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Can You Imagine a Universe Without Space and Time?

  1. May 20, 2005 #1
    My personal opinion is that space and time are two inherent characteristics of the Universe and that the Big Bang didn't mark the creation of space and time but perhaps of our own spacetime. Even an empty geometry is a sort of space. I would like to hear other people's insights on this topic.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 20, 2005 #2
    Im confused on your conclusion...Are you saying the BB united space and time?
  4. May 20, 2005 #3
    What I was trying to say is that the Big Bang theory asserts that at the moment of the Big Bang both time and space were created at that instant. However, I believe that rather than marking the absolute beginning of space and time, this point only marked the beginning of our 4D (or 11D if string theory is right) spacetime, and that a previous space and time have always existed and that this spacetime is infinite. What are your (or any other person reading this) insights on this?
  5. May 21, 2005 #4
    Well heres a quote (i forgot from who):

    "Time exists to prevent everything happening all at once; space exists to prevent everything happening at all the same place."
  6. May 21, 2005 #5
    Time and space in OUR universe were created in the big bang. If there is another time and space elsewhere, it is not in our universe and is therefore seperate from our existence. As this is the case, you can postulate anything you want to that is 'outside' our Universe. That's fine, but you end up with pointless discussions of the 'how many angels can dance on a pinhead' variety.
  7. May 22, 2005 #6


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    Any conceptual universe that has a beginning [i.e., a big bang] has time and spatial components that shrink to zero when you run the movie backwards. I see no way to escape that conclusion given current observational evidence. If time and space preceed a universe, that universe is not background independent, it is merely pasted over a preexisting canvas. That's not a bad idea, but how do you derive any meaningful predictions from it? It might be a great idea, but not scientifically useful.
  8. May 24, 2005 #7
    The illusion of space and time.

    As to whether time exist has been hotly debated for thopusands of years. As to whether space exist flies a little too hard into face of "normal" everyday experience, though I believe both are illusions of the discriminating mind of man. Most of my belifs are based on modern conceots such as time dialation, quantum nonlocality and entanglement.

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  9. May 24, 2005 #8
    I've read that one. Cant say I understood much of it beyond the idea of Nows in what he calls Platonia.
  10. Jun 9, 2005 #9

    Time and space are illusions.
  11. Jun 10, 2005 #10
    I don't think it's appropriate to say space and time are illusions. Maybe the true nature of space and time has not been deciphereded yet, and perhaps spacetime is not fundamental, but only emergent at larger scales. However, this does not mean that space and time are illusions, just that their underlying nature is not fully understood yet and that a quantum gravity theory will help to understand it.
  12. Jun 12, 2005 #11
    ^^If time and space are illusions, what aren't illusions? What's the difference between illusions and non-illusions? In my opinion that word doesn't even mean anything. If you can perceive something, it exists, and that's all there is to it (again, IMO).

    Original question: Nope, can't imagine it. Without time the universe would be frozen in a single instant forever, and without space there would be nothing for time (or anything else) to occupy. The quote by PIT2 pretty much says it all.
  13. Jun 14, 2005 #12
    Time is a measurment of events in a sequence, so to imagine the universe without time would be to imagine a motionless void.

    Space is defined by energy moving through different states of value, so to imagine the universe without space would be to imagine a point that is also the encompassing void-(for a lack of a better term).
  14. Jun 14, 2005 #13

    Typically, an illusion is an image of a defined source that becomes present by the reflection of light. So to claim that space and time are an illusion, would be basically a claim that both are a mirrored image of some undefined source. It's an invalid statement unless when I look in the mirror I see an illusion of an illusion. That would be cool because then I could walk through a mirror.
  15. Jun 14, 2005 #14
    i say that there is no such thing as time, only space and matter. what we se as "time" is really our brain relating the increase in enthalpy(decay/ randimization) of matter to an easy to understand form of past, present and future. see rant in "The past IS real" thread

    so therefore, sure a universe could exist without "time" if there was no enthalpy or decay, but without space, i cant even begin to think about an alternative to space and matter.
  16. Jun 19, 2005 #15
    And they both failed, miserably.
  17. Jun 20, 2005 #16
    Increase with respect to what ? How do you know it is not decreasing or staying the same ?

    (Yes, there is a scientific law that says entropy increases , but its a law that assumes there is some reality to time).
  18. Jun 22, 2005 #17
    Let me clarify.

    Time and space are tools we have fashioned and used to survive. We created them with our brain which needs benchmarks and predictable sequences to support the body which in turn supports the brain. If our brain were to see the universe as it really is, which is a large simultaneous event, happening all at the same time in the same place, the survival of our species would be very short lived.

    Therefore, time and space certainly serve as survival tools that keep our brains from overloading on a simultaneous surge of information but, time and space have not changed the nature of the quantum universe. And in that way, time and space have both failed miserably in their bid to 'organize' the universe.
  19. Jun 22, 2005 #18
    Or it would be vastly enhanced, because we wouldbe able to know the
    future. (Actually, it owuldn't make any difference: if the future is fixed, out survival, or lack of it, is predetermined).

    And the quantum universe isn't a mental construct ?
  20. Jun 23, 2005 #19
    Some one covered this is passing, but should time proceed in only one direction? Of the four (fully known) dimensions, why is time's progression always from the present to the future. It is not a necessity didacted by the equations...Why should the arrow of time, therefore, alway go only forward? Also, is space-time the same in other multi-verses? Lisa Randall, the Harvard physicist and cosmologist, speaks of other bizarre possibilities for spacetime within other dimensions and enfolded multiverses. Her book is called Warped Passages...Good read!
  21. Jun 23, 2005 #20
    In philosophy there are different levels of thought. On one level all constructs are mental constructs because humans have a brain that creates mental constructs out of the stimulus it receives (for the most part).

    On another level there are certain universal quantifications and qualifications that, for the most part, are experienced by all humans. Since we are humans, that is significant to us. But what we construct with our brains is really only usefull to us in that it has arranged an overwhelming amount of stimulus in such a manner as to allow the brain's host organism to sustain a conscious awareness of its environment.

    Even amongst individual humans certain mental constructs differ and vary to such a degree as to be unrecognizable from one individual to the next. But, there are other constructs that appear to be universal... (disregarding a 4% percentage of error in calculations.)

    One of those constructs that verges on being a universal experience is the physical condition. Most humans agree on the various conditions that describe a physical universe. So, their mental construct carries more "gravity" than the mental construct that belongs only to one person. More people will believe a mental contruct that is centred around a widely experienced one.

    A quantum state is, eventually, experienced by us as a mental construct.

    I don't know if you know this but you see the world upside down due to the lenses in your eyes.

    Your brain inspects your environment and that information tells the brain that it should turn the image its getting from your eye's lenses right-side-up.

    I am more that confident that a similar function is going on with the brain and how it deals with the quantum state. It tells the rest of its host body that "there is space and there is time, so, relax", when in reality (concerning quantum reality) everything is happening here and now.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2005
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