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Journey 35 - TIME IS AN IMAGINARY NUMBER

There is an article about Kurt Goedel and Albert Einstein in the Feb. 28, 2005 issue of THE NEW
YORKER. Here we have two of the greatest geniuses of the 20th Century, one a logician, the other
a physicist. They were both members of the Princeton Advanced Institute, and they walked
together to and from the Institute every day, talking in German, their native tongue, about ideas that
would interest few people, even if they could understand them. This was probably Einstein's
greatest comfort in his old age. His own Unified Field Theory was going nowhere. He was
shunned and ignored by younger physicists for his resistance to "quantum weirdness." But now it
appears that Einstein was right all along. And so was Kurt Goedel. One of the things that Goedel
proved was that time does not exist, at least not in the physical world. It is an imaginary
dimension, both in the ordinary sense, and in the mathematical sense. In math, imaginary numbers
have the square root of minus one as a factor, which segregates them from real number. Only real
numbers correspond to real dimensions, which allow movement. See the book by Palle Yourgrau,
A WORLD WITHOUT TIME; THE FORGOTTEN LEGACY OF GOEDEL AND EINSTEIN,
published by Perseus in 2004 or 2005.

Time-Travel: My ideas about apports and precognition suggests the possibility of time-travel. Why
not apport an object, even a person, to a different time as well as a different place? This leads to the
paradoxes of an endless series of "Terminator" movies. I have never heard of a single instance of a
physical object arriving from the future or the past. As Stephen Hawking says, if time-travel were
possible, tourists from the future would be everywhere. Allowing time travel is a fatal flaw for any
theory. General Relativity does have time travel solutions, as shown by Kurt Gödel, and that is why
Goedel concluded that time does not exist. This chapter is devoted to the proposition that time is
not a real dimension; though as an imaginary dimension it is very useful both in physics, and in
everyday life.

Relativity is compatible with the concept of a universal, simultaneous "now," if we allow apports
between observers. Relativistic effects may slow down or speed up clocks but people never vanish
into the past or future as a result. They always remain here in the “now.” Relativity only shows
that we cannot always determine what time it is from any one clock.

What about those rare reports of people suddenly being in the past for a few moments? This is an
apparitional experience. They have witnessed an apparition of the past, which might turn out to be
the real nature of the so-called Akashic Records. What about the future seen by Seers or Prophets?
This too is an apparitional experience. Prophets are witnessing an apparitional reality. The
apparitional future is the probable future, the expected future, given what has already happened.
The student driver's intent to drive fast around the curve had consequences. Thus, it already existed
in the astral plane where a Seer could see it. It is the probable, not inevitable future, since the
driver could have realized he was going too fast and slowed down. Some of what a Seer sees may
have a symbolic rather than a literal meaning, and the meaning may be personal rather than
objective. Such visions may be warnings, or visions of possibilities, not inevitabilities. The future is
never fixed, and is always subject to change, until it actually occurs in physical reality.

A Seer like Nostradamus looking into the "future" is not looking at the physical future, because that
does not exist. He is looking at one possible future in the astral planes. There are many other

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possible futures in the astral planes, such as the one found in the book SPIRITWALKER, by Henry
Wesselman. Henry is apparently a Seer...or a novelist. In either case, he has given us a very
convincing and detailed world 5000 years into the future, aftermath of a great catastrophe, in which
the climate of the Earth switched to global tropical, melting all the ice, flooding all the coastal cities
and low-lying states and countries, and releasing the creatures from the zoos. There seem to be only
two small bands of humans that survived. One is a combination of Inuit and Norse fisherman, and
the other consists in Hawaiian natives who had not forgotten how to live off the land. Everyone else
has perished. The ancient cities still exist under water. The surviving humans have returned to a
hunter-gatherer way of life. Civilization has vanished.

This is a convincing piece of science fiction, but the reality is that human life takes place in the
midst of a seemingly endless series of Ice Ages, each one separated by ten to twenty thousand years
of warm interglacial climate. If this interglacial lasts the same length as the last one, then it should
be about over. Indeed, in the March 2005 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, there is an article by a
climatologist named William F. Ruddiman, which says the next ice age should have started 5000
years ago. Only mankind's activities in raising the level of greenhouse gases has staved off the ice
age. These activities began with agriculture, because agriculture caused forests to be cut down,
raising the level of CO2. Domestication of livestock raises the level of methane, since cows fart.
Rice paddies raised methane still more. All this began 8000 years ago, long before we began using
fossil fuels. And a good thing too. Ruddiman does not say whether we can stave off an ice age
indefinitely, however, his curves say that once we run through our stocks of fossil fuel, we will
plunge into the next ice age.

The glacial part of an ice age ends abruptly, but starts slowly, with oscillations of the climate that
steadily grow in amplitude. According to the geologists, Imbrie and Imbrie, we would now be
entering a warmer phase of climate even without the industrial revolution. The smallest and shortest
of the Milancovitch cycles produces a regular sine wave with a period of about 2500 years. There
was a warm peak at 6500, another about 4000, and the last about 1500 years ago. The cold valleys
have been at 5200, 2900, and 300 years ago. We are now entering the next warm part, and it will
last for centuries, no matter what we do. According to the curves in ICE AGES, by Imbrie and
Imbrie.

Humans and greenhouse gases are just the icing on the cake. After all, carbon dioxide is a rare
trace gas, only 345 parts per million of the atmosphere. We shouldn’t think of it as a reservoir that
just fills up with greenhouse gases. Plant tissue builds itself mainly from carbon dioxide, despite its
rarity. What counts is the speed of the cycling of this rare gas through the biosphere. During glacial
periods, there is a correlation between temperature and greenhouse gases, but which is the cause
and which the effect? Geologists believe plate tectonics and the Milancovitch cycles of the suns
orbit cause ice ages. The slow oscillation of eccentricity between circular and elliptical paces the
ice ages, since it has a period of 100,000 years. There is also the precession of the equinoxes, and
the nutation (or nodding) of the angle made by the spin vector. Mankind can do nothing about plate
tectonics or the Milancovitch cycles, so we had better prepare for the next ice age, and indeed, a
whole series of them stretching for 50 million years into the future.

The problems associated with man-made global warming are nothing compared to living in a fully
glacial climate. That is why our population explosion is the number one challenge for humanity

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today. Even a warm interglacial may not be able to support 6 billion humans indefinitely, and it is
doubtful that a glacial period could support more than a few million. The next ice age may have
already started, with mild climate oscillations that will gradually get worse.

Why is time travel NOT possible? It is because the physical past and future do not exist. There is
only one physical universe; the time is always “now” and it is in constant motion and change. Time
is a human invention that arises from our memory of the past and our expectations of the future.
Time is not a dimension because nothing moves along it. We find certain cyclical changes that help
us refer to past or future events. We can count the number of cycles of the moon since X happened
or predict how many cycles of the moon before Y will happen. Thus, mankind invents time.