The arrow of time

The arrow of time

Your answers on what is time and why do we need it? All of us are cognizant of the three dimensions of space through which we have the freedom to...

Your answers on what is time and why do we need it?

the2All of us are cognizant of the three dimensions of space through which we have the freedom to wander aimlessly on our own volition. The temporal dimension, however, seems different since it seems to enslave us and egg us forward in one direction only. While there is the theoretical notion of space�time warp and time travel, it has never been put to practice other than in the dreams of Hollywood. This begs the question as to why the temporal dimension is constrained in such a manner that it ironically forces us to spend so much time trying to manage time itself!

What is time anyway? Why do we need time? Does the universe understand what time means? What is going forward in time and going backwards in time? Are we sure we are in fact going forward and not backward? Puzzling questions that don't have too many convincing answers; at least scientific. Time is a human artifice developed to deal with change. My understanding is that we invented time to measure the relations or intervals between events.

For example, the sun rises to give you the day and you use that to set your activity ball rolling. The origin of time is associated with the Big Bang which supposedly happened around 15 billion years ago BC. Since the human race has started using time, we have always believed that the sands of time flow in a single direction and have organised our lives in a linear fashion hopping from the past via the present to the future. This linear flow of time in a fixed direction allows us to have a free will,A observe the consequences of our actions, experience growth, discover a purpose while maintaining the order of birth, life, and death. Time, in fact, provides us a framework to host in perspective the continuum of our experience.

Time, however, can be perceived to be relative, at least sometimes. For example, in certain countries using daylight savings time we add man�made minutes to our perceived time. Our perception of time can often be altered, for example Adrenaline appears to slow time down. ln fact, different people perceive time differently. The great Albert Einstein once said "When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute �- then it's longer than any hour.


That's relativity!" Our notion of time seems to warp based on our sense of perception! This is counter to our belief that time is a changeless reality that we have to loyally follow. In fact, it looks like some of what we know about time is logical while the rest is grounded in convenient and reasonable assumptions. Of course, clock time does give us a sense of coherence and stability and allows us to synchronize with other entities and events around us.

Agreed that time is useful entity that allows us all to be on the same page. But in the big scheme of things are we really sure we are moving forward and not backward? Time is often linked to deterioration and ageing which naturally forces us to think that that is the way forward. But, what if like the post big-bang cosmic inflation, we all expanded to the vast outer limits of the temporal dimension and are now actually retracing back. This, if true, would imply that we are actually returning from the future to the past while immediately erasing from memory where we came from, thus remembering the past but not the future.

Would time ever come to a stop? What if our universe falls to zero degree Centigrade? Everything would then come to a standstill, freeze, and die. Will that bring time to a standstill and obviate its need? No one knows what will happen at the other end of the Big Bang either? Will we have the proverbial Big Crunch when all the stars will stop expanding and collapse back to a big crunch? Will that reset time? We probably don't have to really worry about it since it will happen long after the human race goes extinct. ln conclusion, it seems that our best bet is to just live in the present, the Now; not the past or the future. Think of time as a scalar and not a vector.

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