A Dialogue on Time

This is a random dialogue between a half-baked philosopher and a half-baked scientist on the concept of Time:
P: There is space, but there is no time; time is just a concept for convenience; it’s the grandest illusion of all that human beings have ever conceived of.
S: But isn’t it proven by science. Thousands of scientific treatises have talked about space and time.
P: I don’t deny there is space, there is space; it has material, empirical reality and it exists. But time has no material reality as it is just an abstract conception.
S: So, do you mean the concept of time as 4th dimension is not correct?
P: Yes. It is hokum!
S: How can you prove that time does not exist?
P: You don’t prove anything about something which is non-existent in the first place; you deconstruct the idea behind it and you approach the word that expresses the concept.
S: What is your idea of time then?
P: I believe it is a concept to order our understanding of the world around us and to order our messy world; without this concept we would feel lost.
S: This is not a precise explanation, it is just an abstract opinion. You still do not convince me about the non-existence of time.
P: Can you convince me of its existence?
S: Yes, i can. Imagine your family came to the town in the 18th century. Through the succession of your forefathers came you in the 21st century. That means your family has been in this town for 300 years. A long time, in other words.
P: Hmm….
S: You seem to be not convinced still. Let me give you another example. A more scientific one. Imagine sun is millions of light years away from the earth, that is a distance, but it takes 8 minutes for sunlight to reach us, that is time.
P: That is the illusion I am talking about. What you call as “time” is your concept of how physical entities behave, change shape or grow in the space. Now let me illustrate: the basic unit of time, for the sake of argument, is second. How you measure this unit?
S: Second is measured by milli-seconds. What a weird question that is!
P: Exactly. That is the point. There is no external scale on which you measure time. It is arbitrary; the standard is already set up and standardised by humans for their own convenience; or as T.P. Thomson would say by Capitalism, or as Vanessa Ogle would argue by disparate social, religious, and political forces. How long is a second? I bet no one can answer it except saying second is equal to so-and-so of so-and-so milli seconds and when I will ask how long is a millisecond it will be stretched to absurdity. The truth is there is no time. It is a concept, a word, an idea. For example, if the duration of the second is as long as it takes to say the 2 syllable word ‘second’, than what if humans would have set it differently in which it would have been as long as it takes to say the 6 syllable word ‘imaginativeness’, which is a 15 letter word and takes longer than to say second? Even if things had been ordered a little differently due to longer duration of second nothing about the world would have changed at all. Space would have remained the same space as we experience it now. My turning 30 is not related to time, it is related to my growth within the space. Day and night are not occasions of time, but celestial movements. Some countries in the north get very little night than south. We are physical entities growing and developing and reproducing and redeveloping within a space and that is the only material reality. Time is an abstract concept through which we make sense out of all these activities, through which we give order to what is otherwise disorderly.
to be continued….in space
Occured on the 14 February 2016, 1:28 AM
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Author: pasdarekashmir

A PhD candidate of Politics and International Relations in School of Law and Government, Dublin City University. Research interests: national movements, nationalism, media, framing, and discourses. Regular column: Yours Satirically (Kindle Magazine)

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