There is no question about it, time is a funny old substance. As any follower of science-fiction knows, it is relative. That means, of course, that it goes much faster when you are enjoying yourself. Time is the fourth dimension of the container that holds the material universe and it consists of three-dimensional space plus the dimension of time.
In Stephen Hawkins’ A Brief History of Time, he proposed that time had no beginning and that it also has no end in exactly the same way that a ring or a ball has no beginning or end. Thinking in this way about a ball is using an analogy, but nevertheless, it is a good one. Just as the physical substance of the surface of a ball curves, so too does time according to Hawkins.
But hang on a moment, how can time be curved? When we think of physical things that are curved, we think of that curvature within the context of the three dimensions of space. If the fourth dimension (time) turns out to be non-linear, into which dimension(s) does it curve? The answer from Hawkins is that it curves into the dimension he calls ‘imaginary time’.
Time is circular according to Hawkins. The further we go backward in time, the more we curve away from the real dimension into the imaginary one. If you are well-versed in mathematics, then this concept should not be too difficult, after all, we have imaginary numbers. It is the same basic idea.
We know that time, joking apart, is relative, not absolute. Experiments have gone a long way towards confirming Einstein’s special relativity theory. We also know that huge gravitational fields affect time. It should not really surprise us because one of the first bits of evidence for Einstein’s theories came from observations of gravity bending light. Since time is relative to the speed of light, if gravity affects light, it must also affect time.
So thinking of time as the fourth dimension of an interwoven fabric that constitutes the container of the rest of the universe (matter and anti-matter) seems to make a good deal of sense. However, let’s now go a step further. If everything we can observe came from the Big Bang singularity, then that must also include both time and space, so in its original state, the essence of the universe must have been a single substance.
Of course, any truly scientific thinker would say that it makes absolutely no sense to talk about what happened before the Big Bang. I think Hawkins makes that point too. Why? Because, there never has been a time before the Big Bang. Time came into existence at the instant of the Big Bang as part of the created fabric of the universe.
Now, why have I been rambling on about the question: what is time? After all, the overarching theme of this blog is personal development. Well, because for millennia, we have known that the universe is composed of one stuff. According to Deepak Chopra, “that is why the ancient seers exclaimed, I am that, you are that, all this is that, and that’s all there is.” This idea is apparently taken from Vedic literature, but it is probably also to be found in other ancient texts. And that’s why matter affects spacetime (gravity) because it is fundamentally the same stuff.
What is this stuff? You might call it energy, you might call it the “thinking stuff” as Wallace D Wattles does in his classic book, you might call it the multiverse, you might call it God. But we are all a part of that stuff. We are all a part of that grand matrix, the “field of pure potentiality” in the words of Deepak. This basic fact, that everything is interconnected in some way, is right at the heart of the quantum explanation of the Law of Attraction. Time it seems, is a particular manifestation of the one universal stuff from which we are all made.