Is the Universe Timeless Unless Someone Somewhere Exists to See It? Explaining the Arrow of Time: Random Thoughts of a Lay Person

I ran across the following article in Quanta Magazine:

“A Debate Over the Physics of Time

“According to our best theories of physics, the universe is a fixed block where time only appears to pass. Yet a number of physicists hope to replace this “block universe” with a physical theory of time, By Dan Falk, July 19, 2016


By Michael R. Honig

The article is written, insofar as is possible, for the ‘lay’ person. If you are interested in such cosmological esoterica, it makes for interesting, if challenging, reading. I also highly recommend looking at the comments, which are uncommonly thoughtful and erudite.

The article made me think of some other possible perspectives.

At one point in the article, it is suggested “… although the universe appears continuous at the macroscopic level, if we could peer down to the so-called Planck scale (distances of about 10–35 meters) we’d discover that the universe is made up of elementary units or “atoms” of space-time.”

Rather than use an imprecise term like “atoms of space-time,” I might suggest theoretical Time Particles which we might call “Chrōnons”, if such particles might exist

Based on Heisenberg (as I understand it), I might posit that the Universe would be ‘timeless’ (no future, present or past) if no one existed to observe it. As some of the article’s commenters suggested, The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and Schrödinger’s Cat may well explain the ‘arrow of time’. Once a thing is observed, the quantum ‘wave function’ (i.e., all possible outcomes) collapses into a single observed state. Thus, at the moment of observation, Schrödinger’s Cat lives or dies and becomes part of the present, and future, thus establishing time’s arrow in a forged path.

Where this starts to get even more interesting is the question of what happens if beings elsewhere in the Universe (ETs) observe an ‘event’, thus causing the quantum wave function to collapse and making the event become a fixed point of reality in ‘time’ before we humans observe it. Have the ETs established this fixed event in time for all beings everywhere in the Universe, or can other beings cause a different quantum wave function collapse and see/create different events in space/time which represents a subsequent and different observer’s reality?

What if observers of a particular event in time from different times and places in the Universe later meet to observe the event jointly? Will they see the same thing? Can Schrödinger’s Cat be resurrected if two observers from different points in time and space later come together to make a joint observation? If their observations originally differed and one saw the cat dead and the other saw the cat alive, what happens when they subsequently view the cat together?

Or, does the first observer in the Universe determine the fate of Schrödinger’s Cat for everyone, for all time everywhere?

Deep stuff. How can we possibly ever truly know, given the scope of the Universe in space and time?

Sincerely as puzzled as you,

Mike Honig


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