# Is Time Real or Relative – Real

Carl Sagan once described time in terms of shapes of two dimensional objects. One was a triangle the other a rectangle and still another a circle (for example). He gave life to them by describing from their perspective what they would see if they viewed each other. In their two dimensional world all that would be visible to them would be a line of a particular size. The circle could dance but because the circle is uniformly the same dimension no matter which side is presented for viewing in the plane, the rectangle and triangle would notice nothing but a line of the same size as he danced. If the rectangle did the same thing then a line of changing dimensions would present itself depending upon which side or corner was visible to the other two as he danced. The same thing for the triangle as it turned. Let’s now suppose that a sphere or ball passed through the plane of their world. The ball would first appear to them as a single point on their plane appearing from nowhere as if by magic which increased in size forming a larger line until the maximum diameter of the ball was present in the plane. Then the line would shrink in size until as the ball continued passing through their plane it would again become a single point and then it would disappear just as suddenly and magically as it appeared. This ball, Carl said, represents time. Time is another dimension added to height, depth and width to give meaning to the physical principle that two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time. If another being of any intelligence were to have the capability of traveling within a fifth dimension, then that being would have the capability of time travel and would appear to us just as suddenly and magically as the ball appeared to the two dimensional geometric shapes. Einstein said that time is a part of the space/time continuum. It has no meaning in and of itself but must be part of the physical universe in order to have any meaning and thus to be real. To say that scientists can predict when comets come to view or when lunar and solar eclipses will occur or to say that birds fly south at the same time every year or that any of a host of natural events are seemingly on a time schedule that is in concordance with natural order and use this as proof that time is real, misses the point. It misses the point of how time works and even more profoundly it misses the point of what time is. Time is as real as the universe is real but it cannot exist without the universe. It is part of it. Albert Einstein and Steven Hawkins both agree that before the big bang time did not exist because the universe did not exist. Time has no meaning outside of the universe and that is why scientists call it the “Space-Time Continuum”. When you understand that, then you will understand why the question…”What happened before the big bang?” is of no meaning. If there is no universe as in before the big bang, then there is no time either. If of course you don’t understand this, you are not alone. Hawkins, Sagan and Einstein all had the ability to prove these statements are true but how many people truly can understand Einstein’s fact of relativity. Would it stun you to know that gravity affects time? The greater the gravity the more rapidly time passes. Gravity actually warps time. Time passes more slowly at the top of mount Everest than it does in Death Valley. When scientists make a moon shot or even just launch a satellite into space, if they don’t take into consideration the time “warp” between the two positions and the effects of gravity upon the time, then they would miss their target by hundreds of yards. When birds fly south for the winter and perennials bloom in the spring, they are not reacting to time or even to the space-time continuum. They are reacting to the earth’s position relative to the sun. Space-Time is quite another entity. Isn’t life grand? The complexities of Space-Time are so beautiful and so real as to make us wonder-lust all over again. When we were children we’d be wide eyed at the simplest thoughts of nature’s beauty. Now when we realize there is so much more to that beauty than we had ever imagined, we become children again. The magic we thought might be lost because we had become jaded adults accustomed to all that nature had to show us was not lost at all.. One might say…”thank you” for your time to God or to no one in particular. Indeed, I do.