Relativity is wierd. Have a look at this op-ed by Brian Greene:
http://www.thezensite.com/zenwritings/T ... WeKnew.htm
Next take a look at this exerpt from Greene's The Fabric of the Cosmos
So: if you buy the notion that reality consists of the things in your freeze-frame mental image right now, and if you agree that your now is no more valid than the now of someone located far away in space who can move freely, the reality encompasses all of the events in spacetime. Just as we envision all of space as really being out there, as really existing, we should also envision all of time as really being out there, as really existing, too. Past, present, and future certainly appear to be distinct entities. But, as Einstein once said, "For we convinced physicists, the distinction between past, present, and future is only an illusion, however persistent." The only thing that's real is the whole of spacetime.
Experience and the Flow of Time
In this way of thinking, events, regardless of when they happen from any particular perspective, just are. They all exist. They eternally occupy their particular point in spacetime. There is no flow. If you were having a great time at the stroke of midnight on New Years Eve, 1999, you still are, since that is just one immutable location in spacetime. It is tough to accept this description, since our worldview so forcefully distinguishes between past, present, and future. But if we stare intently at this familiar temporal scheme and confront it with
the cold hard facts of modern physics, its only place of refuge seems to lie within the human mind.
Undeniably, our conscious experience seems to sweep through the slices. It is as though our minds provide the projector light referred to earlier, so that moments of time come to life when they are illuminated by our consciousness. The flowing sensation from one moment to the next arises from our conscious recognition of chnage in our thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. And the sequence of change seems to have a continuous motion; it seems to unfold into a coherent story. But--without any pretense of psychological or neurological precision--we can envision how we might experience a flow of time even though, in actuality, ther may be no such thing. To see what I mean, imagine playing Gone With the Wind through a faulty DVD player that randomly jumps forward and backward: one still frame flashes momentarily on the screen and is followed immediately by another from a completely different part of the film. When you watch this jumbled version, it will be hard for you to nake sense of what's going on. But Scarlett and Rhett have no problem. In each frame, they do what they've always done in that frame. Were you able to stop the DVD on some particular frame and ask them about their thoughts and memories, they'd respond with the same answers they would have given had you played the DVD in a properly functioning player. Uf you asked them whether it was confusing to romp through the Civil War out of order, they'd look at you quizzically and figure you'd tossed back one too many mint juleps. In any given frame, thay'd have the thoughts and memories they've always had in that frame--and, in particular, those thoughts and memories would give them the sensation that time is smoothly and coherently flowing forward, as usual.
Similarly, each moment in spacetime--each time slice--is like one of the still frames in a film. It exists whether or not some light illuminates it. As for Scarlet and Rhett, to the you who is in any such moment, it is the now, it is the moment you experience at that moment. And it always will be. Moreover, within each individual slice, your thoughts and memories are suffucuently rich to yield a sense that time has continuously flowed to that moment. This feeling, this sensation that time is flowing, doesn't require previous moments--previous frames--to be "sequentially Illuminated.
And if you think about it for one moment, you'll realize that's a very good thing, because the notion of a projector light sequentially bringing moments to life is highly problematic for another, even more basic reason. If the projector light properly did its job and illuminated a given moment--say, the stroke of midnight, New Year's Eve, 1999--what would it mean for that moment to then go dark? If the moment were lit, then being illuminated would be a feature of the moment, a feature as everlasting and unchanging as everything else
happening at that moment. To experience illumination--to be "alive," to be the present, to be the now--and to then experience darkness--to be "dormant," to be the past, to be what was--is to experience change. But the concept of change has no meaning with respect to a single moment in time. The change would have to occur through time, the change would mark the passing of time, but what notion of time could that possibly be? By definition, moments don't include the passing of time--at least, not the time we're aware of--because moments just are, they are the raw material of time, they don't change. A particular moment can no more change in time than a particular
location can move in space: if the location were to move, it would be a different location in space; if a moment in time were to change, it would bea different moment in time. The intuitive image of a projector light that brings each new now to life just doesn't hold up to careful examination. Instaed, every moment is illuminated, and every moment remains illuminated. Every moment is. Under close scrutiny, the flowing river of time more closely resembles a giant block of ice with every moment forever frozen into place.
The Fabric of the Cosmos pages 138-141
In the context of the Omphalos Hypothesis, I'm reminded of Bertrand Russell's "Last-Thursdayism."
Last Thursday's "NOW" is no less valid that the "NOW" in which I am typing this post and this "NOW" is no less valid that the hotly contested presidential race of 2144. They all exist since there is no priviledged observer. Since there is no priviledged observer and since last Thursday's "NOW" is no less valid than right now's "NOW," then the big bang's "NOW" is no less valid than the "NOW" in which I'm typing this post, and no less valid than the "NOW" in which you are reaing this post. Indeed, since my "NOW" is no less valid than your "NOW," I'm still typing this post while you're reading it.
If the passage of time is an illusion, relativity is truly wierd!
But wait! There's more!
Take a look at this web page about Wheeler's Classic Delayed Choice Experiment: http://www.bottomlayer.com/bottom/basic ... choice.htm
Pay particular attention to this paragraph:
We have chosen whether to know which side of the galaxy the photon passed by (by choosing whether to use the two-telescope set up or not, which are the instruments that would give us the information about which side of the galaxy the photon passed). We have delayed this choice until a time long after the particles "have passed by one side of the galaxy, or the other side of the galaxy, or both sides of the galaxy," so to speak. Yet, it seems paradoxically that our later choice of whether to obtain this information determines which side of the galaxy the light passed, so to speak, billions of years ago.
Theoretically, if we do something in right now's "NOW" that affects a "NOW" billions of years ago...well, look at it this way:
Lets say we chose to look through the left telescope so that the photon passes on the left side of the galaxy. If the photon passes on the left side of the galaxy, then we MUST be here millions of years later to look through the left telescope. Thus, unless I'm mistaken, the effect preceeds the cause. By billions of years.