Monday, December 11, 2006

Relativity of time

The following paragraph is from a new chapter, The Time Space Correlation, which doesn’t appear on Dr. Asher Eder’s book The Star of David, which was published in 1987 in English in Jerusalem by Rubin Mass Ltd.

Relativity of time 
In the previous chapter we reiterated the consensus about our notions of hours, days, and seasons. However, when looking closer, through a magnifying glass so-to-speak, we will notice that our time concept is somewhat rounded off, and subjective as well.

When someone in England or Scandinavia enjoys a nice summer day on the beach, he is hardly aware that it is winter on the southern hemisphere - at the same time. He would have to remind himself of that if he were to fly to Melbourne the other day, and to pack his winter clothes.
Everyone going, driving, or flying from say Moscow to Paris has to adjust his clock according to the local time. Usually this is done at the time of arrival. But how would he have to adjust his clock if for some reason he needs to know every minute, or after every kilometer of travel, the exact time?
Even this simple example can give us an idea about the intricate inter-relatedness between the calculation of the exact position in the three-dimensional space and its angle to the "two big lights which shall be [unto us] for signs and seasons and days" (and the hours, minutes, and seconds as fractions thereof). In addition to these four dimensions - the three conventional dimensions of space and the interrelated time - we have to take into account also the speed of the travelling body in relation to the movements of the other bodies (earth, sun, other airplanes, etc). This needs to be done e.g. for calculating the trajectories of missiles and of satellites. Based upon considerations like these, modern science developed the concept of space-time (in contrast to the conventional space and time) to indicate the inter-relatedness between these components.
Contemplating such thoughts, Albert Einstein developed his theories of relativity (in 1905), and the mathematician Herman Minkowski introduced (in 1908) the concept of the "union of space and time", or in brief, space-time.
Besides revolutionizing science, these new concepts settle the age-old philosophical dispute over objectivity or subjectivity: By nature, we are subject to the latter. For instance, we perceive the sun as a small ball although its diameter is more than a hundred times bigger than that of our globe. We also perceive the diameters of sun and moon as equal although the latter is even smaller than the earth. What is more, we derive all our measurements --meters, miles, furlongs; days, years; light-years, etc-- from subjective observations pertaining to our globe, standardize them conveniently, and take the results thereof for objectivity. There is nothing wrong with that as long as we are aware that they have no bearings on other planets (Mars, Jupiter, etc), not to speak of other solar systems, as said already.
Our hexagram with its straight lines depicts aptly these conditions we live in.
In the wake of the above mentioned modern considerations, the term absolute time became fashionable. However, this term is but one of the many examples for modern inflation and confusion of language. Time is by definition relative, relative to the position(s) of the body(ies) in view at a given moment. However, since no two bodies can at the very same instant be at the very same place, each of them has its own position and therefore its own time. The differences between them are usually so minute that they are of no tangible consequences for our daily lives, and so we can forget about them. But to speak of absolute time is more than exaggerated. Even viewing on TV a life broadcast lacks behind the actual event the time the electric waves need to cover the distance from there to the receiver (e.g. from one side of the globe to the other approximately 1/7 of a second).
There is no absolute time in the universe either as everything is moving relatively to everything else. Moreover, the velocities as well as the distances measured in light years are so huge that they don't allow to conceive of simultaneity.

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