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# Time as a First and Fundamental Dimension...

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There's been a few threads discussing the nature of Time and Space, and having thought about the matter, something occurred to me:

We all know the old analogies of explaining n-space, where you start off with a single dimension in which only a line can exist, and then one dimension up, in which 2D objects like squares and triangles can exist, and then up one dimension to the 3D universe around us, which we can perceive as objects with height, width and depth. And then we normally add in Time as the fourth dimension, so that our calculations work out, ala Minkowski.

But then it struck me that even in a one-dimensional universe, time would be required for two lines to interact. However you want to experience an n-dimensional world, time is required. Information about anything and everything cannot breach the speed of light, in other words, it takes time. So a one-dimensional universe cannot be perceived by a one-dimensional observer in the absence of time.

So, following from that, it seems that if we consider Minkowski's space-time, a "four-dimensional universe", with the regular x,y and z axes, with time combined, then it should make sense to consider time as the very first dimension, and not the fourth. The common view on the subject is that time is added as the fourth dimension, kinda like an afterthough.

But if Time is indeed the first dimension, being fundamental, it seems as if Time has to exist before any of the other dimensions can unfold. And that the other dimensions (or their existence) is impossible in the absence of Time...

I suppose a lot of interesting conclusions can be drawn from this. For instance, if Time is indeed fundamental, it would imply that Time alone can merrily exist in the absence of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th dimensions - but that none of those dimensions are possible in the absence of time...

Thoughts?

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Light exists outside of time. It's my understanding that massless particles do not need space or time to exist. The "0" intersection of the x,y, and z axis is only "0" on average within a continually

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As I already stated, this is Brilliant!

Why has no one proposed this before? :)

As you say, some interesting conclusions can be derived from this idea.

If time is fundamental (which I think it is) and spatial dimensions are dependent upon this, this means that time is the "cosmic glue". :)

So, "space" can not exist without time? It would seem that way. ;)

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So, "space" can not exist without time? It would seem that way. :)

...and "time" cannot exist without the "space" in which events can take place -

- so we are, once again, slap-bang back to square one! :)

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...and "time" cannot exist without the "space" in which events can take place -

- so we are, once again, slap-bang back to square one! :)

Ah, yes...Square One. That's the first spatial dimension eh? :)

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What I thought about when reading this was; you are separating spacial dimensions from the time dimension, which is a method of newtonian thinking.

My understanding is that space and time have been considered one entity ever since special relativity became a part of formal thinking and academia.

In that sense, no dimension comes before any other dimension by means of importance or order. On the contrary, an 'n' dimensional space-time is used as is needed for problems at hand.

Which would lead me to think, you have found an alternative way (relative to typical methods) of finding the need and or requirement to unify space and time.

What method Einstein used to arrive at these conclusions, I am not sure, maybe it was along these lines?

Or maybe someone could enlighten us on that query aswell!

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• 4 weeks later...
.....But if Time is indeed the first dimension, being fundamental, it seems as if Time has to exist before any of the other dimensions can unfold. And that the other dimensions (or their existence) is impossible in the absence of Time...Thoughts?
This is not my understanding. First, it is of no consequence that we hold that time = first dimension, this statement has no more importance than to say time = forth dimension. Next, it is not correct to hold that time is more fundamental than space--it is not an either/or situation, it is a dialectic. In the same way the heads of a coin has no priority over the tails as relates to existence, time has no priority over space. Thus, while it is true that time must exist before any other dimensions can unfold (note that unfolding is a type of movement), it is equally true (at the same time) that the other dimensions must unfold (there must be a movement of something within these dimensions) before time can exist. And, while it is true that the other dimensional existence is impossible in absence of time, it is equally true (at the same time) that existence of time is impossible in the absence of other dimensions.
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This is not my understanding. First, it is of no consequence that we hold that time = first dimension, this statement has no more importance than to say time = forth dimension. Next, it is not correct to hold that time is more fundamental than space--it is not an either/or situation, it is a dialectic. In the same way the heads of a coin has no priority over the tails as relates to existence, time has no priority over space. Thus, while it is true that time must exist before any other dimensions can unfold (note that unfolding is a type of movement), it is equally true (at the same time) that the other dimensions must unfold (there must be a movement of something within these dimensions) before time can exist. And, while it is true that the other dimensional existence is impossible in absence of time, it is equally true (at the same time) that existence of time is impossible in the absence of other dimensions.

As stated in post #3... which means we're still back at square one! :hyper:

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As stated in post #3... which means we're still back at square one! :hyper:
Well no, we are not back to square #1, because square #1 puts time as being 'only' possible as the 'first dimension'--which as explained above in a few posts is incorrect logic. So, rather than conclude this thread has yet to be answered, a better conclusion is that the OP question is asked and answered, i.e., time is not a first and fundamental dimension. But, perhaps I miss something in what you are saying, so please let me know what it is.
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Simmer down, guys. Ordinal labeling of the 'dims' is just an arbitrary tradition-thingie. First, third, zeroth, fourth, it's just a bunch of labels. Time and space come as a 'package' -- you cannot get one without the other. I think that's the point Boerseun was making. And if he wasn't, then he should.

Personally, I think it's more interesting to consider WHY do we speak of the 'three' spacial dimensions?

Long before the cartesian coordinate system, and our tradition of 'XYZ', how did we come to think of 'space' around us as 'having' dimensions -- and then settle on exactly 3 of them?

There is no Grid inscribed in the sky or etched on the mountains.

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Long before the cartesian coordinate system, and our tradition of 'XYZ', how did we come to think of 'space' around us as 'having' dimensions -- and then settle on exactly 3 of them?
Try physically finding a set of more than 3 directions which are at right angles to each other.

:hyper:

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But then it struck me that even in a one-dimensional universe, time would be required for two lines to interact.

You are adding in the "interact" part, no? Just to display two intersecting lines, why would (external) time be required?

However you want to experience an n-dimensional world, time is required.

Again, you are adding in the "you want to experience" aspect to the equation. For existence of n-dimension, time is not required. For experience of n-dimension, perhaps (I'd say likely) time is a requirement.

Part of me is pleased as punch you are setting things up the way you are here, as it strikes me how (human) science actually works. Observer adds dimension and phenomenal input to the testable hypothesis, thus changing or influencing the study, unless categorically denying own influence.

But as I understand dimensions and cartesian coordinates, it doesn't assume "experience" and anything beyond this is how things have always appeared in this dimension. Things always appears as single point in the single point dimension and not the point came into being and then is subject to interaction and decimation by the environment.

Information about anything and everything cannot breach the speed of light, in other words, it takes time.

I'm not advanced on theory of relativity and physics, probably not even intermediate in this discipline, but my novice mind is under impression that there is 'communication' that occurs at speeds observed as apparently faster than speed of light. If this is not so, and/or one can update me about this, please do so (in layman terms). Essentially, I thought 2 particles appearing a distance away, have been observed to 'communicate' in way that would be faster than speed of light.

I don't know if this undoes the conclusive statement above - "it takes time" but perhaps that's another discussion.

So a one-dimensional universe cannot be perceived by a one-dimensional observer in the absence of time.

As interesting as I find that, it seems like some logical fallacy at work. I think it's introducing "observe" into equation. How about "exists" as the criteria for one dimensional universe (assumption)?

My far reaching mind thinks that what your point is saying, is like also saying, "a three dimensional universe cannot be observed without judgment by a three dimensional being, in the absence of Spirit."

And I would recognize the "without judgment" part would be my nifty little addition to the assertion, which may be accurate, but may be argued as - is it necessary for say empirical data collection and utilization?

But if Time is indeed the first dimension, being fundamental, it seems as if Time has to exist before any of the other dimensions can unfold. And that the other dimensions (or their existence) is impossible in the absence of Time...

If there are dimensions beyond time (beyond the 4 which we tend to mentally construct reality into), then it would seem like whatever is the "highest" dimension, would be the most fundamental from which the others unfold. I realize there's like around 10 to 11 'known' dimensions based on theory.

Single point dimension strikes me as mental construct to convey understanding, and not a hypothesis that such an universe exists. You might think that we could extrapolate from this idea that 3 or 4 dimensional (only) universe doesn't actually exist, even while we may at times insist this is all we experience. Since we are still coming to terms with dimensions and understanding environment, you might think that what we think we have experienced, isn't actually "all that has been going on" at any given instant. (Oops, there's that time reference again.)

I suppose a lot of interesting conclusions can be drawn from this. For instance, if Time is indeed fundamental, it would imply that Time alone can merrily exist in the absence of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th dimensions - but that none of those dimensions are possible in the absence of time...

Thoughts?

This subject fascinates me for philosophical and spiritual reasons for long time now. And recently, with advent of virtual globes (like Google Earth), it interests me a bit more. Currently, on a more massive level, we experience virtual globes as if 'real time' is not part of the scene (there). But more and more, I see time being introduced into that virtual environment, and so I can see why time is considered 4th dimension. When virtual globes become truly immersive, rather than crude renditions we have now, I feel we will have collectively gone beyond 4th dimension. Perhaps not, but it seems to me that not only will it be a different mental construct, it will be an active way to experience alternative construct of physical reality. Elevate our consciousness really.

Thanks for opportunity to share my thoughts,

Jway

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Try physically finding a set of more than 3 directions which are at right angles to each other.

:hihi:

This is likely not what you meant but,

Take any free moving object traveling in a strait line. The kinetic energy measured in that object is equal to the energy it takes to turn it 90 degrees and twice the energy it has to turn it around. What I mean is, you tried to turn the object 90 degrees, it is the same event as stopping it, and if you were to turn it around, it is the same as accelerating it back to the original speed (the forces may be different, but the total work should be the same)

In that sense we can visualize a 90 degree circular plane with an arrow piercing its center, which is a geometry that expresses x y as the 90 degree potential vectors and z and 2z as the momentum or mass vector.

That is, any moving object can be expressed like this using its total energy. Nature has 90 degrees :hyper:

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You are adding in the "interact" part, no? Just to display two intersecting lines, why would (external) time be required?

To "display" any intersecting lines, no time is required. This will be like putting a schematic of intersecting planes on a piece of paper. But there is no way any "observer", any "observer", of course, being anything that can have any natural force affect it, can experience any force whatsoever, in the absence of time - in however many dimensions this observer might exist. The transmission of forces takes time.

Again, you are adding in the "you want to experience" aspect to the equation. For existence of n-dimension, time is not required. For experience of n-dimension, perhaps (I'd say likely) time is a requirement.

For anybody or anything, time is essential in order to experience any forces, or, in other terms, to interact with anything else - regardless of dimensions. That's what I said in the OP - time is fundamental.

But as I understand dimensions and cartesian coordinates, it doesn't assume "experience" and anything beyond this is how things have always appeared in this dimension. Things always appears as single point in the single point dimension and not the point came into being and then is subject to interaction and decimation by the environment.
I think you're confusing "experience" as I used it, with "experience" in the human sense. The second sentence in this quote makes no sense to me at all. Please elaborate.
I'm not advanced on theory of relativity and physics, probably not even intermediate in this discipline, but my novice mind is under impression that there is 'communication' that occurs at speeds observed as apparently faster than speed of light. If this is not so, and/or one can update me about this, please do so (in layman terms). Essentially, I thought 2 particles appearing a distance away, have been observed to 'communicate' in way that would be faster than speed of light.

Entangled pairs seem to communicate certain attributes faster than light - but this cannot be utilized to transmit information in any way. It's one of those quirky quantum thingies...

I don't know if this undoes the conclusive statement above - "it takes time" but perhaps that's another discussion.
No, it does not undo it - because no information can travel faster than light. And please don't confuse information in this sense with information in the human sense. Information here, implies propagation of information pertaining to natural laws - gravity, transmission of kinetic energy, interaction of matter, chemical reactions etc.
As interesting as I find that, it seems like some logical fallacy at work. I think it's introducing "observe" into equation. How about "exists" as the criteria for one dimensional universe (assumption)?

Once again, I think you're confusing matters here. With terms like "observe" and "observer", we don't imply human participation in any event. Two atoms speeding past each other qualify as "observers". It's just an aid to explanation.

My far reaching mind thinks that what your point is saying, is like also saying, "a three dimensional universe cannot be observed without judgment by a three dimensional being, in the absence of Spirit."

That is clearly not what I was saying. Why would you need to introduce anything like "Spirit" to understand what I'm saying about two objects interacting? Two objects cannot interact, they cannot experience the transmission of forces in whatever number of dimensions you might want to assign to their universe, in the absence of time. That was the point I was making in the OP, and nowhere does it imply or require the participation of anything remotely qualified to be called a "spirit".

And I would recognize the "without judgment" part would be my nifty little addition to the assertion, which may be accurate, but may be argued as - is it necessary for say empirical data collection and utilization?

"Judgement"? How do you propose to include that concept here? Put a piece of matter in a timeless universe with the dimensions of your choice. Place a piece of anti-matter right on top of it. Nothing, and I repeat, nothing, will happen at the interface of the two pieces, until you introduce time into this universe. The one does not know about the other. And if you fail to see that I use the term "know" here in non-human terms, then that's where you're making your error. It implies absolutely no human-like "judgement" or "knowledge", it's just shorthand to describe the transmission of forces, be it chemical, electrical, gravitational or whatever.

If there are dimensions beyond time (beyond the 4 which we tend to mentally construct reality into), then it would seem like whatever is the "highest" dimension, would be the most fundamental from which the others unfold. I realize there's like around 10 to 11 'known' dimensions based on theory.

Like Pyrotex said in his post above, the assignment of dimensional numbers is completely arbitrary. What I said in the OP, is that however many dimensions you might want, time would be involved from the get-go. I don't understand what you mean with the "highest-number" dimension being the most fundamental. Please elaborate.

Single point dimension strikes me as mental construct to convey understanding, and not a hypothesis that such an universe exists. You might think that we could extrapolate from this idea that 3 or 4 dimensional (only) universe doesn't actually exist, even while we may at times insist this is all we experience. Since we are still coming to terms with dimensions and understanding environment, you might think that what we think we have experienced, isn't actually "all that has been going on" at any given instant. (Oops, there's that time reference again.)

Higher dimensions aren't speculations. If you consider the old demonstration of a piece of paper being our 3D universe, and you fold it double (into a higher dimension) then two dots (the one on the top part of the paper and the other on the bottom) might be right next to each other, but only in the higher dimension - not the 3D which the paper represents. Things like higher dimensions might be responsible for instant communication between entangled particles, where they are right next to each other in the higher dimension, but separated by a few light-years in 3D. It's not whimsical speculation, it's hard maths and there are lots of people right now breaking their brows in figuring this out.

This subject fascinates me for philosophical and spiritual reasons for long time now. And recently, with advent of virtual globes (like Google Earth), it interests me a bit more. Currently, on a more massive level, we experience virtual globes as if 'real time' is not part of the scene (there). But more and more, I see time being introduced into that virtual environment, and so I can see why time is considered 4th dimension. When virtual globes become truly immersive, rather than crude renditions we have now, I feel we will have collectively gone beyond 4th dimension.

However nice a virtual globe might be, it's still merely a representation of reality, and, as such, has very little to do with the physics behind the real world.

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This is likely not what you meant but,
No, it definitely wasn't what I meant.

Take any free moving object traveling in a strait line. The kinetic energy measured in that object is equal to the energy it takes to turn it 90 degrees and twice the energy it has to turn it around. What I mean is,
What you mean is that a rigid wall is a source of energy when you bounce a ball of it, and so is a mound of sand when it stops a ball? :cup:
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No, it definitely wasn't what I meant.

What you mean is that a rigid wall is a source of energy when you bounce a ball of it, and so is a mound of sand when it stops a ball? :lol:

I was expressing the conservation of momentum and energy through specific relationships; demonstrating the equivalence of 90degrees radians and whole value momentum/energy conservation.

If you have a spaceship in space and you are moving directly towards a given position, such that we consider both the ship and the position on the Z axis (coordinates x = 0, y = 0), it will require the same amount of thrust to stop the ship as it will to turn the ship 90 degrees(assuming you aim your thrust at the precise angle throughout the burn) while remaining the same vector velocity. Ie, after the turn is complete the object is still moving the same velocity.

What you mean is that a rigid wall is a source of energy when you bounce a ball off it, and so is a mound of sand when it stops a ball?

Momentum of a moving object can be observed to:

1) be completely transferred to another object, (think of pool ball interactions)

2) bond with an object (crash into a bucket of sand in space),

3) be observed to remain the same with the original object during a changing interaction, on a new trajectory only if it was a 90 degree change.

Interesting conclusions can be drawn from this, in a simple method.

1)If turning an object 90 degrees (without accelerating it) requires the equal expenditure of thrust (energy) that it does to stop an object, (where a moving object has a given momentum and kinetic energy, thus stopping requires an equal value) then one can easily conclude that, because 90 degrees is equal to 1/4 of a circle, than:

1/2 of a circle requires a factor of 2x...

3/4 of a circle requires a factor of 3x...

1 full circle requires a factor of 4x...(four times) the contained kinetic energy of the moving object.

or

90degrees = 1x

180degress = 2x

270degress = 3x

360degrees = 4x

What is expressed is, when given a specific vector, only 90 degree relationships will suffice as whole value transformations. If we had used a method to turn the object only 45 degrees it would only require 1/2 of the original kinetic energy and/or momentum that was originally in the system. In the case of a pool ball bouncing off a wall at 45 degrees, the wall would only supply 1/2 of the energy value measured in the pool balls total kinetic energy.

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• 1 year later...

You probably have rules against a two-years-old thread necro, but I'm doing random Google searching after about a 6-pack of High Life, and so I needed to ask these questions, because for the last several months I've been wondering about the fundamental nature of time as it relates to the other N dimensions (where N is however-the-hell-many other dimensions actually properly exist within our Universe, or Multiverse, whichever one you ascribe to I suppose).

So! As a simple thought experiment, I can concede the idea that to define something in 3 dimensions - that is, length-width-depth - is fundamentally useless without describing it first in time. However, describing an event - however meaningless and "Eventless" it actually is - without describing it in terms of the basic 3 dimensions that we can perceive makes sense. To simplify; we can observe 'nothing', a literal vacuum of events or matter over the course of infinite time, however when we try to assign any object or event meaning over 3 dimensions (length-width-depth) over a span of zero time, this creates an object or event which exists for less than Planck time (which is apparently important) and has no meaningful interaction with the dimensions in which it is defined. After all, what do length, width or depth matter if an object or event has no time over which to express itself? Would that not necessarily mean that the dimensions or data which define that object/event are entirely irrelevant, as it is not defined over any length of time?

Now, consider the things which ideas like Everett's 'many worlds' and notions like superpositions - it seems that the observable Universe can be fundamentally expressed as 'probabilities waiting to happen', not just on the subatomic level but truly at an intellectual level as well - am I wearing my blue or black coat today? Shall I eat ham or turkey for lunch? Will I attend to the lawn later or leave it for another day? The possibility of choice, meaning a way to affect the 4 most observable dimensions to humans (time/length/width/height), suggests that positioning of particles on all levels - from the result of synaptic firing to the physical manifestation of those firings - is a variable and not a constant, and that those variables can be defined arbitrarily, least of which by our own power of choice (if those particles are within our realm of influence, as determined by our capacity to immediately affect them!)

What I mean by this is, consider what it means to define a dimension - it indicates freedom of 'movement' along the dimension. A two-dimensional plane can be freely traversed along that plane; a three-dimensional cube has coordinates within it which can describe any point within the cube. So to therefore be able to affect the observable dimensions means to have freedom (not *absolute* freedom of course but freedom nonetheless) to move within those dimensions, with observable results therein. Does it not follow, then, that time is the fundamental backdrop against which change is expressed, and therefore more 'fundamental' than length-width-depth?

Is our understanding our the Universe flawed to the point that we can only understand it upon the basis that we can interact with it over time? What if the theories regarding quantum physics - those strange, unpredictable actions which try and explain the velocity and location of subatomic particles - are really the essence of a changeable, moldable Universe? What if superpositions and uncertainty principle are the underpinnings of the human capacity of choice; and therein lies the expression of the Universe's apparent ability to become the thing we observe and make of it?

Maybe this is the right time to mention that I've consumed not less than 84 ounces of terrible beer which preclude me from fully expressing myself; nevertheless these questions have bugged me for months. Is time more of a building block to the observable Universe than length-width-depth, and is it implicit in that expression of time that the capacity for changing the dimensions of length-width-depth are actually closer to the "upper levels" of the universe/multiverse's expression than the 'bottom', which we tend to conceive them at?

The point-line-plane postulate comes to mind at this point; in expressing LDW as the first three dimensions of the observable Uni/multiverse it sets up a model which functionally defines its paths before those who experience it can travel those paths for themselves. Without delving into discussions about whether or not 'free will' actually exists, doesn't putting time as a dimension 'after' the first three necessitate a more complex model for describing the Universe? Instead, if we look at uncertainty, choice, differences between outcomes, etc... as starting points for defining events instead of the outcome of events as observable in length/depth/width and time, doesn't that make a 'Many Worlds' model easier to grok and more sensible? The idea that the starting point for an event may be the same no matter the outcome, but the outcome of that event can branch off into many separate plausible outcomes when taking uncertainty and superpositions into account seems more organic than the idea that a fixed event in space (length/width/depth) is determined as a function of time and leads to many conclusions... seems inefficient.

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Try physically finding a set of more than 3 directions which are at right angles to each other.

:hyper:

the inward directions of gravity and the outward directions of emf.

same reason why we have imaginary number ( negative sqrt of 1)on top of the usual 3 (xyz) directions.

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