Past Or Future?

Hardy is apparently reading a book about time. The name of the book is From Eternity To Here, and he says hes been reading it for almost an eternity. And this is the book they were talking about the other day. I found out that this book, by Sean Carroll, explores the notion of time, and looks at the “arrow” of time based on the ideas of entropy and quantum mechanics. In the book he explores “the nature of time, the beginning of the universe, and the underlying structure of physical reality” in his own words.

One of the questions the book looks at is the concept of the flow of time … from past to present to the future. One of the things the book looks at is what the world would be like if time flowed from future to past. Would anyone find out?

An important aspect is that time, by itself, isnt a logically necessary part of the universe. Its a useful concept, not essential. And this is one of the things they were discussing the other day. Time, from what they were discussing, is only a mathematical construct to create relationships between cause and effect which would otherwise seem unrelated. Plant a seed, water it, give it ample sunlight, and manure from time to time, and you will get a plant.Without time in the picture, it would be difficult to connect the two. One could look at it philosophically, in a way that the blue print of the plant is already present in the seed, or that the plant is the latent potential of the seed, and so, without bringing time into the equation, one could get a plant from a seed.

Another aspect they were talking about was how the world would be different if time flowed towards the past. Laurel believes it would be cool to have the hangover before getting drunk, and coming out of a party completely sober inspite of drinking your fill. Well, they got into more detailed aspects of that which are somewhat unpublishable, so we will skip those. But the thing is, nobody would be able to make out the difference because everyone would be experiencing the same thing.

We see yesterday as the past and tomorrow as the future. In a world where time flowed in the other direction (its difficult to use our verbiage to define this scenario), people would see tomorrow as the past and yesterday as the future, and none the wiser. Only as an outside observer, having a different direction for the arrow of time would you be able to make out the difference.

This, according to these guys, has profound implications. If, in our world, we turn an egg into an omelette (why do physicists have a preference, one wonders), in another world, with the direction of time being opposite to what it is in our world, people would be turning omelettes into eggs, and none the wiser. Or would they? Does entropy or the 2nd law of thermodynamics allow that? Hmm … maybe you too need to read the book to find out?

This means that, as mentioned earlier (didnt i tell you that these guys repeat themselves all the time?), there is a fundamental relationship between cause and effect, much more fundamental than one defined by time. In this way, much to the dismay of scientists, science today seems to be on a path of convergence with spirituality, or with a deeper philosophic reality of our world.

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2 Responses to Past Or Future?

  1. Atul says:

    This follows from the fact that space and time are part of a single entity rather than being two independent entities, which means that the more you move through space, the less you move through time, i.e., the faster you move, the slower time gets, because x^2+y^2+z^2-(ct)^2 must be a constant.

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