Time - Is it what it seems?
Time for us is going at a certain speed, and for others it is going faster or slower than time for us.
By Douglas Krantz
Imagine that you're in a tall office building in a large city, overlooking a street. There aren't any cars, but below, it's crowded.
People are moving around. Some seem to be walking normal speed, some seem to be walking moderately slow, some seem to be really slow, and some seem to be still as statues.
But look a little more closely at all the walkers. It's not that people are walking fast or slow, or even stopped, they're all actually walking normal, but most of them are walking in slow motion.
Even the statues, moving so slowly that you can't see any movement, if sped them up using slow motion photography, would be walking normally. It's just the way the statues are now, pigeons are roosting on them.
But wait. You're seeing the people down on the street from an overview; each person on the street sees the world differently.
- From the point of view of the fast walkers, everyone else looks to be in slow motion.
- From the point of view of the moderate speed walkers, a lot of people are walking slow, but some people are walking faster than normal.
- From the point of view of the really slow speed walkers, the really fast walkers are just a blur - almost too fast to see, the moderate walkers are really fast, but some of the statues are just really slow.
- To the really slow walkers, almost all of the statues can be seen to be slowly moving, but some of the statues are moving faster than others.
Now we look at the point of view of the statues.
- The fast statues see some flashes of the really slow walkers, and they don't see the fast walkers at all.
- The slow statues (none of them are actually stopped, they're just really really slow) see the fast statues as streaks. For them, there's no one else on the street.
Each person walking on the street thinks they're walking at a normal speed, but in comparison to them, everyone else seems to be moving fast or slow.
The Perception of Time is Relative
All of these people on the street are seeing time as relative to them. They're looking at everyone else and comparing the others to how fast they, themselves, are moving.
However, no one can see themselves from your overview position. You, on the other hand, are seeing an overview. You are seeing all of them on the street from the real speed: the real time.
Theory of Relativity
Getting back to reality though, real time exists but we can't know how fast real time is going: we have no reference, we're on the street, we can only guess.
Einstein, when explaining the Theory of Relativity, was trying to explain that time, as we see it, is time from the street view. Time from an overview, time that we cannot actually see, is still there.
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