One of the most difficult question one can ask a physicists or anyone for that matter is what is time because it does not have a physical presence. This may be the reasons some define it only in the abstract saying that is an invention of the human consciousness that gives us a sense of order, a before and after so to speak of the changes that occur in our environment.
However physicists are not afforded the option of an abstract definition because they have defined gravity in terms of the physical curvature in a space-time dimension. For example, a physical curvature in space-time is viewed by many physicists to be causality of the force of gravity.
In other words to be consistent they should be able to define it in terms of its physicality.
Yet it is possible that time may be something which cannot be defined by a what but may be an effect similar to how color is not a something but is an effect cause by how light is reflected by a something. If this is true physicist’s would have to find another way to define gravity other that one that depends on the interactions of space and time defined by Einstein.
Another question that is difficult to answer is if nothing in the universe changed would time still exist.
Answering this question may provide an answer as to what time is because if change is the causality of our perception of time then understanding what causes it in the space-time environment that physicist’s say we live may help us to understand how it is connected to our environment.
However, as Einstein suggested in the following quote time cannot not be physically connected to the process of change because it is a rigid unchanging component of a space-time environment defined by both his Special and General Theories of Relatively and therefore could not be responsible of the dynamic process associated with change.
“Since there exists in this four dimensional structure [space-time] no longer any sections which represent “now” objectively, the concepts of happening and becoming are indeed not completely suspended, but yet complicated. It appears therefore more natural to think of physical reality as a four dimensional existence, instead of, as hitherto, the evolution of a three-dimensional existence.”
In other words according to Einstein the structure of space-time is ridge while the changes we associated with time are merely an illusion similar to the illusion of change created in a flip book when one rapidly flips through its pages containing series of pictures that vary gradually from one page to the next.
Yet this means if, as he suggested the time dimension is not responsible for the “evolution of a three-dimensional existence” some other geometric property of the our universe must be physically connected to it to allow change to propagated through it.
Therefore to understand the “evolution of a three-dimensional existence” one would have to explain how the change propagates through it without referring to a time dimension.
Einstein gave us the ability to do this when he defined the energy associated with the evolution of a space-time environment in terms of the equation E=mc^2 the constant velocity of light because that provided a method of converting a unit time and redefine the energy in that environment to its equivalent in four *spatial* dimensions. Additionally because the velocity of light is constant he also defined a one to one quantitative and qualitative correspondence between his space-time universe and one made up of four *spatial* dimensions.
In other words he tells the physical properties of a space-time geometry are related to an observer’s interpretation similar to how the measurements of their magnitudes are related an observer’s velocity. This is because, as was show above one can reinterpret the mathematics associated with the time dimension in an environment consisting of four dimensional space-time with a spatial one to create one in only four *spatial* dimensions with identical properties. However one must be careful not to think of this as the physical replacement of the time dimension in Einstein’s universe with a spatial one because according to his mathematics they coexist in the same geometric plain.
Additionally the fact that the equation E=mc^2 allows us to quantitatively derive energy in a space-time environment in terms of four *spatial* dimensions is the bases for assuming as was done in the article â€œDefining energyâ€ Nov 27, 2007 that all forms of change can be derived in terms of a displacement in a “surface” of a three-dimensional space manifold with respect to a fourth *spatial* dimension instead of one in a space-time manifold.
Doing would also allow physicists to define gravity and energy in terms that do not depend on time or the interactions of space and time defined by Einstein.
Additionally it would allow one to understand how the geometric properties of space interact to create the change associated with time in terms of a physical image without using it because we can “see” or perceive how a void in space created by any displacement causes change where, as was mentioned earlier we cannot with time.
For example, we can physically observe how the energy stored in the displacement of water in dam causes change in an environment when it is released or allowed to flow over it. In other words we can form a physical image of the causality of the changing level of water in a dam in terms of its movement through the spatial void between its top and bottom.
Similarly one can form a clear physical image of how and why change occurs in our three-dimensional environment by assuming the energy stored in a spatial displacement in a “surface” of a three-dimensional space manifold with respect to a fourth *spatial* dimension is released though the “void” that displacement creates in four dimensional space.
This suggest the change most associate with time may be an effect caused by an interaction of a fourth spatial dimension with our three dimension environment.
In other words similar to how an the color of an apple is an effect created by an interaction between light and its surface time may be the effect of a physical interaction of our three-dimensional environment with a four *spatial* dimension.
It should be remember Einstein’s mathematical model which defines the physical geometry of our universe tells us that an all objects must simultaneously exist in both a space-time environment and one consisting of four spatial dimension because as was shown above one can use his mathematics to define two identical universes; one in four dimensional time and another made up of only four *spatial* dimensions. Which one we use to define our reality is dependent on how an observer interprets his mathematics.
Copyright Jeffrey O’Callaghan 2016