Re: Gina, Barbour and Vaughan on Time

Ken Clements (
Sun, 05 Dec 1999 18:10:35 -0800

Robert Owen wrote:

> I wish to thank Gina "Nanogirl" Miller for bring Barbour's work to my
> attention.
> Bob

Thanks from me, also. I enjoyed this discussion very much because I have been looking for techniques to explain the idea of a timeless Universe. It is not an easy one. When I start to explain why I think that the passage of time is just an illusion, I can usually watch the audience glaze over. Of course, from inside the Universe, you cannot stand outside of it and see it as a static whole. This requires making some kind of model and reasoning by analogy.

Sometimes I use the analogy of a reel of movie film of a live event in which each frame represents the Universe at a 'now'. If you start running the projector at any point, the characters will seem to act with knowledge of what has happened up to there, but not what is on the rest of the reel.

The advantage of the timeless Universe position is that is does *not* require something to break the time symmetry in order to make 'now' somehow unique. Otherwise you have to ask yourself "why is now when it is and not at some other time?" or the 'now' part of: "why am I looking a the Universe from this here and now?"

I will leave the symmetry problem with the 'here' part of that last line "for later."