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wundayatta's avatar

If humans create time, does that change how we live our lives?

Asked by wundayatta (58354 points ) November 6th, 2010

There’s been a lot of research in the last few years that looks into quantum entanglement and the role of the observer in the behavior of our environment. They have already created quantum entanglement at a level large enough to be seen by human eyes.

There’s a lot of evidence suggesting that humans create time, instead of being a function of time. Time is kind of not real, in the sense that it is not something the universe imposes on us. We impose time on our lives.

What the hell does that mean? I mean, what does it mean in terms of how we live our lives or how we might live our lives? Can we freeze time? Can we live in a perpetual moment? Or does this really mean nothing insofar as we currently live or will live in the future?

Read that article. Follow the links. It’s pretty interesting.Then think about existential implications of that information and tell us what you think.

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27 Answers

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@ETPro! How dare you disguise yourself as @wundayatta.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Time is a measurement of motion over distance. Measurements are tools. Tools are created by humans. Thus you are correct, time is an invention of humans.

“What the hell does that mean?”

It means, now here is nowhere.

THIS isn’t.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

BTW… careful with posting the Lanza OP’s. I haven’t had much luck with that. But I’m right there with ya.

Symbeline's avatar

If time isn’t real and we created it (Of that which I agree.) through the need of routine and convenience which has, indeed, been with us since our cave days, then it’s an innate function within us that most likely belongs to our will to live, and to adapt to that which creates a necessity that compliments that will, such as food, work and entertainment.
I don’t think it changes anything, as if we didn’t invent time, we’d probbaly event some other equivalent which would serve the very same purposes.

faye's avatar

There would still be natural “time”, sunrises, phases of the moon, seasons (for some of us). We’d still need to sleep each day,or cycle or whatever it became called.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Let me see if I have time before I have to set my clocks back to standard time to shed some logic on time. Time is what it is, the seasons will pass and full Moons will come and go. Animals sense time but connected to events, time to spawn, time to hunt, time to migrate, etc., they don’t sense time as “dinner time”, etc. Humans invented time for the most part because humans needed to get in synch with other humans. The more technical/industrial we became the more we needed a constant to get us all on the same page. Imagine trying to run a bus line, air line, etc if you could not have Boston synched up in some way with Bakersfield? No one would know when the jet would be there exactly and might miss their flight causing the air line to lose money. Workers would not know how much they were earning or their employer would not know if they worked as much as they should, not all jobs can be task oriented, you know it was completed because the work was finished. The cosmos has time, if the science is right at some point in time way longer than any of us will be around stars go nova, they turn into Red Giants before collapsing in on themselves, etc. This cycle or time passes in spite of the fact there is no one to call it “time” or meter it into years, decades, centuries, etc.

flutherother's avatar

One of the odd things that science tells us is that time is an illusion, or at least our sense of passing time is not real. This is not new, for example St Augustine thought that God existed outside of time. At peaceful moments in my life it feels to me that there is no time, just a wonderful enduring moment. When rushing to catch a bus in the morning it is a different story. The idea that time is an illusion will mean different things to different people. For me it feels reassuring. I feel I don’t have to worry and that we should all enjoy this wonderful moment that we have,

PhiNotPi's avatar

What that means is that time cannot exist without observers. That is, if there is nothing to witness time taking place, there is no reason to believe that time actually took place. The observers do not have to be humans, but in my case, I just happen to be one.

Paradox's avatar

Well time is considered to be the fourth dimension. Time itself does not exist but is used basically as a measuring tool (so to speak). Time can be relative to the person experiencing it. Time will fly for the person who is sleeping from 10:00pm to 6:00am compared to the person who is working during those hours. The time to 6 will fly while for the person working it will drag (obviously). However at the same time each persons relative feel of “time” still does not directly affect what is really happening. In reality time is nothing more than a manmade instrument for measuring changes.

choppersangel's avatar

just checked in the the pool and found this, will look at weblink… Serendipitous? Coincidence? SO and I were discussing similar profundity only an hour ago, cool question @wundayatta

choppersangel's avatar

Oh, came back and realised I had to use my time differently… I’ll proffer opinion rather than informed response: we might respond as our ancestors probably did; which is closer to how the rest of the animal kingdom seems to. By reacting to stimuli, being more wary and aware of the physical environment, making our decisions moment to moment…

gggritso's avatar

I’m not sure if anyone in the thread bothered to read that article and follow the links, but no one raised issues with it, so I’ll be the one to do so.

The article was written by a (very smart, I’m sure) man who specializes in biotechnology, and “biocentrism”, which, I should note, is a concept that he coined. In that article, he takes a minute to interpret physics experiments to support this theory, which I don’t think they do. The first problem is that most of the links in his article require passwords, so I couldn’t even read the actual papers to make my own conclusions. The second problem is that he makes vague and semi-sensical statements about a topic that’s already incredibly complicated and essentially outside the reach of a regular person. Frankly, I don’t think any of the quantum experiments that he cited do much to support his views on time. In addition, the “scientific articles” he links to that interpret papers also seem to be putting their own twist on it, and making their own conclusions.

“Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle is a fundamental concept of quantum physics. However, it only makes sense from a biocentric perspective.” Excuse me? It makes perfect sense without taking your own theories into account, it’s a fundamental concept of Quantum Mechanics, as your said yourself.

“The problem lies not in the experiments but in our way of thinking about time. Biocentrism is the only comprehensible way to explain these results, which are only “weird” in the context of the existing paradigm.” What the fuck is he talking about? Again, this is a concept that was introduced mathematically and then proven experimentally. Collapse of wave-functions by observation isn’t new, and certainly doesn’t have anything to do with biocentrism.

To add to the issue, people are all up in arms about the fact that observing an experiment changes its outcome. People have this voodoo-magical view of this, even though sometimes it just boils down to the fact that in order to view sometimes, you have to shine light on it, and if it’s small enough shining light on it can change its behaviour.

With regards to your actual question, I will agree with people above me in that time is an artificial construct. Zeno’s Paradox, can be made less confusing if, like my physics teacher, we decide that there is no such thing as a moment in time, just a change in time. No t, just delta t. No matter what, this concept of “time” will always exist, because even if change isn’t occuring, our concept of time is still valid.

The way we experience time is a whole different thing, and will be better answered by others.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Biocentrism does not refute Heisenberg or the math behind it. It simply states that mind is the reason for it.

ucme's avatar

I haven’t the time to answer this!

Self_Consuming_Cannibal's avatar

Yes I think it does change how we live. Time is just a way to arrange when to get certain tasks done. It helps us organize our life’s a lot better.

josie's avatar

Since the universe is not static, time is a measure of non linear distance between events. It is not created by humans. It is observed by humans. The premise is incorrect.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

”...time is a measurement of…”

How does the mute, blind, deaf and dumb cosmos measure?

josie's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies
It doesn’t. Only human beings, as far as we know, discriminate through measurement. What is your point?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Point is, you said “time is a measure”, and then said “It is not created by humans”, and then said “Only human beings…discriminate through measurement”

If time is a measurement, and only humans measure, then how does it follow that time is not created by humans?

josie's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies
No different than length.
Most objects have a horizontal projection into space that we call length.
Whether or not we bother to measure it, the phenomenon that we call length is still there.
It was there before we arrived.
When we are gone, it will still be there.
But, in fact, we have the capability to measure it, and we do.
Same with time.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Only the phenomenon was there. The concept of length is in our mind, as are the concepts of hard, fast, heavy… The phenomenon becomes (to us) what we say it is. We create the object out of the white noise which is the phenomenon.

Two different observers will create two different objects out of the exact same phenomenon. To me, it’s a bucket. To you, it’s a stool. The essence of bucket-ness and stool-ness has nothing to do with plastic or the particles which assemble to create the phenomenon.

Without mind, there is no such thing as space/time. We could have called it Laurel and Hardy, observing a completely different set of conceptualizations of the same thing we now call Materialism.

josie's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Sorry dude. Reality, and all of it’s features, is there. It is not your choice. All we have going for us is A. Our ability to be aware of it, and B. Our ability to integrate perceptions of it into a conceptual picture that allows to use our volition at the lowest level of risk.
Movement and change occured before we were here.
It is WHY we are here.
We did not create it. We “developed” the means to be aware of it.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I understand you position, and used to believe in reality just as you describe. But I’m just not there any more.

I have a new, and very different understanding of the way things are.

The entire cosmos is nothing more than white noise, static, entropy… You want to see the universe up close and naked? Take a look at your television set tuned to static. You want to hear it? Turn your radio to static. It’s nothing, nada, zilch, just this side of void.

In this physical realm, there are only quantum particles. That’s it, that’s all. Just a bunch of noise. A mind comes along and begins to describe those particles… observe/describe… In the beginning was the Word… and bam! the concepts of energy/matter space/time were born.

choppersangel's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies, almost in agreement. Almost totally, except the idea of noise. Silence it is, an eternal stillness. Full of potential. Full of dynamic, impossible-to-understand-just-yet information. Just information really. The thing that seems to scare the physicists most is that at some point ‘information’ itself may cease to exist, or disappear. So that even imagination would not be able to conjure it up. I doubt that. Sorry if this is too esoteric for the true information specialists here, but this stuff has never been explicable within the human lexicon. If it ever really does become so, then please ‘beam me up Scotty’! There will be a lot more fun to be had with consciousness…

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

The problem here lies with the physicist, as they (not all but many) consider particles to be information, when they are not. No other discipline considers observable phenomenon to be information. Somehow, somewhere, some loose tongued physicist referred to observable phenomenon as information, and that meme stuck, and continued to permeate a lie across an entire discipline.

The formal heritage of Information denotes a process (tion), and the Inform is broken down to In-to-form. Information, is the process of manifesting thought in-to-form.

Information is a description. It is not an observable phenomenon.

A Discipline Independent Definition of Information attempts to correct this errant use of the word Information, encouraging all disciplines, including physics to adhere to the a standardized definition across multiple disciplines. If physics insists upon having their own private definition, then we can never communicate effectively with one another about this subject.

“Full of dynamic, impossible-to-understand-just-yet information”

That’s not the case at all. The cosmos is not full of information. It is full of particles, seen as observable phenomenon. Information is created by a human mind during the process of describing the observable phenomenon. We observe, and then manifest our thought in-to-form, by authoring a code which represents our thoughts about the phenomenon.

The universe is static, white noise. It becomes what we describe it to be. And the only way to expand our descriptions is to expand our lexicon. More words provide a greater ability to provide more description, thus more Information is created.

tigress3681's avatar

Regardless of which may be objectively true, our lives are still constrained by things out of our control… for example the average number of heartbeats in a lifetime is relatively constant, regardless of the species of animal to which the heart belongs. I believe that establishing a way to manage the number of heartbeats in terms of something relatively concrete (like the time it takes to say “one Mississippi”) is imperative to making the most of the life associated with said heartbeats.

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