A Theory Of Time That Contains No Paradoxes

How Time And Time Travel Might Work Without Your Actions In The Past Affecting Your Future

By David Grace (www.DavidGraceAuthor.com)

I’ve been writing science fiction for a very long time.

My book, Twenty Science Fiction Stories, contains five stories that deal with time travel:

Chronotron, which explores a future in which you can buy an insurance policy which will protect you from any physical injury by time-swapping you with someone else who will suffer your accident for you the instant before injury occurs.

The Burglary In The Basement Of God. The hero of this story figures out where all the old time goes when we are done with it, and he comes up with a plan to turn that knowledge to his advantage, he thinks.

Exile, which features a criminal who is required to travel back in time as punishment for his crimes.

Spotter, which is the other side of the coin, a time-traveling policeman.

In The Cracks Of Time, in which at-risk people hide in other eras.

Writing stuff like that, you pretty much have to develop a theory of Time.

So, here’s my Theory of Time. I can’t prove any of it. I don’t claim that it’s real, or valid or even correct. I’m sure there are lots of reasons why it’s completely wrong, but thinking about things like Time with a capital “T” is kind of fun.

I hope you will read this and give that intellectual challenge a try.

I call it The Grace Theory Of Time.

It has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

Multiple Copies Of The Physical Universe, Each Of Which Is Only A Tiny Fragment Of Time Thick

Imagine a hollow piece of Plexiglas existing in the fifth dimension. It has a certain length, height, and width and it’s hollow in the center. The sheet of Plexiglas also has a fourth dimension, one of time.

Sitting in the hollow inside the piece of Plexiglas is a copy of the entire three-dimensional universe as it exists at the beginning of one point in time. The time span applicable to that copy of the three-dimensional universe is it’s Time Thickness, (TT) the period of time in which the universe inside the Plexiglas sheet exists.

How long is this universe’s TT? Maybe the time it would take a photon moving at the speed of light to travel the distance from the center of a hydrogen atom to the electron in that same hydrogen atom, a time duration that is really, really short. Let’s call that Time Thickness a “Time Unit.”

So, we have this fifth-dimensional immensely high and wide and deep structure that holds a copy of the entire universe inside it and which universe exists for only one very tiny instant in time.

Each Very Brief Copy Of The Universe Stands In Line With Other Similar Copies So That Altogether Their Total Time Thickness Adds Up To The Total Amount Of All The Time For The Entire Life Of The Universe

Now, imagine another sheet of Plexiglas with another copy of the universe in it that exists one tiny fragment of time later, one Time Unit later. Then another copy, another Time Unit later still.

Visualize these Plexiglas sheets (let’s call them “Time Sheets”) each containing a copy of the universe, each of which copy is one Time Unit thick, stacked one against the other, all stretching off into the distance.

This stack containing trillions of trillions of trillions of trillions of copies of the universe, each only one Time Unit thick, extends from the time of the beginning of the universe to the time of the end of the universe.

If the life of the universe from the beginning to the end is 20 billion years and if you could assign a physical length to this stack of Time Sheets (which you can’t), let’s pretend that the distance from the beginning of the stack to the end of the stack is 20 billion miles. In that case, each mile of Time Sheets would represent one year of time in the life of the universe; each day would be about 14 ½ feet and each hour would be about 7 ½ inches.

All the Time Sheets exist at the same time as one stack in the fifth dimension. All of the history of the universe from the past and into the future is all there simultaneously in those vast numbers of copies of the physical universe, each copy of the universe being only an immensely thin sliver of time thick.

The Time When We’re Alive

Each of us exists in each copy of the universe in the series of Time Sheets beginning with our birth and ending with our death.

Using our example numbers, if we lived for seventy years then our section of the stack would be seventy miles long. All seventy miles of the hundreds of trillions of trillions of copies of the universe would always exist in the fifth dimension’s NOW and we would exist for some extremely small fragment of time in each Time Sheet in that seventy-mile length, each copy of us being slightly older, Time Sheet to Time Sheet, until at the end of our seventy miles we would find the last copy of the universe containing a copy of us as a seventy-year-old person. The next Time Sheet after our death would contain a copy of the universe in which we would no longer be alive.

We wouldn’t be in any of the Time Sheets representing any Time Units before we were born nor would we be alive in any of the Time Sheets containing Time Units for the period after we died, but trillions of trillions of copies of us would exist in the seventy-mile-long stretch of Time Sheets that corresponds to our lifetime, with each copy of us being alive for only an incredibly short period of time and each copy being slightly older in each succeeding Time Sheet than we were in the previous Time Sheet.

The Energy That Powers Time

Imagine that in addition to each Time Sheet holding a copy of the three-dimensional universe, each Time Sheet was also filled with a thick syrup that we can call dark energy, and that this dark-energy syrup permeated all aspects of the physical universe in each Time Sheet.

Imagine that you had a wire connected to the left edge of each Time Sheet and another wire attached to the right edge sheet of each Time Sheet.

By Default, Time Does Not Pass. Time Only Flows When It Is Powered On

Before you energized that wire, there was no time inside each Time Sheet. Nothing moved. Nothing aged. All matter was in stasis. Time did not pass at all.

When you briefly turned on the power and a spark triggered the dark-energy syrup, you created a Time Pulse that energized and activated Time in the three-dimensional physical universe for that very, very short instant of time, that is, for one Time Unit.

During that Time Unit dark energy powered Time. At the end of the Time Unit, Time and the physical universe snapped back to where they were before the Time Pulse occurred.

Time Runs In A Loop, Moving Forward For A Short Period, Then Resetting & Starting All Over Again

When it’s hit by a Time Pulse, life in that Time Sheet is like a video loop that starts, runs, stops, resets to the beginning, then starts again when it’s activated by another Time Pulse. Then it runs, stops, resets, then starts at the beginning of the same Time Unit again for the next Time Pulse, looping endlessly, again and again, repeating that Time Unit every time that the Time Sheet is hit by a new Time Pulse.

The Time Pulse hits. The photons move. The time pulse ends. Time snaps back to where it was at the beginning of the Time Unit, ready to play forward again when it’s hit by the next Time Pulse.

Looked at this way, Time is like an elastic band. The Time Pulse powers Time forward to the end of the Time Unit, then the Time Pulse ends and Time (and with it the state of the physical universe) snaps back to where it was before Time was energized.

The Physical Universe Subtly Changes Each Time That A Time Pulse Arrives

When Time is running for the duration of the Time Unit, particles collide, combine, and break apart. They will not all interact exactly the same way every time to every new Time Pulse. There will inevitably be small random changes each time the loop runs, and those changes will vary widely over trillions and trillions of Time Pulses.

At the end of the Time Unit any such changes in the physical universe are carried forward to the next Time Sheet so that the state of the three-dimensional universe at the beginning of the Time Unit in the next Time Sheet will exactly match the state of the three-dimensional universe at the end of the Time Unit in the previous Time Sheet.

Each Time Pulse energizes each Time Sheet in sequence, one after the other, down the twenty-billion-mile line.

Because any random changes in the last time sheet are carried forward to the next one, and any changes in the next one are carried forward to the next one after that, subtle changes will multiply as this virtual Time Wave moves forward down the stack of trillions of Time Sheets.

In one Time Pulse these two particles combined and that’s carried forward. A million Time Pulses later, they didn’t and that’s carried forward. Now we have two different realities moving forward down the two Time Waves. If something like this happens again in the next Time Sheet we’ll have four realities moving forward down four Time Waves.

And so on and so on and so on, each succession of Time Waves changing the state of reality in each Time Sheet they pass through.

The Apparent Passage Of Time Is A Virtual Wave Like The Wave Of Blinking Lights On A Theater Marque

Time Sheet by Time Sheet by Time Sheet, the Time Pulse moves forward like the apparent pulse of light in a theater marque and it drags with it any changes to the three-dimensional world that occurred during the Time Unit in the previous Time Sheet.

In a theater marque, first bulb 1 turns on for an instant, then goes dark. Bulb 2 then turns on, then goes dark. Bulb 3, then 4 and so on turn on. As the lights blink on in turn they create a virtual wave moving down the marque, but in reality nothing actually moves, the bulbs are just sequentially illuminated one after the other.

In the same way Time itself doesn’t move. It just appears to move as a virtual Time Wave as the Time Sheets are sequentially activated by a Time Pulse energizing them one-by-one as it moves down the line of Time Sheets.

Each Time Sheet in the stack is turned on, one after the other, by the fifth dimensional Time Pulse, energizing the Time Sheets one after the other to create a virtual Time Wave moving down the column of Time Sheets like the apparent wave of light seeming to move down the bulbs in the theater marque.

That moving virtual Time Wave is what we perceive as the passage of time.

That virtual Time Wave or traveling Time Pulse moves through the fifth dimension and everything in each copy of the physical universe is sequentially energized by it, Time Unit by Time Unit, as a Time Pulse activates each succeeding Time Sheet.

Like the flickers of still pictures one after the other that we see as a movie, we perceive that succession of activations of each Time Sheet as the passing of Time in our reality.

For us, time moving forward is actually the virtual Time Wave moving down the Time Sheets, successively energizing each copy of us in each copy of the universe as the Time Wave moves forward through the fifth dimension.

As each Time Sheet is energized it activates our existence for that one Time Unit.

Everything in the universe that is contained a Time Sheet is inert until it is energized by a Time Pulse which powers reality for that brief fragment of time.

Multiple Time Waves, One After The Other

But there isn’t just one Time Wave flickering down the line of Time Sheets. There is an endless series of Time Waves, one after the other, flickering down the line of Time Sheets.

Think of those bulbs in the theater marque. Number 1 turns on, then goes off, as number 2 turns on then goes off, as number 3 turns on, and at the same time that number 3 turns on, number 1 turns on again. As number 4 turns on then number 2 also turns on again, then when number 5 turns on, number 3 turns on again — a virtual wave after wave of light flowing endlessly down the line of bulbs on the marque.

In our stack of Time Sheets each succeeding Time Pulse creates a slightly different physical universe, a slightly different new reality in each Time Sheet it touches.

Our Perception Of Time

At the end of each Time Unit the tiny changes in your brain that occurred during that Time Unit are moved forward to your brain in the next Time Sheet, that is, your thoughts from the last Time Sheet are moved forward, transferred to your brain in the next Time Sheet.

Your consciousness is like the virtual wave of light moving down the marque. Your consciousness is moving forward through Time on your particular virtual Time Wave as each thin sheet of your reality is activated in turn.

Your reality moves forward as your Time Wave drags your thoughts/brain changes forward with it, Time Sheet to Time Sheet.

Your consciousness essentially surfs your particular Time Wave into the future until it hits the last Time Sheet where your brain is still working, and then, because your brain isn’t working in the next Time Sheet after that, your consciousness ends.

Multiple Copies Of You

In the Time Sheet right behind you is another, slightly younger, version of you and that copy’s consciousness will be activated by the next pulse of fifth-dimensional energy, and behind that is another even younger copy of you in another previous Time Sheet, and that younger copy of you rides the crest of that earlier Time Wave.

Because each Time Pulse subtly changes the contents of each Time Sheet as it passes through, each previous version of you riding a previous Time Wave has a slightly different life.

The other, younger “you” sitting in stasis that is activated for one Time Unit by the trillionth pulse previous to the Time Wave that your consciousness is riding into the future will have a somewhat different life experience than you did when your Time Sheet was activated by your Time Pulse because all those Time Waves hitting that younger-you Time Sheet after your Time Pulse hit it a million pulses ago changed that Time Sheet’s universe a tiny bit every time a Time Pulse activated Time in it.

Because your life is only a series of brief activations of reality in a long chain of copies of you. you can’t go back in time to your past. Your existence is only a virtual wave moving into the future and when it’s gone, it’s gone.

Traveling To An Earlier Point In Time Means Going To “A” Past But Not “Your” Past

In theory, you might be able to go back to a past.

If you could encapsulate yourself in a three-dimensional bubble and insert that bubble inside the fifth dimension and then if you could move that bubble through the fifth dimension backwards above the stack of Time Sheets, in theory you could reach the earlier Time Sheet you’re interested in, assuming, of course, that your bubble was able to exit the fifth dimension at that exact location in the continuum of Time Sheets.

This would be an earlier time very similar to, but not identical to, your time because the trillions of intervening Time Pulses through this old, target Time Sheet would have caused changes in it making it now different from the way it existed when your consciousness came to life in it for one Unit of Time twenty years ago.

The instant you emerged from the fifth dimension back in the universe into this old Time Sheet your consciousness would again be swept forward on the next Time Wave.

In that instant you would begin moving into a future on the next Time Wave and you would share that Time Wave with the consciousness of the copy of you that was native to that Time Sheet when you arrived.

Yes, there would now be two of you riding that same Time Wave forward into the future, one of you (the “real” you) twenty years older than the copy (the other, younger, you).

Because You Are In “A” Past Not “Your” Past, Nothing You Do Can Affect Your Future

The copy of you would be twenty years younger than you, living in that same Time Sheet universe you used to live in twenty years ago, but he would only be a copy of you, not actually you.

Killing him, or his parents for that matter, would have no effect on you because your future is twenty years ahead of you ridding along on the crest of a different Time Wave.

When you traversed the fifth dimension back to that earlier location in the stack of Time Sheets you disappeared from the physical, three-dimensional universe in the Time Sheet that you occupied immediately before you pressed the Go Button on your Time Machine, and from that instant forward the Time Wave that had previously carried your consciousness forward just kept on trucking without you because you disappeared from the succeeding Time Sheets.

How did you disappear? You left the three-dimensional universe in your time machine and that change in the 3-D universe was carried forward from the Time Sheet you occupied when you jumped into the fifth dimension into the next Time Sheet. So, the next Time Sheet was changed to reflect that you were no longer in the physical universe.

You were gone from your Time Line. Disappeared. Vanished like those kids on the milk cartons. All the interactions you would have had, all the things you would have done, all the children you might have procreated, now won’t happen when they otherwise would have. \

Your leaving on your little time machine jaunt will change the future from what it would have been had you not gone back to the past.

Going Home, Back To The Future

If you tired of your Time Vacation in the Past, if you ever tried to go back to the future, you could only go back to a future that was similar to your old one but not exactly identical to it because if you went back to the exact Time Sheet you had been occupying just before you left, you would be picked up by a different Time Wave that was some hours or days or weeks behind the Time Wave that you had been riding when you entered your time machine.

The intervening Time Waves that passed through the Time Sheet you were in when you pressed the Go Button on your Time Machine and the new Time Wave that picked you up when you returned to that future Time Sheet would have subtly changed things in the physical universe contained within that Time Sheet in the interim.

If you instead zoomed ahead to catch the exact same Time Wave that you had originally been riding before you jumped into the fifth dimension, that future Time Sheet where you catch up to your old Time Wave would be farther down the stack by however long you were in the past, and you would have missed being present in the three dimensional universes of the intervening Time Sheets during the hours or days or weeks between the time when you left in your time machine and the time when you picked up your old wave in the future.

Since you were missing from all those intervening Time Sheets, your future would be different from what it would have been had you been present in all those intervening Time Sheets.

So, in order to go back to the future you have only two choices:

  • Return to the exact same Time Sheet you occupied when you pressed the Go Button on the time machine even though that reality would be very slightly different in the universe in that Time Sheet than it was when you left it, or
  • Pick up your original Time Wave at some future Time Sheet where the universe you experience will be slightly different than it would have been had you never left.

Decisions, decisions. There is no free lunch.

Some Questions

  • How could 10 to the XXX power copies of the entire universe possibly simultaneously exist?
  • What exactly is the 5th dimension and how does it work?
  • How do the subtle changes in a Time Sheet’s 3-D universe get copied into the next Time Sheet’s universe?
  • What is a Time Pulse and where does it come from?
  • What is the mechanism that precisely energizes these Time Pulses from one Time Sheet to the next?
  • Since these Time Sheets do not exist in a three-dimensional universe, where do they exist?
  • Where did the Time Sheets and the fifth dimension come from?
  • Do the Time Pulses ever stop? If so, how, when, and why?
  • Same question about the Time Pulses starting.
  • What is the correlation between a Time Pulse and dark energy?
  • How does dark energy “power time”?
  • How does turning off Time cause the physical universe to “snap back” to its previous state?
  • How can each three-dimensional universe statically exist between pulses, that is, how can it exist in its default state outside of time?

The minute I can answer those questions I’ll put in my call to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and ask them to Fed Ex me my Nobel Prize.

I’m not holding my breath.

– David Grace (www.DavidGraceAuthor.com)

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David Grace

David Grace

Graduate of Stanford University & U.C. Berkeley Law School. Author of 16 novels and over 400 Medium columns on Economics, Politics, Law, Humor & Satire.