For a brief moment I thought I was living in the Matrix (for real).
“What time is it?” I asked my Alexa machine.
“It’s 3:03 p.m.” the machine answered in its (her?) soothing robotic voice.
Suddenly from my cell phone, the Google Assistant app’s voice chimed in. On its own it decided to offer another opinion. The robotic voice from my phone said, “Here is what I found. Time does not exist.” The faux English accent didn’t make that announcement any less disturbing.
This bizarre statement from my cell phone got me thinking. Maybe time doesn’t exist. I certainly can’t make time. I always seem to be out of time. The strange exchange prompted me to do some research on the concept of time. I found a few amazing facts about time that surprised me.
Time is an abstract idea. A clock measures time, but does it really? The clock says an hour has gone by, but how do we know how long an hour really is? The Earth’s revolution around the sun takes 365 days. Someone decided seven days make a week, and 52 weeks make a year. I’m not sure exactly what is being measured. Thinking about the concept too long leaves my head spinning (even more than it usually does).
I’m always thrown off schedule when daylight savings time ends and we turn our clocks back. Before the time change, I’ve been waking up at 5:00 a.m. instead of my usual 6:00 a.m. With the clocks turning back, I hope I don’t start waking up at 4:00 a.m. If I do, it will probably be around the time the clocks spring ahead before I get used to the time change. No wonder I’m exhausted.
I found one definition of Time that seemed to make sense to me. Time is the distance between two linear events. Time only exists when there are two points of reference, and a distance is travelled between those points. I’m no scientist (hard to believe, I know) but this example seemed easy enough to understand.
Further research uncovered some interesting theories regarding time travel. Albert Einstein proposed that time travel to the past could be achieved through an Einstein-Rosen bridge, a type of wormhole in the spacetime continuum. Wormholes are theoretical areas of spacetime that are warped in a way that connects two distant points in space, so rather than being light years apart, the fabric of spacetime curves back upon itself, forming a bridge between two distant locations. Sounds simple enough. Theoretically, a person could walk through one wormhole and emerge from another in a different place and time. It sounds far fetched now, but so did flying in an airplane a few hundred years ago. One note of caution if you travel through time: don’t meet your past self or you could throw off the whole spacetime continuum and cause yourself not to exist. But if you did that, how did you exist to time travel to the past in the first place? Okay, that’s too deep even for me.
While it’s fun to speculate on these abstract concepts, time travel will probably never become a reality. As the late Stephen Hawking said in his book Black Holes and Baby Universes, “The best evidence we have that time travel is not possible, and never will be, is that we have not been invaded by hordes of tourists from the future.” Or maybe they took a look around our timeline and high-tailed it back to the future.
I believe Time is relative. If you sit in a room and stare at the wall for 10 minutes time would drag slowly. Now try sitting in a room with ten things to do in ten minutes. Suddenly time speeds up with no time to spare. I haven’t tried this myself. I barely have time to write about scientific experiments let alone conduct them.
I thought working from home would make time pass slower, but quite the opposite, my mornings fly as I try to meet deadlines. I have definitive proof that time speeds up when you’re the last person to work on a newspaper page before it’s sent to the printing press.