I'd like to write a blog on time, what it is, and why the phrase "outside of time" is meaningless, but I need help.

Here's where I was going to go:


The phrase itself is internally contradictory. It is so because, as we learned from Einstein, time and space are one in the same. This means that time andplaceare one in the same. Since "outside" is, technically, a place, it implies a sense of time. So no time, no outside.

Therefore, there can be no such thing as "outside of time", because you can't have an "outside" without time in the first place.


The thing is, I'm not a physicist. I'm a cultural anthropology student, but that does not qualify me to comment on another branch of science without outside help.

Is my premise above even correct? Does it have a basis in reality? Or am I just completely off (and by how much)?

I need help not only to understand what I want to write about, but how to write about it.

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Replies to This Discussion

Nathan, where did you hear or see the phrase "outside of time"? What was its context?

Many years ago a fellow student at the University of Florida claimed that whatever people say they also believe. It seemed nonsensical to me and I asked, "If I say the moon is made of green cheese, then I believe it?

As if he believed it, he replied "Yes."

Unable to refute him, I ended the conversation.

Years passed before I saw Platonic idealism defined as "A hypothesis, if stated, requires no evidence."

I understood it as the justification Catholicism used for the Inquisition; a charge of witchcraft was evidence for the charge.

If you are making a list of imponderable statements, add this one: "This statement is false."

Then throw away the list.

Returning to "outside of time", you've heard of the Big Bang explanation for the universe's origin.

I heard of it while in college and found the explanation unpersuasive. That the universe's entire mass occupied a space infinitely small contradicted the science I was studying. I had quit xianity and it was too xian for me.

Some cosmologists now go further and say that both time and space began then and expanded with the expanding universe.

I find their view less persuasive, but if anything existed before their big bang, it existed outside of time and outside of space.

Did you see the expression "outside of time" in a sci-fi story?

BTW, just as so many other explanations have failed (Ptolemy's, Euclid's on parallel lines, those of many other ancient Greeks, Catholicism's, Freud's, and more), Einstein's may also fail.

Mathematics does not yet have differential equations that account for the earth's varying density, so the equations we use to describe our not-quite-elliptical travel around the sun are not adequate. As our methods of measuring improve, our understandings will improve.

After I retired from computer manufacturing, I took college courses I had not taken while earning a degree in math and economics. One of them was a cultural anthropology course and the idea that some cultures regard the past and the future as "dream time" fascinated me.

"It is important to know one's limits and carefully stay within them until they are expanded via education and learning."

Greg, I have occasionally gone outside my limits and quickly learned a lot.

My reply to Nathan above would have made more sense if I had begun with:

Nathan, where did you hear or see the phrase "outside of time"? What was its context?

Did you see it in a sci-fi story?

As someone with only an Ed D, I'm also a non-physicist. Reading the lead article in March 2012 Discover, it seems Julian Barbour's decision to leave academia and make a living as a translator in order to pursue his non-mainstream ideas was also driven by this boundary.

I realize Discover is apt to hype fringe physics to nonphysicists. However I'm much impressed by the ideas as described. The collaboration among his followers, Gryb, Koslowski, and Gomes sounds like our best shot at a theory of quantum gravity.

In regards to the discussion topic, time, once I'd read the dumbed down version of David Wiltshire's argument that "the flow of time near galaxies could be slower than the flow of time in empty space." I could not go back. Of course, time has to be faster in the voids between galaxies, just as it's faster as you back away from a black hole. See "Gravity Off the Grid" by Zeya Merali pages 44 to 51.

It's always appreciated when physicists take the time to address topics of interest to us lay persons, beyond "know your limits."

I'm no physicist either - I've got a degree in Cultural Tourism... :)

But from my lay persons understanding - I would say that there is no line between time being and not being - I would say it's more of a wave perhaps - but either way - from my understanding when the universe has it's heat death and is no more - time will cease simply because the things that moved and caused time to become apparent have ceased to move - have a listen to some Lawrence Krauss on You Tube and see if you can't get some more understanding for your self.... :)



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