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[1] Can anything be timeless?
[2] Time travel comment

[1] Can anything be timeless? [H.S. Pal]

[Comment on:'How long is forever?']

Today’s scientists are like religious gurus of earlier times. Whatever they say are accepted as divine truths by lay public as well as the philosophers. When mystics have said that time is unreal, nobody has paid any heed to them. Rather there were some violent reactions against it. Here are some examples:
“G.E. Moore pointed out that if time is unreal then there are no temporal facts: nothing is past, present or future, and nothing is earlier or later than anything else. But, plainly, it is false that there are no temporal facts, for it is a fact that I am presently inscribing this sentence and that my breakfast yesterday preceded my lunch.”
- Richard M. Gale
[Book: the philosophy of time, edited by Richard M. Gale, Publisher: Macmillan, 1962, Chapter: Introduction to Section Two, The static versus the dynamic temporal, page 69.]
“First of all, what can be meant by saying that time is unreal? If we really meant what we say, we must mean that such statements as “this is before that” are mere empty noise, like “twas brillig.” If we suppose anything less than these – as for example, that there is a relation between events which puts them in the same order as the relation of earlier and later, but that it is a different relation – we shall not have made any assertion that makes any real change in our outlook. It will be merely like supposing that Iliad was not written by Homer, but by another man of the same name. We have to suppose that there are no “events” at all; there must be only the one vast whole of the universe, embracing whatever is real in the misleading appearance of a temporal procession. There must be nothing in reality corresponding to the apparent distinction between earlier and later events. To say that we are born, and then grow, and then die, must be just as false as to say that we die, then grow small, and finally are born. The truth of what seems an individual life is merely the illusory isolation of one element in the timeless and indivisible being of the universe. There is no distinction between improvement and deterioration, no difference between sorrows that end in happiness and happiness that ends in sorrow. If you find a corpse with a dagger in it, it makes no difference whether the man died of the wound or the dagger was plunged in after death. Such a view, if true, puts an end, not only to science, but to prudence, hope, and effort; it is incompatible with worldly wisdom, and – what is more important to religion – with morality.”
- Bertrand Russell
[Mysticism, Book: religion and science, Publisher: Oxford University Press, 1961.]
But when scientists have shown that at the speed of light time becomes unreal, these same philosophers have simply kept mum.  Here also they could have raised their voice of protest. They could have said something like this: “We will never accept the statement that time is unreal. Then why are you wasting your valuable time, money, and energy by explaining to us as to how this time can become unreal? Are you mad?” Had they reacted like this, then that would have been consistent with their earlier outbursts. But they had not. This clearly indicates that a blind faith in science is working here. If mystics were mistaken in saying that time is unreal, then why is the same mistake being repeated by the scientists? Why are they now saying that there is no real division of time as past, present and future in the actual world? If there is no such division of time, then is time real, or, unreal? Thus spake Einstein when his lifelong friend Michele Besso died, “Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” And thus spake scientist Paul Davies, “The most profound puzzle of all is the fact that whatever we may experience mentally, time does not pass, nor there exist a past, present and future. These statements are so stunning that most scientists lead a sort of dual life, accepting them in the laboratory, but rejecting them without thought in the daily life.” [Book: Other worlds, Publisher: J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd., 1980, Prologue, Page 14.]  Is this very recent statement made by a scientist that “time does not pass” anything different from the much earlier statement made by the mystics that “time is unreal”?
Now some scientists are trying to establish that mystics did not get their sense of spacelessness, timelessness through their meeting with a real divine being. Rather they got this sense from their own brain. But these scientists have forgotten one thing. They have forgotten that scientists are only concerned with the actual world, not with what some fools and idiots might have uttered while they were in deep trance. So if they at all explain as to how something can be timeless, then they will do so not because the parietal lobe of these mystics’ brain was almost completely shut down when they received their sense of timelessness, but because, and only because, there was, or, there was and still is, a timeless state in this universe.
God is said to be spaceless, timeless. If someone now says that God does not exist, then the sentence “God is said to be spaceless, timeless” (S) can have three different meanings. S can mean:
a)  Nothing was/is spaceless, timeless in this universe (A),
b) Not God, but someone else has been said to be spaceless, timeless here (B),
c) Not God, but something else has been said to be spaceless, timeless here (C).
It can be shown that if it is true that God does not exist, and if S is also true, then S can only mean C, but neither A nor B. If S means A, then the two words “spaceless” and “timeless” become as meaningless as the word “brillig” (cited by Russell in his quotation mentioned above). By the word “brillig” we cannot indicate a person, a thing, an action, a property, a relation, or any other thing. Similarly, if S means A, then by the two words “spaceless” and “timeless” we cannot indicate anyone or anything, simply because in this universe never there was, is, and will be, anyone or anything that could be properly called spaceless, timeless. Now the very big question is: how can some scientists find meaning and significance in a word like “timeless” that has got no meaning and significance in the real world? If nothing was timeless in the past, then time was not unreal in the past. If nothing is timeless at present, then time is not unreal at present. If nothing will be timeless in future, then time will not be unreal in future. If in this universe time was never unreal, if it is not now, and if it will never be, then why was it necessary for them to show as to how time could be unreal? If nothing was/is/will be timeless, then it can in no way be the business, concern, or headache of the scientists to show how anything can be timeless. If no one in this universe is immortal, then it can in no way be the business, concern, or headache of the scientists to show how anyone can be immortal. Simply, it is none of their business. So, what compelling reason was there behind their action here? If we cannot find any such compelling reason here, then we will be forced to conclude that scientists are involved in some useless activities here that have got no connection whatsoever with the actual world, and thus we lose complete faith in science. Therefore we cannot accept A as the proper meaning of S, as this will reduce some activities of the scientists to simply useless activities.
Now can we accept B as the proper meaning of S? No, we cannot. Because there is no real difference in meaning between this sentence and S. It is like saying that Iliad was not written by Homer, but by another man of the same name (Russell). So, if S is true, then it can only mean that not God, but something else has been said to be spaceless, timeless. Now, what is this “something else” (SE)? Is it still in the universe? Or, was it in the past? Here there are two possibilities:
a) In the past there was something in this universe that was spaceless, timeless,
b) That spaceless, timeless thing (STT) is still there.
We know that the second possibility will not be acceptable to atheists and scientists. So we will proceed with the first one. If STT was in the past, then was it in the very recent past? Or, was it in the universe billions and billions of years ago? Was only a tiny portion of the universe in spaceless, timeless condition? Or, was the whole universe in that condition? Modern science tells us that before the big bang that took place 13.7 billion years ago there was neither space, nor time. Space and time came into being along with the big bang only. So we can say that before the big bang this universe was in a spaceless, timeless state. So it may be that this is the STT. Is this STT then that SE of which mystics spoke when they said that God is spaceless, timeless? But this STT cannot be SE for several reasons. Because it was there 13.7 billion years ago. And man has appeared on earth only 2 to 3 million years ago. And mystical literatures are at the most 2500 years old, if not even less than that. So, if we now say that STT is SE, then we will have to admit that mystics have somehow come to know that almost 13.7 billion years ago this universe was in a spaceless, timeless condition, which is unbelievable. Therefore we cannot accept that STT is SE. The only other alternative is that this SE was not in the external world at all. As scientist Victor J. Stenger has said, so we can also say that this SE was in mystics’ head only. But if SE was in mystics’ head only, then why was it not kept buried there? Why was it necessary for the scientists to drag it in the outside world, and then to show as to how a state of timelessness could be reached? If mystics’ sense of timelessness was in no way connected with the external world, then how will one justify scientists’ action here? Did these scientists think that the inside of the mystics’ head is the real world? And so, when these mystics got their sense of timelessness from their head only and not from any other external source, then that should only be construed as a state of timelessness in the real world? And therefore, as scientists they were obliged to show as to how that state could be reached?
We can conclude this essay with the following observations: If mystical experience is a hallucination, then SE cannot be in the external world. Because in that case mystics’ sense of spacelessness, timelessness will have a correspondence with some external fact, and therefore it will no longer remain a hallucination. But if SE is in mystics’ head only, then that will also create a severe problem. Because in that case we are admitting that the inside of mystics’ head is the real world for the scientists. That is why when mystics get their sense of timelessness from their brain, that sense is treated by these scientists as a state of timelessness in the real world, and accordingly they proceed to explain as to how that state can be reached. And we end up this essay with this absurd statement: If mystical experience is a hallucination, then the inside of mystics’ head is the real world for the scientists.


[2] Time travel comment [Faming]

[Comment on:'Time Doesn't Exist: A Step-by-Step Proof']

It was a few month ago when I was lying in bed but couldn’t sleep and thus was thinking about time. An enlightning idea struck.
When I read an article about time travel not long ago, I put this idea into a comment as a means to explain why such a journey is not possible.
Only afterwards I start looking for other peoples ideas and found yours, Reality Check admin, rather similar.
So I would like to share my comments with you and readers of this site, as it may help to explain the concept a little further. As it is in my native language, I will reproduce it here in translation, rather than hyperlinking. As explained, it is a little biased towards time travel.


First needs to be discussed wat “to exist” itself means. Does “reality” exisit?
We “captured” the universe (and beyond) from quarks to galaxies into theories and laws. Based upon our observations through our senses (using devices or not), processed by our brains (with some computer help &c. when needed). This is the only reality we’ve got. Within this framework we determine what exists and what doesn’t. Within this framework the sun exists, gravity exists, and Russell’s teapot does not.
In my opinion within this framework time does not exist. At least not as a standalone entity with its own properties.
-> Time is the occurance of change.
As such it has no “speed” nor direction of its own. Therefore time travel nor time going backwards are feasible.

Change is vibrating molecules, a moving car, growing tree, rotating hands of a clock.
Imagine a hermetically sealed box with perfect vacuum in complete darkness. Within this box there is no change at all, and thus any reference to time is meaningless. Any thoughts about time which might present itself are related to changes before and after the existence of this box or to its environment. (Apart from its sides and penetrating cosmic particles.)
The idea of time as something on its own which drives everything forward, and might itself move backwards, through which parts of the universe (like you and me) can jump back and forth is wrong. Time does not consist of particles, is no force nor energy, and no magical “ether”. Time comes into “existence” by the very occurance of change.

As such time is a very handy concept: our experience, community, language and science are permeated with it. In that sense it exists: we observe the changes and compare them with other changes (position of the sun, hourglass, pendulum, balance, crystal oscillation, atomic vibration, pulsar). Next we give this other change a name (day, second) which also makes scientific formulas possible.
In this sense changes have a speed, although not necessarily a direction. E.g. a car is going at 30 mph; its direction is implied by its change of position relative to its surrounding. A hart beats at 70 times a min., but has no direction.
Nevertheless we can do without this concept by sticking to the references themselves. The car is actually moving at 30 miles per 7,94E14 cycli of the radiation from the transition between two energy levels of cesium-133. Of course this is the same as per hour, it’s just another number. All “scientific” formulas could be written that way just fine. In fact we already do, we just rename 9192631770 of those cycli to the easier 1 second (and thus having different numbers). Historically it happened slightly different; it is put this way to illustrate time is not something of its own.
Also our experience of time is “just” the observation of changes, which are changes themselves (passing of our thoughts, memories).

So, if time is not “something real” en thus has no direction, why doesn’t that broken cup on the floor get onto the table in one piece?
I’ve read somewhere this has to do with the drive to a higher entropy. But that is unnecessary vague, at least in this case. Time is the occurance of change. Those changes happen according “our reality”. Gravity of the earth is thereby still somewhat stronger than that of (the upside of) a table. And forces on the fracture surfaces prevent the pieces from sticking together.

And what about if there is no time, that all states of the universe co-exist? Are past, now and future present together. Which more or less allows for time travel.
This is actually a no-sense discussion. Time is the occurance of change. So, time would only not be there if there are no changes. And therefore also not within ourselves; that would make travel a bit complicated.
The other way round “co-existing of all states of the universe” implies the upper limit of what you might pedantic call a change (increase) in the speed of time. Actually this means that all changes would occure at exactly the same slower or higher rate. But with respect to what? Some external reference (clock), outside the universe? Still, everything within will go equally faster or even “equally co-existing”, we too and thus nothing is gained. It’s just that external clock ticking soooooo slowly…

Then there is that space traveler. Did time not run faster for him? The related notion of time dilation is somewhat a misnomer. It reinforces the idea of time being “something real” which can go faster and slower. What happens is that less change has occured to the time traveler when he returns as would have been the case if he had stayed on earth (actually with respect to the whole universe and thus the earth itself with everything to go with it, including a twin brother); this we call slower. When departure and return is related to the number of passed transitions in cesium-133, it will show that at the traveler less have occured than on earth. When we think of time in the Lorentz transformation not as seconds but again as those very cesium-133 transitions, things get very illustrative indeed! And the idea of time going slower or faster is just a manner of speaking.

In short, time is very substantial, but “nothing more” than a reference (like an hourglass, cesium atom). As such there cannot be things like direction or speed of time itself. And thus there is nothing to travel through, neither “forth” nor “back”.
Back to the time traveler; he does not live any longer, his thoughts have been slowed down together with his cells (and spaceship). Perhaps I should say he does not experience life any longer. The earth having gone through more cesium-133 transitions could be called a “leap through time”. In this sense “time” travel is possible. But this is not an instant plop into the next few years or so, you cannot skip “time”. Only slow down your metabolism relatively. It would take quite some (infeasible) effort though, and still a long “own” time span, if you want any substantial result from your space travel. Maybe in the future there will be other ways (cryonics), but that is a totally different story.
The impossibility of traveling back into the past hardly needs any explanation I hope. It would require for all processes in the whole universe to exactly revert (against our theories and laws), except yours! And preferably much faster than yours in case you do not want to wait too long…

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