Can You Imagine a Universe Without Space and Time?

In summary, Space and time are illusions, and the Big Bang didn't create them but rather our own 4D spacetime.
  • #1
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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.
 
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  • #2
Im confused on your conclusion...Are you saying the BB united space and time?
 
  • #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?
 
  • #4
Well here's 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."
 
  • #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 separate 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.
 
  • #6
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.
 
  • #7
The illusion of space and time.

Curious6 said:
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.

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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  • #8
I've read that one. Cant say I understood much of it beyond the idea of Nows in what he calls Platonia.
 
  • #9
Illusion

Curious6 said:
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.

Time and space are illusions.
 
  • #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.
 
  • #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.
 
  • #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).
 
  • #13
Yank said:
^^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).


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.
 
  • #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 can't even begin to think about an alternative to space and matter.
 
  • #15
PIT2 said:
Well here's 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."

And they both failed, miserably.
 
  • #16
Gaijin said:
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 .

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).
 
  • #17
Dr.Yes said:
And they both failed, miserably.

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.
 
  • #18
Dr.Yes said:
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.

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).

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 the quantum universe isn't a mental construct ?
 
  • #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!
 
  • #20
Tournesol said:
And the quantum universe isn't a mental construct ?

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.
 
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  • #21
Dr.Yes said:
One of those constructs that verges on being a universal experience is the physical condition.

Including time. People can keep appointments , so they must agree on a basic
concept of time.


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

You seem to be using "quantum" to indicate rality in the raw, which is most odd.

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.

You haven't really explained why.
 
  • #22
I think its odd you'd write the words "rality in the raw". If you mean reality in the raw, that's still a weird and unattainable mental construct, for this individual.

Please explain raw reality.

I don't have to explain why everything is happening here and now. It just is.

It's obvious. Its a matter of potentiality. There is a whole mechanism to excavating the relative universe and revealing the quantum sub-strata that makes it all possible.

Suffice to say that what you see with your eyes, smell, feel, sense and so on is being organized, quantified and utilized by your brain so that a) you keep your brain working and b) you make it to the fridge for more beer. :rofl:

My answer to Tournesol's question "Can you imagine a universe without space or time?" is yes. Furthermore, I'm trying to point out that we are living (t)here now!
 
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  • #23
Dr.Yes said:
I think its odd you'd write the words "rality in the raw". If you mean reality in the raw, that's still a weird and unattainable mental construct, for this individual.

Is it ? You say the universe seems spatio-temporal to us, but really isn't.
That is a statement about reality-in-the raw -- about how things are and not just about how they seem.


I don't have to explain why everything is happening here and now. It just is.

"P just is" is not an argument for P.
 
  • #24
Tournesol said:
Is it ? You say the universe seems spatio-temporal to us, but really isn't.
That is a statement about reality-in-the raw -- about how things are and not just about how they seem.

I think we'd have to agree upon a definition of reality before we can continue this one.



Tournesol said:
"P just is" is not an argument for P.

Who's arguing?

I'd like to suggest that you view the documentary "What the bleep do we know?" as a reference to my answer to your question. You'll find that in most those interviews many physicists and philosophers support my view that this universe exists without time or space. That state is one reality out of a potentially infinite number of realities that humans can and do experience.

www.whatthebleep.com
 
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  • #25
Is that the same WTB that has been widely condemned as nonsense on this board ?
 
  • #26
Tournesol said:
Is that the same WTB that has been widely condemned as nonsense on this board ?

Potentially.
 
  • #27
Thank you for the good read folks, I have enjoyed it thus far.

Can You Imagine a Universe Without Space and Time?

Short answer? No. I have my reasons for thinking this, here is something I wote that is open to criticism:

Time is the only thing that I know that starts and stops in the same instant.
There is no such thing as present time,
Only the past and future working concurrently
It is the very nucleus of existence,
With the weight of uncertainty on the other side,
and
The weight of perception and experience on the other.
Our reality is so multi-faceted, that it starts on the near side of our feelings and ends on the far side of our thoughts and dreams.
Suffice to say that,
Life, meaning, and time all coexist to create the reality we have come to know.
That perhaps life and time are one in the same,
That you can not have one without the other.
Meaning, is our enzyme to discover, learn, fail, and prove…
To love and hate.
If time goes somewhere, where does it come from?
Perhaps it is not directional at all, perhaps it is a constant….
Cyclical and intangible in nature.
Much like our lives? Both being non-linear?
Then why have both been projected as linear entities? Something to be graphed or counted or predicted.
Maybe it is an all inclusive function,
Where we are subject to laws of our surroundings, and not vice versa.
Where meaning is actually the recognition and the understanding of these observations.
I think I have recognized, with the exception of one thing…
If I can not remember anything before being born, it is possible that it has happened and will happen within the same moment?
So maybe,
Life is the only thing I know that starts and stops in the same instant.
 
  • #28
Only past and future ?

Past is only due to the brain (memory) so we cannot even talk about past.

Future is ony directly related to the past. Meaning without memory we would only life present and future would never come since there was no past.

So actually its only present that exists. how about that :D

The mind perceives the world as OBJECTS in the dimensions of SPACE and TIME.

An object is anything that can be measured in the dimension of space and time – space and time are not objects - no human being understands the extent of space or time.

The mind can only perceive concrete objects. Abstract objects are ideas extracted from the interaction of concrete objects.

Already we have understood that without mind there is no memory and without memory there is no mind. What would be the use of consciousness that we can not remembered?

Therefore, the essence of the mind is what we vaguely understand as space. Objects are not contained in space; instead, they are measured in space. Space is a meaning rather than a physical reality.
Time also is not a physical reality – it is a meaning giving existence by memory.
 
  • #29
Well, nicely said.
But this would only be true if life, time, space, and memory were all a linear functions. They could be a cyclical movement which continuously repeats itself in sequences; therefore the 'present' could be the mind making sense of the past/future (sanity) and absolute chaos shift, which all happens as natural as breathing does. :P
This mind and memory are subject to the laws of the world and can only percieve what we consider our own limitations. Time itself could be a measurement of space; space between two objects or space between two dates.
It is all interesting to think about, thanks for the debate!
 
  • #30
I'm with Dr. Yes. Time and space serve to separate events and objects in certain frames of reference but not in all of them. There is one observer-perspective from which everything does happen all at once in the same place. (And, after all, if something is nonlocal then it is everywhere at once at all times with some finite probability).

Physicists have not yet shown that time and space exist except as concepts, so it seems that the scientific evidence leaves us free to speculate. But in all the mystical religions spacetime is not fundamental (not exactly illusions but no more than appearances) so if science can show that spacetime is fundamental then they will put an end to Buddhism, Taoism, Sufism, Christian mysticism and the rest. My prediction is that this is never going to happen, and that it is impossible to scientifically prove that spacetime is fundamental.

As I understand it the way out of this for M-theory seems to be the 'hypothesis of duality'. This says that theories that are background dependent and theories which are background independent are both required to account for the state of the universe, and that the two types of theory refer to the same thing but capture opposite aspects of it. If this is so then M-theory is strong evidence for the 'mystical' view of spacetime, which says exactly this.

But it also says that we cannot imagine the absence of space and time. Rather, we have to experience it directly, non-conceptually, or 'immaterially' as Evagrios puts it.
 
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  • #31
Curious6 said:
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.

The idea that our universe appeared from a state of empty geometry is not at all new (it seem to be 'hinted' by GR). But it's very difficult to imagine what would mean the existence of 'something' without any sort of space and time, usually this empty geometry is identified by many (Guth is one of them) with the absolute nothingness of philosophers. Not to mention that GR postulates its own demise at the moment of Big Bang...The idea that something can exist outside a spacetime structure (not necessary ours) is rather speculative, at least from what we know now, though by no means absurd. I've already touched this subject here.
 
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  • #32
Canute said:
There is one observer-perspective from which everything does happen all at once in the same place. (And, after all, if something is nonlocal then it is everywhere at once at all times with some finite probability).

Which is what ?

Physicists have not yet shown that time and space exist except as concepts,



You can measure them , so they can't be "just concepts".
 
  • #33
Curious6 said:
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.

You assume time is a thing.

"run" is not a thing, it is a description of what I do when I try to loose weight.

"time" is how we describe the relationship of events. It is not a thing (or if it is, I have never heard of it being put on a table and cut open).

For example: when we experiment with "time", as in sending an atomic clock on a fast ride and then comparing it to a stationary clock, what we are observing is the relationship of moving atoms to stationary atoms.

Steve Rives
 
  • #34
Tournesol said:
You can measure them , so they can't be "just concepts".
This doesn't seem to be an objection so much as a reason for finding the idea counterintuitive. So far, at least, the evidence allows the possibility.
 
  • #35
I know of no such evidence. Space and time may be secondary of epihenomenal in some way, but that is far from being non-existent. Heat is an epiphenomenon of molecular rmotion, but that does not make it "just a concept"
 

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