Subject: Comments on the nature of time
Date: Sat, 27 Dec 2003 12:48:17 +0200
From: Dimi Chakalov <>
To: Jim McGuire <>

Dear Professor McGuire,

It is a real pleasure to read your "Time ordering in quantum mechanics", quant-ph/0312179 v1,

May I offer my comments on your ideas in three short notes, which I downloaded from your web site,

1. Musings on time

"There are two types of time: periodic and linear."

Yes, and the human brain does them all,

2. Essays on Great Ideas in Science

"Is the universe self-conscious?  The topic is particle identity.  There are about 10^80 electrons in the universe.  But all of these electrons are exactly the same.  One cannot tell one electron from another.  A mathematical consequence is that the electrons are all interconnected (or entangled).  Dirac proposed that there is really only one electron. All electrons, including those in our bodies are part of this universal electron.  Since properties of matter are described by electronic properties, the electrons in our body carry the property of consciousness.  Since we are consciousness of one another, the universe is apparently self-consciousness."

I believe it was R. Feynman who mentioned in his Nobel speech a call from his former mentor, J. Wheeler, who had suggested that there is one electron zig-zagging in time. I'm wondering if you support this (mathematically correct) conjecture.

I believe there is indeed one electron, only it is UNspeakable,

I can't offer any math though.

3. Quantum Time

"That is quantum time is often non-local.  This non-locality of time is not new. Any finite wavepacket is spread in time.  It takes a while for a packet of water waves to pass.  Within this time spread of individual wavepackets one may not separate events.  Not using wavepackets alone anyway.  So quantum time is non-local -- i.e., spread out.  If time is spread out enough, then one may picture may processes running simultaneously within this spread of time.

"Time entanglement proceeds pairwise.  In quantum mechanics the pairwise couplings can be smeared (delocalized) over the time envelope of the wavepacket.  Different amplitudes leading to the same final state are often added coherently, so that either constructive or destructive interference may occur, as in a Young double slit experiment."

Please see how the non-locality of time is being processed by the human brain,

We can picture many processes "running simultaneously within this spread of time" in the Holon only. It is, however, UNspeakable, as is *the* electron (cf. above).

Wishing you all the best for 2004,

Dimi Chakalov

Note: What is the meaning of 'UNspeakable'? Let me try to explain.

The need for two kinds of time, and hence two kinds of spacetime pertaining to two kinds of reality, physical and potential reality, can be revealed in many more cases, from Einstein's GR to quantum mechanics. Chris Isham and Jeremy Butterfield wrote in their originative paper "On the Emergence of Time in Quantum Gravity", gr-qc/9901024, Sec. "The deceptive picture: Emergence is not a process in time", that if the emergence of spacetime were a process in time, there would be times before time emerged -- surely a contradiction. And in "Some Possible Roles for Topos Theory in Quantum Theory and Quantum Gravity" (gr-qc/9910005, Found. Phys. 30 (2000) 1707-1735), they wrote: "The 'trick', whereby such valuations avoid no-go theorems like the Kochen-Specker theorem, is that the truth value ascribed to a proposition about the value of a physical quantity is not just 'true' or 'false'!"

They just hit the nail on the head! In the local mode of spacetime, pertaining to the limited case of physical reality, the truth value ascribed to a proposition about the value of a physical quantity must be singular. Either 'here or there', 'before or after', 'inside or outside', etc. In the global mode of spacetime, however, the Holon of propensities for possible values of physical quantities keeps all "alternatives" in a bound state. This is the explanation of 'potential reality'. If we apply the logic of our thinking, derived from the inanimate macro-world of tables and chairs, this Holon is UNspeakable. Any question about "the precise" value of particular physical quantity will yield the answer 'Jain' (both yes and no, in German). Is this difficult to understand? Try it with your brain, the link is here. Then think of "the electron", after Dirac (cf. above), and try to figure it out what could be the correct decoherence functional for the quantum history theory (Chris Isham, "A New Approach to Quantising Space-Time: I. Quantising on a General Category", gr-qc/0303060 v2, p. 365).

In order to understand quantum mechanics, we need to change our thinking. There is an outstanding task set by Erwin Schrödinger back in 1931: we have to reconcile Quantum Mechanics with Special Relativity. Otherwise we are not talking about facts. Read about this task here.

Then we set a new approach to quantising spacetime, by solving the paradox of continuum and introducing the atom of Lucretius. He wrote about the UNspeakable Holon some 2060 years ago.

It's about time, really.

Dimi Chakalov
December 28, 2003