Time Is Nothing?

02/02/2012 10:43 am ET | Updated Apr 03, 2012

Time is a construct of man to organize life on earth into a manageable process that can be utilized by virtually all of mankind, regardless of language, location or origin. And indeed, that process takes into account the daily rotation of earth and its yearly rotation of its star, the sun.

But what is the meaning and relevance of man's measures and concepts of time in the context of universal time and space?

This question takes on new significance today as genius scientists probe deeper into the questions of the limitations on the speed of light and our distance from other stars and planets which may also harbor some forms of intelligent life.

Without the benefit of mathematical skills and without the beliefs of far-seeing astronomers, who postulate that the universe began with a big bang some 13 billion years ago (measured apparently as we measure man's time), I incline to the view that there must be some other sort of time to measure the age of the universe and our distance from other earth-like planets.

I have a hard time with a concept like the big bang. The notion that there was nothing and then suddenly everything, runs counter to every bit of experiential logic available to man. Yes, some of us believe in magic, but we are not talking about magic here. Nature and life teach us that things evolve.

Another issue raises different fundamental questions. If the earth is some four billion years old, in man time, and man has been evolving only over some thousands of years, that suggests to me that other than the fact that man time may not be a proper measure of universal time, man has been continuously expanding his horizons and will surely want and need to see where "man" on other planets lives. But if we apply man time to travel time to far distant stars and planets, the present life cycle of man measured in man time simply does not work. We already have an anomaly that we do not worry about. Given the differences of time around the globe, there are moments when one is travelling when one literally is going back or forward in time but so far no one has reported that things turned out differently or unexpectedly.

Thus, the question of what kind of time and distance really might apply to far distant places, not limited by today's established facts of the speed of light, becomes central to man's ambitions to explore space. Without any scientific knowledge, it seems to me that there might be some other concepts and measures of time, yet to be discovered, that when unlocked, would theoretically enable man to modify his measures of time and get there and back to tell us all, if only in virtual terms.

For understandable reasons we have been living since Einstein with a meek acceptance of the limitations implicit in his theories. Perhaps we should reopen our minds to new possibilities. No doubt some people have, but their thoughts have not trickled into my consciousness. Given that we are told our sun only has about another billion years to go (after which we are either toast or ice), perhaps it is not too soon to begin to conceive of our next destinations?