Undoubtedly, we all have heard of Einstein’s time travel thought experiment, which is made according to his principles of General Relativity. Without going into the small details, we understand that this theory is predicated upon the idea that movement through space-time is relative between observers. Now, if you are familiar with my blog you likely have been exposed to the rational inconsistencies which undermine the assertion that space and time (space-time) are existent. That is, that they are things which have existence in “objective, ontic reality” rather than abstract cognitive constructs; that they are THINGS, not simply ideas, as it were. I will briefly summarize these inconsistencies now:
Space, being a vacuum, is by very definition the ABSENCE of things; it is not a thing itself—for this would invalidate its very purpose, that is, to serve as the CONTEXT for physical distinction, precisely because it is, itself, NOT physical. As soon as it becomes “objectively existent”, then it is no longer the distinction between things but a thing itself, which therefore leaves the distinction between objects in space, physically and empirically, undefined. In other words, if space is a thing. then what is the space between space and the things which are said to exist in it?
Time is similar to space in its rational inconsistency (as an object, existent) in that if we attempt to give it some kind of implied or explicit physical boundaries, then its meaning and efficacy collapse into the circular logic. Often we here the phrase “the beginning, or the end, of time”. But time can have no beginning nor end because by definition it IS the beginning and the end. Further, if we give time some kind of implied spatial boundary by appealing to objects as being “in time” or passing “through time”, then we admit that objects in themselves are fundametally timeless. This presents us with an unfortunate contradiction in that what is timeless at root cannot also be utterly obliged to time. And as far as I can deduce, once time becomes part of “objective reality” there can be no possible frame of reference for anyone or anything being OUTSIDE of it, so, as with space, attempting to make a distinction between time and that which exists “in it” becomes a fruitless pursuit.
Also, past, present, and future are mutually exclusive temporal contexts; from the observer’s frame of reference, the present is INFINITELY the present. He exists in the perpetual NOW of his SINGULAR conscious perspective (the “I” of human existence). And this infinite position of the Present is bookended, INFINITELY (absolutely), by the future and the past. People will counter my criticism by declaring time a continuum. And indeed it is. It is a continuum with no beginning and no end and thus it is infinite, and thus any values derive from it (e.g. past, present, future, specified in numerical/mathematical degrees, like minutes, hours, years, etc.) are degrees of infinity, which must necessarily be purely abstract. For there is no such existent THING as a “portion of infinity”. In other words, past, present, and future are components of that which has no beginning nor end, which makes them components of the infinite. Which of course is a meaningless contradiction in terms, practically/ontologically speaking.
The root of the problem with assuming that space-time is anything other than a convenient, entirely abstract, mathematical concept and context (called a “coordinate system” in physics, I think) is that it invariably descends into an abyss of infinity, and this makes it ontically irrelevant. In other words, without the objects said to exist in space-time, space-time has no relevance, meaning, or efficacy to physical reality.
Space-time can only exist as a function of the objects in it. Which is to say it then must be purely a function of man’s powers of abstract conceptualization. Man makes purely cognitive, conceptual distinctions between the objects which he observes, including himself (his body)…and one of these distinctions is “space-time”.
Scientists should be extremely wary of straying too far from the mathematics which are the bedrock of their school of thought. Their intellectual milieu is not the philosophical, as much as they seem to insist that it is. But philosophy does not deal in the abstract…at all. It does not deal in “degrees of infinity” as I like to refer to mathematics. It deals with rational consistency…it has corners, boundaries of conceptual compatibility and congruency (or it should, anyway, if it is proper and not madness). In philosophy, an Is Not (e.g. space) cannot also be an Is (e.g. that which physically interacts with the physical). In philosophy, the divine cannot be rationalized away by simply labeling it “Laws of Nature”. In philosophy, there must be a well-defined distinction between the Observer and the Observed. In philosophy, human consciousness plays a key role in the explication of truth, it is not punted into the cosmic abyss of “epiphenomenon”.
I suck at physics and math…always have, so I don’t pretend to be an expert in the fields, even to the point of calling THEIR scholars fatuous or pseudo-intellectuals, as is often the reverse case. In my experience, the better one is at science/mathematics the worse he is at philosophy, though I do admit that this observation is mostly anecdotal. But as a general rule I don’t need my theoretical physicist to be my philosopher any more than I need my accountant to be my plumber.
So, you are familiar with the time travel theory, and it goes something like this: Persons A and B are on planet X. Person A travels away from planet X at the speed of light and then returns after five years from his observational frame of reference, which turns out to be 20 years from the frame of reference of person B. Now, as I said, math is not my strong suit, so I’m adlibbing the numbers here, but you get the idea. Time passes much more slowly for person A relative to person B.
It is important to mention that this theory is supported by a sufficient amount of empirical evidence, particularly those experiments, done in various contexts, which employ atomic clocks as temporal gauges. The “temporal distinction”—which is the alteration in the relative function of atoms in test subjects measured against a temporal reference, with acceleration/speed being the only functional difference—is measurable and repeatable. And so it is clear that there ARE indeed what I would call ACTUAL existential differences based upon relative distinctions in acceleration and speed. This is not hypothetical. It is real. Existence is indeed different, and fundamentally so, between objects that that travel at different speeds.
So what’s the problem then with the time travel theory? Experiments seem to show that it checks out. Well, it is not so much that it’s wrong but that it’s misleading. Now, I’m not suggesting that Einstein himself intended the theory to mean anything beyond its mathematical parameters and implications (I’m not actually sure), but I do believe that since Einstein the time travel theory has implied some philosophically profound ideas that are now erroneously throught proven true. Like “time is real”, and that we all “exist in it”, and thus we do and can “travel through it”. ALL of these assertion are utterly false, and THIS is what the time travel experiments ACTUALLY prove.
END PART ONE