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What Is Time? And Does It Really Exist?

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“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once.”

Firstly, we hope you all had a wonderful Christmas/holiday break. Ideally, you're still on an extended vacation.

It's challenging to re-enter a workflow after a break at this time of the year. Today's update was supposed to be work-related—a detailed study and explanation on contra-indicator analysts, models, and investment processes. However, when you lose interest in proofreading your own work, it's probably not worth sharing with others.

It's still too early to start talking shop again. Instead, let's relax our minds, let go of all preconceived notions of the world, and flow through an off-piste topic…

What is time?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, time is the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.

Time is money

In the business and finance world, time represents money and opportunity cost. Shallow maybe, but clear.

Psychology of time

A psychologist would say time is defined according to the chronology of events that make sense to an individual. Therefore, perceptions of time are subjective. If a person loses consciousness and reawakens years later, time freezes, but not for others. As we become older, we complain time flies by quickly. For a child, time takes forever.

Historical times

For most historians, time began when the first human civilizations came together to document events, dating back to the time of the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians.

It's about timing

Music and sports are not about time but timing. Market traders are too obsessed with timing.

No concept of time

Artists have no concept of time. Neither do people who suffer from Attention Hyperactivity Deficit Disorder (ADHD).

Mathematics of time

In mathematics, time is just another parameter commonly denoted by the letter ‘t'. Otherwise, there is also no concept of time in mathematics.

Newtonian-time and the human psyche

Physicists have different notions of time, which often conflict. Most people understand the concept of Newtonian-time, where time is universal, simultaneous, and defines the precise coordinates of a body in space at a given time. Time is continuous and independent of an observer's point of reference or events. Newtonian time is consistent with the human psyche when an object moves through space and time.

Time's arrows, Thermodynamics & Entropy

The Second Law of Thermodynamics introduces the concept of entropy and ‘time's arrow.' In statistical terms, entropy describes the tendency of a system to evolve from an orderly state to randomness and disorder. In practice, when gas particles are released in a small area in a closed room, they eventually spread to mix throughout the air. However, the probability of the opposite happening is statistically so small that over time it tends to zero. Since the laws of physics cannot be violated—or else, the theory is wrong or incomplete—thermodynamics presents a characteristic of time that is not subjective to human cognition.

Boomerang TikToks

Regular TikTokers may think of entropy and time's arrow as a boomerang video post. Not the ones where everyone pulls their drink away, but when a person dives out of the pool. You get the picture. Whereas a historian may say time began when humanity came together, and will end when society falls, in physics, the natural state of affairs is from order to disorder. It's okay; we're social creatures at the end of the day.

Einstein-time & Relativity

Albert Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity presents time as a 4th dimension that is interwoven in space. What is commonly referred to as the space-time continuum. Like Newtonian-time, Einstein-time is continuous but subjective according to the observer's frame of reference. Instead, Einstein postulates that the speed of light observed, not time, is both constant and universal to all frames of reference. Time slows down as an observer moves closer to the speed of light.

Time is subjective depending of your reference point

To help conceptualize it easier, imagine a roadworks person with a stopwatch placing traffic cones on the road from the back of a truck at a constant time interval. The faster the truck drives along the road, the cones get placed further apart on the road. Now imagine another person without a stopwatch walking at a constant speed while picking up the cones. From the point of view of the observer on the back of the truck, it takes longer for each cone to get picked up; therefore, time is slowing down relative to his/her reference frame. For our analogy to make sense, one must relax all preconceptions about the road-truck setting, where the placement or removal of cones defines the time-horizon.

Atomic clocks for keeping track of time

While Einstein-time is non-intuitive, its manifest takes in atomic clocks, which are now universally accepted for setting standard time. Some of you may be old enough to remember a time when mobile phone clocks/dates were set manually by the user, and not by Steve Jobs according to an atomic clock and GPS ordinates.

Big Bang and the beginning to time

If we wrote earlier that space and time are interwoven, then what was the time before and after the big bang when there was no space or matter, only energy? Did time not exist before the big bang? If time didn't exist at some point in time, what's to say it exists today, or in the future? How can time not exist when we've used the word 58 times already, and time will tell how many more in the future?

Too much time thinking about time and you lose your mind

After all, Einstein's Special Theory also tells us energy and mass are equivalent, or E=mc^2? Why should it matter if the energy had not yet turned into matter? So, if I were a photon of light, I'd have no mass (that's very light) and could travel through space-time without a sense of time?

Time for a break

Okay, now we've gone too deep, and I've completely lost my mind. It's time to take a break and have some quality time. Even if some renowned physicists claim time does not exist. 

Time to start writing about markets again?

Happy New Year!

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What Is Time? And Does It Really Exist?

Time for non work-related topic during the holidays