Registered: Dec 2003
How many things can happen in a single instant?
This seems to be a standard assumption people have:
"If time did not exist, no event occurred."
As you may know this the opposite of how I view things. Instead I would say:
"If no event occured, time does not exist."
So time is not a medium for change. It is not a continuum, and its not even really a dimension. It is the analysis that something has changed. It exists in the subjective conscious experience of an observer. This is consistent with special relativity's definition that "time is what a clock measures", with the implications of quantum mechanics and string theory, and with what recent developments in the field have suggested.
In other words, time is not a prerequisite for something happening, it is a result of something happening.
There's an easy way to wrap your head around this.
Let's take the following situation with bleacher seats. Imagine you
have a stadium, and there are four people (A1-A4) sitting in a single
And in the next row, are four more people (B1-B4), but sitting one seat
to the left, so we have:
Finally, there is a third row, and those people (C1-C4) are sitting one
seat to the right of the original row. This is our picture:
We now make the following rules:
1. Consider that movement and time in the stadium is discrete
We know that from quantum mechanics and Planck's Constant, such a
suggestion might actually apply to nature
2. Since time is discrete, consider that the smallest, indivisible
interval of time is the time it takes to move one seat, and this interval is called an instant
Ok. Now, in our picture, our row B will move one seat to the right, and
C one seat to the left, so that after an instant we have:
In this instant of time, if we were sitting in row A, you would have
seen row B and row C move one seat. Which makes sense, because our
rules say that in one instant, the smallest indivisible interval of
time, only movement from one seat to the next will occur.
But what if you were sitting in row B? You would have seen row A move a
single seat, but row C would have moved 2 seats! How can, in the
smallest indivisible interval of time where only movement by one seat
is possible, can this be true? And doesn't that mean that if the
smallest indivisible unit of time corresponds to the movement of one
seat, that by moving two seats, we've actually managed to divide the
indivisible unit of time?
There is an assumption here that all eight seats (four from row B, and
four from row C) can move in a single instant. The assumption is
multiple things may happen in a single instant.
What if that assumption is not correct? In fact, let us assume it is
Remember what I said at the top about time?
If something moves, there is time. Not the other way around.
That means that when a single seat moves in its smallest allowed
motion, there is an instant of time. In our example eight seats are
moving, so, based on this new view of time, there should be eight
instants, not just one, which was the previous assumption.
Therefore, the rules are not violated, since the seats would look like
this after one instant:
and this after two:
If you follow this scheme, you will never observe a seat moving more
than one seat away from you in a single instant, even when relative
motion is involved.
Right now our leading theory of mechanics is Relativistic Quantum Field Theory. A brief history of the idea is that we found Newtonian mechanics, we updated Newtonian mechanics and made it special relativity. Then we found quantum mechanics, something totally different from Newtonian mechanics. Making a field theory out of QM gave us QFT. And finally we combobulated special relativity, which is an evolution of Newtonian mehanics, with QFT as an afterthought.
I suggest that the reason this path to a theory of everything has failed is because we made QFT relativistic by pairing it with old and incompatible Newtonian mechanics.
What I've described in this post is the foundations for a brand new version of mechanics well suited for quantum phenomena that implicitly contains the effects of special relativity, eliminating the need to force QM and the old Newtonian mechanics into the same hole, and taking a new path to a theory of everything. We also avoid postulating into existence a speed limit, something that might come in handy since Newtonian mechanics and general relativity assume that changes to the force of gravity are propogated throughout space-time much faster than the speed of light, making it difficult to find a workable theory of quantum gravity with a graviton that may only move at c.
I've done this by asking a simple question "what can happen in an instant?"
By the way, this puzzle is Zeno's fourth puzzle on time and motion. In
2500 years it seems that no one has questioned the assumption that
"many things can happen in one instant of time." By questioning that
assumption, and postulating the antithesis, we have an extremely
elegant solution, and an interpretation of mechanics that implicitly
contains the effects of special relativity.
If you disagree with me, you are essentially saying that "more than one thing may happen in one instant of time."
I see no reason to accept that as a fact (nor, as a consequence, any of the physics that is built on that assumption).
That leaves me with one question:
Why do you accept the fact that many things may occur in a single instant?
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