therefore see the star as it was 4.2 years ago.
Light from everything in the universe, including this text which you are reading now, has taken time, no matter how miniscule an amount, to reach your eyes. Say, for example, your monitor is 50cm from your eyes; it has taken the light from said monitor 1.66782048×10-9 seconds to arrive at your retina. You are therefore viewing the monitor as it was 1.66782048×10-9 seconds ago. Every single object you see is merely an image of what that object looked like in the past. This includes your own body.
Conclusion (TL:DR) – Because light takes time to travel, we see everything in the universe for what they were in the past. Our body, therefore, physically exists fractionally further in the future of what we perceive.
There’s three of us here, and we’ll be posting entries about anything that piques our interest – topics will tend to be focused on physics and philosophy.
Posts to follow shortly.