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Seminarysnoozer

Reckoning of time

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Maybe I am just having a hard time grasping the concept ... why is it that if something moves slower it is greater?  It seems counter intuitive to me.   If something were to move faster, that seems like that should be greater, more could be done in a shorter amount of time.  Isn't that right?  Or am I thinking of this backwards?

 

Abraham 3; " And the Lord said unto me: The planet which is the lesser light, lesser than that which is to rule the day, even the night, is above or greater than that upon which thou standest in point of reckoning, for it moveth in order more slow; this is in order because it standeth above the earth upon which thou standest, therefore the reckoning of its time is not so many as to its number of days, and of months, and of years."

 

I have a hard time understanding why wouldn't a day to us be like a thousand years to God and not the other way around?  Why wouldn't God be able to get done a thousand years worth of work compared to one day of our work?  Or is it that a thousand years of our work equals one day of His work?   But since we are talking about "reckoning" it is just a perception thing, right?  Is it just that a thousand years 'seems' like a day to God? But then the scripture says the thing that moves slower is greater.  That seems confusing to me.  Why wouldn't the thing that moves faster be greater?  It would have more energy and get more done in a shorter amount of time if it were faster?  I must be thinking about this wrong but have a hard time putting a finger on it.

 

Maybe it is something like the idea that an hour moves by slower than a minute and that the measurement or order is different but the perception of time passing by is the same rate, just different units.

Edited by Seminarysnoozer

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They way that I read this, is the planet over "even the night" would refer to the moon above the earth.

So in terms of time, what is it that we are counting? Revolutions around the axis, revolutions around the earth? Sun? The effect of gravity on it's relative space time? (The effect on gravity from what, the sun? The earth? The galactic center? The place nearest unto God?

Is the model based on current understanding of astronomy, or not? It is allegory instead?

These things would make a difference to how I would understand the verse, but I don't think there are many answers. Looking forward to what others say.

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They way that I read this, is the planet over "even the night" would refer to the moon above the earth.

So in terms of time, what is it that we are counting? Revolutions around the axis, revolutions around the earth? Sun? The effect of gravity on it's relative space time? (The effect on gravity from what, the sun? The earth? The galactic center? The place nearest unto God?

Is the model based on current understanding of astronomy, or not? It is allegory instead?

These things would make a difference to how I would understand the verse, but I don't think there are many answers. Looking forward to what others say.

 

The physical understanding available to Joseph Smith at the time would have been Newtonian in nature. Even if you want to argue for increased understanding due to revelation it's likely a 'Newtonian filter' would have been at play. Of course, this is even assuming he was trying to describe a physical system at all, which as you point out may not be a valid assumption at all.

Edited by Dravin

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Go watch the movie "Interstellar."  It's not just a great movie, but it does a good job of explaining the way gravitational fields affect time.  Abraham's lesson on Kolob and other heavenly bodies is not only a marvelous metaphor, but it also contains some interesting content from a scientific viewpoint.  How would God explain to a nomadic tribesman how velocity and distance have an impact on time? 

 

I have learned in my years in the Church that Satan and his subjects always attack and discredit important and powerful truths.  The Book of Mormon and the Three Witnesses are perpetual targets.  Thus, when I see how vigorously our critics attack the Book of Abraham, it tells me that there is something very important and very true in it.

 

BTW, here are a couple of pieces I wrote on the Book of Abraham a few years ago if you'd like to read them.

 

What's in the Book of Abraham? What the heck is 'Kolob?'

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Go watch the movie "Interstellar."  It's not just a great movie, but it does a good job of explaining the way gravitational fields affect time.  Abraham's lesson on Kolob and other heavenly bodies is not only a marvelous metaphor, but it also contains some interesting content from a scientific viewpoint.  How would God explain to a nomadic tribesman how velocity and distance have an impact on time? 

 

I have learned in my years in the Church that Satan and his subjects always attack and discredit important and powerful truths.  The Book of Mormon and the Three Witnesses are perpetual targets.  Thus, when I see how vigorously our critics attack the Book of Abraham, it tells me that there is something very important and very true in it.

 

BTW, here are a couple of pieces I wrote on the Book of Abraham a few years ago if you'd like to read them.

 

What's in the Book of Abraham? What the heck is 'Kolob?'

 

I saw the movie, I think it is a great piece of fiction, fun!  Maybe that's why I was thinking about this. 

 

Even if someone were to claim that the theories regarding time and speed are true and also claim that they know God's realm to operate within the same sphere of laws as ours, that still doesn't seem intuitive that something that moves slower is greater. 

 

If the units are relatable as in 1000 years = 1 day then how is the one day greater than 1000 years.  That is my question. Or why is it true that because one day = 1000 years that the system that moves slower is deemed greater?  Why isn't it that the system that sees 1000 years relative to the other systems one day is greater?  Certainly a lot more can be done and accomplished in 1000 years than in one day.

 

[DONT READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN'T WATCHED INTERSTELLER YET] If you watched the movie Interstellar then you realize one of the tragedies of the movie was that there was a lot lost by the ones that experienced time go by relatively slower, for every minute a certain number of years went by for their family.  Where in the end (hopefully not spoiling the movie) the ones that lived the years were surrounded by family and content.  I don't grasp the concept of how time moving faster or slower is somehow related to superiority over another system.  Explain the mechanics of that if you seem to understand that.

 

The only way that my brain can appreciate one being superior than another is if they both experience the same rate of time passage but one unit is greater than another like counting seconds compared to years.  We don't express our age by how many seconds we have had but if we did, of course, the number would be very high in comparison.  But then why is the low number "greater" or superior?  Just because the units change doesn't necessarily make one greater than another.  We would all agree that one dollar is not greater than 200 cents unless one thinks that just because the money might be "reckoned" in dollars that that in and of itself makes it greater.

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This point probably only has minor relevance at best, but I remember from many movies that I've watched, and stories that I've read, that the most important people, eg, the queen, the prince, the president, the general, etc, rarely hurry. Its the minions and minors that do all the high speed scurrying around. Slowness often seems to be related to dignity and importance. 

 

When it comes to getting things done, yes, the high speed minions get a lot done, but what the slow speed important person gets done, for example, signing their name on a piece of paper, is often more important, with more far reaching effects, than what all the minions, in their haste, are able to accomplish. 

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This point probably only has minor relevance at best, but I remember from many movies that I've watched, and stories that I've read, that the most important people, eg, the queen, the prince, the president, the general, etc, rarely hurry. Its the minions and minors that do all the high speed scurrying around. Slowness often seems to be related to dignity and importance. 

 

When it comes to getting things done, yes, the high speed minions get a lot done, but what the slow speed important person gets done, for example, signing their name on a piece of paper, is often more important, with more far reaching effects, than what all the minions, in their haste, are able to accomplish. 

Ah, so being anxiously engaged in a good cause is just teaching us to be minions.

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John Gee has written about Abrahamic astronomy as a reflection of ancient views: "And I Saw the Stars": The Book of Abraham and Ancient Geocentric Astronomy.

 

What's missing in this paper is something he's shared in lecture. Facsimile 3 shows Abraham teaching the Egyptians about astronomy, and the Egyptians held the belief that if A circumscribes B, then A is greater than and governs B.

 

Now, from the paper:

 

 

 

However one wants to interpret the question of the origin of the text—whether Joseph Smith invented the document, translated an ancient text, or received a revelation independent of any ancient text—Joseph Smith's opinion of the astronomy of the Book of Abraham is worth noting. According to the History of the Church, Joseph stated that the Abraham papyri included a discussion of "the principles of astronomy as understood by Father Abraham and the ancients." Joseph here is not represented as saying that the Book of Abraham contains an accurate explanation of the principles of astronomy but rather of those principles "as understood by the ancients." In other words, according to a nineteenth-century view attributed by those who knew him and his thinking, to Joseph Smith, the Book of Abraham presents ancient cosmology, not modern or nineteenth-century astronomy. Thus, efforts by LDS astronomers to reconcile Abrahamic astronomy with modern astronomy are largely irrelevant—as is their inability to do so.

 

 

 

The Book of Abraham not only describes the universe as a series of revolving astronomical bodies in ascending order above the earth but also tells us that the further from the earth a given celestial body is, the slower will be its speed of revolution around the earth. The text of Abraham 3:7—9 is quite clear on this point: "Now the set time of the lesser light [the moon] is a longer time as to its reckoning than the reckoning of the time of the earth upon which thou standest. And where these two facts exist, there shall be another fact above them, that is, there shall be another planet whose reckoning of time shall be longer still; And thus there shall be the reckoning of the time of one planet above another, until thou come nigh unto Kolob, which Kolob is after the reckoning of the Lord's time."49 Here we have, quite clearly described, a hierarchy of celestial bodies, one above another, with the higher celestial bodies moving more slowly than the lower. This is, of course, precisely how many ancient geocentric models described the movement of the heavens. In the Ptolemaic version of the universe, the ordering of the celestial bodies in their concentric spheres was based on their speeds. Thus, although the exact periods may differ slightly according to different astronomers, we find that Saturn has the longest period (about 29 and a half years), Jupiter the next (11 years, 315 days), Mars almost two years, the sun, Venus, and Mercury each about a year, and the moon the shortest period, the lunar month.50 Thus, the closer to the earth, the faster the cycle; the further from the earth, the slower the cycle. This is precisely what is described in the Book of Abraham's "there shall be another planet whose reckoning of time shall be longer still; And thus there shall be the reckoning of the time of one planet above another, until thou come nigh unto Kolob" (Abraham 3:8—9).

 

And the conclusion from the lecture, was that Kolob, circumscribing all, was greater than all (except the throne of God, which is even greater). So the conclusion Abraham would be driving at with the Egyptians is that as powerful as their local gods are, they are magnitudes inferior to the True God of Abraham (and this sort of teaching is consistent with traditions of Abraham zealously fighting idol worship).

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The physical understanding available to Joseph Smith at the time would have been Newtonian in nature. Even if you want to argue for increased understanding due to revelation it's likely a 'Newtonian filter' would have been at play. Of course, this is even assuming he was trying to describe a physical system at all, which as you point out may not be a valid assumption at all.

Newtonian physics was well-established by Joseph Smith's time, and was understood (at least roughly) by most Westerners. But the cosmological view presented in the Book of Abraham has little or nothing to do with Newtonian physics. Some have suggested it has more in common with recent relativistic and QM cosmology, but IMO this too is nonsense.

 

Rather, the Book of Abraham appears to proceed from a very old cosmology. Think Dante for a near-modern touchstone, though it's not really Dantesque, either. The idea of celestial orbs giving light to each other and ranked in order of importance or power is so ancient as to be prehistoric. The observation that some celestial bodies, such as the sun, produce light while others, such as the moon, merely reflect light is not as modern as we often flatter ourselves it is, much as the knowledge of a spherical earth is much older than most of us realize.

 

Interestingly, the cosmology undergirding the Book of Abraham is very Egyptian in character -- yet another in the bizarre string of unaccountably fortunate guesses that Joseph Smith produced, moreso considering that almost nothing was known of ancient Egypt at that time. The Rosetta Stone, discovered at the very end of the 18th century, had been translated and used by Champollion only in the 1820s to "break" the interpretation of ancient Egyptian. By the time Joseph Smith produced the Book of Abraham, there may possibly have been one or two dozen people in the world capable of interpreting ancient Egyptian, and the understanding of ancient Egyptian culture was still in its infancy. Joseph Smith simply had an uncanny knack of guessing right on that kind of stuff.

 

[rant]

As a former bishop of mine pointed out, scientists like to say, "We used to think [something], but now we know [something else]." For example:

  • "We used to think that atoms were like plum pudding, but now we know that electrons orbit the atomic nucleus like planets around their sun."
  • "We used to think that electrons orbited the atomic nucleus like planets around their sun, but now we know that the electrons actually exist in discrete energy levels at specified distances away from the nucleus."
  • "We used to think that electrons existed in discrete energy levels at specified distances away from the nucleus, but now we know that electrons occupy space around a nucleus according to a probabilistic mapping."

So despite Joseph Smith's weird ability to guess lots of things right, we can dismiss any foolish claim of prophecy merely by noting that lots of things he said still don't accord with what we now know to be true.

 

For example, today we know that the aboriginal Americans originated from east Asia 20,000 years ago, and certainly not from the Near East. (And don't bring up the Clovis people, because they don't count, unless they can be shown to be the actual ancestors of the modern indigenous people. Kennewick Man be damned.) Why, there is no proof* that aboriginal Americans have any Near-East-specific DNA at all!

 

*except for some that we can dismiss

 

And don't give me any of that "drop-of-Lehite-blood-in-a-large-existing-population" nonsense. That's beside the point. The POINT is, we know Joseph Smith was a fraud, because Science. Our open-minded and honest inquiry has led us to this irrefutable point, and if you argue against it, you're a stupid liar and we will all ignore you because you're close-minded because you don't accept our open-minded opinion I mean fact in the honest way we present it to you, you bigot.

[/rant]

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Maybe I am just having a hard time grasping the concept ... why is it that if something moves slower it is greater?  It seems counter intuitive to me.   If something were to move faster, that seems like that should be greater, more could be done in a shorter amount of time.  Isn't that right?  Or am I thinking of this backwards?

 

Abraham 3; " And the Lord said unto me: The planet which is the lesser light, lesser than that which is to rule the day, even the night, is above or greater than that upon which thou standest in point of reckoning, for it moveth in order more slow; this is in order because it standeth above the earth upon which thou standest, therefore the reckoning of its time is not so many as to its number of days, and of months, and of years."

 

I have a hard time understanding why wouldn't a day to us be like a thousand years to God and not the other way around?  Why wouldn't God be able to get done a thousand years worth of work compared to one day of our work?  Or is it that a thousand years of our work equals one day of His work?   But since we are talking about "reckoning" it is just a perception thing, right?  Is it just that a thousand years 'seems' like a day to God? But then the scripture says the thing that moves slower is greater.  That seems confusing to me.  Why wouldn't the thing that moves faster be greater?  It would have more energy and get more done in a shorter amount of time if it were faster?  I must be thinking about this wrong but have a hard time putting a finger on it.

 

Maybe it is something like the idea that an hour moves by slower than a minute and that the measurement or order is different but the perception of time passing by is the same rate, just different units.

Perhaps thats just how long for a daily rotation, or perhaps time there is not hte same as time here. Who knows?

reckoning could be perception or it could be just a different yardstick, or physics, or it could be a temporal distortion, or perhaps it could be a different universe altogether that is seperate from ours, or perhaps he means the work/rest cycle. God hasn't really been uber specific on his time related to our time. This is just one of those areas where there's little info.

I don't think he's trying to teach what time is there compared to here exactly.

It, doesn't really matter at this point in time for us tho.

Edited by Blackmarch

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I don't think it has anything to do with how quickly time moves for God, as God has all time, past, present, and future, constantly before him. We really have no idea how God perceives time. The idea that the reckoning of a day based on the rotation of Kolob is, in my opinion, entirely irrelevant to how God perceives time. It is, rather, relevant to the simple fact of the matter that it takes a thousand years for the planetoid to rotate once.

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I don't think it has anything to do with how quickly time moves for God, as God has all time, past, present, and future, constantly before him. We really have no idea how God perceives time. The idea that the reckoning of a day based on the rotation of Kolob is, in my opinion, entirely irrelevant to how God perceives time. It is, rather, relevant to the simple fact of the matter that it takes a thousand years for the planetoid to rotate once.

Or maybe it is all symbolic and is just a way of saying that one thing is greater than another without really saying that one actually rotates faster or slower than another.

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There is something else that is interesting to this discussion of time.  This is the condition of time to the speed of light.  The speed of light being a threshold at which time stops.  But what happens then when light stops?  in relativity lights stops when our reference frame reaches the speed of light.  This creates something interesting - that is the idea that we speed up to stop!  Both for light and time.  In essence when time stops so does light?  But is it possible to slow down to stop?  or is it possible to slow down to an infinite speed? just as it is possible to speed up to a conclusive stop.

 

Before I proceed :) with an accelerated thought of light and time - perhaps we should stop while you consider the possibilities?

Edited by Traveler

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There is something else that is interesting to this discussion of time.  This is the condition of time to the speed of light.  The speed of light being a threshold at which time stops.  But what happens then when light stops?  in relativity lights stops when our reference frame reaches the speed of light.  This creates something interesting - that is the idea that we speed up to stop!  Both for light and time.  In essence when time stops so does light?  But is it possible to slow down to stop?  or is it possible to slow down to an infinite speed? just as it is possible to speed up to a conclusive stop.

 

Before I proceed :) with an accelerated thought of light and time - perhaps we should stop while you consider the possibilities?

What work is performed when time is stopped?  

 

Is our God not a God of works?   Stopping time would not be compatible with God's work or plan or purpose.  God's works are endless and continuous.  They cannot stop.  According to our understanding of God, time cannot stop.  It is His work and glory to bring things to pass.  "Bringing things to pass" requires the passage of time even if it is perceived differently, it cannot stop.   Even when all things are before Him, there still has to be a distinct past, present, future.  God cannot be timeless even with His ability to perceive all time.

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What work is performed when time is stopped?  

 

Is our God not a God of works?   Stopping time would not be compatible with God's work or plan or purpose.  God's works are endless and continuous.  They cannot stop.  According to our understanding of God, time cannot stop.  It is His work and glory to bring things to pass.  "Bringing things to pass" requires the passage of time even if it is perceived differently, it cannot stop.   Even when all things are before Him, there still has to be a distinct past, present, future.  God cannot be timeless even with His ability to perceive all time.

 

None of this is known. Speculation all. Not saying I disagree, per se. But I'm not so sure anything about the way God and time work can be said as if definitively understood like this.

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None of this is known. Speculation all. Not saying I disagree, per se. But I'm not so sure anything about the way God and time work can be said as if definitively understood like this.

Do we understand what it means - "to bring to pass"?

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Maybe I am just having a hard time grasping the concept ... why is it that if something moves slower it is greater?  It seems counter intuitive to me.   If something were to move faster, that seems like that should be greater, more could be done in a shorter amount of time.  Isn't that right?  Or am I thinking of this backwards?

 

Abraham 3; " And the Lord said unto me: The planet which is the lesser light, lesser than that which is to rule the day, even the night, is above or greater than that upon which thou standest in point of reckoning, for it moveth in order more slow; this is in order because it standeth above the earth upon which thou standest, therefore the reckoning of its time is not so many as to its number of days, and of months, and of years."

 

I have a hard time understanding why wouldn't a day to us be like a thousand years to God and not the other way around?  Why wouldn't God be able to get done a thousand years worth of work compared to one day of our work?  Or is it that a thousand years of our work equals one day of His work?   But since we are talking about "reckoning" it is just a perception thing, right?  Is it just that a thousand years 'seems' like a day to God? But then the scripture says the thing that moves slower is greater.  That seems confusing to me.  Why wouldn't the thing that moves faster be greater?  It would have more energy and get more done in a shorter amount of time if it were faster?  I must be thinking about this wrong but have a hard time putting a finger on it.

 

Maybe it is something like the idea that an hour moves by slower than a minute and that the measurement or order is different but the perception of time passing by is the same rate, just different units.

erm i know nothing that says or implies that slower is greater. I think that it just happens that something greater and something that takes longer just happens to be together.

 

 

 

however.. slow and steady wins the day.

Edited by Blackmarch

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There is a theory that the speed of light cannot be exceeded because it is actually stopped (you cannot go slower than stopped) - that we are the ones moving, and light is stopped. 

 

Since all movement is relative to another object, this theory doesn't seem to hold much value in my mind.

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That's the point, it's all relative - so what's to say what is moving?  From light's perspective, what does everything else look like?

 

Light's perspective to everything else is irrelevant. Light's perspective to itself is what is relative. Unless the theory is somehow trying to suggest that light, relative to itself, is stationary. But that seems to open up a whole lot of other problems.

 

This is a sci-fi theory at best, in my humble un-educated opinion.

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That's the point, it's all relative - so what's to say what is moving?  From light's perspective, what does everything else look like?

 

From light's "perspective", things don't "look like" anything, because there is no spatial extent. From light's "viewpoint", the entire universe exists at one point in space and time. All of the electromagnetic oscillations are invisible to the light particle, because it does not experience time as we do.

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Since all movement is relative to another object, this theory doesn't seem to hold much value in my mind.

 

You would think. Light doesn't behave in the manner in which you expect it to and newtonian physics doesn't work on a quantum level.

 

If two people hold light beams and point them at one another, you would expect the beams to approach one another at twice the speed of light. That doesn't occur. They approach one another at the speed of light.

 

Quantum physics is incredibly interesting and completely unintuitive. It doesn't behave the way it should.

 

Making quantum physics match the Newtonian physics you and I experience every day is the holy grail of physicists. Einstein couldn't do it. Hawking couldn't do it.

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If two people hold light beams and point them at one another, you would expect the beams to approach one another at twice the speed of light. That doesn't occur. They approach one another at the speed of light.

 

But they do approach each other, yes? Which puts a serious kink in the light-stands-still-while-everything-else-moves idea.

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I have wondered how to respond to recent posts without creating a 10+ page monstrosity.  The problem with time is that we tend to understand time within the very narrow bandwidth in which we experience it.  Einstein altered that view within the scientific community with relativity and quantum physics has further pushed the envelope.  Time is directly defined by the space in which it is measured.  We might want to think that time is defined in the space in which it is taking place – but that does not fit the modern scientific paradigm.   The same time will be defined differently according to the platform we are observing or measuring it.  So it is not time that changes but our measurement of it???

 

The movie “Interstellar” tried to deal with this problem but even in the singularity, time was seen to always move forward in regular intervals even though observing time outside, from inside the singularity, time did not follow regular sequences.   One theory expressed in the movie was that time and gravity are related linearly.   Inside the singularity gravity goes to infinity? – so what happens to time to compensate for that?  The answer mathematically is that time goes to “0” or in other words stops.   But there is another problem – math is only a symbolic representation and in describing reality; infinities and zeroes cannot be observed as something real in our universe – black holes are not really infinite gravity wells – even inside the event horizon.  However, gravity is very massive and powerful so beyond an event horizon it looks like an infinite force (???) so we think in terms of symbolic infinity.  Thus we try to project our understanding by seeing what happens as we approach infinity and zero simultaneously.

 

Bottom line is that initiative thinking that serves us so well in so many of our dealings is invalid.  In my college days I wrote a white paper on this very subject and I theorized that in order to reach either infinite gravity or zero time we would have to of necessity alter our 3 dimensional space and in essence enter another dimensional space time.  This could mean that as we pass through a black hole event horizon we cross a threshold of space time.   (In other words stopping time cannot occur in our universe)  Theoretical singularity (which is one dimension) of a black hole is the most generally accepted theory we are now headed.  But mathematically there is another possibility that results from an intersection of an additional dimension with our 3 dimensional space time - a dimension without time or where time has stopped.  What happens to light in this intersection?  It becomes a constant zero and the slower part of our universe (fermions) takes on the nature of light (bosons).  It is like the universe turns inside out – except for one thing – there is no time.  And all of a sudden things get really weird.  For example – theatrically you should be able to observe (connect to) all points of space time in our universe at the same instant. 

 

So the question I asked was indeed a loaded question – for which there is currently no obvious conclusion – What happens when times stops?  Answer that with any kind of validity (meaning empirically consistent) and a Noble Prize will be yours - or perhaps something even more wonderful - something beyond anything anyone has imagined? 

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