Monday, February 06, 2006

Tell Me Where All Past Years Are

Revisiting a theme from a previous post, further thoughts on the somewhat tricky nature of the relationship between space and time. OK, so it seems to be intuitively obvious that while a movement in space will have to be related to a corresponding movement in time, multiple distinct spatial co-ordinates can (and indeed, do) independently exist at precisely the same time. In other words, pick a specific point in time, and different locations in space can all exist at that very same moment. We don't find any intuitive gap in logic here, even though it is physically impossible for one conscious entity to verify this fact by simultaneously being present in all these different distinct locations at the same time. However, doesn't the same line of deductive reasoning then bring us to conclude that different co-ordinates in time can simultaneously co-exist at one precise spatial location, and as a result, don't we start moving towards intellectual territory that is far more unstable? The thought that distinct points in time can co-exist (and there may be a paradox hidden right here: if we are talking about different points in time, exactly when do they co-exist?) in one accurately determined location is somewhat challenging, and gives rise to many more questions; not the least of which is: Do all these different points in time correspond to the same version of reality, or are we getting ourselves into even more rocky terrain? I don't know, and it makes my mind boggle to think of the possibilities. Gibson will definitely scoff again, but this is certainly more than my limited intellect (bolstered only by a smattering of high school Physics) can handle on a somewhat slow and gloomy workday afternoon.


np said...

AHHH!! i will have to read this slowly, many times.

Ben said...

i will not scoff[and i am very hurt that you view me as so haughty and derisive ;-) ] but i think the jump from 'multiple points in space can correlate to a time singularity' to 'multiple points in time can correlate to a spatial singularity' is where the argument breaks down, due to the unique nature of time as a quantity that is irreversible and unidirectional. that is, unlike space where we have freedom to move in all three dimensions as we please, time always goes forward, a slow and steady scalar.

but it's still a very stimulating, well-thought out discussion. what's really crazy is when you start talking about general relativity, where extremely dense objects warp the 'surface' of spacetime, as it were.

lil louie b said...

Irreversible and undirectional? Um, hello? Didn't you see Back to the Future? Idiot.