What is time? I’ll let you guys answer this one. For real, I’ll wait… and wait… and wait. Even if it takes a lifetime. Even when the stars burn out and matter is dissipated into a heat death of the universe. All will be dark, but you’ll still have time. Time is known to do things, like heal, be cruel, teach us lessons, and fade the past away. Time is fast when you want it to be slow, and slow when you want it to be fast. Time is a clock on the wall, and it is made up. Now you might say, ‘Made up, eh? What’re you talking about?’ Time, as a unit of measurement, is arbitrary! Seconds are just something we made up. If we wanted, tomorrow the UN could declare that one second will now be the length of two seconds, and nothing in the universe would change. We would all live with thirty-second minutes, that’s all.
Time as defined by Google is the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole. The truth about reality is in that PROGRESS bit. The motion of molecules are what we perceive as time. Time began at the Big Bang, according to the theory of the Big Bang. It leads one to wonder if maybe time needs matter to exist? Like time and matter are two sides to a coin; one cannot exist without the other. If we were to freeze time, we wouldn’t actually be able to gallivant around. There are examples in media of people doing this, like freezing time and stealing from banks, art museums, and such, but the movement of molecules are required for aspects like solid objects. If we stopped things from vibrating closely together, we’d fall through it. Or more so, we’d instantly die from the universe ending.
There is a temperature called ‘Absolute Zero.’ It is the lowest temperature that is theoretically possible, at which the motion of particles that constitutes heat would be minimal. It is zero on the Kelvin scale, equivalent to –273.15°C or –459.67°F. This temperature is out in space, and has been briefly reached in labs on Earth. Pluto is 44 Kelvin (-229 Celsius or -380 Fahrenheit) and is the coldest planet in our solar system. A reason science fiction stories in space have things like cryogenic chambers to hibernate its occupants is because of the real effects lower temperatures have on cellular motion. So, the reason I bring absolute zero up is because if such a temperature could either be found or created to DESCEND EVEN LOWER than absolute zero, would time stop? Would it collapse into a black hole? Who knows!
One thing we do know is that we can never go back in time. Forward, however, well, that’s relative. It has to do with gravity. The simplest example is this: Astronauts leaves Earth’s orbit, saying goodbye to their families and friends as they chart a course around the supermassive black hole at the centre of our Milky Way galaxy. The trip takes them one year. They enter the dense black hole’s orbit and circle it once before heading back to Earth. One year had passed for them, but upon returning to Earth, 100 years had passed. It’s a strange and phenomenal effect gravity has on matter. Not just matter actually, but also light. The heavier an object is, on the astronomical scale, the slower time moves. I’m hesitant to say that the molecules vibrate slower, because even if that is what they’re doing, it wouldn’t as simple as that. Cold temperature does that, but doesn’t seem to slow time down. I would simply say gravity works as a dial, like fancy light switches! The more you crank it, the slower things get.
A thought experiment the glorious Stephen Hawking had, regarding time, involved a futuristic train. He wondered, or proposed, that say there was a train humanity created that wrapped around the Earth and traveled at near the speed of light. Matter cannot go or surpass the speed of light, but this train was designed to go just under as fast. He then proposed that a girl in the train decided to run forward in it. Would the laws of physics break? Or would they correct the matter at hand and visibly slow the girl down, making sure not to allow her to pass the speed of light. Individuals sitting in the train would watch as she slowed down, making each stride and seemingly hover in the air as she leapt.
Time is a trip, to conclude this thought piece. We have no control over it. It goes up and down, shrinks and stretches, but never stops or reverses. We are a slave to time and we are freed by it. Time is us and we are time. Make what you will of your slice, and I’ll make mine. Thank for reading, and I’ll see you guys next time!