Philosophy: Time Essay

Time is defined as a measured or measurable period, a
continuum that lacks spatial dimensions. This broad
definition lacks the simple explanation that humans are
searching for. There are many scientists, philosophers, and
thinkers who have tried to put time into understanding
terms. The aspects of time that we can understand are only
based on what we can perceive, observe, and calculate.
Every day we look at our watches or clocks. We plan our day
around different times of the day. Time tells us when to
eat, when to sleep, and how long to do things for. If time
were based on these simple terms, then this mysterious
enigma would not be in debate. There are the issues of
space and time; what is the relationship of the two? Is
time relative, or absolute? What makes time seem to go
faster in some instances, and slower in others? Does the
speed of time change, or is it all in our heads? In the
following paper, I will discuss the meaning of time
perceived and theorized by two of the greatest minds of
human kind. Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking have
expanded the understanding of time to another level. Their
ideas and opinions are what brought us to a higher
understanding of the earth and the universe. In the
following paragraphs, this paper will encompass these ideas,
and try to find a focus of understanding of this thing we
call time.

First I will address the question, did time have a
beginning? I don’t think that anyone can explain the
postulate that time has always been in existence. The
problem with this, is that we have no scientific evidence or
theories which can support this argument. Certainly, we
can’t just accept this spiritual idea. There had to have
been a beginning of time. The most acceptable explanation
of the beginning of time, is the relationship between space
and time. When space and the universe began, the existence
of time also began. This theory is well-known as the Big
Bang Theory. About fifteen billion years ago, the universe
was comprised of very hot compressed gas, as a fireball.
This is contrary to the idea of the universe beginning as a
lump of matter somewhere in the void of space. Matter was
created as a result of the Big Bang. Space and time was
also created. So, with these ideas, time had a beginning.
Looking at it a different way, in the early universe, the
normal concept of time is uncertain. Our accepted
perceptions, and calculations of time can’t be explained all
the way back to the Big Bang. There is no way to define
time in that era. This is another way that time has a
beginning; as far back as we can calculate. Space-time
began at the same time. According to Hawking, you can’t
look at the universe using general relativity without
finding a big bang or something similar to that at the very
So what does time mean to people now? Time is
different as you go through time zones. Everyone has their
own perception of time. Nobody is ever on the same
schedule, doing things exactly like another person. Even to
go as far as other galaxies and planets, time cannot be
existing on the same terms. In short, time is not absolute.
In the space-time continuum, space bends whenever there is a
mass. It’s kind of like a bowling ball hitting a
trampoline. When it hits, it makes a ?dent?. This is a
part in the space-time continuum which is different
everywhere you go. The universe is expanding. The universe
continues to expand, and the galaxies have continued to move
away from each other ever since. This is why time is not a
constant term. Nothing is the same, and there is no
absolutes. Quantum Physics even shows that time is not an
absolute. If you know where an electron is, you can’t know
it’s speed. If you know what the speed of an electron is,
then you can’t know its position. If there are two chairs,
and you see someone sitting in one, when you turn away, you
can’t be sure that he or she is still there. You also can’t
be sure that they are not in two chairs at the same time, or
what point in time they are in them. This all leads up to
Einstein’s theory that time is relative.

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A lot of Einstein’s theories of time relate to the
speed of light. He says that time slows down, as you
approach the speed of light. An experiment to support this
theory was done with two clocks. Two extremely accurate
atomic clocks were set to the same time. One was on the
ground as a constant, and the other was accelerated by being
flown in a plane. When the one in the plane came back, the
two clocks were compared and the one that was accelerated
showed to be a little behind. The difference in time was
not a lot, but was significant enough to prove his theory.
This can be explained in a couple ways. First of all, your
initial reference point would be traveling at a lot slower
rate, so from an observers point of view, time would stay
the same. But if one was traveling at the speed of light,
then he or she would experience time slowing down, because
from their point of view, they would be younger compared to
everyone else. Time only exists as we perceive it to be.

What is unknown, is why time is perceived differently
from one person to the next. One might be sitting in a
classroom setting, when time seems to go by very slow, and
seems like an eternity is passing. In other instances, time
may seem to go by very fast, usually when we are doing
enjoyable activities. Every year of your life you may have
noticed the time going by faster. You may have at one time
caught yourself saying, ?Where has the time gone?? So maybe
time is controlled by all of us on an individual basis.
Time certainly is relative, and could be centered around an
individual. The ?watched pot never boils? metaphor could be
true, whereas an individual can make time slow down or speed
up by themselves. Nobody really knows what time is, where
it’s been, or where it’s going.

Black holes may be able to explain the question of
where time is going. Black holes are collapsed stars with
extreme amounts of gravity, which light cannot even escape.
These black holes may disrupt the space-time continuum,
changing the properties of the universe. Most black holes
orbit around stars due to the fact that they once were a
star, and this may cause some problems for the neighboring
stars. If a black hole gets powerful enough it may actually
pull a star into it and disrupt the orbit of many other
stars. The black hole could then grow even stronger (from
the star’s mass) as to possibly absorb another. When a
black hole absorbs a star, the star is first pulled into the
Ergosphere, which sweeps all the matter into the Event
Horizon, named for it’s flat horizontal appearance and
because this happens to be the place where mostly all the
action within the black hole occurs. When the star is passed
on into the Event Horizon the light that the star endures is
bent within the current and therefore cannot be seen in
space. At this exact point in time, high amounts of
radiation are given off, that with the proper equipment can
be detected and seen as an image of a black hole. The point
in explaining black holes, is that it might explain about
the shaping of the universe. Their existence can change the
composition of the universe, which can in turn change space
and time.

Time is not easily explained or understood by anyone.
Einstein and Hawking have expanded their minds by coming up
with possible theories for the unknown. We can only observe
and postulate what we don’t know. We can theorize, and
calculate all we want, but I think it will always be an
unknown. The mysteries of the universe will in my opinion
be just that, a mystery.



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