Albert Einstein, indisputably, the greatest theoretical physicist and genius of our era, portrayed (to those capable of its comprehension), a novel definition of energy in a miraculously simple algebraic formula, and, in addition, announced a theory (“Relativity”), to the effect that space and time (the latter, our present subject) are integrated to a degree, previously unknown.
We, like many other somewhat, well educated, and somewhat sophisticated, mortals, based upon the acceptance and positive valuation of Einsteinian theory, by the World’s premier academics and physicists, are not scant in our obeisance to the great man; we accept the majesty of his reported contributions to human knowledge, but candidly speaking, we do so, as a matter of appropriate, secular faith in, and encouragement of human endeavor and advancement. We, unfortunately, cannot pretend to understand it, but do recognize and join in, the universal homage paid to him, by those who do.
We sincerely hope that we are not committing philosophical or scientific blasphemy, when we state that we would have enormously appreciated it, if the great and celebrated genius, would have defined for us, just exactly what “time,” itself (as a conceit) is; or whether our nonscientific, mundane use of the word is merely an attempt to fill a needed, and meaningless, void in our language. If he had chosen to tell us what the concept, “time” (which he integrated with space) signifies, such limited, but much needed, enlightenment would be shared by all, and much appreciated.
In all of our readings, we have never come across an explanation of the word, “time”, nor any description of its properties; which appears to us, strange, because of its frequent use in literature and in conversation. We know, or can discover, the properties or essence of most planetary phenomena, such as, wind, sunshine, soil, river, daffodil, moonlight, carbon (unfortunately), flora and fauna; but what can the essential characteristic, or the physical properties of “time” be? Is it possible, that it only has existence as a needed word (a filler) for an elusive concept that we can utter but not describe?
Many people use “time” only with reference to a “timepiece”, viz., the numbered revolutions of he hands on a wristwatch or clock. But what if there were no timepieces, no clocks or watches, would there still be a shared understanding, or any understanding, of what we choose to call “time.” A butterfly lives out its short span of life, homo sapiens lives longer, the germination of the tulip bulb will occur, at its own nuanced pace, provided there is sufficient water and sunlight, the four seasons arrive and depart when they do. What is it that orchestrates the natural order of nature? Will you answer, “time” simply because you are stuck for another available word, or some explanatory conceit?
We are very humbly obliged, absent any available and useful enlightenment on the subject, to admit, in unscientific fashion, our conjecture, that (1) either the word, ”time” exists, simply out of necessity, for the lack of a more useful descriptive noun, (2) that the word “ time” is, in essence, merely an awkward description for the natural, or expected order of things, or (3) that it has no intrinsic substance and is used simply out of practical necessity.
Albert, you could have helped us!