[ExI] Timeless Universe

citta437 at aol.com citta437 at aol.com
Fri Dec 7 13:52:02 UTC 2007

"Starting in 1983, Stephen Hawking said the universe doesn't go back to 
this abstract limit called the singularity. He said the universe goes 
back to a timeless 4-dimensional space that's uncreated. So we have a 
timeless 4-dimensional space that's uncreated on Hawking's theory. 
There's no need to create it, it has no beginning. A timeless space, 
since it's not in time, doesn't begin to exist and needs no cause. Does 
time begin by being a fourth dimension of a timeless space, Hawking's 
imaginary time, "becoming" real time, i.e. having a metric described by 
real numbers rather than imaginary numbers on different regions of the 
"Imaginary time is a new dimension, at right angles to ordinary, real 
time," Stephen explained. "Along this axis, if the universe satisfies 
the 'no boundary' condition, we can do our calculations. This condition 
says that the universe has no singularities or boundaries in the 
imaginary direction of time. With the 'no boundary' condition, there 
will be no beginning or end to imaginary time, just as there is no 
beginning or end to a path on the surface of the Earth."
"If the path goes all the way around the Earth," I said. "But of 
course, we don't know that in imaginary time there won't be a boundary."
"My intuition says there will be no blocking in that (SPECIAL 
COORDINATE) ie timeless space , so our calculations make sense."
Hawking, however, provides this context, yet as his theories stretch 
beyond matter
and into the unfathomable realm of quarks and quantum forces, the 
fundamental ‘‘parts’’ he uncovers fold again into the undifferentiated 
plane of the whole; all difference, he says, is composed of the same 
thing---energy. In his ultimate splitting of hairs, Hawking wanders 
into the sameness of Being. It is in this sameness (mass = energy and 
particle = wave) that the physicist’s oblique references to Being are 
most apparent. As a metaphorical disclosure of Being, Hawking 
introduces imaginary time, a reified reconstruction of the early 
Greek’s permanent presence. Imaginary time is timeless time---time that 
does not progress in any particular direction. According to Hawking: 
Imaginary time is indistinguishable from directions in space. If one 
can go north, one can turn around and head south; equally, if one can 
go forward in imaginary time, one ought to be able to turn around and 
go backward. This means that there can be no important difference 
between the forward and backward directions of imaginary time.Imaginary 
time is the undeveloped time in which the laws of physics, of 
gravitation, electricity and magnetism, nuclear interaction and 
beta-decay operate. In this undeveloped time, the most basic particles 
of the universe---the atoms, molecules and quarks that compose all 
mass---behave as if there were no tomorrow or yesterday12. The 
wave/particles of the universe are indifferent to time, for in their 
duality, no pole is privileged. Mass mutates into energy and energy 
into mass within a whole that remains constant---zero energy. Energy is 
neither created nor destroyed. In post-quantum physics, the 
timelessness of imaginary time both co-exists with and supersedes the 
temporality recorded in human experience. Human time, the time derived 
 from the privileging of mass/positive energy/order over quantum 
forces/negative energy/disorder, explodes from the field of 
oppositions. Thus, time emerges out of oppositional thinking, out of 
the privileging of being over non-being and positive energy over 
negative energy. Because oppositional thinking requires the relational 
center of being human, the measurement of time requires beings to break 
up Being by standing out of it as judge. In one’s confrontation with 
the appearance of Being in what is, one breaks apart the essential 
unity of all difference, the belonging together of the poles. Using 
quantum theory, physicists interpret this unity of opposites as the 
equivalence of mass and energy and wave/particle duality, which recalls 
the polemos, the conflict between and belonging together of difference. 
This interpretation of primary opposition highlights the physicist’s 
participation in the ongoing mythology of Being. Hawking writes:In 
quantum theory, particles can be created out of energy from 
particle/antiparticle pairs. But that just raises the question of where 
the energy came from. The answer is that the total energy of the 
universe is exactly zero. The matter in the universe is made out of 
positive energy. However, the matter is all attracting itself by 
gravity. Two pieces of matter that are close to each other have less 
energy than the same two pieces a long way apart, because you have to 
spend energy to separate them against the gravitational force that is 
pulling them together. Thus, in a sense, the gravitational field has 
negative energy. In the case of a universe that is approximately 
uniform in space, one can show that this negative gravitational energy 
exactly cancels the positive energy represented by the matter. So the 
total energy of the universe is exactly zero.13 From a ‘‘holistic’’ 
perspective, oppositional thinking (positive/negative, 
presence/absence) cancels out in the total zero of the whole. However, 
even as one says it, one cannot fathom this zero. Because
of the unfamiliar ‘‘reality’’ proposed by the ‘‘zero energy’’ metaphor, 
one can come closer to understanding the perceptual limitations and the 
inescapable weight of one’s relationship to the universe. As a 
participant in the universe, one cannot gather it before oneself except 
in empty concepts like everything and nothing. In thinking, the 
universe can never be whole; it is a part composed by the sum of its 
parts. From this perspective, the universe is unity and not whole. One 
is limited by one’s standing relationship in the whole. In its quantum 
state, the universe has no beginning or end, which means that it has no 
edges or boundaries in space-time. In this state, the universe is 
finite, yet without an outside. The universe is totality. From the 
perspective of matter-energy, however, the universe maintains its 
boundaries in that it has a beginning and end at the big bang and big 
crunch. From the conceptual vantagepoint of humanity, one may conceive 
of the universe as beginning and ending, as having edges and 
boundaries, and a creator. But in imaginary time, the universe is 
eternity and eternity is the constant always of the universe. The 
universe has no beginning, no end and no creator; in imaginary time, 
the universe is Being."

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