# Relativity Explained Via Movement, Not Time

Relativity Explained Via Movement, Not "Time"

There is no clock that will measure time independently of movement. And conversely, nothing ever happens that does not move.

Why then do physicists persist in using the notion of "time" in explaining relativity? It would be so much easier, more intuitive and correct to talk of (relative) movement and not time. Things like "time" stopping when we perceive a massive projectile travelling at the speed of light: "time" is a purely anthropic notion that neither begins nor stops since it has no physical existence in itself. What will stop is *movement* this is intuitively easy to understand since mass tends to infinity at the speed of light and you require infinite energy to make it *move*.

Why are physicists so hooked on "time" when only movement exits. I believe that explanations of physical phenomenon -including relativity- would be so much easier using *movement* instead...

IH

Related Special and General Relativity News on Phys.org
WannabeNewton

Errr...a clock in your own reference frame will proudly measure time even though you are stationary.

There is no clock that will measure time independently of movement. And conversely, nothing ever happens that does not move.

Why then do physicists persist in using the notion of "time" in explaining relativity? It would be so much easier, more intuitive and correct to talk of (relative) movement and not time. Things like "time" stopping when we perceive a massive projectile travelling at the speed of light: "time" is a purely anthropic notion that neither begins nor stops since it has no physical existence in itself. What will stop is *movement* this is intuitively easy to understand since mass tends to infinity at the speed of light and you require infinite energy to make it *move*.

Why are physicists so hooked on "time" when only movement exits. I believe that explanations of physical phenomenon -including relativity- would be so much easier using *movement* instead...

IH
How can you define movement without time. This is nonsense, you're kidding, right

Not if you are rigourous it won't. It will measure the relative movement of a mechanical mechanism with respect to the only invariant movement reference there is, namely the movement of a particle whizzing along at the speed of light. Our anthropic sense of "time" can never, ever, ever be measured independently of movement.

IH

Errr...a clock in your own reference frame will proudly measure time even though you are stationary.
Not if you are rigourous it won't. It will measure the relative movement of a mechanical mechanism with respect to the only invariant movement reference there is, namely the movement of a particle whizzing along at the speed of light. Our anthropic sense of "time" can never, ever, ever be measured independently of movement.

IH

Not if you are rigourous it won't. It will measure the relative movement of a mechanical mechanism with respect to the only invariant movement reference there is, namely the movement of a particle whizzing along at the speed of light. Our anthropic sense of "time" can never, ever, ever be measured independently of movement.

IH
If you're being 'rigorous', I think I'll give it a miss.

How can you define movement without time. This is nonsense, you're kidding, right
You define (relative) movement with respect to a standard, invariant movement benchmark, namely the movement of a particle travelling at the speed of light. Your movement and the particle's movement both exist and can be directly perceived and measured. "Time" in itself can't, it is a human construct has no proper physical existence in itself.

IH

Ryan_m_b
Staff Emeritus

Not if you are rigourous it won't. It will measure the relative movement of a mechanical mechanism with respect to the only invariant movement reference there is, namely the movement of a particle whizzing along at the speed of light. Our anthropic sense of "time" can never, ever, ever be measured independently of movement.

IH
What do you mean? A clock ticks at the same rate always. This change is helpful in defining discrete units of time.

Movement must occur over time otherwise it is not movement.

DaveC426913
Gold Member

There is no clock that will measure time independently of movement. And conversely, nothing ever happens that does not move.
Your premise is flawed. Your second statement does not follow from your first. Clocks are human inventions. We make them move so that we observe change. It does not follow inevitably that time cannot occur without movement.

"time" is a purely anthropic notion that neither begins nor stops since it has no physical existence in itself.
Time existed quite nicely long before we anthropes came along. Lo, it existed for 10 billion years before any kind of life came along.

If you're going to claim "rigor" in logic, you're going to have to form better arguments than this.

Your premise is flawed. Your second statement does not follow from your first. Clocks are human inventions. We make them move so that we observe change. It does not follow inevitably that time cannot occur without movement.
Very interesting; conceptually, I would have thought that if everything in the universe were perfectly static, then you cannot conceive of something called "time". The only thing that could then conceive of "time" is the observer's mind, which would in any case be an extraneous intrusion in a totally static universe.

Do physicists conceive of time in a totally static system, independent of any dynamic observing entity?

IH

Very interesting; conceptually, I would have thought that if everything in the universe were perfectly static, then you cannot conceive of something called "time". The only thing that could then conceive of "time" is the observer's mind, which would in any case be an extraneous intrusion in a totally static universe.

Do physicists conceive of time in a totally static system, independent of any dynamic observing entity?

IH
Yes they do.

But the speed of light is a constant, in all reference frames, that requires two measures: length and time. Same with any movement. v=L/t.

'Time' is a great mystery, but when we talk about 'movement' it has to be used. Sometimes.

Your premise is flawed. Your second statement does not follow from your first. Clocks are human inventions. We make them move so that we observe change. It does not follow inevitably that time cannot occur without movement.

Time existed quite nicely long before we anthropes came along. Lo, it existed for 10 billion years before any kind of life came along.

If you're going to claim "rigor" in logic, you're going to have to form better arguments than this.
How then, when one makes a measure of the speed of an object or particle, can you distinguish *independently* the time component from the movement component? To my mind, movement is directly perceived and measured whereas "time" a ratio deriving from the movement measure vs the movement of an absolute reference, viz a particle moving at the speed of light.

IH

Ryan_m_b
Staff Emeritus

Very interesting; conceptually, I would have thought that if everything in the universe were perfectly static, then you cannot conceive of something called "time". The only thing that could then conceive of "time" is the observer's mind, which would in any case be an extraneous intrusion in a totally static universe.

Do physicists conceive of time in a totally static system, independent of any dynamic observing entity?

IH
You can't have a totally static system. At the quantum level stuff will still happen. Even in a material that is absolute zero although the atoms might not move electrons still orbit, photons still bounce about etc

To suggest a 100% static system where no subatomic particle moves and things like vacuum fluctuations do not occur is like asking "what do the laws of physics have to say on this idea wherein we ignore the laws of physics?"

DaveC426913
Gold Member

How then, when one makes a measure of the speed of an object or particle, can you distinguish *independently* the time component from the movement component? To my mind, movement is directly perceived and measured whereas "time" a ratio deriving from the movement measure vs the movement of an absolute reference, viz a particle moving at the speed of light.

IH
Well, you can measure the frequency of a photon and thus derive a pretty good clock from that, yet nothing in the photon could be considered moving.

I am measuring a frequency of approximately 600THz with nothing but my eyes while looking at the greenery in my garden.

"Time" in itself can't, it is a human construct has no proper physical existence in itself.

IH
I would be making as much sense saying "Length" is a human construct, and has no temporal existence in itself.

DaveC426913
Gold Member

Well, this is why we live in a 4-dimensional universe. It requires 4 independent coordinates to define any real point in it. If a point has only 3 coordinates, then it is undefined. That includes length (x) and time (t). And while they are independent, they also are interdependent, changing x will change t.

Well, you can measure the frequency of a photon and thus derive a pretty good clock from that, yet nothing in the photon could be considered moving.

I am measuring a frequency of approximately 600THz with nothing but my eyes while looking at the greenery in my garden.
Agreed, and I would add that the operative word in your post is "derive". Our measure of time can only ever be indirect, via phenomena -like frequency- linked to movement. Nothing *in* the photon is moving but its frequency is linked to a dynamic phenomenon, that of its wave-like nature. So we are back to movement...

IH

[I am quite the layman, and may be making a right fool of myself here, but this time thing has been bugging me for a while now...]

To my mind, movement is directly perceived and measured whereas "time" a ratio deriving from the movement measure vs the movement of an absolute reference, viz a particle moving at the speed of light.

IH
Yes, t is a 'ratio', if you want to say that t=L/v. Then t=Lt/L. I'm not very good at higher math, but I don't think that is going to get me very far.

ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus

Agreed, and I would add that the operative word in your post is "derive". Our measure of time can only ever be indirect, via phenomena -like frequency- linked to movement. Nothing *in* the photon is moving but its frequency is linked to a dynamic phenomenon, that of its wave-like nature. So we are back to movement...

IH

[I am quite the layman, and may be making a right fool of myself here, but this time thing has been bugging me for a while now...]
But then, everything is 'derived'. So why picked on "time"?

This whole thread is very puzzling. You make use of light speed, etc., yet, each of these things have implicitly assumed a "time" dimension. How do you defined light without having a time implicit in its velocity?

I will also tell you that a "movement" is undefined without an implicit involvement of time. Our measurement of a unit of space depends directly on our ability to define time, via the speed of light. Unless you think you can formulate a different theory of Special Relativity, this involvement of time cannot be separated out.

Zz.

Looking at the simple space-time diagrams I've seen, if something moves through space, it sacrifices moving through time. If something travels at the speed of light, it is not moving through time at all.

The speed of light is the same for all frames of reference. So maybe there is the same situation and the other end of the scale. If something has 'zero' movement, it must be moving through time at the maximum rate.

EDIT: So does that imply that there is a universal rate for time that is the same for all observers?

Nothing *in* the photon is moving but its frequency is linked to a dynamic phenomenon, that of its wave-like nature. So we are back to movement...

IH

[I am quite the layman, and may be making a right fool of myself here, but this time thing has been bugging me for a while now...]
If we're back to movement, we're back to L/t. That little sucker ain't going away any time soon.

You're not making a fool of yourself. Reality is perplexing. Besides, if I want to make a fool of myself, PF is one of the easiest places to do it.

"Relativity Explained Via Movement, Not 'Time'"

Relativity mixes distance with time. So, according to relativity, a "movement" represents some combination of displacement through distance and time. More time or more distance means more movement. Less time or less distance means less movement.

Why then do physicists persist in using the notion of "time" in explaining relativity?

[....]

Why are physicists so hooked on "time" when only movement exits.
Because Einstein invented the concept of a space-time continuum instead of a space-frequency continuum.

But then, everything is 'derived'. So why picked on "time"?

This whole thread is very puzzling. You make use of light speed, etc., yet, each of these things have implicitly assumed a "time" dimension. How do you defined light without having a time implicit in its velocity?

I will also tell you that a "movement" is undefined without an implicit involvement of time. Our measurement of a unit of space depends directly on our ability to define time, via the speed of light. Unless you think you can formulate a different theory of Special Relativity, this involvement of time cannot be separated out.

Zz.
This is all getting very confusing very quickly...regarding defining movement without an implicit involvement of time however, how about this: when my car has travelled X meters, i measure the distance travelled by a ray of light which was emitted as the car started to move. My car would then have travelled an equivalent Y meters of light. This is how I would think of doing it since light is my absolute displacement reference.

IH

I actually have to support Hassan to a degree. I would qualify it more as an event sequence but to say it has some absolute reality outside of the event sequence used to measure it smacks of Newtonian physics to me. It is this artificialness as an independent variable that gets us in trouble with common notions of simultaneity.