# Nothing before time

Gale
Was there ever a time before time? theoretically, is it possible? was there even a brief moment before time existed? an immesurable moment that was infinetly long as well as infinetly small. i picture it as just a freezeframe of the universe, before there was a universe. a freezeframe of nothing i suppose. Nothing, that absence of all, absence of existince itself. theoretically, the only time (for lack of a better word) that nothing existed (again lack of a better word) was before time itself?

pace
Yea, I guess I could picture that. Another form of time-existence. How would that work though...

Zantra
We could think along different lines. What if the universal timeline is actually part of a larger whole? I mean, say that the universe is part of a multiverse where our universe is not the oldest in existence. Of course that has a lot of assumptions in it, but there are theories on multiverses.

Gale
We could think along different lines. What if the universal timeline is actually part of a larger whole? I mean, say that the universe is part of a multiverse where our universe is not the oldest in existence. Of course that has a lot of assumptions in it, but there are theories on multiverses

If we did live in a universe which was part of this multiverse, how would time exist? would all the universes have the same time? and would there still be a period of nothingness before time, before all the universes?

Dal
If the larger whole of universal time line is beyond our dimension…
Here’s an odd little example. A spot in one-dimensional world (X-axis) can travel along x-axis but not vertically. A little man on a paper live in 2D world of its own but it can not know beyond X and Y-axis. A 3D figure can travel freely in X, Y and Z-axis but it can never know what time is. For us I suppose we can never know thing from higher dimensions. Or can we?

Gale
If the larger whole of universal time line is beyond our dimension…

When i was younger i would sit and try and figure how a 4th axis added to our xyz would look... circles and curves... i never did draw it succesfully. But Homer simpson, a 2d character, found himself once in a 3d world... fiction maybe... but i don't think it's unreasonable to think that we could be able figure things about dimensions we don't yet live in.

1st. assuming time is linear (which i do not personally believe)
then if you were to plot a point in time and space it would just be on a set of x,y's then i would suppose, if you added in the option of alternate universes, it would create a z... but each plane would be indivually warped depending on that universe. So... at least in my mind, i can picture additional dimensions based on alternate universes with therefore warped axis...

Eh
Originally posted by Gale17
Was there ever a time before time?

Logic abhors such an idea. No, there wasn't.

theoretically, is it possible? was there even a brief moment before time existed?

Think about it for a moment. A moment (a time) when time did not exist. Blatent contradiction, so your question is answered with a definite NO.

Gale
Think about it for a moment. A moment (a time) when time did not exist. Blatent contradiction, so your question is answered with a definite NO.

Ok, i knew i hadn't said it quite right. But it seems to me, that in the first moment of existince, time wouldn't exist. in that first moment there is nothing before, and nothing after. Time, i feel, would have to be at least more than one moment. Time being representive of the difference between moments.
I still don't know if i said that right...

Zantra
Originally posted by Gale17
If we did live in a universe which was part of this multiverse, how would time exist? would all the universes have the same time? and would there still be a period of nothingness before time, before all the universes?

On possibility could be that there are multiple rates of time- perhaps in one demension time moves twice as fast as our time, in another twice as slow. Perhaps There is only one timeline and all the universes are interconnected to that timeline, but maybe there are some universes older than ours, some younger. There are many possibilities. My point is that there's no proof that time began with the beginning of our universe. Only that we KNOW that time existed at the point it was created.

heusdens
The idea of time necessarily includes the concept that everything that exists, exists in the form of change, and that changes itself are connected to each other by causality, through causes and effects.

The idea of a beginning of time is a contradiction within itself.
It would mean that a change (first there was no time, and then there was time; first there was no change, and then there was change; first there was no matter, and then there was matter) would have had to occur, without that there was time. But when time itself does not exist, no change whatsoever can occur.

The only way this is said to have been possible to happen, is by arbitrarily from the nothing assume the existence of actors outside of space, time and matter, that 'started' the universe. This however is unwarranted, and ultimately contradictionary.

The idea of a begin of time concept, necessitates for the idea of a Deity, an actor outside of time, space and matter. But outside of time, space and matter, and outside of causality itself, nothing exists.

In conclusion: the idea that time had a beginning is a blatantly nonsensical idea. Time does not have a begin.

Eh
Originally posted by Gale17
Ok, i knew i hadn't said it quite right. But it seems to me, that in the first moment of existince, time wouldn't exist.

I understand though, you've probably got an idea that you can't quite put into words. In philosophy, this is often a sign something isn't quite right. It helps to be able to take the time and put your thoughts into coherent words, because doing so should already clear up any confusion.

Gale, when you consider relativity, we experience time as moving forward from past to present to future below the speed of light. When you reach the speed of light, times stops. If you exceed the speed of light, you would experience time as moving backwards from future to present to past.

So whatever exists at the speed of light, such as light itself, does not experience time. Without time, light cannot experience physical change or time dependent change. It cannot be created or destroyed. It has always existed.

However light does exist simultaneously with time but it is outside of time. If our universe began at some point, then light would have existed prior to our universe within a timeless existence-before the "first time" of our universe of space, time and matter.

This existence of light before our universe would not necessarily have been an absence of anything as light would be present as pure energy. We would have an existence of light without time. Any change before the existence of time would have to be non-physical and independent of time.

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Gale,
I'm not sure you have voiced your question clearly, but I'll answer it as said.

There could be no time before time, assuming a single time axis. If it were before time, then it would be part of time, therefore couldn't be before time. Time before time would be a paradox at best, a logical impossibility at least.

It would be like saying is there any piece of this stick past the end of the stick. If there were, it would be part of the stick, therefore, by definition, not 'past the end' of the stick.

Assuming multiple time axes, then the term 'before' needs to be redefined. 'Before' implicitly assumes a linear characteristic, so a planar or higher dimensional characteristic requires a different set of terms and definitions.

Ok, i knew i hadn't said it quite right. But it seems to me, that in the first moment of existince, time wouldn't exist.

But listen to what you're saying. The first moment would, by definition be time, therefore would be the start of time and couldn't be 'before' time. This isn't a reality issue, it's a logic issue.

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Zantra
Originally posted by heusdens
The idea of time necessarily includes the concept that everything that exists, exists in the form of change, and that changes itself are connected to each other by causality, through causes and effects.

The idea of a beginning of time is a contradiction within itself.
It would mean that a change (first there was no time, and then there was time; first there was no change, and then there was change; first there was no matter, and then there was matter) would have had to occur, without that there was time. But when time itself does not exist, no change whatsoever can occur.

The only way this is said to have been possible to happen, is by arbitrarily from the nothing assume the existence of actors outside of space, time and matter, that 'started' the universe. This however is unwarranted, and ultimately contradictionary.

The idea of a begin of time concept, necessitates for the idea of a Deity, an actor outside of time, space and matter. But outside of time, space and matter, and outside of causality itself, nothing exists.

In conclusion: the idea that time had a beginning is a blatantly nonsensical idea. Time does not have a begin.

That's the point I was trying to get across in my post in physics about Time before BB. Simply the fact that time is infinite, predating even the big bang. But some people can't seem to grasp that concept.

Gale, check my post in the physics forums again. I've outlined step by step why it's only logical that time predates the Big bang.

Zantra,
If time has no beginning, then the phrase 'before time' lacks meaning.

heusdens
Originally posted by Gale17
Was there ever a time before time? theoretically, is it possible? was there even a brief moment before time existed? an immesurable moment that was infinetly long as well as infinetly small. i picture it as just a freezeframe of the universe, before there was a universe. a freezeframe of nothing i suppose. Nothing, that absence of all, absence of existince itself. theoretically, the only time (for lack of a better word) that nothing existed (again lack of a better word) was before time itself?

A nothing does not contain any cause any reason any foundation for there being or becoming something, and that is the most fundemantal thing we can know.

What follows already is that since time and causality exist, the universe and all there is have been there all the time, in whatever form or content.

finite universe

Huesdens, there are many that would disagree as we both know...

Gale here is a thread with a ongoing discussion from a different philosophy forum concerning the infinite existence of the universe. The discussion is not concluded quite yet but the forces for a finite universe are winning and will win the day.

It begins about two thirds of the way down on this thread here:

heusdens

Originally posted by Jagger2003
Huesdens, there are many that would disagree as we both know...

So?

Because some people fancy mystical things, this doesn't turn the real world into a mystical form.

So?

Because some people fancy mystical things, this doesn't turn the real world into a mystical form.

An acausal event does not need to be mystical. It can be perfectly logical and consistence within the laws of existence but beyond our current comprehension-sort of like gravitons and the consciousness.

heusdens
Originally posted by Jagger2003
An acausal event does not need to be mystical. It can be perfectly logical and consistence within the laws of existence but beyond our current comprehension-sort of like gravitons and the consciousness.

No it can not and I will explain why.

First let us state that an a-causal event must be defined as having by definition no cause (which is not the same as stating that - for whatever reason - we can not observe a cause).

If those events in fact would exist, then what would determine those events to exist a-causal, while other events exist causal?

The answer: nothing would or could determine that, since that would contradict the definition of an a-causal event.

So, assumeting that a-causal events do exist, removes all possibility for causal events to exist. It then turns into a mere coincidence that so many events look or seem causal.

So much coincidence which has been established again and again for so any causal events is simply imposible!

Besides that, the whole universe and existence would become boundlessly senseless.

Another thing: why is it that certain events "look" a-causal.

The answer: because we are observing at such a scale that any observation causes so much interaction, that it destroys part of the observation we are inbestigating. Therefore we miss some of the events, that would have made it a causal event.

We have to deal with the fact that for practical purposes such indeterminism does exist, which we can only "calculate" by the use of probability.

An example to clarify this:

Assume we look from above with a camera to a pool billiard.
As long as we have enough light we can see all the evensts, and they all fit perfectly well in causality. If we reduce the light of the camera, we will at some point miss some events, while still see some events, this make the observed reality a-causal.
But in reality, the event is as causal as it always was, only the observation can not establish that.

Note:
The quantum events are of course different in nature as this, it was just an example that an observation that looks acausal, does not mean that the underlying reality has to be acausal.
A better approach would perhaps be, to try to find the courses, and position of the billiard balls, while being blinded, and having to throw billiard balls at the ones which one wants to explore, thereby causing interactions, that make the observation of what the course of the ball was before we hit it, indeterminable.

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First let us state that an a-causal event must be defined as having by definition no cause (which is not the same as stating that - for whatever reason - we can not observe a cause).

Considering that cause and effect is considered physical, I would define acausal as any cause that isn't physical. A possible example might be desire and intent.

If those events in fact would exist, then what would determine those events to exist a-causal, while other events exist causal?

If they exist, I would assume that they would affect physical causes and vice versa. Although it could be one way only. Acausal events would be initiating events. Physical cause and effects would be determined through physical forces and chains of events.

So, assumeting that a-causal events do exist, removes all possibility for causal events to exist. It then turns into a mere coincidence that so many events look or seem causal.

So much coincidence which has been established again and again for so any causal events is simply imposible!

Besides that, the whole universe and existence would become boundlessly senseless.

Perhaps it is best to go into an example here as well. I will try to sure how cause and acausal can exist simultaneously within a logical format.

The origin of the consciousness is unknown. Many theories are out there including one assuming the consciousness is a separate entity and linked with the brain. If it is a separate entity, the causes of the consciousness would be acausal or non-physical.

The consciousness decides acausally to take a walk. The physical body goes into physical cause and effect and walks. The consciousness had an acausal desire (or cause) to take a walk. The consciousness had an acausal effect in directing the muscles through the brain. The movement of the brain and muscles would produce a series of further physical causes and events.

Note here is an example of acausal events with a consistent logic and with an expected chain of events regardless of whether we comprehend the origin or workings of the consciousness.

This is a possible example of an acausal events. There could be others. Although I would not expect anything to be magical. The inherent logic of the universe suggests all is logical.

Fortunately this is the philosophy forum. We can explore alternative explanations beyond the mainstream theories and assumptions. I think acausal events are worthy of consideration because they eliminate the logic contradictions within the first cause problem.

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wimms
Originally posted by heusdens
If those events in fact would exist, then what would determine those events to exist a-causal, while other events exist causal?

The answer: nothing would or could determine that, since that would contradict the definition of an a-causal event.

So, assumeting that a-causal events do exist, removes all possibility for causal events to exist.
oh, again, how do you reach this illogic conclusion?

Zantra

Originally posted by Jagger2003
Huesdens, there are many that would disagree as we both know...

Gale here is a thread with a ongoing discussion from a different philosophy forum concerning the infinite existence of the universe. The discussion is not concluded quite yet but the forces for a finite universe are winning and will win the day.

It begins about two thirds of the way down on this thread here:

I only wish everyone was as accepting of alternate ideas as you are

Originally posted by Jagger2003
An acausal event does not need to be mystical. It can be perfectly logical and consistence within the laws of existence but beyond our current comprehension-sort of like gravitons and the consciousness.

Debate heusdens on causality at your own risk. He is as immovable on the subject as a stone wall, and almost as logical.

Zantra
Zantra,
If time has no beginning, then the phrase 'before time' lacks meaning.

Sorry haven't checked this post in a while..

Not debating that Radagast-I'm in agreement. But my premise is that time is infinite, and so predates bb,obviously as a single timeline.
My idea however encompasses more than the timeline-see post about time before bb
Here

I remember the thread and understood your intent. I guess I was just pointing out that your idea of infinite time contradicts one of the assumptions of her initial question.

Zantra
Right- which is confusing because at one point Gale, you said that you were in agreement with me- though I believe it was on the point that something had to predate BB because otherwise what could have initiated the BB through causality.

Of course OPINIONS may vary /grumble grumble

Royce
Gale, to answer the intent of your question and not the logical semantic content, the answer is yes, it is quite possible and speculated by many theorist with different models of the Big Bang.

Big Bang - Big Crunch - Big Bang model.
At the previous big Crunch when all matter had ceased to exist and the universe consisted of infinite energy at infinite density there was no time or space. Only a singularity within timeless dimensionless space. As the universe expanded and or inflated then as matter dimentions space and time condenced out of the singularity a new time dimention began, presumably this timespace we are in now.

This is very simplistic I know but the point is still valid. If this is our time then in the previous cycle time existed prior to the beginning of this time cycle. When this cycle ends in the big crunch then this cycle will end along with it's time and a new cycle will begin. So if this model is the actual model then yes time existed before this time began and time will exist after this time ends. This is just one model that is now some what out of favor.

There are other models in which spacetime did not exist prior to the expansion, inflation and condensation of the BB. There was only dimensionless, timeless void, The absolute nothing of nothing prior to the BB event.

It is impossible to talk about such a void of non-time because in such a void there is no place, location nor any time, no before, prior, after, or during. So in that sense there could be no time before the beginning time; but there could be a no-time before the beginning of time in which a microsecond is just as long and meaningless as eternity.

There would be no dimention or duration, nothing to measure and no reference to measure it against. Our language and reasoning process simply will not let us talk about such a non-place. It is beyond logic, reason and language. It can only be thought of in a pure abstract nonlinear mode of thought and it make my brain hurt to try to do it for very long.

wuliheron
If time is infinite it is either acausal or illogical and, thus, ultimately beyond rational discussion. If time is finite then the question of what came before time is meaningless or, again, acausal and beyond rational discussion.

Eternity is the west's answer to the asian assertion of the paradox of existence. If either side had the definitive rational answer the argument would have ended long ago. Instead, asians are waiting for the west to grow up and get in touch with its feelings on the subject.

Don't hold yer breath...

Tail
I guess there could be no time if nothing was happening. A bad definition, I know...

The physical, or relative time, can definitely have a beginning, because it's so firmly connected with space.

The ABSOLUTE time, which doesn't really exist, although we can pretend it does, cannot have a beginning or end. It is nothing more than an idea.

heusdens
Originally posted by Jagger2003
Considering that cause and effect is considered physical, I would define acausal as any cause that isn't physical. A possible example might be desire and intent.

Aren't those also physical causes? What makes us desire or intend something? Does this idea in our mind exists withiout physcial causes?

If they exist, I would assume that they would affect physical causes and vice versa. Although it could be one way only. Acausal events would be initiating events. Physical cause and effects would be determined through physical forces and chains of events.

You have not understood the problem. Your understanding is that certain events are acausal and cause other physcial events, which are then causal. What makes 'some' events a-causal, and other events causal, if there can be no determination between those two type of events, since any determintation would refute the very idea of a-causality.

Perhaps it is best to go into an example here as well. I will try to sure how cause and acausal can exist simultaneously within a logical format.

The origin of the consciousness is unknown. Many theories are out there including one assuming the consciousness is a separate entity and linked with the brain. If it is a separate entity, the causes of the consciousness would be acausal or non-physical.

The consciousness decides acausally to take a walk. The physical body goes into physical cause and effect and walks. The consciousness had an acausal desire (or cause) to take a walk. The consciousness had an acausal effect in directing the muscles through the brain. The movement of the brain and muscles would produce a series of further physical causes and events.

Note here is an example of acausal events with a consistent logic and with an expected chain of events regardless of whether we comprehend the origin or workings of the consciousness.

This is a possible example of an acausal events. There could be others. Although I would not expect anything to be magical. The inherent logic of the universe suggests all is logical.

Fortunately this is the philosophy forum. We can explore alternative explanations beyond the mainstream theories and assumptions. I think acausal events are worthy of consideration because they eliminate the logic contradictions within the first cause problem.

You are assume here something very basic, namely you assume that consciousness itself is not material. We don't have to go saying that the very existence of consciousness, is not in form of atoms, since these terms do not apply to consciousness.
But assuming that consciousness stands outside of the material world, and can affect it, would contradict the fact that it is material.

The origin of consciousness is not entirely unknown, we know it developed together with material life forms, and its function is to reflect the material world, so that this life form can interact with it in a sensible way, in order to sustain itself.
No thought you can have exists outside of a material form in your brain, it exist as a pattern in your brain, which consists of material neurons connected in networks, and which accepts and sends signals in an electrical/chemical way.

The position of consciousness towards the material brain is in a way comparable with how software is positioned towards the hardware of a computer.