Getting metaphysical

Maybe going as far as paraphysical here. This is not theory, not even hypothesis. It’s just speculation. I know diddly squat about astrophysics, so don’t bamboozle me with your high-faluting equations and stuff like that. Keep it to street level if you want to explain why this is nonsense.

We’ll start with the caveat that it probably is nonsense.

It all began with a (public) Twitter exchange about time.

Which set me thinking in rather more than 140 characters. I did consider calling this post ‘Stop – Twittertime!’ However I need that construction for something else later πŸ˜‰

Okay. Let’s start from the premise that the universe appeared in the big bang, We can argue about who lit the fuse another time, And yes, the big bang is theory, but that word has a different meaning in science. It means it is not proved but there is evidence to suggest it might be true. I accept that we could be the product of random cosmic forces, I also accept we could be but a spark from one of God’s fireworks. It’s all open to debate. That’s how science works.

This is not about religion vs. science. This is about the nature of time.

Incidentally, if I recall correctly, the Chinese ‘see’ time as coming out of the ground and going up, whereas we in the West ‘see’ it as going forward.

But then time isn’t moving. We are. We move through time so, as I said in that short discussion, what if time is what holds the universe together? What if that is the foundation stone?

Whether Creation or Big Bang, either way, time did not exist before the start because time is an integral part of the universe. We see three dimensions of space and we ‘see’ (rather, we experience) one of time. There could well be more dimensions, hiding all that ‘dark matter’ we know is out there.

If any God exists then he/she/it (obviously not human) must exist in more than our three physical dimensions. That would allow God to be everywhere, or at least see everything, at once. A four dimensional being would look at our three dimensional world in the same way we look at a two dimensional drawing. Five dimensions and our universe is a dot. A microfiche.

I believe science currently allows eleven physical dimensions. We barely exist at all at the top of that scenario. ‘Made from dust’ could well be a literal interpretation in that case.

But I digress. As usual.

If the universe uses time as its foundation then time travel is impossible. The universe is on the skin of a balloon expanding from its point of origin. There’s nothing outside and nothing left behind. It’s easier to picture if you think in four dimensions – we’re on the three dimensional skin of a four dimensional balloon. We don’t see inside or outside the balloon, we only see along the skin. Light seems to go in a straight line in our world but look at it in four dimensions and it’s zooming around through the skin of the balloon.

A balloon inflated by time.

Time is the dimension we cannot see. We can move in the three dimensions we are confined to but we cannot move in time, we are carried along by it. We experience it but cannot see it and cannot change direction.

There is no ‘past’ because the skin of the balloon has left that behind as it inflates. There is no fixed future because the skin of the balloon has not reached that point yet. Time recognises only ‘now’. Every point in time exists only now.

Sure, you can find relics of the past embedded in, and carried along with, the passage of time through space but you can’t go back there. It’s not there any more. Similarly, you cannot visit the future because it hasn’t happened yet.

You can still make a time machine of sorts. It can put you in stasis so you wake up in the future but going back to change the past? Forget it. The past is the void inside the balloon. If you go into the future and don’t like it, tough. There’s no way back.

I mean come on. If you had the chance, wouldn’t you want to go back and kill Hitler when he was still just a crappy painter? Or wipe out the Marquis de Sade or Torquemada or Stalin or Pol Pot any other mass murdering bastards of history? It’s never happened has it? They are all still there in history. Nothing gets fixed because nothing can be fixed. Once you’ve done it, it’s done.

As for the future, my own experience suggests that some people make accurate predictions but never very far ahead (one human lifetime is not even a tick of the clock at this scale of things) but that suggests no more than a tiny bit of variation in the process of time. Barely, probably not even, detectable on a cosmic scale. A minimal hysteresis in the mechanism that any engineer would be delighted to achieve.

Nostradamus? I read his ‘predictions’ So vague they could be interpreted any old way and even he has been ignored now.

There is nothing to suggest anyone from the future has visited the past and nothing to suggest the future can be predicted more than a trivial amount ahead. Travel in time is not possible for us.

However, a creature outside the limitations of our three physical dimensions might not be so constrained.

Maybe, this Halloween, we’ll meet one.



26 thoughts on “Getting metaphysical

      • Nobody ever sees ‘now’.
        Makes you wonder how predators catch prey. They should be biting where that prey was a fraction of a second ago. Somehow, the brain accounts for the time lapse.


    • Eight minutes from now…I’m going to punch myself in the face.
      Using mystical magic…from outer space.
      This will all transpire…under the sunny glow…
      Of sparkly light from our sun…from eight minutes ago.
      It won’t be televised…this uni-fight.
      I couldn’t get use…of a satellite.
      If I win…I’ll pass it along.
      If you don’t hear back…this might make a good bar song.
      When eight minutes from now…becomes eight minutes ago.
      Where will I be then…and how did I go?

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Well, according to the Butterfly Theory, if someone had gone back and tinkered with the past, we wouldn’t know it. We’d only know the past that was related to our revised present….I once considered dabbling in writing sci fi and set out to research whether time travel or alternate universes were technically possible. The closest I got was an interesting graph in a text book that postulated that light (which it seemed to say was the source of time) did not stop traveling when it reached the end of the known universe but kept going, implying the possibility that if one could ride light, one could travel its spectrum in either direction. Also implying that beyond the known universe, an unlit (to our earthly eyes) unseeable other universe could exist. Don’t ask me to explain any of that. I’m as dumb as you are.πŸ˜”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A very valid argument Leggy, one I hadn’t thought of before and has changed my thoughts on the matter.

    I know that in really advanced maths they have needed multiple dimensions to get their theories to work. Especially something like string theory and down-the-back-of-the-sofa law. Also when you look at the shapes in 2D that are produced by these theories it’s mind numbing. So one of my beliefs is that many of the “supernatural” things people experience are caused by overlaps in these various different dimensions.

    So perhaps time travel will not be possible but what we should be looking at is dimension crossing?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “wouldn’t you want to go back and kill Hitler when he was still just a crappy painter? “

    I liked Steve-o, everyone did. He’d dropped out of college to concentrate on his writing and his hash habit (remember actual real ‘resin’ and not this flowery shit the kids today smoke themselves into psychosis on?) and his ‘theories’ (mainly concerned about the conspiracy to eradicate cannabis from this world ). An often homeless goth, back when being a goth meant drinking like an C18 rake and reading Byron and Shelley. A chain smoking Bohemian, sexual pervert…hell a sexual panzer whose often unwashed body women threw themselves at, and probably some men too. Small and wirey , insanely fearless, he was a good man to have at your back in a bar room brawl. The sort of guy who holds a room spell bound just reading out , and annotating off his grimy cuff, some letter he’d gotten from the DHSS whilst swigging from a bottle of Yellow Vodka . Old Holborn punctuation.
    You’d have liked Steve-o. I reckon most here would have liked Steve-o.
    And that would be the problem with 12-monkeying it back to before 1924. Most of us here would have quite liked Hitler. I would have. I mean, I’d materialize from the future in his garrett, gun in hand…gotta offer an innocent man a last cigarette, haven’t you? Maybe even explain to him why he has to die.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If the future could ever develop reverse time travel, every major event in the past would by now have been mobbed by time traveling tourists and historians (and gamblers). No amount of regulation could possibly prevent it entirely.

    We move through spacetime at the constant “speed of light”. Any movement through a space dimension involves a loss of velocity through the time dimension, so subjective time slows down noticeably at very high speed. Apparently.

    If a time traveller assassinated Hitler, and changed history, we would then wonder why he was assassinated. Somebody would then go back and prevent the assassination. Oscillation would set in.
    Perhaps it has?
    Maybe that’s what quantum uncertainty is about. But I’m not certain.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hitler! Don’t talk to me about Hitler. It seems every two bit tinkerer who invents a time machine, the first thing they want to do is go back and kill Hitler. I know that’s what I did.

    There I was, Hitler in the cross hairs of my sniper’s rifle, then just as I squeezed the trigger another bloody time traveller arrived, nudged me so that I missed the head shot. Oh, I still hit him, you should have heard him screaming, I hit him in the bollocks.

    *Wanders off humming “Colonel Bogey”*

    Liked by 2 people

    • I recall a science fiction story – can’t remember who wrote it – about a time traveller who kept going back and killing important figures or altering things. When he returned, nothing had changed except he now seemed to be invisible.

      It turned out he had deleted the past all right, but only as it applied to himself. He no longer existed as part of this world.


  6. Seems to me, time is a human creation.
    We can change the definition of elements of time as we wish.

    Time exists because we say it does and we set the limits.

    There are, quite plausibly, universes beyond our universe and thus, our time is a local concept that only applies to us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Time is a function of this universe and might well be different in another universe.

      Here’s a mind melter – What if there were successive Big Bangs at the same point in space? If light travels around the three dimensional skin of our balloon-skin, there could be another outside us and another inside us and we would never know. Their light is confined to their own 3D skin too.

      This entire universe could be one layer in an old fashioned gobstopper πŸ™‚


  7. I can’t remember the name of them but there’s a culture somewhere that considers the past to be in front of us and the future behind. Actually makes sense when you consider that we remember the past but cannot foretell the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m surprised that you singled out the Marquis de Sade for elimination. I believe his main contribution to history was to read extracts from his novel ’21 days of Soddom’ using a makeshift megaphone. He was a prisoner in the Bastille at the time and large crowds of horrified people gathered beneath his window, high up in the tower.

    When an angry mob stormed the Bastille a few weeks later, they were disappointed to discover that he’d been transferred elsewhere. But the revolution had begun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was just a quick list. I wouldn’t personally bother killing him but our New Puritans would love to.

      If ‘Cultish’ ever gets big, Hugo Stone better watch out for future Puritans with time machines – and so should I πŸ˜‰


  9. Perhaps Hitler saved us from slavery.
    “In a sermon given on Saturday on laws concerning what non-Jews are permitted to do on Shabbat, Yosef said: “Goyim [non-Jews] were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world – only to serve the People of Israel.””
    But, then again, without Hitler Russia would have been much stronger and they might have behaved worse to the Jews. Etc. Etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is entirely possible that going back and killing Hitler would make the present day worse. Without that Nazi lesson from history, it’s pretty damn certain someone else would have done it by now, and it might have been someone who can’t be stopped.

      Let’s face it, plenty are trying!


  10. Pingback: Missive From ‘Merica: Write On! – Library of Libraries

  11. You are obviously just considering absolute time based on where you are now. However what about relative time, where other locations in space are experiencing time at a different pace to us. So our ‘now’ may not have happened yet as their time moves slower than ours or others who are faster and are living in our future. The other thing to consider is that we believe time is a linear construct – that last year was the same length as this. What about if it were cyclical and moved in waves. Slowing down and speeding up in a certain pattern. We wouldn’t know because it is outside our frame of reference (and our minds couldn’t cope with yet another variable in the equation of life) so we just plumb for an easy life and say that time, like gravity, is a constant. Earthling thinking!


    • There might also be other dimensions in time. We see one time dimension but maybe there are other universes in the same space, but travelling in a different time ‘direction’. We’d never interact with them but they could account for that ‘dark matter’ we can’t detect.


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