As I begin to write, it is 2032 PDT Sunday. It’s just 3 hours shy of two full 24-hour days since I again revealed my fixation with our natural physical and temporal dimensions. I’ve written much about physical dimensions here. It’s a fixation of mine, an obsession. Perhaps, even a madness. Since I wrote my post on Friday night, I have not been able to let the subject rest. On Saturday, still dripping with the enigmatic physical characteristics of our four dimensions, I tried to impart this mystery to my family and was greeted with vacant stares. I usually assume everyone is as interested in such matters, but apparently this isn’t the case.
Almost 48 hours. Time is commonly referred to as one of the four known dimensions, but it is…different. I am fascinated with Time. Time is my madness. It is the concept that rouses uneasy, sickening sensations of physical discomfort in me. Time, the dimension, elusive. Time is so unlike the 3 other spatial dimensions. Time is unseen. Not witnessed. Time is circumstantial. Time is deduced and gauged by the movement of adjacent physical dimensions but never viewed directly.
Whereas the length of a board is measurable within the dimension of width, let’s say, Time is not measurable in and of itself within its own relegated dimension! The board is theoretically fixed, and especially theoretically denoted, by its placement in space-time by a configuration and intersection of axis’. The board is said to be at this spot and impartial measurement can take place absent any other guiding mechanism. In this sense, length, height and depth, the physical dimensions, are all calculable within the awesomely infinite grid structure of our Universe’s space-time that extends from here to the edge space (or not, depending on your viewpoint). The board exists at this one spot and measurement of its length can occur theoretically in a complete void, provided you have a copy of this infinite universal map. You know, that simple one that has the coordinates of every object in the universe. That one :)
Time, however, is nebulous. It is non-existent in the physical sense. Time’s presence is derived from the actions of objects through the physical dimensions. Time’s measure cannot be derived solely from its own invisibility. Time is the ethereal hand that steers the reality of our physical senses over the terrain of our universe. There is no Time particle. No elemental reduction of Time’s essence that would allow us to begin some rudimentary understanding of its nature exists. Time is not. Time is the ether.
Eight years ago I was in a coma for 4 or 5 days. I had no sense of the Time. None at all. Even now, I merely recall that period as a void of non-existence. I had no concept of Time and 4 days may as well have been 40 years. I would not have been able to demarcate the passage of time through my unconscious awareness. In the absence of a complete recognition or awareness of Time, there was none. What occurred just before, and right after, the coma, might have been separated by a gulf of microseconds or eons. In the absence of grounded awareness, Time assumed its clearest nature…of nothingness. Time is nothing without awareness of the physical dimensions that give it meaning and essence. In fact, every night when we go to sleep, we fall into a “micro-coma” in which the conscious awareness of Time is squelched. In sleep, all other frames of reference that give Time its breadth (space) cease to filter into our consciousness and thus, Time loses meaning or is skewed, as when we have a dream that lasts a few minutes, at the most, but encompasses imaginary fictional episodes lasting hours or days. Time’s elemental nature is unguided in the absence of a frame of reference. The ancient philosophical thought experiment of “if a tree falls in the forest, but no one is around to hear it…” was, I’m convinced, intended to probe the nature of Time, and nothing else. If there is nothing for Time to separate and layer and order, does it exist?
Time derives its dimensional nature from the perturbations it elicits in physical objects it comes in contact with. Even space-time is entirely dependent on the qualification of movement and placement in space by physical objects to assume definition. Time, as measured and confirmed by atomic clocks, speeds up and slows down in reaction to gravity and velocity. Yet, Time can only be measured by grouping it with the presence of spatial dimension changes. Time does not affect, it is merely affected. A cosmological byproduct that allows us to measure the forward motion of the physical world and its principles.
When I think of the lattice-like undefinable intrusion of Time into the tangible mechanics of the spatial dimensions, I wonder if it truly exists as a tangible “something.” Is Time the genesis or is it the byproduct? Is Time the dimension that gives the Universe its “space?” Without Time to tease out the dense conglomeration of All there is, our Universe, everything that inhabits it, would occupy the singularity, an incomprehensible point that encapsulates existence. Time is the “lubrication.” Time is the the master dimension that imbues life to physical nature. Time is Space is Matter. Many physical laws contain Time as a formulaic quotient that seals the equation and completes it whole. Time is the glue that binds but it is also the space that invents reality.