There’s always been a true focus on finding the origin of time and how it relates top space. However, there’s no denying that it takes a lot of research and many lifetimes until we have a definitive answer to these questions. The truth is that pretty much all we know when it comes to time comes from how we experience it. Our brain just encompasses a short portion of time, and that’s the immediate time.
How do we experience time?
The current time is actually the experience of now. It’s what we are naming the present, basically. The brain is pretty much generating a sense of the past and future, the past is encompassing stored memories, while the future comes in the form of prediction. That’s why the flow of time is pretty much an illusion combining memories, the experience of now and what we anticipate to happen. Another interesting point is that we have the entropy of the past lower than the one of the present, which is why we remember the past.
The Past Hypothesis
We have an arrow of time where the entropy is increasing with time. This is how we get the sense of time as being a street with a single way. What researchers believe is that the arrow of time is existing because the universe started out in an unlikely, yet orderly state. The hypothesis used here is called the past hypothesis.
However, as the universe is expanding, that means the entropy is increasing. Our perception of this entire thing takes place in our brain. What happens is the brain is heating up due to the amount of energy it takes to create a memory pathway. That helps increase the entropy.
Understanding space time
We encounter various events which are pretty much points in a 4D space time. Phenomena and various interactions are taking place, and these are creating a sequence of events. We also have two views of nature when it comes to objective reality, at least in the case of relativity. For one of them, we see space time as a block. In this block we pretty much have objects existing in their entirety. This case is named eternalism.
You have the future, present and past events existing in a block universe, with every event being rea. It’s said that the inability to perceive future events is an illusion, with the objective world existing, it doesn’t just happen.
But aside from eternalism, there’s also the concept named presentism. In this case, the future and past don’t exist. We only have the present with any type of physical presence. Needless to say, presentism is more in line with our beliefs. We think that the present is seen as immediate, the past is already ended, and the future is open. We do have free will when it comes to the future and what we can achieve. That on its own brings unlimited potential, but it also feels more realistic at least to us.
Time travel: is it possible?
The important thing to keep in mind is that the past is kept in records and memories, it’s set in stone. Then we have the future, which is figured out thanks to the quantum mechanics laws. With that being said, the future is pretty much a cloud of possibilities. Then we have the present which is within the boundaries of these two different regimes. The future’s uncertainty is crystallized into the past which is obviously certain. We always ride the wave of this crystallization process.
Which is why we think that time travel isn’t really something possible. When we have this view, the past is indeed there, however it’s just a collection of different pieces of information. In order to travel into the past and identify something, we need to pretty much go on a worldline which maintains an intersection with that past object. However, all the worldlines are a part of the past. So technically there’s no specific way to have time travel, but then again it might become a possibility if more studies take place in the future.
Understanding quantum gravity
We use quantum gravity as the main theory of how some of the forces of nature are operating on different matter particles. What this model does is it shows how the quantum fields are working. This is called the Standard Model and it’s very successful, and the Large Hadron Collider is using it. Even though the CERN collider is operating at energies up to 14000 GeV, there aren’t any specific deviations that go away from the predictions. However, that doesn’t mean the Standard Model is flawless.
In fact, we already know that this model is incomplete, since it doesn’t have room for some of the phenomena that can sometimes arise. Dark matter for example is not something that can be interpreted here, and the same can be said about dark energy. Then we have any of the other mechanisms that are able to explain cosmological inflation. It’s also not possible to explain the expansion of the universe in the beginning.
Then there’s also the fact that the Standard Model doesn’t explain gravity. What you should know is that gravity is offering the 4-dimensional coordinate basis for all the field sin that model. That’s why we require a quantum theory of gravity which leads to the space time, which also explains how this Standard Model came to be.
One of the attempts for this would be the string theory. What the string theory does is it helps describe the Standard Model fields and particles as 1D energy loops that vibrate and move in a space time with 11 dimensions. The challenge here is that the string theory is mostly depending on an existing, flat four dimensional space time and the strings are moving in that. because of that, gravitons are only able to interact with space time in a very weak manner.
There is a theory that goes beyond this, and that’s the loop quantum gravity. This theory says that space has nodes with a volume of 10-99 mc3 on the Planck scale, which is the smallest scale in physics. The nodes are defining where the 3D space exists. The nodes are also connected through links. We have a large network of links and nodes, and these are named spin networks. However, the spin networks can easily be altered in sequences. So it’s possible to remove or add nodes as well as links. When you have changes from a 4D network, these are called a spin foam.
The spin foam can be defined as a 3+1D structure, and the latter one is the direction where the changes between the spin network are taking place. Every spin network has a large collection of links and nodes. However, the time concept is only found within these networks.
We have a limited understanding of time especially when it comes to the infinity of space and how it’s influenced by that. Which is why it can be very difficult to define the future and reconnect to the past, and why time travel might actually not be possible. However, there are ongoing studies on these topics, and we are bound to know more about these things soon!
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