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Do We Truly Understand Time?

An argument for whether time is real, fake, or misunderstood.

By Nani CruzPublished 3 years ago 4 min read
Do We Truly Understand Time?
Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

The concept of time is one of the greatest controversies known to man. Therefore, it creates some of the best conspiracy theories and plots, as we see play out in some our favorite movies and books. (Hint hint: Thanos with the time stone.)

It is a great mystery waiting to be explained.

We have all heard the phrase "time is an illusion." In terms of spirituality, where death is not the end. In the terms of trippy people being nonconformists. In the terms of conspiracy theorists.

Each tale quite different, yet each holding their own amount of truth.

There are in fact scientists who straight out say that time is a human construct, made simply for us to differentiate between the past, present and future. That it is nothing more than something we made up. This is but one of many views on time and how it influences our universe.

By Roman Mager on Unsplash

Sure, time in the form of seconds, minutes and hours is a concept we as human created, but our interpretation of time still holds weight in the scientific community

Take physics for example. When calculating numerous physics equations, time is an important variable. Humans did not create physics, though. Physics is a mess of a science (I said what I said) that exists and influences our lives, whether we like it or not. So, how can time be completely made up if science and nature depend on it? Think about speed, carbon-dating, decay and so much more.

Well, I say there is an unspoken middle ground for this argument - that time is simply misunderstood. When we think of time we tend to consider the go, go, go concept of time where we will be marked late if we arrive to work past 8:00 in the morning. The numbers on the clock that trigger a screaming morning alarm. The quantity of minutes we are allotted for various tasks, such as eating lunch or taking breaks. We tend to think of the version of time that dictates our lives and how we live it.

To understand the conspiracies and the true existence, or non-existence, of time, we must broaden our understanding.

By Reid Zura on Unsplash

First, we must consider that time is not linear from a science point of view.

What!? Time travel? Multiple dimensions? Parallel universes? Possibly, but let's not get that deep.

Physicists have begun posing the idea that time is not linear and that it shouldn't only move forward. This is based in the idea that since time is symmetrical, it should be able to move backwards just as easily as it moves forwards. We can only imagine what that would mean for us if we cracked the code on reverse time!

By Marv Watson on Unsplash

Next in discussing if time is real, fake, or somewhere in the middle, we must acknowledge how many times people have gotten time wrong.

Human civilizations have been trying to quantify time for as long as we can historically recount, yet couldn't keep track of it! A prime example is when humans switched from the Mayan calendar to the Gregorian calendar, there is speculation that eight years were lost.

Side note: that means the Mayan 2012 predictions would have actually been for 2020, but I digress.

For a species that relies on time to structure its lives, we really can't seem to figure out the ins-and-outs of it.

By Marc Schulte on Unsplash

Finally, we must consider that time doesn't flow at all, neither forwards nor backwards. Carlo Rovelli, an Italian physicist, is pushing our conceptions on time ever further by proposing that time doesn't flow. Rather, that it moves in loops! A big loop theory of the universe would mean that we are just repeating ourselves and don't even realize it.

Groundhog Day over, and over, and over.

This is based on the theory that the universe is continuing to expand, therefore there is an abundance of "dark energy (matter)" that will fate the universe to repeat itself.

It is extremely theoretical, but the history and trends of the universe could influence its inhabitants more than we realize. Who knows?

By Jon Tyson on Unsplash

I think it is safe to say our understanding of time does not capture the full picture of time. Seconds, minutes, and hours are not enough to fully comprehend how time influences the universe, therefore there’s still much to learn.

We made up our interpretation of time to understand the world around us. However, our creation of time in units excludes the idea that time can possibly be lost, move backwards, and even in loops.

(P.S. You could argue that you can never be late if the time we know isn’t correct.)

I believe the Marvel Universe did a great job at introducing new understandings of time and false realities to its fan, but it doesn't stop there. Before we can better understand time and know if it is a real component of the universe, we should probably reassess our interpretation of time and how it moves. Until then, time in its full capacity will continue to be a mystery.


If you found this intriguing, please consider leaving a heart/tip/share! Follow me for more @nani.quint on Instagram.


About the Creator

Nani Cruz

As a 23 year old grad school student, I spend a lot of time writing academically. Now I’m taking time to write creatively and enjoy creating stories about whatever makes me happy.

Follow my journey on instagram too: @nani.cruz.writes

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