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Fourth dimension=time?


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#1 Moontanman

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Posted 05 May 2009 - 07:15 PM

Is time really the fourth dimension? If a 6" line has an infinite number of points, and a 6" square contains an infinite number of 6" lines and a 6" cube has an infinite number of 6" squares doesn't it follow that a 6" hypercube has to have an infinite number of 6" cubes? Does this analogy hold up to our idea of time? I don't think so, could time have nothing to do with dimensions, could it be a process, not a thing?

#2 freeztar

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Posted 05 May 2009 - 07:58 PM

Is time really the fourth dimension? If a 6" line has an infinite number of points, and a 6" square contains an infinite number of 6" lines and a 6" cube has an infinite number of 6" squares doesn't it follow that a 6" hypercube has to have an infinite number of 6" cubes? Does this analogy hold up to our idea of time?


I don't think it does. Extending the known, and spatial, three dimensions to posit a similar characteristic in the fourth does not tell us about time. Indeed, it does not tell us about the fourth dimension. A hypercube is a visual and conceptual aid. It is not the fourth dimension (the map is not the territory). It's a way of envisioning the fourth dimension using the only dimensions conceptually available to us.

I don't think so, could time have nothing to do with dimensions,


Well, if you consider spacetime, time has everything to do with dimensionality, with space and time occupying separate, yet intertwined, dimensions..

could it be a process, not a thing?


Certainly. It would actually be hard to argue that time *is* a thing.
If you haven't already seen it, I recommend the following video for a look at scientific explorations into the nature of time.

YouTube - 1of5 -- Brian Cox - What is Time

#3 Moontanman

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Posted 05 May 2009 - 10:16 PM

I think the idea that time is a dimension is flawed, if we lived in a four spatial dimensional universe I think we would still see time, probably as a 5th dimension but we would still be wrong. the idea of a hypercube is like saying a cube is just six two dimensional squares. It ignores the real concept of an extra dimension. when you go up a dimension you gain an infinite amount of space compared to the lower dimension.

#4 arkain101

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Posted 05 May 2009 - 11:34 PM

Edited

What strikes me while reading this is the idea of something moving in the dimension of time (regardless of the number you give it: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th).

When we say an object moves, it is the same as saying the object has traveled in the 4th dimension.

Change and Time are intertwined concepts. However, if we consider change to occur, or time to flow in separate "chunks", by means of acquiring a specific state for a given position in space; ie, object @ state 1-position 1 , state 2-position 2, state 3-position 3. Then, this would suggest that time is not a valid dimension without a relative counterpart. That relative counter part would be memory.

In order for time to flow, which means, for any given state to have a connection to any other given state, it needs a relative item, just as a position of an object requires a secondary relative position for the "event" of "position" to exist.

This would mean that Time and Memory are linked. Noting that The medium of memory has remained undefined, but still realized.

To support these notions. Consider the differences of a spacial dimension and a time dimension. We can consider a 3 dimensional cube at a given state, at a given position. It does not demand memory, because one could say that it IS memory, such that, it is a state of memory. What we can see is that the difference between an object and a dimension (ie time) is that an object in a 'state' is full of valid relative counter-parts (formed out of other smaller divided states and positions). How I understand time is often conceived (or at least how you are conceiving it Moontaman), is that, it is conceived with the exclusion of a relative counter-part (an element of its own kind so to speak)

If spacial dimensions are valid via means of relative spacial points. Then should we not consider that time is only valid via means of memory points?

Earlier I mentioned that material was akin to memory and that time and memory are unified, when declaring time "flows". Which basically translates into the old space-time continuum. Space=memory=time.

The Term memory as I am using it can be thought of as simply representing a dimension. For example. Consider the Life of the universe. From beginning to end of this dimensions points A and B are trillions^ trillions of tiny tiny tubes which are to be considered as the view of a particles "life" seen in the dimension of memory(time). When we place slate in this dimension it represents a point in time. Moving this slate along, through the tiny tubes, creates events on the plate, the events determined by the orientation of the tubes. Orientation being, direction and size of the tubes (spirals and curls, narrows and buldges). So the dimension the tubes travel through is times dimension. The body itself is the memory(the connection of time points). The slate, well that is the present.

But this example is a manner of placing the medium of memory to the outter world.. such that it is a place "out there" , physical in some possible way, as opposed to the consciousness and applying memory within, which is a whole other story.

But I am not sure if you can escape the demand of memory, if something is also declared to have passed through the dimension of time, while upholding the notion that the universe flows, as opposed to pops in and out.

On the other hand, if the incentive is to uphold the notion that universe does not flow through a dimension of time, but rather pops in and out, and each pop is entirely disconnected from any previous or post pop, then in this case, memory or even time, would seem to me, to lack any importance.

#5 Haech

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 04:20 AM

But a hypercube does have an infinite number of cubes, and there are infinitely many expressions of the same cube at a given length of time. In any case, I always felt that treating time as a dimension is fairly straight forward and acceptable; that is not to say that time is the same thing as the x, y, z axis.

#6 maddog

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 02:02 PM

Is time really the fourth dimension? If a 6" line has an infinite number of points, and a 6" square contains an infinite number of 6" lines and a 6" cube has an infinite number of 6" squares doesn't it follow that a 6" hypercube has to have an infinite number of 6" cubes?

Assuming that your coordinate space were using the Reals {R}, then yes, there would be
an infinite number of 6" cubes (uncountably so) within the hypercube. In fact for any number
of dimensions, there are an (uncountable) number of subspace objects (1-dimension lower)
within a given object for some space of dimension n. This is a property of the group
GL(g, n) for vector spaces.

Does this analogy hold up to our idea of time? I don't think so, could time have nothing to do with dimensions, could it be a process, not a thing?

Your example above was a representation. Time as expressed in 4-d space {x,y,z,t}
is a representation. The value (coordinate) t is arbitrary. As such (using Reals) is
also uncountably infinite.

An important point here is we are currently speaking Mathematically and "Classically".
From the point-of-view (POV) of QM where coordinates can be discrete ("quantized"),
this can still be a large number yet finitely divisible. This would be so for time as has
recently been conjectured.

As representations go, time is not exactly the same as a space coordinate yet can be
transformed into one by multiplying c (velocity of light).

maddog

#7 LaurieAG

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 04:54 AM

Hi all,

I always marvelled at the intimate relationships between speed, acceleration and the distance travelled revealed through pure calculus proofs. All were based on the derivation of something with regards to time (delta t).

Surely, if time was the 4th dimension, this convention would have to be adhered to in all algorithms used, at least if calculus was going to be involved.

#8 buddyzen

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 07:44 AM

we have to remember also time is a man made thing and it does not actually exist so time can't be the 4th demention. People always have crazy talk about going back in time when the time itself is something that cant be touched or changed because once again it is just a measurment of the sun relation to where you are on the earth. Also people ask what was the beginging of the universe in my opinion it has always been here because there is no time involved with the universe only what we percieve involves time there never had to be a start..... so no i really don't think the fourth demension is time

#9 Pyrotex

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 08:50 AM

I think the idea that time is a dimension is flawed, if we lived in a four spatial dimensional universe I think we would still see time, probably as a 5th dimension but we would still be wrong. ...

You're right. Time is not THE 4th Dimension.

There are three (3) spatial dimensions. If you have "time" to plot them. :woohoo:

Seriously folks, that's really the way it is -- BUT scientists and engineers often have need to plot the positions of events. Trouble is, the events don't always happen at the same time. Suppose we're plotting radar bounce events. We have this map, see, and on it we plot where our radar detected reflections. But some reflections happened before others, and this is important.

So, we arbitrarily, draw in a new "dimension" and we call it "time". Now we can plot where and when the radar reflections occured.

But the physicist says, "that's not good enough. My calculations have to involve the speed of the radar beam and its reflection ©, and the speed of the vehicle carrying the radar, and the speed of the target. Your arbitrary "time" axis isn't good enough for me."

So the engineers knock heads and come up with this: Let's turn our arbitrary "time" axis into a pseudo-distance axis. If we take the clock-time in seconds and multiply that by c, then that would give us units of distance. [ sec * m/sec = m] Now, to avoid this pseudo-distance axis being just some combination of the three real distance axes, we can also multiply it by i [the square root of minus one]. Our time-pseudo-distance (TPD) is now an imaginary number. And we all know how to do complex arithmetic! :)

And it worked! The physicist could now do his calculations and get the right answers.

And the years and generations went by until... folks actually begin to think that time was the "fourth" dimension. And then they had doubts. "Wait! That can't be right! Time isn't like the other dimensions at all! I can't see time or go back in time like I can, say, East-West!"

And they were right.

#10 freeztar

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 05:09 PM

And they were right.


You can't leave us hanging like that! What did they do about it? :hyper:

#11 LaurieAG

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 07:11 PM

So Time is an imaginary construct whenever physicists use imaginary numbers to represent time as a point in isolation. How circularly reinforcing, especially with regards to the (imaginary?) BB point.

#12 Pyrotex

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 02:43 PM

You can't leave us hanging like that! What did they do about it? :ideamaybenot:

Simply, they got themselves so freakin confused that they started telling each other that time, itself, was imaginary -- a mere arbitrary construct!

And they were wrong.

You see, time is real. That is, non-simultaneity is real.
Which is to say, not all "events" are simultaneous with each other.
Wherever you are, some "events" will occur before (and after) other "events".
Embrace it.
Deal with it.
So, this "stuff" that separates non-simultaneous events, we call "time".
We track time with clocks, because clocks are designed to have internal events ("ticks") that are serial rather than simultaneous. The clocks count the ticks.

Now the word "time" is an arbitrary string of sounds.
The mathematical and geometric "coordinate systems" we devise to chart or plot events, and the "flow" of time, are also artifacts of our own devising. They're not really "arbitrary" because they must "behave" in a manner that is "congruent" to the way real events behave. Otherwise the coordinate systems would be useless.

And a lot of our concepts about time, whether or not it has only one direction, whether or not it can be slowed down or sped up, whether we can "go back in time" -- yeah, all that is pretty arbitrary and made up.

But time itself is real. You can't have a universe without it. You can't have a universe without change. Without serial change. Without non-simultaneous change.

The trouble is, time is just a word we devise, for a natural process that we cannot see or feel, or easily understand. And so the temptation to throw out the baby with the bath water and claim that time, too, is just an arbitrary construct of the Human mind.

Balderdash! That's just lazy thinking.

#13 arkain101

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 07:27 PM

You see, time is real. That is, non-simultaneity is real.
Which is to say, not all "events" are simultaneous with each other.
Wherever you are, some "events" will occur before (and after) other "events".


Do you mean:

Will literally occur before? or Be observed to occur before?

A very careful use of language has to be used in these kinds of descriptions, or else, I find, the understanding within the communication becomes uncertain. Like myself, I can't visualize an example based upon those words alone, knowing I am certainly in agreement with your intentions. (Which I know you are well aware of). I require you to elaborate.

I think whatever it is that we decide to call real and not real depends entirely upon the elements of reason that are being put forward for understanding of a specific perspective. That is, in order to satisfy a perspective that is produced in a theory, certain things, like time for example, is required to be valid-realistic-elements within that theoretical perspective.

However, if we look at another example where we are attempting to put forward understanding of a specific perspective relative to a theory on light, we can validate that in the perspective of a photon, time as a realistic element can be fizzled out of the picture.

There are more examples, but they stray us from the point, so I will leave it with that contrast.

I believe the unending controversy and varied conceptions of time is due to this very notion I've put forward. And that is:

You can both validate and de-validate time as a realistic element depending entirely upon the elements of reason that are being put forward for the understanding of a specific perspective.

I would better communicate this with examples, than I would in this method I've posted, so let me know if that is in need.

#14 freeztar

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 10:11 PM

Pyrotex, thanking you for a lively post. It was a joy to read and freakin spot on. :ideamaybenot:

Arkain, thanks for bringing up a good point! :steering:

Time, as Pyro has described, is an inconvertible aspect of our universe. So, we are indeed forced to deal with it. Arkain makes a good point too. Is non-simultaenity a product of our perception or is it a fact of life? (correct me if I've misinterpreted you, arkain)

Here's the big problem with time that I'm wrestling with right now. First, envision a Euclidean system that incorporates a simultaneous now. Second, envision a non-euclidean system that incorporates relativity.

What is really bothering me lately is that these two coordinate systems are mutually exclusive. I think I have a pretty good grasp of Relativity Theory, but I still can not reconcile this issue. Consider the Twin Paradox. We have to somehow reconcile how 70 years can pass for one person while only a year passes for the other. I imagine this by counting the respective ticks and correlating them. 1 tick for the near c traveler and 20 ticks for the earth bound observer (or whatever numbers fit). So, simultainity is not conserved. Time is not static.

So, I'm left with a puzzling dilemma. I don't want to be lazy about my conception of time, but at the same time I have to "deal with it".

All that said, I like time being depicted as the fourth dimension. It works out mathematically in ways that enable us to do Science. It brings a sense of Reason to the world and the Universe, at least from our perspective. And hey, what more could we hope for? :steering:

#15 Boerseun

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 11:20 PM

A very ponderous issue, indeed.

I believe that "Time" could very well be described as the fourth dimension, for ease of calculation. It depends on the issue at hand. For instance, when we describe ballistic trajectories, time is essential to visualize the path followed by the falling object on a 2D graph paper. When we consider a brew-bucket filled with your latest homemade beer to ferment, time is just a pain in the ***.

If you take it to be a dimension, I put it to you that time is the very first dimension, and not the fourth. If you lived in a one-dimensional world where only straight lines are possible, how would you even perceive it in the absence of time?

Alternatively, the following:

Each object exist universally, in every conceivable location in the universe. If you have Moontan's 6" cube in your hand, that is clearly not the case. That cube is in your hand, and nowhere else. But, that cube has the potential to be everywhere. At the quantum level, the particles appear and disappear at random. There's a common name for it, but not being English, I've forgotten it. But bear with me:

This 6" cube's location in space is the statistical mean of the quantum uncertainty of the whereabouts of all the particles it consist of. If you were to kick this cube into the air, you impart a moment to all constituent particles, which will in turn reflect in the quantum uncertainty of all particles involved. At the macro scale, you see it as a cube flying through the air. But as far as time is concerned, the cube existed in all the points in its trajectory already (being a hypercube and all) - all you did was to raise the chances of which cube will next be observed. And time is just the linear progression of the statistical coordinates of any given object - which already exist in all possible locales in the universe, but can only be perceived one at a time because time itself is quantized?

Not having English as a first language really sucks in this regard...

I'll be back...

#16 freeztar

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 11:45 PM

When we consider a brew-bucket filled with your latest homemade beer to ferment, time is just a pain in the ***.

:steering: Indeed!

If you take it to be a dimension, I put it to you that time is the very first dimension, and not the fourth. If you lived in a one-dimensional world where only straight lines are possible, how would you even perceive it in the absence of time?

This is quite a valid point. One that I have not heard before, but this makes good sense, imho. Time is fundamental. Even the idea of dimensions has no meaning without time, as you say. The first dimension...it's really quite insightful...dare I say "Brilliant"!

Alternatively, the following:

Each object exist universally, in every conceivable location in the universe. If you have Moontan's 6" cube in your hand, that is clearly not the case. That cube is in your hand, and nowhere else. But, that cube has the potential to be everywhere. At the quantum level, the particles appear and disappear at random. There's a common name for it, but not being English, I've forgotten it. But bear with me:

This 6" cube's location in space is the statistical mean of the quantum uncertainty of the whereabouts of all the particles it consist of. If you were to kick this cube into the air, you impart a moment to all constituent particles, which will in turn reflect in the quantum uncertainty of all particles involved. At the macro scale, you see it as a cube flying through the air. But as far as time is concerned, the cube existed in all the points in its trajectory already (being a hypercube and all) - all you did was to raise the chances of which cube will next be observed. And time is just the linear progression of the statistical coordinates of any given object - which already exist in all possible locales in the universe, but can only be perceived one at a time because time itself is quantized?


Yes, this is another staggering problem with time. :ideamaybenot:

When we quantize time (which is necessary for observation) do we also stagnate our understanding? If so, how is it possible to avoid this?
I seem to recall some appropriate rejections of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, but I can't remember the sources. But, they may present answers to at least some of our questions. (I'll try to find them presently)

Not having English as a first language really sucks in this regard...

You're kidding, right?
Dude, your English is phenomenal!
I had no idea that it wasn't your first language! :steering:

I'm continually impressed by the grasp of English from many different nations. It really makes me a bit depressed. :shrug:
I have a pretty good grasp of Spanish, but I could never reply to technical or philosophical questions in Spanish (at least not yet).

I'm quite impressed and you should feel no shame at all. Your text is not only perfectly coherent, it's also missing any spelling errors and semantical errors that could occur. Kudos and thanks for the brain fodder. :smart:
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#17 arkain101

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 12:36 AM

Time, as Pyro has described, is an inconvertible aspect of our universe. So, we are indeed forced to deal with it. Arkain makes a good point too. Is non-simultaenity a product of our perception or is it a fact of life? (correct me if I've misinterpreted you, arkain)


The core of my point was that everything is a product of our perception.

Look at it this way, the only thing we CAN see and, thus CAN imagine is our macroscopic world tied to our brain.

We don't see light. (we create information from it, and the patterns it produces as meaningless data (data substance of nothing, not yet organized into reality))

We don't see matter, we see the light eminated from the matter. (read above to follow light again.)

The macroscopic world tied to our brain, does not exist outside of our brain. So you can forget the idea of proving what the onotological outside world is like. Instead, you can admit you are an incredible organic machine that has an amazing ability to transform unknowable data into meaningful art, you are the artist the universe lacks. However, the flaw I want to expose is to make sure you don't forget you are that artist, and start thinking you are observing a mechanical world outside of yourself.

Our macroscopic world has a sense of scale, and tied to this sense of scale comes a perspective of time. Here is an example, consider the fact our eyes have a specific zoom ratio. Naturally, we don't consider the universe zoomed in or out, we have simply just adapted to the zoom we have, and if we were to put on goggles that offered us a different zoom ratio we would say, everything looks "different/ zoomed in/zoomed out/ unatural". Where as factually, all we have done is experienced a different specific perspective which we could learn to adapt to.

But hold on, bare with me, don't assume I am ignoring the conception of time in physics. :ideamaybenot: I am about to swing it right back around.

When we consider a relativistic thought experiment like the twins paradox. In this sort of experiment we use clocks, not our physiological sense of time. We use mechanical instruments.

What we are comparing in this sort of experiment is what each observer experiences individually, and we theorize that each observers experience will be mutually exclusive when their velocities are significantly different relative to specific observed events(locations). That is, each observer with the use of a mechanical clock will be expected (via calculations of physics supported empircal evidence etc etc..) to record conflicting data on those specific events.

So for example. Consider Event 1 at location A. (the exact details can be excluded for this example and not compromise our conclusions).
Relative to Event 1 at location A: Observer X is at rest, while Observer Y is moving at relativistic speeds. Each observer records the event differently.

Now lets add 9998 more observers, each one traveling at a unique & specific % of C relative to Event 1 at location A. When each observer returns back (home) to the location of Observer X, where X is at rest, they compare their data and find that there is 10,000 different records of Event 1 at location A.

They agree on the following: "Considering how much conflicting data we have, it appears likely to conclude that none of our data is more or less superior or "special" than anyone other observers data". Furthermore, they agree, none of them can offer an empirical, cosmic answer as to what really happened at event 1 location A and when. So they can conclude that, beyond each of their individual macroscopic perspective, event 1 location A has no boundaries as to how it can be observed, it is unlimited perspectives.

Declaring that something has no boundaries as to how it can be observed, and is unlimited in perspectives, seems to us like the lack of a conclusion. That is, it can't be boxed in and made a part of our macroscopic perspective. So this unmeasurable and non-constrainable aspect of reality is excluded, and not because someone intends it to be, but because it does not exist inside reason. It is a potential, not a static form of data. We can choose to exclude it from our analysis, or include it.

Finally, we can say, when we include it in our analysis (and I am sure you have heard this conclusion somewhere else before), beyond our macroscopic perspective: event 1 location A, is both "X" and "Y", or just "X" and not "Y", or "Y" and not "X" or neither "X" nor "Y". (where x and y are just unknown values. These values represent a random observers data).

If we want something to classify/analyze/investigate/measure, we have to allow it to (if I can use this term) "event". And by event I mean, we have to allow it to actualize through a conception of time in order to be realized. If it lacks the ability to event, it does not become realized, and then naturally, we say it is nothing. When we classify something as nothing, we neglect its existence. Why? Let me paraphrase form above:
"You have come to think you are observing a mechanical world outside of yourself"

Which was taken from here:

Instead, you can admit you are an incredible organic machine that has an amazing ability to transform unknowable data into meaningful art, you are the artist the universe lacks. However, the flaw I want to expose is to make sure you don't forget you are that artist, and start thinking you are observing a mechanical world outside of yourself.





With that all said, now I should be able to offer a simple answer. Although we can agree on our (macroscopic, internal) perspectives on the universe,and our measurments on Time. It does not qualify us to say the universe is built in ANY way on simultaneity. Or does it qualify us to conclude the universe exists the way we've come comprehend it and agree on our comprehensions even if life (and its unique perspectives) were taken out of the analysis.


If we ignore we are 'cosmic organic artists' (omg scary non science term :steering: , almost as scary as the phrase spooky action at a distance ), we end up with that endless mystery of how to describe the creation of anything, we go on and on and on, continually using more and more material ideals stack upon more material ideals of continuing complexity, and we can continue doing this untill we are blue in the face, if we ignore where things are being created, the artist will just keep on creating.
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