Time – An Illusion – Simple Explanation

Time – An Illusion – Simple Explanation

(Last Updated On: August 19, 2019)


The concept of time has fascinated us for ages. Even the brightest of minds haven’t understood time completely. Some great minds believe that if we understand time, we understand everything. If we perfectly figure out how it works and how to manipulate it, we can do anything.

But what this time actually is? And can we manipulate it and travel through it as in “Back to the future” or “The Time Machine”? Let’s have a little journey through a journey of “time”, by staying where we are.

What is Time?



“Time is, but a stubborn illusion”, said Albert Einstein. But, is it too stubborn to never let us understand it? Well, we’ll still try doing it, we’re even more stubborn.

People, from ages, have been trying to define time. Some call it “The landscape of experience”, while some say, “Time is what happens when nothing else happens”. There are people, who even say that time doesn’t exist. Well, we cannot say no to them.

Basically, Time is a measurement between events or moments. It is a measurement of the progress of existence and events from past to future through the present.

Time is a fundamental part of the universe and it is a fundamental physical quantity. Time is referred to the fourth dimension along 3 spatial dimensions.

Take an example

Okay now understand this with an example. Imagine that there is no time. you don’t know that what is time means there is not the existence of time. Okay now imagine that there are two train, Train A and Train B. Both trains are boarding together but Train A reached first at the station and Train B reached at the station after Train A. But you cannot give the difference between both trains. If you don’t use Time then both trains are the same. If we want to measure both trains then we must need a measurement word for the difference between both trains. We need to use measurements to describe the event between both trains.

Okay now take another example. Imagine that now you are reading my post and after reading my post you will take a little nap and after then you will read my post again. So if we do not consider time then there are first and the last thing (you are reading my post) are the same but actually, they are not the same. So we need a term for measurement and describe the process and difference between events. If we do not use time then we cannot understand the things.




Understand it differently

On another hand, we use the time for the fourth dimension. Generally, we use 4 dimensions to describe the position of anything. We use x, y, z, and t(time) for describing the position of anything in space. Einstein uses time as the fourth dimension in his The Theory of Special Relativity.

You can understand time in a different way. Time is helpful to describe the existence of anything. If you are living and breathing then time will help you for giving your present existence. If anybody dead then also time will be able to give past existence for this dead man and if we will dead tomorrow then also time will be a help to give our future existence. So time gives us an existence for our past, present, and future. So time is a measurement between events from the past to the future through the present.

In physics, time give a main role to describe motion and force.

There is a very interesting thing. We can measure the time but we cannot feel and experience the time. We can say that if entropy is increasing then time is increasing. Have you ever asked a question that why we born younger and grow older?

Because entropy increasing, so time increasing.

You can ask a question that if a stone falls at the ground and there is nobody to hear it then it makes a sound? Of course, yes. So if time flows without entropy and there is no one for the experience it, then still it is time? yes, there is still it is time.

So, we can measure time but we can not feel and experience it.

Read Also: Entropy – Why Everything?

So, when did the time start?

According to the big bang, the universe started when the big bang occurred. And that’s the moment when motion started and also the light was born. The General Theory of Relativity thus uses this to explain that time started at the big bang and there was no time before it, that is, there was nothing as “before”. Theory of relativity explains that space and time aren’t different but they are interwoven into the fabric of space-time.

And according to string theory, time existed forever. It says that we exist in a “Multiverse” and that the big bang was the result of fission of a universe into two or the merger of two universes into one.
But however, time flows in one direction, we cannot trace our path back in time as we do in space. But, there are theories, which question this aspect of time.

Let me know in the comment section what do you think?

References – This article is edited by Tarang Garlapally.

Krishan Kumar

A Physics Enthusiast, An Entrepreneur and A Motivational Speaker, Krishan Kumar, A multi-talented personality has been portraying the role of a Science Communicator for the past 4 years. He has the utmost passion for Physics. He is truly in fact, a physicist-in-process. He is also the Co-Founder of CosmosNow (India’s First Independent Astronomy Magazine) and Fastika (A Delivery System Startup).

This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. Harsh Kumar

    Nice work….keep rocking brother # Krishan

  2. Robert


  3. nagarajupalagani

    krishna kumar,I to b.tech students shall we discuss clearly regarding with matter.

  4. Vivek

    Entropy increasing and so time increasing I’m not got this point explain me ?? 🙁

    1. Krishan Kumar
      Krishan Kumar

      Actually, the entropy of the universe is continuously increasing since big bang and time started from the big bang. So we can say that if entropy increasing that means also time increasing.

  5. Iyla Baker

    Why is time the 4th dimension? It has to exist in all dimensions, and it makes more sense if it is a one-directional dimension that is almost dimension 0. I think that time being the 4th dimension has become too widely accepted, and that it does not make sense. Einstein’s theory is just a theory, and can be changed.

    1. Krishan Kumar
      Krishan Kumar

      Time is, by definition, a temporal dimension and is fundamentally different than the three spatial dimensions we know. … The three spatial dimensions measure where things are in relation to a physical point. They describe the physical size of an object. One’s location in these three dimensions may be changed freely. For a physical presence of any object in 3D, we generally represent time in 4th dimension. But its not meant that we can’t express time in one dimnension or in any other dimension.

  6. Iyla Baker

    I understand that, and see that time is definitely its own dimension. But like you said, it us different than other dimensions, and so I do not think it logically fits as being the next dimension following the 3rd. I think that saying time is the 4th dimension is a misrepresentation of what it actually is.

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