Rubber Ball Hypothesis

Teachers’ Day Celebrations. Too bad the highlight was something more intellectual. While I had lunch with a couple of classmates (Pei Shan, Yu Shan, Yong Xian, Peng Sing and Jiahao), Pei Shan started talking about ‘The Time Travelers’ Wife‘ (by Audrey Niffenegger) and that got me talking about the Concept of Time I have formulated almost exactly a year ago. I thought it was a very simple illustration of time but I was fully aware of its limitations. I was expecting Yong Xian (who does Physics H3) to be like one of the first to comprehend my model and start questioning its validity. Well, she kind of disappointed me. But anyway, I thought of a question for myself to ponder over on my way home.

In my model, the entire spatial dimension is encapsulated in the Time dimension and this presents a problem. It conflicts with Einstein’s postulations of time slowing down for one experiencing high speed. Einstein’s model is such that any object would constantly traverse at the speed of light, except when it is at rest, all of the object’s speed is focused on travelling along the time axis, which would mean that it experiences the full force of time. When the object is in motion however, it begins to traverse in the spatial dimension with some speed as well, this speed is then deducted from the Time dimension and this makes the time slow down for the object experiencing motion. Since time itself travels at the light speed, once an object attains light speed in the spatial dimension, time for it stops and thus that’s the fastest it can go. This model doesn’t fit into my concept of time because my over-simplified model assumes everything to be traversing in time at the same speed (ie. everything in reality, on the ball is traveling along the exist of time at light speed). That’s to say that my model conflicts with Special Relativity. That’s the question I was expecting Yong Xian to ask but too bad – I thought of it myself.

In a bid to reconcile my model of time with cases of Special Relativity, I have to make a little modification. I make a bold claim that the ball of reality is rubbery, and therefore can be subjected to distortion. I apologize for imitating Einstein when it comes to the use of geometric distortion to circumvent problems of temporal-spatial convergence in cases of Special Relativity – I must say it’s really useful. When stuff in reality is subjected to motion (ie. traversing spatial dimension), it stretches the surface of reality. The way it stretch is such that the point of reality that the object at motion is on, moves against the direction of the axis of time. Relatively, as long as the object is not at light speed, the net movement is still forward in time, but the experience of time will be slower, slower than the rest of reality. The rest of reality continues moving along the time exist at the same way, albeit with projections protruding from it as a result of stuff speeding through space. Because the speed of light is so fast, our normal kind of travelling, even the speed of sound, would only produce little ‘humps’ on the surface of reality. To produce a ‘projection’ would require objects to be traveling at speeds that particles in particle-accelerators move.

The ball of reality at that vertex stretches out such that the corresponding value on the time-axis remains constant for any object at the speed of light.

The ball of reality is like a rubber ball, thus the name for the hypothesis of this model of time. The distortions that this rubber ball is capable of ensures that not all parts of reality moves at the same speed along time, and thus internalizes the whole of Special Relativity. As the object decelerates, it returns back to the rest of reality and thus experience everything like others. Essentially, the existence of the object is lengthened in terms of a God’s perspective but for itself, because of the slowing down of time, its motion within the frame of reference is also slowed down and thus it experiences effectively no difference. The Einstein’s method of moving into the future would involve stretching reality such that time stops for you for a while, and so the rest of reality tumbles on far from you along the time axis. When you return to the rest of reality, you are suddenly allowing yourself to speed through all the time that the rest of reality has already traverse and then getting back in touch with the rest of reality. Your experience of time is less than the others, and you successfully moves to reality, but in a way that’s within the constraints of the model. In this sense, time travel forward is still plausible, though not in the way others would normally conceive.

Armed with such a visualization, I challenged myself once more by thinking about what happens if the object tries to move faster than light in spatial dimension. Einstein would say it’s impossible because the speed can only be shared between the spatial and the time dimension and there’s a ‘conservation of speed’ that limits the total speed in all dimensions to that of light speed. I suspect that if you travel faster than light, there’s a chance you can move against the direction of the time axis, but you will tear the rubber ball of reality. Or perhaps, you’ll just lift yourself off the rubber ball because it can no longer stretch beyond that and enter a void. The elasticity of the rubber ball is thus limited by this constrain on speed. Unfortunately, we can’t think of it in the sense of elasticity because if you continually travel at light speed, you are effectively stretching the surface of reality infinitely – then comes the question of what is light and how it actually manifest on this rubber ball. To account for all that, I must say that time cannot stop for any object besides light. If an object is to travel at light speed, it’ll have to behave like light, which means it has to vanish from the axis of time, and exist only in spatial reality. That being said, anything that stretches the ball infinitely would leave this uni-directional dimension and exist solely in the spatial dimension. Therefore, to exist in both time and space, the object must only tend towards light speed and will never attain it. Here, the limitations of having space encapsulated in time presents a problem – one needs to be able to accommodate the notion that spatial reality is indeed contained in the ball but in some other sense just as time in felt to be contained in our space (ie. they contain each other and it really only depends on perspective; which is why I highlighted this issue as a bias that my means of visualization would pose). Hence, to cease existing in temporal dimension means the object (as well as all light we experience) are not contained in this rubber ball model.

Having said all that, I must stress that the ‘Rubber Ball Hypothesis’ is not a scientific theory but a proposed visualization of what is time and how it works and a plausible model in explaining the impossibility of time travel. I welcome modifications to overcome the existing limitations and biasness that is inherent in the model even if it’s in the expense of complicating the geometrical visualization of the model.

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