The universe is made of a four-dimensional space-time where planets, people, and particles exist. Space-time is made of three dimensions of space (up down, left right, forward and backward) and one dimension of time. Einstein showed us that you can’t have one without the other and that time and space are inseparable. But this wasn’t always the case. When the universe came into existence 13.8 billion earth years ago, a singularity happened that made space-time and put forth all the stuff (matter) we see in the universe today. The essence of this singularity is still happening today, but it operates on the smallest of scales. We see its effects in our everyday lives like when the sun is shining, but its essential workings is in the quantum world and our senses only perceive the macroworld.
This substance of the singularity (commonly referred to the Big Bang) is energy that makes for heat. Just as all matter is relational to form forms (including people), thermal energy is relational to make the fabric of space-time and more specifically time itself. Time is a human construct from our perceptions of the macroworld where we see and experience the amalgamation of matter, atrophy, and entropy. It’s the combining, mixing, and gradual breakdown of energy and matter that we perceive as the passage of events and linear time. As the physicist Carlo Rovelli says, “There is no preferred direction of time without heat and energy.”
We think of time as a mechanical clockwork moving forward in incremental sequential segments of instants. This is similar to how humans perceived the world a millennium ago. We thought the earth was flat and the center of the universe, but now we know that’s not the case. Likewise, from our investigations into the quantum world of the infinitesimally small and the fabric of space itself, space is a quantum foam where virtual particles pop in and out of existence. And that’s only when we look at it! When we don’t look at it, it’s nothingness. So, if space and time are inseparable and space is nothingness, then time doesn’t really exist. It’s the order and arrangement of nebulous particles that create macrostates of things like people, planets, and stars that make everything we see and experience seem so real. The physicist Neils Bohr proclaimed, “Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.”.
Ironically physicist use clocks as an analogy to show how the quantum world works and also to demonstrate how parity violation happens to allow for stuff to exist. This thermodynamic correlation of stuff to make macrostates of living things like people who consume, work, play, and discharge all appear to happen in time. But it’s really just the heat and energy from these events that make time seem so real. The Big Bang, space-time, the formation of galaxies, stars, planets and us, is all a thermal process. For instance, the moon in cold space seems to circle the earth without creating energy, but its mass makes friction that we see as the tides. All mass no matter how big or small is always moving and in flux, it blends together and apart and in the process creates friction. Friction (heat) is constantly being made whether mass is in motion or at rest and that makes for the appearance of time.
This amazingly mysterious spatiotemporal world we live in is really just life’s mental playground. It’s a relational ecosystem of forms that engage, mix, and eventually disperse. And the more we study and scrutinize nature, the more counter-intuitive and irrational it appears from a human’s perspective and social convention. We need not worry about time when we have the unassailable ever-present moment. Time is real in that we need it to arrange our affairs and live a civil life, but our time on earth from birth to death isn’t what we suppose it to be. However, we are here now in space-time where we can think, feel, and experience – and hopefully do so without too much pain or suffering. And that’s where ChoiceUp comes in because pain and suffering are one of the most real and tangible experiences a human can have. So with all of reality being relational, and for humanity to create as little human-influenced suffering towards each other as possible, we all need to do our part in how we get along with one another. And it’s about time.