9. The passage of time – 2019

(Drafted 11/02/19, & later amended)

Having just read again the very absorbing book by Carlo Rovelli ‘The order of time’ and having seen him talk on the subject at the Royal Institution last summer 2018, I have arrived at a conclusion on a subject that has been bothering me for too long. First of all Carlo made a point of which I had not been previously aware, and that was about entropy which  German physicist Rudolf Clausius invented as the concept of increasing disorder and which he defined as the irreversible progress of heat in any one direction. He stipulated that in an isolated process, entropy could be measured and that it could increase or remain the same but it could never decrease. In other words, heat passes only from hot bodies to cold, and never the other way round. Rovelli emphasises that this is the only equation of fundamental physics that knows any difference between past and future, which is crucial for any discussion on the nature of time, and indeed the only one that speaks of the flowing of time. I had not appreciated this crucial last point before reading his book.

Then Carlo goes on to Ludwig Boltzmann’s role in taking things further. He realised that in a liquid or a gas there were millions of molecule bumping each other about and if one section was still, and next adjacent section was stirred up, that would spread the agitation too the calmer region. Cold things are heated by contact with hot one, and they heat up. Thermal agitation disorders them and heat passes from hot to colder regions. The growth of entropy is nothing more than the familiar and natural increase of disorder over time. Very good: I knew about that.

Carlo makes the important point that entropy of increasing disorder is the only way we can know that there is a past and a future time, and it can only flow in that direction at a fundamental level. Well as I say I had not appreciated this beforehand but now I do since it fits in very well with my definition of the nature of time.  We know that the entropy of the universe is increasing as it expands, but I take things further. Very succinctly I define the passage of time to be directly proportional to and governed by the rate of expansion of the universe. You might ask that if so then how would we ever know that the rate of expansion slowed down, or accelerated, then how would we be able to know that was happening? Well that is a point although currently it seems that since Hubble discovered the universe was definitely expanding and later after his death its rate was calculated, so we could measure that although if time was also equally variable then I am not convinced we would be aware of that. We do now know since 1999 from the supernova project headed by Saul Perlmutter that not only is the universe expanding but also that from observations of supernovae, the rate of expansion is accelerating. However what does occur to me is that if the universe started to contract, time would start to reverse and I assume we could not avoid becoming aware of that.

So now to the rationale of my hypothesis of the way in which the universe expands. This is explained in a paper I drafted in 2010 with the title ‘Mach’s Principle, Gravitation and Matter  distribution’ which in turn was developed from earlier papers on my main interest and attempts to explain a mechanism for memory (now all seven of them on ResearchGate and websites) based on quantum entanglement and which I call Duplication Theory. This demonstrates how structures formed by interference patterns created from electrochemical flow between neurons and drendritic connections in the brain create holographic images which are projected out as both images of the external world in view (sight) to be mixed with  the more vestigial structured forms of memory, the latter being transferred from past recollections. The initial frames of the latter are stored physically in the brain, probably in DNA or similar structures, to instigate longer sequences of memory which are executed via a quantum resonance action though time, and not stored physically.

This being a short paper, I can only now give the briefest outline description of some of the principles involved, but one of the implications from my duplication theory (DT) is that it also accounts in a consistent manner for the radiation of electromagnetic action in a non local quantum manner as a corollary effect to the way that information is transferred across time by entanglement. However for this scenario to be consistent, the universe would have to be closed, bounded and finite. Furthermore it would be necessary for the expansion rate of this singular and spherical rim of the universe to be expanding out at light speed. This outer edge, this rim beyond which there is presumably some other continuum, would have to be the most singular concept in the universe. A further implication of this is that all similar EM radiation within would be drawn out to duplicate the outwards action of this expanding singular rim, and what is more, in exactly the same direction and speed. This would be via a quantum resonance system of similar non local action through time as proposed by DT.  This hypothesis is surprisingly similar to the Absorber theory on which I comment below. Diagrams produced of such a universe and the way in which EM radiation is thus drawn out give a very simple to grasp illustration of the special theory of relatively if viewed from outside the bounded universe.

Such diagrams are included in my 2010 paper, but without going into that here, the strong point of reinforcement for such a hypothesis is that it is supported by the wonderful Absorber theory of Feynman and Wheeler (1945) which is well known enough to most physicists but not taken very seriously it seems. The two of them produced it together to demonstrate how electrons or photons could be transmitted as a non local force at a distance in order to resolve anomalies about the difficulties of one particle going through two slits at the same time to produce an interference pattern on a screen. And it is a theory which I use as evidence in support of part of my duplication theory which uses a quantum entanglement rationale to the same effect. The interesting thing about the Absorber theory is that it can only work on the assumption that the whole system has to be enclosed within an opaque box. But that was exactly how my universe within the singular rim also has to be arranged. The latter was not only opaque but absolutely impenetrable and impassable. It occurred to me there could be no better description of the opaqueness intended by the authors, and curiously the excellent book by mathematician P.C.W. Davies describing the theory does not consider the possibility of a bounded and finite universe, but then things have moved on since 1977 when his book was published. I also have no idea of whether Wheeler or Feynman considered that such an opaque universe exactly matches one which is bounded and finite. I am also not sure how the cosmologists saw the shape of the observable universe forty years ago, but although still nothing is at all certain, there are a number of theories today, some of which I will mention herewith. 

A number of assumptions have to be made initially that it is isotropic (uniform in all directions), and homogeneous (uniform in composition) and then General relativity explains that mass and energy bend the curvature of space-time and is used to determine what curvature the universe might possess. It turns out it can either be flat, or have positive curvature or negative curvature. If it is flat then everything is measured in Euclidean terms where triangles have 180 degrees. Or it can have positive curvature which results in the universe being a sphere, very easy to visualize, whereas if it had negative curvature then the universe would be hyperbolically shaped and not so easy visually. The FLRW metric mentioned above first instituted by Alexander Friedman in 1925, and endorsed  by physicists Lemaitre, and then later Robertson and Walker, is the most commonly used model for describing various alternative ways of describing the universe, all using an exact solution of Einstein’s field equations of general relativity.

The positive curvature version of the sphere is not the most favoured currently, but then the cosmologists, more than in any other area of physics, seem to be least able to agree on anything, despite the millions be spent on huge new telescopes and satellites. In short the subject is still very much up for grabs, and the simplest version seems the most likely to me: Occam’s razor indeed. This is now doubly so subjectively for me since it supports my conjecture being in line with the Absorber theory which in turn adds credibility to the second part of DT which does away with the need for photons or particles which is non local and force at a distance, and therefore presumably is a quantum effect. From Carlo Rovelli’s excellent book ‘Reality is not what it seems’ I note he does not favour the alternative of a closed and finite bounded sphere:

“For thousands of years, men had asked themselves whether the universe was infinite, or had a limit. Both hypotheses entail thorny problems. An infinite universe does not seem to stand to reason: if it is infinite, for example, there must exist somewhere a reader just like you who is reading the very same book (infinity is truly vast and there are not sufficient combinations of atoms to fill it with things always different from each other). ……… But if there is a limit to the universe, what is that boundary? What sense is there in a border with nothing on the other side? Already in the sixth century in Taranto, the Pythagorean philosopher had written………. these two absurd alternatives- the absurdity of an infinite space and the absurdity of a universe with a fixed border- didn’t seem to leave any reasonable choice between them.”

Then Carlo goes on to discuss the concept of the 3 sphere which I find hard to visualise although I understand the rationale, which I do not find that convincing. It seems to me that not knowing what is the other side of a bounded universe is no less problematical than not knowing what is inside a black hole and yet we do know that black holes exist, and that they have very singular boundaries. The singular rim of our universe is going to be the largest singularity imaginable and its effect would presumably be felt throughout the interior which I propose is in the form not only of the mediation of light speed but also of inertia and gravitation. The latter is still a subject of which we know little as to how it interacts with the other three forces and why indeed it exists, and ditto for light speed for that matter, other than it just does. Why is it such an important constant and why it is a constant at all, when it could be variable? And why is it at that one speed of c.186,000 miles per second? There has to be a reason for all this, and my proposal offers one in principle, sketchy as it is. Furthermore such a proposal also fits in with the intent of two of the most perceptive physicists to justify the possibility nonlocal force at a distance, or teleportation which we now know exists, via the work of John Bell’s inequality theorem and two decades of successful experimental work. In 1945 there was no knowledge of this, but then Feynman and Wheeler were arguably the two finest physicists of the mid 20th century and no surprise if they were far ahead of the rest at the time. I was informed in the late 1970s that my proposals were similar in principle this respect to those of physicist David Bohm whose maths I cannot get near, but certainly Bohm worked with neuroscientist Karl Pribram whom I met and was encouraging. Their joint work on the holonomic brain theory is remarkably similar to much of the way in which my Duplication Theory describes the operation of mind and memory.

We now know that an event on the sun could be detected instantly as soon as it occurs via quantum entanglement effects instead of having to wait for 8 minutes for it to reach us by the limitation of light speed. As a result it seems possible in theory for the whole of the universe to be connected up with every other part of it in the same one instant. If so this has to change our perception of the notion of passing time, which is currently ruled only by light speed. Can such considerations cause us to have to destroy our current understanding of time, such as it nebulously is, for it to be reconstructed all over again? No I do not think that but what I do think is that there is now what I call classical time governed by light speed and the expansion rate of the universe, and then there is also quantum time where everything is engaged and can be interconnected whenever the moment becomes right for this to happen. I have a few ideas on the latter but that will be the subject for enjoyable conjecture in another paper and also in a book which I have nearly completed now in February 2019. But my conjecture now, with assistance from Carlo’s insight on entropy, is that the passage of time is directly proportional to the rate of expansion of the singular rim of the closed universe, which also governs and mediates the velocity of EM radiation within. Such a scenario also suggests a possible answer for dark matter (see 2010 paper). There is an even more tenuous resolution for dark energy as well in a similar context but only if gravitation is considered as a repulsive force. This can be done if an assumption is made that mass has a blanketing effect on gravitation within a closed universe with a hugely massive perimeter edge to it.

Meanwhile the two effects have to be better understood so that they might be correlated to work together to clarify time which can presumably happen only when we have a much improved grasp of quantum entanglement. My papers on mind and memory attempt to explain how and why the concept of randomness is crucial to the process of entanglement, and which forms the core of how I show similar structures (intervals in space) resonate through all time in the same location ( individual’s memory, or relatively the same location in an expanding universe). Then there is the corollary to show how similar actions (intervals in time) resonate through all space at one moment in time as far as light speed is concerned (EM radiation as per the Absorber theory). From what I understand of quantum entanglement it seems that the experimental work demonstrating the efficacy of instant quantum entanglement has to be carried out with equipment at both receiving and transmitting ends capable of operating completely randomly. My proposals in Duplication theory explain the crucial role that randomness plays in the analysis of the way that information is correlated instantly over time and across space. I doubt that this similarity is purely coincidental.

One final quotation on the subject of constants, variable or not, which is relevant to the above and is worth quoting from Paul Dirac is as follows:

“One field of work in which there has been too much speculation is cosmology. There are very few hard facts to go on, but theoretical workers have been busy constructing various models for the universe based on any assumptions that they fancy. These models are probably all wrong. It is usually assumed that the laws of nature have always been the same as they are now. There is no justification for this. The laws may be changing, and in particular quantities which are considered to be constants of nature may be varying with cosmological time. Such variations would completely upset the model makers.”


Greaves, N.   Mach’s Principle, Gravitation and Matter distribution, 2010, Research Gate

Davies, PCW. Space and Time in the Modern University Cambridge, Univ Press 1977.

Wheeler, J & Feynman, R.  “Interaction with the Absorber as the Mechanism of Radiation,” Reviews of Modern Physics, 17, 157–161 (1945).                        

Paul Dirac. “On methods in theoretical physics”, June 1968, Trieste.