Time feels real to people. But it doesn’t even exist, according to quantum physics. “There is no time variable in the fundamental equations that describe the world,” theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli tells Quartz.
Rovelli’s new book, The Order of Time, published in April, is about our experience of time’s passage as humans, and the fact of its absence at minuscule and vast scales. He makes a compelling argument that chronology and continuity are just a story we tell ourselves in order to make sense of our existence.
In the “elementary grammar of the world, there is neither space nor time—only processes that transform physical quantities from one to another, from which it is possible to calculate possibilities and relations,” the scientist writes.
Even what might seem like a thing—a stone, say—is really an event taking place at a rate we can’t register. Rovelli argues that time only seems to pass in an ordered fashion because we happen to be on Earth, which has a certain, unique entropic relationship to the rest of the universe. Essentially, the way our planet moves creates a sensation of order for us that’s not necessarily the case everywhere in the universe. Just as orchids grow in Florida swamps and not in California’s deserts, so is time a product of the planet we are on and its relation to the surroundings; a fluke, not inherent to the universe.
The world seems ordered, going from past to present, linking cause and effect, because of our perspective. We superimpose order upon it, fixing events into a particular, linear series. We link events to outcomes, and this give us a sense of time.
Time, then, is an emotional and psychological experience. “It’s loosely connected with external reality,” he says, “but it is mostly something that happens now in our head.”
Read the full story https://qz.com/1279371/this-physicists-ideas-of-time-will-blow-your-mind/