Last updated: May, 2022
The fourth dimension of time is multi-layered, our universe divided up into an infinite stack of parallel time zones, states psychologist and author, A R Graham
Time's Paradigm: PART SIX – Travel
The prognosis for time travel: If the invariance of light speed is a requirement only of linear models for progression and does not apply to cyclical time, then during space-flight at relativistic velocities present moments may become detached. In other words, time dilation may not apply and astronauts might indeed experience time transference into the past – breaking the light barrier.
"It's really all about how we perceive time, and not about the physics – which is sound!"
So does this mean, time travel is possible? Yes, dependent upon individual experience. From a three dimensional perspective (see previous chapter) slipping out of sequence with time's flow would be impossible, and our mathematical formulas would agree. But looking at space-time from our four dimensional perch, all of a sudden we discover that a constant universal clock binding us all together in time is just a local phenomenon.
Time becomes unlocked, revealing a universe of parallel existences, travelling to them a distinct possibility.
Excerpt from below: ... within a solid state Block Universe, objects that inhabit our stretch of the cosmos, here today, that are actually of the past – of some far away galaxy that was here – are still here, all around us (parallel moments of the same universe), but they simply do not excite our senses in such a way as is detectable from our present perspective.
It's akin to the Multi-World Interpretation (MWI) discussed in previous chapters, where underlying layers of existence are realised without our being able to appreciate them. Quantum physics says they are there as in alternate futures "in readiness", whereas the layers described in this chapter are the one, true continuum of our past or future relating to the present moment. Likewise invisible, until we slip through the cracks.
Travelling into the future is what we do every day but, as you will appreciate, there are two types of time travel: One is dislocation, the other is, desynchronization.
Dislocation is, removing oneself completely from the present moment and re-instating your presence at an alternate time or date; desynchronization is the apparent slipping forwards or backwards away from the present moment by increasing or decreasing ones rate of flow through time. See chapter 2. Time, here:
There is a difference between physical time travel, our limited perception of it, and time travel by subconscious alienation either willingly or accidentally – such as will happen in the early years of human space-flight approaching relativistic speeds. Time is a creation of the mind, that's where we will find our destiny.
Relativity, for all its benefits, is confining. It's like putting on a pair of pony blinkers and forcing yourself to look at only what's happening in the front windshield, rather than having the option to see out the side windows. Relativity alludes to time travel by restraining it, as if Einstein were playing Devil's Advocate.
He was a great believer in the Block Universe Model of time: that all of time, the past and the future, have already been formed together and that everything happens at once. He was also not particularly happy with some aspects of his theories as they related to the wider cosmos. It is my guess that he secretly wanted there to be a possibility of time travel, but he was constrained by the physics of the day.
The last chapter gave us Universal Contraction (UC), proposing that time is the register of physical collapse. Universal Contraction of matter due to cyclical time progression, is the fundamental purpose behind time's passage. If a body increases in velocity its rate of contraction reduces making it appear to observers that it has increased in mass. Equally, by travelling slower through the cosmos bodies contract more quickly, this would amount to them being propelled more swiftly through time.
UC is not a great leap into the unknown, we are simply looking at Special Relativity (SR) from a different perspective; no grand, new formulas required. What it does, is help us visualize the inconsistencies of supposed constants such as space and time, which are manipulated and warped by the necessity for a constant light speed (c). Now we can see why time slows, we can see how mass appears to increase, lengths contract, and so on...
Under these conditions it opens up the prospect of time travel to being entirely possible. In cyclical models for space-time, the speed of light becomes illusive and time, the invariant. Astronauts may not return looking much younger than us (as classical thought experiments propose), they may just return in our past – breaking the light barrier.
Parallel universes are a simple reality, the past and future sandwiched together with no space in time between.
Universal Contraction Summarised
Contraction of matter is uniform. It arises from the redistribution of energy between physical dimensions in a contained and steady state universe. Time's Paradigm describes this as a 'cosmological cycle of time', a deceleration and constant contraction from the speed of light (c) to zero velocity (z).
The established, standard model for acceleration is linear, where (c) and (z) are limits at each end of this so called 'speedometer'. However, due to infinite regressions, progress is not possible between such established points or moments. Special Relativity, in its favour, had to conclude that (c) was invariant on a linear speedometer, thus avoiding relative establishment and allowing acceleration in time and space.
Alternatively, UC offers a cyclical speedometer, where (c) and (z) do not exist; these two ends are conjoined in a circuit, like a clock or compass whose illusory spokes are simply named for our convenience. These redundant velocities, (c) and (z), are then attributes of every possible position in space. At all times we move towards and away from both. In essence, time and velocity share the same cycle!
The inception of matter and its emergence into the universe is at light speed, where contraction does not occur and time awaits. For a body of mass this uni-dimensional moment would be fleeting, contraction would begin instantaneously as its velocity dropped away. At the other end of the scale, we can assume such a thing as zero velocity. If we stopped moving through space, became stationary, as it were, then contraction to non-spatial existence would be instantaneous; time would fly by as we careered towards a new dawn.
But, to stop moving! All bodies in physical existence are made up of atomic particles, all of which are gyrating about in considerable commotion. Then there is the macro world we perceive: We are in constant motion; our planet is revolving at great speed... our solar system even faster... Indeed, our galaxy is spinning around at tens of thousands of kilometers an hour, and also hurtling at some millions across the universe towards the Virgo cluster... Stop moving?
In Search of Zero Velocity
To some, this should be abandoned as a futile quest. Besides; as we know, motion is relative and nothing is therefore at rest in the universe. However, confronting this issue reveals some surprising results. "Never up, never in," as they say on the golf course.
Just how close are we to zero velocity? It is normally stated by physicists that we on Earth are a very long way from relativistic speeds (with a cheeky grin). The fact is, no matter how close we are, it will always appear as if we have an insurmountable hill to climb.
Likewise, a stellar system moving through the universe at near light speed from our point of view, also has the amazing ability to make its inhabitants believe that they are nowhere close to the speed of light, due to time dilation and Lorentz contraction. We are all "somewhere in the middle", as explained by The Kalahari Effect. So finding time travel in this bottle neck looks bleak.
We tend to think that a theoretical rocket in relativistic thought experiments setting off from Earth, leaves at (z) and accelerates all the way up toward (c). That is how we see it from our Earth perspective, however, from other inertial frames of reference this may not be what is observed. Others may see that our Earth is already travelling at great speed in the opposite direction to the rocket, so the rocket is hardly accelerating, it is decelerating.
This means that true velocity relative to the universe is incalculable with today's understanding and formulas, because there is a lot out there that we still have not observed. We just don't know how fast we are really going and can only calculate relative to other bodies who are equally confused. In total, the whole concept of motion is a nonsense.
However, we are not done with Zero Velocity just yet. See Zero Velocity Experiment below, for more contemplation.
At present, real vehicles launched from Earth are only investigating our Solar System and, relative to the Sun which is considered at rest, we make our calculations. And it works! We have not yet, developed a craft capable of relativistic speeds, so know nothing of the potential. Any thought experiment concerning distant stellar systems cannot simply assume that such random and local concepts for motion apply elsewhere and at such supreme velocities – the universe is a big place.
Is no speed a pipe-dream? Let's turn our attention to the top speed.
Understanding the illusion of Light Speed
The cyclical progression of time described earlier says we are in constant deceleration flowing through time from (c) to (z), contracting as a result. Therefore, we can only arrest this deceleration, not reverse it. We began our journey through the universe at light speed, but we have since left (c) behind. Arresting our deceleration, and as a consequence our contraction, gives the impression that we have returned to (c). That would have been the case had we stopped deceleration the moment it began, but since then, this fictitious horizon has been drifting further and further below (c), unbeknownst to us.
We can slow contraction, possibly even reach the point of stopping further decline, but we cannot hope to reverse the process and force expansion. That would amount to the application of infinite energy, as alluded to by Special Relativity were matter to reach the speed of light.
Our notion of light speed is that it is always just out of reach, invariant; whereas, in fact, we misconceive its true speed and wrongly fixate on a horizon that is constantly slowing down.
Setting out into the cosmos, we might think we will eventually reach relativistic speeds, but the reality will be that we have merely reduced our rate of deceleration. We might see our rocket approaching distant solar systems at speeds approaching (c), but this is merely a relative misunderstanding.
The speed of light will always elude us. It is always going to be faster than us even though we may consider we have caught up with it, because it is receding. Likewise, (z) will always be seen to be just out of reach.
Take the linear model for velocity and wrap it around like a band, so that (c) and (z) join and become the same spot, like midnight on a clock. Each so called 'point' around it will be a velocity, which we could crudely imagine as perpendicular to the cyclical deceleration of the circumference. In the same way we can look at time and say that, any point around its circumference is our perceived clock speed perpendicular to the flow.
In fact, as both these cyclical models are one and the same, velocity on one side, opposes clock speed on the other; as one increases the other decreases. Assuming clock speed to be a synonymous function for atomic/molecular energy, we then have equilibrium.
Every nominated point on this giant 'wheel' we are describing above remains at the same distance from every other point, regardless of local variations in speed. Relative motion does not apply to this fourth dimensional flow of contraction/deceleration, it only applies in the three dimensions of space we perceive. This inter-connected and unalterable wheel is our universe, the sum of all material existence. It is constant, contained and perpetual – not really a wheel, of course, that's just a figure of speech.
Light travels invariantly as it has no mass and is not constrained by the cycle traversed by matter. A comatose photon therefore reaches its target at the same time it launched. It travels, as it were, in straight lines between points, and does not flow around the solid state circumference of Cyclical Time.
An issue raised in an earlier chapter was the consensus that any light is emitted at a static point in the universe. Photons are not influenced by the speed of the platform from which they are beamed, states SR, and they set off without accelerating – already travelling at light speed. This idea further solidifies the notion that zero and light speed are one and the same.
How does light get emitted at the atomic level? A particle collides with an electron which then loses energy as it drops down a level, and that energy is expelled in the form of a photon. We can illustrate this by suggest that the static point from which a photon is emitted is the point at which a colliding electron has been stopped in its tracks – instant deceleration.
The misconception, therefore, that our launch pad, the Earth, is at rest, is not as silly as it seems. Any and all points on the cyclical wheel of Time can be both stationary and the speed of light, and anything in between. So, any velocity can be anything you want, and decelerating to (z) is actually acceleration to (c).
Oddly, deceleration in one frame of reference can always be seen as acceleration in another, even when returning to our original point of departure (the frame of reference where the journey initiated).
In any accelerating path there will be many points considered by other observers to be at rest with respect to their inertial frame of reference. So, an astronaut in a rocket, believing she is accelerating, may actually be seen by these outside observers to be decelerating towards one of their rest points. However, when our astronaut passes through one of these so called 'static points', she feels nothing. She does not experience any slowing down, then speeding up as she passes through, because that point does not exert any influence upon her, it does not really exist for her.
Achilles feels the same way on passing the tortoise – no problem. Infinities towards and away from an identifiable point would deny progress. However, in the above examples, awful infinities have been abolished.
Deceleration is the same as acceleration. In fact, the word 'deceleration' is frowned upon by those who demand we call it 'negative acceleration', instead. When you fire rockets to decelerate you feel the g-forces. You are adding energy to the system. You go from feeling nothing as you float along at a fictitious, incalculable speed to suddenly experiencing the change. This suggests we are all always accelerating; always adding energy; always gaining in mass – if we follow the basic assumption of SR.
Apparently, every direction we wish to travel is towards (c). That defies logic, but who said the Universe is logical? It suggests that we and every body in the universe is continually going faster, getting more massive. More and more energy! If so, at some stage the universe will not be able to contain itself. So, is acceleration also an illusion?
UC is the equilibrium for this peculiar circumstance. Bodies are, in fact, all contracting in time, actually decelerating while their clock rates increase, we just haven't added that new information into our thought experiments, yet.
A linear scale of acceleration is what we use to describe our velocities in today's world. However, a cyclical model for time describes velocities as destinations.
Zero Velocity is in the direction of our origin. Not the beginning of any journey we take here and there on a daily bases, but only one, the most fundamental journey of all, where it all began: Time and our origin hidden somewhere in the universe. We burst out into this universe at (c), at that point we began our journey toward (z), and on reaching (z) we return to our origin, (c). Not by pointing towards it but, rather, by pointing in the opposite direction.
This still leaves us with the nagging question we began with: Where is zero velocity? Can we as physical entities ever hope to reach (z) in our relative, off-circuit meanderings, or do we just have to wait for the cosmological cycle of time to carry us there?
Although, a few paragraphs up, we were laughing at the whole notion of Zero Velocity, it is plainly important to investigate.
If we were to fire a particle in the opposite direction to its current trajectory through the universe and at its precise current speed, the particle – in theory – would cease general mobility. Cosmic Background Radiation would factor in discerning the speed and direction of this negative acceleration.
UC says, the particle would, as it came to rest, begin to shrink dramatically. Without dimensional activity it would be carried to collapse in an instant. It would register a massive increase in its rate of time. At (z) we can therefore assume that it would simply not exist.
All dimensions exhausted, our particle would have returned to the moment before real existence: That 'singular dimensionless state', described in the last chapter. Now in contact with all things, being without the constraints of distance, i.e. space, our particle might even have the potential to then burst out into the universe, at any place or time!
A White Hole. A rebirth of our particle into existence – and at the speed of light. Transference in time and space. Time travel... in reality.
Could the Big Bang be a place and a time where matter is continually emerging? The Big Bang looks like a one-off; a cataclysmic, single explosion, from our linear perspective. Alternatively, from the point of view of cyclical time progression, it always exists -– a journey back to origin that is forever repeated.
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) facility in Europe is unfortunately, from this experiment's perspective, in a fixed position and does not have directional capabilities to fire our particle with any degree of success.
The CERN community has concluded that deceleration is the key to discovering exotic quantum matter believed to have existed at the very moment of the birth of our universe – The Big Bang. By accelerating protons to near light speed and creating head on collisions, the protons are decelerated to stop, instantly. A splash of tiny sub-atomic particles is observed, shooting off in all directions. Had the protons reached zero velocity by less catastrophic means, we would observe the same particles in a concentrated implosion. What scientists are witnessing is the activity associated with an end of physical existence which, coincidentally, is a re-birth thereafter – or could it be the other way around?
Positive acceleration, or negative acceleration, it's all the same thing if you ask any body of matter. Those protons could be said to have accelerated instantly, on impact.
At the Atomic Level.
Time is a circuit. Time does not stop anywhere; mechanisms may fail, functionality at the particle level may become stretched at great speed, and clocks will run slow; but time is continuous.
On the flip-side: You reach the speed of zero, you contract with incredible force; then, as you enter a state of dimensional non-existence, that energetic momentum of contraction must continue to exist and, so, theoretically you are thrust back out into existence at (c). A catastrophic implosion reciprocated by an equal and opposite explosion of matter. And the laws of Thermodynamics are upheld.
In theory, by eliminating motion we might achieve a so called 'worm hole'. Not from a black hole – the singularity considered at present which assumes an infinite density of compressed matter with an extraordinary gravitational field – quite the opposite: a massive collapse of matter while approaching zero density caused by immense universal pressure which registers as an extraordinary gravitational field.
We need to consider what might happen to atoms when an object reaches the point of becoming near stationary in the universe. With almost no inertial energy left, atoms will be immensely potent and be in near perfect symmetry, they might have unrealistic tendencies, might gain a super-existence not observable in everyday circumstances.
Such a bizarre phenomenon might, to a degree, have already been witnessed. Those experiments earlier mentioned, about reaching the temperature of absolute zero, have produced some extraordinary revelations about the effects on atoms that are hardly moving. They appear to lose all sense of reality and logic; they seem to lose their identities – a very peculiar thing – behaving stupefied and sluggish.
The researchers used light and magnetic fields to reduce the temperature of the soup (Bose Condensate) in to which these atoms were introduced. In effect, they chilled them, extracted their energy; thus slowing them down, until they were practically standing still. But the laboratory where these experiments were being conducted was, of course, moving. It was on this planet...
Physicists from various fields are in agreement that a Zero-point Energy must prevail and some energy remains, even if atomic particles reach the temperature of absolute zero – their equations demand it! Of course, at present, there are no formulas concerned with existence beyond absolute zero, and no consideration that outside of relative motion there might be induced deceleration by a cosmological cycle of time.
Proportionality: Looking into The Past
It is quite unrealistic to propose a visual illustration of our cyclical, four dimensional universe. Some type of beautifully symmetrical hyper-doughnut has been put forward, as has a giant firework, but something quite irregular might also hold true. After all, we don't have 4d glasses.
More than likely, were it visible as a whole through time, our universe might be dense and incomprehensible, chaotic being an appropriate adjective. All of time, not just the present moment, a massive fractal bowl of spaghetti. Add things popping in and out of existence all over the place in the universe, with random disregard: And a kind of Quantum Foam affair..?
Unfortunately, we, with our limited perception, cannot fully visualise such an incredible manifestation at work.
It is no wonder then, when we ask why we cannot see or experience a moment in the past, like us getting up to go and make a cup of coffee, it is because this past existence of ourselves is both a moment millions of kilometers away and a state of much greater form.
Everything in the past was vast by comparison with now, because we are in constant contraction as we proceed through time. However, we are all together in this; at any moment in time everything around us appears to be proportionally the same as it was before, so nothing appears to change.
A Glimpse Of The Past.
It's a fantasy to think we might actually visualize our past from this present perspective, but it's worth a shot. The speed at which we might be contracting is just as likely to be fast as slow. It is incalculable, may be imperceptible in our lifetime. Or it could look something like this.
Imagine we somehow manage to time travel into the past, go back a few minutes, but somehow stay magically the same size as we are now, what would we see? Would our past self be a giant, perhaps as tall as the Empire State Building..? Moving as if in incredible slow motion through a kitchen the size of Manhattan Island.
Remember a chapter ago, you were reading about a light bulb hanging from the ceiling? Go back to that moment and say it was an hour or so ago. Relative to our frame of reference in the present, now, it might have taken a couple of seconds for photons from that bulb to reach your eyes, because the distance they needed to travel was a few million kilometers, by current perspective.
Atoms in a giant, past body from yesterday might be the size of the London Eye and, if visible from our present predicament, have electrons lazily rotating about a nucleus like those hanging pods. A peculiar but compelling scenario! Would we really see this giant of ourselves as a human at all? Being able to see all those individual atoms making up human form, to be able to see between them, right through them; are we sure we could actually see this giant at all?
We can only see what is ours to see. It is easy to fool the eye and thus cognitive perception, even in our present macro state. The smaller or closer you get in relation to an object you are looking at, the less its overall form makes earlier sense; like looking at solid matter under a microscope.
Thus UC suggests we cannot appreciate events either before or after now, because they are not of a relevant size, giving new meaning to those Minkowski layers. No universal clock by which we must all abide, no 'now' synchronized by the invariance of lightspeed. We can only receive information that resonates in space at a given moment equal to our state of awareness: Proportionality.
What is being proposed is that there are two elements of the past. One, is the past we see in this present bubble we have conceived with our minds... distant stars, for example, that were proportional to us back then. The second, a true past, outside our bubble and so outside our layer of perception... a parallel, invisible existence in our universe.
We can never be witness to true past events, however far away they are. Even with the most powerful telescopes the Big Bang is out of bounds. Galaxies and other cosmic phenomena that we do see today are not from a past of greater proportion to our own, they coincide with now... our Now. The fourth dimension of time is multi-layered, one block universe divided up into an infinite stack of parallel time zones, through the past and on into the future.
Within our Solar System, proportionality is of no great concern, as our Sun is the 'mother ship' to whose supreme velocity we are all tied. But this does pose a problem beyond: If a spaceship rushes off from here at great speed into outer space, it will soon become detached from our neighbourhood, and at some stage it will have a velocity and size very distinct from ours. It will, no doubt, disappear, loose form from our perspective.
Limits always seem to produce nonsense, but until such time as we send a craft out at relativistic speeds, or become aware of an alien craft of such great velocity entering our space, we can only speculate. The study of sub atomic particles will probably not resolve such a conundrum, although quantum physics is already grappling with such bizarre anomalies. (See chapter 1. Destiny for MWI and parallel universes)
Electromagnetic radiation frequencies are shifted noticeably emanating from bodies receding at high speeds, as mentioned above, to a point, one must assume near light-speed, where they would flat-line and become undetectable to our instruments. That might be the point at which a departing spacecraft slips back and fades away... into the past, so to speak.
It is not the scope of this study to propose as much beyond the hypothetical, only to highlight possibilities in terms of particle physics. As discussed earlier, space is contracting around us, emr is the resonance of space and not an entity unto itself, as are photons of light we see today which left galaxies millions of years ago when they were the same proportional size as our present moment. Oddly, those galaxies would not appear to be old, they would be the same relative age as our neighbourhood – which leaves 'now' sort of "blowing in the wind".
And lastly, as has recently been proposed by an international consortium of scientists, light is slowing down. If matter and associated space is in contraction, then the speed of light cannot be constant, it must reduce in velocity over time. The fact that we are actually experiencing an increase in our rate of passage through time might have some bearing on this startling discovery.
We are contracting through time from the past to the future within a solid state Block Universe. And objects that inhabit our stretch of the cosmos, here, today, that are actually of the past – of some far away galaxy that was here – are still here, all around us (parallel moments of the same universe), but they simply do not excite our senses in such a way as is detectable from our present perspective. They would be travelling at immeasurable speeds, be of immeasurable size and we would, in theory, pass right through their ancient aura without noticing a thing.
Recent detection of "Hot Spots" within the propagating background radiation in which we are bathed, may be a sign of the past... or things to come. (Perhaps, even, mini big bangs). We must assume that gravity has the potential to pass between layers of time, a giant, past black hole thus pinching localised areas and affecting future events.
We are that close to the past without even knowing it. Intergalactic space travel by virtue of Proportionality may be just a matter of Time.
Breaking The Light Barrier
Returning to that earlier, classic thought experiment concerning an astronaut on her four year voyage at relativistic speed to Alpha Centauri. Would she encounter that stellar system where she was expecting it to be, or would she break the light barrier and end up lost in time?
The latter is indeed what would happen, were it not for the conclusion that she is NOT bound to the 'now' of faster ticking clocks like ours on Earth. Her present moment will take precedent over her life, because there is no universal clock demanding she return in eight years when she has only experienced two.
Due to Universal Contraction, Alpha Centauri and our planet Earth will be getting smaller as they orbit the Milky Way, gravity holding matter together as the entire galaxy contracts in size through time. Not surprisingly, the rest of the universe appears to be expanding.
However, in the past, bodies had contracted less, time ran slower, they were larger, so space between things shorter. Locally, not noticeable, although our moon's orbit is increasing and the speed of light is apparently slowing down.
Here is the scenario: Alpha Centauri, travelling a great deal slower than our speedy astronaut, will contract at a much greater rate than her during those four years and end up being much smaller than she would have expected – more than likely invisible, perhaps just the size of a basketball. Having a hunch, she reprograms her spaceship's flight-path to intercept Alpha Centauri at an earlier moment in its travels by calculating the clock time lag she is experiencing, and so reaching the mark where both she and Alpha C. are of proportional size for the moment, and visible to each other. That moment being just nine months into her voyage.
Alpha C. will not appear disproportionately large from her perspective, but the distance she needs to travel will have shrunk.
Equally, on her return journey to Earth, she needs to do the same calculations, otherwise she will arrive at the pre-programmed location to find Earth nowhere to be seen – she will be lost forever, searching at the wrong time and in the wrong place, in a far away corner of our galaxy, marooned in the past.
What we would all find amazing is that she managed to travel eight light years and get home in less than two. We didn't see it happen, so was it an illusion..? Whose illusion? Or did she time travel?
Realistically, the astronaut aligned her ship directly with Alpha C. and the star remained at her nose from then on, seeing the universe at a standstill with respect to contraction.
They welcome the astronaut home after just eighteen months, having to accept she travelled many times faster than the speed of light, intersecting the path of a distant star long before she was predicted to do so, and then returning just as fast. She has the photos to prove it. Needless to say, Mission Control has a big problem: radio communication broke up several weeks after her departure and her perceived trajectory could not possibly have coincided with the vicinity of Alpha Centauri.
While an astronaut is in relativistic acceleration, other bodies in the universe will appear to slow down, contrary to the common consensus. Her contraction is declining, and so she becomes aware of Alpha C. in ever earlier moments through desynchronization, the star's momentum appearing to decelerate, until at presumed light speed all movement in the universe comes to a practical halt.
But, as described above in the section, The Illusion of Light Speed, she does not reach the speed of light, her ship has merely arrested contraction. The actual speed of light, as it was at conception, is still along way off and reserved for the forbidden past. Moreover, time has NOT come to a stop, only its incremental rate of passage having paused – clocks still tick; it is in limbo, now the universe resuming animation as our astronaut's ship can no longer accelerate.
At this stage, any increase in the velocity of her spaceship would cause a flow of time to incrementally tick slower as the craft began to expand.
To break through this light barrier is to leave 'now', dissociate with our relative bubble of reality and enter the forbidden past. The energy required to do so would be astronomical – to slow down our rate of contraction is one thing, but to force its expansion is quite another. Special Relativity demands as much.
From the time matter first emerged at lightspeed out of its dimensionless state and formed our universe, space has been giving the impression of expansion while we have been slowing down, our rate of contraction increasing as a result. However, should the light barrier be surpassed, the reverse will take place. As our ship approached true lightspeed, space would begin to shrink, perceived existence would contract towards us and matter would become condensed, the surrounding universe congealing into a tiny fraction of its former glory, a brightly glowing ball abruptly turning dark and dimensionless. Light would go nowhere, having nowhere to go... Thus we become the universe, the past the present and the future one entity.
Time comes to a halt. It does not – as many might hope – flow backwards. Time cannot. The individual perception on approach will be that of a universe running backwards towards birth: The Big Bang.
Time Travel: The Reality
Not only is the Big Bang out of bounds but so too is our own past. Time travel is just this, a journey through the universe to other locations (albeit, of a different time), not an introspective vacation. Time runs positively, what we experience can only be our future, and any dislocation in time will always be a novel encounter.
There are past moments in time all around us, great cosmic systems that travelled ahead of us on their voyage from inception, galaxies that we see today as far away stars, that were once in our present vicinity. Not our own... our solar system belongs in the present moment from our perspective. A very smart astrophysicist might one day be able to calculate the intersection of our current position with Jupiter or Saturn's past, making way for a journey that might involve two trips. But, doubtless, on returning to Earth from either in that past time, the astronauts will arrive no further behind their departure.
Nevertheless, it's a start. The Milky Way is big, its contents having been covering this precise spot we inhabit today in the cosmos for many years, as star system after star system passes through. It may be that just a few decades ago Alpha Centauri was where our sun is now. Thus, all it might take for astronauts to emerge in that past moment is a velocity so close to the presumed speed of light that only a month or two passes on board their spacecraft.
Not only would they be traversing space at break-neck speeds but Alpha C. would in a sense be coming towards them. A mathematical formula to theorise such occurrences is beyond my capabilities; notwithstanding background radiation and the the Big Bang being 'ground zero', the exact velocity of bodies in the wider universe is completely unknown. Nor do we know the rate of collapse of bodies through time other than 'tentatives' gleaned from Special Relativity and the peculiar coincidence of Fibonacci's Golden Ratio.
Likewise, the 'Zero Velocity Experiment' which might open up a doorway for future space-flight to earlier or later epochs. In this scenario, the benefit afforded is that re-emergence can be anywhere in the universe. Just how that destination will be configured is, as yet, a delightful mystery.
There are no limits to existence, to energy, to matter... only transitions. Everything is connected. On reaching arrested contraction and that imagined barrier of lightspeed, we will slip quietly beyond. Infinities do not exist in cyclical space-time to impede progress. It will not be with rockets and future propulsion technology, however, it will be by manipulating the very environment we inhabit.
Existence is an experience, not a fact. It is not what we think, not obliged, it is amenable to change and transformation. Quantum Physics has opened our eyes to the possibilities – get ready for some fun.
A simplistic analogy of Time Travel:
We are all free rolling down the hill of time. But, say, a bus driver has forgotten a passenger and wishes to reverse back up hill: So he eases on the brakes, slips shift into reverse and then lets out the clutch slowly and it and the wheels begin to dig in; his bus slows until its descent is practically halted; but at that moment the wheels spin and he is held at rest; neither descending nor ascending; the weight of his bus and its design will not allow him to reverse back up. Meanwhile, we all carry on rolling, and others from behind pass him by on our way downhill, and perceive that he has returned to the top of the hill ... even though he hasn't.
The hill of time is a curved dome.
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