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Time is a basic component of the measuring system used to sequence events, to compare the durations of events and the intervals between them, and to quantify the motions of objects. Time has been a major subject of religion, philosophy, and science, but defining time in a non-controversial manner applicable to all fields of study has consistently eluded the greatest scholars.
In physics and other sciences, time is considered one of the few fundamental quantities. Time is used to define other quantities – such as velocity – and defining time in terms of such quantities would result in circularity of definition. An operational definition of time, wherein one says that observing a certain number of repetitions of one or another standard cyclical event (such as the passage of a free-swinging pendulum) constitutes one standard unit such as the second, has a high utility value in the conduct of both advanced experiments and everyday affairs of life. The operational definition leaves aside the question whether there is something called time, apart from the counting activity just mentioned, that flows and that can be measured. Investigations of a single continuum called space-time brings the nature of time into association with related questions into the nature of space, questions that have their roots in the works of early students of natural philosophy.
Among prominent philosophers, there are two distinct viewpoints on time. One view is that time is part of the fundamental structure of the universe, a dimension in which events occur in sequence. Sir Isaac Newton subscribed to this realist view, and hence it is sometimes referred to as Newtonian time. The opposing view is that time does not refer to any kind of "container" that events and objects "move through", nor to any entity that "flows", but that it is instead part of a fundamental intellectual structure (together with space and number) within which humans sequence and compare events. This second view, in the tradition of Gottfried Leibniz and Immanuel Kant, holds that time is neither an event nor a thing, and thus is not itself measurable.
Temporal measurement has occupied scientists and technologists, and was a prime motivation in navigation and astronomy. Periodic events and periodic motion have long served as standards for units of time. Examples include the apparent motion of the sun across the sky, the phases of the moon, the swing of a pendulum, and the beat of a heart. Currently, the international unit of time, the second, is defined as a certain number of hyperfine transitions in caesium atoms (see below). Time is also of significant social importance, having economic value ("time is money") as well as personal value, due to an awareness of the limited time in each day and in human lifespans.
Space is the property of the universe in which matter is physically extended and objects have positions relative to one another.
In classical mechanics, space was originally treated as being separate from time and is thought of as one of the few fundamental physical quantities. In Isaac Newton's view space was absolute, and held that it exists permanently and independently of whether there is any matter in the space or moving through it.
In mathematics spaces with different geometries and numbers of dimensions are described, and this is used in modern physics where both space and time are to be thought of as part of the boundless four-dimensional continuum known as space-time. From the experimental support for Albert Einstein's theory of relativity scientists now find that space and time cannot be entirely separated. In addition, space is found to have physical properties including intrinsic curvature which varies according to mass distribution. Therefore it was Einstein's view that space and matter cannot be entirely separated either.
Among physicists and philosophers there is disagreement regarding whether space is itself an entity, or is part of a conceptual framework.
Time travel is the concept of moving between different moments in time in a manner analogous to moving between different points in space, either sending objects (or in some cases just information) backwards in time to a moment before the present, or sending objects forward from the present to the future without the need to experience the intervening period (at least not at the normal rate). Some interpretations of time travel also suggest that traveling backwards in time might take one to a parallel universe whose history could begin to diverge from the traveler's original history after the moment the traveler arrived in the past. Although time travel has been a common plot device in fiction since the 19th century, and one-way travel into the future is arguably possible given the phenomenon of time dilation based on velocity in the theory of special relativity (exemplified by the twin paradox) as well as gravitational time dilation in the theory of general relativity, it is currently unknown whether the laws of physics would allow backwards time travel. Any technological device, whether fictional or hypothetical, that is used to achieve two-way time travel is known as a time machine.
Originally posted by Nohup
Spacetime is a kind of loose construct that is a result of consciousness interacting with probability to select between various virtual states.
And things also pop in and out of this particular spacetime reality construction all the time -- photonic fluctuations bubbling around at zero point accounts for most of it, although I've never seen anybody place a limit on the amount or size of "bubbles" that can occur.
So, it might not be too difficult to imagine that it could be possible for a thing (a consciousness, most likely) to basically encapsulate itself in a quantum bubble pulled external to the spacetime we all know and love, then drop itself back in at a different point. The shift in both distance and time would be instantaneous, since the bubble would be outside of the usual construct.
I've heard that's how some UFOs work. They work with the consciousnesses of the pilots and amplify it in some way (like amplifying your imagination, or point-of-view), which then allows the craft to pop outside of normal spacetime, then be re-integrated into normal spacetime at the time and place imagined by the pilots.
That solves the problem of reality becoming more chaotic the farther in the past and the future you get from the consciousness that defines the present. See, spacetime is kind of like this (although it has many more dimensions than just these two):
... with the center of the image as "now." The farther away you get from now, whether it's in the past or future or along any dimensional line, the more probabilities add up to create chaotic uncertainty. But if you can pull yourself out of the picture, like you are right now by looking at the image, then you can rotate or move outside it an put yourself back down into it at any point, with no concern about temporal chaotic decay.
At least that's the way I figure it. Now, how a machine can work to amplify a consciousness is anybody's guess. Mimicking brain processes artificially, perhaps?
[edit on 8-5-2008 by Nohup]