Can we actually travel backward or forward in TIME? I read this article regarding physicists stimulating time travel for the first time (I still do not know if this is in real life or just a computer simulation), and I realized how difficult it is to actually understand what “time” is, much less what time travel is. When we walk forward, it is easy for us to move faster or to move backwards or to just simply stop in place, but we have no such freedom with regards to “time”, and we seem to only be allowed to walk forward in “time” in such a steady pace. Although I do not have any advanced knowledge on mathematics or physics or anything related, there are some thoughts and perspectives I would like to share regarding the concept of “time”.
I have not read any articles about it yet, but I have heard so much about “time” being referred to as the fourth dimension. The first three dimensions, of course, being the dimensions of our space (or at least what we can perceive of it). For those who need further explanation, the three dimensions of our space may be more easily referred to as, 1.) moving forwards and backwards, 2.) moving left and right, 3.) moving up and down, although it really is not as simple as I just said it to be. Therefore the fourth dimension could be moving forward and backwards in “time”.
Now, in order to explain my perspective, let us look at a simple graph (drawn by yours truly).
In the two-dimensional universe, we can imagine the graph as the shape of an actual object, for example a piece of string, in the 2-D world. But this graph can also represent a change in position in the one – dimensional universe with respect to “time”. If the x-axis represents time, and the y-axis represents changes in the 1-D world (which is represented by just moving forward and backward), it is clear in the right portion of the image how the one dimensional world changes as it moves through “time”. In the 2-D world, we have an object, a string, with two dimensions: 1.) going forward and backward and 2.) going left and right, while in the 1-D world, this object represents a timeline with two dimensions as well: 1.) going forward and backward and 2.) time. Seeing that one dimension is constant in both worlds, the second dimension in the 2-D world could be what “time” is for the 1-D world.
This implies that when I look at a 2-D string or a circle (like in the second drawing above), I could, at an instant, see the whole timeline of a one-dimensional world. By looking at a circle, we can “see” how a line springs to life out of nowhere and shrinks back into the nothingness. What I am saying is that this could be the nature of the “time” in the 3-D world, OUR time, that it could be the fourth physical dimension to someone who can perceive the 4-D universe. In fact, a person’s whole lifetime could be seen at an instant like an object in the 4-D world just as how I can see the 2-D string or the circle.
A higher level example – like the 3-D car in the drawing below – would represent the entire timeline of a 2-D world (which is roughly the animation at the right). In fact if you cover the left-side drawing labelled “3D”, you would just see a nonsensical time lapse animation of changing objects at the right-side drawing. This is because in the 2-D world, you cannot “see” the third dimension, but I think you might be able to feel it as “time” in the 2-D world. But if you uncover the left-side drawing, you may notice that the entire timeline of the 2-D animation can be encapsulated in this car object in the 3-D world.
Unfortunately I cannot make an example of a 4-D object encapsulating a 3-D timeline, because I have no idea how a four-dimensional object would look like being able to only perceive three. But my theory is that in the four-dimensional universe, there is an object that in an instant can encapsulate me from when I was born until I pass away, or any other timeline of any other object, because if someone can see in four dimensions, “time” is something that is very visible to them so that they can immediately see an object’s beginning and end in the three-dimensional world in just one glance.
In fact, as our whole universe is ever-changing, I can say that (with this theory) whole 2-D universe timelines, which is not just a circle or a string or a flat amorphous shape but rather an infinite plane of objects changing in time, are constantly created and destroyed in only an instant. To clarify the picture, imagine molding clay which represents our 3-D universe. This clay encapsulates a 2-D universes timeline, from beginning to end, just as I have shown with the car. But once the clay is reshaped, maybe by just a gentle press, the clay immediately represents a completely new 2-D timeline and the previous one ceases to exist. As our world is in constant change, it can be assumed that 2-D timelines will be constantly created and destroyed, just like the molding clay.
Does this mean that our whole universe, from the Big Bang (or even before that!) until the end of it or even until infinity, billions or trillions or even an endless amount of years of existence, only exists as one instant in the 4-D world?? And as “time” flows through the 4-D world, what are these other 3-D universes being created and destroyed that were not ours? These may be the alternate timelines we may have heard a lot of in the comic universes (I am currently seeing a LOT in X-Men) , where our “what if”s and “I should’ve”s went to.
Well, that’s it. I believe that “time” in our world exists as the fourth dimension, just as “time” in a 2-D world could exist as the third dimension. A being who “lives” in a 4-D universe could probably measure our “time” with a ruler, just as easily as we could measure the dimensions of a box. I also think that our whole universe (stars and galaxies and all), from birth to death, exists in just an instant, in the 4-D world, which makes me feel a lot more insignificant than how the universe could already make me feel.
P.S. Again, this is just MY theory and has no proof in it whatsoever. It might not have followed any of the laws of Physics or Reality or whatnot, but this is just what I think 🙂
P.P.S. Regarding time travel…I have no idea.