Time is part of our normal conversations. Teachers will often say "finish your work at this time!" Where did they get this time from and is it separate to all the other times? How many times are there? If it is 'at' this time, does that mean time is a place we have to travel to for us to finish our work? Can we finish our work at another place? Can we travel to another destination to finish our work?
I have often heard people say "There's not enough time!" or "I can't find time". How much time do we have? If we have time, does that make it an object? Do we weigh time in kilograms? Can we contain time in a box? In a bottle? Others might say "I don't have time anymore." Did we lose time? Can it be found again? Where do we get more time from? If we don't have time, can we buy it? If so, is someone selling time? If we can buy time, how much does time cost? What is the currency we pay to get more time? If we sell time, how do we value time and the amount we give? If we purchase 10 hours of time in 1 go, is that the same as buying 1 hour of time 10 times? "You've taken up my time" is one of my favourite phrases. How can time be taken? If one person has taken time, how do they give it to someone else? Can some steal all the time in the world? If they have all the time in the world, how do they use it? Can someone give all the time that they have? If they give all the time that they have, what happens to a person who has no time themselves? Can we live without having any time?
Another great statement: Where did time go? Does that mean no-one can find time? Is time something that is alive that can decide to go somewhere on its own? If we find time, is it the same time that we lost, or a new time? If it's a different time, shouldn't we call it something else? Or are all these different 'times' just clones of one another? If they are the same, then why are they separate? If they're like a string, are they just clones of the same thing all attached together?
What about "I have time"? If you have time, then does that mean no-one else has time? If you have time and someone else has time, are we sharing the same time? Or are they different times? If we're sharing time, then how do you decide who gets to use time and where? If they are using time simultaneously, then how can time do completely different things concurrently? If everyone has time and using time concurrently, how does time work for everyone? Do we all experience time the same? Does time treat everyone the same?
To some, time feels like a single piece of string that begins at birth and finishes at death. If it's a string, would people fall off? Does everyone move along the string at the same time together, or does everyone move along the string at different times? Do some people move along the string forwards and backwards? Is it possible to travel sideways if time was a string, and if so, are there multiple strings? If there are multiple strings, how do we move from one string to another? Can we jump from one string to another, or can we only travel along pieces of string? If people are on one string, are they also in a different place and different time to people sitting on another string?
Some say "when time began"; how does time have a beginning? If so, does time has a beginning, middle and end? What happened before time began? What happens after time ends? How would time end and how would time begin? If time itself ends, what happens to us? If time can begin and end on it's own, what do we mean by "their time ended"? Does everyone have their own time?
Do people have their own part of time? What happens when our time ends? What is left of us if our time ends? What happens to time when we end?
To some, time feels like a prison in which we must always follow the rules and can never break them. How is time keeping us prisoner? Is it possible to break free from time? If so, what happens if we leave time behind? Is time the prison, or is time the prison-guard? If we try to break free from this prison of time, will we be chased and punished by this prison-guard of time?
To some, time never ends; this infinite and never ending string. I often here the phrase "it feels like an eternity" or "it will go on forever". If this is true, then how can time have a beginning or an end? If it is forever, how can time begin and if time never ends, why does it end for some? If time is truly infinite, then why does it matter? Can we take time for granted? Will time always exist? How can we be sure if we've never even met time, seen time, looked at time or heard time? Certainly it seems we are all feeling something that we call time, but is the thing we're feeling actually time? Or is time something we've never felt and we're actually feeling something else altogether?
So, what IS time?
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town,
And beats mountain down.
“If time travel is possible, where are the tourists from the future?”
What do we actually know about time?
Despite being able to go going back-and-forth in space, time itself is still only continuing in 1-direction and we can never re-trace or travel back through our time. For this reason, scientists illustrate time as an arrow that moves in one direction.
The beginning of time.
In the beginning, at the time of the big bang, all the matter in our entire universe was condensed and compacted into a 'ball'. Everything that makes up our universe could almost fit into a pea. When the big bang happened, all the matter in the universe exploded outward, always moving away from each other, and is always moving in this outward direction.
What is entropy? Entropy is a measure of the unavailable energy in a closed thermodynamic system that is also usually considered to be a measure of the system's disorder, that is a property of the system's state, and that varies directly with any reversible change in heat in the system and inversely with the temperature of the system. More broadly, it is the degree of disorder or uncertainty in a system, and the degradation of the matter and energy in the universe to an ultimate state of inert uniformity.
That's a very tricky definition to understand. For now, just think of atoms and the bonds between them. When atoms or particles are close together, they have a low entropy. When atoms or particles are further apart, they have higher entropy.
Have you ever wondered why eggs break when they fall but never repair on its own? Or when you have a punctured tire the air goes out of the tire but doesn't go back into the tire? Or when ice is left out in the sun it melts, but it cannot freeze up again in reverse? Or why does coffee sitting on a table gets cold but not heat up again by itself?
With most atomic configurations, there tends to be more ways for particles to spread out than stay compact, which also means that there are more ways for the particles to have higher entropy than lower entropy. In the real world, the number of ways for particles to have a lower entropy than higher entropy is often a-billion-to-one! For instance, for a candle that is melting to start spontaneously reforming is 1:1,000,000, and even if it did, within split seconds it would start melting again as the atomic configuration in the candle changed.
Therefore, entropy moves in one direction...
What else moves in one direction as we know? TIME! This why entropy is called 'Time's Arrow'. This is why time can have a beginning, which is the big bang, and as all the particles that burst and spread out during the big bang, which follows thermodynamics and the properties of entropy, will cause time to move forward in one direction. Ever since the big bang, all the matter in the universe has been moving away from each other. This makes the entire universe an entropy system. This is what has allowed for all the galaxys, planets, stars and life to exist.
Entropy is why things in the universe always happen in 1 direction. For instance, everyone is born, lives and then dies. No one (yet) can make that process work backwards. Because time also moves forward, we can differentiate between different years and what is 'past', 'present' and 'future'.
a) Time had a beginning - the big bang
b) In order for time to exist, it needs space for it to exist in, which is why there was no time before the big bang
c) What we perceive as time is linked to thermodynamics and this thing we call 'entropy'
d) The second law of thermodynamics involving entropy implies that matter will always try to spread out, and not try to stay compact
e) All the particles of the universe at the time of the big bang were compact, and when the bang happened, all the particles have continued to spread out
f) Entropy only happens in one direction, and so almost everything in our universe can therefore only happen in one direction of time.
g) Entropy is considered the 'Arrow Of Time'. Entropy and time are extremely linked in that time itself can only happen in one direction, and over time itself things can only happen in one direction.
Does time work differently anywhere?
Although we haven't been able to solve what time is, we understand how time functions and perhaps why time functions the way it does. What if I told you, that there are things in our universe where time isn't experienced the way we do?
How we interpret time works similarly. If we think about ourselves and the world around us, it is easy for us to look at what is happening and orientate ourselves and this allows us to experience and see the passing of time. This is time experienced on a 'macro' level or 'big' level.
If we enter the world of quantum mechanics, which is the word that is smaller than atoms, it is far harder to understand time. For instance, if I record a block of ice melting, and then played the recording in reverse, you would be able to tell that the recording is playing in reverse. IF, however, I recorded the 'drinking bird toy', would you be able to tell if it was playing normally or in reverse?
Can we time travel?
hahahahaha. Just joking, I think you're asking if we can jump from one period in time to another. Can we travel into the future and can we travel into the past? Well, Einstein's theory of relativity discusses something called "time dilation". This states that time measured along different trajectories (or paths,) is affected by differences in either gravity or velocity- each of which affects time in different ways.
Again, Einstein always makes things hard to understand. what his theory basically states is, that the faster we travel, the slower the effects of time; and also, space and therefore distances we travel shrink the faster we travel. Therefore, the faster we travel, the shorter the distances become to our destinations and the slower that time moves for us. This is the consequences of time dilation. Now, don't try to drive at 400km per hour down the road, because these effects of time dilation. To have a significant impact on time and space, you would need to be travelling close to the speed of light. If you want to play around with a time dilation calculator, visit here: http://www.emc2-explained.info/Dilation-Calc/#.XDRYyVUzZph
(Source: Second Thought)
For example, if I was travelling in a car that could go at 80% the speed of light, and I was travelling to a planet that was 10 light years away, you would expect the journey to take 12.8 years. This is correct for anyone looking at the car from the outside. For anyone who is inside the car itself, the journey would only take about 4.6 years! This is because of the effects of time dilation.
How can I be better with time?
Being better with time is very much dependent on how much you value time, and what you value to do with your time. No one can really tell you how you should spend your time alive. Now, people and society will often state that doing things that helps society and helps others is the best way to spend your time. Of course people and society would say this, because it likely benefits them and society.
The other thing people and society seem to value and recognise is 'being busy'. This idea of being busy has become a 'badge of honour' to people and society. "I'm too busy" is everyone's favourite saying nowadays. In all my years, I have never once met a single person who didn't feel they were busy, and often, I meet people who feel they are the busiest people in the world. Therefore I don't see being busy as anything special. As a person who this year is working full-time in a hospital Monday to Friday, running Positively Transforming World, running another charity, volunteering at a children's hospital on and completing a university Masters course, whilst also trying to live my life and organize other big personal things this year, I do not feel that being busy is a badge of honour at all. So, if you can find a way not to be 'busy' then you're already achieving something that very few people in the world can do! Instead of being busy, I feel that effectively using your time is more valuable.
For me personally, I have found that spending my time in a way that makes me happy, makes the people around me happy and keeps everyone feeling safe and healthy, motivated and inspired to progress, achieve more and live better lives has been the best way to use my own time; whilst I also feel that spending time doing no work with friends and family, going on adventures, discovering and travelling is also a good way to spend time. What is 'nothing' of value to someone is 'something' of high value to another who can see opportunity in the 'something'. I feel doing things that some people might consider 'nothing' or a 'waste of time' can open more opportunities than most jobs could ever give, as long as you're looking for the opportunities and value that it can bring to yourself and others, and is actually what allows me to keep myself and others healthy, happy and progressing. It is good and important to do this thing we call 'work' but it is also important to do the things we often call 'nothing'. For me, even sitting at home watching a movie, listen to music, reading a book or just sitting and looking out at the world and thinking, can be just as valuable. For me, balance is important, and the best use of time is to balance everything to nothing!
Now, that's easy for me to say, much harder for anyone to do of course. Unfortunately not everyone has the freedom to spend their time the way they want, and not everyone has the freedom to balance their time and do nothing. Sadly for many people in the world, the advice I can give is not practical at all, because of difficult circumstances, limited opportunities, not receiving help needed, or having unfortunate things happen to them which stops them from having freedom to do whatever they want to do with their time in life. I and PTW will do everything we can to help this issue, but whatever life might throw at you, and whatever your circumstance are in life, I always find that this line from RR Tolkein's book 'The Lord Of The Rings' is a great inspiration for how you can best use your time (watch video):
This article was written by Chirag Lodhia, Founder & Director of Positively Transforming World