Bridging of Eastern and Western Thought

is in Right Understanding of Time


In the Eastern thought time is considered as an illusion. In Western thought time is considered as the 4th dimension of space-time which is the fundamental arena of the universe. With the development of models where fundamental arena of the universe is quantum vacuum in which time is merely numerical mathematical parameter of motion these two views are coming together. Right understanding of time is the bridge between Eastern and Western thought.

Key Words: time, timelessness, spacetime, conscious observer, cosmology

1. Introduction

In last decades in the Western thought is proposed the idea that time as we experience in today Western science is an illusion and that the considering time fundamental physical reality should be re-examined. [1,2,3,4,5]. By the main stream of science this idea is hardly to be fully understood and accepted. The aim of this article to clear the concept of timelessness in physics and to show that reconciliation of Eastern and Western view on time is possible. When we say that time is an illusion than immediately the question appears: “What we measure with clocks?” With fully answering this question, both, western and eastern mind will be satisfied.

2. Bijective epistemology in time research

Imagine you are conscious observer. You have perfect ability to observe and be conscious how your mind is building scientific models of reality. With your exes you can observe in the universe matter, energy and space. Matter and energy are continuously changing, so you observe material changes of the universe. These material changes have exact order: change X2 is happening after change X1 and change X3 is happening after change X2. When change X2 enters existence change X2 does not exist anymore. When change X3 enters existence, change X2 does not exist anymore. Material changes in the universe have their numerical order which you observer observe with the sight and measure with the clocks. This numerical order of material changes is time. These are 5 fundamental elements of the universe which you perceive with eyes and experience without interference (interpretation, analysis, synthesis) of your mind. And you, as the conscious observer, are the sixths fundamental element of the universe. These six elements are the set X of the universe:

X : {Mx,Ex,Sx,Cx,Tx,COx} (1),

Mx - matter, Ex - energy, Sx - space, Cx - change, Tx - time, COx - observer.

You apply bijective function of the set theory:

f : X → Y (2),

and you define the set Y of the model of the universe with the following elements:

Y : {My, Ey, Sy, Cy, Ty, COy} (3),

My - matter, Ey - energy, Sy - space, Cy - change, Ty - time, COy - observer.

Set X and set Y are related with bijective function which realizes the Einstein idea of “completeness theorem” according to which each element of the model should correspond exactly to one element of the real world [6].

Conscious observer has experimental data that black holes have tendency to become smaller and smaller and that finally disappear. He calculated that in black holes energy density of space becomes lower which makes atoms unstable. On the basis of this calculations he predicts that in black holes matter transforms into the photons which than turn back into the energy of space [7]. This means that matter, energy (electromagnetic energy) and space are different forms of energy of the set X and forms the subset energy X (EX), which can be formulated as following:

X : {COx,Cx,Tx {XE}}(4)

EX : {Mx,Ex,Sx}.

We have now four fundamental elements of the set universe X: conscious observer, change, time and energy. The same is in the set model Y:

Y : {COy, Cy, Ty {YE}} (5)

YE : {My, Ey, Sy}.

We see that time Tx is not in the energy subset EX :{Mx, Ex, Sx}. This result confirms time and space cannot build space-time as the fundamental arena of the universe. Fundamental arena of the universe is timeless space where is always NOW. Time we measure with clocks is merely numerical mathematical parameter of changes running in space. Time as the numerical order of changes is so called “fundamental time”. When observer is measuring fundamental time, emergent time as duration enters existence. There is no duration without the measurement from the side of the observer. Fundamental unit of numerical order is Planck time. When we measure duration of an event the elapsed time is the summing of Planck units [8]:

t = tp1 + tp2 + ... + tPN =  (6).

This result confirms the idea that linear time “past-present-future” is the illusion of the mind. It has no physical real physical existence in the universe. Here is the meeting point of the east and the west: time exists, but it has only mathematical existence. The Albert Einstein vision on time is confirmed: …there is something essential about the NOW which is just outside the realm of science. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion [7]. – Albert Einstein

Barbour [1] and Fiscaletti&Sorli approaches [4,5] have closest similarity. In Barbour model motion of celestial bodies is defining time which he calls “ephemeris time” and a time period is deduced from celestial bodies positions. In Fiscaletti&Sorli model motion of celestial bodies has its numerical order which is called “fundamental time” and corresponds to “ephemeris time”. Time period  (emergent time) is deduced as the measurement result of celestial bodies motion from the side of the observer.

The difference might be only of “linguistic” nature. Barbour says: “There are things that I would say that you could call an instant of time; or better, a now. As we live we seem to move through a succession of instants of time, nows, and the question is, what are they? There are where everything in the universe is at this moment, now.”

In Fiscaletti&Sorli model there is only one eternal NOW. Changes run in NOW and they have succession in the sense of their numerical order. When change X+1 enters into NOW, change X is out of NOW. When change X+2 enters into NOW, change X+1 is out of NOW.

Results of Buhusi and Meck research is that linear time “past-present-future” has origin in neuronal activity of the brain [9]. Unconscious observer, which is imprisoned in the linear time, experiences run of changes in linear psychological time “past-present-future”. Conscious observer which is aware of inner psychological time experiences run of changes in NOW. Main stream is still seeing universe in the frame of psychological time. Minority of physicist is opening the new timeless perspective of the universe which is an immense jump in the right understanding of the universe. Barbour is right saying that this is “The Third Revolution of Physics”.

Conscious observer has experimental data that space is continuously radiating cosmic rays which form elementary particles [10]. In the universe matter is continuously transforming back into energy of space in black holes; in outer space energy of space is continuously transforming in cosmic rays and further in elementary particles. This means that energy of the universe is continuously circulating. The question of the “begging” of the universe does not exist for the conscious observer. He understands that universe is not running in some linear time which exists only as a mind frame in which common observer is experiencing run of universal changes. Universe run in space only where is always and only NOW. Conscious observer is exceeding the 20th century view on the universe as a system which has its beginning in some temporal remote event called Big Bang.

3. Weak Points of Big Bang Cosmology

According to the Big Bang cosmology, universe is happening in space-time as the fundamental arena of the universe. Space-time has 3 spatial dimensions and 1 temporal dimension. Bijective epistemology presented in the chapter 1 above shows that the element of space-time cannot have existence in the set model universe Y where time is merely numerical order of changes in space. Element of space Sy belongs to the energy subset YE and element of time Ty is not an element of the energy subset YE. In this view space and time cannot be united in space-time. Space-time is a model which has no solid epistemological ground and thinking that is has some correspondence in real world, seems incorrect.

Big Bang should happen in some remote physical past. The prove for that should be cosmic microwave background radiation CMBR which has origin in Big Bang and radiating since the Big Bang via time as the 4th physical dimension of space. Bijective epistemology in chapter one does not allow that a given signal could move in time because time has only the mathematical existence. Every signal moves only in space and time (fundamental time) is the numerical order of its motion. When fundamental time is measured by the observer emergent time which is the duration enters into existence. In Advanced Relativity CMBR has origin in universal space which is in AR also called 3D quantum vacuum.

Big Bang cosmology model uses finite spherical Riemann geometry. NASA results have confirmed universal space is flat and corresponds to the Euclidean geometry [9]. This means that use of Riemann geometry in cosmology is not allowed. Universe is infinite in its dimensions and has also infinite amount of the energy:

Eu = ∞ (6).

Calculations which are taking in account energy and mass of the universe should be finite seems not appropriate. Universe cannot be approached as the finite system, universe is infinite. We can study the dynamics of the universe in the area of universal space which is reachable with the telescopes and hope that universe which is beyond our observation functions according to the same laws as the observable universe.

Big Bang cosmology predicts universe is finite and is expanding. We have seen above universal space is infinite and infinite space cannot expand; we could only speculate that the observable area of the universe is expanding. The main prove for expanding universe should be red shift where light of the galaxies is moving to the red spectrum because of their motion away from the Earth since universe is expanding. Expansion of observable universe is questionable because “red shift” can also be interpreted as a consequence of light pulling from the strong gravity [12]. This so called “gravitational red shift” is a basis for “tired light” hypothesis of Swiss astronomer Fritz Zwicky. He proposed that the reddening effect was not due to motions of the galaxy, but to an unknown phenomenon that caused photons to lose energy as they travelled through space. He considered the most likely candidate process to be a drag effect in which photons transfer momentum to surrounding masses through gravitational interactions; and proposed that an attempt be made to put this effect on a sound theoretical footing with general relativity. He also considered and rejected explanations involving interactions with free electrons, or the expansion of space [13].

Research of Ahmed Farag Ali and Saurya Das is giving following results: “It was shown recently that replacing classical geodesics with quantal (Bohmian) trajectories gives rise to a quantum corrected Raychaudhuri equation (QRE). In this article we derive the second order Friedmann equations from the QRE, and show that this also contains a couple of quantum correction terms, the first of which can be interpreted as cosmological constant (and gives a correct estimate of its observed value), while the second as a radiation term in the early universe, which gets rid of the big-bang singularity and predicts an infinite age of our universe” [14]. This infinite age in the perspective of timeless approach in cosmology means that universe is a non-created system in a permanent dynamic equilibrium which is running in NOW [7]. For the observer which is experiencing universe in the frame of linear psychological time such idea is unacceptable and defined as pseudoscience. The power of timeless approach is that is based on elementary perception. Timeless approach has full scientific validity until the experiment will be carried out, which will confirm that time has physical existence. Such an experiment was not yet performed. Idea in physics, that time has some physical existence, is pure belief and should be abolished.

4. Epistemology of Conscious Observer

Conscious observer is aware of the triangle: “perception – mind elaboration – experience”

Figure 1: Epistemology Triangle of Conscious Observer

Conscious observer is building physics only on the elementary perception. He will not use elements in the set model universe Y which are not based on elementary perception. Today in physics has happened that order to explain a given phenomena physicists are just adding elements in set model Y without that element is observed and has bijective epistemological correspondence in the set universe X. Such an example is introduction of Higgs field in physics in order to explain origin of mass. Other example is prediction of hypothetical graviton which should carry gravity. We have in nowadays physics three fundamental fields: gravitational field, Higgs field, electromagnetic field of quantum electrodynamics (QED). And we do not have an exact model which would unify these three fundamental fields. An attempt was done from the perspective of conscious observer, to build a model where mass, gravity and electromagnetism have all origin in the variable energy density of space (quantum vacuum), which means without the introduction of new elements in the set model universe Y [15]. This model includes also dark energy as the energy of space itself. The idea of 20th century that space is empty and has only geometrical structures which in GR generate gravity is a reductionist view without support of experimental data. In epistemology of conscious observer space (quantum vacuum) is the fundamental energy of the universe, matter is its form: “What we observe as material bodies and forces are nothing but shapes and variations in the structure of space” Erwin Schrodinger [16].

5. Conclusions

The model of time as the mathematical parameter of changes which run in space where is always NOW satisfies Eastern view on time and gives deeper understanding of the “timeless approaches” in contemporary physics. This model of time opens new perspectives in cosmology which reach beyond Big Band model. It unifies Eastern view on time with contemporary timeless approach in today physics.


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  4. Davide Fiscaletti, Amrit Sorli, The Infinite History of Now: A Timeless Background for Contemporary Physics, Nova Science Publishers, 2014, ISBN: 978-1-63117-287
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  10. M. W. Friedlander, A Thin Cosmic Rain: Particles from Outer Space, Harvard University Press, Harvard. (2002)
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  12. Pound, R.V. "Weighing Photons". Classical and Quantum Gravity 17: 2303–2311. doi: 10.1088/0264-9381/17/12/301 (2000).
  13. Zwicky, F. (1929), "On the Red Shift of Spectral Lines through Interstellar Space", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 15 (10): 773–779, Bibcode:1929PNAS...15..773Z, doi:10.1073/pnas.15.10.773,
  14. Ahmed Farag Ali and Saurya Das, Cosmology from quantum potential, Physics Letters B Volume 741, 4 February 2015, Pages 276–279
  15. Fiscaletti D and Sorli A. About a three-dimensional quantum vacuum as the ultimate origin of gravity, electromagnetic field, dark energy ... and quantum behaviour. Ukrainian Journal of Physics 2016; 61(5): 413-431.
  16. Schrödinger E. What is life?, Cambridge University Press, 1944.


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